Friday, September 04, 2020

Dashed Off XIX

Analysis of concepts is not a humble nor a modest enterprise.

Mk 12 as a summation of ecclesiology

Worries over the existence of tiny groups of skeptics is a sign that what is being described as intellectual life is in fact a system of social symbolisms rather than anything substantively intellectual.

That beauty is a sign of truth follows directly from the position that the intellect has an aptness for finding what is true, because if the latter is the case, what pleases intellectually on being understood will tend to be true or at least true-like. Conversely, denying that beauty is a sign of truth directly implies that the intellect is not truth-apt.

Modern thought is in great measure a battle between individualist skepticism and communitarian skepticism, with the former usually but not always having the upper hand.

Whether something begs the question is always contextual -- even formal cases like 'p therefore p' are actually question-begging only if actually used to prove p (rather than, e.g., as a step in a test of a logical system, or as an inference rule). Conjunction simplification is not question-begging when merely used to move from conjunction to conjunct, for instance.

natural vs historical authority (Cicero's Topica)

The Church has both natural (from institution by Christ) and historical (from saints) authority.

"The consent of peoples and nations keeps me in the Church; so does her authority, inaugurated by miracles, nourished by hope, enlarged by love, established by age." Augustine

Modern liberal democracy is a system that chops up political power into such small bits that most of it goes to waste.

the three forms of legislation: general rule, particular direction, precedent

symbolic faction vs operational faction

When Antiquity is given as a note of the Church, it means deeprootedness, not age per se (although age can be a sign of deeprootedness).

Lewis's Space Trilogy as an exploration of modern devilry

the someone problem for practical reason: "Why doesn't someone do something about that?" rather than "What can I do about this?"

the practicality of charity: to do what is open to one to do (Mk 14:6)

We can reasonably argue that we directly experience that causation occurs; we cannot reasonably argue that we directly experience that causation is deterministic. That requires some rather intricate inferences and eliminations even to formulate.

We directly experience things that do things to other things; it is harder to argue that our experience of most events is direct; it is harder still to argue that we directly experience relations between events. The latter two depend on our experience of things doing things, as the primary event, so to speak. The second is probably right for simple events; the third is less certain for any events, except possibly for some events containing other events.

Compatibilism requires some form of the principle of sufficient reason.

"...if there is any word the meaning of which can be taught by reference to paradigm cases, then no argument whatever could prove that there are no cases whatsoever of what it is." Flew
-- this runs into a few problems; e.g., cases could be merely hypothetical or inferred. A better principle: If there is a term for which there can be given a paradigm case, tthis establishes that the term is meaningful and coherent for any similar cases.
-- one could take a second path, and treat the original principle as merely a prima facie or presumption-establishing principle.
-- going on that, one could take a third route: maintain the principle where there is sufficient basicality that mere hypothesis or inference would be inadequate (think Berkeley or Bouwsma on the external world).

It is a mistake to think that any concept can be 'engineered' any which way, because concepts are not created ex nihilo, must answer to ends, and are influenced by their relations to other concepts.

Marques: A speaker S perverts the meaning of a word w just in case S's use of w is presented as an enforcement or application of norms or values that w expressively presupposes, which erodes those very same norms or values by being misapplied to an unsuitable referent.
-- 'presented as' raises some questions, and 'norms or values' is too vague, as is 'unsuitable'. Perversion requires some kind of actual inconsistency intrinsic to some kind of practical action.
-- Marques's example of 'catholic' also shows a weakness -- because she doesn't understand what 'catholic was actually intended to convey, she has no adequate way of establishing perversion. One could classify any value term in actual use as perverted by proceeding so sloppily; she is already a assuming a perverted meaning to 'catholic'.
-- I also suppose that she does not realize that her characterization is so vague that same-sex marriage would count as a perversion of 'marriage', contrary to what is likely her intent.
-- in both cases, the issue seems to be failing to take into account the importance of contrasting terms -- 'catholic' opposes not 'excluding' but 'partial', 'marriage' cannot be understood without looking at what is ruled out.
-- the result is that, contrary to the way she proceeds, her account is not even the right sort to ground a method of sorting ameliorations and perversions.

'Hume's Law' as usually interpreted implies that either moral nonnaturalism or moral eliminativism is true.

The descriptive and the normative overlap, was we see in the case of precedent.

'Advice' would come closer to describing the usual aims of philosophical argument than 'persuasion' does.

"This Freedom of Choice and Action, united with conscience, necessarily implies a Responsibility to a Lawgiver, and to a Law, and has a necessary relation to Right and Wrong, to Happiness and Misery." John Adams to John Taylor 16 April 1814

Like overflowing water, the baptismal character sends forth and nourishes all, rising up to heaven's heights, a flowing spring that never dies.

medicinism: the form of scientism that treats moral questions generally as medical or quasi-medical questions.

Tradition is an activity, not a residue.

the jubilee year as a figure of resurrection (Peter Damian)

All republics waver unsteadily between democratic ills and oligarchic ills.

Terminological perversions are also often conceptual confusions. (Hell equivocates.)

"There is one sense in which every narrative is false; it dare not attempt, even if it could, to express the actual movement of time." C. S. Lewis

"All nations, under all governments, must have parties; the great secret is to controul them: there are but two ways, either by a monarchy and standing army, or by a balance in the constitution." Adams

the five pillars of aristocracy (Adams): beauty, wealth, birth, genius, virtues

'battle, marriage, priesthood, mercy, and power'

solidary, saintly, whole, traditional

aesthetic life as an immune system for ethical life

Truth is as it were the actualization of the intellect's love of being.

"National pride is to countries what self-respect is to individuals: a necessary condition for self-improvement." Rorty

The most interesting thing about atheism is that it is wrong.

It is natural to focus on the to-ness of intentionality, but it also has a from-ness, and we are only part of that. Intentionality is shaped by us and through us, but it is not created ex nihilo by us.

Moral responsibility requires alternate possibilities because the kind of alternate possibilites is what determines the kind of moral responsibility.

Wholeheartedness is always with respect to a contrast.

wholeheartedness vs merely happening to will one thing

Ethical ideas are operationalized into political and economic ideas; and there is always a tendency to generalize political and economic ideas into ethical ones.

the use of language as a recognition of authority

Adolescent rebellion seems a byproduct of children not being an active part of social groups with older children and adults, combined perhaps with not being given enough room to make their own decisions and look after themselves over a wide range of life.

The proclamation of the Gospel to all creation (Mk 16:15) is the foundation of all Christian art, scholarship, and environmental stewardship.

Excuses and exculpations are always based on recognizing some limitation of alternative possibilities.

Reflective self-control makes no sense as 'control' unless it narrows possibilities.

A novel can contribute to philosophy (1) by containing philosophical argument; (2) by hinting at the philosophical positions of the author; (3) by trying out philosophical ideas; (4) by shedding historical light on philosophical positions; (5) by being in part a philosophical argument.

When people talk of indifference in politics, they are usually really talking about inefficacy arising from diffusion of action. Over and over again you find that people accused of indifference were not indifferent but did things that were only symbolic, or did counterproducitve things, or did quiet useful things that were not enough, or else that they acted sporadically and without plan or direciton. This is the usual state of politics among people.

Experiencing ourselves as partial, there must be a whole corresponding to our partness.

The category of vestment/habitus seems to be related in a special way to our experience of substance itself; that is, we experience substance in some cases as that which can be clothed, shod, etc. The category seems to suggest a more explicit being-had-by-substance than other accidents, and to depend on prior recognition of substance itself.

the regime of symbols administered by angelic authority

"Contemplation is the reward of faith, a reward for which hearts are cleansed through faith." Augustine

We are given grace so that God may love us for actually being what he loves us now for merely possibly being.

"The Father's doctrine is the Father's Word, who is his only Son." Augustine

genius as capable of integrating on the fly what others regard as error (cp. Herbie Hancock on Miles Davis)

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