It may seem slippery and maddeningly abstract, but it’s also deeply intimate, infusing our every word and gesture.'
Alan Burdick at The New Yorker
"Nationalism is an abiding legacy of the Enlightenment. It has embedded itself in global politics more completely and more successfully than any of the Enlightenment’s more celebrated legacies, including Marxism, classical liberalism and even industrial capitalism. It is not an aberration. It is here to stay. Putting aside the concerns of a cosmopolitan elite, this is not necessarily a bad thing. Like religion, nationalism is capable of bringing out the best in people as well as the worst. It can inspire them to bind together freely in pursuit of the common good. But it can also fill them with a terrifying, righteous certainty, breeding strife and injustice."
Four Ages of Understanding: The First Postmodern Survey of Philosophy from Ancient Times to the Turn of the Twenty-first Century (2001), by John Deely, p. 241
"Mortimer Adler came to the University of Dubuque sometime in the 1970s as part of a lecture tour on 'How To Think about God'. Subsequently he published a book on the subject in which the first part claimed to be based on Anselm and the second part (which someone failed to proofread) based on Aquinas. Overall the book was actually not all that great, but the point of the first part captured the situation exactly. If we are to think clearly about God, we must indeed think of God as existing actually and not merely in thought. But clear thinking on our part is not sufficient to prove, even in the unique case of God, that God actually exists. For that, appeal must be made to the nature of actual existence, whence, if at all, some proof or other might be derived.
"Descartes, as mentioned above, later would compare the situation to that of a triangle. Existence is to God as having three sides and three angles is to a triangle. As we cannot think of a triangle unless we think of it as having three sides and three angles, so we cannot think of God unless we think of God as actually existing. But this argument makes the point of Adler and Aquinas, not the one Descartes or Anselm before him hoped to make.
#being #god #MortimerAdler
John Blades on A Guidebook to Learning: For the Lifelong Pursuit of Wisdom (1986), by Mortimer J. Adler, and the author's writing process, at The Chicago Tribune. [link fixed -ed.]
"Having just published [book] No. 39, Adler seems to have refined the art of writing books to a mathematical science. As he explains his working method:
"'I go to Aspen every summer and write one in 14 or 15 days. I deliver it to the publisher on Sept. 1, and it comes out the next March.'
"The 84-year-old author/philosopher doesn`t want the process to sound too mechanical, however.
"'You have to understand,' he says, 'that I`ve been working on the book all year before I sit down to write it. I`ve got my notes organized in folders for each chapter, and the writing goes very quickly. It`s much the best way to write a book.'"
"Maybe you’ve read War and Peace; maybe you haven’t. Maybe you got part of the way through its 1,392 pages and lost the will to continue. (It happens to the best of us!) If you’re in one of the latter two camps, Brian E. Denton is here to change your mind. A freelance writer based in Queens, New York, Brian has read War and Peace seven times already and has no plans to stop there. I talked to Brian to find out what makes War and Peace so special, and why you might want to join him in making reading the book a New Year’s Resolution for this year."
This essay by Zena Hitz appears in the symposium 'Assault on Higher Education: Reports from the Front,' in the Summer 2017 issue of Modern Age.
"It was not long ago widely taken for granted that intellectual activity benefited ordinary people. A. G. Sertillanges's classic handbook The Intellectual Life (1921) offered to nonacademics with intellectual interests, people with day jobs, a wealth of practical advice for their intellectual work along with soaring rhetoric to inspire and encourage them. It seems he thought the benefit of intellectual work too obvious to dwell much upon. Sertillanges wrote as publishers brought forth a great flood of inexpensive classics for the ordinary reader. The early twentieth century had its powerful, hard-nosed advocates of practice over theory and its fantasy-driven evangelists of technology. Still, it seems evident that, in the age of Everyman’s Library and reading clubs at the Mechanics Institute, publishers, academics, and grassroots organizers built and defended forms of intellectual life that went deep to the bottom of things and reached out to the broadest of audiences. Even the activists of the early twentieth century did homage to the democracy of serious inquiry: Marxists went to the poorest areas and taught anyone who would listen intricacies of Hegel and Feuerbach that a modern-day professor would tremble to assign to undergraduates."
A scanned pdf version of Sertillanges's book is posted at Portal Conservador.
Eugenia Cheng, Department of Mathematics, University of Chicago, posted this at the University of Sheffield.
"Writing a good proof is not supposed to be something we can just sit down and do. It’s like writing a poem in a foreign language. ...
"Even when you know how to do it, writing a proof takes planning, effort and inspiration. ..."
Peter Van Valkenburgh at the Foundation for Economic Education.
"All blockchain technologies should have three constituent parts: peer-to-peer networking, consensus mechanisms, and (yes) blockchains, A.K.A. hash-linked data structures."
"Join host Steve Allen as he welcomes Cleopatra, Thomas Aquinas, Thomas Paine, and Theodore Roosevelt to a discussion of questions of enduring significance. Topics include the merits and evils of imperialism, the American Revolution, the possibility of nobility in war, certitude of religious doctrine, and the best form of government. Hear Cleopatra and Aquinas react to the first lines of the Declaration of Independence, Cleopatra defend the rule of divine emperors, and Aquinas comment on Paine’s argument for equality."Video of Season 1, Episode 2, linked at The Imaginative Conservative.
#equality #government #religion #revolution #war
Nick Routley at Visual Capitalist.
"Today’s infographic, created all the way back in 1931 by a man named John B. Sparks, maps the ebb and flow of global power going all the way back to 2,000 B.C. on one coherent timeline."
Brian Kemple at Semiotic Thomist.
"Here, I want to take a look at the technological factors which have a pervasive influence in our environments. I am, again, working off the thought of Marshall McLuhan, within the framework of a Thomistic psychology, and with a semiotic perspective (that is, such that mediation between any two or more things occurs by virtue of a sign, the being of which is a triadic relation comprising object, interpretant, and sign-vehicle). More specifically, I am concerned with the 'electric' environment–light, television, telephone, and anything which fosters instantaneous communication (including some capacties provided by the internet)–and the 'digital' environment–which, we might say, comprises the coded structuring of discretely categorized knowledge made available to us through computers, smart phones, and the internet."
"Town Meeting of the World - Senator Robert Kennedy (D-NY) and Governor Ronald Reagan (R-CA) respond to questions via satellite from a group of international students in London at the BBC. The topic is “The Image of America and the Youth of the World” but many of the questions concerned U.S. policy in Vietnam. This aired on CBS on May 15, 1967."at YouTube
Update: Transcript at Free Republic
Brian Kemple at Semiotic Thomist
"But beyond the ratios between the senses, I think it is arguable that new technological media alters also the ratio between the senses and the intellect. It seems little coincidence to me that we live in an age bereft of thought and inundated of sense stimulation–and not just any stimulation, but a constantly changing, updated stimulation; the ad men, so to speak, are always trying to make us tingle in new and exciting ways, to keep our curiosity on their products and services."
Israel M. Kirzner on 'The Historical Background of the Misesian Perspective' at The Harvard Review of Philophy.