BACK in 1839, philosopher David Hume couldn't hold back any longer, so he sallied forth, at the grand old age of eighteen, to write his Treatise of Human Nature. Why not? The Scots are notoriously dour and flinty, and certainly exposed at a young age to the reality of a long winter, so a young lad raised on haggis and mutton ought to have a clear and unclouded mind uninflamed by the fripperies of London and its Sassenach coffee-houses.
He starts out, as any philosopher must, by clearing the ground. In young David's case, he tells us the difference between "impression" and "idea." The difference between the two, he writes, consists in the "degrees of force and liveliness, with which they strike upon the mind, and make their way into our thought or consciousness."
There should be no problem in discriminating between the two, he writes, even though "in sleep, in a fever, in madness... our ideas may approach our impressions."
Oh yeah? Just how then do we do it? How close can an hallucination approach us in force and vivacity before we dignify it with the rank of "impression?" Other than the classic professorial put-down that it's obvious?
In fact, of course, scholars and wrangled about this forever, because it's a rather glaring aporia (that's Greek for no way through) in Hume's system.
Here's one chappie's effort. He says that there's a difference between a representation and an actual presentation, or experience. You can have an idea of the Acropolis, but until you've actually been there and seen it -- well, it's just a hallucination.
Hume himself deals with the problem later in Book One of the Treatise. Sure, he says, a "lively imagination very often degenerates into madness or folly" as does any "chimera of the brain." But you and I are able to differentiate such phantasms and similar poetical effusions. The fact is that we can tell the difference between the fiction and the real, he asserts.
Well yes. That's the definition of sanity, I reckon. You can tell the difference between the voices in your head, however forceful and vivacious, and the relentless reality out there in the world that eventually turns our hair gray. Anything else is madness.
THE chaps at the Weekly Standard have caught the Democratic operatives with bylines up to their old tricks. They've all decided, all on their little lonesomes, that the 2014 midterms are "the election about nothing." Stephen Hayes: The Washington Post may have been first in declaring the coming midterms “kind of—and apologies to Seinfeld here—an election about nothing.” But the Daily Beast ...
IN the middle of the 19th century, when sensitive souls first noticed the industrial revolution, they all agreed that the solution to the Moloch of bourgeois capitalism was more government. And they had a point, for it looked as though the capitalists would rule the world. It took another 50 years to demonstrate that capitalists weren't much interested in power. After building their businesses,...
I like to compare political party supporters to soldiers in an army. That's because I experience that government is always about war. It's not that hard. Governments fight foreign wars -- or at least border wars; that's just what they do. So the war is always about forcing the neighbor state to recognize the borders, or to submit to the adjustment of the borders in favor of our side. ...
LAST week I read a piece about the decline of the culture -- or something -- but it included a chart that I can't get out of my mind. I can't find the article, but I did find the chart at the website of the St. Louis Fed. It's a chart about men and work. Specifically, it's the percent of men actually working, the "Employment-Population Ratio." Actually, it's the percent of men actually working....
THE FINAL PROBLEM for all political and religious movements is what to do after you get to the Promised Land. You’ve defeated the enemy, you’ve conquered the land flowing with milk and honey. What next?
What’s next is that the soldiers of the revolution should get a job, get married, and start a family. And forget all about millennial hope.
But usually they don’t. Instead they get angry.
That’s why blacks rioted in the aftermath of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of ...
Everyone that has half a brain understands that the foundations are shaking. ...
THE CONVENTIONAL WISDOM among western cultural elites is that God is dead and we are well rid of him.... more
Andrew Coulson, Market Education
How universal literacy was achieved before government education
Carl Kaestle, Pillars of the Republic
How we got our education system
James Tooley, The Miseducation of Women
How the feminists wrecked education for boys and for girls
James Tooley, Reclaiming Education
How only a market in education will provide opportunity for the poor
E.G. West, Education and the State
How education was doing fine before the government muscled in
Hernando De Soto, The Mystery of Capital
How ordinary people in the United States wrote the law during the 19th century
F. A. Hayek, Law Legislation and Liberty, Vol 1
How to build a society based upon law
Henry Maine, Ancient Law
How the movement of progressive peoples is from status to contract
John Zane, The Story of Law
How law developed from early times down to the present
James Bartholomew, The Welfare State We're In
How the welfare state makes crime, education, families, and health care worse.
David Beito, From Mutual Aid to the Welfare State
How ordinary people built a sturdy social safety net in the 19th century
David Green, Before Beveridge: Welfare Before the Welfare State
How ordinary people built themselves a sturdy safety net before the welfare state
Theda Skocpol, Diminished Democracy
How the US used to thrive under membership associations and could do again
David Stevenson, The Origins of Freemasonry
How modern freemasonry got started in Scotland
David Aikman, Jesus in Beijing
How Christianity is booming in China
Finke & Stark, The Churching of America, 1776-1990
How the United States grew into a religious nation
Robert William Fogel, The Fourth Great Awakening and the Future of Egalitarianism
How progressives must act fast if they want to save the welfare state
David Martin, Pentecostalism: The World Their Parish
How Pentecostalism is spreading across the world
Work to restore the Road to the Middle Class. Heres how. Ground it in faith. Grade it with education. Protect it with mutual aid. Defend it with the law. more>>
The Road to the Middle Class is a journey from a world of power to a world of trust and love. In religion, it is a journey from power gods that respond to sacrifice and augury to the God who makes a covenant with mankind. In education, it is a journey from the world of the spoken word to the world of the written word. In community, it is the journey from dependence on blood kin and upon clientage under a great lord to the mutual aid and the rules of the self-governing fraternal association. In law it is the journey from the violence of force and feud to the kingŽs peace, the law of contract, and private property.
The incentive that impels a man to act is always some uneasiness...
But to make a man act [he must have]
the expectation that purposeful behavior has the power to remove
or at least to alleviate the felt uneasiness.
Ludwig von Mises, Human Action
But I saw a man yesterday who knows a fellow who had it from a chappie
that said that Urquhart had been dipping himself a bit recklessly off the deep end.
Dorothy L. Sayers, Strong Poison
At first, we thought [the power of the West] was because you had more powerful guns than we had. Then we thought it was because you had the best political system. Next we focused on your economic system. But in the past twenty years, we have realized that the heart of your culture is your religion: Christianity.
David Aikman, Jesus in Beijing
[In the] higher Christian churches... they saunter through the liturgy like Mohawks along a string of scaffolding who have long since forgotten their danger. If God were to blast such a service to bits, the congregation would be, I believe, genuinely shocked. But in the low churches you expect it every minute.
Annie Dillard, Holy the Firm
Civil Societya complex welter of intermediate institutions, including businesses, voluntary associations, educational institutions, clubs, unions, media, charities, and churchesbuilds, in turn, on the family, the primary instrument by which people are socialized into their culture and given the skills that allow them to live in broader society and through which the values and knowledge of that society are transmitted across the generations.
Francis Fukuyama, Trust
In England there were always two sharply opposed middle classes, the academic middle class and the commercial middle class. In the nineteenth century, the academic middle class won the battle for power and status... Then came the triumph of Margaret Thatcher... The academics lost their power and prestige and... have been gloomy ever since.
Freeman Dyson, The Scientist as Rebel
Conservatism is the philosophy of society. Its ethic is fraternity and its characteristic is authority the non-coercive social persuasion which operates in a family or a community. It says we should....
Danny Kruger, On Fraternity
mysql close 0