30 May 2011

Book Meme

I just saw this old meme at Siris, who in turn saw it at DarwinCatholic.

Grab the nearest book.

Open it to page 161.
Find the fifth full sentence.
Post the text of the sentence along with these instructions.
Don't search around looking for the coolest book you can find. Do what's actually next to you.

Leibniz: Political Writings: But, even if all evil was reserved for the future, does not everyone know that human prudence has only the future as its object?

14 May 2011

Thoughts on Geach

In his celebrated article ‘Good and Evil,’ P. T. Geach argues that the adjectives good and evil or bad are ‘logically attributive,’ meaning (roughly) that in predications of the form ‘a is a good/bad B’ the sense of ‘good/bad’ depends upon what common noun or noun-phrase fills the role of B.  For example, ‘good’ has different senses in ‘a is a good wicket,’ ‘a is a good argument’ and ‘a is a good typist,’ and these differences in sense arise from the differences between wickets, arguments, and typists.

12 May 2011

Aquinas on Absolute and Relative Foreigners

[W]e understand the Greek word for non-Greek to mean something foreign, and we can call human beings foreigners either absolutely or in relation to someone.  Those who lack reason, by which we define human beings, seem absolutely foreign to the human race, and so we call those who lack reason foreigners in an absolute sense.  They lack reason either because they happen to live in a climate so intemperate that it causes them to be dim-witted, or because there is an evil custom in certain lands whereby human beings are rendered irrational brutish, as it were.  And it clearly comes from the power of reason that reasonable laws govern human beings, and that human beings are practiced in the art of writing.  And so the fact that human beings do not establish laws, or establish unreasonable laws, and the fact that some peoples have no literary practices are signs that appropriately manifest barbarism.

05 May 2011

Hip, Hip, Hooray

for Bill Vallicella!  It has now been seven years since he began Maverick Philosopher, and I earnestly hope that he'll continue a great deal longer.  I have ever found Dr. Vallicella polite without being overeager, stern without being rude, profound without being vague, technical without being narrow, absurdly well-read without being snobbish, egalitarian without being indiscriminately welcome, a superb stylist without overworking himself (or at least appearing to), and a sharp wit to boot.  He's also never missed a day blogging (!), so let's all be grateful to him for that.  

I (fairly) recently read his A Paradigm Theory of Existence  and a couple of his professional articles (Brentano on existence and his defense of the PSR), which book and articles I strongly recommend to all both of my readers.  To celebrate, I will tonight enjoy his Catholic Philosophical Quarterly article defending occasionalism, upon which expect to see commentary shortly.

To sum up:  thanks for the blog, Dr. Vallicella, and keep up the brilliant work!