Friday, July 31, 2009

The glare of glory…

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While praying the night before last, I had an insight into the apophatic dimension of worship. Apophatic worship is always asymptotic, ever approaching the goal of its adoration while never fully attaining it. Apophatic theology (否定神學) assures us that what we know of God means what we know of God is so much less than who God is in Himself. We know God, that is, by not knowing Him. He is known to us most deeply precisely in the act of not knowing Him fully. This asymptotic yearning for God instills in us humility and hope, the former because our unbridgeable distance from God reminds us how low we are, the latter because we may seek Him forever without exhausting the riches of His goodness. [Interesting link, btw.]

I had this insight while praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. The "coda" of the chaplet is to pray three times, "Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world." My custom is to raise a crucifix or icon in both hands and bow each time I chant "the whole world." A very good friend of mine had bought me a beautiful small triptych (三折聖畫像) of Christ Pantokrator while he was in Ireland last year. The sacred image is pressed on wood with thin golden foil (or gilded paper?). As I beheld the icon over my head, I noticed how it shimmered as my hands moved. I leaned the icon back a hair and suddenly it shone with rippling golden light (reflected by my overhead lamp behind me). All I felt I could do was hold the icon there, that way, basked in light, a light which, in fact, blinded me to a small degree. I chanted the coda twice more but was transfixed by the icon: it struck me as the perfect metaphor for apophatic worship.

It is a commonplace paradox of orthodox Christianity that God is opaque to us just because He is so bright in Himself. This has often been compared to the way the the sun blinds us by being too bright: God (like the sun) is not a proper object of the human nous (or eye) simply because He (and it) magnificently transcends the natural threshold of human spiritual (or optical) receptivity. Paradoxically, the sun is too visible to be seen by us, unless, that is, mediated to us by a lens or filter proper to our nature, and God is too manifest in the light of His Being for us to fathom, unless, that is, He shows Himself to us through the medium of His Word proportioned to our human nature. As I was praying, I could not see the image on the triptych because it was too well lit.

I also realized how this dynamic should affect our spiritual lives. I could see only three ways by which I could get a clear view of the icon. First, I could lower myself enough that its glare shot past me and I could see it in the shadow "under" its radiance. Second, I could raise myself towards the icon enough to "pierce" its barrier of light and behold it "face to face." Finally, I could have brought the icon down to me into my dimmer location below.

The first method should be a model for our prayer lives. We must continually lower ourselves before the Divine majesty, for only by doing so will we find a view of God in the cool shadows of humility. Interestingly, while this method does give us a view of God, it makes us farther from Him, and therefore still subject to an unclear view of Him.

The second method is reserved for the blessed in Heaven, as they enjoy the beatific vision, and should be our constant model of hope. As we move throughout the day, our heads follow our eyes and our bodies follow our eyes. Where your eyes are, there your life shall gradually approach. As I like to say, "Things start looking up when we start looking upward."

The final method is none other than how God condescended Himself to us in Christ. He came down in shrouded glory and stood before us as the old Adam. By doing so, He gave us the closest and best glimpse of God we can have in our current mode of mortal existence. The only "flaw" in this method is that our glimpse of God in Christ is necessarily bereft of its principal feature, namely, its unshrouded, blinding glory! This is why Christ ascended after His resurrection: to draw our gazes back up to the Father in the heavenly light.

Hence, if we train our eyes on Christ as He is lowered to us and raised again to the Father at every Mass, we will gradually find the gaze of our hearts ascending with Him. All the while, of course, we must still grow in humility as the "carriage" of the Spirit elevates us, sort of like people forced lower and lower in an elevator as it ascends higher and faster to its goal.

Let me close with something James Chastek of Just Thomism wrote:

“Existence is not a predicate” means that existence adds nothing to our understanding of the concept. Existence therefore belongs to anything we have a concept of in virtue of something other than itself; something other than what it is. We know, therefore, that there must be some source of the existence of all things who is wholly beyond anything we can form a concept of- an ineffable creator who dwells in unapproachable light.

Amen and amen!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

My measurements…

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We are measured by our capacity for love and our love is measured by its capacity for suffering. Forgiveness means opening our arms wide––cruciform––to those who admit they hurt us and saying, "Thank you for your apology. You may now hit me again, but please don't. I love you." Love is pain, but it is the only way to be like God.

Forgiving, cruciform arms have literally no way to hold anything against the offender. They have no way of wrapping around past offenses as an indignant barrier between the wounded and the repentant when the latter approaches to hug the former. Open arms, moreover, leave the chest vulnerable to further blows––to nothing less even than a mortal piercing strike to the heart.

Love is thus infinite in its emptiness, omnipotent precisely in its inviting feebleness. The cruciformity of forgiveness renders self-defense void, nullifies self-protection. This is the normative image of God which Christ reveals to the world. It is precisely in the wounded openness and omnipotent self-defenselessness of Christ that we see the heart of the Father in the light of the Spirit. As George Maloney, SJ, wrote in Be Filled with the Fullness of God (page 56), "It is the Father who is imaged to each of us in the torn, mangled body of Jesus…." In other words, Jesus is what the Father says to us; the Holy Spirit is how He says it to us.

Arms open wide. Cruciform. A pierced heart. A chilling but powerful thought for us to ponder. The Gospel of "Cruxianity" is that God only sees us in the blood of His Son. We are visible to Him only as stained by the Blood, which means we are simultaneously "red-handed" sinners guilty of the gravest crime, and yet also redeemed sinners precisely by being marked by that ominous blood.

Heaven is knowing we are blood-soaked and guilty yet blood-soaked and loved. Hell, in contrast, is being free of every stain of that blood––and thus being invisible to the merciful eye of God forever. The cruciformity of forgiveness is integral to Creation. God sees creation only in His Son. If we are not marked in the Son, we are unseen in the Spirit to the Father.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Why we fear speaking before an audience…

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This has always–– well, not always, as I was a really shy kid–– still, it has long puzzled me why public speaking is one of the greatest fears people suffer. "Most people fear public speaking worse than they fear death," or so I have heard. Why is public speaking so frightening? I have very little fear of public speaking, but then again, I have had years of giving class reports, preaching at church groups, and teaching a wide range of students, so maybe I have gradually become inoculated to the fear and have forgotten my anxiety years before. In any case, I'll tell you my hunch why most people fear public speaking. I claim no originality for this explanation, but if I happen to strike upon something good, I demand royalties that reach the heavens!

In terms of our evolutionary cognitive background, we are highly sensitive to eye/head figures. To my knowledge, reactivity to eyes-upon-us reaches as "deep back" as the gecko brain. This is why geckos often start and stop as they scurry along walls. They pause–– nay, freeze–– when we look at them and then "thaw" enough to make a short dash forward, only to be seized by oculophobia again. According to Jerome Kagan in Three Seductive Ideas (page 27), "a head containing eyes with a pupil-to-eye ratio that is slightly over 0.5 produces immobility in chickens." The fear that many and/or large eyes instinctively generate in animals is, presumably, the selective advantage of the eye-like pattern on a peacock's peafowl and the enlarged eye-shapes on many fishes' bodies. I'm sure there are other example, probably even on plants and flowers. Humans certainly share this sensitivity to eyes around us. Indeed, this sensitivity is probably much of what's behind the uncanny "feeling of being watched." We are hyper-sensitive to eyes and therefore may subconsciously and peripherally detect eyes long before the unease generated by them causes us to feel watched.

So now imagine you are standing in front dozens of other animals all looking at you–– with their many eyes of course! No wonder people feel scared to speak in front of a crowd. Consciously, we know our words are aimed at their ears, but subconsciously, instinctively, we know their eyes are aimed at us. Further, if you've ever spoken before large groups, you know just how bad most listeners look: bored, irritated, confused, tired, anxious, etc. Psychologically, we are waiting to see how the listeners will respond to our speech, which is rather like trying to interpret eyes in the bush as either wanting to eat us or wanting to flee from us. Add to this the draining cognitive (computational) burden of prolonged, advanced language production and you have a sure recipe for fear of public speaking.

Zen and the art of hylomorphism...

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I just finished watching Erleuchtung Garantiert (EG) (Enlightenment Guaranteed), a 1999 film by Dorris Dörrie, recently best known for her 2008 film, Die Kirschblüten - Hanami. I was struck by a quotation from a book on Zen featured in the film.

Let me first give a brief synopsis of EG. It charts the spiritual growth of two brothers, Uwe and Gustav, as they go from married life in Germany to a sort of lay-Zen freedom in Tokyo. We first meet Uwe, a real estate agent, as a cranky, dissatisfied husband and father of four children, while Gustav first appears as a fairly serene, jolly fengshui design consultant, devotee of Zen wisdom, and husband to a shallow wife. Due to a sudden crisis in his life, Uwe persuades Gustav to allow him join him on his trip to Tokyo, during which Gustav wants to visit Noto Monzen, a Zen monastery. In Tokyo, the two brothers, who for the most part carry on a hilarious repartee, quickly encounter difficulties and scrape by long enough to reach Noto Monzen. There they live a short time as Zen novices, an experience which at times dredges up old grudges from their childhood, but in the end helps them face themselves and find greater peace. The film is superbly well directed, delightfully acted, and rather perfectly diegetically structured.

Now, the quotation that grabbed me. On the flight to Tokyo, Gustav attempts to console Uwe by handing him a book about Zen. Uwe finds a card in the book and reads, "Leben heißt Leiden [Life is suffering]." He hands the book back to Gustav in bemused disdain. Later, however, Uwe is more engrossed in the book, and on the train to Noto Monzen, he reads the following words:

"Wir müssen das Trugbild durchschauen, dass es ein Ich gibt, das von dem dort getrennt ist. Bei unserem Üben geht es darum die Kluft aufzuheben. Erst in dem Augenblick in dem wir und das Objekt eins werden, können wir unser Leben wirklich erkennen."

"We must look through the illusion that there is an I separate from that there. Our [ascetic] discipline is all about canceling this divide. Only at the moment we and the object become one can we really know our life."[1]

This immediately struck me like a metaphysical one-two combo.

First, Uwe's mention of "I and the object becoming one" reminded me that the union of the subject and object is a fundamental tenet of Thomistotelian epistemology (TE). As St. Thomas notes in De Veritate, citing Aristotle's De Anima III, 8, the soul is in some sense all things (Lat., hoc autem est anima, quae quodammodo est omnia; Gk., εἴπωμεν πάλιν ὅτι ἡ ψυχὴ τὰ ὄντα πώς ἐστι πάντα).[2] In TE, there is a genuine union of the percept and the perceiving organ. For instance, light is the proper object (or, proper perceptual mode-of-being) for the eye. Sound is the proper perceptual mode-of-being for the ear. Molar texture is the proper object of the skin. And so forth. The union of object and subject, percept and perceiver, is the act of sensible cognition. As St. Thomas says in De Veritate (cited below in note [2]),

True expresses the correspondence of being to the knowing power, for all knowing is produced by an assimilation of the knower to the thing known, so that assimilation is said to be the cause of knowledge. Similarly, the sense of sight knows a color by being informed with a species of the color.

Convenientiam vero entis ad intellectum exprimit hoc nomen verum. Omnis autem cognitio perficitur per assimilationem cognoscentis ad rem cognitam, ita quod assimilatio dicta est causa cognitionis: sicut visus per hoc quod disponitur secundum speciem coloris, cognoscit colorem.

The perceiver has the potency for sight, but only when his visual potency is combined with a proper visual object does he engage in active perception (viz., sight, hearing, feeling, etc.). By the same token, proper objects of sensation possess the potency for perception (i.e., perceptibility), but only in combination with a perceiver are they agents (i.e., activating entities) in perception. If we lacked the potency to perceive certain, so to speak, ontological bandwidths of reality, we could never perceive without activating prosthetic organs properly attuned to those bandwidths. Likewise, if an object lacks a potency for being-perceived, then it could never actually be perceived. An example of this active/potential blend in cognition is the fact that we cannot, without special equipment, perceive infrared or ultraviolet light, but bats and bees can perceive such light. We lack the potency for such perception (unless of course we activate prosthetic devices to amplify our perceptual potencies), but that does not mean flowers and stars lack the potency for being perceived under the mode of ultraviolet and infrared light. Bats and bees have the agency for perceiving ultraviolet and infrared light, which activates the potency of that light, but much of what we actively perceive is imperceptible to them. What a star is qua objectum scientia (as 'an object of knowledge') just amounts to which of its perceptual potencies are actualized. The role of science is to scrutinize which of these potencies are actually there to be perceived in various objects, and then to taxonomize objects according to their actual natures.

In any case, it is only when we posit an absolute incommensurability between the organ of perception and the objects of perception, as Descartes did, that we lose the right to say perceivers actually know the objects in their environment (as post-Cartesian epistemology has demonstrated in extremis). If there is no genuine (i.e., inborn or natus/naturalis) union of the object and the subject, then, as Locke claimed, all we know are our ideas of objects, our vivid inner (secondary) representations of otherwise colorless, soundless, flavorless, etc. (primary) objects. The "common bond" in which object and subject mutually "find themselves together," is called intentional being (esse intentionale). The perceiving mind wanders about the world, in both senses: about as in 'throughout' (along one's "world-line" in spacetime), and about as in 'towards'. The mind persistently and naturally forms intentional bonds with the objects (res extensae) it encounters, and eo ipso knows itself as a knowing being (res cogitans). Perception and cognition are intrinsically intentional, about, directed-at, in-tension-with the objects of its attention. As Uwe read in the book on Zen, "Only at the moment we and the object become one can we really know our life."

So much for the first punch delivered by Uwe's quotation. The second thing that hit me is how this convergence of Zen and TE insights–– about the union of object and subject, the I and the that there–– seriously undermines the conventional divide (oh, the irony!) between Western and Eastern wisdom. In both Zen and Thomistotelian, there is a vital emphasis on the immediacy of the world in our perception of it. The immediacy of the real world fills our minds so that we are literally displaced from within ourselves. The immediacy of the world draws us out of ourselves, away from the stifling provincialism of our inner world when it is devoid of objective content. Zen asceticism is a formula of systematic engagement with the world so that we are drawn away from our Ego, away from the illusion that "I" exists on its own, as some autonomous reality. In Zen asceticism and TE (which of course also flourished for centuries in a Catholic spiritual milieu), we find true ourselves only as we find ourselves truly in the world. For a theist, this of course means that we find ourselves among our fellow creatures, joined to them by intentional bonds, which are mediated through our cognitive capacities. The universality of intentional being in discrete entities not only allows us to know objects, but also truly to know ourselves as knowers in the union of our minds with the sensibles before us. We cannot, pace Descartes, know ourselves as existent knowers apart from that which we know, apart from that which actively informs the potency of our minds.

But there is more. Since intentional being is neither purely natural being (esse naturale, i.e., the "thing in itself" when unperceived) nor purely abstract (esse immateriale, i.e., as a pure concept apart from its particular material instantiation), but a link between these two kinds of being, it is the bridge on which we stand behind pure matter and the ideas of the Divine Mind. We can imagine things that do not exist, but they only have esse immateriale, and things, pace Berkeley, can exist without our perceiving them. It is the sheer immateriality of, say "2," stripped of all particular, material characteristics as this or that instance of "2," which enables "2" to surface repeatedly, inexhaustibly, and identically throughout material reality. Insofar as every percept is a small surprise which "thrills" and livens our cognitive world–– insofar as every thing is something real which did not necessarily have to exist in our perception, and which may disappear at any moment–– then all perception is a constant parade of the world contingency. None of our perceptual contents exist for us necessarily and absolutely; they all come and go and change. So the world. It does not exist necessarily; it came, is on the go, and always changing. To perceive this is to perceive that its contingency for all possible perceivers is just as fundamental as that of all percepts for us as perceivers. The sublime union of the knower with that known is a goal of Zen practice, but is ultimately and truly the privilege of God alone, in whom all things exist at one with His own being.

Ultimately, Zen and TE are theories of aesthetic existence. Any work of art enjoys the three modes of being I mentioned above: esse naturale, esse immateriale, and esse intentionale. In the mind of the artist, before she produces the work, a work of art is purely abstract immaterial "thing," still unmaterialized and undifferentiated by matter. (If my concept of a future work of art just is my neural makeup as I ponder it, then why is the actual finished product nothing like a clump of brain tissue?) Once it is produced, the work of art enjoys a natural existence even when no one beholds it. When the lights fade and the doors close in the gallery, the works of art inside persist, as natural objects but not as objects of art. Only when their aesthetic potency is activated in the moment of perception do works of art "mobilize" their intentional mode of being, a mobilization which concomitantly activates the mind of the subject in the intentional union discussed earlier. This is, of course, what the art-lover means by saying she "loses herself in" a work of art, and what accounts for the ancient link between aesthetic and religious rapture: her Ego becomes amalgamated with the intentional being of the objet d'art and, in turn, she may proceed along that intentional bridge towards the beauty of the art itself as it exists from eternity in the Divine Wisdom. To know the beauty of the creation is to know the preeminent beauty of the Creator. These are but the three classical paths of Scholastic theology (i.e., via causalitatis, via remotionis, and via eminentiae) deployed in the world of art.

[1] Just because I find it a challenging and intriguing claim, I want to add what Uwe reads next:

"Erleuchtung ist nicht etwas, das man erlangen kann. Es ist die Abwesenheit von etwas. Ihr ganzes Leben lang sind Sie hinter etwas hergewesen, haben nur ein Ziel verfolgt. Erleuchtung bedeutet, all das aufzugeben."

"Enlightenment ist not something one can obtain. It is the absence of anything. Your whole life has been behind something, has pursued only one goal. Enlightenment means giving all that up."

[2] I have provided the context of St. Thomas' claim in De Veritate, in Latin and English.

De Anima III, 8. Περὶ Ψυχῆς, ΒΙΒΛΙΟΝ ΤΡΙΤΟΝ, ΚΕΦΑΛΑΙΟΝ Η'.

De Veritate, I, rep.:

If the mode of being is taken in the second way—according to the relation of one being to another—we find a twofold use. The first is based on the distinction of one being from another, and this distinctness is expressed by the word something, which implies, as it were, some other thing. For, just as a being is said to be one in so far as it is without division in itself, so it is said to be something in so far as it is divided from others. The second division is based on the correspondence one being has with another. This is possible only if there is something which is such that it agrees with every being. Such a being is the soul, which, as is said in The Soul, "in some way is all things." The soul, however, has both knowing and appetitive powers. Good expresses the correspondence of being to the appetitive power, for, and so we note in the Ethics, the good is "that which all desire." True expresses the correspondence of being to the knowing power, for all knowing is produced by an assimilation of the knower to the thing known, so that assimilation is said to be the cause of knowledge. Similarly, the sense of sight knows a color by being informed with a species of the color.

The first reference of being to the intellect, therefore, consists in its agreement with the intellect. This agreement is called "the conformity of thing and intellect." In this conformity is fulfilled the formal constituent of the true, and this is what the true adds to being, namely, the conformity or equation of thing and intellect. As we said, the knowledge of a thing is a consequence of this conformity; therefore, it is an effect of truth, even though the fact that the thing is a being is prior to its truth.

Q. Disp. de Ver. I, resp.:

Si autem modus entis accipiatur secundo modo, scilicet secundum ordinem unius ad alterum, hoc potest esse dupliciter. Uno modo secundum divisionem unius ab altero; et hoc exprimit hoc nomen aliquid: dicitur enim aliquid quasi aliud quid; unde sicut ens dicitur unum, in quantum est indivisum in se, ita dicitur aliquid, in quantum est ab aliis divisum. Alio modo secundum convenientiam unius entis ad aliud; et hoc quidem non potest esse nisi accipiatur aliquid quod natum sit convenire cum omni ente: hoc autem est anima, quae quodammodo est omnia, ut dicitur in III de anima. In anima autem est vis cognitiva et appetitiva. Convenientiam ergo entis ad appetitum exprimit hoc nomen bonum, ut in principio Ethic. dicitur quod bonum est quod omnia appetunt. Convenientiam vero entis ad intellectum exprimit hoc nomen verum. Omnis autem cognitio perficitur per assimilationem cognoscentis ad rem cognitam, ita quod assimilatio dicta est causa cognitionis: sicut visus per hoc quod disponitur secundum speciem coloris, cognoscit colorem.

Prima ergo comparatio entis ad intellectum est ut ens intellectui concordet: quae quidem concordia adaequatio intellectus et rei dicitur; et in hoc formaliter ratio veri perficitur. Hoc est ergo quod addit verum super ens, scilicet conformitatem, sive adaequationem rei et intellectus; ad quam conformitatem, ut dictum est, sequitur cognitio rei. Sic ergo entitas rei praecedit rationem veritatis, sed cognitio est quidam veritatis effectus.

NOTES: Goodbye, Descartes by Keith Devlin

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Goodbye, Descartes: The End of Logic and the Search for a New Cosmology of Mind
Keith Devlin
(New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1997)

page 29 – Stoic school found by Zeno of Citium, not Zeno of Elea (ca. 450 BC)
34 – p ––> q, p arrows q, antecedent arrows consequent
35 – modus ponens
36 – the –| is called turnstile
37 – 1159, John of Salisbury wrote Metalogicon, first Organon–based logic manual
41 – MaP, SaM | SaP [major, minor, conclusion]
42 – "A syllogistic inference amounts to elimination of the middle term…."
"" – four figures x 64 syllogisms each
48 – …the conditional, as defined by the Stoics and by present-day logicians, is not the same as implication."
52 – Cicero wrote of the propositio and the assumptio producing the complexio
55 – Peter of Spain (later, Pope John XXI) wrote Summulae Logicales, became standard medieval logic textbook
56 – proprietates terminorum: study of different roles played by different words in propositions
57 – Stoic antecedent and consequent came to characterize the entire study of logic in the Middle Ages, named consequentiae
59 – English logician, Augustus De Morgan, and his laws ¬(p /\ q) = (¬p) V (¬q) and ¬(p V q) = (¬p) /\ (¬q)
61 – 1620, Francis Bacon aimed to usurp Aristotle's Organon with his Novum Organon
63 – De Arte Combinatoria, Leibniz "envisioned a kind of mental alphabet in which all thought could be represented as suitable combinations of symbols…."
66 – Italian Gerolmo Saccheri, Logica Demonstratia, applied Aristotelian syllogisms to Euclidean geometry; 1761, Leonhard Euler pictorialized syllogisms [Euler circles]; 1881, Symbolic Logic, John Venn improved Euler circles into Venn diagrams
69 – discovery of other geometries betrayed limitations of analytical school as promoted by Newton, Leibniz, and Descartes
73 – 1847, George Boole (b. 1815) published The Mathematical Analysis of Logic; then, in 1854, an expanded version, An Investigation of the Laws of Thought…
77 – "The separation of symbols from their meaning is at the very heart of modern logic."
78 – W. S. Jevons built a mechanical logic machine which demonstrated to the Royal Society in 1870
80 – "…deductions in propositional logic are carried out using just one rule of inference: modus ponens."
86 – Chomskyan lexical items and well-formed formulas replaced words and sentences
88 – 'X |= Y' means 'Y is taken to refer to X, when Y is true'
91 – ˜760AD al-Khowarizmi wrote a book explaining Hindu arithmetic ––> algorithm
"" – "the very first electronic digital computer ran its first program on June 21, 1948, in a laboratory at the University of Manchester…"
94 – ¬(p /\ q) and ¬(p V q) are called nand gates and nor gates
97 – Chomsky is one of the ten most-quoted people of all time, and the only one to make the list while still alive
"" – BC and AD, before Chomsky and After Dissertation; Chomsky's PhD dissertation was submitted to the U. of Penn in 1955
101 – 1863, Darwin's Theory and Linguistic, August Schleicher explicated link between Darwinism and historical linguistics
102 – Mongin-Ferdinand de Saussure (b. 1857 in Geneva), developed new 'synchronic linguistics' based on l'état de langue; parole as discrete language acts, langue as the entire language state
103 – de Saussure's students collected his posthumous writings into the Course in General Linguistics, 1916, the first linguistics textbook
106 – 1911, Franz Boas (b. 1858) published Handbook of American Indian Languages, the first account of descriptive linguistics
107 – linguistic positivist, Leonard Bloomfield: "Accept everything a native speaker says in his language and nothing he says about it."
108 – Edward Sapir (1884–1939) and Benjamin Lee Whorf (1897–1941) as basis for Hopi timeless and Eskimo snows myths
115 – Chomsky's linguistic approach depends on 1) adapting a rule-based view of languages, i.e., sentences produced by rules (i.e., novelty within certain rule-parameters don't faze us), 2) seeing syntactic structure is not inherent in words but is a matter of the relationships between them, and 3) grammaticality does not seem essentially to involve meaning (e.g., Colorless green ideas sleep furiously)
119 – S, DNP, VP are syntactic structures
120 – DET ––> a, the is a lexical rule
121 – a Chomsky-style generative grammar aka phrase structure grammar
123 – "The kernel sequence from which a grammatical sentence is produced by means of a series of transformations is sometimes called the deep structure of the sentence; the syntactic structure of the final, natural form that our ears recognize as grammatical is called the surface structure."
130 – Steven Pinker refers to our language instinct as 'a biological adaptation to communicate information.' This puts language in the same camp as rationality, which can be described as 'a biological adaptation to survive and further one's goals.'"
132 – in support of Chomsky's Universal Grammar, there is 'the argument from the poverty of input', the rapid transition from pidgin to creole among pidgin-raised children, deaf children also learn to communicate grammatically
134 – "Words are nouns because they fit into grammatical sentences in certain places––they play a 'nouny' role in the sentence––and likewise for the other categories of words. [as opposed to inherently semantic lexica]"
138 – N, V, PP, AP read as N-bar, etc. for phrases
146 – "The initial choice of moves to be considered in detail is one of the things that marks the good human chess player."
150 – Aristotle's definition of the human as zoon logon echon
171 – computer hardware: 1940s vacuum tubes, mid-1950s transistors, early 1960s and 1970s integrated circuits, late 1970s and 1980s very large-scale integrated circuits (VLSI)
172 – "The assumption that it is, in principle, possible to achieve intelligence by symbol manipulation was put forward by Newell and Simon in 1976 as the 'Physical Symbol System Hypothesis.'"
178 – "To these elementary laws there leads no logical path, but only intuition, supported by being sympathetically in touch with experience." A. Einstein, in G. Holton, Thematic Origins of Scientific Thought: Kepler to Einstein, HUP, 1973, p357.)
181 – Devlin's last effort with his students in debates: "The person walking certainly acts in a manner that is consistent with all of the rules of physics, as does the bicycle rider. They are not breaking the rules. What's more, those rules can be reliably used by scientists who wish to study the physics of walking and bicycle riding. But the person walking or cycling neither needs to know nor uses those rules."
182 – to anyone steeped in the rationalist tradition, "there is always a desire to explain knowing how in terms of knowing that, to reduce skills to facts and rules, to explain the composite in terms of its constituents."
183 – "The original goal of machine intelligence is not possible, at least in terms of a program running on a digital computer, because human intelligent behavior involves knowing how, and knowing how cannot be reduced to knowing that."
192 – intensional logic, a framework to study meaning developed by the logician Richard Montague in the early 1970s.
196 – "Complexity is not the only problem with logical form [in the language-of-thought paradigm of programming intelligence]. A far more serious difficulty is that the use of logical form assumes that words have fixed, definite, and unique meanings."
199 – We went to the bank to get the money. Bob gad buried it by the river some months earlier. OR After we had cashed the check at the bank down by the bay, we sat by the bank and watched the boats go by.
200 – nonce sense as linguistic term for one-time usages in "everyday speech"; 'one water', 'do the lawn', 'very San Francisco', 'fax' [v.]
204 – Jon Barwise, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, employed Tarski's algebraic notation of truth-statements to denote a statement about a part of the world that makes a claim about that part of the world that is true or false. S |= SIGMA; SIGMA makes a claim about the situation s which is true about s. s supports the fact that SIGMA.
205 – « statement » denotes the fact expressed by that statement (rather than just the statement-token itself); s |= «John starts to speak at 4PM», coined by Devlin as infon: a single item of information; s is the soft entity, |= 'supports' s, and SIGMA is the hard entity on the right
216 – speech as a linguistic handshake
218 – "…the rules [of intelligent speech] are not sufficiently comprehensive so that we can program a computer to reproduce those human activities."
220 – "Join acts are intriguing. They are examples of phenomena where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Though shaking hands and playing a duet are obvious examples, perhaps a better example to compare to conversation is two people dancing a tango."
231 – Mutual knowledge of F is an item of information K such that K = F /\ [I know K] /\ [You know K].
233 – utterance as lone speech act, contribution as joint speech act
241 – "To say that the brain is a device that can acquire, store, and process information is not to say anything about the way the brain performs these feats."
244 – information gets in by being encoded or represented by markings on a page. "Being encoded or represented is not the same as being contained in."
245 – Societies do not process and store information; "rather, we store and process representations of information, … such as words on paper, bits on magnetic disks, and so forth."
246 – "Thus, one way information can arise is by virtue of systematic regularities in the world."
247–248 – Knowledge of appropriate constraint in a situation enables someone to gain information from that situation, for example, that smoke accompanies fire.
257 – Jon Barwise and John Echtemendy applied the formal techniques of situation theory to Epimenides's Liar Paradox to solve it in 1986.
259 – "But the context for making the observation that the claim is false cannot be c [in which the claim was uttered], since it it were, then that too leads to a contradiction."
271 – "Neither situation theory nor any other theory of contexts is a theory of human cognition. Such theories provide frameworks for the study of information flow.
273 – the quadrivium, AGMA, the trivium, GRD (arithmetic, geometry, music, astronomy; grammar, rhetoric, dialectic)
281 – "Surely there is no one way to view and to understand a flower, nor even a unique "best" way. There may be ways that are more suited to particular purpose, but that is another issue."

RECOMMENDED:

Bickerton, D. Language and Human Behavior.
Dreyfus, H.…, Mind Over Machine

Why oh why? … Oh, look, a piece of cheese!

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Why do we spend most of our time concerned with what we're not actually doing? Disdain for the present counts among the strongest exhibits of original sin.

In other words…

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Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah, blah blah blah blah blah blah, blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah? Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah, blah blah blah blah blah blah. blah blah blah!

Blah blah? Blah blah blah? Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah, blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah––blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.

My best face to cover my face best…

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The only thing worse than the devil you know is the devil you don't know (or just don't know as well). People like to say "you don't know what you have till it's gone," but just as often, if not more often, the truth is that we do know what we have before it's gone, but don't know how to take care of it well enough while we have it. Put on a best face? Why bother? I've only got one face with many depths. It hurts to fail but hurts even worse to be unable to amend for your errors. Forgiveness means something quite different to some people than it does to others.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

NOTES: Faiths in Conflict? by Vinoth Ramachandra

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Vinoth Ramachandra, Faiths in Conflict? Christian Integrity in a Multicultural World
(Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 1999)

p. 19 Fred Halliday, Islam and the Myth of Confrontation: "Whatever else, the image of a timeless 'Islam' is not just the fabrication of fevered Western minds."
(p. 111)
p. 20 Rushdie's Satanic Verses as a dual reflection on a migrant Muslim's alienation from both his new culture and his past culture
p. 21 the myth of the dar-ul Islam
p. 23 dhimmis, religious ghettos for non-Muslims; Bat Ye'or "points out that Islamic civilization 'glowed in the full blaze of its glory', not in Mecca or Medina but 'in the lands of dhimmitude…."
(The Decline of Christendom Under Islam [London, AUP, 1996], p. 217)
p. 24 "The first known scientific work in Arabic was a treatise on medicine, written in Greek by Ahrun, a Christian priest from Alexandria, and translated from Syriac into Arabic in 683 by a Jewish doctor from Basrah (Iraq).
[n. 22: Bat Ye'or, op. cit. p. 233]
p. 25 nizam hukm islami, Islamic government, a formulation that never existed in the Qur'an or the Sunna
[n. 26: Bishara, in The Next Threat, eds. Hippler and Lueg, p. 92]
p. 27 "Azmy Bishara reminds us that the Muslim religion is primarily not one of legislation and law––unlike Judaism, in which halakah orders cultural relations…. ‘The Koran has 6,000 verse, of which 700 deal with religious laws governing ubadah and mu'amalat (i.e. Matters between person and God and matters between persons and their neighbors). Only 200 of these actually prescribe "laws" dealing with matters of conjugal, inheritance and criminal law. In addition, the validity of some verse is canceled out by others, so that, in all, there are no more than 80 verses that can actually be said to "lay down the law" in any unequivocal sense.'"
[n. 30: Bishara, op. cit., p. 93]
p. 27 ijma: consensus, qiyas, a process of analogical reasoning; "It is this humanly evolved and variously codified body of legal material that has come to be referred to by the misleading term shari'a."
p. 28 shari'a like the Hindu concept of dharma, 'good order'; hudud punishments taken from the Sunna and, e.g., the hudud against blasphemy of recent and dubious origin
p. 29 Muhammad Iqbal (1873–1038), revered leader of Pakistan, advocate of separate country for Indian Muslims, "was one reformer who, arguing from a strict position of sola Scriptura, opposed the reintroduction of shari'a penal code."
p. 33 Most modern Muslim states are cosignatories of the UN Article 18 on Human Rights, viz., freedom of religion; "Consequently, those Muslims who demand the adoption of Islamic forms of government and the imposition of laws discriminating against non-Muslims, are not fighting against alien forces bent on colonial domination but fellow Muslims in their own societies…"
p. 34 occidentalism and orientalism both reductive
p. 37 contra Huntington's Clash of Civilizations, "…the fact that such concepts as such human rights and democracy have originated in European societies does not deny their universal validity, any more than in the case of natural science."
p. 38 "Moreover, talk of incompatibility between Western civilization and Islamist militancy is contradicted by recent history, which affords countless examples of American complicity with brutal Islamist regimes and movements."
E.g. US support for Zia ul-Haq in order to give the Mujahidin a base to fight in Afghanistan; "The Gulf War contradicts Huntington's prediction that conflicts between civilizations will be more likely than conflicts within the same civilization."
p. 41–43
1) we should avoid using religious categories to describe and ethnic or cultural group;
2) we should apply the same standards to political phenomena in other societies that we apply to our own;
3) it is hypocritical of nations to sign Article 18 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights and oppose religious freedom;
4) we must seriously explore the faiths and cultures of others
p. 46 "…it is extremely rare to meet a Muslim who has made a serious study of the New Testament."

p. 50 Hindutva, or Hindu revival, the political assertion of 'Hinduness', in which, e.g., India is not referred to as Bharat, one of the brothers of Ram (mythical)
p. 51
the RSS, Rashtrya Swayamseval Sangh, the National Volunteer Association, was founded in 1925;
rashtra 'nation', "stressed the supposedly common Aryan ethnic and linguistic heritage of those opposed to Muslim expansion.";
the VHP, Vishwa Hindu Parashad, the World Hindu Council, founded in 1964, centrally comprised of sadhus (monks) as gurus;
the BJP, founded in 1980 out of the earlier nationalist party, Jan Sangh; linked to the RSS is the Shiv Sena (Army of Shiva), militant, founded 1966
p. 52 1948 the Indian constitution abolished 'untouchability'
p. 54 Ram and Babur qua Hinduism and Islam; Ram is a manifestation (avatara) of Vishnu, to preserve the moral order (dharma); most amenable to utopian projects, for in the Ramayana he created the state (rajya) that best instantiates righteousness on earth, Rama-rajya; the Ramayana utopianism is pushed as a middle-class ideal of abolishing all 'non-Hindu' elements in India
p. 56 Romila Thapar has written of the 'semitization' of Indian religion: historical prophet, sacred book, geographical origins, ecclesiastical community––all as steps in religious nationalism
[n. 14: Romila Thapar, "A Historical Perspective…", in Gopal ed., Anatomy of a Confrontation [India: Penguin, 1991], p. 159]
but 'Hindu' was not originally a religious term, denoting simply inhabitants east of the Indus River: "None of the Hindu sacred texts even once mentions the word 'Hindu'."
p. 59 Prior to the Indian Mutiny of 1857, whereupon the British restricted Muslims as alleged agitators of the mutiny, Muslims and Hindus had intermingled quite well
p. 60 the Cow Protection Movement of the late C19, initiated by reformists, the Arya Samaj, was "particularly directed at defining the Hindu community against Muslim beef-eaters and British rulers."
p. 62 as late as 1946, the British Viceroy of India, Lord Wavell, confessed he saw the mainspring of Hindu-Muslim conflict as lying 'in the fear of economic determination rather than differences of religion.'
[n. 26: Gopal ed., Anatomy, p. 13, from Lord Wavell to Sir A. Chow, Transfer of Power, vol. 8, Document 414, 7 Oct 1946]
p. 63 ironically orientalist portrayal of Hindu innocence (à la Ashis Nandy) and myths of New Age, vegetarian, tolerant, egalitarian, eco-sensitive ancient India
Intimate Enemy (Delhi: OUP, 1983), p. ix.
p. 'traditional Hinduism' sanatana** dharma ('eternal religion'); "The move from the 'global' to the 'local' and the 'indigenous' is not necessarily a move from tyranny to freedom.";
Fred Halliday, pace E. Said's assumption that colonists always misperceive colonized, says, "the very fact of trying to subjugate a country would to some degree involve producing an accurate picture of it."
[n. 32: Fred Halliday, Islam and the Myth of Confrontation (London: Tauris, 1996), pp. 213–214]
p. 65 Vedic obligation, ritual, revealed by ancient sages (risi) as preservation of dharma; "One striking feature of Hinduism is that practice takes precedence over belief."
[n. 34: Gavin Flood, An Intro. To Hinduism (Cambridge: CUP, 1996), p. 12]
p. 66 social position (varna), one's stage in life (asrama), all of which is incorporated into vanasrama-dharma
p. 67 the Gupta period of Indian history (c. 320–600 AD) as the 'Golden Age' of India;
jati refers to 'birth' or 'caste' as well as to all levels of being;
the avoidance of pollution as preeminent concern of vanasrama-dharma
[hence, the Untouchables dispose of feces and filth to preserve the Brahman]
p. 68
Brahman suppression of insurrection by violence;
no universal moral code for all levels jati: "Caste morality is based on the assumption that what other call 'humanity' is really composed of groups f different natures (guna) who thus inhabit different locations in ritual space."
[cf. Bhagavad Gita, 18.47]
p. 69 this made for extreme intolerance of deviance in one's caste and extreme tolerance towards other castes
p. 70 the present evil age, Kali Yuga
p. 70 secundum Wendy O'Flaherty, the puranic and dharmasastra texts of the Gupta period were weapons waged in a war between sanatana** dharma against Jains and Buddhists, viewed as heretics, which, in time led to the phenomenon of sadhus, 'soldier monks', insofar as fighting societies (nagas) have long formed part of Hindu religious society
p. 71 "The VHP/RSS propaganda romanticizes the militant sadhus of the eighteenth century, depicting them as forerunners of modern-day nationalists…."
p. 72 Rajmohan Ramanathapillai, from Jaffa, has argued that the success of the Tamil Tiger guerrillas stems from a vast manipulation of military and cosmological imagery in the Puranas and epics, which indicate that violence and coercion are necessary for the maintenance of social and cosmic dharma, esp. against heretics (nastikas) and barbarians (mlecchas)
Sacred Symbols and the Adoption of Violence in Tamil Politics in Sri Lanka (unpublished MA thesis, McMCaster U., Canada, 1991)
p. 73 advaita Vedanta teaches the highest truth is non-duality (advaita), like a pair of pants: plural below, single above
p. 74 "…religious pluralism masquerading as tolerance. Pluralism is ultimately undermined, because the 'Other' is never taken seriously as a challenge to the entire framework of discourse. Radical differences can never become the occasion for debate and self-questioning, because it is assumed at the outset that such differences do not affect our final destination. … the Christian Scriptures question the naïve belief that we are all seekers after Truth…."
p. 75, "…the possibility of conversion is what make dialogue real and exciting."
p. 75, becoming sannyasin (homeless, wandering ascetic) is traditionally the only way to escape caste status, in a quest for moksa (liberation)
p. 76, secundum Louis Dumont Brahmanical religion characteristically absorbed values like ahimsa (non-violence) and vegetarianism as originally 'renouncer values' (i.e., of mendicant Jains)
[n. 60: 'World Renunciation in Indian Religions', Contributions to Indian Sociology 4 (1960), p. 47]
p. 77, Bartholomew Ziegenbalg (1682–1719), education progress
p. 78, secundum Richard Young "the wheel of social change in South Asia has a Christian hub and a Buddhist-Hindu rim."
[n. 63: R. Young, 'Ripple of Wave?', unpublished paper delivered in Colombo, Sri Lanka, 8 February 1992]
Ghandi's ahimsa and satyagraha (truth-force) were inculcated from 'renouncer' sources like Jainism and the NT
p. 80, the 'Protestantization' of Hindu and Buddhist religion involved a more text-based approach to religion
p. 82 "…the 'core' beliefs and rituals that comprise what has been called 'Hinduism' deeply discourage the formation of a collective religious identity…. those outside the 'twice-born' as less than human… organized violence as a time-honoured, legitimate way of resolving religious disputes… suppression of genuine 'otherness'… assimilation of tribal groups and other religious communities into a pan-Hindu…."

p. 96 "…a unique historical experience of Yahweh's character…. While Yahweh works in all nations, in no nation other than Israel did he act for the sake of all nations."
p. 100 "The prophets spoke on behalf of the honest poor…. Jesus went further. …he actually took his stand among the pariahs of the world…."
[n. 19: G. Vermes, Jesus the Jew (London: Collins, 1973), p. 224]
"So Jesus presents himself as embodying Wisdom in Wisdom's search for the least and lost in society."
[cf. Prov 9:1–6, Wisdom 9:18]
"…as Bengali writer Nirad Chaudhuri has acutely observed, even the most world-denying tradition of Hindu spirituality is, in reality, 'a pursuit, not of beatitude, but of power'… mastery of the spirit world through th magic arts."
[n. 21: Hinduism (London: Chatto & Windus, 1979), p. 315]
Jesus is not presented in the Gospel as a superhuman avatar
cf. e.g. Mk 6:3, Mt 17:20, Lk 22:39ff.
p. 106 "…there was no Jewish tradition that the Messiah had the right to forgive sins."
p. 108 "He is not so much a prophet as the object of all prophecy.
cf. e.g. Mk 12:35f, Jn 5:46, 8:56
p. 110 "…what was it about Jesus of Nazareth, compared to other messianic claimants and charismatic figures in Palestine and elsewhere, that led to such outrageous claims about him being made––and believed––within a generation of his death? … I would suggest that this combination of an other-oriented lifestyle with self-directed claims is what makes Jesus of Nazareth unique."
p. 114 "Resurrection is a fresh creative act of God in which he displays his faithfulness to his creation by raising it to new life in his presence beyond death and decay."
p. 115 "…the unique nature of the uniqueness that is claimed by Jesus…."
p. 116 "The message of the cross in scandalous, for it tells us that it is not the 'good Christian' or the 'sincere Hindu' or the 'devout Muslim' or the 'men and women of good will' [presumably pace Vatican II Gaudium et Spes?] who are recipients of the vision of God. Rather, that it is the bad Christian, the bad Hindu, the bad Buddhist––those who know themselves to be moral failures––who may well be closer to the kingdom of God. … I know of no statement more subversive to the 'world of religions' than Paul's description in Romans 4:5 of the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ as 'him who justifies the ungodly'."
p. 117 "Two ways of defining humanness clash: self-assertion or self-giving…. The resurrection of Jesus, then, is the Creator's vindication, within history and in anticipation of the final denouement of all things, of the way of the cross. The resurrection of Jesus vindicates not only Jesus' unique Sonship, but also the way of self-abandoning love that he embodies."

p. 119 khalifa (steward) of Allah, da'wah (witness) for Allah
p. 121 "…Hindu 'hierarchical relativism' is experienced as deeply oppressive…. particularity, difference and critique are swallowed up in a suffocating universalism."
p. 121 the Buddha uses several vehicles (yana) and skilful means (upaya) fitted to the dispositions and interests of the listener
p. 124, pluralism against Christian truth "is sometimes based on a confusion of the notion of plausibility with that of truth."
p. 126, "on closer inspection" of the relativist idea of all religions speaking about the Same in different words "its intellectual arrogance becomes plain. It claims for itself a superior vantage-point from which it can survey the entire world of religious languages and deduce that they are all dealing with the same ultimate reality, and that they are incomplete and even misguided in places."
p. 127, because it ignores the preference a speaking, personal God would give to absolutist faith, "this pluralist scheme is fatally biased against the Semitic traditions and those Indian religious traditions that focus on a personal Deity."
p. 128 "The Enlightenment tradition inherited notions of universal justice and equality from Jewish and Christian sources and then used such notions to deride the particular doctrines and practices of those faiths."
p. 129 "…doctrine of creation states that we are not timeless, relationless and independent beings, but profoundly contingent and relational creatures. We are rooted in space and time…. [biblically] the universal is always mediated through the particular…. It is the Incarnation, death and resurrection of God in Jesus Christ that enables us to say that human history is finally meaningful, not in the Enlightenment humanist sense that it is a story of continual linear progress, an ascent from the 'irrational' to the 'rational'; but rather, that in this sorry tale of persistent human arrogance, wretchedness, exploitation and suffering, evil will not have the final word. The triumph of truth, beauty, love and justice is assured."
p. 130 Cf. Rev 21:22ff as sign of global cultural redemption
p. 131 "Paradoxically, it is the once-for-all incarnation of Christian belief that guarantees the permanent value and significance of our common humanness. For those who believe in the resurrection of Jesus, humanness is that which is exalted to the right hand of God. … As Kierkegaard put it in his scathing criticism of the mighty Hegel: 'That the human race is or should be akin to God is ancient paganism; but that an individual man is God is Christianity'."
[n. 9: Training in Christianity, trans. W. Lowrie (Princeton, NJ: PUP, 1941), p. 64]
cf. also Chesterton's quip that the difference between Protestant (Eucharistic) worship and Catholic worship is like that between saying "God is everywhere" and "God is in the next room"
p. 132 Martin Kahler (1835–1912) asked, "Has Christ merely provided us with insights concerning an existing state of affairs, or has he actually brought about a new state of affairs?"
[n. 10: Doctrine of Reconciliation (1898), as cited in A. McGrath, The Making of Modern German Christology, 1750–1990 (Leicester: Apollos, 2nd ed. 1994), p. 136]
p. 132 the gospel's "endless translatability" (à la Andrew Wells)
p. 134 "Christian conversion… is not the substitution of something new for the old, any more than the incarnation was a substitution of the divine for the human. Nor is it the addition of something new to what was before, any more than the incarnation was the addition of something new to a deficient humanity."
p. 135 Andrew Wells on the 'indigenizing principle' and the 'pilgrim principle' in Christian conversion
p. 136 "The Christian thus has a double nationality…."
p. 136 Panditha Ramabai, Sadhu Sundar Singh, Kagawa –– ?
p. 137 "To the Hindu and Muslim alike, sacred test are untranslatable."
p. 138 "The Brahamanization of Indian society went hand in hand with the suppression of vernacular languages in favour of Sanskrit."
p. 139 All Christians 1) are conscious of standing together in continuity with ancient Israel and 2) give Jesus and ultimate significance. "…Christ is the ultimate in everyone's vocabulary."
[n. 17: Walls, The Missionary Movement, p. 23]
p. 140 God's manifold accommodation to a fallen world (in world religions), "far from obviating the need to proclaim the gospel of Christ to all cultures, actually compels it. For it is is Christ who has been speaking to human beings in their sin, it is in order to lead them out of … 'the times of human ignorance' (Acts 17:30) that they may understand and experience the freedom that he wrought for them through the cross."
p. 142–43 Modernity entailed the redefinition not only of, e.g., 'supernatural' as immaterial and extra-worldly (rather than as so to speak jati-transcending), but also religio "from being a virtue into a system of propositions to which individual choose to give assent."
p. 149 secundum William Cavanaugh, the so-called 'Wars of Religion' "were not the events which necessitated the birth of the modern State; they were in fact themselves the birthpangs of the States. … [Not simply a Prot-Cath clash, but a battle] for the aggrandizement of the emerging State over the decaying remnants of the ecclesiastical order."
[n. 15: "'A Fire Strong Enough to Consume the House'", Modern Theology 11.4 (1995), p. 398]
"The creation of religion, and thus the privatization of the Church, is correlative to the rise of the State."
[n. 16: Ibid., p. 403]
p. 150 Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, attacked Rome in 1527; turned on the Protestants in 1547, ingniting the first War of Religion, as "an attempt to consolidate Imperial authority rather than [as] an expression of doctrinal zealotry. When in 1552–53 the Lutheran princes (aided by the French Catholic King Henry II) defeated the Imperial forces, the German Catholic princes refused to intervene. … [France's] Queen Mother, Catherine de Medici [slaughter of Huguenots on St. Bartholomew's Day]… was not a religious zealot but a disciple of Machiavellian statecraft, anxious to forestall the Huguenot nobility's increasing influence…. Likewise, in the Thirty Years War (1618–1648), the cruellest of the so-called 'Wars of Religion', ecclesiastical loyalties were not easy to sort out. The war was prompted by Emperor Ferdinand II's ambition to consolidate his patchwork empire into a modern state, ruled by one sovereign, uncontested authority. France's interest lay in keeping Ferdinand's Habsburg empire fragmented, and France's interest superseded that of the French church. The last thirteen years of the war––the bloodiest––were essentially a struggle between the Habsburgs and the Bourbons, the two great Catholic dynasties of Europe."
p. 151 ideology of nation-statehood has caused the greatest strife in the past two centuries, not religion; "…essentially religious character of the modern state…. Martyrdom is redefined as laying down one's life for one's nation. Blasphemy… has been transformed into treason. … a larger collectivity…."
p. 154 "…'democratic capitalism', like 'secularization', enacts a tale, performs a master narrative. It functions as a traditional religious mythology, an explanation of why the world is as it is."
p. 156 "The doctrine of 'human rights' emerges from a particular theological narrative, rooted in the biblical nation of humanity made in the image of God and further developed by Aquinas and Puritan writers.
[Cf. Leszek Kolakowski, n. 27: Modernity on Endless Trial (Chicago: UofCP, 1990), p. 214, quoted in Michael Perry, The Idea of Human Rights (Oxford: OUP, 1998), p. 3]
cf. also Michael Perry, "the idea of human rights is 'ineliminably religious… that human beings are sacred is inescapably religious'.
[n. 28: Ibid., p. 35]
p. 157 "It was not democracy that paved the way for the freedom of worship, but freedom of worship that made democracy possible." cf. Tocqueville, Ware: Wordworth ed. 1998, p. 120
p. 163 "For Thomas Hobbes (1588–1679), it was crucial for the sovereignty of the commonwealth to deny the universal nature of the church and make each member of the church depend, not on fellow members, but directly on the sovereign."
p. 164 Nicholas Lash summarizes the gospel thus: "'We have been made capable of friendship'––with God and with one another."
[n. 42: The Beginning and End of 'Religion' (Cambridge: CUP, 1996), p. 214]

Pressure… in a vacuum?

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I am greatly intrigued by the concept of natural selection (NS). In this post I would like to consider three aspects of the theory which I think place it in a proper metaphysical setting and, as a consequence, complicate the appearance of its scientific hegemony.

My first claim concerns the logical vs. empirical status of NS. Is NS logically necessary? Are logical axioms falsifiable and, therefore, are they properly scientific? Is NS a 'first principle' of reason? (Also, every 150 years or so in the hx of science….)

My second line of inquiry concerns the coherence (or incoherence) of cosmological NS à la Lee Smolin, Max Tegmark, i.a. What sort of pressure can a quantum vacuum put on its decoherent universes? If the quantum vacuum is all that there is ab initio, what conceivable "environment" is there with and "in" which it can interact in a thermodynamically irreversible way (i.e., instance a wave function collapse)? If they are causally impermeable to each other, what sort of selection pressure can "competing cosmoi" put on each other? Is Being as such a potentially "scarce resource" that limits ontic proliferation?

My third point concerns the metaphysical presuppositions of NS. If "irreducible complexity" is to have any bearing on design and order vis-à-vis NS, it must be a metaphysical principle of nature as such, and, as Ray Michuga has argued, not merely a quantitative principle of material complexity. (Cf. Klee on "ordered diversity".)

WORK IN PROGRESS…

NOTES: The Soul of the Person by Adrian Reimers

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The Soul of the Person: A Contemporary Philosophical Psychology
Adrian J. Reimers
(Washington, D.C.: CUA Press, 2006)

PREFACE
p. xvi "…I follow John Paul II in rejecting consciousness as the foundation of the ontological supremacy and distinctiveness of human beings vis-à-vis the natural order. The human being is rational animal. Or, as Peirce, has put it: 'The mind is a sign, developing according to the laws of inference.' 5**"

CHAP 1
3 "The thesis of this work is that because the human being is a rational being, the soul is real, that this term soul refers to the spiritual basis of human nature, a basis that can be reduced neither to the material constitution of the body nor to mechanisms governing its behavior."
16 Theo Belmans, physicism, "the temptation to understand by object a perfectly neutral thing, an en soi of the impersonal order, receiving its significance from the pour soi, which is the subject." 32** ; "Spirit has to do with how we represent our lives and experiences to ourselves."
19 If the mind is not something to be improved, but only enhanced for practical utility, then Socrates is indeed a corrupter of the young and Meletus is their true guardian. **41
23 no question of the integration of the soul and body; "Thus, the Aristotelian argument does not of itself constitute an argument that the human soul is immaterial, immortal, or in any other way different from animal souls."
24 "Substance for Aristotle and Aquinas is intrinsically dynamic, for each substance has its specific perfection which it realizes by its proper operations."
25 Aquinas: "no substantial form is susceptible of more or less; but addition of greater perfection constitutes another species." cf.?
29 "Even having accepted materialist presuppositions as definitive, scientists can distinguish between kinds of things on the basis of behavior, and therefore on the basis of final causality."
30 "The phenomenological essence of the experience a human being acts is that it is both mental (conscious) and efficacious." 55**
Cf. Wojtyla, The Acting Person, Dordrecht, Boston, London: D. Riedel, 1979, Part One, chapter Two.
31 "…John Paul II argues that it is only as a responsible bodily being that one can exercise freedom, properly understood."
33 "For Karol Wojtyla, the key metaphysical term is not soul but suppositum, 64** by which he means the metaphysical subject that underlies experience and action."
cf. "Person: Subject and Community", in Person and Community, New York: Peter Lang, 1993)
34 Peirce, Firstness, Secondness, Thirdness, "The Categories in Detail", Collected Papers, §§303–353, 148–180. 1stness as en soi, monad; 2ndness as avec loi, dyad; 3rdness as pour et avec nous, triad
35 Peirce's threefold analysis is a rejection of every form of reductionism
36 the fact that natural laws "admit of general descriptions and their behavior admits of general characterizations means for Peirce that they manifest the operation of mind [whether it be evolutionary or divine, etc.]."
Cf. "A Neglected Argument for the Existence of God", Collected, 6.452–493.
37 David Braine argues that "even perception is interpretive. Likewise, intentions are not mental events somehow added to motions, but are present in and expressed by the acts themselves." ** 84
Cf. Human Person, NDU Press, 1992, p. 140. … "Language is the bodily behavior that manifests intellectuality."
38 "…it remains that something physical is governed by laws of reason."

CHAP 2
42 "Because there is that which is outside my control, that which impedes the exercise of my will, I know there is matter. Peirce writes, 'Now mere qualities do not resist. It is matter that resists."
**1 Collected, 1.419.
43 "The characteristic of materiality is obtrusive resistance."
45 "The principle of materiality directs us only to the present, the now in which material things are encountered. The future is not given in that encounter, that interaction. Lacking predictive power, materiality alone does not reveal the nature of a thing."
47 "The sciences investigate the manners of things' existence by investigating their behavior."
48 Peirce: "The reality of things consists in their persistent forcing themselves upon our recognition. If a thing has no such persistence, it is a mere dream. Reality, then, is [obtrusive, dyadic] persistence, is regularity."
5** Collected, 1.175.
49 "Peirce characterizes the laws of science as habits, albeit degenerate ones."
cf. Collected, 6.97, 101.
cf. Also Whitehead, Dialogues, n.7: res different from ens, for ens is from esse, while res expresses quiddity;
cf. De Ver. q. 1, a. 1.
50 F = Gm1m2/r^2
52 "Science recognizes no surds. … [E]ach physical object has its own teleology, its law, which is to behave according to the laws governing the behavior of its kind."
53 "What we call 'habit' in living things is a nexus of interactions governed by invariant laws."
54 "The individual is a sign of other members of its class."
55 "Behavior is an index of one thing in relation to other things."
e.g., shoe box diagram is a sign of the movie theater by iconic resemblance, for hypothesis-making, whereas an usher pointing to your seat is an index, for analytical, scientific purposes; a map is iconic of the highways, while a road sign "To Erewhon" is an index
56 "If things could not represent other things––could not be signs of them––then we could not know any more than what we have experienced. This does not mean, of course, that things themselves intend meanings, but only that their shared structures and patterns of causal interaction constitute interpretive principles in virtue of which one thing can signify another to the intelligent observer."
58 "The falling rock or orbiting moon, the deflected electron and the devouring black hole behave as they are supposed to. The law of a thing's behavior and existence is written into them."
59 Appetitus and Greek entelechy do not mean desire or appetite as in English. They refer to the natural tendencies of things to behave always or for the most part in the same ways. … quod est optimum… points to an order external to the thing that is so ordered to its own good, based on its form. … "Teleology, properly understood, is an expression and result of a thing's obeying general laws, of its realizing its nature through its characteristic habits."
cf. De Ver. q. 21, a. 6 and ST Ia q. 5, a. 5.
62 The answer to Searle's quandary as to how the world of mindless, physical matter can produce mental action is to say there is no world of mindless, physical matter, but a world populated by rational bodily agents.
Cf. Brains, Minds and Science, p. 13.

CHAP 3
65 "…to be spiritual is to be governed by an ideal."
66 "It is in virtue of this orientation to truth and the good that we are spiritual beings."
67 "To value is innate."
cf. Aristotle, Met. I, i, 980a Valuing the truly good as the desire to know. ………
73 "The reason, therefore, that good does not appear in mathematics has not to do with the nature of its objects but is because of its method of studying things, which is '[not] according to their existence but only according to their specific formal character.'"
cf. De Ver. q. 21, a. 2, Obj. 4, ad 4.
Does not then existence add some goodness to something, as in Anselm's aliquid quo nihil maius cogitari possit pace Kant?……
75 "For truth is a property of representations…." … "The representation is never self-validating, but must be understood or interpreted…."
76 "The structure of the idea is not sensible but logical."
cf. also J. Ross, "Immaterial Aspects…"
77 "…the knowledge of these [numerous phenomena] is governed by ideas which order the signs logically as the nature of the real things orders them in relation to each other."
80 Greek word κοσμος means order, and is related to both "cosmos" and "cosmetic", as in ornamentation one beholds order
81 "Beauty is the being grasped as a whole according to a single idea." … "…intuition, by which the intellect grasps a being's essence, and 'combining and dividing,' by which intelligence attributes a predicate to a subject. Strictly speaking, therefore, there is no truth in the first act of understanding."
cf. De Ver. q. 1, a. 1.
82 "In a way, our analysis confirms that beauty is in the eye of the beholder." / in but not by/
84 "Even when Bertrand Russell writes of the world as 'purposeless' and 'void of meaning,'30** he does so to give it an integral significance, a unity. … The human mind, even when it resists the impulse, is impelled to search out the characters that pertain to the whole. To be a rational animal is to be a metaphysical animal.
cf. "A Free Man's Worship", as in Burtt, Met. Found. of Mod. Sci., 1954, p. 23
86 the soul is the idea-using principle of the development which Peirce ascribed to the mind as a sign according to the laws of inference … A man's acts and habits are the means by which he interprets and manipulates the world, and as such are signs; just as a nexus of propositions constitutes an argument, so do one's acts constitute him as a sign.
92 "Belief is the commitment of mind to something as true."
93 "A stated belief that would not under any conceivable circumstances change or affect one's behavior either is not truly believed or is meaningless. To believe that something is true is to prepare oneself to act.
95 "If belief constitutes a predisposition to a kind of action, then truth is manifest in success." ………
96 n.4 –– "For Peirce, pragmatism offers an ultimate test for meaning, while James makes it a direct test for truth."
cf. W. James, Pragmatism, §90.
97 "Thus Aquinas characterizes Aristotle's definition [of truth] as a formal determination of his own. ¶ To understand is to grasp the essence of a being, and this is the first act of the intellect. The second act is 'composition and division,' that is, in predicating something of a subject." ………
100 three main classes of human habit: 1. perception, 2. work or practical activity, 3. reasoning (or the manipulation of symbols to express meaning)
101 "Human perception is the habit of ordering environmental stimuli into coherent images of things. … The nature of perception, however, does not derive from the simple responses of the organs, but from the purpose they attain."
103 "…sensation is interpreted according to ideas."
104 "…perception is not a matter of imposing order on unformed stimuli; perception is itself ordered. … material … space and time … future existence … general category of things. … The action of the body is the unified collective response of the sensory system; the image is the perceptible object as understood, that is, as represented to oneself."
105 "As a habit of imaging, however, perception is not directly linked to action. Perception mediates between stimulus and response."
108 "The empiricists passed over these [Kantian/categorical] ideas as subjective…. [But:] That these ideas are real is manifest is already in their unifying the perceptual experience. … The motion [of two balls striking], as well as the causality, is an aspect of the perceptual image. [Which is to say that Hume's strictures on causality cut just as much against motion, and what I'll call 'objectivity', as they do against causality.]
109 "Karol Wojtyla notes that efficacy is essential to the human act, by which he means simply that a human act intends to effect change in the world; it is efficient causality at work."
110 B. Franklin, kite, Leyden jar?
112 "The finality of reasoning is truth, just as image is that of perception and success that of work."
113 "Even pure thinking is 'inside the head' is a physical activity that can be observed and measured with appropriate equipment. [M. Posner, "Seeing the Head", Science 262, 29 Oct. 1993] … What makes an activity to be reasoning is that it intends to represent what can or might be is truth."
116 "The mental image is itself not a universal. Indeed, the mental image can play its role in thought only if there is something about it that is universal."
118 "…the word is the essence of the token and that the meaning is the application of the essence."
124 "Searle [characterizes] meaning (or intentionality) as a … mental event caused by the brain. N31 This account of meaning cannot be adequate, because the meaning of a symbol appearing in an argument does not depend on its being a mental event as such, but on its interpretive relationship with other signs…."
Cf. Searle, Minds, Brains and Science, ch. 2
125 "What Hume's principles of association do not account for all is that each idea, each mental event represents and interprets other ideas. In virtue of what does the picture lead our minds to the original? Animals, who have senses comparable to ours (often better), seldom show interest in pictures…."
"The 'Resemblance' of which Hume speaks is not that obvious. The cat owner may marvel at Fluffy T.'s predatory resemblance to the panther, but the gazelles of the Serengeti would not deign to notice the little pet. The operation of the mind depends not on observable laws of interaction, but upon the propensity of human person to interpret what they experience."
127 Peirce's schema for deduction, induction, and abduction:


Deduction
Induction
Hypothesis
Premise 1
A is B (minor)
a1 is B (minor)
A is c1 (conc.)
Premise 2
B is C (major)
a1 is C (conc.)
B is c1 (major)
Conclusion
A is C (conc.)
B is C (major)
A is B (minor)

132 "The argument for reality of the soul as something in some respect immaterial comes down ultimately to the fact that human rationality cannot reduce to a physical or mechanical procedure."
"There can be no universal algorithm to decide when the Turing machine is to stop, that is, to recognize that every truthful conclusion has been reached. Neither can it generate an algorithm to instruct itself when to stop.
N43 D. Braine, Human Person, p. 468; R. Penrose, Emperor's, p. 68
135 "Logically considered, the assertion of real existence has the character of a hypothetical conclusion; it proposes some reality whose existence explains or accounts for predicates.
N45 C. Peirce, "Pragmatism and Abduction", 5.181. The ability to assert the truth requires more than the bare mechanisms of material interaction. By asserting truth one joins to his naturally conditioned experience the general conception of the intellect and unified these in existential affirmation, one not compelled by strict deductive necessity."
136–137 "The human person can govern the development of his own habits according to ideas and beliefs about what is true.
N48 Peirce, "Ideals of Conduct," 1.602.
146 "Because ideas are not static images but principles of the living intelligence, truth is itself a principle of intelligent life."
148 "There are no surds in human experience. Although there may well be that which one cannot express adequately, no human experience or act is in principle incapable of expression. In other words, there is nothing unknowable within the range of of human experience."
148–149 "What makes perception and physical activity (work), as well as mental activity, rational is that they are governed by ideas. An idea brings diverse signs or representations into unity."
151 "Success of failure in work point to truth and falsity in the mind."
153 "…the distinctive characteristic of human behavior is that the human being transcends habit through rational self-governance, that the human being differs from animals and other living things n that he rationally forms his actions and habits." [Doing best does not come naturally.]
156 "Among animals, we see a balance and order among the appetites such that the animal's survival is fostered in a way consonant with the continuation of the species. … Each of these organ systems has its own teleology, in virtue of which the human person experiences a 'vector of aspiration,' n4 an inclination toward the sort of activity associated with that system. … The disposition of the body constitutes a disposition toward valuing certain things and kinds of activities as goods. To pursue.
N5" K. Wojtyla, Love and Resp., p. 46; ST Ia, IIae, q. 63, a. 1
160 "One can will anything conceivable. This is the basis for the freedom of the will."
161 "…cannot easily want something else, because the person is formed by his values. Values structure habits."
sense ––> significance ––> ideals ––> aspiration ––> habit [the last three being the grounds for freedom]
161 "…there can be no question of a nonphysical cause of bodily motion."
162 "In a sense, the human person has an open-ended essence; what he is* is not fully determined [and thus differs from a strictly material thing, which fully is what it does]."
165 "To serve a tennis ball is a single act. … Each of these [the swing's] sub-acts has its own purpose or end."
166 "We may say that every act is at least a nascent habit."
168 "…three fundamental kinds of human habit: (1) perception or habits of imaging the world; (2) habits of work or effective interaction with the world; (3) reasoning or habits of representing the world according to its general characters.
N 16 Peirce, "Phenomenology," 5, esp. 5.470ff. …"Every mental act … is bodily and every bodily act is … also an act of mind. An act of thinking is a bodily act intended to represent something as true to someone {if only oneself) and not necessarily to rearrange the world. … The human appetite is rational because human desire is not limited to what is sensibly perceived."
169 "The mind's universal judgment is about things to be done cannot be applied to a particular act except through the mediation of some intermediate power which perceives the singular. In this way there is framed a kind of syllogism whose major premise is the singular, a perception of the particular reason. The conclusion is the choice of the singular work." De Ver. q. 10, a ?.
170 "The practical syllogism is the dynamic of habitual action, not a theoretical superstructure. n21"
Fulvio Di Blasi, "Practical syllogism…", Nova et Vetera 2, no. 1 (2004): 21–42.
Cf. The bottom of these notes.
172 Conscientia means "the application of knowledge to something."
Cf. De Ver. q. 17, a. 1. And conscience as moral consciousness. !!!
173 "According to St. Thomas, consciousness and self-consciousness are something derivative, a kind of fruit of the rational nature that subsists in the person, a nature crystallized in the unitary rational and free being, and not as something subsistent in themselves. … The person acts consciously because the person is rational."
K. Wojtlya, The Acting Person, p. 33
174 "Consciousness is the application or invocation of a habit in a concrete situation."
175 "Consciousness arises from cognitive change of the terms in the practical syllogism."
179 "By a dynamic analogous to inductive reasoning, the agent is trained to perceive something new within the perceptual field (such as the topspin on the tennis ball or the telltale knock in the engine)."
180 formula for habit: 'When Z obtains, a occurs.' "First, the state of affairs Z must contain within it not only the objective lay of the land about the animal, but also the animal's perception of its needs and what in the environment will meet those needs."
182 "Symbolically the agent recreates a model of his body and the things around it in order to modify his use of his body. What this symbolic model shares in common with the body and its 'effect' on behavior, is not physical. We note further than this understanding is no directly induced by the environment, whose direct message is 'success' or 'failure.'
184 "Therefore in an ideal way the agent takes into himself the forms or natures of the state of affairs he is addressing, to conform himself to things as they are."
186 end of electron as motion between gravitational and magnetic, not as particular point in space
187 "The very fact that the person must choose, that his future behavior cannot be determined by the habits on which he had hitherto relied, yields for him the awareness of freedom, the consciousness of freedom, the consciousness of himself as a free agent."
"For Wojtyla freedom is founded not on indeterminacy but on self-determination.
N43" Acting Person, p. 117.
192 "The suppositum humanum must somehow manifest itself as a human self: metaphysical subjectivity must manifest itself as personal subjectivity. This must is the strongest argument for the metaphysical conception of human nature."
n49 Acting Person, 225.
193 "The truly great mystery of human intelligence is not the descent from the general to the specific, but the ascent from the specific to the general."
194 "…the inference, the growth in knowledge and understanding, results not directly from the impact of the environment upon the human subject, but upon the construction of an ideal representation to explain the particular experience one has had."
196 "Truth, a nonphysical relationship, is desirable and valued. … if truth is a value, a good, then our lives are governed not only by material considerations. In at least one respect the human person desires a spiritual good. … The good of truth constitutes a serious challenge to the materialist notion that good can be reduced to…the effect of material interactions."
197 "…truth is a condition of the human intellect, not of the body."
200 "Every animal can be taken as a sign of the world around it. … the human person is a sign of the world in which he lives, not only in virtue of the indications his behavior yields about his environment, but more specifically in virtue of his representations of the world. … the physical act alone cannot determine what one believes to be real."
201 "…a sign develops not deductively but inductively and hypothetically."
204 "…the power to know and to choose that makes one conscious, and not consciousness that makes possible reason and choice."
206 "The problem with the traditional dilemma of impenetrable minds is that it appears to assume that autism is the norm." !!!
207 "…the falsity of of the radical privacy of consciousness is evident from the creation and enjoyment of art."
210 the original, Edenic meaning of Adam's solitude is characterized precisely by subjectivity"
Theology of the Body, Boston: Pauline, 1997), p. 41
213 –– MOST OF THE PAGE
214 the elements of the biblical narrative are "always at the root of every human experience."
n73 Theology of the Body p. 51; naked shame not as lasciviousness but as vulnerability to being rejected, wounded
217 Each person "represents an interpretation of the world according to the truth as understood, and therefore represents an interpretation of the lives of others in the world."
218 "One is born a human being but becomes someone, the person he is.
N 78, Wojtyla, Acting Person, 98ff. … If persona identity is rooted in one's consciousness, then once consciousness is lost––even in sleep––what becomes of personal identity?"
221 "The self is what has chosen to form itself by the hypothesis represented in concrete acts."
222 "because it is oriented tot he future, the self is real but not fully determined. The structure of the self is rational, indeed … syllogistic, and it 'engine' is the good known and desired. This entails that the human self––the human person––cannot be reduced to a material entity whose behavior is (in principle at least) explicable by physical laws. Rather the human being is also spiritual…."
228 Freedom is "neither a special kind of feeling (as Hume holds) nor a simple independence from physical laws (as Kant suggests). Rather, freedom is rooted in the capacity for self-determination, n7 in the the human person's ability to form his own habits according to values he has recognized and adopted for himself." .
Wojtyla, Person and Community, 190, 193; Acting Person, Part III, chap. 4, esp 115ff.
"To transform oneself requires not the action of the mental upon the physical, but the transformation of the physical according to the idea of the mental."
formal aspiration variably determines our somatic potency
234 "…the existence of a causally determinative manifold of factors producing the same response in all subjects simply has not been established."
235 "…is human behavior is truly determined, then I should (in principle, at least) be able to predict what I shall do at some future point, irrespective of any decision-making activity I may in the meantime."
236 n. 19 : "The rejection of freedom is based on disregarding the reality of 'I act' (or 'A man acts') and considering only 'what happens in a man.' From the perspective of 'I act' it is impossible to predict scientifically what I will do, because I am the dynamism of my act."
237 "I call this kind of reductionism [i.e, atomic foundationalism, as it were] irrational, because it divides physical reality into two radically different kinds of being: those for which an account is possible and those which simply are what they are. In Peirce's terms, this amounts to 'blocking the road to inquiry,' decreeing that a certain question cannot be answered…. No known thing ever actually counts as foundational."
244 "Only the symbol––not the icon or the index––can state that this is how things stand in truth." Therefore, its relationship with the object necessarily transcends the physical relationships of resemblance and causality."
246 While truth is indexed by success (cf. p. 196), pace W. James, the useful is not simply the good and the good not simply the useful, since a value must be assigned to the usefulness, and thus goodness, of any action. "Pragmatism falls short because it presumes––without argument––that the standards of truth and good must be empirical."
248 "The premises do not physically cause the conclusions of argument."
cf. C.S. Lewis, Miracles, "grounds" vs. "reasons"
249 "That human behavior is always rational does not mean that human beings always behave according to the beliefs and arguments that they express verbally; it means that their behavior can be so represented and that it is in accord with beliefs and values."
250 "By intellectually grasping the essences of things according to its ideas, the reasoning human being ideally conforms himself according to the nature of that thing."
251 "The idea is the form or basis of one's habitual behavior."
252 The idea of God, like every idea, "is a principle of unity by which a variety of experiences can be drawn into unity. (Indeed, the Christian conception of God as Creator and End of all tings draws everything into unity.)"
253 "Ideas are not physical principles but they are principles of physical things, specifically of the operation of the thinking human being. The idea forming the human intelligence is never separated from matter, not even if it is the idea of something immaterial, such as an angel or God. The idea is that by which physical things are meaningfully related, by which one thing represents or interprets another."
258 De Veritate 1, 1, resp.: "illud autem quod primo intellectus concipit quasi notissimum et in quo omnes conceptiones resolvit est ens."
259–261 "transcendental predicates": res ["The physical encounter itself gives us no grounds to say that the cause of the interaction or resistance is a something, that is an enduring entity with an essence."]; one ["The human intellect is ordered to things as integral wholes, to find unity in virtue of which a common predicate can be applied."]; aliquid; "…manifest the inherent realism of the human intellect."
262 "The idea of a thing is that by which one can determine its corresponding appropriate goods and evils."
"For Aquinas the evidence that things act for an end is evidenced by their acting always or for the most part in the same way. But the operation of a thing comes from its form. Therefore the form of a thing is the foundation of its goodness. n 47" … "If a thing is good because it is ordered to something as its perfection or fulfillment, then to determine the good of a thing is to go a long way toward understanding it…."
n.47 ST Ia q. 5, a. 5; De Ver q. 21, a. 6
265 "The very generality of the transcendental predicates, however, indicates the breadth of the human intellect."
267 "Of the three fundamental forms of reasoning, hypothesis is that which has no physical counterpart. Hypothesis has the character of a leap, an intellectual connection of what was previously unconnected."
268 "The human intellect so surpasses the physical order that i can know that order and even conceive of a different one." … "…the logic of hypothesis (in Peirce's terms) defies mechanical reproduction."
271 "Every action that a human being performs is physical, but the habits by which human actions are regulated are themselves governed by an immaterial principle according to the laws of reason. … [The principles of the human body, of its nature,] are not given to it as they are to other material things. The human being forms his own principles of action according to rational criteria. The soul is therefore not simply a principle of behavior, but rather a principle of principles of behavior."
272 "…the soul without its body cannot be conscious. … The soul is not an object of consciousness, nor is consciousness an immediate manifestation of the soul."
280 "…nature is present to us as a language representing the Mind of its Author. We relate personally to our world and in doing so … we relate to the mind that nature represents."
282 "One is formed by what one knows and loves."
283 "If the material is that in virtue of which the human subject interacts with the environment, the spiritual is that in virtue of which the human relates to reality under its aspects of good and true."