Saturday, April 28, 2018

Dashed Off VIII

One of the strengths of the American Founding is the tendency of the Founding Fathers to think of good government as based on axioms, maxims, self-evident truths; thus even their partisan and vested interests involve careful regard for the implications of general principles.

measures that are intertranslatable with each other, of themselves vs. measures that are diagnostic of other measures

intrinsic intertranslatability of measure due to shared scale vs. due to shared dimension

principle of conservation of measure in reasoning: violation of this is a form of ignoratio elenchi

If pain and pleasure are analogous to secondary qualities, this creates problems for utilitarian aggregation.

companionable vs awkward silence

Reasonable utilitarians can be distinguished from the junk utilitarians by the care they take on logical issues of measurement.

All comparison involves measure, so reasoning involving comparison is structured by, and limited by, the kind of measure used.

the Mician argument for spirits
(1) the eyes and ears of the many
(2) the standards of the sage kings
(3) filial and orderly conduct
- Note that (1) is closely connected with Moist anti-elitism

"The love of mankind does not exclude the self, for the self lies within that which is loved." Mozi 44.7
"When silent, think; when speaking, instruct; when acting, devote yourself to affairs." Mozi 47.6

measure using:
division, direction
division, direction, superposition

immune theory // heresiology

In philosophy, as in mission, sometimes one must simply dust off one's sandals and move on.

Human beings are not more built to live without pain than machines are made to work without friction; it is the role, not the existence, that is always the issue.

No ache in my thumb, however long it lasts, could ever 'outweigh' the pain of one's child dying in one's arms. They are not the same kind of thing, and duration is a different kind of measure from intensity.

Interpreting a text involves not just reading but also thinking in a tone -- and thinking in an inappropriate tone leads to misreading. (One sees this clearly with trying to deal with works that may or may not be satire.)

Tactics can lose everything regardless of strategy, but the right strategy sets the tactical field in one's favor.

I. The Problem of the External World
I.a Descartes
I.b Malebranche
I.c Preliminaries
I.c.1 Malebranche
I.c.2 Arnauld
I.c.3 Berkeley
II. Analyzing the Problem
II.a The Three Features
II.b Abstraction
II.c Causation
III. The Humean Account
III.a Constancy & Coherence
III.b The Vulgar and the Philosophical
IV. The Shepherdian Account
IV.a The Three Features
IV.b Dreaming and Waking
V. Act and Potential
V.a Reading Shepherd in Act/Potency Terms
V.b Act/Potency vs. Subject/Object
VI. The Richness of the World
VI.a Objectivity
VI.a.1 Primary and Secondary Qualities
VI.a.2 Scientific Realism and Anti-Realism
VI.b Extent
VI.b.1 Other Minds (including God)
VI.b.2 Abstract Objects (Mathematical and Axiological)

intensive, extensive, and protensive measures

"Every living thing contains a world of diversity in a real unity." Leibniz

the three ends of the traditional exorcism of salt
(1) that it may become a means of salvation
(2) that it may bring health of soul and body
(3) that it may drive away things of devilish deceit and unclean spirits
the ends of the traditional exorcism of water
(1) that it may put to flight all the power of the enemy
(2) that it may be able to root out and supplant the enemy and his angels

A sacramental object is an instrumental agent of divine grace in the service of the sacraments.


The wise are wary ere woe.

In practice litigation works a lot like trial by combat.

physicians as primarily providers of counsel

Nothing but principle and evidence can justify.

Law in good order reflects the reasonable person.

Not all politics must be done impartially, but this is a different question from whether it must be consistent with impartiality.

not all must <-> some need not

Fundamental questions in physics start looking like theological questions only in the sense that two mountain peaks start looking like one from a perspective distant from both. Climbing them, or on a properly surveyed map, one does not confuse them.

There is no moral accountability if there is no actual moral reckoning.

the tone of one's mind (cp Darwin on Lyell's Principles)

Structural secularization only occurs by exercise of police power.

the paradox of office: Those wise enough to be fit for the office are often wise enough to avoid it.

It is remarkable how much of Heidegger's political thought consists of abstract labels treated as agents.

contracting as the domestic diplomacy of government

virtual inferences structuring actual reason (to be distinguished from potential inferences and actual inferences)

plausibility pseudo-plots: character arcs are the most obvious -- episodic character differences given a sort of shape and direction and able to be evaluated in terms of plausibility relevant to character -- but cinema and music show that there are spectacle arcs and melody arcs likewise, and it seems plausible, although perhaps trickier, to think in terms of thematic arcs.

containers, clocks, standard candles

solidity as a field effect

models // diagrams

pain as a statistical phenomenon

One of the joys of studying logic is discovering how stupid one has been.

Classification is the foundation of measurement.

By 'dark matter' physicists simply mean 'gravitational causes', or more precisely that portion of them not detected except by holistic effect.

The scientific consensuses of an age are fraught with contradictions. It is through the resolution of those contradictions that scientific progress is had. Some of these contradictions are difficult to see because they only show up at great precision. Others are difficult to see because the contradictions are far apart -- sometimes in very different fields -- requiring their joining by deduction. Others are difficult to see because of ambiguity of evidence with respect to models and theories, which involve idealization and abstraction. Yet others are not seen simply because not one looks, due to custom and expectation. And others, of course, only arise over time due to new information.

What Popper's falsifiability correctly recognizes is the centrality of (non)contradiction to scientific progress.

mereology of theories (virtual part, overlap, etc.)

Simultaneity, being only sameness of temporal measure, can only be fixed by some sameness of what is temporally measured.

The evidence for relativity theory naturally suggests that simultaneity, where not that of self-identity, is imperfectly transitive. The same is so for sameness of length and mass, of course.

Meteorology is a surprisingly overlooked source of insights useful to a wide variety of fields.

Falsifiability as such seems often only to be precisely identifiable in retrospect. Beforehand we typically use proxies, like analogy or speculative sketching of maybe-tests.

logical analysis as generalized debugging

family as association of individuals vs family as corporate institution

the adequation of explanans and explanandum
the adequation of obligation and fulfillment

"A ridiculous likeness leads to the detection of a true analogy." Coleridge

Success is not a form of optimization, although some forms of success may have optimization as a precondition.

the notion of acceptable failure

Absence of evidence only becomes evidence of absence under conditions of relevant diligent search.

Belief and evidence are not obviously subject to a universal measure.

The Maronite liturgical year has a revelatory involution to Christ in Announcement season and a revelatory evolution from Christ in Epiphany season.

Our practical notion of temperature, used in everyday life, requires considering not only molecular activity but molecular interactivity (heat transference).

Each human being has a particular rhythm of inactivity.

"Pedantry is the unseasonable ostentation of learning." Samuel Johnson (Rambler 173)

HoP as symphilosophie (diachronic symphilosophie)

Academia is not designed to produce experts but to facilitate explorers. Explorers may of course become experts in this or that, but any academic of any competence spends most time in areas somewhat beyond his or her expertise, and only shores up his or her expertise insofar as it is useful for such exploration.

Politics requires ethico-political concepts to function properly; the primary sources of this have been ethnic traditions, religious traditions and rights discourse (a particular philosophical tradition).

God Himself gave names to Abraham, Peter, and Jesus, and their names tell us about the Church: a Church of nations, built on a rock, in which God saves.

bacterial vs viral heresies

Francis de Sales: beginning with an orderly multiplicity of spiritual practices, once they have become habitual and easy, let them coalesce into a signle, unified existence of greater simplicity.

As muscles need resistance, so minds need challenges.

"Elites without principles forfeit their claim to rule." (Adrian Vermeule)

etiquette as overlap of aesthetics and ethics

The drama of the struggle against evil is intensified, not lessened, by supernatural evil; this is recognized by the literature of many (very different) cultures.

"First principles, whose cognition is innate to us, are particular likenesses to uncreated truth." (Aquinas, DV 10.6ad6)

"The idea of making a difference between the 0 which results from one process and from another may be entirely new to the student, but we must endeavour to make him see that the distinction is as necessary as the introduction of 0 itself." De Morgan

"The march of the discoverer is generally anything but on the line on which it is afterwards most convenient to cut the road." De Morgan

error as a mode of discovery

Museums are artistic presentations of artifacts and naturifacts.

Nothing is evidence until it has begun to be understood.

"If the reasons of this world tell you that you should be afraid, you either have to be afraid, or be fearless when it is foolhardy to be fearless, or take the third option, and look to reasons not of this world. Those are the three choices: fearfulness, foolhardiness, and faith." (John C. Wright)

structures of secrecy
(1) preservation
(2) deterrence
(3) complication

Hume's account of virtue as a theory of bourgeois honor

ideational and inferential proprioception

You can tell a great deal about a society from the kind of being to which its literature attributes wondrous power.

There is not a sin that has not been committed in some form by some saint.

To live by one's passions is not to be at home with oneself.

Reason is philosophy to the extent and in the way that the domain of what it seeks is elevated to the truth itself.

philosophy as the living ethical world (not as suggested, but as explored)

the simple tale of sublime ideas

Foreign lands always have something of the fairy realms about them.

attention // preference

Beauty in the world pleases because it is an adumbration of divine attributes, to which our capacities are drawn as to ends.

It is manifestly not the case that every sensible event in nature is explained by previous sensible events, as such; the entire foundation for empiricist accounts of deterministic causation is an obvious falsehood.

The perception of the external world brings with it the kind of universality often attributed to aesthetic judgment (whatever else it may bring).

Because we can recognize defects in one's sense of beauty, we can have norms of judgment about beauty, aesthetic oughts.

We know that beauty can exist unperceived because of its readiness to appear.

As nobody of any sense confuses the beauty of a face or sunset with the pleasure taken in it, and beauty can be recognized at times abstractly without any feeling of pleasure at that particular time, beauty is clearly not pleasantness as such, nor any particular kind of pleasure, nor pleasure considered under a certain relative notion.

When you are up high on a glass floor, then you value solidity; solidity is a very great value. It is also an empirical quality, and as objective a quality as one could wish. The move from 'X is a value' to 'X is subjective' is not, at the least, an immediate one, and not one that is so very sure as some people make it.

Engineering continually concerns itself with values that are objective. This is not merely a working with things that are valued, although engineers do often work with these things. Engineers work with values and things valued for exemplifying them. Sturdiness is a value. Feasibility is a value. Sustainability is a value. Promptness is a value. User-friendliness is a value. Durability is a value. Consistency is a value.

Enjoyment of beauty is a way of avoiding evil and pursuing good.

- look at how different axiologies yield different philosophies of engineering

Subjective values are objective values pertaining to subjective perceivers.
-- but there are a number of possible counterexamples here to think about.

The attraction of sex to some extent goes on its own regardless of what presents itself to our eye and our ear, a sort of ongoing restlessness in that direction before an object is even presented. It does not do the primary driving in many cases, but it is like the motorized wheels of a mower, taking some of the burden of moving off the rest, so that not everything has to be poured into moving it.

Sexual passion, as such, does not have much to do with beauty. It links up with beauty when formed by reason, and it may also be one reason something pleases on being seen. But sexual passion is not an explanation for our sense of beauty; they intersect only very rarely.

the picturesque caravan on a sublime desertscape at a beautiful sunrise

Custodial sentences are penalties for the people as well as for the convicted.

A great deal of peace is kept by polite fictions.

humility // obediential potency

Emotions are not free-floating but context-entangled. Anger in a context of play is not wholly the same as anger in a context of perceived injustice, and neither are wholly the same as anger in a context of sexual tension, or any other context in which one may be angry. And so it is with other emotions.

the context, channel, and impulse of emotional expression.

You can be entirely within your rights and still be in bad taste.

Evidence and belief are not commensurable.
(1) They are not the same kind of thing.
(2) What even counts as evidence depends on context; this is not true of belief generally.
(3) Assessing whether something is evidence requires different tests than assessing whether something is believed, and different enough as to suggest that there is no particular connection between the two.
(4) Attempts to link them directly (e.g., through wagering behavior) obviously fail.

Analogical argument is peculiar in that its terms tend to be very concrete but its point tends to be very abstract.

Inquiry is concerned with truth as it can be manifested. The significance of the latter phrase is that sometimes inquiry is concerned with the truth only as manifested under very specific conditions. (Think, for instance, of jury trials.)

God is Troth Itself.

All the founding myths of Rome suggest a sort of super-nationality: Romulus, Aeneas, Romus, Evander.

"Symmetry clarifies, and we all know that light is sweet." Santayana

A political scheme must be aesthetically attractive to seize men's hearts.

It is less the history than the moral and aesthetic correction of history that matters for political function: myth is more easily used to structure community than bare history.

Most uses of Bayesian epistemology are simply for regimentation: the actual Bayesian features are not used to derive the conclusion but to express a conclusion already derived in some other way.

Talking about degrees of evidence is like talking about degrees of spacetime. It treats as unidimensional something that is multidimensional.

Strong protections for judicial independence incentivize the use of administrative apparatus to bypass judicial power. (Tocqueville)

"'s love for despotism is in exact proportion to one's contempt for one's country." Tocqueville

Revolutions arise more easily under light oppressions than severe.

"Government having assumed the place of Providence, people naturally invoked its aid for their private wants." Tocqueville

In politics, financial missteps have consequences for ages.

"When the French Revolution overthrew civil and religious laws together, the human mind lost its balance. Men knew not where to stop or what measure to observe." (Tocqueville)

Impatient reform is stupid reform.

respecting the wishes of the dead as a protection for the rights of the living

The people having the right of spiritual formation, the Church must have the means to protect that right.

Resistance to taxation is perhaps the most basic way people have ever forced moderation on government regimes. Governments weaken this weapon by taking loans. (Cp. Tocqueville)

Platonism gets a consistent type at the cost of an obscure relation of type to actual experience; empiricism gets an obvious relation of type to actual experience at the cost of making the type an incoherent mess.

Nominalism does not avoid the Third Man problem; it just iterates a different version of it with experiential resemblances.

Aesthetic ideals may be biased in the direction of aesthetic interest, but it is clear that it is not always so -- one may take a greater pleasure in comic books than in Austen while recognizing that Austen is in fact more beautiful.

Algebra depends on a distinction between what is immediately known and what is mediately known, and on the medium by which one gets from one to the other.

"the substitution of means for ends, which is called idolatry in religion, absurdity in logic, and folly in morals" (Santayana)

"A landscape to be seen has to be composed, and to be loved has to be moralized." (Santayana)

the impressionistic vs. the discursive aspects of painting

historical work as analogous to panorama painting vs as analogous to miniature painting

"a book is a larger sentence" (Santayana)

Whether progress lies more in the direction of discernment and precision or in the direction of emotion and reverie depends on the case.

The eye of the artist always exceeds what he can consistently convey in art.

the agent intellect & the muse

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