More God & Good

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Danny Pitt Stoller

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Nov 30, 1998, 3:00:00 AM11/30/98
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From "The Poison of Subjectivism" (which can be found in *Christian
Reflections*):

"If we once grant that our practical reason is really reason and that its
fundamental imperatives are as absolute and categorical as they claim to
be, then unconditional allegiance to them is the duty of man. So is
absolute allegiance to God. And these two allegiances must, somehow, be
the same. But how is the relation between God and the moral law to be
represented? To say that the moral law is God's law is no solution. Are
these things right because God commands them or does God command them
because they are right? If the first, if good is to be *defined* as what
God commands, then the goodness of God Himself is emptied of meaning and
the commands of an omnipotent fiend would have the same claim on us as
those of the 'righteous Lord'. If the second, then we seem to be
admitting a cosmic dyarchy, or even making God Himself the mere executor
of a law somehow external and antecedent to His own being. Both views
are intolerable.

"....the duality which seems to force itself upon us when we think,
first, of our Father in Heaven, and, secondly, of the self-evident
imperatives of the moral law, is not a mere error but a real (though
inadequate and creaturely) perception of things that would necessarily be
two in any mode of being which enters our experience, but which are not
so divided in the absolute being of the superpersonal God. When we
attempt to think of a person and a law, we are compelled to think of this
person either as obeying the law or as making it. And when we think of
Him as making it we are compelled to think of Him either as making it in
conformity to some yet more ultimate pattern of goodness (in which case
that pattern, and not He, would be supreme) or else as making it by a
*sic volo, sic jubeo* (in which case He would be neither good nor wise).

"....It would be idle, with our merely mortal resources, to attempt a
positive correction of our categories -- *ambulavi in mirabilibus supra
me*. But it might be permissible to lay down two negations: that God
neither *obeys* nor *creates* the moral law. The good is uncreated; it
never could have been otherwise; it has in it no shadow of contingency;
it lies, as Plato said, on the other side of existence. It is the *Rita*
of the Hindus by which the gods themselves are divine, the *Tao* of the
Chinese from which all realities proceed. But we, favoured beyond the
wisest pagans, know what lies beyond existence, what admits no
contingency, what lends divinity to all else, what is the ground of all
existence, is not simply a law but also a begetting love, a love
begotten, and the love which, being between these two, is also immanent
in all those who are caught up to share the unity of their self-caused
life. God is not merely good, but goodness; goodness is not merely
divine, but God."

--


"Gentlemen of the jury, I am grateful and I am your friend,
but I will obey the god rather than you...."

- Socrates


Danny Pitt (no hyphen) Stoller
215-386-6975
http://www.sas.upenn.edu/~dap


Christian Rendel

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Nov 30, 1998, 3:00:00 AM11/30/98
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Thanks for posting these great quotes!

Best -- Christian

bd

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Nov 30, 1998, 3:00:00 AM11/30/98
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I wonder if this would help,tho it was said in a different connection:

{{{{{ A perfectly good will . . . [cannot] . . . be conceived as /necessiatated/
to act in confromity with law, since of itself, in accordance with its
subjective consittituion, it can be determined only by the concept of the good.
Hence for the /divine/ will, and in general for a /holy/ will, there are no
imperatives : 'I ought' is here out of place, becaue 'I will' is already of
itself necessarily in harmony with the law.}}}}}
Kant, Paton trans, quoted by d'Entreves p. 122

******************************************************
813 list and rant:
http://www.sonic.net/mary/DejaLew-dir/rants/8heads.htm

Daryl Gene

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Dec 1, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/1/98
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>d...@mail1.sas.upenn.edu (Danny Pitt Stoller)quoted:

> The good is uncreated; it
>never could have been otherwise; it has in it no shadow of contingency;
>it lies, as Plato said, on the other side of existence.

So Lewis believes in Platonic Archetypes, forgive me, I do not!

> God is not merely good, but goodness; goodness is not merely
>divine, but God."

It is easy to say all these things as long as you do not define your terms.
What is "goodness" qua God? Would we be able to say that God was good prior to
creating us? Not using the 813! That simply provides a set of principles for
us to interact. In fact, just using the 813, it would be impossible for a man
who lived alone to be considered good, each one deals with intrapersonal
relations.

Much better to define good in Aquinas' terms like doing that which is in
accord with the proper nature of the being. God would be good, Lucifer, who
rebelled against his proper nature; evil, and us... well bad but redeemable.

Daryl Gene

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Dec 1, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/1/98
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>bhuva...@my-dejanews.com (bd)quoted:

>{{{{{ A perfectly good will . . . [cannot] . . . be conceived as
>/necessiatated/
>to act in confromity with law, since of itself, in accordance with its
>subjective consittituion, it can be determined only by the concept of the
>good.
>Hence for the /divine/ will, and in general for a /holy/ will, there are no
>imperatives : 'I ought' is here out of place, becaue 'I will' is already of
>itself necessarily in harmony with the law.}}}}}
>Kant, Paton trans, quoted by d'Entreves p. 122
>

BEAUTIFUL, PERFECT, FANTASTIC

You have a great ability to dig up treasures Mary!!!
Daryl
And the servant of the Lord must not strive, but be gentle unto all men, apt
to teach, patient,in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God
peradventure will give them repentence to the acknowledging of the truth
2Tim 24-25

Dan Drake

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Dec 1, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/1/98
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On Tue, 1 Dec 1998 06:43:50, dary...@aol.com (Daryl Gene) wrote:

> >d...@mail1.sas.upenn.edu (Danny Pitt Stoller)quoted:
>
> > The good is uncreated; it
> >never could have been otherwise; it has in it no shadow of contingency;
> >it lies, as Plato said, on the other side of existence.
>
> So Lewis believes in Platonic Archetypes, forgive me, I do not!

Does the statement _entail_ platonic archetypes? That is, if you accept it
without accepting the archetypes, are you simply babbling? I don't think
so. The more I think about the idea that some things are actually good
and some are actually bad, the more it seems necessary to accept a concept
[avoiding the loaded word Idea] of that which is good, which in some way
has a reality beyond the collection of all statements like "well, this
thing is good" and "that thing is good" and "thing x is un-good". (*) And
that concept begins to look very much like -- here we go -- a platonic
Idea.

But one need not -- and I think it's wrong to -- derive this Idea of the
Good [sorry about the caps, Mary] from Plato's general theory of Ideas.
To be a nominalist in _almost_ every connection, with this one exception,
is uncomfortable, but I don't see it as logically inconsistent, and I
currently don't know a better position.

(*) The `collection' approach is nominalism, which is pretty much my
position concerning abstract ideas generally: they are simply collections
and have no kind of transcendent reality.

>
>...


>
> Much better to define good in Aquinas' terms

or Aristotle's

> like doing that which is in
> accord with the proper nature of the being. God would be good, Lucifer, who
> rebelled against his proper nature; evil, and us... well bad but redeemable.

Good if you have some basis for `the proper nature of the being'. But
it's hard for me to see how that is really different from `the platonic
idea of the being'. And it seems awfully close to question-begging.

This is not to deny the characterization of God, Lucifer, and people. If
we _know_ that we were created by an unlimitedly good and wise being, then
departing from His purposes is bad. But deriving the badness from a
general argument about the nature of a being seems (as does the derivation
of God from the platonic Form of the Good) to be proving a proposition by
arguing from one that's even more doubtful (notum per ignoto, for short).

IMInsufficientlyHO.


[Notes on capitalization: (a) The purists I listen to say that adjectives
derived from proper names are not capitalized. (b) Sometimes superfluous
capitalization of words like Idea is hard to avoid in this unexpressive
medium, and sometimes it's even traditional. (c) If the Creator is real,
He merits the traditional capitalization of pronouns; if not, we can say
with Pascal, Who cares?

--
Dan Drake
d...@dandrake.com
http://www.dandrake.com/index.html

God or somebody save us from any society founded on Darwinian principles.
--Richard Dawkins


bd

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Dec 1, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/1/98
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Thanks, I was beginning to wonder if waht I'm calling the difference between a
plain adjective and a noun-commodity was someting I was hallucinating, since no
one else seems to see it.

Well, me and Kant and Grotius and a few people like that,maybe. Wish they'd post
here more often.

On 1 Dec 1998 18:45:46 GMT, d...@dandrake.com (Dan Drake) wrote:

>On Tue, 1 Dec 1998 06:43:50, dary...@aol.com (Daryl Gene) wrote:
>
>> >d...@mail1.sas.upenn.edu (Danny Pitt Stoller)quoted:
>>
>> > The good is uncreated; it
>> >never could have been otherwise; it has in it no shadow of contingency;
>> >it lies, as Plato said, on the other side of existence.
>>
>> So Lewis believes in Platonic Archetypes, forgive me, I do not!


I also would like to see the question desscribed without tthem.


>
>Does the statement _entail_ platonic archetypes? That is, if you accept it
>without accepting the archetypes, are you simply babbling? I don't think
>so. The more I think about the idea that some things are actually good
>and some are actually bad,

Plain adjectives, right? :-)

Lewis and others keep sayng 'intrinsically'. Some actions are intrinsically
good, some intrinsically evil, etc.


> the more it seems necessary to accept a concept
>[avoiding the loaded word Idea] of that which is good, which in some way
>has a reality beyond the collection of all statements like "well, this
>thing is good" and "that thing is good" and "thing x is un-good". (*)


Why more here than with other adjectives definded by pointing to exaples? See
below.


> And
>that concept begins to look very much like -- here we go -- a platonic
>Idea.
>
>But one need not -- and I think it's wrong to -- derive this Idea of the
>Good [sorry about the caps, Mary] from Plato's general theory of Ideas.
>To be a nominalist in _almost_ every connection, with this one exception,
>is uncomfortable, but I don't see it as logically inconsistent, and I
>currently don't know a better position.
>
>(*) The `collection' approach is nominalism, which is pretty much my
>position concerning abstract ideas generally: they are simply collections
>and have no kind of transcendent reality.

Well, let's start from there and work up. :-) How much 'transcendent reality'
do we need for 'actually'?

Can we say 'some things are acrually red and others are actually blue' --
without needing some sort of transcendent Blueness?

Can we compose a set of specs for a space staion colony -- it has to stay up,
manage its own power and waste disposal, pay back its investors, and stay
peaceful -- and see that the specs fit together as a recognizeable and coherent
set -- without the physical colony existing anywhere, or maybe not at all?

Does there have to be some Transcendent Ideal Colony somewhere to endow our
attempts with Colony-ness?

Can we talk about centaurs and mermaids -- which are coherent, recognizeable
concepts -- without someone saying there has to Be One somewhere?

Description vs object ('substance'?).

Can we say that (most :-) walls are actually vertical and floors are actually
horizontal? I didn't say perfectly or absolutelly! Just recognizeably and
actuallly?

For this, do we need some Transcendent Euclidean Plane to actually /exist/
somwhere for them to draw their flatness from?

If we can talk like that -- then what is wrong with some actions being 'actually
good' and 'actually bad'?

As David seemed to suggest, those specs/words are sort of vague without the
/concepts/specs/ of 'mercy', 'courage' etc to define them. But does that mean
the /commodities/ described as 'mercy' etc have to Transcendentally Pulsate
somewhere behind the Euclidean Plane, or something?

Sure, as Daryl seemed to say, iirc, a human living alone might not have much
occasion for manifesting most of the 813. And we don't do them perfectly. But it
seems to me we have enough streaks of them to define the specs from!

Definition by example. Me Tarzan, red is apples and pomegranites and blood and
sunset and go on pointing till Jane gets the idea. If we can do this with most
adjectives -- why need to capitalize Idea for doing the same thing with
good/evil?

Especially since Lewis says that's how we learn about good/bad ourselves in the
first place! "Watch those guys in the white hats. Good means what they do. Bad
is like those guys in the black hats who kick dogs and tie people to railroad
tracsk and rob stagecoaches and make people cry."

One more thump: to a child we define circle and square by drawing some
(roughtly, imperfectelly) and pointing at them. Socrates says this proves there
really are some Transcendent Circles and Squares etc. Maybe he's right. But we
don't /need/ Socrates' theory in order to go on drawing our geometry and
buildign squar houses and surveying our boundaries etc etc. And if Socrates'
theory is ever abandoned, we'll go on making our houses square all the same.

(For the house of wood to stay up, may need some Higher Power Commodity help.
It's the /concept/specs/ I'm talking about. :-)

>
>>
>>...
>>
>> Much better to define good in Aquinas' terms
>
>or Aristotle's
>
>> like doing that which is in
>> accord with the proper nature of the being. God would be good, Lucifer, who
>> rebelled against his proper nature; evil, and us... well bad but redeemable.


Yes, this gets to the next stage. "Ok, good is what the Whte Hat guys do -- but
why /should I/ do it? Why /ought/ one to be 'whitehattish'?"

Here is where the Acquinas Q94 thing comes in handy. All it needs is the one
'ought': fish oughta swim, bird oughta fly. The rest is details. :-) (Question
of knowledge not sinderesis as Lewis said in OHEL, SiW, and hinted in MC.)


>
>Good if you have some basis for `the proper nature of the being'. But
>it's hard for me to see how that is really different from `the platonic
>idea of the being'. And it seems awfully close to question-begging.
>
>This is not to deny the characterization of God, Lucifer, and people. If
>we _know_ that we were created by an unlimitedly good and wise being, then
>departing from His purposes is bad. But deriving the badness from a
>general argument about the nature of a being seems (as does the derivation
>of God from the platonic Form of the Good) to be proving a proposition by
>arguing from one that's even more doubtful (notum per ignoto, for short).
>
>IMInsufficientlyHO.
>
>
>[Notes on capitalization: (a) The purists I listen to say that adjectives
>derived from proper names are not capitalized. (b) Sometimes superfluous
>capitalization of words like Idea is hard to avoid in this unexpressive
>medium, and sometimes it's even traditional. (c) If the Creator is real,
>He merits the traditional capitalization of pronouns; if not, we can say
>with Pascal, Who cares?

..:-)

Darkens council, tho. Counsel?


BD

AJA

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Dec 2, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/2/98
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On Tue, 01 Dec 1998 23:40:37 GMT, bhuva...@my-dejanews.com (bd)
wrote:


>
>Sure, as Daryl seemed to say, iirc, a human living alone might not have much
>occasion for manifesting most of the 813. And we don't do them perfectly. But it
>seems to me we have enough streaks of them to define the specs from!
>
>Definition by example. Me Tarzan, red is apples and pomegranites and blood and
>sunset and go on pointing till Jane gets the idea. If we can do this with most
>adjectives -- why need to capitalize Idea for doing the same thing with
>good/evil?
>
>Especially since Lewis says that's how we learn about good/bad ourselves in the
>first place! "Watch those guys in the white hats. Good means what they do. Bad
>is like those guys in the black hats who kick dogs and tie people to railroad
>tracsk and rob stagecoaches and make people cry."

Well, it certainly seems we've got all the data we need. So why are
people so mean to each other? Does /G/g/o/o/d/ have a future?
(Ref: The World's Last Night)

A

Matthew Collett

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Dec 2, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/2/98
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>On 1 Dec 1998 18:45:46 GMT, d...@dandrake.com (Dan Drake) wrote:
>
>>(*) The `collection' approach is nominalism, which is pretty much my
>>position concerning abstract ideas generally: they are simply collections
>>and have no kind of transcendent reality.
>
>Well, let's start from there and work up. :-) How much 'transcendent reality'
>do we need for 'actually'?
>
>Can we say 'some things are acrually red and others are actually blue' --
>without needing some sort of transcendent Blueness?
>

This is the good old Mediaeval "Problem of Universals", which had _three_
standard answers:-

In the Blue corner (where "Blue" means "partaking of transcendent
Blueness") the Platonists, aka idealists, aka strong or extreme realists:
abstract properties really exist prior to and independently of concrete
instances of them, as Platonic Ideas.

In the Green book^H^H^H^Hcorner (where "Green" means "belonging to a
completely arbitrary collection of objects that we happen to label 'Green
things'") the nominalists: abstract properties have no objective
existence, but are purely creations of the human mind.

And in the Red corner (where "Red" means "similar in some objective sense
to other things that are Red") the Aristotelians, aka moderate realists,
aka scholastics: abstract properties really exist, but only as a
consequence of the existence of individual concrete entities possessing
those properties; they are 'natural kinds' rather than transcendent ideas.


Lewis appears to have favoured the Platonic solution; he certainly
rejected nominalism.

I agree that nominalism is untenable (despite my .sig :-)); even leaving
aside moral/philosophical/theological considerations, the success of
modern science in accounting for the workings of the universe is utterly
inexplicable unless physical objects do objectively possess certain
properties. However, at least for natural properties ('natural' as opposed
to 'supernatural', not as opposed to 'artificial') my vote goes to
Aristotle.

Whether and how any of this is applicable to "God is good" is another
matter. Aquinas (among others) stressed that any positive statement about
God can only be made 'by analogy'; we just don't have the concepts (or
words) to do anything else. Note that 'by analogy' is not intended here
to mean merely 'metaphorically', but to imply that there is at some level
an objective resemblance. Thus, taken in a strict and literal sense, "God
is good" is _false_, since 'good' means 'similar to things in our
experience that we call good', and nothing in our experience can directly
resemble God in any way. Of course, "God is evil" is also strictly false,
for exactly the same reason; the difference is that it remains false even
when we allow an analogical interpretation. (At this point I should
probably recommend Copleston's very readable book on Aquinas:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0140136746 .)

Matthew Collett

--
The word "reality" is generally used with the intention
of evoking sentiment. -- Arthur Eddington

Daryl Gene

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Dec 2, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/2/98
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> d...@dandrake.com (Dan Drake)wrote:

>The more I think about the idea that some things are actually good

>and some are actually bad, the more it seems necessary to accept a concept


>[avoiding the loaded word Idea] of that which is good, which in some way
>has a reality beyond the collection of all statements like "well, this

>thing is good" and "that thing is good" and "thing x is un-good". (*) And


>that concept begins to look very much like -- here we go -- a platonic

>Idea.

And I just don't purchase this perspective. Always implied in the notion
of "good" is "good by what standard". When I was showing dogs, for example,
each breed had a written set of ideals describing what the important qualities
were that expressed the way that breed was supposed to look, move, behave etc.
Each standard (for so they are called) was proper (Aquinian sense) to one and
only one breed. Sometimes they even specified how much weight was to be given a
certain quality. One could objectively say "this is a good English Toy Spainel
or this is a good Dalmatian" meaning vastly different things but instantly
confirmable by anyone fimiliar with the breed and the breed standard. What
standard then do you propose to write for God?

>(*) The `collection' approach is nominalism, which is pretty much my
>position concerning abstract ideas generally: they are simply collections
>and have no kind of transcendent reality.

Unless we can define them they have no reality whatsoever. Which is why I
reject Plato's forms or Ideas. they seem to be qualities without definition.

>> like doing that which is in
>> accord with the proper nature of the being. God would be good, Lucifer,
>who
>> rebelled against his proper nature; evil, and us... well bad but
>redeemable.

>Good if you have some basis for `the proper nature of the being'. But
>it's hard for me to see how that is really different from `the platonic
>idea of the being'. And it seems awfully close to question-begging.
>

I think you are misreading my "proper" I was using it in the sense of the
Aquinas quote, to whit, that our proper nature is that of a rational animal
(note the correction). I thought we were making progress, saying that for a
thing to be good is for a thing to act in accordance with its proper (unique,
defining, intended) nature. We had even started to speculate what God's
"proper" nature was and now we go back to preexisting, amorphus, undefined good
again. Why?

Danny Pitt Stoller

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Dec 2, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/2/98
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Daryl Gene (dary...@aol.com) wrote:
: Always implied in the notion of "good" is "good by what standard".
: When I was showing dogs, for example, each breed had a written set of
: ideals describing what the important qualities were that expressed the
: way that breed was supposed to look, move, behave etc.
: Each standard (for so they are called) was proper (Aquinian sense) to
: one and only one breed .... What standard then do you propose to write
: for God?

Since we began with the question of how to analyze the rightness of God's
actions (i.e., does He do them because they're right or are they right
because He does them?), I assumed the whole time that when we talked
about "goodness" we were talking about moral virtue. The divine goodness
probably involves things other than acts of love and mercy toward His
creatures, but it might be safer to confine our remarks to those divine
attributes that we can have some conception of.

As an Agent, a rational being with the power of will, God has the power
to perform Actions. And, logically speaking, these Actions can be in
accordance with the moral law or not. God *qua* Agent is wholly good,
because all of God's actions are righteous. That is the only aspect of
the divine goodness that I feel capable of discussing.

: ...I reject Plato's forms or Ideas. they seem to be qualities without
: definition.

I'm not sure I understand. If there is a Form of Triangularity, that
certainly doesn't mean that there can be no definition for a triangle.
On the contrary; there cannot be an Idea of Triangularity UNLESS the
notion of a triangle has some content. Similarly, Forms of Truth,
Beauty, and Wisdom can only exist if these notions have content. If it
seems as though my conception of the Good is without content, it is
probably because I have been too vague in describing it!

Daryl Gene

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Dec 2, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/2/98
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>bhuva...@my-dejanews.com (bd)wrote:

>Lewis and others keep sayng 'intrinsically'. Some actions are intrinsically
>good, some intrinsically evil, etc.
>

Say helping the weak. But a Social Darwinist (or perhaps a Hun) would say
"Help the weak? That's a certain recipe for degrading the species. Cull the
dross I say" and by his own standards he would be correct.

>Can we say 'some things are acrually red and others are actually blue' --
>without needing some sort of transcendent Blueness?
>

Yes, but good is not an adjective of this category. Red is strictly defined
(something that reflects light of wavelengths between X and Y). Good requires a
standard like hot or dry. "Compared to antebellum Georgia modern Detroit is a
good place to be Black, compared to South Africa under Mandella it is not."


>Can we talk about centaurs and mermaids -- which are coherent, recognizeable
>concepts -- without someone saying there has to Be One somewhere?
>

I have a problem with this one. Siriens luring sailors to their death, The
Silkie, Splash, Mermaid Lagoon, "Under the Sea"----- do you see the problem?

>If we can talk like that -- then what is wrong with some actions being
>'actually
>good' and 'actually bad'?

Again by what standard? Good is a value judgement, it cannot be applied
rationally in a vacumn. It requires an hierarchy of values and a standard of
evaluation.

>Sure, as Daryl seemed to say, iirc, a human living alone might not have much
>occasion for manifesting most of the 813. And we don't do them perfectly. But
>it
>seems to me we have enough streaks of them to define the specs from!

I was trying to point out how the 813 could not be the "prior to God"
standard it was touted as being. I felt that everyone would see that a hermit
or recluse could be a good man even if they NEVER had occasion to use the 813.

Mary, you are a tease, just when I thought we were reaching some sort of common
ground a la Aquinus and "proper" nature, you slip all the way back to this
undefined "good" adjective stuff.

>Definition by example. Me Tarzan, red is apples and pomegranites and blood
>and
>sunset and go on pointing till Jane gets the idea. If we can do this with
>most
>adjectives -- why need to capitalize Idea for doing the same thing with
>good/evil?

No need; if you are willing to let Tarzan supply the standard for good instead
of expecting it to be rational.

>Especially since Lewis says that's how we learn about good/bad ourselves in
>the
>first place! "Watch those guys in the white hats. Good means what they do.
>Bad
>is like those guys in the black hats who kick dogs and tie people to railroad
>tracsk and rob stagecoaches and make people cry."

Yes, I remember this one from my youth. Only it wasn't the guys in the black
hats. It was the guys in the black skins......

>>> like doing that which is in
>>> accord with the proper nature of the being. God would be good, Lucifer,
>who
>>> rebelled against his proper nature; evil, and us... well bad but
>redeemable.>

>Yes, this gets to the next stage. "Ok, good is what the Whte Hat guys do --
>but
>why /should I/ do it? Why /ought/ one to be 'whitehattish'?"

No, this supplies some sort of objective standard for judging if the White Hats
are really the good guys or vigilanties who exclude anyone who prefers a
different shade of hat.

Are we willing to let CSL claim some special insight into what the nature of
"good" is simply because it is Lewis who is the claimant? Does anyone in the
ng (even the NAers) commune with this Tao wich tells them what things are good
and which are bad (note: it cannot be a person or a god). I don't know how
Mary is reading the Kant quote but to me it means that it is folly to say God
"ought" to do this or that (self-existing good) because his will and nature (to
do good) have already reduced such ideas to irrelevency.

Danny Pitt Stoller

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Dec 2, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/2/98
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Daryl Gene (dary...@aol.com) wrote:
: >bhuva...@my-dejanews.com (bd)wrote:

: >Lewis and others keep sayng 'intrinsically'. Some actions are intrinsically


: >good, some intrinsically evil, etc.

:
: Say helping the weak. But a Social Darwinist (or perhaps a Hun) would say


: "Help the weak? That's a certain recipe for degrading the species. Cull the
: dross I say" and by his own standards he would be correct.

The question is whether some actions ARE intrinsically good, not whether
or not you can find someone who disagrees. Look around, and perhaps
you'll find someone who says that 2+2=5; it won't change the fact.
Check out *Abolition of Man* for more on objective vs. subjective values.

: >If we can talk like that -- then what is wrong with some actions being


: >'actually
: >good' and 'actually bad'?

;
: Again by what standard? Good is a value judgement, it cannot be applied


: rationally in a vacumn. It requires an hierarchy of values and a standard of
: evaluation.

Yes, that is why there are (broadly speaking) two possibilities: 1) all
systems of morality are subjective so that the fascist is just as right
in his own way as the humanitarian; or 2) in fact, there actually exists
an objective standard for good and evil, a standard which proceeds from
the ground of all Being. If you're in the "vacuum" (as you
put it), then there can't be anything that is "actually good" or
"actually bad"; if you believe that a "hierarchy of values and a
standard of evaluation" actually exist and you're also a Theist, then the
next step is to figure out the precise relationship between this standard
for goodness and God Almighty.

: I was trying to point out how the 813 could not be the "prior to God"


: standard it was touted as being. I felt that everyone would see that a hermit
: or recluse could be a good man even if they NEVER had occasion to use the 813.

First of all, I am not aware of anyone claiming that the objective
standard of goodness is "prior to God" -- except the anonymous Chinese
people that Lewis referred to in *Abolition*. Second of all, the set of
moral rules compiled by Lewis (and dubbed the 8/13, for lack of a better
name) is not meant to be a comprehensive description of what goodness
entails, and so it's not really a candidate for the coeternal, uncreated
self-existent moral standard anyway.

: Are we willing to let CSL claim some special insight into what the nature of


: "good" is simply because it is Lewis who is the claimant? Does anyone in the
: ng (even the NAers) commune with this Tao wich tells them what things are good
: and which are bad (note: it cannot be a person or a god).

Lewis isn't claiming any special insight. He is claiming that his
practical reason, just like that of any other rational being, can tell
what is right or wrong. And so we are "communing with the Tao" every
time we consult our conscience in order to make a moral decision.
Finally, I don't see why you say that "it cannot be a person or a god."
Nobody is saying that the Tao is separate or different from God;
certainly not C.S. Lewis. The whole point is that God and Goodness are
the same thing, not that they are different or separate.

bd

unread,
Dec 2, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/2/98
to
On 2 Dec 1998 09:08:43 GMT, d...@mail2.sas.upenn.edu (Danny Pitt Stoller) wrote:

>Daryl Gene (dary...@aol.com) wrote:
>: >bhuva...@my-dejanews.com (bd)wrote:
>

>: >Lewis and others keep sayng 'intrinsically'. Some actions are intrinsically


>: >good, some intrinsically evil, etc.

>:
>: Say helping the weak. But a Social Darwinist (or perhaps a Hun) would say
>: "Help the weak? That's a certain recipe for degrading the species. Cull the
>: dross I say" and by his own standards he would be correct.


For humans, I agree with Danny here of course. Daryl, would it help if we found
a species for which this would be correct? Say, some intelligent fish who drop
millions of eggs, never know whose offspring are whose? There, 'cull the slow'
might be right.

>
>The question is whether some actions ARE intrinsically good, not whether
>or not you can find someone who disagrees. Look around, and perhaps
>you'll find someone who says that 2+2=5; it won't change the fact.

Right.

>Check out *Abolition of Man* for more on objective vs. subjective values.
>

>: >If we can talk like that -- then what is wrong with some actions being


>: >'actually
>: >good' and 'actually bad'?

>;
>: Again by what standard? Good is a value judgement, it cannot be applied
>: rationally in a vacumn. It requires an hierarchy of values and a standard of
>: evaluation.

Yes, a vague term that needs supporting/defining concepts. To define 'tangent'
we need first to define 'line', 'curve', 'angle', etc.

But that doesn't mean some Great Primal Tangent in the Sky has to Be There for
us to recognize and use the terms in practical blueprints.

>
>Yes, that is why there are (broadly speaking) two possibilities: 1) all
>systems of morality are subjective so that the fascist is just as right
>in his own way as the humanitarian; or 2) in fact, there actually exists
>an objective standard for good and evil, a standard which proceeds from
>the ground of all Being. If you're in the "vacuum" (as you
>put it), then there can't be anything that is "actually good" or
>"actually bad"; if you believe that a "hierarchy of values and a
>standard of evaluation" actually exist and you're also a Theist, then the
>next step is to figure out the precise relationship between this standard
>for goodness and God Almighty.
>
>: I was trying to point out how the 813 could not be the "prior to God"
>: standard it was touted as being. I felt that everyone would see that a hermit
>: or recluse could be a good man even if they NEVER had occasion to use the 813.
>
>First of all, I am not aware of anyone claiming that the objective
>standard of goodness is "prior to God" -- except the anonymous Chinese
>people that Lewis referred to in *Abolition*. Second of all, the set of
>moral rules compiled by Lewis (and dubbed the 8/13, for lack of a better
>name) is not meant to be a comprehensive description of what goodness
>entails, and so it's not really a candidate for the coeternal, uncreated
>self-existent moral standard anyway.


Right. That's why I coined '813' -- to refer to the list, on AoM pp 95-125
approx, the whole list, and nothing but the list!


More later,

bd

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Dec 2, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/2/98
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On Wed, 02 Dec 1998 19:10:21 +1300, m.co...@auckland.ac.nz (Matthew Collett)
wrote:

>>On 1 Dec 1998 18:45:46 GMT, d...@dandrake.com (Dan Drake) wrote:
>>
>>>(*) The `collection' approach is nominalism, which is pretty much my
>>>position concerning abstract ideas generally: they are simply collections
>>>and have no kind of transcendent reality.
>>
>>Well, let's start from there and work up. :-) How much 'transcendent reality'
>>do we need for 'actually'?
>>
>>Can we say 'some things are acrually red and others are actually blue' --
>>without needing some sort of transcendent Blueness?
>>
>

>This is the good old Mediaeval "Problem of Universals", which had _three_
>standard answers:-
>
>In the Blue corner (where "Blue" means "partaking of transcendent
>Blueness") the Platonists, aka idealists, aka strong or extreme realists:
>abstract properties really exist prior to and independently of concrete
>instances of them, as Platonic Ideas.
>
>In the Green book^H^H^H^Hcorner (where "Green" means "belonging to a
>completely arbitrary collection of objects that we happen to label 'Green
>things'") the nominalists: abstract properties have no objective
>existence, but are purely creations of the human mind.
>
>And in the Red corner (where "Red" means "similar in some objective sense
>to other things that are Red") the Aristotelians, aka moderate realists,
>aka scholastics: abstract properties really exist,


Fine. Sounds like I'm in here somewhere, for the moment. :-) In pretty good
company. Is Acquinas in this one?


> but only as a
>consequence of the existence of individual concrete entities possessing
>those properties; they are 'natural kinds' rather than transcendent ideas.

Bzzzzt! Woops,no!


> but only as a
>consequence of the existence of individual concrete


No. We don't have to find any unicorns and mermaids to know what they /would
be/, and that they would be different from flying reindeer and Cthulu. Don't
have to find black holes to know they'd be different from wormholes. Don't have
to find a perfect sphere to know it would be different from a perfect cube. The
Big Bang is different from the Steady State theory whether either one of them
has a concrete universe on a leash or not.


>entities possessing
>those properties; they are 'natural kinds' rather than transcendent ideas.

Can we have a "Pink" category for me, then? Concepts that fit together, like the
natural kinds ... but don't require any concretes (or other commodities :-) that
match them?

As Danny said, God could have made a universe without molecules. But the
physicists there could still talk about molecules and what they /wourld be/ and
make consistent stateents etc.

Can't there be specs without hardware? :-)))

>
>Lewis appears to have favoured the Platonic solution; he certainly
>rejected nominalism.
>
>I agree that nominalism is untenable (despite my .sig :-)); even leaving
>aside moral/philosophical/theological considerations, the success of
>modern science in accounting for the workings of the universe is utterly
>inexplicable unless physical objects do objectively possess certain
>properties. However, at least for natural properties ('natural' as opposed
>to 'supernatural', not as opposed to 'artificial') my vote goes to
>Aristotle.
>
>Whether and how any of this is applicable to "God is good" is another
>matter. Aquinas (among others) stressed that any positive statement about
>God can only be made 'by analogy'; we just don't have the concepts (or
>words) to do anything else. Note that 'by analogy' is not intended here
>to mean merely 'metaphorically', but to imply that there is at some level
>an objective resemblance. Thus, taken in a strict and literal sense, "God
>is good" is _false_, since 'good' means 'similar to things in our
>experience that we call good', and nothing in our experience can directly
>resemble God in any way. Of course, "God is evil" is also strictly false,
>for exactly the same reason; the difference is that it remains false even
>when we allow an analogical interpretation. (At this point I should
>probably recommend Copleston's very readable book on Aquinas:
>http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0140136746 .)
>
>
>
>Matthew Collett


Wow, why stop here, this was just getting, er, good! :-)))

bd

unread,
Dec 2, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/2/98
to
Hastily, just a few points. Answered some already in replies to Danny.

On 2 Dec 1998 08:46:33 GMT, dary...@aol.com (Daryl Gene) wrote:

>>bhuva...@my-dejanews.com (bd)wrote:


>
>
>>Can we say 'some things are acrually red and others are actually blue' --
>>without needing some sort of transcendent Blueness?
>>

> Yes, but good is not an adjective of this category.


Which category, Kemo SAbe?

> Red is strictly defined
>(something that reflects light of wavelengths between X and Y). Good requires a
>standard like hot or dry. "Compared to antebellum Georgia modern Detroit is a
>good place to be Black, compared to South Africa under Mandella it is not."


The word 'good' has been made pretty unusable by different people defining it
different ways. Often 'tactical definitions' per /Studies in Words./ If it ever
had an agreed definitin in the first place. Lewis uses it, tho, so I'm just
going along with hijm. :-)

Me, I'd rather coin 37 versions of migdaub. :-)

And make it really clear which are plain adjectives, which are
nouns-commodities, nounized-ajectives-of-convenience, etc. That's why I was
using rectangular, gle, etc: because at least some of hte differences are shown
in the suffixes.


>
>
>>Can we talk about centaurs and mermaids -- which are coherent, recognizeable
>>concepts -- without someone saying there has to Be One somewhere?
>>
>

>I have a problem with this one. Siriens luring sailors to their death, The
>Silkie, Splash, Mermaid Lagoon, "Under the Sea"----- do you see the problem?


No, I see the solution. :-) We call them all Mermaids (or some generic term,
Acquatic Hnau or something) because they all have certain things in common. It
makes a recognizeable set. Aristotles Red. Well, Pink, anyway. :-)


/snip/

>
>>Definition by example. Me Tarzan, red is apples and pomegranites and blood
>>and
>>sunset and go on pointing till Jane gets the idea. If we can do this with
>>most
>>adjectives -- why need to capitalize Idea for doing the same thing with
>>good/evil?
>

>No need; if you are willing to let Tarzan supply the standard for good instead
>of expecting it to be rational.


Er, have you read Burroughs original unabrdged /Tarzan of the Apes/>

Matthew Collett

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Dec 3, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/3/98
to

>On Wed, 02 Dec 1998 19:10:21 +1300, m.co...@auckland.ac.nz (Matthew Collett)
>wrote:
>
>>

>>And in the Red corner (where "Red" means "similar in some objective sense
>>to other things that are Red") the Aristotelians, aka moderate realists,
>>aka scholastics: abstract properties really exist,
>
>
>Fine. Sounds like I'm in here somewhere, for the moment. :-) In pretty good
>company. Is Acquinas in this one?
>

Definitely.

>
>> but only as a
>>consequence of the existence of individual concrete entities possessing
>>those properties; they are 'natural kinds' rather than transcendent ideas.
>
>Bzzzzt! Woops,no!
>
>
>> but only as a
>>consequence of the existence of individual concrete
>
>
>No. We don't have to find any unicorns and mermaids to know what they /would
>be/, and that they would be different from flying reindeer and Cthulu. Don't
>have to find black holes to know they'd be different from wormholes. Don't have
>to find a perfect sphere to know it would be different from a perfect cube. The
>Big Bang is different from the Steady State theory whether either one of them
>has a concrete universe on a leash or not.
>
>

[snip]

>
>Can't there be specs without hardware? :-)))
>

Aristotle would say no: no form without matter. Aquinas would allow it in
certain special circumstances e.g. the survival of the human soul after
death, but this involves direct divine intervention. IMHO the moderate
realist line on imaginary things has to be similar to that of the
nominalist: the class of 'unicorns' is essentially arbitrary, including
anything that we _say_ counts as a unicorn. Note 'similar', not the same:
the realist has the advantage over the nominalist that he can
define/envisage an imaginary thing as a composite of properties, each of
which _individually_ has exemplars and is thus a genuine natural kind.
Thus if 'unicorn' means 'horse with a horn', 'horse' is a natural kind, so
is 'animal with one horn', and their intersection is well-defined (it
happens to be the empty set). But as soon as we discover a real unicorn,
the effective meaning of the word changes from the arbitrarily
human-constructed 'horse with a horn' to the natural and objective (if
perhaps fuzzy) 'animal of the same kind as the first one we called a
unicorn'. Putting it another way, I don't think it's completely true of
imaginary things that we 'know what they /would be/': if we did find a
real unicorn, there would inevitably be some aspects of its anatomy or
habits that we would not, even could not, have predicted. Furthermore, we
might end up counting as 'unicorns' things which didn't satisfy the
original definition: e.g. if it turned out that only the adult stallions
had horns, I'm sure we'd still call the mares and foals 'unicorns' [1].
I'm not sure if Aquinas discusses this sort of thing: he's strong on
angels, but comparatively weak on unicorns :-).

A closely related problem also comes up in modern analytical philosophy
(which has more in common with mediaeval scholasticism than most of its
practitioners would care to admit): is 'The present King of France is
bald.' true or false? All the individual terms are well-defined and
correctly used, but since there _is_ no King of France, how do we decide
whether he is bald or not?

Mathematical existence is another area where the moderate realist position
is not really available. Platonism and formalism are I think the only
viable options [2]. A realist who wanted to avoid any independently
existing Ideas would have to opt for some form of Neo-Platonic kludge:
mathematical objects are ideas in the Mind of God. But then God could
presumably have defined 2+2 to equal 5 [3]. Why didn't he? Would this
have been an 'evil' act :-) ?

Matthew Collett

[1] ObLewis: this has nothing to do with _The_Dark_Tower_. Does it?
[2] Constructivism is IMHO more a theory of mathematical proof than of
mathematical existence; a constructivist might say they were the same
thing, but then I'm not a constructivist.
[3] Which of course it does, for sufficiently large values of 2.

Dan Drake

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Dec 4, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/4/98
to
Warning: this posting doesn't really work. But I spent too much time
assembling the semi-connecting pieces to resist sending it anyway.

On Tue, 1 Dec 1998 23:40:37, bhuva...@my-dejanews.com (bd) wrote:

>...


> >
> >Does the statement _entail_ platonic archetypes? That is, if you accept it
> >without accepting the archetypes, are you simply babbling? I don't think
> >so. The more I think about the idea that some things are actually good
> >and some are actually bad,
>
> Plain adjectives, right? :-)

Grammatically, these are plain adjectives. What we mean by good and bad,
and how we talk about them, may be different from other adjectives.
That's where the problems arise.

What I'm trying to figure out is the fact that virtually everyone
considers that there are things that people _ought_ to do and things they
ought not to, which can be crudely translated into the adjectives `good'
and `bad'. (Though those words, confusingly enough, have other senses as
well.) This is true, or appears to me to be, of Blake decrying
conventional dull morals (or whatever he was doing) in The Marriage of
Heaven and Hell; and of Nietzsche going beyond good and evil.

People like N (or, to take a sane example, Dawkins) may not like to be
accused of following an idea of the Good or the Virtuous, but they clearly
have an idea of the Ought, or maybe the You're An Idiot If You Don't...
Not just, "I like this" but "this is right (in some kind of moral, not
arithmetic, sense)". Of course, we may all be all wrong about all this.
Maybe it's all personal opinion linked with the Will to Power, which makes
us want to impose our opinions on everybody else for the sheer fun, or
neurosis, of it. What I'm trying to explore is, If it's not just opinion
linked with power, what is it?

>
>...


> > the more it seems necessary to accept a concept
> >[avoiding the loaded word Idea] of that which is good, which in some way
> >has a reality beyond the collection of all statements like "well, this
> >thing is good" and "that thing is good" and "thing x is un-good". (*)
>
> Why more here than with other adjectives definded by pointing to exaples? See
> below.

I can't explain it, I guess, at any fundamental level. But here's one
more try: Good is not really an adjective. Not in this context. It's a
form of the verb Ought or Must. I'm claiming without proof (this is
dangerously close to Faith, and I know it) that the notion of Good or
Ought has unique properties (as does anything that you can name
specifically), and these are important.

>...


>
> Well, let's start from there and work up. :-) How much 'transcendent reality'
> do we need for 'actually'?
>
> Can we say 'some things are acrually red and others are actually blue' --
> without needing some sort of transcendent Blueness?

Yes, we can; or at least I can. Better yet: even without a transcendent
Blueness, I can tell what we generally mean when we say a thing is blue:
there's a predominance of certain wavelengths in the light it gives out.
It's an imprecise term, subject to all kinds of gradations, many
disagreements, and some unexpected effects due to physiology that's not at
present fully understood, but that's the idea.

Can we do this about the Good? Can we lay out some reasonably clear
definitions of the Good? And if we do, how does that tell us we _ought_ to
do what's good?

Of course, people have been trying to define it, with little effect (IMO)
beyond instructive failures. Let's treat it as a collection. Love is
good, and the more the better. Mercy is good, and the more the better.
Justice is good, and the more the better. C. S.Lewis, if I may mention
him in this thread, was pretty skilled (or good) at showing the problems
with this approach.


>
>...


>
> As David seemed to suggest, those specs/words are sort of vague without the
> /concepts/specs/ of 'mercy', 'courage' etc to define them. But does that mean
> the /commodities/ described as 'mercy' etc have to Transcendentally Pulsate
> somewhere behind the Euclidean Plane, or something?

No. But I still don't know why I _ought_ to be merciful, much less why
you ought. (Well, of course, you ought to be when it's in my interest,
but I meant in general.)

>
> Sure, as Daryl seemed to say, iirc, a human living alone might not have much
> occasion for manifesting most of the 813. And we don't do them perfectly. But it
> seems to me we have enough streaks of them to define the specs from!

>...

> Definition by example. Me Tarzan, red is apples and pomegranites and blood and
> sunset and go on pointing till Jane gets the idea. If we can do this with most
> adjectives -- why need to capitalize Idea for doing the same thing with
> good/evil?

Well, not to repeat myself or anything, even if you get specs concrete
enough to live by, which I don't think the 813 are, they still don't tell
me why I ought to follow them if it's not convenient.

[Dagnab it, I'm not deprecating the 813!! AoM is a fine formulation of
the widely agreed ideas of what's good -- but in that work CSL was
explicitly _not_ looking into where they come from or why they ought to be
followed.]

And it's the Ought-quality of the good that's essential to questions of
whether God chooses what's good or vice versa or something different.
Which is what the discussion started to be about. So we can't just leave
it aside and make a simple investigation of the nature of knowledge.

In a way, though, I have to admit that the position is logical enough:
Let's take a lot of statements of "X is good" where the statement means
that X is a form of behavior that we ought, for unspecified reasons, to
follow. Let us then abstract from those to understand a principle of
good. And, having followed a path of induction to get the principle, we
can pretty confidently deduce what else we ought to do. It works as long
as you accept the premises: a bunch of things that you ought to do without
asking why. It's because this process sounds like nonsense to me from the
word Go that I look for some principle that would make sense of it all,
which might or might not be a principle the Good that's external to our
minds.

Dan Drake

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Dec 4, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/4/98
to
On Wed, 2 Dec 1998 06:40:12, dary...@aol.com (Daryl Gene) wrote:

> > d...@dandrake.com (Dan Drake)wrote:
>
> >...
>
> And I just don't purchase this perspective. Always implied in the notion


> of "good" is "good by what standard". When I was showing dogs, for example,
> each breed had a written set of ideals describing what the important qualities
> were that expressed the way that breed was supposed to look, move, behave etc.
> Each standard (for so they are called) was proper (Aquinian sense) to one and

> only one breed. Sometimes they even specified how much weight was to be given a
> certain quality. One could objectively say "this is a good English Toy Spainel
> or this is a good Dalmatian" meaning vastly different things but instantly
> confirmable by anyone fimiliar with the breed and the breed standard.

All this is true. We've agreed (or anyway someone has agreed) on
standards, and in the context of dog shows and breeding dogs for them
these define the nature of the beast and what's good in the beast. Under
other standards, such as putting the shepherd dog in a field with some
sheep, the nature of the beast and the nature of good will be quite
different.

Oddly enough, your point about goodness being specific to a standard seems
very close to why I don't like the Aristotle-Aquinas idea of good being
truth to one's proper nature. For one thing, it depends on knowing what
the essential nature of the beast is, which outside of dog shows and
computer interfaces is no easier than the original question of what is
good; for another, it doesn't explain _why_ I _ought_ to inconvenience
myself in order to be true to this proper nature.

I.e., the approach seems a fine principle for practical affairs like
knowing what a good hammer is, but not one from which we can abstract
ethical principles.


What
> standard then do you propose to write for God?

I certainly don't know. I understand, or think I begin to understand, the
idea that judging God is almost hilariously wrong-headed. And yet people
appear to mean something when they say that God is good; hence this whole
discussion.

>
>...


> >Good if you have some basis for `the proper nature of the being'. But
> >it's hard for me to see how that is really different from `the platonic
> >idea of the being'. And it seems awfully close to question-begging.
> >
>
> I think you are misreading my "proper" I was using it in the sense of the
> Aquinas quote, to whit, that our proper nature is that of a rational animal
> (note the correction).

Actually, I don't think I was taking `proper' as `good' (hence circular)
but raising a `Says who?' about the assertion of our proper (meaning true)
nature. It's in the arguments trying to establish that proper nature that
I think there's a temptation to question-begging.

> I thought we were making progress, saying that for a
> thing to be good is for a thing to act in accordance with its proper (unique,
> defining, intended) nature. We had even started to speculate what God's
> "proper" nature was and now we go back to preexisting, amorphus, undefined good
> again. Why?

`Intended' is the key here. If the head flies off a hammer, then it's bad
hammer, because that isn't the proper nature of it, as intended by its
maker and its buyer. (Hey, but if it was a _trick_ hammer... Consider all
these time-wasting quibbles raised and answered. Aristotle & Aquinas knew
all about that stuff.) If we are created by a being that designed us in a
certain way, then going against the design is bad just as a fragile hammer
is bad. But are we morally obliged to go along with his plan? Yes,
certainly, if the creator is good and wise far beyond our powers -- but
not otherwise, as far as I can see. The Aristotle-Aquinas definition of
good can't be applied to God, as you say (tell me if I've got that wrong),
so I look about for other ways of understanding the assertions that God
exists and is good. If I can get away from amorphous, undefined good,
three cheers.

bd

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Dec 4, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/4/98
to
On 4 Dec 1998 01:47:28 GMT, d...@dandrake.com (Dan Drake) wrote:

>On Wed, 2 Dec 1998 06:40:12, dary...@aol.com (Daryl Gene) wrote:
>
>> > d...@dandrake.com (Dan Drake)wrote:
>>
>> >...
>>
>> And I just don't purchase this perspective. Always implied in the notion
>> of "good" is "good by what standard". When I was showing dogs, for example,
>> each breed had a written set of ideals describing what the important qualities
>> were that expressed the way that breed was supposed to look, move, behave etc.
>> Each standard (for so they are called) was proper (Aquinian sense) to one and
>> only one breed. Sometimes they even specified how much weight was to be given a
>> certain quality. One could objectively say "this is a good English Toy Spainel
>> or this is a good Dalmatian" meaning vastly different things but instantly
>> confirmable by anyone fimiliar with the breed and the breed standard.
>
>All this is true. We've agreed (or anyway someone has agreed) on
>standards, and in the context of dog shows and breeding dogs for them
>these define the nature of the beast and what's good in the beast. Under
>other standards, such as putting the shepherd dog in a field with some
>sheep, the nature of the beast and the nature of good will be quite
>different.

Sounds kind of promising to me.

Of course it shoudl be field or living wild standards, not artifical show
standards. :-) Ie standards that come from what it really is, not from what some
outsider says it should be. :-)


>
>Oddly enough, your point about goodness being specific to a standard seems
>very close to why I don't like the Aristotle-Aquinas idea of good being
>truth to one's proper nature. For one thing, it depends on knowing what
>the essential nature of the beast is,


But when it's us -- we have inside information, as Lewis said. We're not gussing
in a vacuum.


> which outside of dog shows and
>computer interfaces is no easier than the original question of what is
>good; for another, it doesn't explain _why_ I _ought_ to inconvenience
>myself in order to be true to this proper nature.


Well, it's a different 'ought', but 'If I want a good sleep I'd better take a
bath first' etc. The 813 is built-in,such that if we don't do it or at least
try, we itch till we do. :-)


>
>I.e., the approach seems a fine principle for practical affairs like
>knowing what a good hammer is, but not one from which we can abstract
>ethical principles.

Well, not by some sort of sub specie aeteratatis or something. "Authoroity says
God made us to do X so we have to do X1, X2, etc."

But --
1. "We observe that we have a strong
drive-that-Gene-does-not-want-to-call-instinct toward caring for our children,
and so do other mammals, and it's obviously necessary for the species to survive
so it's probably part of our nature.
2. We ought to act per our nature.
QED."

>
>
> What
>> standard then do you propose to write for God?
>
>I certainly don't know. I understand, or think I begin to understand, the
>idea that judging God is almost hilariously wrong-headed.


Which God? How do you choose which one you're going to believe-in-but-not-judge?


> And yet people
>appear to mean something when they say that God is good; hence this whole
>discussion.


>>
>>...
>> >Good if you have some basis for `the proper nature of the being'. But
>> >it's hard for me to see how that is really different from `the platonic
>> >idea of the being'. And it seems awfully close to question-begging.
>> >
>>
>> I think you are misreading my "proper" I was using it in the sense of the
>> Aquinas quote, to whit, that our proper nature is that of a rational animal
>> (note the correction).
>
>Actually, I don't think I was taking `proper' as `good' (hence circular)
>but raising a `Says who?' about the assertion of our proper (meaning true)
>nature. It's in the arguments trying to establish that proper nature that
>I think there's a temptation to question-begging.

Could well be. A question of knowledge not sinderesis as Lewis said. It's the
questions of knowlege that get tricky.

>
>> I thought we were making progress, saying that for a
>> thing to be good is for a thing to act in accordance with its proper (unique,
>> defining, intended) nature. We had even started to speculate what God's
>> "proper" nature was and now we go back to preexisting, amorphus, undefined good
>> again. Why?
>
>`Intended' is the key here. If the head flies off a hammer, then it's bad
>hammer, because that isn't the proper nature of it, as intended by its
>maker and its buyer. (Hey, but if it was a _trick_ hammer... Consider all
>these time-wasting quibbles raised and answered. Aristotle & Aquinas knew
>all about that stuff.) If we are created by a being that designed us in a
>certain way, then going against the design is bad just as a fragile hammer
>is bad. But are we morally obliged to go along with his plan?

Bingo! If we can't 'judge' God -- why 'ought' we to coopeerate, obey, etc?

If we have no standard to judge God -- where is our standard for our own
'ought'?


> Yes,
>certainly, if the creator is good and wise far beyond our powers -- but
>not otherwise, as far as I can see.

Right. And how are we to, er, judge that, without,er, judging?

Anyway, if we were designed by good/wise etc -- wouldn't the standard we should
follow be designed into us? The instructions inside the case? Wouldn't good
design require that? :-)


> The Aristotle-Aquinas definition of
>good can't be applied to God, as you say (tell me if I've got that wrong),


I'm not sure to what extent Aristotle or Acquinas would say it can't.
Acquinas said something about 'by analogy'.


>so I look about for other ways of understanding the assertions that God
>exists and is good. If I can get away from amorphous, undefined good,
>three cheers.

Why not find a standard that applies and apply it? Lewis found no problem with
this.


Still -- do we really need "God wants/does/is/passes/etc" in order for /us/ to
have a real 'ought' for the 813?

bd

unread,
Dec 4, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/4/98
to
Disclaimer: Personally I'm happy enough with Forms of Triangles, Beauty, Love,
and Ought. My thumping interest in all this is:
1. The fun of defendign Lewis, Acquinas, and ocasionally God. :-)
2. Trying to translate AoM into something (or several things) that could get
past a mixed school board into a modern classroom.

I don't know that AoM translates very well into nominalism or Collet's Green,
Red, or Blue (or my Pink :-). "Transposition." Using Green terms, all we would
have is shades of gray for everything, but if you draw well enough, people can
recognize the sun.

On 4 Dec 1998 01:02:17 GMT, d...@dandrake.com (Dan Drake) wrote:

>Warning: this posting doesn't really work.


As what? It certainly makes a lot of good clear tools.


> But I spent too much time
>assembling the semi-connecting pieces to resist sending it anyway.


Please never resist!


>
>On Tue, 1 Dec 1998 23:40:37, bhuva...@my-dejanews.com (bd) wrote:
>
>>...
>> >
>> >Does the statement _entail_ platonic archetypes? That is, if you accept it
>> >without accepting the archetypes, are you simply babbling? I don't think
>> >so. The more I think about the idea that some things are actually good
>> >and some are actually bad,
>>
>> Plain adjectives, right? :-)

IE attributes of actions, not commodities in their own right.
IE not something that has to 'exist'=require-God.
Maybe on the same level as 'non-contradictory' etc?

>
>Grammatically, these are plain adjectives. What we mean by good and bad,
>and how we talk about them, may be different from other adjectives.

Right. As you say below,shorthand for 'ought'.


>That's where the problems arise.
>
>What I'm trying to figure out is the fact that virtually everyone
>considers that there are things that people _ought_ to do and things they
>ought not to, which can be crudely translated into the adjectives `good'
>and `bad'. (Though those words, confusingly enough, have other senses as
>well.) This is true, or appears to me to be, of Blake decrying
>conventional dull morals (or whatever he was doing) in The Marriage of
>Heaven and Hell; and of Nietzsche going beyond good and evil.

Right. Lewis in AoM said even his opponents couldn't get rid of the same sort of
thing. "It almost seems they are saying we /ought/ to obey instinct."


>
>People like N (or, to take a sane example, Dawkins) may not like to be
>accused of following an idea of the Good or the Virtuous, but they clearly
>have an idea of the Ought, or maybe the You're An Idiot If You Don't...
>Not just, "I like this" but "this is right (in some kind of moral, not
>arithmetic, sense)". Of course, we may all be all wrong about all this.
>Maybe it's all personal opinion linked with the Will to Power, which makes
>us want to impose our opinions on everybody else for the sheer fun, or
>neurosis, of it. What I'm trying to explore is, If it's not just opinion
>linked with power, what is it?

Fine. Plenty clear. Me too. And whether it's something /everybody/ can use,
without havign to pin it to "It's whatever God wants/does/is/verb/verb/verb."


Lewis tried to put it into generic or secular terms or some such in AoM but
confused us with Tao. In Platonic terms it's no problem. I'm trying to put it in
what Collet's post called ARistotle's way, or 'Red'. Or something like that.

Unless they sort of exclude it by definition or something, I suppose it could
work on the "Green" way too, with a sufficiently large collection of sentences
to work from. Collected world-wide throughout history, to avoid cultural bias.
:-)


>
>>
>>...
>> > the more it seems necessary to accept a concept
>> >[avoiding the loaded word Idea] of that which is good, which in some way
>> >has a reality beyond the collection of all statements like "well, this
>> >thing is good" and "that thing is good" and "thing x is un-good". (*)
>>
>> Why more here than with other adjectives definded by pointing to exaples? See
>> below.
>
>I can't explain it, I guess, at any fundamental level. But here's one
>more try: Good is not really an adjective. Not in this context. It's a
>form of the verb Ought or Must.


Yes. Exactlly.

> I'm claiming without proof (this is
>dangerously close to Faith, and I know it)


Why faith? There are things in math we don't bother to prove, is that faith?

>that the notion of Good or
>Ought has unique properties


Yes. It's in imperative,not indicative.
Thump thump.


> (as does anything that you can name
>specifically),


Well,then?


> and these are important.

Yes, very important properties.


>
>>...
>>
>> Well, let's start from there and work up. :-) How much 'transcendent reality'
>> do we need for 'actually'?
>>
>> Can we say 'some things are acrually red and others are actually blue' --
>> without needing some sort of transcendent Blueness?
>
>Yes, we can; or at least I can. Better yet: even without a transcendent
>Blueness, I can tell what we generally mean when we say a thing is blue:
>there's a predominance of certain wavelengths in the light it gives out.
>It's an imprecise term, subject to all kinds of gradations, many
>disagreements, and some unexpected effects due to physiology that's not at
>present fully understood, but that's the idea.

Wasn't the term Blue used long before any such definition? I bet people used it
for centures before anybody even thgought to say "# 3 on the rainbow".


>
>Can we do this about the Good? Can we lay out some reasonably clear
>definitions of the Good?

In your sense, as a form of Ought or Must -- I think so. The vector sum of the
set of 8 vectors in the 813, as projected over whatever lumpy situation one
happens to be in.

Or the product of an algorithm made of those 8 factors when we feed in data re
the current situation.

Or various other ways to access/apply them.


>And if we do, how does that tell us we _ought_ to
>do what's good?

A very different question, yes. Sorry,but Lewis /did/ think of that. He thumps
it in MC and AoM. It's his major point.

>
>Of course, people have been trying to define it, with little effect (IMO)
>beyond instructive failures. Let's treat it as a collection.

???


> Love is
>good, and the more the better. Mercy is good, and the more the better.
>Justice is good, and the more the better. C. S.Lewis, if I may mention
>him in this thread, was pretty skilled (or good) at showing the problems
>with this approach.

Er, huh? AoM was all about how it takes all 8, you can't drop any out.
Excess of any one of them becomes 'bad' by the standard-as-a-whole.


>
>>
>>...
>>
>> As David seemed to suggest, those specs/words are sort of vague without the
>> /concepts/specs/ of 'mercy', 'courage' etc to define them. But does that mean
>> the /commodities/ described as 'mercy' etc have to Transcendentally Pulsate
>> somewhere behind the Euclidean Plane, or something?
>
>No. But I still don't know why I _ought_ to be merciful, much less why
>you ought. (Well, of course, you ought to be when it's in my interest,
>but I meant in general.)

Yes, defining what's meant is one thing, and showing it's a good idea for
society etc is another. But why the 'ought' applies is another yet. Whether we
apply the 'ought' to each element ('mercy' etc) or to the sum ('good'=ought),
'oought' is still a whole different question.

>
>>
>> Sure, as Daryl seemed to say, iirc, a human living alone might not have much
>> occasion for manifesting most of the 813. And we don't do them perfectly. But it
>> seems to me we have enough streaks of them to define the specs from!
>>...
>> Definition by example. Me Tarzan, red is apples and pomegranites and blood and
>> sunset and go on pointing till Jane gets the idea. If we can do this with most
>> adjectives -- why need to capitalize Idea for doing the same thing with
>> good/evil?
>
>Well, not to repeat myself or anything, even if you get specs concrete

>enough to live by, which I don't think the 813 are[*], they still don't tell

>me why I ought to follow them if it's not convenient.

Yes, the 'ought' is a whole nother question.

>
>[Dagnab it, I'm not deprecating the 813!! AoM is a fine formulation of
>the widely agreed ideas of what's good -- but in that work CSL was
>explicitly _not_ looking into where they come from

??? Where the AoM-Tao comes from?

>or why they ought to be
>followed.]

But he did say so. He said they were self-evident, and so was the 'ought'.

Am I missing your point, or did you miss Lewis'? (Or both or neither?)


>
>And it's the Ought-quality of the good that's essential to questions of
>whether God chooses what's good or vice versa or something different.

Yes. If 'ought' just meant "Whatever God orders/does/is/verbs" -- that wouldn't
answer "Why 'ought' I to obey/imitate/verb God?"


>Which is what the discussion started to be about. So we can't just leave
>it aside and make a simple investigation of the nature of knowledge.
>
>In a way, though, I have to admit that the position is logical enough:
>Let's take a lot of statements of "X is good" where the statement means
>that X is a form of behavior that we ought, for unspecified reasons, to
>follow. Let us then abstract from those to understand a principle of
>good. And, having followed a path of induction to get the principle, we
>can pretty confidently deduce what else we ought to do. It works as long
>as you accept the premises: a bunch of things that you ought to do without
>asking why.

>In a way, though, I have to admit that the position is logical enough:
>Let's take a lot of statements of "X is good" where the statement means
>that X is a form of behavior that we ought, for unspecified reasons, to
>follow.

Yes, it's logical if we have a real 'ought' on each one. I'm not sure about the
'unspecified'. If we take each separate 'ought' as a given, or something.


> It's because this process sounds like nonsense to me from the
>word Go

Well, it's certainlly not very elegant on the face of it. Neither is any shade
of nominalism, induction, etc, are they? HOlmes crawling around collecting cigar
butts, somebody counting horse's teeth. Neither much of an occupation for
gentlemen.

Personally, I"m much happier in the company of Euclid and Socrates et al. Well,
at least teh outer porch. Where the triangles suck, there suck I. As DAnny said,
I think: /Whatever/ we think triangles and beauty and love are, 'ought' fits
right with them.

The nominalists and inductionists etc don't give up triangles and love, they go
right on using them all the same. So they might as well keep 'ought' to. If they
want to induce t, b, l etc, I see no reason they can't induce 'ought' also.

Perhaps a bit trickier collecting the specimens. :-)

(Also see disclaimer above re "Transposition".)


What was the following before typos?

> that I look for some principle that would make sense of it all,
>which might or might not be a principle the Good that's external to our
>minds.

Make sense, or make feeling? (See PoP p. 99 re Kant.)

* I"d like to know more about this, if and when you have time.

Dan Drake

unread,
Dec 4, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/4/98
to
On Fri, 4 Dec 1998 04:20:13, bhuva...@my-dejanews.com (bd) wrote:

> On 4 Dec 1998 01:47:28 GMT, d...@dandrake.com (Dan Drake) wrote:
>
> >On Wed, 2 Dec 1998 06:40:12, dary...@aol.com (Daryl Gene) wrote:
> >
> >> > d...@dandrake.com (Dan Drake)wrote:

> >> > [stuf that will probably all get clipped, but I gotta keep the attributions straight]
> >> >...
> >
> >... We've agreed (or anyway someone has agreed) on

> >standards, and in the context of dog shows and breeding dogs for them
> >these define the nature of the beast and what's good in the beast. Under
> >other standards, such as putting the shepherd dog in a field with some
> >sheep, the nature of the beast and the nature of good will be quite
> >different.
>
> Sounds kind of promising to me.
>
> Of course it shoudl be field or living wild standards, not artifical show
> standards. :-) Ie standards that come from what it really is, not from what some
> outsider says it should be. :-)

I too prefer sheep-herding standards to dog-show standards, but I don't
see that they're the absolute nature of the beast. In fact, it was the
deliberate violation of a lot of living-wild standards that gave us dogs
in the first place; and yet I regard the creation of dogs as a good thing.



> >
> >Oddly enough, your point about goodness being specific to a standard seems
> >very close to why I don't like the Aristotle-Aquinas idea of good being
> >truth to one's proper nature. For one thing, it depends on knowing what
> >the essential nature of the beast is,
>
>
> But when it's us -- we have inside information, as Lewis said. We're not gussing
> in a vacuum.

But my inside information tells me (and this is not a hypothetical) that
there's no reason to see us having an essential nature. [resisting the
temptation to capitalize that]

>
>
> > which outside of dog shows and
> >computer interfaces is no easier than the original question of what is
> >good; for another, it doesn't explain _why_ I _ought_ to inconvenience
> >myself in order to be true to this proper nature.
>
>
> Well, it's a different 'ought', but 'If I want a good sleep I'd better take a
> bath first' etc. The 813 is built-in,such that if we don't do it or at least
> try, we itch till we do. :-)

That's the problem. It's a different `ought'. Logic I can understand,
and I understand it in essentially the same way CSL did. I.e., Lewis got
it right. And `If I want my actions to accord with Scripture, I must do
this' is fine, but leaves open the main question.

As for itching till we do: I side with DarylGene on this one. I may
attach more significance to the 813 than he does, but surely not everyone
does itch until put in accord with it. Does that invalidate the 813 as a
general moral rule? Is there any sense in saying that it's better for
people to hunger and thirst after righteousness? Having other people
behave 813ishly can be a fine thing for me, particularly if I want to
cheat; but it's not always favorable to one's own interests, you know.

Anyway, the result of the `itch till we do' approach is `If in the long
run, considered rationally, I can see that it won't make me itch, then I
go for it.' I think this is most likely wrong, but I can't tell you why.

>...


> 1. "We observe that we have a strong
> drive-that-Gene-does-not-want-to-call-instinct toward caring for our children,
> and so do other mammals, and it's obviously necessary for the species to survive
> so it's probably part of our nature.
> 2. We ought to act per our nature.
> QED."

See above. If `ought to' is in the logical sense, meaning just that these
courses of action will minimize itching, it all follows. And it clearly
rules out any discussion of whether Good precedes or follows God, because
`God is good' becomes a meaningless pseudo-statement.

> > What
> >> standard then do you propose to write for God?
> >
> >I certainly don't know. I understand, or think I begin to understand, the
> >idea that judging God is almost hilariously wrong-headed.
>
>
> Which God? How do you choose which one you're going to believe-in-but-not-judge?

Well, we've been here before. The one that I can't judge is the One that
C S Lewis wrote about. Not Zeus, who was subject to the Fate; and not
Krishna. (Unless we attach the name Krishna to a concept that I think is
quite different from the one that appears in the Bhagavad Gita etc.
AFAIK.) The problem here seems to be that you don't accept that God as
even a valid concept worth talking hypothetically about. I can't prove
you wrong there; I'm just disagreeing.

>...
> >... If we are created by a being that designed us in a


> >certain way, then going against the design is bad just as a fragile hammer
> >is bad. But are we morally obliged to go along with his plan?
>
> Bingo! If we can't 'judge' God -- why 'ought' we to coopeerate, obey, etc?
>
> If we have no standard to judge God -- where is our standard for our own
> 'ought'?

Yes, these are good statements of the problem, starting from which one can
look into how CSL worked them out, or thought he did.

> > Yes,
> >certainly, if the creator is good and wise far beyond our powers -- but
> >not otherwise, as far as I can see.
>
> Right. And how are we to, er, judge that, without,er, judging?
>
> Anyway, if we were designed by good/wise etc -- wouldn't the standard we should
> follow be designed into us? The instructions inside the case? Wouldn't good
> design require that? :-)

Probably so. The Jehovah's Witnesses, among others, also believe that it
would be just good design to give us a Book in which everything is spelled
out in unmistakable detail; but others think that would be a terribly dull
way of proceeding. (BTW I have an unpleasant vision of Alan Watts on the
CSL Lines bus, exchanging observations with the Bishop.) Judging the
logic and the design rules of omnipotence may be no more reliable than
judging its morals.

>...


> >so I look about for other ways of understanding the assertions that God
> >exists and is good. If I can get away from amorphous, undefined good,
> >three cheers.
>
> Why not find a standard that applies and apply it? Lewis found no problem with
> this.

In AoM he quite specifically waved such problems aside. That's absolutely
right for what he was doing there; but applying it generally brings us
(me) to Hume's principle of seeing that there is no basis for morality but
relying on the carelessness and inattention of mankind to miss noticing
the problem.

>
>
> Still -- do we really need "God wants/does/is/passes/etc" in order for /us/ to
> have a real 'ought' for the 813?

> ...

I wish I knew.

Simon Cozens

unread,
Dec 5, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/5/98
to
bd (alt.books.cs-lewis):

> 1. The fun of defendign Lewis, Acquinas, and ocasionally God. :-)
^^^
You're straying away from theology, there...

--
I'm not even going to *bother* comparing C to BASIC or FORTRAN.
-- L. Zolman, creator of BDS C

Daryl Gene

unread,
Dec 5, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/5/98
to
> d...@dandrake.com (Dan Drake)wrote:

-snip-


>Under
>other standards, such as putting the shepherd dog in a field with some
>sheep, the nature of the beast and the nature of good will be quite
>different.

This is a point I have been trying to make as well, about standards of human
goodness, but everyone slips back to a Platonic ideal good.
-snip-


> For one thing, it depends on knowing what

>the essential nature of the beast is, which outside of dog shows and

>computer interfaces is no easier than the original question of what is
>good;

And if our essential nature is not that of a "rational animal" what could it
be? It is the discription that defines us as a species; reason is our primary
tool of survival and the connection we have with reality. With Rand I feel
that this is the only possible objective standard (for us); with Lewis I feel
that it is only possible if there is a God.


> it doesn't explain _why_ I _ought_ to inconvenience
>myself in order to be true to this proper nature.

Either Nature or Nature"s God will supply all the explaination you need. The
less rational you are the less likely you are to survive. The more rational
you are the better your prospects for surviving and surviving well.

>I certainly don't know. I understand, or think I begin to understand, the

>idea that judging God is almost hilariously wrong-headed. And yet people

>appear to mean something when they say that God is good; hence this whole
>discussion.

I very much agree, I think I am resolving a few of my personal problems of
perspective (OOOO too much alliteration). I haven't seen, for example, that
the God "package" can be divided. It is necessary IMO for god to exist very
early in the process of developing a philosophy, soon after the Identity
trilogy, so that reason, as we assume it to be, can exist. But all we need is
a small g god, something to tweak reality a bit to allow choice instead of
programming, it dosen't have to be any particular god...yet. It is after we
allow reason and ethics and perhaps some aesthetics to develop from our first
principles that we see that only one type of God, with certain qualities, is
reasonable. So, in a way, then "goodness" could be both a logical antecedent
(prior is giving us too many headaches) and a logical consequence of God.
Comments Mary?

bd

unread,
Dec 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/6/98
to
On 5 Dec 1998 20:22:13 GMT, dary...@aol.com (Daryl Gene) wrote:

>> d...@dandrake.com (Dan Drake)wrote:
>
/snip/

GEne:


> This is a point I have been trying to make as well, about standards of human
>goodness, but everyone slips back to a Platonic ideal good.


More a lazy place-marking one, I suspect. :-)


>-snip-

Drake:


> > For one thing, it depends on knowing what
>>the essential nature of the beast is, which outside of dog shows and
>>computer interfaces is no easier than the original question of what is
>>good;

It could be a black box. Just so the instructions are glued to it where we can
read them. :-)


>
> And if our essential nature is not that of a "rational animal" what could it
>be? It is the discription that defines us as a species; reason is our primary
>tool of survival and the connection we have with reality. With Rand I feel
>that this is the only possible objective standard (for us); with Lewis I feel
>that it is only possible if there is a God.
>

/snip/


The following sounds very promising to me.

> I think I am resolving a few of my personal problems of
>perspective (OOOO too much alliteration). I haven't seen, for example, that
>the God "package" can be divided. It is necessary IMO for god to exist very
>early in the process of developing a philosophy, soon after the Identity
>trilogy, so that reason, as we assume it to be, can exist. But all we need is
>a small g god, something to tweak reality a bit to allow choice instead of
>programming, it dosen't have to be any particular god...yet. It is after we
>allow reason and ethics and perhaps some aesthetics to develop from our first
>principles that we see that only one type of God, with certain qualities, is
>reasonable.

Btw this sounds like what I meant in anotehr post about 'choosing/judging which
kind of God to belive-in-but-not-judge.' :-)


> So, in a way, then "goodness" could be both a logical antecedent
>(prior is giving us too many headaches) and a logical consequence of God.


All sounds pretty promising to me. :-)


> I very much agree, I think I am resolving a few of my personal problems of
>perspective (OOOO too much alliteration). I haven't seen, for example, that
>the God "package" can be divided. It is necessary IMO for god to exist very
>early in the process of developing a philosophy,

Our process. Subjective, I'd call it, tho you said it was before the obj/subj
branching. (Not sure I agree about such a branching btw.)


> soon after the Identity
>trilogy, so that reason, as we assume it to be, can exist.

Might we have to assume reason first thing of all, per Rand? Isn't it reason
that shows us about Identity and the trilogy etc?

Sorry, but I suspect we need more than one 'line' here, or more than 2.

Objective
1. Moriarity lurks, makes footprint
2. Holmes sees footprint
3. Holmes concludes Moriarity

Moriarity is cause of footprint.

---------------------------------------------------------


Subjective:
1. Holmes sees footprint
2. Holmes concludes Moriarity
Footprint is 'antecedent' in argument.

----------------------------------------------------------

???
1. Morairity lurks, makes footprint, drops flashlight
2. HOlmes finds flashlight
3. Holmes uses flashlight to find footprint
4. Holmes concludes Moriarity made footprints


?????
1. Holmes has flashlight
2. Holmes uses flashlight to examine flashlight
3. Holmes concludes Moriarity made flashlight

> But all we need is
>a small g god, something to tweak reality a bit to allow choice instead of
>programming,

Yes. Miracles p. 28. All it needs is non-determinism for our own minds. Lewis
used 'supernatural' for this. Quite a small god would do. :-)

> it dosen't have to be any particular god...yet. It is after we
>allow reason and ethics and perhaps some aesthetics to develop from our first
>principles

Right!

And surveying some real history etc, as L did in PoP intro re Prof Otto etc.


> that we see that only one type of God, with certain qualities, is
>reasonable. So, in a way, then "goodness" could be both a logical antecedent
>(prior is giving us too many headaches) and a logical consequence of God.


Do my examples above help?

In Holmes' process, the footprint is the antecedent from which he concluldes
Moriarity.
Or ratther, from which he concludes that in the objective world Moriarity made
teh footprint.

> Comments Mary?


:-))))) So far, so, er, good. :-)

But we still need to distinguish between good as commodity and good as
adjective/spec.


> So, in a way, then "goodness" could be both a logical antecedent

The adjective/spec can be antededent. (Well, so can the footprint, er, commodity
too, in a diffent way, I suppose. :-)


>(prior is giving us too many headaches) and a logical consequence of God.

The commodity can be consequence.


More later,

bd

unread,
Dec 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/6/98
to
Sorry I was unclear here.

I'm not reallly pushing any one view, pls don't expect my remarks to add up. :-)

On 4 Dec 1998 19:29:39 GMT, d...@dandrake.com (Dan Drake) wrote:

>On Fri, 4 Dec 1998 04:20:13, bhuva...@my-dejanews.com (bd) wrote:
>
>> On 4 Dec 1998 01:47:28 GMT, d...@dandrake.com (Dan Drake) wrote:
>>
>> >On Wed, 2 Dec 1998 06:40:12, dary...@aol.com (Daryl Gene) wrote:
>> >
>> >> > d...@dandrake.com (Dan Drake)wrote:
>> >> > [stuf that will probably all get clipped, but I gotta keep the attributions straight]
>> >> >...
>> >


>
>> >


>> >Oddly enough, your point about goodness being specific to a standard seems
>> >very close to why I don't like the Aristotle-Aquinas idea of good being
>> >truth to one's proper nature. For one thing, it depends on knowing what
>> >the essential nature of the beast is,
>>
>>
>> But when it's us -- we have inside information, as Lewis said. We're not gussing
>> in a vacuum.

I meant information inside us, that we can access directly. (IE the 813, or
fragments thereof.)

>
>But my inside information tells me (and this is not a hypothetical) that
>there's no reason to see us having an essential nature. [resisting the
>temptation to capitalize that]

I didn't say we'd have inside info about whether we had an essential nature. :-)
I meant some info on what we are supposed to do. MC p. 34. Animals have it (tho
DG doesn't like 'instinct'), so why oh why shouldn't we have some too? (Tho I
don't see why we have to assume letters from an outside party. Just some info
inside us. And/or rational faculty for finding it easily.)


>> > which outside of dog shows and
>> >computer interfaces is no easier than the original question of what is
>> >good; for another, it doesn't explain _why_ I _ought_ to inconvenience
>> >myself in order to be true to this proper nature.
>>
>>
>> Well, it's a different 'ought', but 'If I want a good sleep I'd better take a
>> bath first' etc. The 813 is built-in,such that if we don't do it or at least
>> try, we itch till we do. :-)
>
>That's the problem. It's a different `ought'. Logic I can understand,
>and I understand it in essentially the same way CSL did. I.e., Lewis got
>it right. And `If I want my actions to accord with Scripture, I must do
>this' is fine, but leaves open the main question.


You mean,
Why 'ought' I accord with Scripture?
Why 'ought' I obey God? etc?
Yes, the 'ought' comes first. That difficulty follows from Lewis' logic (tho he
never pressed it to this point afiak).

>
>As for itching till we do: I side with DarylGene on this one. I may
>attach more significance to the 813 than he does, but surely not everyone
>does itch until put in accord with it.

I didn't mean as a big mystical package deal. :-) 'Repent and get right with the
813!' "Be washed in the nectar of the Appendix!"

I just meant when there's some particular thing one of hte 8 requires, some
particualr promies to keep or something, I feel bad about that one thing till I
do it (or resolve it some way).


> Does that invalidate the 813 as a
>general moral rule? Is there any sense in saying that it's better for
>people to hunger and thirst after righteousness?

Mm ... is that quote complete? :-)

Gene distinguishes 813 from Beatitudes/ChristianBehavior, and IMO he's right.
Lewis called 813 'good pagan range / ring fence'. I'd say Basic Generic Specs,
with Beatitudes/Gita/etc as Brand Name products that exceed the generic specs.

See below.

I may be missing your point altogehre here.


> Having other people
>behave 813ishly can be a fine thing for me, particularly if I want to
>cheat; but it's not always favorable to one's own interests, you know.
>
>Anyway, the result of the `itch till we do' approach is `If in the long
>run, considered rationally, I can see that it won't make me itch, then I
>go for it.' I think this is most likely wrong, but I can't tell you why.


Er -- but most of the things in the 813 are things we /want/ to do! We have all
sorts of desires ('instncts') drawing us /toward/ them!

The fact that sometimes there's danger in the way, or not enough resources to go
around -- is 'accident' not 'essence'.

On the "you'd better" level -- the 813 list/calculus is just for deciding among
those accidental conflicts. Which note to play -- when all the notes are good
and desirable, under normal circumstances.

Surelly the 'best' thing is to care for children and parents because we /want/
to -- not because "Duty demands." So the duty thing only comes up when there's a
comflict, not enough time/money or something. (See PoP p. 99 re Kant.)

As for a mystical sort of 'hungering and thirsting'... is that really for the
813? (Other than in wierd situations like being held captive by NICE?)

Or is it for God or other diety, or for some sort of advanced spiritual
practice? IE way behond the Generic Basics?

(I suppose VIII-B Magananimity might connect to this.)

Dunno. I suppose one could promote the 813 to Tao per AoM p. 28.... Still
doesn't seem like a case for 'hungering and thirsting' tho. Wouldn't fit with
all that stillly, tranquilly, luminously.... Sounds more like a bhakti thing.
..:-)

Narnia as condensed 813? Now that's hungerable for. ADventures, color. But I
doubht that's waht you meant.

So the "hungering and thirstting" would be for someting else, I'd suppose. Of
course some advanced practices of conduct would fit in here. RotP "Sweeter Than
Honey" re "getting it right". Williams' Lord Argyle and others? My yogis
polishing their vegetarianism.

Of couse the 'ought' would be a sort of hinge-pin where these would connect with
the 813, in situations that make the 813 really seriously difficult.

>
>>...
>> 1. "We observe that we have a strong
>> drive-that-Gene-does-not-want-to-call-instinct toward caring for our children,
>> and so do other mammals, and it's obviously necessary for the species to survive
>> so it's probably part of our nature.
>> 2. We ought to act per our nature.
>> QED."
>
>See above. If `ought to' is in the logical sense,

No, here I meant 'ought to act per our nature' in the full resonant Acquinain
sense (as I was quoting him, I think :-), or perhpas positively Platonic. :-)

But by 'nature' I did mean 'heart's affections' etc, largely. Something about
what we're really like inside and biologically. Not "The nature of a robot is to
serve its Creator" or something.


> meaning just that these
>courses of action will minimize itching, it all follows. And it clearly
>rules out any discussion of whether Good precedes or follows God, because
>`God is good' becomes a meaningless pseudo-statement.
>

Well, I meant teh full 'ought' here (Acquinan plus :-).
Surely God's nature (trying to follow Acq here) would have some things in common
with ours and others not. Hopefully mercy etc would be one of the requirements
in common, and several others of that sort. As Danny says, those things would be
basic, could not have been otherwise, etc.
So the difference would just be in some details, as Lewis sets out in PoP Ch 3
"Divine Goodness".


>> > What
>> >> standard then do you propose to write for God?
>> >
>> >I certainly don't know. I understand, or think I begin to understand, the
>> >idea that judging God is almost hilariously wrong-headed.
>>
>>
>> Which God? How do you choose which one you're going to believe-in-but-not-judge?
>

Actually, iirc, I had in mind Lewis' God, vs Calvin's, or Abraham's ... also
thinking of Lewis' comments about the pagan gods and the Hindu and a few others
being insufficiently moral for him to consider believing in!

>Well, we've been here before. The one that I can't judge is the One that
>C S Lewis wrote about.

EVen tho Lewis 'judged' Him,and thought He wanted to be judged? PoP p. 39.

This is what I meant by 'which God'? Lewis' that wants to be judged, Gene's that
prohibits it and wants slaves, Calvin's that has some other take maybe....?

>Not Zeus, who was subject to the Fate; and not
>Krishna. (Unless we attach the name Krishna to a concept that I think is
>quite different from the one that appears in the Bhagavad Gita etc.
>AFAIK.)

Don't recall. What I was getting at here, is that most people put some limits on
the kind of God they're considering believing in, /before/ they adopt any
belief. It has to be a really moral one, not Zeus with affairs, or Tash with
human sacrifices, etc. So they are judging at that point, in advance.

Then after they choose a relativelly moral one, then they say "Oh, it would be
nonsense to Judge God."


> The problem here seems to be that you don't accept that God as
>even a valid concept worth talking hypothetically about. I can't prove
>you wrong there; I'm just disagreeing.


If Christians ever got their descriptions really consistent, so I knew /which/
concept.... Seems to me there's more difference between Alan's and DAryl's --
than between Odin and Zeus.

Several of them seem valid and worth talking about. Especially Plato's. Maybe
Acuqinas/GKCs.* I've been doing a lot of it lately. :-) Unless by 'valid' you
mean on the level of Brahman Nirguna -- who is way up above them all and really
does take /responsibility/ for all the Cold Equations and everything.

*Berkeley's too, maybe.

>
>>...
>> >... If we are created by a being that designed us in a
>> >certain way, then going against the design is bad just as a fragile hammer
>> >is bad. But are we morally obliged to go along with his plan?
>>
>> Bingo! If we can't 'judge' God -- why 'ought' we to coopeerate, obey, etc?
>>
>> If we have no standard to judge God -- where is our standard for our own
>> 'ought'?
>
>Yes, these are good statements of the problem, starting from which one can
>look into how CSL worked them out, or thought he did.

I'm suspecting more and more it wasn't really him workign things out, but just
telling us what Acquinas et al had already worked out.

>
>> > Yes,
>> >certainly, if the creator is good and wise far beyond our powers -- but
>> >not otherwise, as far as I can see.
>>
>> Right. And how are we to, er, judge that, without,er, judging?
>>
>> Anyway, if we were designed by good/wise etc -- wouldn't the standard we should
>> follow be designed into us? The instructions inside the case? Wouldn't good
>> design require that? :-)
>
>Probably so. The Jehovah's Witnesses, among others, also believe that it
>would be just good design to give us a Book in which everything is spelled
>out in unmistakable detail;

MIght be. But there's sure no candidate for such a book worldwide. Closest you
could get would be, He wanted JWs to follow the book they've got, and Hare
Krishnas to follow the book they've got, etc.

Of course the 813 doesn't claim to go into all that much detail, either. :-)

> but others think that would be a terribly dull
>way of proceeding. (BTW I have an unpleasant vision of Alan Watts on the
>CSL Lines bus, exchanging observations with the Bishop.)


...:-)))) Very likelly. Just got a flash of Maharishi not bothering to take
the bus, just meditating in the rain and it hissing off his golden aura. :-)


>Judging the
>logic and the design rules of omnipotence may be no more reliable than
>judging its morals.

Reliable? Or pious?

Anyway, if so ... why design into us the passion for such speculation? :-)

>
>>...
>> >so I look about for other ways of understanding the assertions that God
>> >exists and is good. If I can get away from amorphous, undefined good,
>> >three cheers.
>>
>> Why not find a standard that applies and apply it? Lewis found no problem with
>> this.
>
>In AoM he quite specifically waved such problems aside.

In PoP he really dug into them.

> That's absolutely
>right for what he was doing there; but applying it generally brings us
>(me) to Hume's principle of seeing that there is no basis for morality but
>relying on the carelessness and inattention of mankind to miss noticing
>the problem.


Er, AoM said the axioms were self-evident. Or something like that. :-) Thumped
it a lot. Do you consider this 'relying on carelessness' etc?


BD


>
>>
>>
>> Still -- do we really need "God wants/does/is/passes/etc" in order for /us/ to
>> have a real 'ought' for the 813?
>> ...
>
>I wish I knew.

AJA

unread,
Dec 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/6/98
to
On Sun, 06 Dec 1998 04:03:04 GMT, bhuva...@my-dejanews.com (bd)
wrote:

>
>>Judging the
>>logic and the design rules of omnipotence may be no more reliable than
>>judging its morals.
>
>Reliable? Or pious?
>
>Anyway, if so ... why design into us the passion for such speculation? :-)
>

For the growth of our immortal souls? :-) So that we end up reliably
pious? Pious- what a word! Dutiful or Sham? Self conscious virtue or
worthy? The definitions in the eye of the beholder? We are told to
guard our eyes as they are ripe for the plucking. Interesting in this
discussion is the help we're with the problem of being good:
standards, basic specifications, logic, intuitive itching and even
stilly, tranquilly, luminously, sweeter than honey as against all that
gauls, way up there and way down here, here's what you do- but you
gotta work it out for yourself, with some help, maybe. Grace? The
Holy Spirit? Anyway, do it like you mean it, maybe you'll get it that
way. Look at it like it's real, maybe it will be in you. The Jewish
Girl at her prayers, her Boy, his Dad? Passion enough for everyone,
on just about every level. Beautiful design (if I were to judge).
Seems if whatever you've got a passion for, whatever you hunger and
thirst for, you're going to get it, sooner or later.

And AoM and PoP: different audiences and different messages, or
different soap boxes? More discussion about what is needed for "a
real ought" for the Rules (8,13) please!

Best,
A

Daryl Gene

unread,
Dec 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/7/98
to
>(Danny Pitt Stoller)wrote:

>Daryl Gene (dary...@aol.com) wrote:
>: >bhuva...@my-dejanews.com (bd)wrote:

> But a Social Darwinist (or perhaps a Hun) would say


>: "Help the weak? That's a certain recipe for degrading the species. Cull
>the
>: dross I say" and by his own standards he would be correct.

>The question is whether some actions ARE intrinsically good, not whether

>or not you can find someone who disagrees.

Missing the point again, which is, GOOD BY WHAT STANDARD? Even with the
same standards people might dissagree if a thing is good or not. Unless you
can claim that you have a superior standard and support it rationally you
cannot claim anything to be a greater good. This is not a disregard for what
is good or a disagreement about what is good, this is saying that the tools you
are using to judge are the wrong tools. That you are the one claiming 2+2=5.
The values are still objective and still would be the same for everyone but the
results are different.

>2) in fact, there actually exists
>an objective standard for good and evil, a standard which proceeds from
>the ground of all Being.

Right.

>the
>next step is to figure out the precise relationship between this standard
>for goodness and God Almighty.
>

You just said the standard proceeds from Him, didn't you?

>Lewis isn't claiming any special insight. He is claiming that his
>practical reason, just like that of any other rational being, can tell
>what is right or wrong.

Then is "reason " the standard?

> And so we are "communing with the Tao" every
>time we consult our conscience in order to make a moral decision.

Or conscience does not always seem to be rational (or always correct for that
matter). Which should we rely on when the two conflict reason or conscience?

>Nobody is saying that the Tao is separate or different from God;
>certainly not C.S. Lewis.

Yes they are. They are saying it provides a moral code that can be used to
evaluate God's actions, if the Tao is the same as God Lewis wastes a lot of
good paper going in circles.

Daryl Gene

unread,
Dec 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/7/98
to
>bhuva...@my-dejanews.com (bd)wrote:

>>: "Help the weak? That's a certain recipe for degrading the species. Cull
>the
>>: dross I say" and by his own standards he would be correct.
>
>

>For humans, I agree with Danny here of course. Daryl, would it help if we
>found
>a species for which this would be correct?

By the standards I have given it is correct for humans!!! You cannot just say
you dissagree, Heck, I, disagree too. But I operate from a different standard.
So, to say this is wrong, I must show why one standard is better than the
other. Dorothy Parker recognised that the really insidious thing about the
Nazis wasn't that they were doing evil, but that they had changed the standard!

Unless you can claim something is good in all human standards you cannot
claim "intrinsic" good, just as if a behivior is not species predictable you
cannot call it "instinct".


>>The question is whether some actions ARE intrinsically good, not whether

>>or not you can find someone who disagrees. Look around, and perhaps
>>you'll find someone who says that 2+2=5; it won't change the fact.
>
>Right.

Wrong. 2+2=4 is a statement of fact. "Goodness" is a value judgment.
Intrinsic goodness is only possible to consider while the terms are undefined.
There are no values implicit in nature, they must be applied by thinking
beings.

>>: >If we can talk like that -- then what is wrong with some actions being
>>: >'actually
>>: >good' and 'actually bad'?
>>;

>>: Again by what standard? Good is a value judgement, it cannot be applied
>>: rationally in a vacumn. It requires an hierarchy of values and a standard
>of
>>: evaluation.
>

>Yes, a vague term that needs supporting/defining concepts. To define
>'tangent'
>we need first to define 'line', 'curve', 'angle', etc.

>But that doesn't mean some Great Primal Tangent in the Sky has to Be There
>for
>us to recognize and use the terms in practical blueprints.
>

But it does mean that goodness is not a quality a thing (or act) possesses, as
in actually good, it is a quality ascribed by a thinking being. It is a
comparative term not a descriptive term. Ergo an act that might be good in one
context might not be good in another. The act itself does not possess the
quality, we make a value judgement and assign the quality.

bd

unread,
Dec 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/7/98
to
Very hastily....

Lewis and Acquinas both seem to say there is some sort of a self-evident
somewhere in the equation. :-)

But at which level/levels?

Need to untangle that Lewis passage out, and I can't even find it. "If nothing
is self-evident,then nothing canbe proved." He was talking aboux axioms of
logic, and comparing the 813 to thosse, I think. Certainly enough of the people
he quotes did that. "Axioms of Practical Reason" they were called.

Acquians somewhere in Q94 puts something at the level of A=A: "There is a real
ought." As self-evident as A=A. Then we have to find out waht the precepts are
for us. Not sure if he said the precepts were self-evident too (as Lewis seemed
to).

Or for teaching maybe we can start at the lowest level. Some sort of android
movie wasn't it?
"You just can't go around kililng people."
"Why not?"
"You just can't."

Nothing wrong with starting there and working out from there, imo. At least for
teaching/defining purposes.

To a Martian, we might define 'blue' by 'reflecting spectrum x-y'. To a human
kid, we point to sky and water and robins eggs. This is not a
conflict/contradiction! Both ways of definition are ok. Both point to the same,
er, thing. :-)

Hm, oh dear, Platonic faith premise or something maybe. :-) But ... even on the
worst Green book nominallims, where all you do is count sentences and define
'good' as statistical probabilities ... I wonder if some words are so
magically charged (good,justice, etc) as to resist lanuage drift and
redefining....

'Good' is so broad-based, so redundant ... used for so many different meanings
... that maybe it can't really be permenently twisted. (In the real languae in
the real world.) "If you want your children not to catch cold, the best way is
to give them some good oatmeal that tastes good too." In theory the words come
apart to different meanings. But in practice -- they sort of keep correcting
each other?


BD

AJA

unread,
Dec 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/7/98
to
On Mon, 07 Dec 1998 18:47:13 GMT, bhuva...@my-dejanews.com (bd)
wrote:

> I wonder if some words are so
>magically charged (good,justice, etc) as to resist lanuage drift and
>redefining....

Or _invite_ re-defining- in er... meaning full ways? Two or three
gathered together make separate lists of all the words they can think
of to come under the heading of good. Different cultures, ethnicity,
genders. See what you get. Start talking about it. Or run the word
through a very smart computer...

>'Good' is so broad-based, so redundant ... used for so many different meanings
>... that maybe it can't really be permenently twisted. (In the real languae in
>the real world.) "If you want your children not to catch cold, the best way is
>to give them some good oatmeal that tastes good too." In theory the words come
>apart to different meanings. But in practice -- they sort of keep correcting
>each other?
>

Or, _connecting_? Wash your hands and have some of this chicken soup
I made for you. It's a good thing. (Hummm...So is Mum, and at the
moment the world is a pretty good place, and ...)

Best,
A

Eirik Berg Hanssen

unread,
Dec 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/8/98
to

Sorry I am getting into this so late, and at a tangent, but these
ideas ask not where or when ...

I suddenly got to thinking about Tolkien's theory (or whatever) of
subcreation. Since it has been a long time since I read Tree and Leaf,
I shall assume you are familiar with this. If you are not, there is a
fair chance I am not going to make sense anyhow.

BTW: Did Lewis ever comment upon these theories, in form accessible to
us (that is, beyond discussing it over a beer at the B&B)?

If not, could I tempt any of the Lewis experts to speculate on what he
comments he might have made?


And now to business:

bhuva...@my-dejanews.com (bd) writes:
> On Wed, 02 Dec 1998 19:10:21 +1300, m.co...@auckland.ac.nz (Matthew
> Collett) wrote:

[...]

> > In the Blue corner (where "Blue" means "partaking of transcendent
> > Blueness") the Platonists, aka idealists, aka strong or extreme
> > realists: abstract properties really exist prior to and independently
> > of concrete instances of them, as Platonic Ideas.

If an author "discovers" stories that are already there, the ideas
expressed in the stories may indeed be Platonic. But that is not quite
the way I remember Tolkien's theories ...


> > In the Green book^H^H^H^Hcorner (where "Green" means "belonging to a
> > completely arbitrary collection of objects that we happen to label
> > 'Green things'") the nominalists: abstract properties have no
> > objective existence, but are purely creations of the human mind.

No. Stories, according to these theories have some kind of existence
of their own ...

> > And in the Red corner (where "Red" means "similar in some objective
> > sense to other things that are Red") the Aristotelians, aka moderate

> > realists, aka scholastics: abstract properties really exist, but only


> > as a consequence of the existence of individual concrete entities
> > possessing those properties; they are 'natural kinds' rather than
> > transcendent ideas.

... though there are no instances of Hobbits or Dragons to be found.

Which seems to parallell Mary's objection:

> No. We don't have to find any unicorns and mermaids to know what they
> /would be/, and that they would be different from flying reindeer and
> Cthulu. Don't have to find black holes to know they'd be different
> from wormholes. Don't have to find a perfect sphere to know it would
> be different from a perfect cube. The Big Bang is different from the
> Steady State theory whether either one of them has a concrete universe
> on a leash or not.


The best fit I have found so far is the Blue corner. However:

> Can we have a "Pink" category for me, then? Concepts that fit
> together, like the natural kinds ... but don't require any concretes
> (or other commodities :-) that match them?

IIRC the gist from Tree and Leaf, this would be Tolkien's position as
well. The stories have an existence of their own, from the beginning of
time, once they were written.

... on the other hand, an eternal, omniscient God may of course
foresee the writing of the story, so that its idea existed before time.
Perhaps I am misreading the good professor, and the corner is in fact Blue?


Eirik
--
Eirik Berg Hanssen | Eirik....@fi.uib.no
Think PInc! | Just this .sig then nothing more.

bd

unread,
Dec 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/8/98
to
BAck to otehr points later I hope.

On 7 Dec 1998 08:08:14 GMT, dary...@aol.com (Daryl Gene) wrote:

> Dorothy Parker recognised that the really insidious thing about the
>Nazis wasn't that they were doing evil, but that they had changed the standard!


Great point. Parker? :-) Wehre???

That was Lewis' point too about various philosophers who weren't playing wiht a
full 8. :-) And I'd say the Victorian thing fitted here too, de facto,
promoting property rights and sexual prudery as the whole of morality, and the
warm-heated bits (mercy, loyalty, etc) as temptations to selfishness, sentiment,
etc.

(For USA only, risking tiny political observation: Clinton lied about a fact,
but when caught, admitted the fact and the lie were wrong. He never tried to
change the standard. Whereas Starr is assuming a rather new standard, by which
all his actions were right.)


Then of course the Green Book tried not just to change the standard, but to
deny all standards. :-(((

Daryl Gene

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Dec 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/8/98
to
>d...@dandrake.com (Dan Drake) -and others including myself (there are too many

quotes to keep them straight, please understand no slight is intended) wrote:

>> Of course it shoudl be field or living wild standards, not artifical show
>> standards. :-) Ie standards that come from what it really is, not from what
>some
>> outsider says it should be. :-

>I too prefer sheep-herding standards to dog-show standards, but I don't

>see that they're the absolute nature of the beast. In fact, it was the
>deliberate violation of a lot of living-wild standards that gave us dogs
>in the first place; and yet I regard the creation of dogs as a good thing.
>

Dog show standards were intended to maintain type and some breeds include
field trials in their championship qualifications. My point though, is simply
if you apply a standard to a specific dog it can be a "GOOD" Bouvier de
Flanders and an impossibly poor Lakeland Terrier at the same time. The
adjective depends on the standard you apply. It is the same with behavior,
change the standard and the qualities, virtues etc. change. Lewis seems to be
saying there is a common standard, I don't see any evidence of that.

>But my inside information tells me (and this is not a hypothetical) that
>there's no reason to see us having an essential nature. [resisting the
>temptation to capitalize that]

Then you simply cannot define the terms since a definition is denoting a
thing's essential nature. I'd be willing to bet you do harbor some definition
of Man and ergo evince some concept of our essential nature.

> Having other people
>behave 813ishly can be a fine thing for me, particularly if I want to
>cheat; but it's not always favorable to one's own interests, you know.
>

Try Rand's "rational self-intrest" and it does better. Both she and
scripture would point out that sin (or irrationality) is plesant for a season,
but utimately self-destructive.

>> If we have no standard to judge God -- where is our standard for our own
>> 'ought'?
>
>Yes, these are good statements of the problem, starting from which one can
>look into how CSL worked them out, or thought he did.

We have a standard for Spainels but do not apply it to ourselves. We can
perhaps arrive at a standard to apply to God (a risky venture) but that it is
the same as for ourselves would seem a very remote possibility.

>applying it generally brings us
>(me) to Hume's principle of seeing that there is no basis for morality but
>relying on the carelessness and inattention of mankind to miss noticing
>the problem.

hummm, sounds sort of like Ecclesiastes. I , of course must dissagree,
wheather or nor there is a God. If there is not there still must be a set of
behaviors that optimize our existance. If there is then pleasing Him would
provide them.

Daryl Gene

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Dec 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/8/98
to
>bhuva...@my-dejanews.com (bd)wrote:

>>>Can we say 'some things are acrually red and others are actually blue' --
>>>without needing some sort of transcendent Blueness?
>>>

>> Yes, but good is not an adjective of this category.
>
>Which category, Kemo SAbe?
>

Good is a comparitive adjective not a discriptive one. It proceeds from a
value judgement. Substitute other common adjectives of the same ilk, like hot,
or high, or big and you can see what I mean.


>>No need; if you are willing to let Tarzan supply the standard for good
>instead
>>of expecting it to be rational.
>
>
>Er, have you read Burroughs original unabrdged /Tarzan of the Apes/>

No slight of Tarzan intended, replace all occurences of the word with "Heigel"
or "Sartre" or "Boneparte" or "Tamerlane" or "Vlad the Impaler"............

Daryl Gene

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Dec 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/8/98
to
>bhuva...@my-dejanews.com (bd)wrote:

>> Dorothy Parker recognised that the really insidious thing about the
>>Nazis wasn't that they were doing evil, but that they had changed the
>standard!
>
>Great point. Parker? :-) Wehre???

Gasp! Ooops meant Sayers.

bd

unread,
Dec 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/8/98
to
On 8 Dec 1998 06:15:30 GMT, dary...@aol.com (Daryl Gene) wrote:

>>bhuva...@my-dejanews.com (bd)wrote:
>
>>> Dorothy Parker recognised that the really insidious thing about the
>>>Nazis wasn't that they were doing evil, but that they had changed the
>>standard!
>>
>>Great point. Parker? :-) Wehre???
>
>Gasp! Ooops meant Sayers.


Sigh. I suppose we must make do. Where?

bd

unread,
Dec 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/8/98
to
Sorry, it's late, can't resist...

On 8 Dec 1998 05:39:51 GMT, dary...@aol.com (Daryl Gene) wrote:

>>d...@dandrake.com (Dan Drake) -and others including myself (there are too many
>quotes to keep them straight, please understand no slight is intended) wrote:
>

DG:


> Lewis seems to be
>saying there is a common standard, I don't see any evidence of that.
>

/snip/


>>there's no reason to see us having an essential nature.
>

> Then you simply cannot define the terms since a definition is denoting a
>thing's essential nature. I'd be willing to bet you do harbor some definition
>of Man and ergo evince some concept of our essential nature.


Let's see, isn't Jack Sprat in here somewhere?

Alan Kreutzer

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Dec 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/8/98
to
(Daryl Gene) wrote:

>>Nobody is saying that the Tao is separate or different from God;
>>certainly not C.S. Lewis.
>
>Yes they are.

No I'm not.

>They are saying it provides a moral code that can be used to
>evaluate God's actions,

I conceede: In an ultimate sense we cannot judge God.

But in a practical, everyday sense we do and must. Since God has
not seen fit to give me a personal revelation, my "judgement of
God" is actually a judgement between various things that other
people TELL me that God says. It will always be up to me, finally,
to judge which of their claims - if any - is likely to be true.

Much of "the Last Battle" is a meditation on this precise point.
Narnians were doing terrible things - killing Talking trees, and
submitting to slavery - because someone had told them Aslan
willed it. They were not willing to make judgements about
the commands of God.

The King, though he heard the orders, defied them and
stood for the old ways. Rather ineffectivly, I admit, but
that's beside the point. The point is, he made a judgement
about a "command from God." And he was right.


>if the Tao is the same as God Lewis wastes a lot of
>good paper going in circles.


On the contrary. He was making a point that he makes elsewhere
- that the ethical code is NOT the exclusive idea of Christians,
but the common property of all peoples. (See the essay on "Ethics"
for another statement of the same idea.)

This does not mean he thought ethics were other than, or superior
to God. (After all, in Mere Christianity he tries to use this
common ethical sense as an evidence of God's existance.) But he
still believes that those who do not know, or who reject Christianity,
can still live within the "Tao". (In his sense of the word.)

Since Christians are still a minority in this world, I hope he's right.


bd

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Dec 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/8/98
to
On Tue, 08 Dec 1998 07:39:05 GMT, "Alan Kreutzer" <a...@teleportNOspamPLEASE.com>
wrote:

> (Daryl Gene) wrote:
>
>>>Nobody is saying that the Tao is separate or different from God;
>>>certainly not C.S. Lewis.
>>
>>Yes they are.
>
>No I'm not.

Yes I am. Maybe. :-) Question of definition as Danny said long ago. I just want
A=A and right=right given equal status. Equally objective. Either both of them
are separate 'given's that God has to deal with (as Lewis said of logic laws in
PoP ch 2), or both are 'part of His own nature'.

>
>>They are saying it provides a moral code that can be used to
>>evaluate God's actions,
>
>I conceede: In an ultimate sense we cannot judge God.


Why not? What do you mean by ultimate?

>
>But in a practical, everyday sense we do and must. Since God has
>not seen fit to give me a personal revelation, my "judgement of
>God" is actually a judgement between various things that other
>people TELL me that God says. It will always be up to me, finally,
>to judge which of their claims - if any - is likely to be true.

Right!

>
>Much of "the Last Battle" is a meditation on this precise point.
>Narnians were doing terrible things - killing Talking trees, and
>submitting to slavery - because someone had told them Aslan
>willed it. They were not willing to make judgements about
>the commands of God.
>

Right!


>The King, though he heard the orders, defied them and
>stood for the old ways. Rather ineffectivly, I admit, but
>that's beside the point.


No, it is to the point. He did have doubts, did wonder if Aslan were different
than they had been told. That was why he was so ineffective. It wasn't until a
speech at teh bonfire that he finally rejected the possiblity.

If he had rejected out of hand :-) all rumours 'Aslan is not as we thought' --
he could have done a lot better job of resistance. And turning himself in to the
Calormenes was really stupid! :-)

> The point is, he made a judgement
>about a "command from God." And he was right.

More than that, when he finally got round to it. :-) He made a judgment that a
supposed God who commanded such things was not the real Aslan. He saw the donkey
giving bad commands and judged "This is a bad God." (And a false Aslan? Don't
recall.) He judged a (claimed) God.

Lewis has taken this a bit further on occasion, too. "If there is a God like
that, I defy and despise him."


>
>
>>if the Tao is the same as God Lewis wastes a lot of
>>good paper going in circles.
>
>
>On the contrary. He was making a point that he makes elsewhere
>- that the ethical code is NOT the exclusive idea of Christians,
>but the common property of all peoples. (See the essay on "Ethics"
>for another statement of the same idea.)
>
>This does not mean he thought ethics were other than, or superior
>to God. (After all, in Mere Christianity he tries to use this
>common ethical sense as an evidence of God's existance.)

Right! Tho MC is a little ambigious. So is /Miracles/ ch V, unless put in
context with /Miracles/ p. 28.


> But he
>still believes that those who do not know, or who reject Christianity,
>can still live within the "Tao". (In his sense of the word.)


"Good pagan range / ring fence". Got some quotes on this at teh "Footnotes"
site.

Daryl Gene

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Dec 9, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/9/98
to
>bhuva...@my-dejanews.com (bd)wrote:

>dary...@aol.com (Daryl Gene) wrote:
>

>>>bhuva...@my-dejanews.com (bd)wrote:

>>>> Dorothy Parker recognised that the really insidious thing about the
>>>>Nazis wasn't that they were doing evil, but that they had changed the
>>>standard!

>>>Great point. Parker? :-) Wehre???
>>
>>Gasp! Ooops meant Sayers.
>
>
>Sigh. I suppose we must make do. Where?

In her essay Creed or Chaos. There is much to the point but an example
___ It is only with great difficulty that we can can bring ourselves to
grasp the fact that there is no failure in Germany to live up to her own
standards of right conduct. It is something much more terrifying and
tremendous: it is that what we believe to be evil, Germany believes to be good.
It is a direct repudiation of the basic Christian dogma on which our
Mediterranean civilization , such as it is, is grounded.__

Daryl Gene

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Dec 9, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/9/98
to
>"Alan Kreutzer" <a...@teleportNOspamPLEASE.com>wrote:

> (Daryl Gene) wrote:

>>>Nobody is saying that the Tao is separate or different from God;
>>>certainly not C.S. Lewis.
>>
>>Yes they are.
>
>No I'm not.

>>They are saying it provides a moral code that can be used to


>>evaluate God's actions,
>
>I conceede: In an ultimate sense we cannot judge God.

>But in a practical, everyday sense we do and must.

Which I will, in turn, concede, for the reasons you have given.

>) But he

>still believes that those who do not know, or who reject Christianity,
>can still live within the "Tao". (In his sense of the word.)
>

>Since Christians are still a minority in this world, I hope he's right.
>

Hope is fine and good, look around though I would NOT _expect_ it.

Daryl Gene

unread,
Dec 9, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/9/98
to
>bhuva...@my-dejanews.com (bd)wrote:

>. I just want
>A=A and right=right given equal status. Equally objective. Either both of
>them
>are separate 'given's that God has to deal with (as Lewis said of logic laws
>in
>PoP ch 2), or both are 'part of His own nature'.

Alas Mary this cannot be! Identity is self-sufficient, primal, etc. Right
can only exist within a value system and even that is derivitive.
First we must define our values, those things we wish to gain or preserve,
then we must arrange them in an hierarchy- greater or lesser values. Then we
weigh them-this is much more important than that. Then we place each action or
quality or virtue against the standard we have constructed and so can say "this
is good" or "this is right" or "this is better" or "this is the best". Usually
we do this work without much thought or effort, absorbing patterns from those
around us, accepting their emphisis. The greatest amoung us have lain the
foundations for the common ethic by applying a good deal of effort and
convincing us that some things deserve a higher or lower place on the
hierarachy. Right is not a given, it is the end result of a lot of work and
thought. It is constantly refined, modified and hopefully improved.

>"This is a bad God." (And a false Aslan? Don't
>recall.) He judged a (claimed) God.
>
>Lewis has taken this a bit further on occasion, too. "If there is a God like
>that, I defy and despise him."
>

Which is firmly based on the conviction that there is a God and he is
nothing at all like that

>> But he
>>still believes that those who do not know, or who reject Christianity,
>>can still live within the "Tao". (In his sense of the word.)
>
>

>"Good pagan range / ring fence". Got some quotes on this at teh "Footnotes"

Ahem. One could almost gather that Lewis thought it actually unimportant
that anyone be a Christian at all. I can see him saying "If one lives in an
area prone to Chrisendom then one ought to be a good Christian. For everyone
else tune in to your Tao, Christ really dosen't matter" can't you?
(I am going to make it clear-because you can't tell on the usenet- this is
sarcasm)

Danny Pitt Stoller

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Dec 9, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/9/98
to
Daryl Gene (dary...@aol.com) wrote:
: >Lewis has taken this a bit further on occasion, too. "If there is a God like

: >that, I defy and despise him."
:
: Which is firmly based on the conviction that there is a God and he is
: nothing at all like that

Yes, Lewis did indeed have that conviction. But he also held the
conviction that our allegiance must be to "right" (whatever its source)
whether it's got an omnipotent spirit behind it or not. Look at his
attitude toward the Norse heroes: allegiance to the gods rather than the
giants, even if it is the losing side.

: Ahem. One could almost gather that Lewis thought it actually unimportant


: that anyone be a Christian at all. I can see him saying "If one lives in an
: area prone to Chrisendom then one ought to be a good Christian. For everyone
: else tune in to your Tao, Christ really dosen't matter" can't you?

I think the passage about the senses of the word "Christian" is relevant
here. (Is that actually in *Mere Christianity*?) I mean the section
where he talks about how it is quite possible to be "a good Christian"
(in the sense of living rightly, following Christ's precepts, etc.)
without belonging to the Christian Creed. There is stuff like this all
over Lewis. Look at the passage Mary just quoted above: Lewis says that
the atheist will "defy and despise" false conceptions of God, precisely
to the extent that he is close to Christ "in his heart." He gives the
quotation from the New Testament where Christ says, "No one can get to
the Father but through Me" -- and adds the all-important corollary, that
you don't necessarily have to know who He is in order to get to the
Father through Him.

This is not at all the same as "Christ really doesn't matter." First of
all, Christ is the one doing the saving whether the saved know it or
not. Second of all, if someone said to Lewis, "If I need not be a
Christian to be saved by Christ, then why be a Christian?" then Lewis's
response would be, "Are you trying to find out whether or not
Christianity is true, or are you just trying to argue your way out of
obedience?" Check out "Man or Rabbit?" for this discussion.

--


"Gentlemen of the jury, I am grateful and I am your friend,
but I will obey the god rather than you...."

- Socrates


Danny Pitt (no hyphen) Stoller
215-386-6975
http://www.sas.upenn.edu/~dap


Daryl Gene

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Dec 10, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/10/98
to
>d...@mail1.sas.upenn.edu (Danny Pitt Stoller)wrote:

>Daryl Gene (dary...@aol.com) wrote:

>: >Lewis has taken this a bit further on occasion, too. "If there is a God
>like
>: >that, I defy and despise him."
>:
>: Which is firmly based on the conviction that there is a God and he is
>: nothing at all like that

>Yes, Lewis did indeed have that conviction. But he also held the
>conviction that our allegiance must be to "right" (whatever its source)
>whether it's got an omnipotent spirit behind it or not.

In a sense I agree. I have never felt that omnipotence was an essential
attribute of God. He obviously, by choice if nothing else, is not totally
omnipotent (what a wierd turn of a phrase) since that would exclude any "power"
he did not possess. His power then must be limited since both humanity and
Evil possess some, if small, powers. I respect God's power and fear it, but it
has nothing to do with my allegiance to him.

> I mean the section
>where he talks about how it is quite possible to be "a good Christian"
>(in the sense of living rightly, following Christ's precepts, etc.)
>without belonging to the Christian Creed.

To me, the idea of living rightly is very, very peripheral to what it means
to be a "Good Christian". Lewis admitted the Attonement was the central
indespensible doctrine uniting Chrisendom and I agree.

>Christ says, "No one can get to
>the Father but through Me" -- and adds the all-important corollary, that
>you don't necessarily have to know who He is in order to get to the
>Father through Him.

He also says his sheep know his voice. And the verse you quote begins "I am
the Way the Truth and the Life" . I would greatly fear to bet anyone's
immortal soul on the predicate to your sentence.

>"If I need not be a
>Christian to be saved by Christ, then why be a Christian?" then Lewis's
>response would be, "Are you trying to find out whether or not
>Christianity is true, or are you just trying to argue your way out of
>obedience?" Check out "Man or Rabbit?" for this discussion.

I am afraid that I am going to have to stick by St. Paul on this one no matter
what Lewis says.
Daryl

And we know that all things work
together for good to then that love God, to them jthat are called according to
his purpose

bd

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Dec 10, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/10/98
to
On 9 Dec 1998 08:02:06 GMT, d...@mail1.sas.upenn.edu (Danny Pitt Stoller) wrote:

>Daryl Gene (dary...@aol.com) wrote:
>: >Lewis has taken this a bit further on occasion, too. "If there is a God like
>: >that, I defy and despise him."
>:
>: Which is firmly based on the conviction that there is a God and he is
>: nothing at all like that

He said the same sort of things in his atheist period. See PoP Intro for a
summary, SBJ for details.


>
>Yes, Lewis did indeed have that conviction. But he also held the
>conviction that our allegiance must be to "right" (whatever its source)
>whether it's got an omnipotent spirit behind it or not.

Right! Er, I mean, correct. :-)

Behind it or subsequent or prior or attached to. Whether any of the above, or
none. Right for right's sake. :-)

> Look at his
>attitude toward the Norse heroes: allegiance to the gods rather than the
>giants, even if it is the losing side.
>
>: Ahem. One could almost gather that Lewis thought it actually unimportant
>: that anyone be a Christian at all.

Map vs territory. He said that a good Buddhist etc would "belong to Christ
without knowing it."


> I can see him saying "If one lives in an
>: area prone to Chrisendom then one ought to be a good Christian. For everyone
>: else tune in to your Tao, Christ really dosen't matter" can't you?

No, he'd say your Tao is Christ in disguise. :-)

Anyway sort of condescending. Unless of course he meant the New Age Christ
Spirit, or something. :-)


>
>I think the passage about the senses of the word "Christian" is relevant

>here. (Is that actually in *Mere Christianity*?) I mean the section

>where he talks about how it is quite possible to be "a good Christian"
>(in the sense of living rightly, following Christ's precepts, etc.)
>without belonging to the Christian Creed.

Good distinction. MC p. 176 actually. It's posted at "Footnotes".


>There is stuff like this all
>over Lewis. Look at the passage Mary just quoted above: Lewis says that
>the atheist will "defy and despise" false conceptions of God, precisely
>to the extent that he is close to Christ "in his heart." He gives the

>quotation from the New Testament where Christ says, "No one can get to

>the Father but through Me" -- and adds the all-important corollary, that
>you don't necessarily have to know who He is in order to get to the
>Father through Him.
>

>This is not at all the same as "Christ really doesn't matter." First of
>all, Christ is the one doing the saving whether the saved know it or

>not. Second of all, if someone said to Lewis, "If I need not be a

>Christian to be saved by Christ, then why be a Christian?" then Lewis's
>response would be, "Are you trying to find out whether or not
>Christianity is true, or are you just trying to argue your way out of
>obedience?" Check out "Man or Rabbit?" for this discussion.


Probably. But there was also a passage about "If someone asks how to get from
London to xx, it would be possble to get there by boat or airplane, but normally
you would tell him to use the trains." MC somewhere I think.

But elsewhere he does really seem to qualify and quibble as tho non-Christians
getting in was exceptionall. RotP I think re "SEcond Meanings", toward the end?