Sunday, February 24, 2008

Notes and Links

* This paper, worth reading, came up in the comments recently: Charles Mills, Kant's Untermenschen (PDF)

* Congratulations, or something, to San Antonio, which manages to make the top ten cities in the United States for four of the seven deadly sins, according to Forbes magazine. Of course, it doesn't really measure the seven deadly sins; but still, John at "Verum Serum" is right: "hey, what the heck is going on in San Antonio, Texas?" On three maps: Nashville, Memphis, Washington D.C., Seattle, Detroit.

* A. C. Grayling discusses Descartes's cogito at "philosophybites".

* Here's a puzzle for you. St. Patrick's Day is a fairly important and extraordinarily popular saint's day. But St. Patrick's Day is usually celebrated on March 17, and this year March 17 falls in Holy Week. But Holy Week trumps every saint's day, so you standardly would move the feast to the next available date, which would have to be after the Octave of Easter. But you can't do that, because the next available date, March 31, is the Feast of the Annunciation, which also trumps every saint's day. So St. Patrick's Day, which usually falls on March 17, falls on April 1. But non-liturgy-related St. Patrick's Day events will still fall on March 17. So what do you do? The bishops of Ireland -- where, obviously, this is quite an important question, finally decided, with the approval of the Vatican, that they would move St. Patrick's Day back to March 15 so that it's on the closest liturgically viable day to the secular celebrations. I'm assuming that a similar situation will prevail for Montserrat, but I have been able to find no information about it. [ADDED LATER: David in the comments notes that my language in this note requires some qualification; St. Patrick's memorial being an optional memorial, it would not be moved unless special circumstances added weight to it, e.g., St. Patrick being the local patron, as he is of Ireland, or of Montserrat, or the like.]

* An important point about Thomas Aquinas's argument that the principle of intellectual operation is not corporeal; this is very often overlooked.

* Samuel Zwemer's 1902 Raymond Lull: First Missionary to the Moslems. It is, of course, remarkably inaccurate to call Bl. Raymond the first missionary to the Muslims; as a Franciscan he was following in the footsteps of St. Francis himself. (St. Francis set out to convert the Sultan or be martyred; the Sultan, either amused or impressed by him, heard him out, and then instead of killing him, set him back on a ship to Western Europe.) There had been Syrian Christians who had sought to evangelize the Muslims; in fact, part of the stimulus for the development of kalam was to provide intelligent Muslim responses to Christian arguments. But if we make a few qualifications on what is meant, the title might be allowed to stand. This is an interesting work in that it is firmly pro-Lull but slightly anti-Catholic, which is an unusual mix; and there are a few things that should be taken with a few grains of salt. But it is indeed an engaging work. (ht)

* Richard has a good post on ignorance.

* There have been some interesting discussions about Bishop Berkeley at "Philosophy Sucks!" (The Other Richard!)
A Simple Argument Against Berkeley
Has Idealism Been Refuted?

* In The Value in BS, Evelyn Brister suggests a problem with the argument in Frankfurt's popular book. It does seem that "lack of connection to a concern with truth" and "indifference to how things really are" simply aren't sufficient to mark it out, much less, as Frankfurt suggests, to characterize its essence; it's absurd to suggest, as Frankfurt's argument really does, that the only value that should be regarded in discourse is stating how things really are. (Indeed, there seem to me to be so many problems with Frankfurt's argument that it's difficult to evaluate the work as anything other than a specimen of what it claims to be studying. But certainly a great many people seemed to be charmed by the argument.)

* The Historic Cities is well worth browsing. (ht)

* I've seen this around, and it's definitely an interesting one. Os Guinness is highly critical of Frank Schaeffer's memoir.

* Philip Blosser notes that Bill Murray's older sister Nancy is also an actress; but, as a Dominican nun, she uses her acting talents in a different way.


* The Ochlophobist has a thought-provoking post on drama and affectation.

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