Saturday, October 29, 2022

The Ordered Beauty of Thy Face

by Dorothy Sayers

The splendour of the year, no less
Is on thy loveliness,
The light in no less glory falls
On thy unchanging walls
Now, than in other days;
No sorrow can displace
The ordered beauty of thy face;
Yet thou dost watch the water-ways
For thy lost lovers, with a grave and panoplied distress; 

 Like Iseult looking over-sea
With wan face wearily
Under the coils of braided gold
Resplendent fold on fold,
And girded queenliwise
With jewels of rich price,
With vair, and scarlet of fine dyes,
But still with shadow-haunted eyes
Straining to Tristram hard bested in far-off Brittany.

Friday, October 28, 2022

Dashed Off XXVI

 This ends the notebook that was completed in December 2021.

rule of law: Plato, Laws IV 715d
Aristotle, Politics III.16 1287a

Lewis's principle of recombination obviously fails to respect any links between causation and modality.

What we love we take as a kind of end.

Confucius thinks we should practice ritual and music like rustics, in the sense that rustics perform their ritual and music with a view to their purpose, not to show.

Taxonomies are products of liberal and have grammatical, logical, and rhetorical features.

algebra as a structure of measurements, calculus as a structure of measurement processes

In general, empires fall from their successes.

Steno's Principles
I: "If a solid body is enclosed on all sides by another solid body, of the two bodies that one first became hard which in the mutual contact expresses on its own surface the properties of the other surface."
II: "If a solid substance is in every way like another solid substance, not only as regards the conditions of surface, but also as regards the inner arrangement of parts and particles, it will also be like it as regards the manner and place of production, if you except those conditions of place which are found time and again in some place to furnish neither any advantage or disadvantage to the production of body."
III: "If a solid body has been produced according to the laws of nature, it has been produced from a fluid."
-- "If, therefore, every solid has its accretions, at any rate, from a fluid, if bodies similar to one another in all respects were also produced in a similar way, and if of two contiguous solids that one first became hard which exhibits on its surface the characeristics of the other's surface, it will be easy, granted a solid and the place in which it is, to affirm something definite about the place of its production. And this, indeed, is the general question of a solid contained within a solid."

Steno's Principles of Crystalline Matter
I: "A crystal grows while new crystalline matter is being added to the external planes of the crystal already formed."
II: "This new crystalline matter is not added to all the planes but, for the most part, to the planes of the apex only, or to the terminal planes...."
III: "The crystalline matter is not added to all the terminal planes at the same time, nor in the same amount."
IV: "An entire plane is not always covered by crystalline matter, but exposed planes are left sometimes toward the angles, sometimes toward the sides, and sometimes in the centre of the plane."

"Whatever contributes anything to the production of any substance, does this either as place, or as matter, or as the agent." Steno, Prodromus
"There are no other means in order to enjoy the real human happiness in this world than those taught by Our Lord, namely, to constantly live before God's eyes and to eradicate our vices with the help of a confessor." Steno, Op. Sp.
"God does not ask us for lofty or difficult things, but for love." Steno, Ep. to Cosimo III, 21 June 1672

Gladiatorial combat seems to have arisen in the context of funerary rites.


sport as ethical toy model

race as a distortion of the concept of tribe

In Etruscan paintings, men and women are often distinguished not by physical characteristics but by color -- women are pained white and men are painted red.

We partly measure special occasions by the work we put into them.

An ethics not conveyable in a story would be a very defective ethics.

Folk taxonomy is often more rigorous for its particular practical purposes than any taxonomy built for theoretical purposes.

kinds of classification
(1) placement under a label
(2) placement in a division
(3) placement in a hierarchy
(4) placement in a system of distinct hierarchies
-- all of these admit of simple or graded versions.

The Torah is never abrogated, only accomplished in that of which it is a sign. It never fails, but is fulfilled in Christ.

Geometry plays a large role in the ancient world in part because the notational system of geometry was vastly more flexible and powerful than an arithmetic notation without place value.

Geometrical lines must lack breadth or it massively complicates congruency.

Language is constantly emerging on the model of prior language.

The usefulness of language, like that of a physical tool, lies in its combination of mutability and stability.

-ly as a suffix in English was originally -like

'Do', 'go', and 'come' can cover practically every situation.

'Canons' in the literary sense arise from pedagogical bottlenecks.

A cause is like a genus for its effect.

John Mitchell, letter to Cavendish, 27 Nov 1783, read before the Royal Society, gives an early clear statement of something like a black hole (body with escape velocity greater than light) -- differs from relativistic conception in that it would still be escapable with sufficient acceleration.

categorical vs transcendental causes (w/ intellectual beings being examples of the latter)

The clicks of click languages are thought by some to be a form of avoidance/respect -- etiquette in a broad sense, in which one replaces by click or clicks over a name or word that should not be merely spoken; this is at least very likely in later emergences, like Bantu languages.

Languages mix by nature because communication itself is usually a mixing.

Everybody's knowledge of language is impressionistic.

Forms of advertising are driven more by what the seller fears than anything to do with the product or service.

a Christian approach to other religions
(1) identify analogies
(2) use allegorically
(3) qualify excesses
(4) repair deficiencies

Humility is hierarchical by nature, and has three aspects: willingness to be purified, willingness to be enlightened, willingness to be united with another (and ultimately God).

ren : seeking good :: yi : avoiding evil

All Christian papyrus manuscripts from the second-century are codices. (This is one of the reasons to think that the Christian community is a major cause of the spread of the format.)

"making sense" = reducible to a usable rule of thumb

Ejectives are often associated with mountain languages.

characteristic classification -> type classification -> prototype classification

writing as a symbiotic system with speech: writing allows revival, extends shelf-life of some linguistic features, etc.

forms of business ethics
(1) management ethics
(2) workplace ethics
(3) labor ethics

Julio-Claudian Formation -- solved Julius Caesar's problems
Year of Four Emperors -- problems unsolved by Julio-Claudians become unmanageable
Flavian Consolidation -- solved Julio-Claudian problems
The Five Good Emperors -- solved problems shown by Domitian, but could not establish solutions as stable

A fossil captures an interaction between an organism and its environment. This is most clear with trace fossils, but it is also true of body fossils; the interaction is just of a different kind.

"For real wisdom does not merely cause us to know: it makes us 'be' in a different way." Hadot

Simia Qian on the Spring and Autumn Annals: "It distinguishes what is suspicious and doubtful, clarifies right and wrong, and settles points which are uncertain. It calls good good and bad bad, honors the worthy, and condemns the unworthy. It preserves states which are lost and restores the perishing family. It brings to light what was neglected and restores what was abandoned."

"Order is the arrangement of graded elements in which each is given its due." Grosseteste

Tidy schemes of grammatical gender always get broken by analogical extensions.

Things do not appear merely as present, but as traces of the past with potential for the future.

the sacraments qua signs of Christ's passion as pedagogy against the capital vices: e.g., Christ's sacrifice shows the remedy of humility, aspects of which are expressed in different sacraments -- the self-sacrifice in the eucharist, the compassion (solidarity) in matrimony, the patience in unction, the appeal to mercy in penance, etc.; and thus together they make a pedagogy against pride. And so with all others -- the remedy of self-giving against envy, the remedy of mortification against lust and gluttony, etc.

Study of the historical development of language is hampered by having no pre-writing analogue to fossilization.

standard language order (McWhorter)
SOV -- about 45% -- e.g., Bengali, Malayalam, Urdu, Latin
SVO -- about 42% -- e.g., Chinese, Dutch, English, Malay
OSV -- vanishingly small -- e.g., Warao, Xavante, Iamamadi
VSO -- about 9% -- e.g., Irish, Welsh
VOS -- about 3% -- e.g., Malagasy
OVS -- about 1% -- e.g., Apulas, Hixkaryana

the Wedding at Cana as the structure of Marian intercession: she intercedes with Christ, then directs us to Him

Lk 1:41 -- As an unborn baby, Jesus is first recognized by an unborn baby, John. The Word is incarnate of the Virgin Mary; Christianity begins in the womb.

Juxtaposing signs in and of itself raises the question of how they are related.

perceptual evidence: causal principle
inferential evidence: causal + abstract principle
testimonial evidence: causal + abstract + personal/ethical principle

Every effect implies a source (causation) not itself (remotion) more than adequate to explain it (eminence). (Merely adequate would just be direct transformation or continuity.)

To decipher an ancient writing is to rebuild, at least in model and idea, what makes a script useful and producible.

All known natural writing systems have phonetic signs, which are integratable with other signs when such signs are used.

A science like paleontology requires a very large amount of abstract infrastructure -- extant taxonomies, scientific theories from other sciences, ready chronologies, counterfactuals, etc. -- on which it must draw, often more directly than other sciences (which might, e.g., construct them on the fly).

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Fallacies of Distribution

William Stanley Jevons, in his Elementary Lessons in Logic (Chapter XIX), notes that certain fallacies concerned with conditionals in propositional logic correspond to certain fallacies in syllogistic logic. For instance, one such conditional fallacy is the fallacy of affirming the consequent, e.g.,

If the iron is impure, the iron is brittle.
The iron is brittle.
Therefore the iron is impure. [INVALID]

This corresponds as an argument to:

All the impure iron is brittle iron.
The iron is brittle iron.
Therefore the iron is impure iron. [INVALID]

The categorical syllogism is guilty of a specific fallacy, the fallacy of the undistributed middle. And this will be found to be quite general: Whenever the hypothetical syllogism is guilty of the the fallacy of affirming the consequent, the categorical syllogism is guilty of the fallacy of the undistributed middle, and vice versa.

Likewise, we find this works with the fallacy of denying the antecedent:

If the iron is impure, the iron is brittle.
It is not true that the iron is impure.
Therefore it is not true that the iron is brittle. [INVALID]

This corresponds to:

All the impure iron is brittle iron.
The iron is not impure iron.
Therefore The iron is not brittle iron. [INVALID]

In this case, the categorical syllogism suffers from the fallacy of the illicit process of the major.  This too will be found to be general: When the hypothetical syllogism involves the fallacy of denying the antecedent, the corresponding categorical syllogism involves the fallacy of illicit major. 

Jevons doesn't pursue this matter further, but there is another correspondence. Here is an example of a conditional fallacy that doesn't usually have a name, although we might call it the fallacy of false chaining:

If the iron is impure, the iron is brittle.
If the iron is impure, the iron is unsuitable.
Therefore if the iron is brittle, the iron is unsuitable. [INVALID]

The categorical fallacy corresponding to false chaining is well known; it is the fallacy of the illicit process of the minor. Thus:

All the impure iron is brittle iron.
All the impure iron is unsuitable iron.
Therefore all the brittle iron is unsuitable iron. [INVALID]

The correspondence is quite general: Whenever the hypothetical syllogism commits false chaining, the corresponding categorical syllogism commits illicit minor, and vice versa.

These correspondences arise from the general correspondence of conditional propositions with universal affirmative propositions. As Jevons notes, any conditional proposition can be reduced to a universal affirmative proposition (although we have to be careful sometimes about interpretation). Indeed, the correspondence is essential to the predicate calculus, although the predicate calculus goes the opposite direction of Jevons and reduces universal affirmative propositions to conditional propositions.

The three categorical fallacies are all fallacies of distribution. According to the principles of distribution, universal affirmative propositions all have distributed subjects and undistributed predicates. In any categorical syllogism, (1) the middle term must be distributed at least once; (2) if a term is distributed in the conclusion, it must be distributed in the premises. Violating the first rule gives you undistributed middle; violating the second rule gives you either illicit minor (if the term distributed in the conclusion is the subject term) or illicit major (if the distributed term in the conclusion is the predicate term).

I've mentioned all this before. However, it's also true that, since conditional propositions can be converted to disjunctive propositions, if we are interpreting the former as material conditions, so we can find corresponding fallacies with disjunctive syllogisms. One common disjunctive fallacy is the fallacy of affirming a disjunct:

Either the box is on the shelf or the store was closed.
The box is on the shelf.
Therefore it is not true that the store was closed. [INVALID]

"Either the box is on the shelf or the store was closed" is translated into conditionals as "If it is not true that the box is on the shelf, the store was closed; and if it is not true that the store was closed, the box is on the shelf." In this case the corresponding conditional argument is:

If it is not true that the box is on the shelf, the store was closed.
The box is on the shelf.
Therefore it is not true that the store was closed. [INVALID]

This means affirming a disjunct corresponds to denying an antecedent, and thus corresponds to the fallacy of illicit process of the major. However, notice that, because you actually translate the disjunction into two conditionals, affirming a disjunct also corresponds to affirming the consequent and thus to the fallacy of undistributed middle.

The disjunctive fallacy corresponding to illicit process of the minor seems not to have a name. An example:

Either the box is on the shelf or the store was closed.
Either the box is on the shelf or Christmas is coming.
Therefore, either Christmas is coming or it is not true that the store was closed. [INVALID]

That sounds quite odd, but the conclusion is equivalent to 'If the store was closed, Christmas is coming', and one can imagine making the error in this form:

Either the box is on the shelf or the store was closed.
Either the box is on the shelf or Christmas is coming.
Therefore if the store was closed, Christmas is coming. [INVALID]

Traditionally, distribution has usually been understood as indicating whether a term is in a position that requires it to cover the whole of that which it indicates. For instance, in "All human beings are mortal", "human beings", by being made a subject term in a universal proposition, is made to apply to every human being. We could reverse that and say that every human being is relevant. However, "mortal" isn't being made to apply to everything mortal (mortal cats are irrelevant to the proposition, for instance). Since propositions don't have extensions in this way, this doesn't carry over. But the original idea for distribution seems to have been mereological. To say "All human beings are mortal" was seen as corresponding to something like "The extension of 'human being' is part of the extension of 'mortal'". Likewise, the conditional, "If it's a human being, it's mortal", would correspond to "The situations described by "it's a human being" are part of the situations described by "it's mortal"". A universal subject term is like a part of a whole; an antecedent in a conditional is also like a part of a whole. The affirmative predicate term is like a whole to which a part is assigned -- that on its own doesn't require that the part includes everything in the whole. Likewise with the consequent of the conditional.

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Three Poem Re-Drafts


O God, you are thrice holy as you dwell in endless light;
send down your flawless splendor to your children in the night,
for if you do not aid us, how empty is our song!
How clearly all our virtue but a mask to hide our wrong!
When I think upon my life, Lord, I should weep with tears of shame:
each moment hides a weakness in which I've failed your name:
when nations look upon me they should see Christ Crucified,
yet often how it seems that I am nothing but a lie!
Should I not become a sign of endless, holy grace?
My life is more a symbol of the failing of our race.
With your sanguine power flowing, Lord, cast out this sin in me
as the music of your Spirit moves in psalmic melody.

O God, you are most holy with your goodness ever-same,
and who would stand before you if you chose to render blame?
Not I, my King, most surely I would drown beneath the sea
of times when I have fallen short of where our hearts should be.
The love that I have given has not always come from you;
my hope is streaked with cowardice that runs it through and through;
in all my faith how truly rare are glory's little gleams;
and prudence in me shifts around like faces in a dream;
my courage, not a martyr's, is but mostly comfort tame;
and moderation flees away, and justice just the same.
With your sanguine power flowing, Lord, cast out this sin in me
as the music of your Spirit moves in psalmic melody.

 One Moment in Time

I fell in love
with a girl sweet and shy,
bright as spring
when the birds sing,
with stars in her eye.
She looked at me
and my senses were caught,
with my breath
taken away
in entranced thought.

Someday, I know,
at the back of the night,
when all darknesses are gone,
there will be light.
Someday I dream
all the moments now past
will be found,
all safe and sound,
this time to last.

Never before my clear eye
for such a vision has tried;
never before has my soul
known such a promise to be whole.

I fell in love
with a girl sweet and shy,
filled with joy
enough for a boy
to taste till he dies.
She looked at me;
the sun broke the cloud
as dawn
takes a scissor
to night's shroud.

Never before has the light
poured from the sky to sight,
never again will the sky
look the same to the seeking eye.

Ever and again, I recall
the sun in its rise and fall;
Hear but the name,
the world is never the same.

I fell in love
with a girl sweet and shy,
bright as sun's ray
in blazing day
as it pours from the sky.
Someday, I know,
a future far and fair
this moment returns
from memory burned,
and erased
of all care.

Then it seems to me
that my soul rises free:

I fall in love
with a girl sweet and shy,
bright as spring
when the birds sing,
and starry of eye.
She looks at me
and my senses are caught,
with my breath
taken away,
in entranced thought.

So It Goes

There is love,
there are lies,
there is lying in love,
there is living a lie
(and loving it too),
there is love like to hate
and hate like to love,
there is lying in wait,
then surprise in their eyes
when shots ring out.

She hates and she loves,
he hates and he loves,
at times all the same in a jumbling game
where the prize is a heart,
or a life,
or a death,
and the sudden exhaling of everyone's breath
when shots ring out.

And so --
the gun's in her hand
and the shots ring out,
and how it ends who can tell?
I suppose no one knows
who has not been there,
feeling it happen.
So it goes.

And so --
the gun's in her hand
and the life-lines are tangled with lies
and soon somebody dies,
and death is an untensing of breath.
And so it goes.

The dark is a friend,
the dark is a foe,
the tears on her cheek cannot recall
even a memory tracing the path she has gone,
wandering in darkness
before hint of dawn;
just the sound stays
as shots ring out.

He is dead.
There -- it's said.
He lied;
let him lie.
It cannot be recalled.
So it goes.

And so --
the gun's in her hand;
who can tell
who it is
who suffers the more?
I guess to understand
we would need to be there,
feeling overcome.
So it goes.

And so --
the gun's in her hand,
and when love is a lie,
or a lie is a love,
there is lying in wait a doom and a fate
that cannot end well.
And so it goes.

We are fools for our loves,
we fall for their lies,
and so --
the gun's in her hand:
like spilled milk, spilled blood
now pointless to cry over;
the tears were already shed,
and she works out a fate
she chose long ago.
So it goes.

And so --
the gun's in her hand;
what's past has passed --
and yet we would love to recall
the lies of the past
and not let them lie.
It makes no sense;
it cannot be reasoned away.
And so it goes.

Monday, October 24, 2022

And You Shall Tell the Next to Me

 Matter of Brittany
by Dorothy Sayers

Draw to the fire, and let us weave a web
 Of sounds and splendours intertwined--
 Of warriors riding two by two
 In silken surcoats stitched with blue,
 To seek and strive the whole world through
 For a scarlet fruit with silver rind;
Of unsteered ships that drift for miles on miles
Amid the creeks of myriad magic isles
Over enchanted seas, that leave at ebb
 A beach of glittering gold behind. 

 Hark! how the rain is rippling over the roofs
 And knocking hard on the window-pane!
 It rattles down the gutter-spout
 And beats the laurel-leaves about;
 So let us tell of a kempy stout
 With bells upon his bridle-rein--
How, as he rode beneath the chattering boughs,
He clashed the iron visor over his brows,
Hearing upon his heel the hurried hoofs
 Of Breunor, Breuse or Agravaine. 

 Of names like dusky jewels wedged in gold
 The tale shall cherish goodly store,
 Of Lionel and Lamorak
 And of Sir Lancelot du Lak,
 And him that bore upon his back
 Arms for the Lady Lyonor;
Persant, Perimones and Pertolepe,
And Arthur laid in Avalon asleep,
Dinas and Dinadan and Bors the bold,
 And many a mighty warrior more. 

 And grimly crouched in every woodland way
 A dragon with his emerald eyes
 Shall sit and blink on passing knights;
 In the deep dells, old eremites,
 Victors once of a thousand fights,
 Shall sing their masses at sunrise;
And weary men shall stumble unaware
On damsels dancing in a garden fair,
And there, like Meraugis of Portlesguez,
 Dance, cheated of their memories. 

 To towns where we shall feast at Pentecost,
 Carlion or Kynke Kenadon,
 Each day shall come a faery dame,
 Or else a giant with eyes of flame
 Shall bid to the beheading game
 Knights that the king sets store upon;
And some shall find, at hour of day's decline,
The house beside the fountain and the pine,
And learning much of marvel from their host,
 Shall hasten greatly to begone. 

 Some, by the help of charm├Ęd steeds shall-- just--
 Leap through the whirling barriers
 That guard about the pleasant bower
 Where every moment is an hour,
 And with an elfin paramour
 Drowse and dream for a hundred years,
But setting foot again on Middle Earth,
Or tasting wheaten bread in hour of dearth,
Shall crumble to a little cloud of dust
 Blown by the wind across the furze. 

 Or sometimes through the arches of the wood
 The sad Good Friday bells will ring
 Loud in the ear of Percivale,
 Through many a year of ban and bale
 Yet questing after the Sangraal
 For comfort of the Fisher King;
And suddenly across a vault of stars
Shall drive a network of enchanted spars,
And Lancelot and Galahad the good
 Behold the ship of hallowing. 

 And first of all I'll tell the tale to you,
 And you shall tell the next to me:
 How gentle Enid made complaint
 While riding with her lord Geraint,
 Or how the merry Irish Saint
 Went ever westward oversea;
While your dim shadow moving on the wall
Might be Sir Tristram's, as he harped in hall
Before Iseult of Ireland, always true,
 Or white Iseult of Brittany.

If you can recognize all of the names in this poem, I salute you on your Arthurian knowledge. I had completely forgotten Dinas (King Mark's seneschal) and Persant, Perimones and Pertolepe (enemies of the Round Table), and had to look up Kynke Kenadon (a city mentioned only once, in Malory's tale of Geraint), which I don't think I ever knew. Meraugis of Portlesguez I only recognized because I have been reading up on various tales of Sir Gawain; he shows up in passing in a number of places, but has a major role in a Gawain-focused story by Raoul de Houdenc that is named after him. 

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Fortnightly Book, October 23

 My next few weeks are going to going to be quite busy, so I don't want anything terribly long for the fortnightly book. I will be doing Dorothy Sayers's Striding Folly. This is a Lord Peter Wimsey book made well after Sayers's death, a collection of short stories first published posthumously in 1972; it contains two stories that were published in 1939 and one story that had not ever been published. (It's one of those collections that's clearly meant to gather stories that otherwise were tending to fall between cracks in other collections.)The short stories are: "Striding Folly", a chess-themed mystery; "The Haunted Policeman", in which Lord Peter has to help a policeman who, because he has been dealing with strange and inexplicable happenings, is in danger of being dismissed on the accusation of being a drunk; and "Talboys", the one that had not been published in Sayers's lifetime, when Lord Peter has to deal with a mystery close to home, as the family deals with an unwanted houseguest and his six-year-old son Bredon is accused of theft. The edition also has a long introduction by Janet Hitchman.