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?

That does not strike me as right, though: surely I can be acting prudently, applying prudence, with respect to what is presently confronting me.  Of course, this has little to do with Leibniz' point, which is simply that we should not brush aside legitimate worries by saying that they belong to an uncertain future, which piece of advice is as sound as ever.  I am, incidentally, very much liking the reader (part of the Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought series) from which this quote is taken, though I would appreciate fewer abridgments.  Still, since I know neither German, nor French, nor Latin (though I'm presently working on the last one), and since Leibniz' thoughts on politics are largely scattered throughout his corpus and thus not easily located without external aid, I suppose I owe Dr. Riley (the editor of the reader) more thanks than blame.  Leibniz's political theory is fascinating: as in everything, he has here an urge to synthesise great authorities, so we see elements of Aristotle (such as in his treatment of the nature, hierarchy, origin, and classification of societies), Plato (especially concerning the immutable, mathematics-like standards and proportions of the just and the good), and of course a great deal of influence from various Christian sources.  As far as I am able to discern, Leibniz' chief enemy in the realm of political theorising in Hobbes, whose (purportedly) barbaric, Thrasymachist, and voluntarist conception of right is as opposed as possible to Leibniz's own.

In any event, tomorrow shall see the posting of a most long-awaited post on Spinoza.  I promise!  Sorry for the pointless delay.

In other news, Dr. Vallicella (fairly) recently graced me with a critical post concerning the compatibility of Divine impassibility-cum-simplicity and Divine omniscience.  The discussion, however, ultimately took a rather different track upon whose subject I feel myself too ill-informed to intelligently comment, though I find it fascinating nonetheless.


  1. I was reading your discussion with Bill Vallicella and I thought it was pretty fascinating!

  2. Oops, sorry about the Spinoza post...

    Thanks! I enjoyed it, and felt I put in some good arguments for my position. Do you yourself have a stance on the matter?

  3. ---------- Forwarded message ----------

    ---------- Forwarded message ----------

    Talk about human biodiversity (HBD) is the hottest new thing on the internet. In fact, one could say one could say that interest in HBD is exploding on the internet --- among both intelligent conservatives and intelligent liberals.

    Indeed, the findings of HBD are politically incorrect in some cases, but, as George Orwell said, we should be guided by the truth and not by political strictures (in this case, political correctness).

    There is now a new HBD blog almost every week. Most of the new blogs seem to be by professors, public intellectuals or high-IQ college students.

    So far, only the elite of the elite discuss HBD -- but this may be changing.

    A paradigm shift is underway -- and HBD is the future.

    ---------- Forwarded Message ----------

    Here is a new HBD Bibliography:


    This is a very popular bibliography. I believe some of your articles are referenced there.

    ---------- Forwarded message ----------

  4. I'm stuck. P. 161 of the nearest book to hand, Vol. 1 of the Blackfriars edition of the Summa, has no sentences; it is part of the index.