Friday, March 08, 2019

Dashed Off V

When people say 'methodological naturalism', they often mean 'teleological naturalism' -- i.e., they are not actually taking naturalism as a method of inquiry but as an end.

"if something, no matter what, exists, then it must be conceded that something exists necessarily" Kant A585/B613
- necessary being is required for morality and religion (as a ground of the unity and purposiveness of the phenomenal world) A466/B494
- necessary being is required for theoretical reason (as a ground for the greatest possible unity of appearances) A617-8/B645-6

Note that Kant's Doctrine of Virtue is in fact a doctrina *officiorum* virtutis.

Vatsyayana: Conjunction causes new entities, so cannot be merely proximity and contact.

Virtue is unified because virtues are mutually supporting, and what is mutually supporting is unified, as we see in bodies and groups, which we can recognize as unified because their parts are mutually supporting; thus it is proved.

As human deeds take the form of thought, word, and external action, God commanded that when they sin, they should bring a ritual sacrifice as an action, confess as a word, and burn the sacrifice symbolically as a thought, replacing or substituting the thought, word, and deed of the sacrifice for that of their sin, so that, knowing they have sinned against God and that it would be more fitting to be sacrificed than to do so, they will know the mercy and lovingkindness of God. (Compare Nahmanides on Lv 1:9)

The probability of an event is relative to a frame of measurement.

We are not usually aiming at pleasure but at pleasant things; to aim at pleasure requires a higher-order reflection.

Effective policing requires recognizing two things:
(1) That people resent punishment given for reasons that they do not understand and regard as at least reasonable.
(2) That people resent punishment given by people who do not seem to be considering their best interests, at least broadly and generically.


"Only the simplest of pleasurable experiences are readily accessible to all." Joad

The exemplar cause is a term of imitation. Thus the sacraments can be seen as means of imitation. But this is surely not enough, for the sacraments are means of imitation by being instruments of divine acts, God acting on us so that we may imitate Christ,such that the imitation is a cooperation between us and the divine act itself.

God cuts with a scalpel, man with a hatchet.

Love is halfway to skill.

"Every generation is guided, and to a great extent governed, by ideal conceptions; and the conceptions which influence any given age are indicated by the abstract words which find most favour with it." James Fitzjames Stephen

imputability : act :: responsibility : agent (Grenier)

Marriage is sacred even as a natural institution, just as parental authority is hieratic even as a natural institution.

The rights of the state to educate are rights to assist and to supplement the education proceeding from the more basic parental right to educate, and to provide resources for educating in specifically civil matters (like civics or military training). The rights of the Church to educate spring from its divine mission; they include subsidiary and supplementary rights similar to those of states (but in a different order) and the rights of evangelization, catechesis, and the like.

Authority is a precondition of liberty.

To understand the basic idea of any field of mathematics, ask what different things it unifies.

asymmetric dependency theories of mental representation // regularity theories of causation
teleological theories of representation // powers theories of causation

In an environment of toxic discourse, all apology is treated as confession and all explanation is treated as attack.

That one loves reasoning does not mean one never tires of arguing.

kinds of doxography
(1) placita (topical arrangement of opinions)
(2) lives (biographical arrangement)
(3) diadochai (philosophical successions)
(4) chronologies (metrical arrangement)
(5) incidental (e.g., in miscellanies or in passing discussion)

If you take any society's metaphors too seriously, it will always sound like a society of savages.

From the fact that Homer calls the sky a (metal) bowl, one does not learn that the Homeric sky is a metal bowl; one learns that it is smooth and arching and bright in appearance.

the splitting (or splitness) of earth and sky as a fundamental part of human experience of the world, as witnessed by myths across the globe

Appearances are a glimpse of the obscure. (Anaxagoras)

It is pointless to say that Communism has never been implemented when trying-to-reach-Communism keeps resulting in endless poverty and murder.

It is an overlooked but important point that Confucianism doesn't say all that much about how to structure a family or a kingdom; this is not its chief interest. Structure it how you will -- if you do so wisely. And how to do so wisely is the matter of importance.

It is strange that Analects 7.34 is so often read as suggesting doubt about prayer when the natural reading is that prayer is something that is always done, not confined to times. This is a problem one regularly finds. Imagine a scenario analogous to Analects 11.11:
"The man came to the Desert Father and asked about service to God. The Father said: You do not yet know how to serve your neighbor. How will you be able to serve God?"
Would anyone conclude that this was a criticism of service to God, or a sign of agnosticism, or an insistence that the purely human is more fundamental? One would take it as providing an answer to the question asked, not a dismissal of it.
The point is not that there is some true religious reading here; it is that a reading is being imposed that itself prejudges what one should learn from the teacher. And every teacher knows that this jumping-ahead is one of the errors every student must overcome in order to learn.

Confucius did not teach himself as a subject. The Analects are not his whole teachings; they are his comments (at least the ones his students found very useful) on how to learn what he taught, which were the actual arts of civilized society.

Good manners require an attention to forum as well as to form.

If I haven't met John, I may have evidence for and against his existence. If I have met John, I see that all or most of the evidence against his existence was merely apparent, but I still have all the evidence that he exists. The only 'evidence against' that matters at that point is evidence suggesting I err in thinking I have met him.

Moral agreement is not a mere agreeing-that; it is at least an agreeing-for.

To talk about reasonableness is already to assume what is right.

To recognize an Other is in part to recognize them in a normatively structured relation to oneself.

I think with you; therefore we are.

"The great and the beautiful strikes the mind with veneration, and leads us to infer intelligence as residing in it, or directing it: a careful attention to the structure of our own nature and its powers leads to the same conclusion." Hutcheson

intrinsic dignity vs expressed dignity vs tastefulness with respect to dignity (i.e., adjunct dignity)

causes of moral disagreement (Hutcheson)
(1) Different notions of happiness and what promotes it.
(2) Narrower or more expansive views (the system in which the tendency of action is considered)
(3) Different opinions of divine command.

the intrinsically colonialist character of utilitarianism

global interventionism // colonialism

Meriting is a kind of partial causing.

metaphors as representational aids in conditions of scarce representational resources (Yablo)
-- In fact, of course, there is reason to think they can do this because metaphors are themselves a major part of our representational resources -- calling them 'aids' makes them sound as if they were supplements when in reality they are a major part of how we can represent at all.

It is perfectly legitimate to read off 'ontological commitments' from figurative statement; you just can't switch to a literal reading in the middle of doing so.

Paraphrase presupposes a classification whose resources can be used to select an alternate route for description. If I try to paraphrase 'The Queen has a corgi' without using the word 'corgi', I need to have some classification of corgi (e.g. as a breed of small herding dog originating in Wales) to be able to construct a different description to the same effect.

While etiological accounts of function are often put forward as neutrally objective and naturalistic, they are in fact irreducibly cognitive and rationalistic, for what actually does the work is not bare history but that history in particular that explains and makes intelligible.

Olfaction is a significant contributor to the ambience of the external world; consider sufferers of anosmia who, lacking all sense of smell, often find themselves disoriented, less easily able to connect to the world, perhaps because smell plays a significant role in classifying *situations* (home, presence of favorite foods, possible danger or worrisome something-or-other-wrong, being with loved ones, etc.).

It has always been tempting to think of olfaction as passive, but in fact a significant part of it is active sampling (sniff, attentive inhalation). Olfaction is basically one part of our chemical testing system; we test for chemical presence with our sense of smell.

elegance as goodness of logic-in-motion

By consistency with the principle of noncontradiction, things participate the unity of God (and vice versa: by their participation they are consistent).

Thought may give an object to a concept by empirical experience, by reflection, or by causal inference. In the first way we 'mix' with objects in the body; in the second, the mind is present to itself as object; and in the third we recognize that there is an object because of other objects.

Much of the critique of reason in Kant is simply a demonstration of what happens if you try to do rationalism with an empiricist account of existence and causation and system.

Kant's use of the term 'deduction' is legal, not logical, from the legal documents used to show that an acquired right was legitimately acquired (see Santo). Thus Kant is continuing the earlier practice of looking for 'the originals of ideas', tracing things back to what gives us the appropriate right to use them.

Welfare systems generally work by honor and shame, and break down if the latter do.

A child begins its life physically enfolded in the body of its mother, and also spiritually enfolded in the care of its parents, which lasts longer; in both cases the child is a person whose life is a partially distinct, partially indistinct part of the lives of the parents.

Kant's antinomies and the potentiality/actuality distinction
- the infinite regress side in each case as really showing that, for any given series, the series could be longer.

Etymologically the mark of an infant is not speaking (in-fans).

The prosperity of a society is the continual accumulation of modest gains.

The Scottish Enlightenment involved two elements: 200+ years of educational development (beginning with the founding of the universities -- St. Andrews 1413, Glasgow 1451, Aberdeen (King's College) 1495, Edinburgh 1583, Aberdeen (Marischal) 1593, and continuing with the Education Act 1496) combined with the new economic development arising from the Union.

It is with prudence that the natural image of God is made most clear, because by it we are most assimilated to God our providential Creator. But charity assimilates us to God in an even more fundamental way.

It is by their opposition to prudence that vices most clearly display how they degrade the human person.

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