Friday, November 18, 2005

Dashed Off

As I've said before, I'm constantly scribbling down thoughts. Here's a semi-random sample of some of them; some are promising, some less so, some are barely coherent.

When people are infused through and through with a story, they begin to allegorize it, and to treat it as more than a bare anrration, but as a template for understanding other things.

The just application of law is impossible unless we allow moral judgment to play a role in the application.

That something is unearned does not mean that we have no claim to it (e.g., if I freely give you a bite of my sandwich, you have not earned the gift, but you have some claim to it because I had claim to it and gave it to you).

we can have claim to something by
desert
gift
need

Work does not ennoble. We ennoble work, by bringing into it a radiant goodness. (God working in us.)

Inferring what will happen in the future on teh basis of the past is only one form of induction, which need not take temporal form at all, and, if it does, could just as easily conclude to something about the present. (Of course, the latter would ordinarily be collapsed into the past->future case -- but that shows that temporality, real temporality, is not relevant to induction at all, and that the eral issue in induction is movement from the known to the unknown. But when we see it in that light, we see that the known is the best basis for any inference, even if we sometimes, or even very often, infer the wrong conclusion: we go with what we have, and there's nothign unreasonable about that unless one treats one's inference --the 'It is this way for cases we know, so let's go with that unless we have reason tor egard this case as different' inference --as something needing magic powers or supernal reliability. It's not magic; it's just reasonable.) In any case, time is a red herring, or at best a crutch. Past and present have no special role to play as past or present.

Induction is not the most general form of reasoning about matters of fact. (Lady Mary Shepherd essentially shows this.)

I hit the desk. Crack! The sound echoes off the wall. You have sensed causation. Do you deny it? I will show you again. Crack! Crack! Crack! -- until you impatiently recognize me as the cause of the noise.

If we have a means to an end, it is not necessary to 'use it as a means', for it might be a means in the sense of a subsidiary or contributive end. Not all means are valued only as means (virtues are a good example, since virtues are certainly means, but not 'merely' so).

Faith is needed in inquiry because patience is needed in inquiry.

A truthmaker entails and explains the truth of a proposition-- it is in that sense that it makes it true.

More than one thing can be a truthmaker for a proposition; and propositions can also have a collective for their truthmaker.

Truthmakers are truthmakers under a description.

To be is to be a truthmaker.

In the real world, the benefits of cooperation and defection are not stable unless made so.

We do not extend teleology to nonhumans by metaphyr; we restrict teleology from them by education and analysis, i.e., by sorting them into 'metaphorically teleological' and 'literally teleological'.

the intellect as
1) potens omnia facere
2) potens omnia fieri
Intellect as intellect is infinite.

What Kant calls indirect duties, Hume would call natural virtues.

Philosophy, like good wine, must age to be appreciated properly and with good taste. Leting things ferment productively is the greater part of any good taste.

'Production' is broader than 'causation' understood efficiently.

The Golden Rule is not a simplification of the law, but a sumamry: in actual cases, it diversifies as widely as the law properly understood.

We often talk about respect for persons and forget to talk about solidarity with them.

In oral poetry a word is a unit of meaning rather than a unit of form.

Regresses of causal chains are all, or often, potentially infinite; this tells us nothing about whether actual infinite regress is possible.

The horror genre is centered on the monstrous. The monstrous is in some way unknown--a purely analyzed monster ceases to be monstrous. The monstrous baffles our sense of the why.

Frankenstein & Dr. Moreau: the monster as a means for showing the monstrous in the man

In belief, as in murder, the agent must have motive, means, and opportunity.

In theological compatibilism, hell is ultimately an expression of the glory and power of God, and only a punishment as a means thereto. It is determinism itself that pushes it in that direction.

The united testimony of mankind is that life is usually pretty good and sometimes very miserable.

It is not enlightenment of the oppressed that frees, but transformation of the oppressor into a nonoppressor. Slaves are not freed by rebellions, nor by recognizing their slavery, but by the slavers ceasing to be slavers.

Zohar III, 65b: "First came Ehyeh, the dark womb of all; then asher ehyeh, indicating the readiness of the Mother to beget all."

Informal fallacies are often defenses against sophism that have been misused.

Legal obligation can be studied independently of the consequences following on its violation (e.g., as legal convention, as something regarded as having moral force, etc.). Sanction is a (higher-level) superinduction on an obligation that already exists, where it is legitimate (it imposes a legal obligation about how to handle violations of legal obligations).

In historical as in other causes, the total cause must be adequate for the effect.

It is not enough to study each parable in isolation; they play off each other and qualify each other, bringing out different aspects that others ignore.

It is a mistake to assume that all signs are used; i.e. that every sign is constituted a sign by use. If a dog by long experience associates laying out the napkins with appearance of food, the laying out of napkins will be recognized by teh dog as a sign of the food; but it is not, or need not be, the case that the sign is 'used' by the dog. Nor does the sign require 'rules of use', since all it requires is the potential for association. Nor does the sign of itself ahve to 'mean' anything, unless one simply identifies meaning with signification.

Are there really any 'epistemic obligations'? Who imposes them? With what authority? What is the nature of these obligations?--Note that the fact of sanction is not strong enough to make an obligation.--Are they moral obligations?--But there has never been a good reason for treating the matters discussed in this way as an ethics of belief (as opposed, to say, an ethics of profession or an ethics of investigation).

Perhaps also all this talk about 'warranted belief' is a red herring. Teh important issue is perhaps not whether beliefs have 'warrant' but whether this thing believed is better to believe than that thing believed. And the truly unreasonable person is the person who refuses to recognize that some things are better to believe than others.

A blogger can never take himself too lightly.

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