Saturday, February 03, 2018

Dashed Off III

The saints in purgatory satisfy their penal debt by doing what they did not fully do in life: letting Christ's love do its work and sharing in His passion.

Error must be exposed to light, not chased into warrens.

Democracy is government by enthusiasm.

Free society must be built

2 Pt 2:4 threw down to Tartarus (tartarized)

portal, immersion, and intrusion approaches to philosophical interaction
-> in effect you can get the analogy because these are modes for the sense of wonder

elegance : logic :: gracefulness : beauty

extrapolation as fractional reserve inference

'Clarity' is an aesthetic evaluation of arguments.

Gender terms operate at various degrees of abstraction, which should not be conflated; woman, female, feminine, she are not all on a level (and do not, for that matter, use the same reference points in practice).

possibilities and the principle of plenitude

Death of Judas as portrayed in Matthew // Death of Ahithophel as portrayed in 2 Samuel
- Note that Ps 41:9, which is applied to Judas, plausibly is applied to Ahithophel
- Note that there are even verbal similarities with LXX
- See J P Holding, who argues precisely for a typology here

subjective-reflective empiricism, social empiricism (general points of view), theory-driven empiricism
(one can adapt Sidgwick's discussion of hedonism very easily)

To say that Scripture has canonical authority is to say that is an internal regulator of the liturgy of the Church.

Greatness of mind is never measured by what one disbelieves.

divorce // suicide

"men are apt to think desirable what they strongly desire, whether or not they have found it conducive to happiness on the whole." Sidgwick

introspective, endoxastic, and deductive methods of aesthetic evaluation

Disquotation is in fact a switch from mention to use, from entertaining to asserting.

In philosophy, as elsewhere, crooked furrows may yet yield full sacks.

A rational self-love, precisely because rational, drives one to higher motivations and standards than itself.

To love oneself as a rational person requires loving oneself as being capable of higher things than merely loving oneself.

vainglory & thinking one can get away with it

The Father's explicit approvals in the Baptism and the Transfiguration establish the royal authority of Christ.

Christ exercises His roles as Redeemer, Prophet, and King constantly and without cease.

The problem with treating offensiveness as a crime is that it would be a crime for which anyone can manufacture evidence against anyone.

The right of reasonable conscientious objection is nothing other than the right of human beings to uphold their rights of conscience is an appropriate way.

"God is silence, and the devil is noisy." Robert Sarah

Confirmation is the sacrament of greatness.

Where we cannot define, we analogize.

The principle of rational accommodation seems to require that metaphors have meanings.

If possible reasonable responses to A and to B differ, this seems a good test of difference in meaning. What is more, the reasons for the difference are the best clue to how the meanings differ.

Business need not be done to maximize anything.

None can mount to heaven except by sharing the cross of Christ.

Inquiring into X does not entail suspending judgment about X. (For instance, one can believe but want to try to know.)

inquiries that are shared activities (e.g., police investigations)

curious whether X vs curious about X

"It is the business of the wealthy man / To give employment to the artisan." Belloc

(1) Catholic life consists in love of God and of neighbor.
(2) Love is practical.
(3) A practical solution to one problem can be part of the practical solution to another.

Who does not constantly try to do better is not growing as a person.

"The Holy Spirit bestows all things" and the Holy Spirit as Gift

The Son is explicitly acknowledged as such at the Annunciation as well as the Baptism & the Transfiguration.

Character is our grip on the future.

p therefore p or q // A exists, therefore No nonA is nonB

(1) The Father will give you another Paraclete. Jn 14:16
(2) The Father will send the Paraclete in the Son's name. Jn 14:26
(3) The Son will send the Paraclete from the Father. Jn 15:26
(4) The Son will send the Paraclete. Jn 16:7
(5) The Paraclete will come. Jn 16:13

acts of Magisterium: teach, remind, testify, guide, show, glorify, help, intercede

1 Corinthians 13 is not a denigration of prophecy, knowledge or faith; understanding the point requires having a very high estimate of these things.

hope as orientation to truth

transcendental postulates of love

The notion that sexual desire is not a sign of anything is one of the serious modern errors.

(1) Being-in-the-Church as the state of the Christian soul
----(a) What 'in' means here
----(b) Theological virtue as the concrete way in which the Christian soul is in the Church
(2) The Churchhood of the Church
----(a) The nature of the ecclesia
----(b) How the Church environs the Christian soul
----(c) The sacramental nature of life in the Church
----(d) The Church as the Body of Christ
----(e) The Church as the Bride of Christ
(3) Being-in-the-Church as Being-with-others
----(a) Being with Christ
----(b) Being with the saints (Church Triumphant)
----(c) Being with other Christian souls (Church Penitent)
----(d) Being with other Christian souls (Church Militant)
----(e) Separation from the world

Martyrs, virgins, and doctors give us anticipations of heaven in mundane life.

"in a universe without God there is not room enough for a man" GK Chesterton

The hubris of Bulgakov's sophiology becomes blatant whenever he criticizes the Church Fathers for not being Bulgakovian.

The questions of the existence, origin, and accuracy of perceptions and intuitions are interlinked although not conflatable. The common link seems to be the notion of foundation or ultimate reason.

Common sense morality will always tend to be satisficing rather than maximizing.
It is never devoted to making moral saints, only people decent enough to live with.

Human beings share in happiness through signs.

Box - ought to be judged true
Diamond - can be judged true
It makes sense to think of this in S5 or (at the very least) S5-like terms
An interesting idea is to conditionalize this (Given X, it ought to be judged true that Y)

God, as that in which all coheres, is the true and fundamental actuality of the principle of noncontradiction.

The 'temporal' logic appropriate to arguments seems to be discrete (unless we Achilles & Tortoise it), interval based, backward- and forward-branching; it would make sense to have universal modality and clock variables, and/or a difference operator

the Incarnation as the ultimate opposition to the practice of barbarism

the social necessity of philosophizing: discovery of goods, evaluation of means in light of ends, setting of priorities

It can matter whether someone is a victim. It never matters who is most a victim.

Hyopothesis-based methods as metaphysically satisficing rather than maximizing.

Christian charity is not a mere resolution to benefit others; that is just incipient benevolence.

Epistemic probabilities may explain how close we are to knowing; they do not tell us what we ought to believe.

modus ponens (-p+q, +p; therefore +q) // subalternation (-p+q, +p+p; therefore +p+p+q)
hypothetical syllogism // Barbara syllogism
modus tollens (-p+q, -q; therefore -p) // ?

Val(p:r) ∀ Box
DVal(p:r) ∃ Diamond
valid : indefeasibly good :: x : defeasibly good
- to get analogy to ∃, Diamond would need to be at-least-defeasible (i.e., D axiom)
-it would be nice to have interpretation for negation of argument (p:r), especially if we can get K-like inferences; most probably is 'any case in which p&q but not r' (but really DVal seems to mean, the premises don't yield the opposite conclusion0
-M doesnt;t make sense (existence of argument necessarily assumed regardless); chains of operators not on table, so this keeps it fairly simple. Is the appropriate logic just a basic deontic logic (That would make some sense)?
- a square of opposition with Val(p:r), DVal(p:r), ~DVal(p:r), ~Val(p:r)

The basic principle of ritual is that things must proceed from their sources in ways appropriate to them.

Beauty is that whereby we dwell beyond ourselves.

remote know-how (knowing how it can be done) vs proximate know-how (being able to do it knowingly)
this seems analogous to abstractive vs intuitive cognition

In considering the neighborhood of an argument, one would want to take into account truth or falsity (or at least conditional co-verity and co-falsify).

eustochia as the virtue of discovery

A true morality must be consistent, expressive of real rather than merely apparent good, and accessible to reason.

hypothesis & confirmation as a method for finding middle terms

the virtue of munificence in the liturgical commonwealth

works of mercy as the manual labor of the Church

the figurative corporal works of mercy within the sacramental economy

Ex 17:8-13 & the role of the bishop

The purifying action of grace in the Eucharist is the same as that in Purgatory, although the conditions of the recipients differ.

Scholarship consists of using breadth as a means for depth. The danger, obviously, is treating the means as if it were the end. Scholarship without breadth on the other hand, is using inadequate means. In eschewing the pedantic and the parochial both one reaches good scholarship. But the parochial is more truly scholarship than the pedantic.

For freedom of press to be protected properly, each citizen must be recognized as having at least some elementary press rights.
Part of freedom of press is freedom of people to read the press.

Note Suetonius's implied criticism of Seneca as Nero's teacher: "from the konwledge of the ancient orators, his master Seneca withdrew him, because he would hold him the longer in admiration of himself".

The priestly authority of Christ is expressed in the Church in the sacraments, the prophetic authority by its evangelization, the royal authority by its universality and independence. Thus bishops have a responsibility to uphold all three.

Each of the Gifts of the Spirit has a priestly, a prophetic, and a royal aspect.

Loving relationships require systems of equitable expectation.

It is essential to the health of one's conscience that it be formed with the consciences of others, especially the prudent and thoughtful. There are many ways this can be done, however.

Recognition of the principle of noncontradiction is a reflection of the divine in the human intellect.

"Devotion is nothing else than a certain readiness and aptness for doing good." Thomas Aquinas

the conditions of existence for rational life

Friday, February 02, 2018

Give More and Give Yet More

A Candlemas Dialogue
by Christina Rosetti

“Love brought Me down: and cannot love make thee
Carol for joy to Me?
Hear cheerful robin carol from his tree,
Who owes not half to Me
I won for thee.”

“Yea, Lord, I hear his carol's wordless voice;
And well may he rejoice
Who hath not heard of death's discordant noise.
So might I too rejoice
With such a voice.”

“True, thou hast compassed death: but hast not thou
The tree of life's own bough?
Am I not Life and Resurrection now?
My Cross balm-bearing bough
For such as thou.”

“Ah me, Thy Cross!—but that seems far away;
Thy Cradle-song today
I too would raise and worship Thee and pray:
Not empty, Lord, today
Send me away.”

“If thou wilt not go empty, spend thy store;
And I will give thee more,
Yea, make thee ten times richer than before.
Give more and give yet more
Out of thy store.”

“Because Thou givest me Thyself, I will
Thy blessed word fulfil,
Give with both hands, and hoard by giving still:
Thy pleasure to fulfil,
And work Thy Will.”

Thursday, February 01, 2018

Voyages Extraordinaires #22: L'École des Robinsons

"An island to sell, for cash, to the highest bidder!" said Dean Felporg, the auctioneer, standing behind his rostrum in the room where the conditions of the singular sale were being noisily discussed.

"Island for sale! island for sale!" repeated in shrill tones again and again Gingrass, the crier, who was threading his way in and out of the excited crowd closely packed inside the largest saloon in the auction mart at No. 10, Sacramento Street.

The crowd consisted not only of a goodly number of Americans from the States of Utah, Oregon, and California, but also of a few Frenchmen, who form quite a sixth of the population.

Mexicans were there enveloped in their sarapes; Chinamen in their large-sleeved tunics, pointed shoes, and conical hats; one or two Kanucks from the coast; and even a sprinkling of Black Feet, Grosventres, or Flatheads, from the banks of the Trinity river.

The scene is in San Francisco, the capital of California, but not at the period when the placer-mining fever was raging—from 1849 to 1852. San Francisco was no longer what it had been then, a caravanserai, a terminus, an inn, where for a night there slept the busy men who were hastening to the gold-fields west of the Sierra Nevada. At the end of some twenty years the old unknown Yerba-Buena had given place to a town unique of its kind, peopled by 100,000 inhabitants, built under the shelter of a couple of hills, away from the shore, but stretching off to the farthest heights in the background—a city in short which has dethroned Lima, Santiago, Valparaiso, and every other rival, and which the Americans have made the queen of the Pacific, the "glory of the western coast!"

L'École des Robinsons, translated into English under titles like The School for Crusoes or, more commonly, Godfrey Morgan: A Californian Mystery, is, as one would expect from the title, a robinsonade; but while Verne loved a good robinsonade, he was often also amused at the absurdities and implausible coincidences that are common in such tales. In this work, Verne is obviously having fun with the genre by playing up precisely this angle and giving it all a different twist -- one that is somewhat predictable from all the clues, but with layers enough that the reader won't be able to guess the whole secret before the end.

Godfrey Morgan, who loves adventure tales and robinsonades, is the nephew of the immensely rich William W. Kolderup, and is set to marry Kolderup's goddaughter Phina. He wants to marry -- but he's put out at the fact that he hasn't seen the world yet (and perhaps is also getting cold feet), and so decides to take a trip around the world before he actually goes through with it. Little does he know that he will himself be stranded on a desert island (with his comic sidekick Tartlet, his dancing instructor)!

Capital Oversight

Hobbes, but why, or on what principle, I never could understand, was not murdered. This was a capital oversight of the professional men in the seventeenth century; because in every light he was a fine subject for murder, except, indeed, that he was lean and skinny; for I can prove that he had money, and (what is very funny,) he had no right to make the least resistance; for, according to himself, irresistible power creates the very highest species of right, so that it is rebellion of the blackest die to refuse to be murdered, when a competent force appears to murder you. However, gentlemen, though he was not murdered, I am happy to assure you that (by his own account) he was three times very near being murdered.

Thomas de Quincey, Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Preventive System

Today is the feast of St. Giovanni Bosco, who developed the Salesian Preventive System of education, based on the three pillars of reason, religion, and loving-kindness, or even more fundamentally, on the words of St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 13: Love is patient, love is kind, bearing all things, hoping all things, enduring all things. John Bosco became a teacher of students in poverty, often orphans, who had few options in the burgeoning Industrial Revolution. He came to the conclusion that standard approaches to student discipline were too repressive and punishment-focused; many of the problems that one had with students could be nipped in the bud if one simply exercised a greater degree of gentle guidance. Rather than laying down the law, one should talk with students, explaining to them why they should be doing this rather than that, and acting with goodwill and gentleness toward them, quietly warning them when they are forgetting the rules and getting near to punishable behavior, and one should particularly recognize that the point of discipline is not to force the students to behave a certain way but to help them cultivate the habits required to avoid sinning against God and neighbor. Punishment might still be necessary, but as St. John noted, students tended not to resent punishments whose rationale they understood, particularly if the punishments were fairly mild and coming from someone with whom they interact regularly; and when they understood the rationale, mild punishment was more effective than severe punishment.

The approach has shown itself historically to be very effective; it also very intensive, however, and, I suspect, requires a certain kind of temperament to pull off effectively. But, then, perhaps that's not surprising.

From some comments by St. John Bosco to his fellow teachers in the Salesian order:

Long experience has taught me that patience is the only remedy for even the worst cases of disobedience and irresponsiveness. Sometimes, after making many patient efforts without obtaining success, I deemed it necessary to resort to severe measures. Yet these never achieved anything, and in the end I always found that charity finally triumphed where severity had met with failure. Charity is the cure-all though it may be slow in affecting its cure.

Remember that education is a difficult art and that God alone is its true master. We will never succeed in it unless he teaches us the way. While depending humbly and entirely on him, we should try with might and main to acquire that moral strength which is a stranger to force and rigor. Let us strive to make ourselves loved, to instill into our children the high ideal of duty and the holy fear of God, and we will soon possess their hearts. Then, with natural ease, they will join us in praising Jesus Christ, our Lord, who is our model, our patron, our exemplar in all things, but especially in the education of the young.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Pots and Atoms

Uddyotakara, commenting on the claim in the Nyāya-sūtra, "If the composite whole is not accepted, there would be no knowledge of anything":

In order for something to be perceptible, it must have sufficient size and exist concurrently with the perceiver. if something exists concurrently and is of sufficient size, then it is fit to be perceived by the external organs. And if one rejects composite wholes such as pots, then there would be nothing fit to be perceived by the external organs. And because there would be no perception, inference and the other pramanas could not work....We perceive. Thus the composite, the whole, exists in its own right.

[The Nyāya-sūtra: Selections with Early Commentaries, Matthew Dasti and Stephen Phillips, trs. Hackett (Indianapolis: 2017) pp. 101-102.]

I found this interesting, because the kind of position the Nyaya philosophers had in view here -- that because composites, like pots, are made of ultimate constituent bits, it is the constituent bits that exist, not the composites -- is one that one finds occasionally these days, and Uddyotakara captures perfectly what I've sometimes thought the problem with it: our knowledge of the reality of these elemental bits is dependent entirely on our knowledge of the composites, by inference, and thus there must be composites to know, and from whose reality we can derive the reality of the ultimate parts, or nothing ever gets off the ground. And, as the Nyaya-sutra indicates, this can be pressed even further.

The translation of Dasti and Phillips is fairly nice, incidentally (I can't speak to accuracy, but it is certainly readable); I don't like that they rearranged the work thematically, but they at least provide an outline of the Nyāya-sūtra itself, which makes up for part of that.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Fortnightly Book, January 28

Obviously I'm a day late; a busy and complicated weekend.

The next fortnightly book is The Kanteletar, or, to be more exact, the selections from the Kanteletar in the Oxford World's Classics translation by Keith Bosley. I liked, with some reservations, Bosley's translation of the sister work, the Kalevala, which was a fortnightly book some years ago. And there's not really any convenient edition of the Kanteletar itself, so one makes do with what one has.

The Kanteletar is the premier collection of Finnish folk lyric, pulled together by Elias Lönnrot to play the counterpart to the Kalevala as a Finnish national epic. Kanteletar literally means 'kantele-daughter', the kantele being the Finnish national instrument, and thus the title is usually taken to suggest a Muse.

While it has never been as widely regarded as the Kalevala, the Kanteletar has often made its mark; it was a significant influence on Sebelius (to take just the most famous example). Finding versions of the lyrics has been quite a task, because Bosley -- in what I can already tell is an error given that this is a book of selections -- does not give the Finnish titles of the lyrics and, worse, sometimes changes them, but after some coordination, here is Sebelius's version of the lyric "Sortunut ääni", "The Stifled Voice" in Bosley's translation, as sung by a Copenhagen choir (lyrics here):

But if you want to hear how kantele sounds, and something a little bit more like how the originals probably sounded, listen to this ("Paimenen hätä", from the Kanteletar, but not, alas, one that Bosley includes):

Jules Verne, The Adventures of Captain Hatteras


Opening Passage:

'Tomorrow, on the ebb tide, the brig Forward, captain KZ and second-in-command Richard Shandon, will leave New Prince's Docks; destination unknown.'

Thus read the Liverpool Herald of 5 April 1860. (p. 5)

Summary: The mystery of who the captain might be will lay the seeds of mutiny. Even the second-in-command starts the voyage not knowing who the captain is, or what the destination is. It's clear that the Forward is designed for an arctic expedition, but nothing is known beyond that. The rumors around the docks are that the ship is captained by a dog. And the captain, John Hatteras, doesn't even reveal himself until chapter 12.

Hatteras is obsessed with a single idea: to plant the British flag at the North Pole. His crew is not so interested, except for Dr. Clawbonny, a genial man who has read everything about arctic exploration and is hoping for the chance to participate himself. Hatteras has failed before, in one case being the only member of the expedition to survive, which is very likely the reason for the secrecy. It is thus not surprising that it all reaches a point at which the crew mutinies and strands Hatteras, Hatteras's dog Duke, Clawbonny, and a few loyal crewmen on the Arctic ice. Due to Clawbonny's encyclopedic knowledge and the talents of each of the crew, they survive, and come across a survivor from another expedition, Altamont, who, to Hatteras's horror, is an American. The expedition will inevitably proceed to a catastrophic success, symbolized by Verne's placement of the North Pole in a volcano in the middle of tempest-tossed sea.

From the manuscripts, it is clear that this was one of Verne's primary interests. He had originally planned to have Hatteras and Altamont fight a duel over naming rights, and Hatteras would succeed in his mission only to die at the North Pole. His publisher didn't like this, and Verne had to re-write the tale, creating a sort of reconciliation and softening Hatteras's end from death to madness, the death of reason. But the tale is one of obsession driving toward catastrophe. In some ways it reminded me a great deal of Moby Dick.

On the other hand, despite the title, there is a very real argument that the hero of the work is Dr. Clawbonny. He's certainly British (presumably Scottish), but he has the larger view. Hatteras, and to a lesser extent Altamont, are driven by visions of national glory; Clawbonny is interested in the greatness of humanity. He draws from the whole experience of the human race in its attempt to explore the Arctic, and it is his irreplaceable knowledge of that experience that makes the expedition's success possible, not Hatteras's obsession. He is the peacemaker who keeps the group from falling part, and whose enthusiasm bubbles through most of the book. Hatteras is not a sympathetic character; he is not intended to be. It is Clawbonny who shows humanity at its best: scientific, benevolent, enthusiastic in the achievement of great deeds.

Part of the reason for this duality is that there is a sense in which the book is two stories. Two of Verne's favorite kind of tale were Expeditions -- thus the voyages part of Voyages extraordinaires -- and Robinsonades. This tale is a melding of both; it's a Robinsonade interwoven into the framework of an Expedition, with Hatteras being the driving force behind the Expedition and Clawbonny being the primary figure of the Robinsonade. The result is an interesting contrast between understanding exploratory and scientific discoveries as national achievements and understanding them as human achievements -- a duality that is certainly a major part of all the great discoveries of the nineteenth century, and one that occasionally raises its head even today.

Favorite Passage:

It was a curious and touching sight to see the pretty animals running, jumping, and leaping trustingly; they landed on the good Clawbonny's shoulders; they lay down at his fee; they spontaneously offered themselves to the unaccustomed caresses; they did their utmost to welcome the unknown guests; the many birds, joyously chirping, called to each other and came from all points of the valley; the doctor resembled a veritable charmer. The huntsmen continued their journey by climbing up the soggy banks of the stream, followed by this friendly group; and at a bend in the valley they spotted a herd of eight or ten reindeer, grazing on some lichen half-buried under the snow, charming animals to look upon, gracious and calm, the females bearing antlers as proudly as the males. Their woolly hides were already exchanging wintry whiteness for the brown and dull grey of summer; they appeared no more frightened and no less tame than the hares or birds of this peaceful country. Such must have been the relationship between the first man and the first animals when the world was young. (p. 285)

Recommendation: Recommended.

Jules Verne, The Adventures of Captain Hatteras, Butcher, tr. Oxford UP (New York: 2005).