Friday, November 24, 2017

"Rappaccini's Daughter" on the Radio

Unlike Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne was not a particularly common source of stories in the Golden Age of Radio. The Golden Age series that made the most use of Hawthorne was The Weird Circle, which adapted four of his short stories; Favorite Story adapted two; The Witch's Tale did one. NBC University Theater apparently did an adaptation of The Marble Faun which, as far as I have been able to determine, is the only Golden Age adaptation of a Hawthorne novel to radio. After the Golden Age, Hawthorne fares much better, proportionally, although radio drama shrinks enough that examples are still sparse. In the several revival attempts in the late sixties and seventies, CBC Radio Mystery Theater and CBS Radio Mystery Theater both did several Hawthorne adaptations. Nightfall and Vanishing Point, put out by CBC Radio in the mid-eighties, did a few, as well. And, while it's much harder to gauge how many there are, as the Internet has slowly brought back some interest in radio-like drama, there seem to be a few newer ones floating around.

Of all of Hawthorne's works, there is no question which has been the radio favorite, because it is easily the most adapted one: "Rappaccini's Daughter", originally published in 1844 and then anthologized in Mosses from an Old Manse in 1846.

(1) The Witch's Tale (Australia, 1943).

The Witch's Tale was the first major horror series on radio; it ran from 1931 to 1938 on the Mutual Radio Network, with considerable success. It was transcribed on disks, and in this period it was common for American radio networks to sell the recorded shows to places like Australia. It was a very good deal for the American companies; since their primary profit was from the very large American market, they could always sell to Australian radio stations at a cost much lower than any Australian networks could make a series, thus eliminating any local competition before it could even get started, and still make money off the deal. In 1939, this practice was blocked by the Australian government in order to reduce how much Australian money was going in wartime to the United States; but the Australians had apparently already heard enough of The Witch's Tale to be interested more; when the American series ended, they started an Australian run of the same show, which lasted from 1938-1943 (and provides us most of the few dozen episodes that have survived from the once extremely popular series). In the middle of this run, they did "Rappaccini's Daughter". Unfortunately, it seems to be very difficult to find, so, alas, I did not hear how Old Nancy and her black cat Satan handle the story.

(2) The Weird Circle (1944).

The success of The Witch's Tale led to horror becoming one of the staple genres of the Golden Age of Radio. Among the shows that arose was The Weird Circle, produced by RCA and simultaneously leased to NBC-Red and to Mutual, and then later to others. It was broadcast from 1943 to 1945. It was a minor, although widely heard, program at the time, and it had a shoestring budget that meant it did not pay for the expense of music and used local actors from around New York, but the technical quality of the original recordings and the fact that multiple copies were made for syndication has resulted in its being one of the Golden Age series that is in the best shape. If I am not mistaken, every episode is extant, much of it in good quality audio. The Weird Circle did its version of "Rappaccini's Daughter" in 1944, one hundred years after its original publication. It mostly treats the tale as a love story with science-fantasy elements, and so breaks the ending, to the point of turning parts of it upside-down.

(3) Favorite Story (1947).

Up to about 1945 or so, radio transcription (recording onto disks for distribution) was a relatively minor contributor to the radio world -- it was used, mostly for cheap supplementary filler. The quality was not good enough to compete with live programming in the American market, which had quite a bit of money to spend on live programming. But recording developed to such a degree of technical quality that it became impossible to tell, simply from the sound, whether something was live or recorded. And when the always-savvy Bing Crosby realized in 1946 that he could do massively better in transcription, things began to shift hard. One of the big-name stars who moved from live radio to transcribed radio was Ronald Colman, who started a series, Favorite Story, which ran from 1946 to 1949. It was a big-budget investment by a relatively new and completely independent syndication business; it was a very expensive radio series to produce, but it paid off in spades, as high-quality transcription combined with big-name actors (Colman won an Academy Award in 1947) and a very active sales department sold the series throughout the United States and Canada on a massive scale. Each episode dramatized a 'favorite story' by a notable name, and in 1947, the actor Sydney Greenstreet was responsible for Favorite Story giving us "Rappaccini's Daughter". I think the casting is a little odd; Howard Duff was an unexpected selection for Giovanni. It makes the interesting choice of focusing on the aspect of the story concerned with beauty, and unsurprisingly it focuses as much, or perhaps even more on the romance than the other versions; thus, also unsurprisingly, it also breaks the ending.

(4) CBS Radio Mystery Theater (1975), as "The Kiss of Death".

The Golden Age of Radio ended on September 30, 1962, as even the most popular radio series were shuttered in the face of the television juggernaut. There were attempts to rethink how radio was done in order to salvage something, but most of them, even the best, failed. People still listened to the radio, including radio dramas, but it had become extremely difficult to develop and maintain a stable audience for it of any significant size. But in the 1970s, CBS Radio Mystery Theater and a few other shows managed to catch a wave of nostalgia that gave them time, and enough interested listeners, to build up precisely such an audience, composed of both older people who missed Golden Age Radio and younger people attracted to radio drama as a retro art. It ran from 1974 to 1982, with a total of 1,399 original episodes, all of which, of course, have survived. It was a shoestring-budget affair, and thus very uneven in quality, but it was more than successful enough to keep running. The CBSRMT version of the tale is retitled as "The Kiss of Death". It promises a story that shocks to the root of the soul, and a dark and menacing story, but like the previous versions deliberately breaks the ending. Interestingly, it chooses to give a partially first-person version of the tale. It also breaks the original ending to give the lovers "a better fate", but does so in a far more complicated way than previous versions, probably because it still has to deliver on a promise that it will give something shocking, dark, menacing.

(5) Vanishing Point (1986).

The CBC returned to old-style radio horror with Nightfall, which ran from 1980 to 1983. As this was not the Golden Age, they could go full-blast on it, and in fact one problem the series had was that it would occasionally be dropped by radio stations because it was too scary. After it ended, the CBC looked around for something to replace it and came up with the somewhat more science-fiction-oriented Vanishing Point, which ran from 1984 to 1986 and then sporadically afterward into the 90s. The Vanishing Point version of "Rappaccini's Daughter" moves the time of the story to the 1980s, which leads to some complicated, and occasionally odd, intertwining of the story with concerns about nuclear fallout. It does, however, put more emphasis than the other versions on the aspect of the story concerned with the morality of scientific inquiry. It also, unlike the others, retains something of the bitterness of the original ending.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

The Practically Flawless Turkey

I am not a great cook by any means, but one thing I do exceptionally well is roast a turkey -- never dry, never tough, never bland. A few tips.

(1) Don't skimp on the oils. I've seen recipes where the instruction for oiling the turkey is 'rub an empty butter wrapper on the outside' or 'drizzle lightly with oil'. Unless you literally have a medical issue requiring you to sabotage your turkey, be more generous rather than less with oils -- whether you use butter, or olive oil, or anything else. (I use butter on the inside and olive oil on the outside.) Unless you eat turkey skin rather than meat, most of that oil is not going to make it to your plate. The entire outside of the turkey, or at least the entire top, should be coated -- it doesn't have to be a thick coat, but it should be as global as you can get it. This (1) gives an extra source of moisture to the whole that won't harm the taste of the turkey; and (2) helps to seal in juices.

(2) Apples and onions make the best stuffing. For stuffing, take enough apple and onion to stuff the whole turkey (you generally want more apple than onion, and the apple should be as tart as you can get) and a half stick of unsalted butter. Use about a quarter of that half-stick to coat the inside of the turkey, and chop the rest into big dabs. Cut the apple and the onion into chunks, removing the less tasty bits; I've found that eighths work very well. Mix up apple, onion, and butter, and stuff it in the turkey. Nothing more is really required, although you can add chopped bacon and (lightly) your favorite turkey spices. It's extremely easy, and it keeps your turkey from drying out. People always go for the breaded stuffings, but I find that breaded stuffings often are culprits in bad turkey -- people are using their turkeys as stuffing ovens and not using the stuffings to enhance the turkey. Any kind of stuffing will help keep moisture in your turkey, but breaded stuffings also tend to absorb a lot moisture.

Apples and onions with butter also give you a richer gravy. If you are cooking your turkey right, you don't need gravy. You should never rely on gravy to make your turkey palatable. Gravy is there for three things: to do something with odd bits, to enhance flavor, and to cover mistakes (like overly dry turkey). You shouldn't be relying on it to make your turkey edible. But the gravy you get with apples and onions and butter as your stuffing is very flavorful.

(3) Basting should be done carefully and with discernment. Basting properly helps keep a turkey from drying out, but most people, I think, don't do it right. You should certainly not be basting more than twice the entire time, and when you do, you should baste well -- don't just use the juices in the pan, which are probably not enough; also use some of the giblet broth that you are using for gravy. Your oven is a humid box. When you open the door, you let the moisture out, thus increasing the amount of liquid that evaporates from your turkey. Most people (1) open the door too often or (2) when they do, don't add enough liquid to make up for it.

(4) Don't overcook. This one is obvious, but something worth noted is that all three of the above points give you more wiggle room than you would otherwise have -- if you do accidentally overcook, it does less harm to your turkey. I overcooked my turkey a bit this year, and it was still juicier than most people have in their best years.

A Poem Re-Draft

A Bit of Thanksgiving

Thank you, Lord, for infant smiles
and children bright at play;
thank you for the silly souls
who annoy us every day.
(We appreciate those most, O Lord,
those crosses that we bear,
and we thank you that we're not yet bald
from pulling out our hair.)

I thank you, Lord, for mercy!
It saves us from the brink;
and thank you, Lord, for righteous wrath --
we need more of it, I think.
But thank you for all gentle souls
who always tempers keep;
protect them, Lord, from the rest of us,
lest we kill them in their sleep.

I thank you, Lord, for cheerful sun
that rises every dawn,
and that my students learn to hide
the sound and sight of yawn,
that education is a joy
that overflows with awe,
and, on those crazy grading days,
that there are murder laws.

I thank you, Lord, for fruitful fields,
for wide and healthful skies,
and for the hopes that we can have
that are not marred by lies.
And thank you, God, for mysteries
still left for us to solve
upon this awesome floating ball
that rotates and revolves.

I thank you that we live here free
in houses without bars,
that there are things that we can own,
that no one owns the stars,
that joy and virtue freely flow
without a market price
while we have markets fully full
of grain and fruit and spice.

I thank you, Lord, for politics,
for presidents and such,
that they work so hard to get their way,
that they never get it much;
yea, for the limits you have placed
on corruption, fraud, and spite,
that we need only deal with them
a dozen times each night.

Thank you, Lord, for critics harsh
who attack with whip and flail;
because of harsh reviewers,
thank you, Lord, for hell.
And thank you, Lord, for stupid folk,
that we can clearly see
in blatant view the foolish things
from which none of us are free.

And thank you for those shocking times
when we pedants who lecture all
on every foolish folly
into those follies fall,
for it teaches us the wisdom
of gentleness and restraint
lest we in turn be painted
with the brush by which we paint.

Thank your for your graces,
the good of little things,
which even in the hardest times
can make us laugh and sing.
And thank you for all wonders
that stimulate the mind --
no matter the occasion,
new truths our minds may find.

But for absurdities I thank you most--
they overflow the bank
so if I thank you for each one,
I'll never cease to thank!
And thank you for sweet irony;
it gives the wit to see
that all the things we moan about
may be thanksgiving's seed.

But most of all, I thank you, Lord,
that long before we die,
we can see ourselves with wry regard,
and laugh until we cry.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Jottings on Erotetic Logic

Erotetic logic is the logic of questions. As with the logic of imperatives, there is a need for such a thing, and for similar reasons. You can have conjunctive questions and disjunctive questions, in which conjunction and disjunction work exactly like they do elsewhere. As importantly, questions can imply things. For instance,

Have you stopped beating your wife?

implies that you have been beating your wife, and

Was it Paul or Peter who opened the gate?

implies that either Paul or Peter opened the gate. More controversially, but also plausibly, assertions can imply questions, e.g., 'Either Paul or Peter opened the gate' naturally raises the question, "Which did it, Paul or Peter?", and this question-raising is either implication or something very like it.

But, as with imperatives there are a great many complications. For instance, questions do not seem to be the sort of thing that can be true or false, and this complicates practically everything. Interestingly, not everyone has agreed that questions can be neither true nor false -- Bolzano is the most famous case, since he argued that every question is actually an assertion about the one asking it. There is a certain plausibility for this with regard to some kinds of questions. For instance, if I ask a question in order to learn something I did not know, e.g., "What is the dominant predator on the island of Malta?", then this is not far from saying, "I do not know the dominant predator on the island of Malta." Indeed, the latter, in some circumstances, might be taken as an implicit question. And it is notable that much of the more interesting recent work on questions has tended to link it to various kinds of epistemic modal logics.

Nonetheless, Husserl showed that Bolzano's position is quite problematic, pointing out (among other things) the absurdity of thinking that when we are silently wondering about something we are doing the same thing as sitting there asserting our lack of knowledge about things. At the very least, some questions are not assertions, and for many questions it is absurd to take them to be assertions about the questioner.

Yet it's not so clear that Bolzano was wholly off-base. One of the things we do with questions is soften assertions. For instance, in Vietnamese, nhé? (or in some dialects, nha?) turns a statement into a suggestion, along the lines of how we might say in English, "I'll take you home now, ok?" This is arguably an assertion -- I am actually saying that I'll take you home, I'm just letting you have a say in the matter if you object. It is also prima facie a question. There seems to be a spread of ways in which this can work. In Vietnamese, if I understand correctly, Tôi đi nhé?, "I am leaving, ok?" is a different kind of question from Tôi đi à?, which might be something more like "I'm leaving!?" or "Am I leaving!?" and both from Tôi đi không?, "I'm leaving, aren't I?" or "Am I leaving?" (One could perhaps argue that these are actually compound, with an assertion part and a question part, but when we look at these things in use, it's not clear that this sort of analysis actually sheds any light on the meaning.)

One variation would be to take questions to be to assertion as incomplete to complete. So, for instance, an assertion might be, "John went to the party last night." Some corresponding questions might be:

Did John go to the party last night?
Who went to the party last night?
What did John do?
Who did what?

In each case we are missing something. If we supply the answer, we get something equivalent to the original assertion. For instance, "Did John go to the party last night? Yes", is equivalent to "John went to the party last night", and so is "Who went to the party last night? John."

There are appropriate and inappropriate answers to questions. For instance, if you ask, "Who is in the house?" and I reply, "Slowly," my answer is not just incorrect, it's not even the right kind of answer to be correct. Thus there is a longstanding tendency to try to account of questions in terms of their possible answers. Thus Hamblin influentially argued that questions create a situation in which we choose among possible answers, which he held to be propositions. A potential strength of this is that it makes the logic easier -- you could then say a lot about the logic of questions based on the logic of the assertions that make up their possible answers. One difficulty is that the appropriate answer to a question does not always seem to be a proposition. If I say, "What color is John's shirt?", I only need an answer like "Red", I don't need, "John's shirt is red." I could certainly say the latter, but the only part of it that is doing any work answering is the term 'red', and it seems that instead of thinking in terms of propositions, we can just take the answer to be supplying what's needed to finish making the proposition -- which we can do either by just supplying the particular element needed or by giving the finished product with the element supplied. An even more serious difficulty is that the possible answers to a question seem to have to be severable from understanding the question itself. We can make sense of a question without having much idea as to what its possible answers really are, so we don't want to characterize questions as if they could only be understood if you knew all the ways they could be answered. We need to be able to know what would count as a possible answer without having to know the possible answers.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Music on My Mind

Rockwell, "Somebody's Watching Me". I was in the car today and this came on the radio. It had been ages since I'd last heard it. It's a very, very Eighties song, but it works perfectly. Jermaine Jackson is the backup vocals, Michael Jackson the chorus; Michael only did it as a favor, and on the condition that his name not be associated with the song at all.

Learn the Mystery of Progression Duly

by Adelaide Anne Procter

Nothing resting in its own completeness
Can have worth or beauty: but alone
Because it leads and tends to farther sweetness,
Fuller, higher, deeper than its own.

Spring’s real glory dwells not in the meaning,
Gracious though it be, of her blue hours;
But is hidden in her tender leaning
To the Summer’s richer wealth of flowers.

Dawn is fair, because the mists fade slowly
Into Day, which floods the world with light;
Twilight’s mystery is so sweet and holy
Just because it ends in starry Night.

Childhood’s smiles unconscious graces borrow
From Strife, that in a far-off future lies;
And angel glances (veiled now by Life’s sorrow)
Draw our hearts to some belovèd eyes.

Life is only bright when it proceedeth
Towards a truer, deeper Life above;
Human Love is sweetest when it leadeth
To a more divine and perfect Love.

Learn the mystery of Progression duly:
Do not call each glorious change, Decay;
But know we only hold our treasures truly,
When it seems as if they passed away.

Nor dare to blame God’s gifts for incompleteness;
In that want their beauty lies: they roll
Towards some infinite depth of love and sweetness,
Bearing onward man’s reluctant soul.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Temple of Living Stones

In place of Solomon's temple, Christ has built a temple of living stones, the communion of saints. At its center, he stands as the eternal high priest; on its altar, he is himself the perpetual sacrifice. And, in turn, the whole of creation is drawn into the "liturgy," the ceremonial worship service: the fruits of the earth as the mysterious offerings, the flowers and the lighted candlesticks, the carpets and the curtain, the ordained priest, and the anointing and blessing of God's house. Not even the cherubim are missing. Fashioned by the hand of the artist, the visible forms stand watch beside the Holy of Holies. And, as living copies of them, the "monks resembling angels" surround the sacrificial altar and make sure that the praise of God does not cease, as in heaven so on earth.

St. Edith Stein, The Hidden Life: Essays, Meditations, Spiritual Texts, Stein, tr., ICS Publications (Washington, DC: 2014), p. 9.

Alec Guiness Reading Julian of Norwich


Saturday, November 18, 2017

Dashed Off XXIV

This finishes off the notebook completed on July 20, 2016.

skepticism-blocking arguments for God's existence & the Logos

Intellectual humility requires respecting evidence for what it is; someone skeptical in the face of good evidence is not being intellectually humble, however much they may pretend.

We look for external information that allows us to reduce meander-problems to maze-problems and maze-problems to labyrinth-problems.

Universals are abstractions; instantial invariance is not a feature of how abstracting works, nor does abstracting appear to have any features that require instantial invariance. Indeed, since we often have to discover instantiations over time or with difficulty, and run into questions of vagueness, it seems abstracting must not involve any strict commitment to instantial invariance, even if such a principle is often useful to assume.

corruptible and incorruptible as disjunctive transcendentals (Aquinas In Met sect. 2145)

Governments tend to support ways of thinking about equality that require significant expansions of government power.

two aspects of authority: official (officium/munus) and assistive (subsidium/adjumentum)

Empires tend to have short dynasty lengths because of the difficulty of exercising control over diffuse populations and the inevitable rise of semi-independent frontier commanders.

populational influence, territorial control, sovereignty

state formation strategies: merger with established institutions, religious claims, and violence threat

Party politics takes pressure off of naturally arising local political conflicts (although, being artificial, it cannot end them). People are distracted by Congressional conflict from putting all their weight behind city council conflict.

Experiment by nature involves communicable certitude. (Chastek)

Dialogue must be structured by love of the true and the good.

deriving questions from premises by possiblity-preserving inferences

"Music forms a part of us through nature, and can ennoble or debase character." Boethius

to reflect, to gloss, to preserve

All sin is a sign of judgment to come.

Euclid's definitions are clearly set up for the recognition of the analogy between line and surface.

A man in sin may yet have authority.

notarial vs essential certification

ostension & abduction

Whewell's moral Ideas quite clearly function as ends for human action. This suggests that we should see the theoretical Ideas as ends for human understanding.

relics as tangible stories

a book considered as individual (this physical object) vs. a book considered as specific (the book that this physical book is)

argumentation as gift exchange (Dutilh Novaes)

giving reasons using only gestures (e.g., pointing where to go gives a reason to go there)

autocephaly as a recognition that a church preaches to all nations and enriches all the churches in its own right

The Maltese word for Lent is Randan, from Ramadan.

Probabilities derive from arguments, not vice versa.

We can assign probabilities to premises, sometimes, because we can sometimes argue for them.

We dream in allusions.

Protestantism as liber acephalus

Comedy is a defense against boorishness, and tragedy against frivolousness.

comedy & the temptation to iconoclasm; tragedy & the temptation to iconolatry

In the long run, Christianity pulls all philosophy into its orbit.

One only genuinely sees a hero if one can see the flaws and still see the heroism.

The poet, like Varda, scatters stars in defiance of Morgoth.

What one gets out of liturgy is in proportion to one's service, prayer, and study.

the notes of the Church as applied to the Church Patient, the Church Triumphant, and the whole Church together (Militant, Patient, Triumphant)
- intercession & both apostolicity and unity
- indulgences & both unity and sanctity
the notes of the Church Militant and the Church Patient reflect those of the Church Triumphant, in which the notes achieve their perfection (perfect unity, perfect sanctity, perfect catholicity, perfect apostolicity)
the Church Patient is likewise more one, more holy, more catholic, and more apostolic than the Church Militant

The suffering of the souls of Purgatory is a solidary passion, a com-passion, with each other and with all who suffer.

Purgatory is a discipline of not meriting for oneself, but of accepting grace from the prayers of others, a martyrdom of waiting.

the three aspects of purgatory: (a) suffering; (b) waiting; (c) learning
(a) : martyrdom :: (b) : virginity :: (c) doctorality

the peregrination of the Church Militant as a reflection of that of the Church Patient

The phenomenal can only be a sign of the noumenal if the noumenal in some way is in it.

wonder -> Beatific Vision

"The Temple of the Beautiful is the porch of the Temple of Religion." S. S. Laurie

"The book of philosophy will indeed by closed when it shall have presented God and the world to us as an Epic." Laurie

"The correspondence between the living pattern set before the Christian and the ideal of a perfect life as conceived by Plato is an argument that both are real." Campbell

the pastoral authority of parents: Bede, Hom Ev. 1.7

the attractive force of a useful classification on rational discussion

The sacraments work not only by infusing grace but also by drawing as ends of rational action.

indulgences as an overflow (redundantia) of public prayer into private prayer

Philosophical problems are thematic histories.

By 'relevant' people often mean 'reactive'.

acting by reason of ignorance vs acting in ignorance (Aristotle)

Definitions should not use metaphors because metaphors are by nature pre-definitive.

Most formulations of the argument from evil amount to asking why all causes aren't 'omnibenevolent' in their effects.

rightly combining reason and rite

papal social encyclicals as encapuslating a memory that commerce can be otherwise (Douglas Rushkoff)

The human mind does not systematize rather than rhapsodize; it systematizes out of its rhapsodizing.

the Persian Council of 410: the bishops of Persia accept Nicaea and its canonsas translated into Syriac and presented by Saint Maruta (Maruthas) of Maipherkat

Mary Magdalen as symbol of the laity: isapostolicity and evangelization

"betrothal is a kind of sacramental annexed to matrimony, as exorcism to baptism" Aquinas ST Supp 43.1ad6

fides pactionis, fides consensus

Too much irony destroys a love poem, but most love poems fail through having no irony at all.

Even Bentham recognizes that actual harms at hand should weigh more heavily than hypothetical harms in the distant future; but it is strange how many consequentialists do not.

"a language requires a suitable habitation, and a history in which it can develop" Tolkien

Propositions are actions of mind.

asceticism as the natural stimulus for the healthy building of new worlds

"The reason why we have said all should be called for counsel is that the Lord often reveals what is better to the younger." The Rule of St. Benedict

Etymology is better called the dreamwork of language than metaphor is.

hypothesis as experience with galley effect

relatedness of accident to substance as a transcendental relation

P at all times until tomorrow
P at all times after today
Therefore P at all times
(Space would be more complicated, but would also be possible)

Everything nonB is C.
Everything B is C.
Therefore, everything is C.

Most A are B
Most B are C
Therefore, some A are C

scaling problems with philosophical methods
scaling problems with philosophical infrastructure

If truth is adequation of mind and thing, only mental actions can be 'truthbearers'.

If 'x is so even if y', this implies that x can be not-y; whereas this is not true of 'x is so if y'.

possible worlds manifold as representation of prime matter (as well as some of its conditions)

Common good is not built out of reasoning, but it is foolish to think of the latter as an optional extra.

to speak the truth even if no one hears

How fair and how lovely
the death of the gods
with their merciless fate
and their punishing rods.

the hierarchical character of purity

philosophy as cajolery

If there is a divine attribute, there is a divine being.

propositions as attributes of cosmophases (Carroll)
Carroll's 0 and 1 as 'cannot exist' and 'can exist'

infinite divisibility of matter // infinite analyzability of idea

Warburton interprets Job as an allegory of the Captivity.

the tomorrowladen day

impressional, presential, reflective, and expressional aspects of emotion

Every kind of Euthyphro Dilemma has an analogue at the positive level, with respect to positive law.

Particular propositions are consistency propositions.

"nothing-buttery...always part of the minor symptomatology of the bogus" Peter Medawar

Competent scientists do not work in order to make scientific progress or find breakthroughs (although many no doubt sometimes daydream of it) but to learn about things. They inquire because they love butterflies or are fascinated by light or want to figure out how the vine grows the way it does. But there is always a dangerous social pressure to lie about this -- dangerous because it misleads the public and creates false expectations, dangerous because it places scientific inquiry in a context that tends to falsehood, and morally dangerous for the inquiry itself, encouraging shortcuts and sophistry to blow up interesting learning so that it might pass, in rhetoric at least, as life-transforming progress.

mechanisms as modal structures based on mereological structures

comparative analogy (from known to unknown) vs contrived analogy (from unknown to known, e.g., in building a purely conjectural model to explain observations)

"Scientific truth should be presented in different forms, and should be regarded as equally scientific, whether it appears in the robust form and the vivid coloring of a physical illustration, or in the tenuity and paleness of a symbolic expression." Maxwell

(1) We start with the idea in the mind (the impression), ex hypothesi. Assume external world realism of a materialist variety. Then from the idea as effect we reason to the external prototype as cause, recognizing that the prototype is more real, and removing those things in the idea that are due to it qua idea. Thus causation, eminence, and remotion.
(2) Assuming external world realism of an immaterialist variety follows an analogous course, but the remotion is of what pertains to the idea qua my idea.
(3) We get something analogous if we remove the ideal starting point by recognizing that what is there being called the idea is the actual perception of the object, which itself can be taken as effect.

Rabban Bar Sauma and the ecumenism of pilgrimage

"Mere caprice can never be the object of any right." Rosmini

Of every law we must ask, how does this contribute to the friendship of the people? It is not the only question to ask, but always must be asked.

All the sacraments are linked to love of God and love of neighbor; but baptism especially is linked with love of neighbor and eucharist with love of God.

True love is not manipulable by slogan.

Both pilgrimage and relics in Christianity arise naturally out of the communion of saints, theologically, although both, of course, are transfigured versions of things people tend to do, anyway. The idea, at its root, is that we are all part of the story of the martyrs and of Christ's Passion.

a mereological analysis of rights analogous that of virtues

In decision-making, one must sift before one weighs.

evidence as itself structured by the Divided Line
-a semiotic reading of the Line

Laches & the opposition between philosophia and philonikia

"It is foundational to faith that God conveys prophecy to man." Maimonides (yesodei Ha-Torah 7:1)

Every theory of knowledge has an analogue among theories of happiness, and vice versa.

oikeiosis and homoiosis as two aspects of prudence

Academics and Skeptics as Ishmaelites (Philo, Q&A in Gen 3.33)

Appearances apparently conflict only because we already take them to be appearances of the same.

zetetic and aporetic modes of apologetics

the acts of faith: to inquire, to believe, to profess

preambles of charity

the natural ecumenism of reason

Even in the application of a tried and true technique, the technician matters more than the technique.
Techniques, like books, cannot defend themselves against abuses.

Note that Descartes's comments on Aristotelian gravitas would transfer to all forms of attraction as well.

verecundia and honestas of reasoning
meekness in reasoning (regarding the desire to overcome objection) and clemency (regarding the response?)
modestia about manner of argument: intellectual humility, studiosity, ornatus (appropriate to person), bona ordinatio (appropriate to circumstance), eutrapelia (humor), modesty of rhetoric

John 17:5,24 & and the Holy Spirit as Gift

We often think we ought to do what we cannot do if we choose; for instance, when an outside force prevents us. If parents recognize that they ought to protect their children, they recognize it as an ought even if outside forces clash with, impede, or even make impossible actually doing it. Only when people take, rightly or wrongly, a prevention to be preventing choice (whether they take that strictly or loosely) do they take it to dissipate the obligation.

Free choice requires a certain minimum of rationality; and it is more fully exercised the more fully rational we are.

relevance as primarily a relation among terms

the notion of merit in the context of intellectual inquiry

adaptationism as an aristocratic view of evolutionary facts (contrast this with monarchical theistic evolutionism and a democratic view in which there is no emphasis on excelling lines but simply each organism as being, as it were, a vote for the future)

Peano axioms cannot actually distinguish or define the set of natural numbers as such; they cannot distinguish them from the set of odds, or any other set for which one can have any kind of successor function. What is true that sets that fit the Peano axioms can be put into correspondence with natural numbers.

Intellectual and moral excellence by their nature require merit.

the 'etymology' of rites

volume-temperature indeterminacy

precedential causation as Humean

The modern world is afraid of relying on hope; people are constantly seeking certainty.

the second table of the Commandments read figuratively as describing our ecclesial duties

Social engineers, unlike real engineers, tend not to respect the qualities of the materials with which they work.

Every universalist argument either violates remotion or has a closely analogous counterpart among atheistic arguments from evil.

Love works by testimony.

Human beings are very poor at distinguishing intelligible requirements from strongly preferred choices in inquiry.

Everything looks like it is deterministic if you are coarse-grained and general enough, regardless of assumptions about what is really going on. This is because the more general the level of one's analysis, the more closely it conforms to an analysis considering only necessary preconditions.

slavery as usurious use of labor
as intemperance with regard to evaluation of human worth
as injustice in the broad sense (violation of amiability, perhaps also of religion?)

To say that something is not intrinsically evil does not mean that it may always be done rightly, but only that it may sometimes be done without being wrong.

Note that Aquinas's insistence on the possibility of demonstration in sacred doctrine is firmly opposed to the position of the Islamic philosophers (like Al-Farabi and Ibn Rushd) that theology, being based on religion, cannot rise above persuasion (cf. Kitab al-huruf).

Can one do an intrinsic/extrinsic title account for false-speaking, etc.? It seems plausible one could do it for killing.
Have any of the casuists done work on a general theory of titles, or toward such a thing?
Are there analogies with titles in the case of usury?

Manwë as prudence, Melkor as pride, Tulkas as decent thymos

The early church did not develop from local communities but into them, for it was a missionary church spreading out from the apostles.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Seemly, and Fair, and of the Best

Plato in London
by Lionel Johnson

To Campbell Dodgson

The pure flame of one taper fall
Over the old and comely page:
No harsher light disturb at all
This converse with a treasured sage.
Seemly, and fair, and of the best,
If Plato be our guest,
Should things befall.

Without, a world of noise and cold:
Here, the soft burning of the fire.
And Plato walks, where heavens unfold,
About the home of his desire.
From his own city of high things,
He shows to us, and brings,
Truth of fine gold.

The hours pass; and the fire burns low;
The clear flame dwindles into death:
Shut then the book with care; and so,
Take leave of Plato, with hushed breath:
A little, by the falling gleams,
Tarry the gracious dreams:
And they too go.

Lean from the window to the air:
Hear London's voice upon the night!
Thou hast held converse with things rare:
Look now upon another sight!
The calm stars, in their living skies:
And then, these surging cries,
This restless glare!

That starry music, starry fire,
High above all our noise and glare:
The image of our long desire,
The beauty, and the strength, are there.
And Plato's thought lives, true and clear,
In as august a sphere:
Perchance, far higher.