Friday, August 12, 2022

Kamoya Kimeu (1940-2022)

 Kamoya Kimeu apparently died in late July, although I only came across any news of it today. He's one of the interesting scientific giants of our time. Born in Makueni County, Kenya, he never had more than a sixth-grade level of education, but in the 1960s he started working for the Leakeys, doing various labor jobs. The boy was brilliant, however, with an excellent sense of how to organize things and extraordinary pattern recognition -- a key skill in any paleontological field -- and the Leakeys began giving him more and more responsibility. He became so good at fossil-hunting that he would often make new and interesting fossil discoveries just by going someplace and walking around. It was not always easy, of course; he often had to deal with inclement weather and roving bandits, but the list of scientifically important fossils that he discovered in his long career is very long. His most famous find was Turkana Boy, a homo erectus skeleton that is still the most intact skeleton of an ancient hominid ever discovered.

Dashed Off XIX

 Everything sensible is potentially intelligible.

The agent intellect is truth-aptness as such, our participation of truth itself.

evidence as the formally evident of the materially evident

We recognize cognition in animals because we recognize their use of means; every use of means requires an end; imposing an end is cognition.

two opposed approaches to exegesis: (1) don't go beyond what is written; (2) learn from the text how to read the text.

question-answer pairs as microstates & possible worlds as macrostates

The mead of poetry is rightly said to be brewed from the blood of a wise man.

All poetry begins from a place beyond words.
All poetry proceeds to a place beyond words.

Poetry is a cycle of humility and exaltation, as the real in subject is emptied out in the mind to become the word with air or on a page, and he word is glorified in the mind to become the real in object.

If-and-only-if definitions assume univocity.

Divine energies
-- (1) considered in general (on the line of being): glory
-- (2) considered particularly
-- -- -- (a) on the line of actuality: energies/operations
-- -- -- (b) on the line of life: vitalities
-- (3) considered relatively
-- -- -- (a) in general: providence, divine plan
-- -- -- (b) particularly
-- -- -- -- -- (i) on the line of intellect: ideas
-- -- -- -- -- (ii) on the line of will: decrees

One of the things the modern age has taught us is that people are often fascinated by jargon.

No ideas are completely separable from all other ideas. Every idea is a node in a network.

We cannot know constant conjunction except by memory of order.

'Course of nature' is a teleological idea.

Final causes explain possibilities.

Conceiving a change in the course of nature requires that much of the new resembles the old; to eliminate the latter would require conceiving a completely different course of nature.

We don't expect the future in any an particular respect to be the same as the past; we expect it to be within the possibilities consistent with the past. Or in other words, we don't expect the future to resemble the past except in the sense that we expect the possibilities for the future to resemble the possibilities for the past.

Every existence implies a power.

A power does not cease without cause.

Hume's reasoning in 1.3.6 would apply to his own account, and we could ask why he expects it to continue based on the past. It is in fact isomorphic to the powers account he rejects; he just moes teh powers inward to be principles of the mind.

Hume is right (T 1.3.9) that human beings "are every where concern'd about what may happen after their death, provided it regard this world", but this is true of the future state, as well -- provided it touches on something present.

All freedom presupposes love of something.

Durable family traditions are built around recurring holidays and accessible special places.

the mind as 'the sea of my laughter' (Egil's Saga)

the world proceeds as if by plan
from dawn to doom in even steps

accidental order -> essential order -> Trinitarian order

"To safeguard Equality in a well-ordered society, the tribunals ought to be accessible to all; or in other words, justice ought to be administered without privileges and without cost, the judges ought to be permanently appointed, and the rules of judging fixed; and every individual ought to have the sacred and inviolable right to approach the constituted Powers with petitions." Diodato Lioy
"The attribute of Liberty is guaranteed by the right to be arrested and judged only in accordance with the rules of law, by the inviolability of domicile and property, by the secrecy of correspondence, by the liberty of publishing one's own thoughts through the press, by teaching, and by freedom of worship." 
"Sociability completes the development of the individual, and is secured by the right to hold meetings and to form associations."
"The attributes of the personality of states are Liberty, which is translated into independence; Equality, which is manifested in the diplomatic and maritime ceremonialism; and Sociability, which is explicated by legations and treaties."

The Church is often being outcompeted by the world, but 'outcompeted' is not the same as either being shut out or defeated in these matters.

Achenwall's principle of natural law: act in accordance with the will of God as much as you can in all actions in which you are able to know that will by reason alone.

Achenwall seems clearly to be an influence on Kant's notion that religion is taking moral law to be legislated by God for the ethical commonwealth.

We can think of causality according to freedom, according to nature, or according to both.

Particular rights arise from positive obligations requiring negative omissions, which require other particular commissions.

Because a person has the obligation of self-preservation, we have obligations to his or her self-preservation. No one's self-preservation is only their own concern, although not everyone is related to it in the same way.

Every natural obligation to a specific end grounds rights.

There is no state wholly lacking justice, only states with some defect or incompleteness (which may nonetheless be quite severe) in their justice.

proof of nonexistence
(1) contrariety or repugnance
-- (a) natural impossibility
-- (b) repugnance given the existence of something else
(2) superfluity

challenge arguments as related to superfluity arguments

the sorrow that turns into wisdom

Melian, 'who served both Vana and Este', exhibits their traits: weaving and healing, memory and repose.

To say that divine goodness is self-diffusive is to say that God always has reasons for acting freely.

Liberty cannot be maintained without liberality.

"every actual occasion is a limitation imposed on a possibility" Whitehead

It is a notable feature of human psychology that we are influenced by what we are not.

Republics require people who are willing to undergo hardship.

"The common good is easiest to usurp when its character as common is hardest to see." Chastek

Our rights depend on our roles with respect to common good.

"That which is general must have general causes; and that which is lasting and deeply rooted must have lasting and profound causes." Balmes
"There is no middle path, either civilized nations must remain Catholic or run through all the forms of error."
"Let us remark what passes in other societies: we see that in proportion to the change of ideas and manners, laws everywhere undergo a rapid modification, and if manners and ideas comes to be directly opposed to laws, the latter reduced to silence, are soon either abolished or trodden under foot."

In Hobbes, sovereignty is guarantee of nonwar, nonwar being taken as the mark of legitimacy.

War presupposes the organization of political society.

Power by its nature goes forth and returns.

All propositions about our minds have some link to propositions about the external world, and vice versa.

elements often found in debunking arguments
(1) superfluity
(2) explanatory disconnection
(3) modal insecurity
(4) suspicious causal genealogy

defeater-deflectors vs defeater-defeaters

track record of wrongness vs wrong kind of track record

irrelevant influence vs wrongmaking influence

We only have evidence about evolutionary matters on the basis of our senses corrected by reason; thus no evolutionary debunking argument can succeed against core features of the senses or reason, or against any such features we do not have independent reason to regard as flawed.

All legitimate explanations of sensation reduce to causal accounts of organ or world or both.

Even in the case of human loves we recognize that full repudiation would put you in an outer darkness.

Relata do not 'ground' relations; they are the relations, partly considered.

fictional designation: corresponds to legal fiction; eg, when an author deems or designates the tale as the story written by one of the characters (e.g., The Lord of the Rings designated as a version of Bilbo's book completed by Frodo)

marks of dialectical progress
(1) problem-solving
(2) increase in evidential coherence (unification)
(3) consilience
(4) undesigned confirmation

probabilities : amplitudes : energy : action

The testimonial link o a miracle is not to a miracle qua supernatural but to a miracle qua apparent. That is, we don't need to assess the testimony against a miracle's happening; we need to assess it against the improbability of a miracle's appearing to happen. What we need to know is whether the wonder actually seemed to happen; the rest we assess causally just as if we experienced it ourselves.

Cypriot proverb: A fool throws a stone into the sea and a hundred wise men cannot pull it out.

"Prophecy tells, the Gospel confirms, the Apostle explains, the Church confesses, that He who was seen is true God." Hilary (DT 5.34)

Most attempts by philosophers to characterize mystical experience basically characterize it as an extreme aesthetic experience.

mystical experiences that are experiences of severance, a recognition of ignorance, and full of uncertainty
mystical experiences that are experiences of neutral encounter, inititations of interaction, and noncognitive

To be contingent is to be ordered to an end other than oneself.

theistic arguments from individuation (cf. Kalam)

On Larry Wright's account of functions, we have to say that rain has the function of replenishing the waters that can evaporate.

All iff-definitions allow gradations of fit to the definition.

In an explicative syllogism, the major and the conclusion are the same but only seen as such in light of the minor. For instance, "Man is mortal; rational animal is man; therefore &c"

moving from the facts as observed to the facts as representation

Every fact implies its general conditions of existence.

In our actual experience, we may experience the effect before the cause; the difference cannot be succession of or in experience.

causes come in different kinds, different modes, and different orders

When I am hammering a nail, the hammering is an end and is certainly not 'future'; it is the being-done in the now. The end answers the question, "What is the being-done for the doing?"

Grace is an incipient participation of glory.

There is a particular kind of obstinacy in doctrinal matters that, while not virtuous, is also not vicious, being instead a natural safeguard of the mind in protecting a precious truth that is difficult and that has been dearly bought.

Every physical theory is a structure that floats in a philosophical soup; the structure is not the soup, but the composition of the soup affects how the structure grows or corrodes.

human charity as instrument, exemplate, and subordinate to divine love

grace : infused virtues :: natural reason : acquired virtues

Charity in us is an exemplar exemplate, an exemplate of divine love and an exemplar for human actions, both those of others and our own subordinate actions. With charity, the particular expressions to which our acquired virtues tend are those that are most charity-like, despite being with the range of the acquired virtue's normal scope.

Poetry tends to make extensive use of those sound-features that most contribute to meaning in the language used, but this is also affected by the ease with which such features can be repeated.

Thursday, August 11, 2022

For One is Both and Both are One in Love

 I loved you first: but afterwards your love
by Christina Rossetti 

 Poca favilla gran fiamma seconda. – Dante
Ogni altra cosa, ogni pensier va fore, E sol ivi con voi rimansi amore. – Petrarca 

I loved you first: but afterwards your love
Outsoaring mine, sang such a loftier song
As drowned the friendly cooings of my dove.
Which owes the other most? my love was long,
And yours one moment seemed to wax more strong;
I loved and guessed at you, you construed me
And loved me for what might or might not be –
Nay, weights and measures do us both a wrong.
For verily love knows not ‘mine’ or ‘thine;’
With separate ‘I’ and ‘thou’ free love has done,
For one is both and both are one in love:
Rich love knows nought of ‘thine that is not mine;’
Both have the strength and both the length thereof,
Both of us, of the love which makes us one.

Tuesday, August 09, 2022

The Silent Working

 Today is the feast of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, Martyr, also known as St. Edith Stein.

As were the hearts of the first human beings, so down through the ages again and again human hearts have been struck by the divine ray. Hidden from the whole world, it illuminated and irradiated them, let the hard, encrusted, misshapen matter of these hearts soften, and then with the tender hand of an artist formed them anew into the image of God. Seen by no human eye, this is how living building blocks were and are formed and brought together into a Church first of all invisible. However, the visible Church grows out of this invisible one in ever new, divine deeds and revelations which shed their light in ever new epiphanies. The silent working of the Holy Spirit in the depths of the soul made the patriarchs into friends of God. However, when they came to the point of allowing themselves to be used as his pliant instruments, .he established them in an external visible efficacy as bearers of historical development, and awakened from among them his chosen people...
...The deeper a soul is bound to God, the more completely surrendered to grace, the stronger will be its influence on the form of the church. Conversely, the more an era is engulfed in the night of sin and estrangement from God the more it needs souls united to God. And God does not permit a deficiency. The greatest figures of prophecy and sanctity step forth out of the darkest night. But for the most part the formative stream of the mystical life remains invisible. Certainly the decisive turning points in world history are substantially co-determined by souls whom no history book ever mentions. And we will only find out about those souls to whom we owe the decisive turning points in our personal lives on the day when all that is hidden is revealed.

 [Edith Stein, "The Hidden Life and Epiphany", The Hidden Life, Collected Works of Edith Stein (Volume IV), ed. Dr. L. Gelber and Michael Linssen, O.C.D, ICS Publications (Washington, DC: 1992) pp. 109-110.]

Two Poem Drafts


Language is a leviathan,
vast as ocean-sea;
we splash,

we splash upon the surface,
dip a little in;
we are carried,

we are carried regardless,
swept away,
we add shape,

we add some shape,
a little wave,
but it is sea,

but it is sea in sublimity,
older, mightier,
infinitely more dangerous,

infinitely dangerous to us;
we may play God,
but we cannot impose,

we cannot impose our will;
it shrugs it off.
We can only propose,

we can only propose and supplicate,
and perhaps
our wavelets matter.

Summer in the Judith Mountains

Shushing wind on hill and pine
makes trees to sway in solemn dance;
the twisting creek is flowing by
where gold is struck by happenstance.

The summer sun is warm and clear
but gentle rains in hurried rush
drop a kiss or two in time
and leave, and leave the world in hush.

The squirrels are scolding from the branch,
the deer are peering, forest-hid,
the bears are searching through the trees
and doing as their fathers did.

A scent of smoke and sunscreen hangs
with bug spray's intermingled smell
by cabins built by human hands
whose quiet secrets none can tell.

Wind is shushing pine and hill,
the breezes play on steep and vale;
they hustle, toss, and stand stock still,
then buck again like sudden gale.

A heavy scent, a sunlight scent,
rolls down from mountain-top on high;
the sky is bluer than a dream
in paints that neither fade nor die.

Monday, August 08, 2022

Change and Counterchange

by Frances Thompson 

Soothsay. Behold, with rod twy-serpented,
Hermes the prophet, twining in one power
The woman with the man. Upon his head
The cloudy cap, wherewith he hath in dower
The cloud's own virtue--change and counterchange,
To show in light, and to withdraw in pall,
As mortal eyes best bear. His lineage strange
From Zeus, Truth's sire, and maiden May--the all--
Illusive Nature. His fledged feet declare
That 'tis the nether self transdeified,
And the thrice-furnaced passions, which do bear
The poet Olympusward. In him allied
 Both parents clasp; and from the womb of Nature
 Stern Truth takes flesh in shows of lovely feature.

Sunday, August 07, 2022

Modern Problems

 A man called Smith goes out for a walk, and stops by a bookstall, where he sees a book called "The Great Problem Solved". If Smith finds that this book solves a problem in crime, he is entranced. If Smith finds that it solves a problem in chess, he is interested. If Smith finds that it solves the problem in the last issue of Answers, he is genuinely excited. But if Smith finds that it solves the problem of Smith, that it explains the stones under his feet, and the stars over his head, that it tells him suddenly why it really is that he likes chess or detective stories, or anything else; if I say, Smith finds that the book explains Smith--then we are told he finds it dull. It may be a democratic prejudice, but I do not believe this. I think that Smith likes modern chess problems more than modern philosophical problems for the very simple reason that they are better. I think he likes a modern detective story better than a modern religion simply because there are some good modern detective stories and no good modern religions. In short, he buys "The Great Problem Solved" as a police novel, because be knows that in a police novel, in some shape or form, the great problem will be solved. And he does not buy it as a book of modern philosophy, because he knows that in a book of modern philosophy, the great problem will certainly not be solved.

G. K. Chesterton, "Reading the Riddle", The Common Man.