Sunday, October 21, 2007

Links and Notes

* Greta Christina has an excellent post on what she calls the Galileo Fallacy and the Gadfly Corollary (ht).

* There has recently been some controversy over the imminent beatification of Augustinian priest Gabino Olaso Zabala, one of 98 Augustinian martyrs in the Phillipines from 1936-1939. The reason is that there are accusations, and a written deposition from the victim, that Fr. Gabino Olaso Zabala engaged in torture about forty years before his martyrdom. Most of the discussion of this is rather uneven; John L. Allen has the best discussion of the matter I have seen so far. I would occasionally quibble with the way Allen has stated things. But Allen does note the two key points that have tended to fall out of other discussions of this issue: that Zabala is being beatified as a martyr, and thus because his death was a witness to Christ; and that any sort of formal recognition of sainthood is in part a matter of prudential discretion. Those are actually the two primary issues in the dispute.

* Odious gives another reason why philosophers tend to shortchange Xenophon's account of Socrates.

* This review, by Jana Riess, has intrigued me enough about A. J. Jacobs's The Year of Living Biblically, in which Jacobs, a secular Jew, sets out to demonstrate the absurdities of religious legalism -- by living according to all the commandments of the Bible for a year -- and does so, but along the way discovers some surprising things about it.

* Paleo-Future, subtitled "A Look into the Future that Never Was," is a weblog devoted to chronicling the history of expectations about the future.

* Currently reading:
John Rothchild, Introduction to Athenian Democracy of the Fifth and Fourth Centuries BCE

Andrew Chignell, Are Supersensibles Really Possible? Kant on the Evidential Role of Symbolization (PDF)

Charles Pidgen, What Was Hume Up To with No-Ought-From-Is? (PDF): I'm not convinced, but there are one or two things that I'll have to think about.

J. David Velleman, The Gift of Life

Jessica Moss, Appearances and Calculations: Plato's Division of the Soul (PDF)

Kirk Ludwig, The Epistemology of Thought Experiments (PDF)

* Also, I'm brushing up on Boethius for my intro course, so these are some things I'm reading or will be reading:

John Marenbon, Boethius

Samuel Fox, ed. King Alfred's Anglo-Saxon Version of Boethius's De Consolatione Philosophiae

Paul Vincent Spade, Boethius Against Universals (PDF)

Nathan Basik, The Guilt of Boethius (PDF)

Peter King, Boethius: First of the Scholastics (PDF)

Susanne Bobzein, A Greek Parallel to Boethius' De Hypotheticis Syllogismis (PDF)

Peter King, Aquinas: Exposition of Boethius's "Hebdomads" (PDF)

Boethius, The Theological Tractates

Gerard Casey, An Explication of the De Hebdomadibus of Boethius in the Light of St Thomas’s Commentary (PDF)

* It's a bit depressing to read about Boethius in this day and age. Boethius, of course, was a statesman, a very successful one until the sudden fall from grace that marks the end of his life. One thing we tend to forget about Boethius is that he did his philosophical work -- his translations and commentaries on Aristotle's logic, his writings on theological topics, perhaps even his Consolation -- as part of his life as a statesman. Boethius, as an aristocratic Roman, had a Ciceronian view of political life as one devoted to communicable self-cultivation: you cultivate yourself and you use that as a basis for cultivating the people. Such a view is, no doubt, liable to abuses; but at times, when compared to the way politics works today, it is an extraordinarily attractive view.

* Cosma Shalizi discusses intelligence testing and 'the general factor of intelligence' in g, a Statistical Myth. On a different subject, and in a different place, Shalizi has an excellent list of resources with regard to causation, particularly with regard . I'd add four names to the short historical section: al-Ghazali (to whom Averroes is responding), Francisco Suarez (because it's a good thing to recognize that the assumptions we tend to make about causation have never been universal and haven't even always been the dominant assumptions made), Nicolas Malebranche (whom Hume is to a great extent adapting), and Lady Mary Shepherd (who argues that Hume's notion of causation muddles several different things together).

* Speaking of Shepherd, I managed to find a good deal on Lady Mary Shepherd's collected works (by Thoemmes Press), and received my copy today. Does this mean that you will be reading posts on Shepherd in the near future? It most certainly does. Also coming: I owe Pensans a post on the ethics of rational critique; I still need to post the final bit of the "Murdering Rastari" short story draft; the last few posts on Hume's Dialogues are coming; a sequel post to the one on progress under conditions of moral disagreement; more juvenilia; and probably a good deal more. But I have an odd schedule right now which guarantees that all of this will only be trickling out.

* Millinerd gets a little sarcastic and suggests that we should perhaps follow through on the arguments of the 'new atheists' by abolishing music.

* Chris at "Creek Running North" has a lovely post satirizing evolutionary psychology. (ht: Chris at "Mixing Memory")

* A comic on crime and prepunishment.

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