Saturday, April 14, 2018

Dashed Off VII

This ends the notebook that was finished on December 19, 2016.

infinite regress -> idea of infinite -> infinite intelligible argument
circular regress -> (if necessary -> idea of necessity -> necessary being argument)
(if contingent -> first cause argument)
state of regress -> first cause argument

On 'divine hiddenness arguments': if human reason has an a priori idea of love that can only apply to God, this is evidence of God's existence; if one extrapolates from eminent human love, it lacks the properties divine hiddenness arguments require

deontic, epistemic, disposition, and preferential 'must'

Nations are not arbitrary mereological fusions; not every group of people can form a nation.

"The concept of following is common to all the alternative logics; to that there is apparently no alternative." Blanshard

"The purpose of the sacraments is to sanctify men, to build up the body of Christ, and, finally, to give worship to God; because they are signs they also instruct." Sacrosanctum concilium 59

Mary the Prepurification of the Church

Hypocrisy by its very nature is consequentialist (although not usually utilitarian).

faith : ritual :: hope : music

allowed in the sense of 'not always forbidden' vs allowed in the sense of 'may always be done'

a modal logic for possible histories of philosophy
(in a sense this is one semantics for modal reasoning about things like possible influence)

What is to an immaterial angel what time is to us? Learning.

Hell is finite learning.

the interplay between territorial culture and personal culture (i.e., the culture in which one lives an the culture out of which one grows)

A philosophy of mind is not just about the mind; it is about the nature and limits of philosophy.

Something's status as evidence admits of refinement -- this is one of the most obvious facts about the history of science, but is often ignored completely in theories of evidence.

the what-it-is-like of philosophical discovery

the New Testament as the image of the Beatific vision

agency, structure, process, and purpose in argumentation

deontic necessity (necessitas praecepti) as exemplar necessity

Schwerpunkt as rhetorical concept (cp. status quaestionis)

course of doctrine articulation
(1) implicit presence
(2) fog of contentions
(3) consolidation and definition

Privacy is a social effect, and therefore privacy rights involve some measure of negotiation and also consideration of roles.

To be man or woman is to be born into a tradition handed down by prior men and women.

universitas, antiquitas, and consensio as aspects of sanctity

To participate in a humanitarian tradition is to contribute to one of the projects of the whole human race.

radication in Christ

The Electoral College (as originally designed) captures the fact that prudence, not mechanical rule alone, is required to determine the sense of the people.

'Facts point in all directions.'

No duration of mild headache equals a short crucifixion.

Liturgies are structured by circumstances.

curtailing of kin-marriage as a precondition for popular government of a free people, at least in a large society (widening interest and common goods beyond blood ties)
- note, in connection with this, how serious a problem nepotism is for the development of such governments
- also issues of dynastic politics that arise when the top only intermarries with the top

The Old Testament sacraments are types of Christ as He is found in the New Testament sacraments.

The Last Supper is Christ's sacrificial self-giving.

There is no single thing that constitutes expertise.

hermeneutics of suspicion // conspiracy-theory thinking

The Electoral College as supporting the tendency to think of states as communities

subhonesty vs antihonesty

Who receives the Body of Christ should consider what is appropriate to being a member of the Body of Christ.

Kant's *Religion* as an account for the conditions for moral community.

A moral community must be structured for life, reason, and virtue.

As no individual can constitute a moral community of himself, something of it must be received; and a shuman beings must learn moral life, something of this must be traditionary and not dependent on merit.

It ought to be the case that we ought to conform to moral law.
(A relation between two different kinds of 'ought'.)

As moral law demands unconditionally, grace gives unconditionally.

Holiness cannot be fully expressed by law, even by moral law.

To have a relationship with another person requires cultivating a ritual regard for them, an external communication o evaluative behavior, an initiated participation in their life, and a sharing of action by which the relationship may be renewed. Lacking any one of these is a failure to be in full personal relationship.

St. Thomas's continual linking of charity and friendship is a recognition of the polity of God; it is formed by charity as civil polities are formed by friendship.

Even in this life we can find a distinction between purgative and damnative pain.

poena sensus: penalty for inordinate conversion to mutable good
poena damni: penalty for aversion from immutable good

privative vs afflictive penalties

penalty as manifestation of wrongness
extrinsic vs intrinsic

A common error in discussions of punishment i assuming that one can only be punished by misery (and not, e.g., by loss of opportunity by restriction of action).

adequalitas (parisotes)
deux termes inégaux qui enfin produisent l'égalité

Leibniz's law of continuity (Cum prodiiset)
In any proposed continuous transition ending (desinente) in some term, it is allowed to make a general inference (ratiocinatio) in which the final term is included.
(1) transition (2) continuity (3) term of desinence

status transitus as desinit for sequence (point as ending approximates point as such)
the designation of a number by a desinent process; the desinent number and the per se number as extensionally equal, intensionally distinct

In a nonintensional context, one may substitute a nondesinent description for the desinent description of the term.

intensional contexts as insulating negations? intensionality and double negation

utility monsters and 'national popular vote'

The world is not merely external, independent, and continuing, but also efficacious.

If the humorous is incongruous communication for the sake of play, what are the conditions for the agent? (There certainly are some, dealing with appropriateness.)

hagiography as part of the prophetic work of the Church

index-vestments, icon-vestments, symbol-vestments
illocutionary and perlocutionary force of uniforms

Pains are not always commensurable among themselves.

three forms of despair as attitude or mood
(1) the hollowness of nonfulfillment
(2) alienation from oneself
(3) self-imprisonment

Despair is a failure to attain to proper selfhood, for hope is the one-foot-in-front-of-another progress of such attainment.

primary means of handling conflict of interest: disclosure, insulation, review

avoiding evil : matter :: doing good : form [justice]

measures of pain
intrinsic intensive (intensity)
intrinsic extensive (area
extrinsic intensive (effectiveneess)
extrinsic extensive (time)

One draws near to Christ in knowing what to put first and what to put last.

Human reason by its nature must receive its light.

Dance involves: division of time, temporal elaboration of acts, correlation of body and gesture, instrumental coding of the body, interaction between agent perspective and spectator perspective.

Philosophy by its very nature has an intentional structure irreducible to physical process, involving awareness of both the indexical and the abstract at once.

Utilitarians come across as snake oil salesmen remarkably often. This is not, I think, intrinsic to the position, but the looseness with which utilitarians tend to handle arguments -- a lot of approximation, guesstimation, and from-what-we-can-tell-now, encourages sloganish, panacea-offering, pseudo-ethics, especially in the less bright. There is also probably some influence from the fact that some quarters take utilitarianism to be more science-ish, leading the less bright effectively to turn it into an ethical pseudoscience.

hell & preference-satisfaction

forms of utilitarianism that modalize the principle of utility (maximizing possibility as such, or everywhere, or always, or here and now, etc.).
Given that pain is often localized, it's surprising no one has argued for minimizing surface area of suffering. Ethicists are so unimaginative.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Through Contemplation's Optics

Seraphick Love
by John Norris

I. 'Tis true, Frail Beauty, I did once resign
To thy imperious Charms this Heart of mine:
There didst thou undisturb'd thy Scepter sway,
And I methought was pleas'd t'obey.
Thou seem'st so lovely, so divine,
With such sweet Graces didst thou mine,
Thou entertain'st my Amorous sense
With such Harmonious Excellence,
That, Credulous and Silly I,
With vain, with impious Idolatry,
Ador'd that Star which was to lead me to the Deity.

II. But now, thou soft Enchantress of the Mind,
Farewel, a change, a mighty change I find;
The Empire of my Heart thou must resign,
For I can be no longer thine.
A Nobler, a Diviner Guest,
Has took possession of my Breast;
He has, and must engross it all,
And yet the Room is still too small.
In vain you tempt my Heart to rove,
A fairer Object: now my Soul does move,
It must be all Devotion, what before was Love.

III. Through Contemplation's Optics I have seed
Him who is Fairer than the Sons of Men:
The Source of good, the light Archetypall,
Beauty in the Original.
The fairest of ten thousand, He,
Proportion all and Harmony.
All Mortal Beauty's but a Ray
Of his bright ever-shining Day;
A little feeble twinkling Star,
Which now the Sun's in place must disappear;
There is but One that's Good, there is but One that's Fair.

IV. To thee, thou only Fair, my Soul aspires
With Holy Breathings, languishing Desires.
To thee m'inamour'd, panting Heart does move,
By Efforts of Ecstatic Love.
How do thy glorious streams of Light
Refresh my intellectual sight!
Tho broken, and strained through a Skreen
Of envious Flesh that stands between!
When shall m'imprison'd Soul be free,
That she thy Native Uncorrected Light may see,
And gaze upon thy Beatifick Face to all Eternity?

From his A Collection of Miscellanies. The notion of 'Seraphick Love' would later form the topic of his correspondence with Mary Astell, Letters Concerning the Love of God Between the Author of the Proposal to the Ladies and Mr. John Norris. In Practical Discourses on the Beatitudes, he will give the martyr as a preeminent example of what he means -- complete devotion that involves reason rising above mere passion. Of course, the general account here is Neoplatonic, probably heavily influenced by Hierocles.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Logical Representations

An odd claim in the SEP article on logical diagrams (by Shin, Lemon, and Mumma):

Once a purely intuitive notion, non-psychological claims about “efficacy” of diagrammatic systems can be examined in terms of standard formal properties of languages (Lemon et al. 1999). In particular, many diagrammatic systems are self-consistent, incorrect, and incomplete, and complexity of inference with the diagrams is NP-hard. By way of contrast, most sentential logics, while able to express inconsistencies, are complete and correct.

But the last sentence is certainly false. For any complete and correct sentential representations of logical relations you can make modifications that give you a sentential representation that is not complete or correct, and often multiple different such representations. The only thing that can be meant here is that most sentential logics, specifically proposed as complete and correct in a context of inquiry that vets sentential representations for completeness and correctness, are complete and correct. This is arguably not true, either, when you consider how many sentential systems, even among those that had originally been thought to be complete and correct by their proponents, have been proven not to be so, but it is at least not blatantly false. But the comparison seems to be to diagrammatic representations of logical relations generally, and thus the entire argument seems to be based on an equivocation. 'Sentential logics' are formal sentential representations systematically developed in order to have a complete, correct representation, but 'diagrammatic systems' are not usually developed toward this end at all, and only recently has any work on diagrammatic logical system been done on this point, outside of a few people like Euler, Venn, Carroll, and Peirce -- and even in those cases, only Peirce really goes all the way in trying to establish that the diagrammatic system has the formal properties that the article has in mind, rather than establishing an analogy that works practically as long as certain conditions are met or practical rules are followed.

What is true is that diagrammatic representation of logical relations, as we usually find it, is more analogous to natural-language sentential representation of logical relations than to artificial-language sentential representation. Only a handful of diagrammatic systems have been developed along artificial-language lines. One would not in general expect there to be a significant difference between the diagrammatic and the sentential at this level. In essence, what diagrams do is take advantage of the fact that the modal logic for mereotopological relations can be similar to the modal logic for inferential relations, and then they just add whatever assumptions are needed to close the gap; this is analogous to the case of sentential logics, which take advantage of the fact that the modal logic for grammatical relations can be similar to the modal logic for inferential relations. Because mereotopological relations for a spatial whole are not exactly like grammatical relations for a sentence, one would expect that there are kinds of logical representation the latter can do easily that the former would have difficulty doing, but also vice versa. It's always possible, of course, that the analogy between grammar and inference is much closer than the analogy between mereotopology and inference, in which case you'd have to do much more system-tweaking (adding special rules or assumptions or guides to interpretation) to diagrams than to sentences in order to represent logical inferences generally. I don't know of any argument that this is in fact true; one of the difficulties is that so much more work has been done on sentential representation of logic than on diagrammatic representation that there is a danger of conflating the sentential representation with the logical relation itself. But it's certainly possible that there is that sort of difference, even if the work really hasn't been done to establish it; the problem is that when we are talking about the systems we are usually only talking about the systems that have been so tweaked (on both sides), and you wouldn't expect much of a difference between diagrams and sentences there.

Incidentally, given the analogy, that diagrammatic systems make use of the similarity between mereotopology and general inference as sentential systems make use of the similarity between grammar and general inference, it raises the question of what other modal domains are similar enough to the modal logic of inferential consequence to allow them to be used in representing the latter. What other usable representations of logical relations are there besides sentential and diagrammatic? One obvious example is that of behavior or action, which we usually describe deontically and temporally, since both deontic and temporal relation have enough similarities to inferential relations that we often talk about the latter as if they were deontic or temporal relations. Just as we can have a diagrammatic logic or a sentential logic, we can have a system-of-processes logic; if you think about it, that's essentially what is going on in a computer -- computer programs are not actually lines of code (which are sentential representations) but processes in circuitry. But very little work has been done on logical systems outside of the sentential and diagrammatic, and even the diagrammatic hasn't been studied very closely until recently.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Cicero on Epicurus

Epicurus does indeed believe that gods exist. In fact I have never met anyone with more fear of the things which he said we should not fear, namely death and the gods. He is loud in his claim that the whole of mankind is inwardly scared of things which in reality do not worry normal people overmuch. Thousands on thousands commit robbery with violence in spite of the death penalty, and others plunder every shrine they can lay hands on; those footpads, I suppose, are alarmed by fear of death, and these plunderers by religious panic!

Cicero, The Nature of the Gods, Walsh, tr., Oxford University Press (New York: 2008) p. 33 (sect. 86); the character Cotta is speaking.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

A Poem Re-Draft

So It Goes

There is love,
there are lies,
there is lying in love,
there is living a lie
(and loving it too),
there is love like to hate and hate like to love,
there is lying in wait,
with surprise in their eyes when shots ring out.

She hates him and he her,
he loves her and she him,
at times all the same;
it's a jumbling game where the prize is a heart,
or a life,
or a death,
and the sudden exhaling of someone's breath when shots ring out.

And so --
the gun's in her hand and the smoke wafts in curls,
and how it will end who can tell?
I suppose no one knows
who has not been there.
So it goes.

And so --
the gun's in her hand,
the lines are tangled with lies,
soon somebody dies,
and death is a sudden untensing of breath.
And so it goes.

The dark is a friend,
the dark is a foe,
the tears on her cheek no memories recall,
wandering in darkness before dawn starts to fall;
only sound will remain as shots ring out.

He is dead.
There --
it's said.
He lied;
let him lie.
It cannot be recalled.
So it goes.

And so --
the gun's in her hand;
who has suffered the more?
I guess none can know
save those who were there.
So it goes.

And so --
the gun's in her hand,
and when love is a lie,
or a lie is a love,
there is lying in wait,
a doom and a fate that cannot end well.
And so it goes.

We are fools for our loves,
we fall for their lies,
and so --
over blood that is spilled who will cry?
The tears were already shed.
The fate that she chooses she chose long ago
and the fate that he chose was to die.
So it goes.

And so --
the gun's in her hand;
what's passed is still past --
we would love to recall our sad little lies,
and yet there they lie.
No reason can reason the senseless away.
The shots ring out.
And so it goes.

Little Veil

To a Daisy
by Alice Meynell

Slight as thou art, thou art enough to hide
⁠Like all created things, secrets from me,
⁠And stand a barrier to eternity.
And I, how can I praise thee well and wide

From where I dwell—upon the hither side?
⁠Thou little veil for so great mystery,
⁠When shall I penetrate all things and thee,
And then look back? For this I must abide,

Till thou shalt grow and fold and be unfurled
Literally between me and the world.
⁠Then I shall drink from in beneath a spring,

And from a poet's side shall read his book.
O daisy mine, what will it be to look
⁠From God's side even of such a simple thing?

Monday, April 09, 2018

In Vast Compassion Humanward

(From the picture by Botticelli)
by Ethel Allen Murphy

Kneeling in prayer, her spirit rapt above,
She meets with God, Who bendeth, brooding low,
In vast compassion humanward, and so,
There comes upon her life the power of Love:
Rising — behold! with pinions like a dove,
An angel with a rod where row on row
Of chaliced lilies spill supernal glow,—
Which all her thought to wonder mute doth move.
Then falls upon the rapture of her soul,
Dimly some vision of Gethsemane,
Athwart-the Resurrection's shining goal,
And with uplifted hand she pleads as One
Shall pray in night of darkest agony,
"This cup remove,—yet, Lord, Thy Will be done."

Annonciation-Botticelli (1489-1490)

Sunday, April 08, 2018

Fortnightly Book, April 8

One of the most important items of Old Norse literature is the so-called Poetic Edda, which is a collection of poetry whose earliest extant manuscript (the Codex Regius) was written down probably in the thirteenth century; the poems are all anonymous, although sometimes the Edda is called the Saemundar Edda, after the original attribution made by Bishop Brynjólfur, who happened to discover the manuscript. (Brynjólfur's attribution is generally rejected today.) The poems in the collection are older than the manuscript, of course, but in most cases we have no particular way of knowing how much older, although most of them are probably no earlier than the tenth century, and some probably much later than that. The exact set of poems included varies depending on the edition; the poems that are not in the Codex Regius are sometimes called the Eddica minora.

Another major item is the Völsunga saga, a prose account of the murder of Sigurð and the vengeance of his son Sigmund. The legends of the Volsung clan seem to have been extraordinarily popular; we have some poems about them in the Poetic Edda, but it is the Volsunga Saga that gives the most thorough and ingenious -- if not always perfectly successful -- unification of prior poetic traditions into a coherent prose narrative, and only the later, and German, Nibelungenlied has been a more influential account.

The Volsunga Saga seems to date from the thirteenth century, although the earliest extant manuscript is from the fourteenth or fifteenth century. That earliest manuscript collects the Volsunga Saga with another saga, the Ragnars saga Loðbrókar, the Saga of Ragnar Lothbrok, no doubt because it can be seen as a kind of sequel.

These three works, the Poetic Edda, the Saga of the Volsungs, and the Saga of Ragnar Lothbrok are the next fortnightly books. I will be reading them in the Hackett editions, translated by Jackson Crawford. His edition has all the poems in the Codex Regius manuscript except the Atlamal, and (like many others) adds some Eddica minora poems that are related in content and form: Baldrs draumar, Rigsthula, Voluspa en skamma, and Grottasongr. Crawford has a YouTube Channel in which he discusses topics relevant to Old Norse literature. If you are interested in the topic, his videos are all quite good. His introduction to the Poetic Edda, focusing on why it is important, how historical linguists reason out how old the poems must be, and its relation to Snorri's Prose Edda:

He also has videos on the Codex Regius itself. He also has extended commentary on the Volsunga Saga (Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI) and another video on the Saga of Ragnar Lothbrok.

We have touched on Volsung material in the fortnightly book before, with J.R.R. Tolkien's attempt to rework the story into an even greater unity, and we'll likely touch on it again at some later point if I ever do the Nibelungenlied, which seems likely enough given that I've been intending to get around to it for a few years now.