Saturday, April 21, 2018

The Poetic Edda; The Saga of the Volsungs and The Saga of Ragnar Lothbrok


Opening Passages: From the Voluspa in the Poetic Edda:

Heed my words,
all classes of men,
you greater and lesser
children of Heimdall.
You summoned me, Odin,
to tell what I recall
of the oldest deeds
of gods and men.

From The Saga of the Volsungs:

Here begins the story of Sigi, who was said to be a son of Óðin. Another man named Skaði was also involved in this story. He was powerful and considered a great men, though between the two Sigi was more powerful and considered to be from a better family, according to the opinion of the time.

From The Saga of Ragnar Lothbrok:

Now the news came to Heimir in Hlymdalir that Sigurð and Brynhild were dead. Their daughter Áslaug, who was Heimir's foster-daughter, was three years old at the time, and Heimir knew that someone would search for her and try to kill her and wipe out her family line. And he mourned so much for the loss of Brynhild, his foster-daughter, that he could not hold on to his kingdom or his wealth, and he knew that he could not hide the girl there. So he had a huge harp made, and he hid Áslaug inside of it together with many treasures of gold and silver, and then he wandered north through many lands until he came here to Scandinavia.

Summary: Norse myth always has a distinctive atmosphere, and it can be summed up in the notion that Odin the Allfather rules under a doom: he knows that Ragnarok comes, when the armies of Death and Fire will invade, and the Wolf and the Serpent will destroy the gods. Because of this, Odin is somewhat obsessed about learning all he can about the end of the gods, so that he will not be caught by surprise. Many of the more memorable aspects of his depiction stem from this. Odin sends his Valkyries to collect the greatest warriors in the world at the height of their prowess in preparation for that dark day. He sends out his ravens, Huginn and Muninn (Thought and Memory), to gather all the knowledge that he can. He has only one eye, because he traded the other for a drink from Mimir's knowledge-giving well. We see this unfold in the poems of The Poetic Edda. In the Voluspa, Odin summons a volva, a shamaness, to foretell the fates of men and gods. In the 'Runatal' section of the Havamal, Odin speaks of having sacrificed himself to himself by hanging, spear-pierced, from the tree for nine nights in order to discover the runes. In Vafthruthnismal, he engages incognito in a riddle contest with a wise giant, which includes sounding him out about Ragnarok and its aftermath.

But there is a deep undercurrent of humor through it all, sometimes subtle, sometimes earthy. In Harbarthsljoth, Thor trades taunting insults with a ferryman who turns out to be Odin; they are the kinds of joke-taunts men still make today: Odin keeps pretending that Thor looks like a good-for-nothing criminal, they argue over who has slept with the best women and who has fought the best battles, call each other cowards in various creative ways, Thor says he'll give a good beating with his hammer, Odin says he should probably save the hammer for the man who is sleeping with Thor's wife, and so forth. In Lokasenna, Loki gets thrown out of the feast of the gods for killing a slave, and returns to taunt the gods, rather more acidically and maliciously, with a mix of lies and truths. In Thrymskvitha, Thor has to dress up as a bride in order to recover Mjollnir from a thief. In Alvissmal, Thor has to come up with a clever way to prevent a dwarf from marrying Thor's daughter.

The same, both doom and humor, can be found through the heroic poems, and, of course, most of all with the larger-than-life soap opera that is the history of the Volsungs. Odin has a son, Sigi, who has a son, Rerir, who has son, Volsung. Volsung was in his mother's womb for six years, until she began to die and he had to be surgically removed. Volsung is murdered by the king of the Geats (roughly, Swedes), and his children, Signy and Sigmund, as well as their incestuously conceived son Sinfjotli, plot to avenge their father. Sigmund and Sinfjotli, preparing for their task, have adventures as violent outlaws and werewolves until they are finally able to complete the task. By another wife, Borghild, Sigmund has another son, Helgi Hundginsbane, who in some poems will eventually avenge Sigmund's death. Sinfjotli has a quarrel with Borghild's brother about a woman that escalates until Sinfjotli kills him; and then Borghild poisons Sinfjotli. Sigmund will be slain by Odin himself in battle (it is a sign of his prowess that Odin collects Sigmund himself), but not before he has given his second wife, Hjordis, a son, who is Sigurd.

Sigurd will also eventually avenge Sigmund's death, and when he has done so will, of course, slay Fafnir the dragon for Regin, and then Regin himself, becoming wise from eating the dragon's heart and wealthy from the dragon's gold -- but he has thereby meshed himself in a curse that will destroy him. He will meet Brynhild, a Valkyrie, and pledge union with her, but he will be given a potion of oblivion and tricked into winning Brynhild for another man, Gunnar, while Sigurd weds Gudrun, Gunnar's sister. As a wedding gift, Sigurd gives Gudrun some of the dragon's heart, which makes more wise -- but also more cruel. She taunts Brynhild, who thereby discovers that she was tricked, and Brynhild plots her revenge, urging Gunnar to violate his own vows and kill Sigurd. He cannot break his vows directly, but he uses an enchanted brew to get his younger brother Guttorm to do it; Guttorm, of course, will be killed by Sigurd in killing him. Brynhild will also kill Sigurd's son, and immolate herself on a funeral pyre.

Gudrun will go on to marry Atli, that is, Attila, king of the Huns. It will be a very unhappy marriage, and since Gudrun, like the Volsung family she had previously married into, cannot do unhappy like a normal person, the inevitable end result will be Gudrun cooking her sons with Atli and feeding the dish to him, and killing Atli by locking him in his hall and setting it on fire. Some families are dysfunctional; the Volsungs are epically dysfunctional.

Another marriage will follow with a king who is apparently not quite familiar with Gudrun's backstory; she will marry Jonak, a king of the Geats. The daughter of Sigurd and Gudrun, Svanhild, the most beautiful woman in the world, will then be married to Jormunrekk, the king of the Goths, but she will be maliciously accused of adultery with the king's son, and will be executed by being trampled to death by horses. Gudrun will convince her sons by Jonak to avenge Svanhild's death, which they will by cutting off Jonak's hands and feet; but they will be stoned to death in retaliation.

As it turns out, Sigurd and Brynhild had an illegitimate daughter, Áslaug, who will eventually marry a Danish prince, Ragnar, called Lothbrok, "Shaggy Pants", because he had worn shaggy pants to protect him when slaying a dragon. Eirik and Agnar, Ragnar's sons by a previous marriage, die in battle against King Eystein of Sweden, who has a demonic cow whose mooing drives men mad. With some difficulty, Áslaug convinces her own sons to avenge their half-brothers, which they do. Then the sons of Ragnar go a-raiding and keep conquering everything. They are called back when King Ragnar is killed by King Ella while foolishly trying to invade England with two ships. Ívar, the cautious and cunning elder brother, infuriates his brothers when he refuses to aid them in an assault on King Ella. Their assault fails, and Ívar goes to Ella, saying that he will let it all go in return for being well compensated, and Ella does it. Ívar then uses his wealth to become powerful and influential in Ella's kingdom, siphoning off Ella's support, then sends a message to his brothers, who return to avenge their father on the much-weakened Ella. Ívar, of course, stays out of it, thus by one plan becoming even more wealthy and powerful, avenging his father, and fulfilling his oath of peace with his father's killer. The Saga of Ragnar Lothbrok has a wonderfully striking ending: many, many years later some Danish sailors end up on an island where they find an ancient wooden idol, forty feet high, and while they are wondering about its history it speaks to them and says that it was set there by the sons of Ragnar.

Except for the tale of Ragnar, I had read much of this before. A few things particularly jumped out at me during this reading. The occasional similarities between the hero Volund and Daedelus, or between Brynhild and Medea, for instance. Another was the artistry of the Volsunga Saga; the author was pulling together from many sources and it is noticeable to emphasize the seams where he doesn't seem to quite pull it together smoothly. The most commonly noted case is the baffling chiasm of events in which Sigurd rides through the fire to meet Brynhild, then later meets Brynhild, apparently for the first time, then later rides through the fire, explicitly for the first time. But this is somewhat misleading, because the craft of it is extraordinary -- little details end up mattering all through the story. The quiet statement about Gudrun becoming not only more clever but more cruel when she tastes the dragon's heart ends up putting all of her later actions into different perspective, and part of the effectiveness is precisely the quietness with which it is done. The saga is filled with examples of this. Even the meeting of Sigurd and Brynhild is carefully structured in such a way that I think there's room to suggest that perhaps the author's problem was not failing to stitch the material together adequately but doing so in a more subtle way than we the readers have been able to follow. As for the tale of Ragnar, it is great fun.

It's interesting, too, the world it depicts: a world of very casual violence in which one's word is held sacred. People would rather murder or be murdered than break their vows,and much of the tragedy of Sigurd lies in the wickedness by which Sigurd is made to break his vows without knowing it. Indeed, it is framed in such a way that it is clear that it is the most tragic part. One thinks of how much of the doom of Asgard is due to the deceptions by which Odin and the gods have maintained it. Such a world in which the greatest horror is to be false, not to die, is foreign to us; we live in the world of Loki, a world of people who will gladly lie and break promises to get not only out of death but out of pain or inconvenience. It is not the most important aspect of reading great literature, but one of the things of value one gets from it is seeing oneself more clearly, for better or for worse, both one's advantages and one's disadvantages, by the contrast with something else entirely. One gets a considerable amount of that here.

Favorite Passages: From Guthrunarkvitha I, in The Poetic Edda:

Then Guthrun,
daughter of Gjuki, wept.
She wept, the tears
poured from her eyes,
and the flock of geese
which she kept outside
screamed loudly
in response. (p. 269)

From The Saga of the Volsungs, a passage that captures the dry, matter-of-fact humor of the sagas at their best:

Sigurð said, "What will happen to me if I get the dragon's blood on me?"

Regin said, "There's just no getting you to do anything, since you're afraid of everything. You are nothing like your departed kinsmen when it comes to courage." Then Regin fled in terror, and Sigurð rode up on Gnitaheið and dug a pit. (p. 31)

From The Saga of Ragnar Lothbrok:

The Swedes had a superstition about a cow they called Síbilja. So many sacrifices had been made to this cow that no one could withstand the terrible sounds it made. And it was the king's custom, when he expected war, to let this cow lead his troops, and so much demonic power was in this cow that Eystein's enemies, when they heard it, were driven so crazy that they fought among themselves and did not heed their own friends. And for this reason the Swedes were left in peace, because no man dared to fight against such overwhelming power. (p. 101)

Recommendation: Highly Recommended, all three.


The Poetic Edda, Jackson Crawford, ed. & tr., Hackett (Indianapolis, IN: 2015).

The Saga of the Volsungs, with The Saga of Ragnar Lothbrok, Jackson Crawford, tr., Hackett (Indianapolis, IN: 2017).

Friday, April 20, 2018

Music on My Mind

Eivør, "Trøllabundin". Trøllabundin means 'ensorcelled' (literally something like 'spellbound'. A galdramaður is a sorceror.

And Ripens Now Into Rhyme

Come, Here Is Adieu To The City
by Robert Louis Stevenson

Come, here is adieu to the city
And hurrah for the country again.
The broad road lies before me
Watered with last night's rain.
The timbered country woos me
With many a high and bough;
And again in the shining fallows
The ploughman follows the plough.

The whole year's sweat and study,
And the whole year's sowing time,
Comes now to the perfect harvest,
And ripens now into rhyme.
For we that sow in the Autumn,
We reap our grain in the Spring,
And we that go sowing and weeping
Return to reap and sing.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

The Idea of a Course

I was thinking recently about an underappreciated philosophical genre: the philosophy course syllabus. Real-life syllabi, of course, have a lot of things in them that are required by the administration, or that are included to reduce the work of the instructor, but the essential core of a syllabus is to give the Idea of a Course -- and, since what we mean by a 'course' is a preliminary course of study, that is the same as to say the Idea of a Preliminary Study of a Topic. Most philosophical genres are concerned with an end result, but there's obviously a value with looking at how one might begin; one finds that similar genres -- lists of favorite books and 'what I'm reading' blogposts -- have a real value to people. So one can imagine a pure syllabus -- all the administrative overlay and encrustation removed, a guide for the student more than a protection for the instructor. It's like the relation between a composer's Mass and a liturgical Mass: the composer's Mass focuses wholly on the musical aspect, and will accomplish the result even if it does not follow the exact liturgical rubrics, or if the rubrics the composer had in mind are out of date, although in principle a properly done composer's Mass could, all things being considered and those things changed that needed to be changed, be adapted to a liturgical Mass, since it is in some sense subordinate to the latter. A great deal of the modern course is a concession to rules that don't have much to do with the topic, although they may sometimes be genuinely necessary or important for practice. Actually teaching a course is more important than some idealized Idea of the Course, but this doesn't mean that the latter is irrelevant; it can serve as a sketch for lines of inquiry.

About five years back I was asked to come up with a course on Jane Austen as a moral philosopher. The course ended up falling through -- a combination of insufficient enrollment and poor administration -- but I did get far enough to start sketching out the first thoughts about how it might work. Perhaps it is worth dusting it off and putting into a bit more shape. Here was my very, very first sketch of possibilities for readings:




Basics of Jane Austen
James Austen-Leigh, A Memoir of Jane Austen, Chapter V
Susan Morgan, “Why There’s No Sex in Jane Austen’s Novels”
(need plot summary handouts)

Why Moral Philosopher
Gilbert Ryle, “Jane Austen and the Moralists”
Philip Drew, “Jane Austen and Bishop Butler”
Thomas Rodham, “Reading Jane Austen as a Moral Philosopher”

Why Revolutionary Aristotelianism
David Gallop, “Jane Austen and the Aristotelian Ethic”
Alasdair MacIntyre, “The Nature of Virtue”

{summary and comparison sheets for: Aristotle, Shaftesbury, Butler, Hume}
Something on novel itself as philosophical?
nb. the role of reading itself in moral education in Austen
MacIntyre on characters?

I. Lady Susan

Virtue, Vice, and Moral Education


Reading Lady Susan as an Argument: The Roots of Social Disintegration and Revolutionary Aristotelianism

II. Sense and Sensibility

Selections from Gilpin on Picturesque Beauty
Dadlez, “Aesthetics and Humean Aesthetic Norms in the Novels of Jane Austen” ??

Phronesis, Prudence, Sense

Kearney, “Jane Austen and the Reason-Feeling Debate” ??
Clyde Ray, "Uncommon Prudence in Sense and Sensibility" ??

Reading Sense and Sensibility as an Argument: The Nature of Happiness
Sarah Emsley, “Sense and Sensibility: ‘Know Your Own Happiness’”
Selections from Aristotle on eudaimonia
Claudia Martin, "Austen's Assimilation of Lockean Ideals"

III. Mansfield Park

Virtue and the Moral Picturesque
Selections from Repton?
Selections from Cowper's "The Task"?

Andreia, Fortitude, Constancy
{need something noting importance of fact that Aristotle's is 'manliness' while Austen, as seen in Anne's comments in Persuasion, associates 'constancy' with women}

Reading Mansfield Park as an Argument: Limits of Sociability as a Foundation for Ethics

Practices and Institutions in Mansfield Park


The references to "Revolutionary" I would drop -- they were a concession to other parties who wanted a more exciting course title than I had originally come up with. The course, being limited by time to a single term, could not cover the full oeuvre. But a pure syllabus doesn't have that problem. So it could be expanded to include the other major works -- Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Persuasion, Northanger Abbey. I had forgotten completely aobut it, but I like the idea (for a preliminary course of study) of the abstract structure (which needn't always be chronological), Introduction to X + "Reading X as an Argument" + Relating X to Other Philosophical Discussions. Looking at the first sketch here, I would certainly not have sketched out all the same possibilities were I doing it today. I think the overall Introduction should have its own section on Picturesque Theory, which is probably the most obvious point on which Austen directly relates to actual philosophical discussions; perhaps also a section on Theory of Sensibility, which is another point, recurring through the novels, on which Austen directly engages larger philosophical questions. Discussing the course at the time with Mrs. Darwin, she had made a suggestion of distinguishing philosophical novels from didactic novels, and this seems like a good thing for the introductory as well. (Of course, the introductory material need not all be at the beginning of the course, since some of it might be more appropriate leading into particular novels.) It's also certainly the case that some of the possible candidates, while relevant, would not be best suited to this particular preliminary course of study and have to be culled in favor of focusing on the more valuable materials. While relation to other philosophical discussions is important, it is also important not to collapse the course into mining Austen for things relevant to Aristotle/Hume/Shaftesbury rather than making it a course about Austen's own philosophical work.

I haven't looked recently at whether there is any more recent scholarship relevant to the philosophical content of Austen's courses, but as it's a slow-moving field, I wouldn't expect that it would require much updating. Of course there have been a few potentially useful things -- Whit Stillman's Love and Friendship, which of course is an adaptation of Lady Susan, to take just one example. And not long after all of this was being planned, Sarah Emsley did her online conference on Mansfield Park, any of the material for which might be relevant.

Of course a course should have some kind of project -- not just reading things, but doing something with the readings. One idea idea I had was some kind of guided project on Austen's unfinished work, Sanditon -- essentially, analyze the fragment, write scenes that could be part of a continuation and analyze how they might tie into the argument that she seems to be developing (about moral hypochondria). Another, and one to which I was leaning at the time, was to have them look in some way at one of the major works that was not covered. Obviously this would not in itself be relevant to a course that covered them all, but then you can just open the field and have a project using any of the works. Another suggestion of the Darwins that I liked was to focus the project on the heroes rather than the heroines -- particularly since the obvious route for the readings is to focus on the heroines, which leaves the heroes as an opportunity for exploration. I never got far enough to work out any precise guidelines for such a project; I tend to like highly structure projects, so I would certainly have a project with several stages.

Lots of work that would still be needed to get a finalized pure syllabus; but I think one can see what I mean from the example.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Midnight Ride

On April 18, 1775, Paul Revere and William Dawes sped out on horseback to warn John Hancock and Samuel Adams that the British were coming. Everybody remembers Paul Revere, who is immortalized, with a fair amount of poetic license in Longfellow's "Paul Revere's Ride". But almost no one remembers William Dawes. In the late nineteenth century, Helen Moore mused ironically on the difference:

The Midnight Ride of William Dawes
by Helen F. Moore

I am a wandering, bitter shade,
Never of me was a hero made;
Poets have never sung my praise,
Nobody crowned my brow with bays;
And if you ask me the fatal cause,
I answer only, "My name was Dawes"

'Tis all very well for the children to hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere;
But why should my name be quite forgot,
Who rode as boldly and well, God wot?
Why should I ask? The reason is clear --
My name was Dawes and his Revere.

When the lights from the old North Church flashed out,
Paul Revere was waiting about,
But I was already on my way.
The shadows of night fell cold and gray
As I rode, with never a break or a pause;
But what was the use, when my name was Dawes!

History rings with his silvery name;
Closed to me are the portals of fame.
Had he been Dawes and I Revere,
No one had heard of him, I fear.
No one has heard of me because
He was Revere and I was Dawes.

While people have often noted that Longfellow's account is often not particularly accurate with regard to Paul Revere's ride itself, one reason for the 'inaccuracies' is that Longfellow is actually using Revere as a stand-in for all those who were involved -- including Dawes and Samuel Prescott (who joined them at a later point), as well as later couriers. He's blurring their stories together to get a cleaner poem.

A Good Rule for Finding the Truth

A good rule for finding the truth is to draw near it with an unprejudiced mind and a will equally disposed to receive whatever the truth has to give -- if we do not approach in this way, we hear not what it says to us, but what we want to hear. When we consult the truth, we should receive and love in the same spirit everything that it has to say to us. Indeed, we should love whatever we love only because the truth has said it.

Antonio Rosmini, Certainty, Cleary & Watson, trs., Rosmini House (Durham: 1991) p. 183 (sect. 1316).

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Ferguson on the Cardinal Virtues

But virtue is, in reality, a qualification of the mind, although the term equivalent to virtue in every language, implies all the required effects and appearances of this qualification.

Its constituents are, Disposition, Skill, Application, and Force.

Corresponding to the number of these constituents, virtue has been divided into four capital branches, called the Cardinal Virtues.

These are, Justice, Prudence, Temperance, and Fortitude. *

Justice, is the regard shown to the rights and happiness of mankind.

Those effects of justice which mere innocence implies, are required under the sanction of compulsory law.

Those that constitute beneficence, are required under the sanctions of duty only.

Prudence is that discernment by which men distinguish the value of ends, and the fitness of means to obtain them.

Without this qualification, men are not fitted to act with any measure of steadiness consistency, or good effect.

Temperance is abstinence from inferior pleasures or amusements that mislead our pursuits.

No one can apply himself effectually to any worthy purpose, who is liable to the interruption of mean pleasures or amusements, that occupy an improper part of his time, that stifle his affections, or impair his faculties.

The maxim of temperance is, that a person, having once ascertained what his best and happiest engagements are, ought to count every moment lost, that, without necessity, is otherwise employed.

Fortitude is the power to withstand opposition, difficulty, and danger.

All the good qualities of men have a reference to some effect that is to be produced, and have a merit proportioned to some difficulty that is overcome. Hence dispositions and capacities of any sort are of no avail, without resolution, and force of mind.


* This division is so natural, that it has always presented itself when we have treated of the felicity or excellence competent to man's nature.

Adam Ferguson, Institutes of Moral Philosophy: A New Edition, Enlarged, VI.5.1 (p. 182). The disposition-skill-application-force explanation is interesting but not, as far as I can see, adequately explained anywhere. That we start with the disposition, which is refined by skill, which is then applied, which may be done with force, makes sense, but the connection of, say, Temperance with application seems a bit strained. In any case as Aquinas noted, there are several different readings of the list of cardinal virtues; Ferguson's is a general-properties-of-virtue reading.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Caramuel on the Juridical Syllogism

This is from Juan Caramuel de Lobkowitz's Moralis seu politica logica. Caramuel (1606-1682) is the most innovative of that very innovative group that get lumped together as Baroque Scholastics -- that is, the dissolution stage of scholastic philosophy in which it began to lose cohesion in trying to accommodate the explosively diversifying problems created by the Renaissance, the Reformation, the Scientific Revolution, and early modern political shifts. It could not keep up, largely for lack of resources and a sufficiently flexible infrastructure, and thus gradually fell apart, but it was not for lack of effort or brilliance in trying. Caramuel himself is said to have averaged something like six books a year over his entire career, and practically every single one is highly creative. Baroque Scholasticism has barely been studied, because the difficulty of studying it is very high -- all the Baroque scholastics are doing completely new things with both new and old tools, and interacting with a vast number of intellectual currents, and thus you have to figure out, often from near-scratch, what they are trying to do, every single time. But there has been more work done on them recently, and Caramuel in particular has drawn attention.

The translation is very, very rough (and as I just caught two obvious mistakes while writing this introduction, I would not be surprised if there are others). The Latin is here; like all Baroque Latin it is sometimes easy, sometimes only deceptively easy, and sometimes considerably less than lucid, especially due to the use of technical terms in sometimes idiosyncratic ways. The hardest terms to translate are syncategorematic terms (in this context, the signs of logical quantity): Cuncte omnes, Ferè omnes, Plures, Media Pars, Pautiores, Multi, Pauci, Rare Fere Nulli, Nulli. These are all quasi-technical terms for which English has only approximations. Fortunately they are an orderly spectrum. I didn't even bother to try to translate the Latin mnemonic, which is supposed to be along the lines of Barbara Celarent. I confess I find it a little odd that he went through the trouble of composing it, given that he himself notes that they are only a select few.

I skipped some brief parts in the middle that are concerned more specifically with jurisprudence.


The Juridical or Moral Syllogism is that, which lawyers and judges in tribunals use. Surely to complete the case and all discussion, the Advocate needs the syllogism; the Judge needs it for completion, because considering the laws as fundamental rules, and things to be proved, he proffers an opinion, that is, gives a conclusion, as laws and proofs seem to suggest. And we are able to produce many modes of Political Syllogism, but for ease and clarity we will show only nine, which fall short of the total.

Raucus dum Classem RAPIDI CAMILLI,
NOBILIS armat.

All are in First Figure and have a Singular Minor and Consequent, but a Major whose quantity is determined by the first syllable. Consider the following table.

SignSyncategorematic TermName of SyllogismMode of Conclusion
CAAbsolutely allCamilliStrictly certain
FAAlmost allFallitisMorally certain
PLMostPlacidiMost likely
PAQuite a fewParidisDefinitely some probability
MUA numberMugivitHardly probable
RAAlmost noneRapidiReckless
NONone at allNobilisObviously wrong

It has four columns. The first shows the characters of art that serve to make the syllogism. The second displays the syncategoremata corresponding to them. In the third one reads the name of the syllogisms, in which the first syllable signifies the major, the second the minor, and the third the conclusion. In the fourth the individuals modes of dialectic efficacy are shown.

These moods of syllogisms of which one has never heard in the Peripatetic school, are such that in every Tribunal they are not merely useful, not merely beneficial, but utterly necessary....

...[T]he whole civil or criminal cause is enclosed in the Juridical Syllogism. For the Law concerns the major. The Civil Laws point to the minor, which gives the Fact and gives the Proceedings; and the Opinion is the conclusion. So we may say:

Everyone who has wounded a man, with the intent to kill, may be condemned to death as a murderer.
But Ambrose has wounded John with the intent to kill.
Therefore Ambrose is condemned to death as a murderer.

The major is expressed in the law....

...The minor is proved in the proceedings. But this has two parts, first the effect and then the intention. The first part can be fully proved by witnesses. But the second part, yes, and sometimes even the first, lacks eyewitnesses and must be argued by juridical syllogism from circumstances and signs. And so, if the fact itself is proven, one argues as follows.

RA] Rarely does one boast of a capital crime if one has not committed it.
PI] But Ambrose has boasted before so-and-so of having himself gravely wounded John.
DI] Therefore it is reckless to believe that he did not perpetrate this crime.

Whether the major is true is to be examined:for if it is established by prudent judgment and the minor is fully proved, one cannot deny the consequence. And coming to the intention, one may formulate the syllogism thus.

Most of those who gravely wound a man have the intent to kill.
But Ambrose gravely wounded John.
Therefore it is most likely that he wounded him with the intent to kill.

Here also one examines the Major: whether it is clear with prudent judgement that one should change the syncategorematic term from All to Most, and continue by moral evidence to the Most Likely conclusion; which itself also hangs on the proof of the Minor, how far the circumstances excuse, if the graveness of the wound is said to have happened by accident. All of which requires prudent judgment and logically accurate cognition.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Music on My Mind

The Hillbilly Thomists, "What Wondrous Love Is This". On my mind because of TOF's recent post on them.