Saturday, September 12, 2015

Evelyn Waugh, Edmund Campion; and Brideshead Revisited


Opening Passages: From Edmund Campion:

In the middle of March 1603 it was clear to everyone that Queen Elizabeth was dying; her doctors were unable to diagnose the illness; she had little fever, but was constantly thirsty, restless and morose; she refused to take medicine, refused to eat, refused to go to bed.

From Brideshead Revisited (you could use either the opening for the Prologue, which gives the frame narrative, or the opening for Chapter One; I use the Prologue):

When I reached C Company lines, which were at the top of the hill, I paused and looked back at the camp, just coming into full view below me through the grey mist of early morning. We were leaving that day. When we marched in, three months before, the place was under snow; now the first leaves of spring were unfolding. I had reflected then that, whatever scenes of desolation lay ahead of us, I never feared one more brutal than this, and I reflected now that it had no single happy memory for me.

Summary: Edmund Campion was a promising and charismatic scholar who could have gone far in the world; he was recognized as exceptional in talent, received powerful patronage from people close to Queen Elizabeth I, and could likely have had all the things that are usually recognized as success by the world. He gave it all up, became Catholic and a Jesuit, and in 1580 he joined the Jesuit mission to England. He was hunted down and captured, was tortured and tried for treason, and was hanged and drawn and quartered at Tyburn in 1581. And as Waugh notes, his work did not end; it continued and continues still. Scholar, priest, hero, martyr: he was a saint for a gallant and adventurous age, and a figure of the grace of God. We think of grace as a consoling thing, and console it does; but this, too, is grace, to give up all the success of the world and walk the road to Calvary, and it is not a different grace from the consoling kind.

There is an interesting passage at the end of Edmund Campion: A Life that I think serves as an interesting bridge between it and Brideshead Revisited:

Years later, in the sombre, sceptical atmosphere of the eighteenth century, Bishop Challoner set himself to sift out and collect the English martyrology. The Catholic cause was very near to extinction in England. Families who had resisted the onset of persecution were quietly conforming under neglect. The Church survived here and there in scattered households, regarded by the world as, at the best, something Gothic and slightly absurd, like a ghost or a family curse. Emancipation still lay in the distant future; no career was open to the Catholics; their only ambition was to live quietly in their houses, send their children to school abroad, pay the double land taxes, and, as best they could, avoid antagonising their neighbours. It was then, when the whole gallant sacrifice appeared to have been prodigal and vain, that the story of the martyrs lent them strength. (p. 201)

By the time Brideshead Revisited opens, Catholic Emancipation has already occurred, and there is little enough persecution; but such a long oppression leaves an impression, and Catholicism, while entrenched enough, is in a sort of stagnation -- the aesthetic is Baroque rather than Gothic, but the Church is regarded by the world as "slightly absurd, like a ghost or a family curse". There is something Romantic about it, but it is also on the verge of falling apart.

Charles Ryder seemed set for a humdrum existence when he happens to meet Lord Sebastian Flyte while studying at Oxford; Sebastian becomes a friend and takes him to his ancestral home, Brideshead Castle, which for Ryder, an artist by temperament, becomes a fixture of his imagination. It was splendid in every way, something of a relief to Charles, whose childhood has been all limits. And eventually he meets the rest of the family. It is not a very functional family; they are very definitely family, but there is something about them that sets them at odds with each other.

The theme of Brideshead Revisited is grace amid our human decay. As this is traced in rather different ways through each of the characters, Brideshead Castle becomes almost a microcosm of the Catholic Church itself: there are the devout Catholics who thrive happily in their faith, like Cordelia; and the devout Catholics who seem thwarted and unhappy in it, like Bridey; and the half-heathen Catholics who find consolation in it, like Sebastian; and the half-heathen Catholics who find it a burden, like Julia; and the apparent saints who are nonetheless failures, like Lady Marchmain; and the apostates who nevertheless can never quite shake all their connection to it, like Lord Marchmain; and the cradle Catholics who know almost nothing about their faith except that they are Catholic, like Celia; and pseudo-converts like Rex for whom it is but a means to an end; and real converts like Charles for whom it is a difficult but hopeful coming home. The bonds of home, at once unifying and divisive, are a sort of metaphor for the bonds of religion. Brideshead Castle could almost be seen as a temporal expression of grace itself. The reason for this is put well by Charles when he describes why he becomes an architectural painter:

I have always loved building, holding it to be not only the highest achievement of man but one in which, at the moment of consummation, things were most clearly taken out of his hands and perfected, without his intention, by other means, and I regarded men as something much less than the buildings they made and inhabited, as mere lodgers and short-term sub-lessees of small importance in the long, fruitful life of their homes. (p. 226)

We build, but another builds after. We receive, and we add or destroy, and we pass on. But this thing that came before and continues after us, this enduring thing, is something in which we are mere tenants; the whole is greater than we can know at any given time.

But while this symbolism runs throughout the book, the work is not an allegory. All the characters have quirks that take them in their own unique directions. Lady Marchmain, for instance, who is intelligent, and beautiful, and charming, is also a manipulative schemer. There is no malice in it. But she is driven by an intense desire for close connection with those she loves, and it is a close connection that eludes her every attempt to grasp it, driving all those she loves farther from her. She dies a failure, everything having slipped away. But that is not the whole of the story; things have been set in motion, in some cases because of her and in some cases in spite of her. Love and grace cannot be managed. They work on their own terms. But the thread that binds to home and Church can stretch very far indeed, becoming so thin it almost cannot be seen, and yet still, one day, like a pang of nostalgia or an accidental turn down a familiar road, you find yourself back again, in one way or another.

Much of the first part of the book is concerned with Lady Marchmain's failures. The second half of the book is mostly concerned with the growing affair between Charles and Julia, Sebastian's sister. There is a wrongness to it -- they are both committing adultery -- and yet there is a rightness to it, as well. Their connection to each other through Sebastian is the thread pulling taut before it snaps them both back; their error is to think that this connection is pulling them to each other rather than simply through each other's lives. And perhaps that is the way the whole thing works: the threads that bind us together are not so much between us as threaded through us. That is why grace can be found in the lives of even the drab or the miserable or the horrible. And that is why the destruction of our attachments, or the degeneration of our comforts, like the physical deterioration of Brideshead Castle itself, is sometimes at the same time a spiritual regeneration and a coming home.

Favorite Passages: From Edmund Campion:

It was an age replete with examples of astounding physical courage. Judged by the exploits of the great adventurers of his time, the sea-dogs and explorers, Campion's brief achievement may appear modest enough; but these were tough men, ruthlessly hardened by upbringing, gross in their recreations. Campion stands out from even his most gallant and chivalrous contemporaries, from Philip Sidney and Don John of Austria, not as they stand above Hawkins and Stukeley by finer human temper, but by the supernatural grace that was in him. That the gentle scholar, trained all his life for the pulpit and the lecture room, was able at the word of command to step straight into a world of violence, and acquit himself nobly; that the man, capable of the strenuous heroism of that last year and a half, was able, without any complaint,to pursue the sombre routine of the pedagogue and contemplate without impatience a lifetime so employed--there lies the mystery which sets Campion's triumph apart from the ordinary achievements of human strength; a mystery whose solution lies in the busy, uneventful years at Brunn and Prague, in the profound and accurate piety of the Jesuit rule.

From Brideshead Revisited:

"But who can he have been talking to? Did he dream it all? Cordelia, what's the matter?"

"What a chump! Oh, Mummy, what a glorious chump!"

"Cordelia, it was you."

"Oh, Mummy, who could have dreamed he's swallow it? I told him such a lot besides. About the sacred monkeys in the Vatican -- all kinds of things."

"Well, you've very considerably increased my work," said Father Mowbray.

"Poor Rex," said Lady Marchmain. "You know, I think it makes him rather lovable. You must treat him like an idiot child, Father Mowbray."

Recommendations: Highly Recommended, both.


Evelyn Waugh, Edmund Campion: A Life, Ignatius Press (San Francisco: 2005).

Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited, Back Bay Books (New York: 2008).

Legal Personality

Ivan Strenski says some bizarre things about legal personality:

In this case, the problem that Ms. Davis had in signing the marriage licenses because they transgressed her conscience could be obviated by calling attention to the fact that it was not Kim Davis in person with a conscience and religious beliefs that had the name “Kimberly Davis” signed to the document. It was another “person” — the legal fiction, County Clerk Kim Davis, who did. That “Kim Davis” has no conscience, no beliefs, celebrates no birthdays, does not marry, etc.

When I go abroad, I am still me in all senses of personhood—except those now constructed for me according to that other nation’s legal system. Kim’s in the same situation. If one reads carefully under Kim Davis’ signature, the clue to the existence of her name as a legal fictional person is there, namely, “County Clerk,” I believe.

Lord have mercy, the contortions people are going through in this case to justify the conclusions they already think right. 'County Clerk Kim Davis' is, in the first place, not a juridical person at all. There are no rights qua county clerk that are not merely functions of a larger organization of which county clerkhood is a part, which is absolutely necessary for juridical personhood. Davis is not incorporated as county clerk, she is not a sovereign government, and not only does county clerkhood not appear to be granted legal personality under Kentucky state law, it would be a strange way of organizing a government if it were. County clerk is an office, a packet of official powers and duties, a capacity in which a person serves, not itself a form of personhood. As county clerk, she is an elected official, not a juridical person.

Second, when we are considering the two kinds of legal personality together, under no legal regime does juridical or artificial personhood supercede or displace natural personhood. Nobody's rights as a natural person become irrelevant or suppressed by being employed by a corporation or by federal or state government, for instance. If you incorporate yourself, your natural personality as a citizen is distinct from your juridical personality as a corporation, and the rights of the two will not be the same, but you yourself will retain every right of natural personality as well as every right of juridical personality in any situation in which they are both operative. You become legally reduplicated: you have rights qua natural person that you would not have qua juridical person, for instance. The interaction between the two reduplicated aspects is not in any way straightforward, and depends crucially on exactly how the juridical person is a person under law; but one thing is certainly true, that your juridical personality does not suppress any rights you have as a natural person. It is even more obviously true that you retain conscience and religious beliefs, which don't in any way depend on legal recognition, regardless of how you stand in terms of juridical personality, and it is quite clearly the case that we expect people themselves to act conscientiously regardless of their legal personhood status. It thus would all be utterly irrelevant even if county clerks were juridical persons qua county clerks.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Dashed Off IV

Box in practical decision as normative in that context

three objective standards of reliability: self-survival, species-survival, rationality.
-> None of the three are reducible to the others
-> We could also call these practical criteria of success

the (lack of) role for experiment D-N models of explanation

narrative explanation & nomological contingency

experiment as the primary (but not only) test case for accounts of scientific explanation -> one must account for how experiment can be explanatory in a theoretical context

Cognitive reliability is neither utility for food-gathering, nor utility for predator-avoiding, nor utility for reproducing, nor utility for raising young, but something different that sometimes feeds into any of these.

negotiation for symbolic acts as diplomatic testing ('acts of good faith' as evidence)

Practical success is a teleological measure.

the gifts of the Spirit as making possible life according ot the Decalogue, understood as an account of friendship with God and neighbor

cosmological, ontological, teleological, and pragmatic arguments in the natural order and in the moral order

"The central idea of the great part of the Old Testament may be called the loneliness of God." Chesterton

"Job puts forward a note of interrogation; God answers with a note of exclamation. Instead of proving to Job that it is an explicable world, He insists that it is a much stranger world than Job ever thought it was." Chesterton

Love is first gift, and that to which all honest giving tends.

Charity is the internal teacher of prayer.

relative supererogation + problem prioritization -> people tend to have difficulty with supererorgation in moral contexts because they assume that all moral problems are of equal priority

paraliturgical structures in the liturgical commonwealth

property, trade, contract, government

mutual support structures, peri-marital structures, and study structures in the liturgical commonwealth

the palaetiology of genre

catastrophism & uniformitarianism in studies of Christian origins

"All palaetiological sciences, since they undertake to refer changes to their causes, assume a certain classification of the phenomena which change brings forth, and a konwledge of the operation of the causes of change." Whewell

monasticism as perpetual pilgrimage

sacraments as missions

"The Paternoster contains all the duties we owe to God, the acts of all the virtues, and the petitions for all our spiritual and corporeal needs." Montfort
"Each word of the Lord's Prayer is a tribute we pay to the perfections of God." Montfort

To pray the Lord's Prayer with sincerity is itself to imitate Christ.

The fear of the Lord prepares for wisdom by destroying pride.

warning passages in Hebrews: 2:1-4; 3:7-4:13; 5:11-6:12; 10:19-39; 12:14-29

A story as structured as music would be extremely repetitive; there may be broad analogies, but it is difficult to see how there could be the same intricacy of structure. Narrative is an art thriving more on novelty than on harmony.

patterns of hospitality in Genesis

probability-versimilitude & approximation-verisimilitude

"That which, being moved, moves another, must cause a motion like its own." Aquinas

The idea of uploading the mind is derived only from the sense that the human mind is nobler than any given material.

standpoint & authority (standpoint theory as a way of talking about authority)

having the kinds of righteousness that meets with mercy

weaving of implicatures as narrative technique

All virtues exhibit traces of prudence.

the Nyaya syllogism as a way of moving from Diamond to Null

shared bodily integrity

Nostalgia is not inconsistent with optimistic hope.

equality as sameness of place in order

Ideas reach out for communication.

The first chapters of Genesis display an ongoing degeneration, a continuous Fall.

Half of romance is wanting to know.

casuistics as practical topics

classification as an ordering of middle terms

Broad reasons for being skeptical cannot stand against specific reasons for not being skeptical.

The attempt to make the subject/object distinction take precedence over all others is the primary philosophical error of the post-medieval era.

Love of truth demands leisure to explore.

conceptual analysis through successive approximation

the passions as khora, reason as demiurge

reason as drawing flat animal passions into volumes
-->virtues as volumes of planar passions; but perhaps instead they are hypervolumes of the volumes of rationalized passions, passions intentionalized by reason

Justice of law is the virtue of common good, and turns all other virtues to common good.

the habits of a good writer: planning, sticking to it, exercising restraint, considering the reader (writing subvirtues)
"The best maxim in writing, perhaps, is really to love your reader for his own sake." C. S. Peirce W 1:9

(1) interest in an indefinite community
(2) recognition of the possibility of this interest being made supreme
(3) hope in the unlimited continuance of intellectual activity

No one is a genuine traditionalist who does not strive to achieve precision in judgment.

clothing reason in splendid signs

"The concept of the actually understood thing is also a concept of the understanding, through which the latter can understand itself." Aquinas (DA 724)

dialectical strength as safety of inference times probability of inference

rigor in the broad sense as rational replicability
in the strict sense as validity with methods oriented toward accuracy
note that when talking about Euclid people tend to ignore the importance of the latter, despite the fact that Euclid definitely does not

There are many different kinds of convention; and thus there are many different accounts required for it.

The Settling Condition (that one can only intend what one takes to be up to one to decide) seems clearly false (consider overdetermination cases and symbolic actions); it confuses the end of deliberation with a normal effect thereof. (Indeed, it requires a very weird view of the ends of action.)

Much early human agency is shared agency.

Much of childhood is a rudimentary philosophical dialogue.

We may be tempted beyond our strength, but never beyond God's.

Empiricism is too weak to establish causal closures.

paradigmatic examples as tangent-like approximations

Codes are designed to be breakable; one just wishes the means of doing so to be very easy to restrict.

distance as an abstraction from area

infinitesimals and infinites as formal approximations, in mathematics, of potentiality

love, joy, and peace as stimuli for prudence

Even assumptions not worth worrying about are worth pointing out.

"The expertise of weavers and the like in making cloth and other things, the reasons and rules governing verbal acts of those whose speech is competent, the reason of children's learning an alphabet in a certain order, all such depend on an independent being, because they are reasons. This is like the expertise that is a causal factor in the production of a pot the like of which has not been encountered before, skill in a craft comparatively superior, and like 'Chaitra' and 'Maitra' and like the letters in a message, as well as the meaning of sequences in the Paninian grammar." Udayana

Matters of precedent encourage the development of procedures of consensus.

meditative prayer as virtue training

prudence as structuring our lives into a narrative unity

omne quod est per accidens, reducitur ad id quod est per se

shangdi, tianzhu, tian

Kant's 'happiness' is "general well-being and contentment with one's condition".

Dante's trip in the Divine Comedy as a journey into the depths of the soul (cp. St. Teresa's notion of dwelling in outer or inner rooms)
->but in a sense hell is reversed here, because we journey to most-hell, then out the other side. The earth's center is the circumference of the soul.

Real presence is an act, not a static thing; but it is an act of Christ, not ourselves.

Without covenant there is no liberation.

Much of physics is grounded in experiment only when experiments are taken in a very abstract way--schematic, statistically summarized, and so forth.

As apostolic the Church is part of the missions of the Son and the Holy Spirit.

names working as quantifiers

Reason: the True; Will: the Good; Irascible: the Challenging/Difficult; Concupiscible: the Enticing

randomness as many-cause-ness without order

the passions as intimations of intelligibilities

In subsidiarity, the higher directs, stimulates, coordinates, supplies, and integrates the work of the lower.

What gave the monastic movement force was that it was an organized prayer life incorporating work and hospitality.

recognition of community, vision of its continuance, active work in its interest

"When the imagination is raised, men do not stand to enquire whether the motive be true or false." Clara Reeve, The Progress of Romance

moods of inquiry: universal (multiperspectival) resistant, universal flexible, consistent (uniperspectival) flexible, consistent resistant

Traditions are networks and not just chains of transmission, strengthened by supports and reviewed for signs of good transmission.

To endure a tradition must have protections against three forms of craving (for individual glory, for wealth, and for pleasure) which become harmful to it, poisonous, as they tend to subver the tradition in the service of this craving for more.

cardinality as being more an account of equality-to-a-particular-number than of number itself

It is the destiny of all to live with the past.

Peircean pragmatics as describing participation in a tradition of inquiry

The danger of equality as a political value is how easily it can come to mean 'same as me & on my terms'.

dialogue as philosophical experiment

Exaggerations tend to avoid being lies, when they aren't just ordinary overestimates or courtesies, by being genuine approximations or idealizations.

Box: argument fail; Null: argument problematic; Diamond: argument showing indications of problem (this looks like it would probably be an M system)
D: Every failed argument is an argument with indications of being problematic.
M: Every failed argument is a problematic argument.

What has secondary causes has a first cause.
What is an effect has a cause.

Mathematical truths are obviously action-guiding when known; most truths are. Indeed, in the appropriate context all are.

moral truths as prerequisites for the existence of persons

moral realism - moral noncognitivism - moral error theory
physics realism - physics noncognitivism - physics error theory
(these latter are actually discussed in various ways, but usually indirectly in considering mathematical realism)

intelligibility -> intentionality -> verity

(1) Claims about good (truth, etc.) as such are intelligible
(2) because they are about something possible
(3) which can only be if there is good &c. as such.

The doctrine of the Trinity is a liturgical and sacramental doctrine: it is built into the structure of the sacraments and the prayer of the Church.

Our first acquaintance with truth is in its normative aspect, i.e., as a good and a standard.

There are important links between analogical inference and hte use of signs that need to be more fully explored. (parallelism of signs)

Llull's Figure T in prudential reasoning

The tendency of the intellect is a divineward tendency.

the sociology of devotion-cultures in the Church

normativity -> normality
regulativity -> regularity

specification and diamondization both preserve soundness (dictum de omni et nullo)

renormalization of universes of discourses (e.g., to handle exceptions)

Long-scale chance with consistent small-scale final causation approximates large-scale final causation.

Debunking arguments are too often built on the assumption that possible diagnosis is necessarily a cure.

Catechesis is linked to forgiveness of sins.

omne corpus mixtum harmoniam habet et complexionem

two tasks of holy order
(1) to prepare the people for the sacrament
(2) to consecrate the sacrament

Vengeance is imprecise.

to think in big circles, that the same point may be known initially and after study

experiments as diagrams

universal quantity as inference-warranting

the primacy of family as an extension and protection of human dignity

capital vices as simulacra of happiness

(1) In every human being, we find some kind of natural unity of reason and sensibility that is not merely by chance, but is regular.
(2) Reason and sensibility are contrarieties capable of discordance.
(3) Contrarieties capable of discordance are unified only through a cause enabling each and all to harmonize to definite end.

knowledge of kinds -> knowledge of contraries -> knowledge of privation

The structure of freedom is judgment.

Because no plausible noncognitivist account of logic exists, and because logic overlaps with ethics, logic is a weak point for any moral noncognitivism.

The doctrine of the resurrection of the dead is a summation and summary of all salvation history.

marriage as a basic form of the rule of law

Isidorean etymologies as guides for figurative language

Hope is exercised one step at a time.

"Out of the second of Maccabees they will draw purgatory and the worship of saints; out of Tobit satisfactions, exorcisms, and what not." Calvin in the Antidote
-> Note that II Macc and Tobit (a) predate Christ and (b) regardless of canonicity were never regarded as heretical by the Church Fathers.
-> 1 Cor 10:20 // Bar 4:7 (note Calvin on the former)

Final causes are that on the basis of which we reason counterfactually.

common good & universalization

Philosophical progress is most often through many legions of little improvements.

suppositional necessity
(1) prediction by regularity
(2) hypothetical construction & limit extrapolation
(3) counterfactual reasoning

While sympathy can be materially solidary, true human solidarity must be rational.

The rule of opinion is always more tyrannical than rule of law.

The inability to repent is a sign of false love.

The greatest technological and theoretical advances are those that also allow massive advances in pedagogy.

Politics governed by outrage is politics of endless escalation.

It is manifestly the case that in reasoning we observe our reasoning; and being able to do so is a precondition of communicating our reasoning.

The witness of dying well is a chief pillar of a genuine moral life.

Baptism is a vocation to martyrdom.

papal and conciliar teaching as having a legal and moral authority insofar as it is a rational ordering for the common good of the Church that derives from the sacraments and is put forward for obedience

Kilwardby takes dictum de omni et nullo as the distinctive feature of categorical syllogism, & hypothetical to involve topical relations.

There is a difference between writing an allegory and deliberately writing a work that may be read as an allegory.

The extent of one's repentance is the measure of one's holiness.

indulgences as sacramentalia adjunct to the sacrament of reconciliation

baptism-blessings; penance -penitential practices; eucharist - almsgivings; confirmation - lay ministries

theology of consecrated virginity // angelology

Friendship is more precious than immortality.

In teaching, reason itself becomes gift.

The doctrine of existential import yields weird results in modal situations; e.g., 'At least one flying machine can be made'. This weirdness ramifies, requiring weird approaches to modality, etc.

For a term to be empty only means it is irrelevant to the universe of discourse.

the liar paradox as the abstract form of all contradiction and impossibility
Russell's paradox as an illicit shift between predicate and class (typed logics in effect regularize the relation simply by greater regimentation)

a fortiori by specification
a fortiori by analogy
a fortiori by comparison
a fortiori by limitation (idealization)

fear - (Our Father who are in heaven) hallowed by thy name
piety - Thy kingdom come
knowledge - Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven
fortitude - give us this day our daily bread
counsel - forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors
understanding - lead us not into temptation
wisdom - deliver us from evil

mind correctly ordered to
good & evil: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness
neighbor: goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness
lesser things: modesty, continence, chastity

Gift Aquinas Bonaventure
fear hope temperance
piety justice justice
knowledge faith(1) prudence
fortitude fortitude fortitude
counsel prudence hope
understanding faith (2) faith
wisdom love love
Each of these has oddities. It is very strange that B does not link counsel to prudence; look more closely at why. & the doubling of faith with the lack of temperance is arguably a weakness in A; look more closely at why.

We receive only that hope our humility allows.

Reason gains by gift.

character traits of theories and systems and the doctrine of the mean
-> This does not give us precise details or solutions
-> But Maritain is certainly right that part of our evaluation of theories/systems is very tied up in this (note especially his vices of excess and efect for moral theories -- degrading human nature, deifying human nature)
-> assessments of simplicity and the like are closely connected.

Philosophy itself is structured analogically: metaphysics, logic, politics, aesthetics, etc., are distinct, not merely reducible to each other, but nonetheless related and ordered to each other.

To fulfill its required roles, government must have both dignity and efficacy.

faith & hope as ways of loosening the grip of death

Knowing the impossibility of an end entails knowing the impossibility of means to it.
Knowing the possibility of an end entails knowing the possibility of some means to it.

the saints as emblems of faith, as signs of hope, as partners in charity

the family resemblances of the churches of Christendom

sacrifices as preludial sacraments

sacraments as fora for theological virtues

the social interweaving of virtuous acts

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Fifty Essential SF Authors

John C. Wright proposed a list a few years ago of fifty essential science fiction authors for a total of about 116 works. I'm sure I saw it then, but it came to my attention again just today (ht). So it's time for a book list. (There are few cases where I'm not sure I've read the work or not -- if I've read it's been so long ago that I can't remember if what I know about it is from reading it or from hearing about it second hand.)

I have read
I have on my shelves

(1) Mary Shelley: FRANKENSTEIN
(2) A Square (Edwin Abbott) FLATLAND
(3) Jules Verne:
(4) H.G. Wells:
(5) E.M. Forster ‘The Machine Stops’
(6) David Lindsay VOYAGE TO ARCTURUS.
(7) Olaf Stapledon:
(8) Jorge Luis Borges “Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius”
(10) Aldous Huxley A BRAVE NEW WORLD
(11) A Merritt
(12) Edgar Rice Burroughs
(13) E.E. ‘Doc’ Smith
(14) Stanley G. Weinbaum ‘A Martian Odyssey’
(15) Jack Williamson:
‘With Folded Hands’
‘The Moon Era.’
(16) H.P. Lovecraft:
‘The Call of Cthulhu’
‘A Whisperer in Darkness’
‘Shadow Out of Time’

(17) A.E. van Vogt:
‘The Black Destroyer’
(18) Isaac Asimov:

(19) Robert Heinlein
“The Man Who Sold the Moon”
“Green Hills of Earth”
(20) Joe Haldeman FOREVER WAR
(21) C.S. Lewis:
(22) Arthur C Clarke:
‘Against the Fall of Night’ aka CITY AND THE STARS
(23) Clifford Simak:
(25) Poul Anderson:
‘The Man Who Counts’
‘The Queen of Air and Darkness ‘
(26) Alfred Bester
(27) Keith Laumer DINOSAUR BEACH
(28) Fritz Leiber THE BIG TIME .
(29) Robert Silverberg ‘Nightwings’
(30) Philip Jose Farmer:
(31) Tom Godwin ‘The Cold Equations’
(32) Harlan Ellison ‘Repent Harlequin Said the Ticktockman’
(34) Roger Zelazny:
(35) Ray Bradbury

(36) John Brunner STAND ON ZANZIBAR
(37) Michael Moorcock
(38) Daniel Keyes ‘Flowers for Algernon’
(40) Frank Herbert DUNE
(41) Cordwainer Smith
‘Scanners Live in Vain’
‘The Dead Lady of Clown Town’
‘Alpha Ralpha Boulevard.’
(42) Ursula K LeGuin:
(43) Jack Vance
‘The Dragon Masters’
‘The Last Castle.’
(44) Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle MOTE IN GOD’S EYE
(45) Larry Niven
'Neutron Star'
(46) Gene Wolfe:

‘Fifth Head of Cerberus’.
(47) Walter Gibson NEUROMANCER
(48) Neal Stephenson
(49) Dan Simmons HYPERION
(50) Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons THE WATCHMAN

So, assuming I haven't miscounted in the quick tally, that brings me to 52 of the works read, amounting to 28 authors. (I have, of course, read more of these authors than that, but in some cases I've read one or two works by the author that were not here listed.)

Some thoughts about the list in general.

* I once (a decade ago!) put together a list of 20 must-read science fiction novels, where the primary concern was a loose notion of 'centrality of influence' -- i.e., they were genre-building works, tying into and influencing large portions of the science fiction genre, and I also confined myself to one from any given author. All of them I had read, of course. Thirteen of those are on Wright's list. The seven that are not are:

Edward Bulwer-Lytton, VRIL
Arthur Conan Doyle, THE LOST WORLD
Charlotte Perkins Gilman, HERLAND
Olaf Stapledon, ODD JOHN
Theodore Sturgeon, MORE THAN HUMAN
Orson Scott Card, ENDER'S GAME

I would certainly today do SIRIUS for Olaf Stapledon instead of Odd John -- I almost did then, and I remember quickly becoming convinced after putting up the post that it would have been a better work. (Indeed, much as I like Starmaker, I think Sirius is easily his best work.) And I was convinced by commenters at the time (long lost on a commenting system that no longer exists) that Douglas Adams, THE HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY was a good candidate. But allowing for the one change and the one addition, I would still stand by them all. So add them to the list. Of these, I think one could argue that Edward Bulwer-Lytton, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman are not 'essential science fiction authors' in quite the sense Wright means; they are good candidates for the diverse genre-building list I was going for, but the particular areas of the genre they build up and are highly influential for are arguably marginal to the genre as a whole. Stapledon and Dick are already authors on Wright's list, so that just leaves Sturgeon and Card and Adams as the authors not in Wright's list; given that he was arbitrarily capping himself at fifty, and explicitly notes in comments that he was primarily concerned with making sure that earlier generations of authors were not overlooked, that's pretty good coverage, especially given that my list, though smaller, was aiming to cover a very wide area of the genre indeed.

* There are, of course, cases in which one could pick a different book -- Jules Verne's A Journey to the Center of the Earth is a good example. Lovecraft is perhaps the most questionable author on Wright's list. I was less bowled over by Hyperion than a lot of people, but I can certainly see why it would be a candidate.

Thought for the Day

Witty young people get old quickly.

Metaphysics and Short-hand and Port

To Henry Wright of Mobberley, Esq.
On Buying the Picture of Father Malebranche at a Sale
by John Byrom


Well, dear Mr. Wright, I must send you a line:—
The purchase is made, Father Malebranche is mine;
The adventure is past which I long'd to achieve,
And I'm so overjoy'd, you will hardly believe.
If you will but have patience, I'll tell you, dear friend,
The whole history on't, from beginning to end.
Excuse this long tale,— I could talk, Mr. Wright,
About this same picture from morning to night.


The morning it low'r'd, like the morning in Cato,
And brought on, methought, as important a day too.
But about ten o'clock it began to be clear;
And, the fate of our capital piece drawing near,
Having supp'd off to breakfast some common decoction.
Away trudged I in all haste to the Auction.
Should have call'd upon you, but the Weaver Committee
Forbade me that pleasure,—the more was the pity!


The clock struck eleven as I enter'd the room,
Where Rembrandt and Guido stood waiting their doom,
With Holbein and Rubens, Van Dyck, Tintoret,
Jordano, Poussin, Carlo Dolci, et cet.
When at length in the corner perceiving the Pére,
"Ha!" quoth I to his face, "my old friend, are you there?"
And methought the face smil'd, just as tho' it would say:
"What, you're come, Mr. Byrom, to fetch me away!"


Now, before I had time to return it an answer,
Comes a Short-hander by,— Jemmy Ord was the man, Sir:—
"So, Doctor! good morrow!"—"So Jemmy! bonjour!
Some rare pictures here!"—"So there are, to be sure.
Shall we look at some of them?"—"With all my heart, Jemmy!"
So I walk'd up and down, with my old pupil wi' me;
Making still such remarks as our wisdom thought proper,
Where things were hit off in wood, canvas, or copper.


When at length, about noon, Mr. Auctioneer Cox
With his book and his hammer mounts into his box:
"Lot the first, number One." Then advanced his upholder
With Malebranche,—so Atlas bore Heav'n on his shoulder.
Then my heart, Sir, it went pit-a-pat, in good sooth,
To see the sweet face of The Searcher of Truth.
"Ha!" thought I to myself, "if it cost me a million,
This right honest head, then, shall grace my pavilion."


Thus stood Lot the first,—both in number and worth,
If pictures were priz'd for the men they set forth.
I'm sure, to my thinking, compar'd to this number,
Most lots in the room seem'd to be but mere lumber.
The head then appearing, Cox left us to see't,
And fell to discoursing concerning the feet:
"So long, and so broad!—Tis a very fine head!
Please to enter it, gen'men,"—was all that he said.


Had I been in his place, not the stroke of a hammer,
Till the force had been tried both of rhet'ric and grammar.
"A very fine head !"—Had thy head been as fine,
All the heads in the house had vail'd bonnets to thine!—
Not a word, whose it was; but, in short, 'twas a head—
"Put it up what you please." So, somebody said:
"Half-a-piece," and so on. For three pounds and a crown,
(To sum up my good fortune) I fetch'd him me down.


There were three or four bidders,—I cannot tell whether,—
But they never could come two upon me together;
For as soon as one spoke, then immediately, pop!
I advanc'd something more, fear the hammer should drop.
I consider'd, should Cox take a whim of a sudden,
What a hurry 'twould put a man's Lancashire blood in!
"Once—twice—three pounds five"—so, nemine con.,
Came an absolute rap, and thrice happy was John.


"Who bought it?" quoth Cox. "Here's the money," quoth I,
Still willing to make the securest reply;
And the safest receipt that a body can trust
For preventing disputes, is " Down with your dust!"
So I bought it, and paid for 't; and boldly I say,
'Twas the best purchase made at Cadogan's that day:
The works the man wrote are the finest in nature;
And a most clever piece is his genuine portraiture.


For the rest of the pictures, and how they were sold,
To others there present I leave to be told.
They seem'd to go off, as at most other sales,
Just as folk's money, judgment or fancy prevails,
Some cheap, and some dear. Such an image as this
Comes a trifle to me, and an odd wooden Swiss
Wench's head—God knows, who?—forty-eight guineas, if her
Grace of Marlborough likes it:—so fancies will differ.


When the bus'ness was o'er, and the crowd somewhat gone,
Whip, into a coach I convey Number One.
"Drive along, honest friend, fast as e'er you can spin."
So he did; and 'tis now safe and sound at Gray's Inn;
"Done at Paris," it says, "from the life by" one "GERY,"—
Who that was, I can't tell, but I wish his heart merry,—
"In the year Ninety-eight,"—sixty just from the birth
Of the greatest divine that e'er liv'd upon earth.


And now, if some evening, when you are at leisure,
You'll come and rejoice with me over my treasure,
With a friend or two with you, that will in free sort
Let us mix Metaphysics and Short-hand and port:
We'll talk of his book, or what else you've a mind
Take a glass, read or write, as we see we're inclin'd ;
Such friends and such freedom!—What can be more clever ?

As I've noted before, there are few if any poems that do better than this one at conveying the sense of intellectual enthusiasms. (Byrom was thirty-six when he wrote it.) It's difficult for us to imagine shorthand being something to get excited about, but in the early modern period it was changing the way people did a great many things, and Byrom was one of the significant figures in that change. Byrom and Wright were part of a loose group of Malebranche enthusiasts during a period in which a wide variety of people in Britain were showing interest in Malebranchean philosophy.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Analogies in Policy Discussions

George Panichas tries to formulate a parallel to the Kim Davis situation:

'Old Jim," as everyone knows him, has been responsible for issuing gun licenses for as long as his county job has existed. Jim is a well-liked, affable, and devoutly religious fellow who does his job efficiently and well; he rarely makes an error.

But Jim's religious commitments have created something of a problem. The tenets of his faith, he has discovered, prohibit the possession and use of guns by women. So recently, when several women have applied for licenses, as is consistent with their Second Amendment rights, Jim has refused to issue them. His freedom of religion, he believes, exempts him from doing what is contrary to his religious convictions, and he feels that the county cannot require him to act against these convictions.

The problem can be worked around so long as someone else can take over for Jim, but the county is small, and there often is no one available to step in - that is, no one who doesn't share Jim's beliefs. So the question of whether Jim can be forced to issue gun licenses is now before the county commissioners.

This is a horrible analogy, regardless of what side one takes on the subject; the analogy is both somewhat defective in itself and not adequate to the use Panichas wants to make of it. When Kim Davis started in her position, it was not only not legally required to issue licenses for same-sex marriages, it was illegal to do so; it then became not only legally permissible to do it but illegal not to do so. She didn't go into the job expecting to be put in this situation. Thus the analogy would require that what was legally counted as a right has changed on Old Jim; in particular, that people whom it was originally forbidden to issue gun licenses for are now guaranteed the right to receive them, creating for Old Jim a religious dilemma that did not originally exist. With gun licenses, the groups that clerks most commonly cannot issue gun licenses for are felons. The only change with regard to Second Amendment rights that could have the actual parallel would have to be that the US Supreme Court one day asserted that Second Amendment rights require that gun licenses be issued regardless of criminal record. And then Old Jim, who had been completely law-abiding before, would, to keep the relevant parallel, have to stop issuing gun licenses at all on the ground that he could not now do so in religious conscience, due to the change in requirement.

There is the double danger of analogies of this sort: that is, there is a danger on one side of simply rigging the conclusion into the analogy, and there is a danger on the other side of failing to get an appropriate analogy for the conclusion actually drawn. In this particular case, there are certain criteria an analogous situation would need to meet:

(1) It has to provide a similar case with regard to rights and religious conscience, in all relevant details.
(2) It has to be a case in which it is clear that right of religious conscience cannot legitimately be a reason for noncooperation.
(3) It has to be a case showing that this is so as a matter of principle rather than due to peculiar characteristics of the case.

The entirely artificial case of women and the Second Amendment seems to be chosen in order to get (2); nobody is going to be sympathetic with Old Jim's position on the rights of women, particularly when the right in question is explicitly enumerated in the Constitution. But (per (3)) what the argument actually requires is that it show that sympathy with Old Jim is irrelevant, that however sympathetic you yourself may be to him, or even if you agree with him, it's clear that he cannot legitimately refrain from giving out licenses. The analogy needs to establish that the point in question is a matter of principle, not a matter of whether we like or agree with the people trying to get the license or permit. The whole point of the argument is that the principle has to apply across the board, regardless of how nice or competent Old Jim is, regardless of whether we agree with Old Jim on the religious point or not, regardless of whether we sympathize with those applying for the license or not. Otherwise, it is a bad analogy for the argument that is being attempted, which has as its conclusion that "the constitutional rights of Americans are protected against infringements emanating from even the most deeply held religious beliefs".

This is a very, very strong conclusion. For instance, fugitive slave laws upheld the constitutional rights of slaveowners (there is no question whatsoever about this, as the right in the Constitution was quite explicit); they were sometimes not complied with by public officials for religious and moral reasons. That was illegitimate on Panichas's principle, a principle he claims is necessary for "a reasonable pluralistic democracy": religious scruple, however deeply felt, could not possibly trump the constitutional rights of slave-owners before the Thirteenth Amendment, and no public official could have legitimately refused to comply with fugitive slave laws on the grounds that doing so would violate their religion, because allowing this kind of precedent would endanger reasonable pluralistic democracy. We would, in fact, have to be "appalled" if such appeals to religious conscience were "allowed to impose inequitable and impermissible burdens" on the slave-owners who had lost their Constitutionally-protected property merely because their rights were out of favor with someone else's religion. Whatever one's view of this position, it is required by Panichas's conclusion; Panichas's conclusion, in short, is a very general conclusion that goes very far and wide beyond this particular case, or even this kind of case. But contrast the strength of this conclusion with the weakness of the analogy on which it is based: they are not actually commensurable. The analogy does not establish the conclusion that is drawn; it can't even really be said to motivate that particular conclusion rather than some much, much weaker and more qualified conclusion that someone might want to draw instead. It does not actually teach the lesson Panichas claims; it cannot possibly.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Sabbath and Tabernacle

An interesting discussion of the Sabbath and work, as well as other aspects of Jewish life and practice:

We also observe the Jewish Sabbath. There are 39 categories of activity that are forbidden on the Sabbath. It’s often mistranslated as ‘work’. But that gets things entirely wrong. Flipping on a light switch is forbidden on the Sabbath, but running up and down the stairs a hundred times, is completely permitted, even though the latter is much harder work than the former! The technical term in Jewish law is melechet machshevet and it means something like ‘purposive activity’, and, I think it’s best understood as ‘distinctively human manipulation of the environment’. We refrain from that on the Sabbath, in order to demonstrate, in the language of ritual, that our ability to manipulate the environment is a gift to us from God, on loan to us, so to speak; and to demonstrate our belief that the environment really belongs to God, its creator; and to remember the exodus from Egypt, by refusing to subjugate the world around us, or to be subjugated ourselves into labour (of a certain kind).

The 39 categories of work are derived from the Biblical building of the Tabernacle. It’s building is juxtaposed, in the Bible, with the laws of the Sabbath. Just as God built a world for us to dwell in, we built a Tabernacle for Him to dwell in. Just as God rested from the work that created the world, on the Sabbath; we rest from the work that created the Tabernacle, on the Sabbath.

Monday, September 07, 2015

Three Poem Re-Drafts

In Luthany the Shadows Fall

In Luthany the shadows fall
on ruins of deserted halls
that, great of beam, still rise on high,
that, strong of stone, yet stand and wait.
The earth may fade, the sun may die,
but Luthany will stand and wait.

In Luthany the birds yet trill
with song of lark and whippoorwill;
sad nightingales remember days
as mockingbirds recall the years
when merchants traveled Luthan ways;
but only birds recall those years.

Yet someday soon will woods awake,
the hopes undie and hearts unbreak;
and then the dreaming souls will rise
to wake the sleeping land with dance.
When lives again the thing that dies,
then you and I once more will dance.

Beside the Crib

You will learn to play your part, your wounds to mend,
for love will always break your heart in some sad end,
will bring you pain and care, make real your fears,
yet still will bear some hope and dry some tears
until your death at last demands and takes away
all strength of heart and hand, and light of day.
So may you learn to weep without regret
from memories you keep and treasure yet;
and though the pain grow great and cheer grow small
your life will still be blessed, and worth it all.

City Light and Darkness

Beneath the moon-sphere city lights
in foggy halos cast like stars
their asterisks upon the night
and make the concrete glow, and cars
in speed, unheeding moving scene
as if it blurred the movie screen,
make motion, growling, headlights bright,
and slice their way through starlit night.

Beside the road, and unremarked,
a sidewalk-walker travels home
with step on step through rushing dark
that he may shed his long-spent roam
like shoes on floors of well-lit rooms
and, reading, bunker from the gloom
until, now tired, a card to mark
his page, he thence to dreams embarks.

And weary now I feel, with aching feet,
and all the world a semblance of a dream,
and I, a walker too, now march in beat
to final glimpse of one bright homely gleam;
but of the lights I see, what light can shine
to promise me my goal? For none are mine.
But forward still I march, without retreat
until that window-shine of light most sweet.

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Dashed Off III

discontinuous vs continuous overlap

A single argument has rigorous further implications, narrows the field for other arguments, and suggests, as if they were shadows or echoes, other arguments by analogy.

"Substance is a being producing an act we consider as immanent to the substance itself (accident); cause is a being producing an action outside itself (effect)." (Rosmini)
"A sensible quality cannot stand without a substance, an action cannot stand without a cause. In this way the intellect by completing sensation arrives at substance; by completing perception, it arrives at cause." (Rosmini)

All true hope is rooted in repentance.

Truth alone is the proper test of truth.

Formal theory and experiment are largely linked by (often carefully regimented) ordinary language.

No power ceded to a government will be used for only one thing.

equation of equations as the key idea of basic algebra

" classes can be absolutely artificial, for if they were, no assertions, could be made concerning them." (Whewell)
-> this explains how artificial systems converge on natural classification
-> note next aphorism, xc: artificial systems have natural smaller groups
-> artificial systems can provide diagnostic characteristics even for the natural system

"in organized bodies nothing is in vain" // "nothing happens by chance"

"The idea of living beings as subject to disease includes a recognition of a Final Cause in organization; for disease is a state in which the vital forces do not attain their proper ends." (Whewell)

The coextensiveness of one and being is directly suggested by the principle of noncontradiction.

doctrinal reliability vs. doctrinal resilience

The Creed as describing the spirit of the faith in which the sacraments are to be received.

catechesis & the sense of wonder

prime matter
(1) the analogy between accidental and substantial change
(2) no infinite regress in material causes
(3) exclusion (extrapolation to limit)

Prime matter is purely potential being in the category of substance.

Schopenhauer's account of the four modes of explanation is inherently anti-reductionist, and not, in particular, the issues for physics created by Schopenhauer's splitting of the mateiral & the mathematical.

NB that Schopenhauer takes the law of inertia to follow directly from PSR

From the subject/object distinction one can never get an adequate account of the actual/potential distinction, but the latter can account for the former.

Every change has many different kinds of causes.

There is no way to distinguish bias from facility or tenacity except teleologically.

You could get an interesting result by substituting 'Vishnu' every time Schopenhauer says 'Wille'.

(Schopenhauer) cause depends on 'time' -> no simultaneity of causation -> all causation is a temporal relation between changes -> impossibility of cosmological argument.

Music presents itself to us not merely as temporal but also as filling space.
distance as part of our musical experience

"What begins to be can only be brought about by an activity that goes forth from something actual." (Edith Stein)

All changes depend on things that are not changes.

human dignity as a ground of rational dialogue

joy as the way charity sustains other virtues

The internalizing of the work of fasting as discipline is perhaps the most difficult, but most essential aspect of it. Mercy is what makes it possible.

Angels are important to Christology because the Son is higher than the angels.

keys to the kingdom & Michael (3 Bar 11:2; 4 Bar 9:5)

"virtues that are flaunted will not remain" (Chrysologus)

Hope is the line between being a hero and being a victim.

NB that Leibniz takes Archimedes' equilibrium principle as a special case of the PSR

baptism : one :: confirmation : holy :: orders : apostolic

a distinct PSR for each Diamond modality

PSRs based on
(1) principle
(2) cause
(3) total explanation
(3a) adequate
(3b) probative

realist vs. anti-realist PSRs

ambiguities as related to symmetries

precedents as ◊-establishing (T->◊)

models as methods for assigning probabilities

It is often dangerous to assume there is only a single rational way of doing things.

silence : mind :: fasting : body

Precedent is important in law because it requires caution about what is permissible.

Precedent is important when safety (in the casuistic sense) is important.

Wherever Bakhtin talks about 'the essence of the genre' you could talk instead about 'the spirit of the genre'.

debates as simulations

People regularly attribute to time what more properly belongs to potentiality.

The subject/object distinction is not without ambiguous cases; in presential knowledge the subject is quasi-object, and in sympathetic understanding the object is quasi-subject, and there are cases having to do with the body in which it is difficult to determine which should be taken to detemrine which should be taken as which, i.e., whether something is subject or object.

What Newton means by 'body' is a particular kind of quantity.

A measurement in the full sense includes the abstract schema of that which measures, by which it is taken to measure as it does.

the real as observed, as measured, as inferred

traditions as partial circulations of ideas

(1) Unreasonable beliefs cannot merely be reasoned away.
(2) No belief systems are completely closed.
(3) Apparent absurdity is something presupposing a system that can classify it as such.

A measure of lvoe is how often you are willing to lose because of it.

In penance we prosecute ourselves before a court of mercy.

The natural mode of knowing divine things is by development of concepts through rational inference. Faith expands these concepts by 'feel', a sort of good taste in evaluating how these concepts may be developed. But the gift of understanding takes us beyond and above our natural mode of knowing divine things, turning the 'feel' of faith into clarity.

Reconciliation turns us to the disposition through which the gifts of the Spirit may be most effective.

The gifts cover the same ground as the virtues, but they order the works to a higher and more perfect end.

the gift of fear as protection of chastity and other kinds of temperance.

The gifts are not higher than the theological virtues but super-chargers of them, means whereby the theological virtues do more, effect more, influence more.

The Beatitudes are acts anticipating by merit the excellence of heaven, produced through the gifts of the Spirit.

Faith is a dawn.

the gifts of the Spirit as the bias of heaven

(1) 'time' is a measure of change by change
(2) causation is not intrinsically temporally successive
(3) the question of how causing relates to measures of time

Love is the strongest creator of common good.

Every sacrament is a kind of promise.

memorial, reflective, and anticipatory sacramentalia

icons as icons & icons as sacramentalia

Encouraging institutes that serve conscience is one of the ends of government.

To distract oneself from death and endure it is a common lot; to face it and endure it is a sort of greatness.

The gifts of the Spirit each counter ways in which even goodness, even great goodness, can fail or be defeated.

Verification is a form of discovery.

A commonwealth is structured by natural obligations of interest and moral obligations of honor and of conscience.

Language seems to do much of what the ancient Greeks and ancient Chinese attributed to music. (Note the Lunyu: "Education begins with poetry, is confirmed by ceremonial regulation, and is perfected by music." Yueji 17: "The sage makes music to respond to Heaven and institutes rituals in accord with earth." Yueji 11: "Music emerges from within, while ceremony acts form without.")

Liturgy should always be humane, appropriate, well ordered, discerning, and faithful in its development and its practice.

poetry, ritual, and music as part of the ecology of virtue

sublimity from the interaction of beautiful things

Given a number of facts about human biology and society, if the elderly are not especially respected they will be especially marginalized.

Goodness and wisdom naturally create traditions.

Our natural tendency to courtesy and modesty is a seed of participation in tradition.

Customary law is built through agreeableness and utility.
Hume's Treatise book III as an account of customary law

Regularities are designated explanatory or not entirely on the basis of prior causal assumptions.

Note Hume's 'inviolable maxim' at T & its relation to the Dialogues (cp also and

Perceivers must in some sense, though not necessarily by conscious choice, select what to attend to; so voluntary representation of information is a pervasive feature of our sources of information.

the Church calendar as a way of preaching the gospel

In interpretations of deontic logics, 'permissible' is often used in a way ambiguous between 'permitted' and 'able to be permitted'.

Half the power of wisdom is found in listening.

constructing preparations for intuitions, building opportunities for insight

Charity naturally expresses itself in intercession.

Scotus's five kinds of instrumentality (Ordinatio 4 dist 6)
(1) power to power in esse quieto
(2) effect to effect
(3) in fieri
(4) power participated in part and whole
(5) artificial

In creation the exemplar causes of the bread and the wine are the divine ideas in the Word; in the conversion of transubstantiation the exemplar cause becomes the Word Himself insofar as He can be communicated to us.

Every genuine prayer is purgative, illuminative, and unitive, but the prayer of beginners is purgative in nature and illuminative and unitive in anticipation, whereas another prayer by illuminative by nature, purgative by memorial and unitive by anticipation, etc.

providence itself as a sort of tradition

Tradition is not mere repetition but harmonization. It is a harmony leading to harmonies.

Through self-discipline and participation in traditions one becomes sympathetic.

Laws controal actions from after the action; traditions control action from before the action.

Cities are built out of ceremonies.

Traditions establish limits of actions and cultivate the mind.

What could tradition possibly be to one who had no sympathy?

intrinsically disordered cognition

the role of analogy in discovery of signification

Regularity has explanatory force only through resemblance to something explanatory in itself.

the three forms of false teaching
Cain: destructive self-love
Balaam: idolatrous deception
Korah: rebellious refusal of authority

Hope transfigures even fear.

The vocation of the human person qua person is to set in order.

cross-allusion of metaphors

fieldable vs nonfieldable measurements (based on 'mixableness' with measurements of space)

All knowledge is valuable primarily as an act of mind.

Even merely conjectural and probable knowledge of the noblest things is more valuable than certain knowledge of lesser things.

By His Ascension Christ shows that through Him human beings can participate in divine authority, power, and wisdom itself.

Material resistance in a tradition causes deterioration over time.

If the natural term or limit for a causal chain is set by a principal cause, a causal chain with no principal cause has no natural restriction on possible effects.

natural theology as the narthex of the Church

Natural theology is not external to the Church because creation is not external to the Church.

gratuitous evil // irreducible complexity

sacramentalia as signs of intercessory acts

Holy orders allows one to certify things as prayers of the Church; thus represening the unity of the mystical Body.

The Notes of the Church are primarily and principally notes of episcopal orders; but in circles out from that, so to speak, they are also in extended ways notes of all the sacraments imprinting an indelible character.

revelation through a person vs revelation in a person

the Notes of Torah/Israel (linked to the Election of Israel)

hand : instrument of instruments :: rational soul : form of forms

Every vestment has a bearer in which it is invested.
vestment as quasi-part

Metaphysics must explain the possibility of metaphysicians.

logic, poetry, perspectival polyphony

Part of intellectual humility is recognizing the power of reasoning. A great many who claim intellectual humility through disparaging the latter in reality imposing ad hoc assumptions in order to do so -- the very opposite of intellectual humility. Assuming is not more intellectually humble than reasoning, nor is guessing.

The authentic interpretation of Scripture and Tradition must come from withing the Tradition-informed proclamation of Scripture.

All applications of purported principles of common cause clearly make contiguity assumptions.

narrative explanation as providing a framework for evidence-seeking

before & after as presupposing actuality and potentiality

music as an instrument for enduring penitential practice (Chrysologus)

reserve networks for traditions (curated conservation areas)

Cant arises only because it originally meant something.

care fragmentation

term -> indefinite relevance attribution -> analogy

The supererogatory and the obligatory are not opposed, as if we are considering mutually exclusive actions rather than aspects or properties of actions.

RElative to a given problem, a work may be supererogatory by meeting the requirements of that problem but also meeting the requirements of other problems. (bonus problem-solving, killing two birds with one stone)

supererogation // consilience

Every harmony has a grounding principle

Hume's separation principle as an anti-PSR

All relativities suggest invariances.

" act geometry and mechanics, chemistry and physiology, before they know those sciences." (Whewell)

Christ as Son of God -> Christ as Prophet, Priest, King -> Christ as Head (as Apostle of the Father)

unity of consciousness // unity of consciousnesses

survival-purposes, propagation-purposes, inquiry-purposes for bodily organs in use

Heresy drips honey but in the end is as bitter as wormwood; seductively expressed, it persuades, dominates with glib talk. All at once the heretic follows, not knowing it will cost him eternal life.

action sequencing and choice structuring in contracts

"That rules springing from remote and unconnected quarters should thus leap to the same point, can only arise from that being the point where truth resides." (Whewell)
->Note that this is a causal inference.

consilience as a problem for Bayesian epistemologies

The naturalistic mind is a duplication of the body, without the organs, a dispositive residue abstracted from a living body.

The central strength of continental philosophy has been its suspicion of facile naturalisms.

desires as multidirectional signs

fable as the most basic way to handle complex abstractions

the impossibility of infinite regress in proper middle terms

transubstantiation as change of real definition

Secondary qualities are a point at which sharp divisions between 'in the mind' and 'out in the world' break down.

musement as strolling thought

Animals are to some extent self-dwelling.

directional mereologies

'A is a necessary condition for B' is a normative statement in any practical context.

All necessary truths have normative force in practical contexts.