Thursday, November 09, 2006

Links and Notabilia

* Nathanael Robinson at "The Rhine River" has a very interesting post on voting and the deficit of representation.

* Shulamite has a salutary warning on interpreting Aquinas's account of divine simplicity. I think the money sentence is this: If we want to understand the divine simplicity as St. Thomas explains it, it doesn't make much sense to talk about the divine simplicity until we have agreed to a proof for God's existence, and agreed to what is essential to a "composite". That's exactly right.

* Richard is putting together a Carnival of the Citizens. This will be a tricky carnival to get off the ground, but I think it's worth support. Read the post, keep track of the newsletter page, publicize it, and start thinking about what post you are going to write for the first edition (open to any topic), coming up on November 26. I'll be hosting an edition in the future, more information to follow at a later date.

* Which reminds me, Richard recently hosted an edition of the Carnival of the Liberals that focuses on liberalism and democratic discourse; I think of it as being a gesture at the general sort of thing one might expect from a Carnival of the Citizens.

* I am currently reading (or re-reading, I forget which) Thomas Nagel's paper Concealment and Exposure, about liberalism, sex, and conventions of reticence.

* At "Without Authority" there is a discussion of the possibility of better atheists; and Macht comments on it at "prosthesis". I think Nietzsche has his strong points, but I confess that all my sympathies are for "atheists of skepticism" rather than "atheists of suspicion." It goes with my taste for old-fashioned freethinkers. I'm just happy when atheists hold themselves to consistent intellectual standards across the board, rather than arbitrarily changing them when it comes to anything vaguely religious. That, incidentally, is what sparked my incredulity so much about the recent spate of posts on Dawkins; I was caught utterly by surprise when certain otherwise intelligent atheists, defending Dawkins against critiques like Eagleton's (which claimed that Dawkins is ill-informed about the subject he's discussing in his book), actually responded by denying that atheists had to be informed about religious views in order to refute them. It must be admitted that that's an audacious, although not very truth-conducive, strategy. I would have expected the safer strategy of actually trying to show that Dawkins knew what he was talking about; the attempt to argue, as some did, that it's OK that he doesn't know what he's talking about is a bit startling, both in what it concedes and in what it concludes.

* Chris has had some fascinating recent posts on time-space metaphor research. See Implicit Agency in Time-Space Metaphors and Space-Time Metaphors in Nonlinguistic Contexts.

* The death of a stereotype? Maybe the Puritans are next.

* Step One: I discover that Malebranche's Dialogues on Metaphysics and on Religion is available online in the 1923 Ginsberg translation. Step Two: I rejoice in the goodness of digital libraries. Step Three: Now none of you have any excuse for not having read it.

* It is a sign of Bill Watterson's excellence that the overwhelming reaction to this is horrified revulsion. (ht: Crooked Timber)

* Don't forget to make your nominations for the Cliopatria Awards.

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