Friday, October 01, 2021

Dashed Off XXI

 This starts the notebook begun in November 2020. A lot of Hume on the external world in this batch.

"It is difficult to discern whether we know from appropriate principles, which alone is scientific knowing, or do not know from appropriate principles." Aquinas

Philosophy requires a double fidelity, an internal fidelity to its own principles and methods, and an external fidelity to the world as we find it.

Philosophical inquiry begins with what is shared -- with our environment, with other human beings, with God.

NB Hume's comment on challenge arguments at T (SBN 159): "This defiance we are obliged frequently to make sue of, as being almost the only means of proving a negative in philosophy."

democracy : images :: oligarchy : bodies :: timarchy : abstract objects :: kallipolis : Forms

We only recognize constancy and conjunction causally.

constant conjunction as a sign of readiness to appear

If an entire society of blind men kept insisting that the color of scarlet was the same with the sound of a trumpet, and built much of their discourse around it, we would take them to mean something intelligible by it, even if we still had to search for what it was.

[final girl reacting to discovery of killer's identity] as visual trope in slasher movies

"Imperturbable wisdom is worth everything." Democritus
"Self-control increases joyful things and makes pleasure yet greater."

alethic, temporal, and locative forms of determinism

The Christian polity is much like the Christian person: still much sin, some of it even more brazen than in the less informed and fortunate pagan; much greater gap between reality and aspiration, most of the time; in many respects similar to the pagan but here and there run through with little threads that reach toward heaven.

The eyes can show that something continues to exist even when we no longer hear it, etc. This line of thought will be blocked if the only 'somethings' we can sense are proper sensibles; but common sensibles and per accidens sensibles allow it to go through.

We need love stories that are tragedies to show the sublimity of romantic love, just as we need love stories that are comedies to show its absurdities.

All sensory perceptions have a polarity, a from-ness and to-ness, that suggests that we are receiving something beyond us, and thus suggests, but does not establish 'double existence'.

Our sense of ourselves does not need to be very fixed and determinate to convey something like a distinction between ourselves and external objects.

Our sensible impressions are not all on the same footing; those directly concerning our own bodies clearly have a primacy.

the intimacy and nonintimacy of myself and the world

Hume, T 1.2.4 on the senses
The senses cannot give us
---- [1] continued existence (.3)
---- ---- because they cannot operate beyond their sphere
---- ---- ---- this would be a contradiction in terms;
---- [2] distinct existence
---- ---- which would have to be either
---- ---- ---- (a) as represented (.4)
---- ---- ---- ---- but they are singular perceptions
---- ---- ---- (b) as original (.5)
---- ---- ---- ---- which depends on our sense of ourselves
---- ---- ---- ---- ---- which is too abstruse for the senses
---- ---- ---- ---- ---- and would require an impossible deception
---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- which would have to be related to body for externality (.9)
---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- (1) but this leaves unexplained the same belief about body
---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- (2) and some perceptions have no such exteriority to the body (sounds, tastes, smells)
---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- (3) [Berkeley] on distance or outness
---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- and independency could not be an object of the senses (.10)
::: This is confirmed by the inability to differentiate primary, secondary, and tertiary qualities (.12, .13)
::: Note that Hume holds that continued and distinct existence imply each other (.2), so he has to eliminate the senses for both, since getting one gives the other.
::: The equal footing of impressions plays a significant role in this discussion.

Hume treats "consulting reason" and "weighing opinions by philosophical principles as equivalent, because his whole argument that belief in continued and independent existence can't be from reason is that the vulgar aren't doing philosophy and the latter would be paradoxical to them. (Shepherd, of course, argues that reason is broader than this, so it is found in nonphilosophers like children, peasants, etc.)

involuntary intimate
voluntary intimate
involuntary nonintimate
voluntary nonintimate
--- all cases of this last are mediated, and recognizably so.

the hypersuppositional mind

respect, nonmaleficence, beneficence, and fairness as essential principles of election law and its application

gnarus (skillful) -> gna (to know) -> narro (to tell) -> narrate (to tell a story)

Public trust in institutions can only be maintained by addressing concerns of the public.

Politics is the art of taking concerns seriously even when you think they are stupid.

identity : uninterrupted and invariable :: constancy : invariable

Hume claims that when unthinking and unphilosophical, we "never think of a double existence internal and external, representing and represented"; but no matter how unthinking and unphilosophical we may be, we all recognize the double existence 'I and that'.

While people do tend to assume that they see the very thing, it is implausible to say that they think the very thing is "intimately present to the mind" when they are seeing it from a distance or through a lens or in a mirror.

"Whatever He gives or permits us, whether pain or illness, in whatever way, he gives and permits it with great mystery, to make us holy and to give us what we need to be saved." Catherine of Siena (to Francesco da Montalcino)

T Hume takes believe in continued existence to be prior to belief in independent existence (and it is the latter that causes the skeptical problems).

legislative power as having the proximate end of 'peace, order, and good government'

Fidelity is of immense importance to social life, and thus also the developed capacity for it. Religion is the most visible context in which this is found, which is why people (even atheists) are more likely to trust strangers who seem sincerely religious than they are to trust atheists; but it is visible elsewhere, too, which is why people will also trust atheists who are obviously devoted spouses in committed marriages, at least almost as well as they trust the religious.

All genuine intellectualism is much like mysticism, despite the difference in content.

As duplicate ideas can come from singular impressions, duplicate impressions can come from singular objects.

All our perceptions are dependent on our sensory organs only if our sensory organs have existence independent of any particular perceptions.

It is clear that the common view is that there are objects that we perceive; it is equally clear that the common view is not that our objects are perceptions.

While philosophical accounts often get their influence from vulgar accounts, it is often by explaining the incomplete and misleading character of the latter.

What Hume says of the relation between the philosophical and the vulgar systems is also true of the relation between his system and these two. By Hume's own principles, his system "is the monstrous offspring of two principles, which are contrary to each other, which are both at once embrac'd by the mind, and which are unable mutually to destroy each other." (It is recognizing this perhaps, that leads to his comments about skeptical malady.)

Much of the skill of writing free verse is writing like a child without writing childishly.

impressive : sublime :: charming : beautiful

Every election is a precedent for a future election.

conditions for customary law (Liguori)
(1) made by community, at least in its greater part
(2) reasonable so as to be consistent with natural and divine law
(3) continuous and enduring period of time involving repeated acts
(4) intention to obligate
(5) at least the general tacit consent of the principal legislator

the constancy theory of truth

T 1.4.3 explicitly assumes the falsehood of the 'antient philosophy' in the first paragraph; the purpose is not to argue for or against but to give a Humean explanation for belief in such a falsehood. NB that Hume is here doing, at a very general level, a psychological history of philosophy, and this is the case through Part IV.

The analogy to malady and health in T can only work by thinking of imagination as having ends, manifested in its permanent, irresistible, universal principles.

We can distinguish sensation and reflection only relative to the self.

SBN 233: The argument here implies that, far from eliminating substance, Hume's philosophy treats every idea and impression as 'substances'.
Hume as the anti-Spinoza

Voting is not purely a matter of getting superior numbers; that is the notion of voting had by a churl and barbarian. Voting is also an act of negotiating with other groups.

The souls in purgatory wait on behalf of the whole Church.

the Christian response to politics: Let us not sleep, as the rest do, but let us stay alert and sober.

There is ultimately one li, the Grand Ultimate, but its manifestations are diverse.

"Qi is metal, wood, water, and fire; li is benevolence, righteousness, propriety, and wisdom." Zhu Xi
"When humans and things are generated, they receive an endowment of li, which constitutes the Five Virtues."
"If your will fixes on the bull's-eye, soon you will occasionally hit the target."

In investigating the principle of things, we look at that in things which in us would be virtue (or the beginnings of it, the potential for it). 

"We sometimes doubt of an external thing whether it is this or that; we do not doubt 'Is this the same I who saw that?'" Shankara

"Master the self by practicing ritual propriety." Confucius

Looking to providence, the Great Ultimate, our eye is dazzled; it seems a chaotic wilderness with no orderer; but all the order of things, of motion and rest, of activity and stillness, is within it, supereminently.

"If before their actual origination all effects are equally nonexistent in any causal substance, why then should curds be produced from milk only and not from clay also, and jars from clay only and not from milk as well?" Shankara
"Origination is an action, and as such requires an agent, just as the action of walking does. To speak of an action without an agent would be a contradiction. But if you deny the pre-existence of the effect in the cause, it would have to be assumed that whenever the origination of a jar, for instance, is spoken of, the agent is not the jar (which before its origination did not exist) but something else...."
"The nonexistence of external things cannot be maintained because we are conscious of external things."

Unutterable is the utmost.

jump-scare, skincrawl-scare, cringe-scare, chill-scare, inbreath-scare

Lying doesn't harm by annihilating trust but by significantly raising its costs.

to love, seek, win, hold, and embrace Wisdom itself

violence theater

Who worships no gods
has his passions as gods;
they are gods that are felt,
that are moving and real,
impersonal and enigmatic gods.

abstraction-genius vs imagination-genius
association-skill vs systematicity-skill

"The passions are not only affected by such events as are certain and infallible, but also in an inferior degree by such as are possible and contingent." Hume, SBN 313
"In sympathy there is an evident conversion of an idea into an impression."

A possibility depends on actuality and extrapolation therefrom; it makes no sense at all to say that anything could cause anything, because this is not even remotely what we find to be actual.

The technological, social, and organizational aspects of military history use different kinds of evidence for different ends, and their unification is not trivial.

classification : professional history :: storytelling : amateur history

As resources tend to be limited, specialization sequesters resources, especially institutional resources, away from dabblers and wanderers, leaving them only what they can scrape together.

A particle is a distinct small-enough measurable; what counts as distinct depends on the measuring and what counts as small enough depends on what you are doing.