Friday, January 25, 2019

Dashed Off II

A major difference between Greek and Roman mythology is that the Greeks were promiscuous tale-tellers, whose religion literally involved coming up with stories about the gods.

A constitutional concept cannot be merely abstract. (The closest one gets is preambular material in written constitutions, but even this has no significance except so far as it is embodied in the actual institutions and practices.)

"...there is but ONE law which can experience no change whatever; namely that similar qualities in union necessarily include similar results...." Lady Mary Shepherd

Note Shepherd's analogy between the cumulative force of miracles as evidence and the readiness to appear for establishing independent existence.

The case of testimony establishes that a weaker kind of evidence can 'destroy' a stronger kind, if the particular circumstances are appropriately right for it and not for the stronger kind of evidence.

(1) The memory is tenacious to a certain degree.
(2) Men commonly have an inclination to truth.
(3) Men are sensible of shame when detected in falsehood.

We cannot make sense of testimony without assuming an a priori connection between testimony and reality; testimony is intrinsically an 'image', even if falsified, of reality. What we learn by experience is ease and modes of falsification rather than the existence of the connection.

Hume's account of testimony takes lack of education *in itself* to be a strike against testimony. but this is not so for the actual appearance of the phenomena. An unschooled man can testify as well as a schooled one to what he honestly and truly saw.

Nobody needs to attribute undoubted integrity to a source to place them beyond all suspicion of a design to deceive; the reverse is true, but there is no equivalence.

That the apparent course of nature may be altered is clear from the history of the appearance of the course of nature.

Eloquence at its highest pitch is never purely a matter of fancy or the affections; this is to confuse it with entertainment.

All court systems have sharp limits on their speed and flexibility; they should never be the first gate in upholding justice, but the last bulwark. It is clear that almost all modern democratic nations over-rely on their court systems.

"It is the nature of the hero-cult, as distinct from the worship of ancestors, to spread spontaneously over a wide area, if it possesses sufficient energy and attractiveness." Farnell

If a composite thing were to pop into existence, its doing so would be entirely explained in terms of the popping into existence of its parts in relation to each other. Therefore nothing composite can be a 'brute fact', nor can the coming-into-existence of anything composite be a brute fact.

"The Canon Yeoman's Tale" as giving the structure of a con game

'Grasping' is an excellent metaphor for understanding because physical grasping (1) is factive, in the sense that what one grasps, is; (2) is described by analogous linguistic constructions -- it takes an object in analogously describable ways; (3) it is described in strong-tone ways, in that grasping is stronger than touching, holding, etc.

Pleasure as pleasantness, as sense of reward, and as satisfaction of desire, all come apart, and yet all have been conflated by utilitarians.

"Plato was the first who used the word 'theology'..., and he evidently was the creator of the idea. He used it in his Republic, where we wanted to set up certain philosophical standards and criteria for poetry." Jaeger

NB Aristotle's comment that apeiron is cause qua mind (Anaxagoras) or qua eros (Empedocles) in those who hold that it encompasses and governs all, and this is the divine because it is deathless and incorruptible (Anaximander).

True genius has something like prescience, for true genius reflects something of the eternal.

One of Pascal's key apologetic insights was that the men who were despising faith for not being knowledge were nonetheless gambling. This can be generalized: When they despise something Christian, look at what they nonetheless are doing.

Conviction and sympathy are the two aspects of hortatory power.

No epistemology can be right that does not recognize that understanding outstrips reasoning.

"It is hardly too much to say, that almost all reasons formally adduced in moral inquiries, are rather specimens and symbols of the real grounds, than those grounds themselves." Newman

Contemplative prayer is the act by which one adapts oneself better to God's simplicity.

"We cannot teach except by aspects or views, which are not identical with the thing itself which we are teaching." Newman

'ontological argument' for possibility: idea of possibility; therefore necessarily something is possible

Mary, Emblem of Grace

Property has a twofold aspect, being an instrument for furthering common good and a remedy against oppression.

intrinsic vs. extrinsic title to anger, etc.

Art tends naturally to syncretism.

One cannot be a good journalist without studying the field on which one reports. A journalist does not need to be an expert, but a journalist needs to avoid being a fool.

compassion : sorrow :: congratulation : joy

Republics have the curious feature of being both stingy and careless with money.

NB Adam Smith takes worldly contempt to be a harder trial for virtue than death (TMS 1.3.2.2)

Note that St. Cyril of Alexandria takes Deuteronomy 20:19-20 to give the appropriate strategy for dealing with heretics.

Multi-ethnic empires have historically been built not on tolerance but on force-backed compromise.

the Democritean theory of religion:
(1) eidola seen in dreams (residues of sense-perception) which have beneficial or maleficial effects --> prayer as wish for propitious images
(2) guilt & anxiety over wicked ways given a failure to understand death
(3) paradoxa of nature (eclipses, storms, stellar events) leading to fear of their causes

The human mind is so splendid that it can do extraordinary things even with errors.

Goethe is a genius most easily admired at a distance.

For most of us most of the time, even human wisdom is known only by triplex via; how much more divine Wisdom!

The lives of martyrs make available a 'particular and privileged vantage point' on worldly reasoning.

- analysis of society in terms of potential for charitable action

It is not enough to treat mothering as work; one must treat it as an honorable profession and a humanitarian tradition.

Every Catholic is called to cultivate the standpoint of the saints.

standpoint as a creative ability (Miriam Solomon)

In theology the epistemic authority that matters is holiness.

preservative love, fostering of growth, and training

The martyrs critique by being there.

Our body is experienced in terms of both facility and resistance.

internal goods (of a practice) as related to trying well, doing well, and succeeding well

kisses as questions vs as assertions

the whole of x is y, the whol of x is not y, not the whole of x is not y, not the whole of x is y (subalternates)
the whole of x is y, the whole of x is not y, part of x is y, part of x is not y (does not subalternate)
-- the fallacy of division as related to subalternation

In ritual one feels one's way through the means to the appropriate ends.

Every actual liberalism gives preference ot the liberties of some over the liberties of others.

position, influence, school
position, implication, system

Sukkot & Hanukkah (2 Macc 1:9, 1:18, 10:6)

Economics is most commonly the theory of predicting teh policies that economists will recommend.

'What is?' as an 'axiomatic' question

Even the appearance of injustice eats away at society.

The human mind by its nature is suggestive of infinity, and has often been recognized as such.

"We act unconsciously as if we were infinite." Tiele

"All sober inquirers after truth, ancient and modern, pagan and Christian, have declared that the happiness of man, as well as his dignity, consists in virtue." John Adams

infinite intelligibility arguments
(1) final cause (Aristotelian: Aquinas)
(2) formal/exemplar (Platonistic: Malebranche)
(3) necessary postulate of action (Transcendentalist: Brownson)

Newman's notes of development as applied to actions genuinely unfolding from faith rather than other motives (i.e., development at the individual level)

"There is nothing harder than to determine the real character of the religion of a people, even when the religion is still living." Sayce

(1) Being is a transcendental perfection.
(2) What is entailed by a transcendental perfection is a transcendental perfection, either entitative, or a transcendental of eminence, or a transcendental of distinction.

If anything is possible, something is necessary.

formal plausibility (extrapolative) vs material plausibility (associative)

Every self-evident principle is also a heuristic principle.

charity as moral panchymogon

In the long term, even at its best, progressivism starts to err into micromanagement.

the fourfold beginning of Christ: in God (John), in Israel (Matthew), in Mary (Luke), in the Baptism (Mark)

the right to quiet enjoyment of one's life

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