Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Dashed Off

I am something of a compulsive note-writer. Here are some randomly chosen recent ones I've jotted down:

Natural science is the philosophy of the topology of the experimental evidences, i.e., it is the philosophy of the actual experimental evidences insofar as they are evidential.

The ability to predict requires a rather hefty amount of scientific work already in place. (e.g., prediction can't be criterial for science because it presupposes that we already have done quite a bit of scientific work)

What Kant postulates is not freedom, God, or immortality per se, but certain practical functions (e.g., moral governor of the world) whose nature beyond these purely practical roles is left undefined (although Kant occasionally goes so far as to consider what is possible or impossible for any nature fulfilling these functions).

Naturalizing the life of St. Joan of Arc doesn't make her life less astonishing.

Berkeley is a Platonist who realizes that his Platonism is speculative.

Conformity breaks consumerism more efficiently than nonconformity (this is a simple matter of supply and demand). Counterculture drives consumerism: it generates a demand and an entrepreneurship environment. "Counterculture incubates the corporate system" (Joseph Heath).

articulation vs. coacervation No, I don't quite know what I had in mind here, either. The distinction is probably Kantian. I have an interest in articulation as a rational process: What are we doing when we articulate an idea, and identify elements in our ideas we previously had not recognized? The topic has a theological interest, too, in the articulation of the faith that produces creeds and confessions. Articulation identifies the joints of the anatomy (so to speak) of the idea or belief; coacervation would be the heaping of things together.

gracious speech & not insipid as part of a devotion to truth

In American society, the greatness of the United States is a regulative, not a constitutive, idea.

Compassion has an invigorating effect; it stirs to action. It is not suffering-with in the sense that would make it a bit of suffering caught like a flu: it is withsuffering in the sense that one becomes an active response commensurate to the suffering seen in another.

Dionysus does not rebel against the city; Pentheus falls not because Iacchus is at war with him but because he [i.e., Pentheus] refuses to acknowledge him at all. (Iacchus is another name for Dionysus; I'm talking about Euripides' Bacchae here.)

Tastes may differ, but everyone wants something palatable that nourishes.

There is no true love where there is no interior conversion.

Play is the abundant expression of the activity of life, given a formal structure that allows us to delight in it as good.

A state is the realization of an ethical idea; the ideal state is God as King or Lord.

A constitution is not arbitrarily created and upheld; it must be held by the citizens to embody, even if only imperfectly, right and moral authority.

(1) basic satisfaction of physical needs: earnestness in the endeavor
(2) abundance of physical good: physical play
(3) abundance of intellectual good: mental play
-> Aesthetic play is a union of (2) and (3) in varying proportions & under different conditions
->(1) is the adumbration & symbol of play in the proper sense

"Pity is acquired and improved by the cultivation of reason. We have no doubt uneasy sensations from seeing a creature in distress, without pity; for it is not pity unless you wish to relieve them." Johnson (Boswell's London Journal 20 July 1763)

The serpent's temptation is reiterated in every age: eat this fruit and you will be like gods.

Spinoza's Ethics is a treatise on happiness.

Faith is both creative and critical. It is oriented toward truth; its delight is delight from the intimation of truth; its impulse is toward the understanding of truth.

Hope seeks steadfastness.

Whewell's Ideas organize the forms of experimental evidentiality (by way of the axioms). Thus there is causal evidentiality, classificatory evidentiality, etc.

God as the prime symbol of God, the one on which all other symbols depend (the Word as the Image of God).

Malebranche's ideas represent; Berkeley's ideas signify.

Some problems are best solved en passant.

The weak can pity only weakly; pity, compassion -- they are signs of strength. That is why we sometimes find expressions of pity presumptuous: they express a superior position of strength, at least on the issue at hand.

moral play (not the whole of moral life, but an important part)

It is not indolence if you are learning something worthwhile.

Although perhaps that last one was just an excuse to be procrastinating on something. But it sounds good....

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