Incoherence of Division by 0

Division is a sort of measurement. How many magnitudes A do I count in magnitude B? Magnitude A is a measure of magnitude B.

Every measure contains in some way that which it measures.

Zero is not a magnitude but the absence of magnitude.

Division by 0 is therefore incoherent. How many non-magnitude magnitudes do I have in magnitude A?

Division by zero is indefinite, because a contradiction accepted can produce any conclusion.

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Sovereignty and Markets

God first of all is Sovereign and this is expressed in his Power and Providence. He creates all things and governs them with an absolute supremacy.

A particular act of an authority is the dispensation or delegation of authority to another to act in his stead or for some good. God does this first in creation by imbuing into things their own natural powers to act. He nevertheless is absolute Sovereign and his act can and does overcome such natural powers. This is contrary to the theological error of occassionalism that would limit God’s power to himself rather than admitting his Providence and Wisdom so great that he can bring about his ends through intermediaries.

Man stands as a particular example in creation. God delegates the power of reason by which man is granted dominion and authority over nature. In virtue of man’s nature, he can order things as God does in his Providence but in a limited scope of jurisdiction. This is a sort of relative sovereignty, where God’s is absolute.

This sovereignty is logically and actually over all things under man’s power, that is other men, living and non-living objects. The division of authority over things and over men is logically implied by the difference in objects, but these are actually part of the same general sovereignty and authority that man possesses in ordering things to some good.

Man’s jurisdiction is not over the nature of things. He cannot change or order the natural inclination of a thing to something else. However, man does have the power to make use of those natural inclination to his own designs.

At the level of the family there is no distinction between authority and ownership, because the parents possess the property and order the conditions and goods of the common life of the family. Private property arises when multiple families form a community.The sovereignty over this gathering arises from or is grounded in the common good of the community.

The sovereignty over the community arises not from a dispensation of authority or a delegation, but rather in virtue of the community coming together. The common good is the final cause, goal or end that unifies the community and the sovereign is the efficient cause that brings it about. Since this authority proceeds not from the top down but from the bottom up, it has a sharper distinction of jurisdiction.

The community’s sovereign does not have authority over the inner workings of the family as such. Indeed, it is a grave injustice for the sovereign to interfere in the family except in times of grave necessity or serious injustice. The interactions between families and within the community are within the jurisdiction of the sovereign and he has thus authority over the markets and exchanges between families.

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Private Property in Rerum Novarum

It is very interesting to read Pope Leo XIII’s defense of private property in Rerum Novarum. Rather than focusing on the classic defenses of private property (1. men are more attentive with their own possessions, 2. human affairs are more orderly conducted, 3. a more peaceful state results), he address specifically man’s labor and acting upon nature.

9. Here, again, we have further proof that private ownership is in accordance with the law of nature. Truly, that which is required for the preservation of life, and for life’s well-being, is produced in great abundance from the soil, but not until man has brought it into cultivation and expended upon it his solicitude and skill. Now, when man thus turns the activity of his mind and the strength of his body toward procuring the fruits of nature, by such act he makes his own that portion of nature’s field which he cultivates – that portion on which he leaves, as it were, the impress of his personality [SA – It belongs to a man because it bears an imprint of his personality]; and it cannot but be just that he should possess that portion as his very own, and have a right to hold it without any one being justified in violating that right. 

10. So strong and convincing are these arguments that it seems amazing that some should now be setting up anew certain obsolete opinions in opposition to what is here laid down. They assert that it is right for private persons to have the use of the soil and its various fruits, but that it is unjust for any one to possess outright either the land on which he has built or the estate which he has brought under cultivation. But those who deny these rights do not perceive that they are defrauding man of what his own labor has produced. For the soil which is tilled and cultivated with toil and skill utterly changes its condition; it was wild before, now it is fruitful; was barren, but now brings forth in abundance. That which has thus altered and improved the land becomes so truly part of itself as to be in great measure indistinguishable and inseparable from it. [SA – Even stronger, that which man acts upon becomes “part of” him and “inseparable from” him.] Is it just that the fruit of a man’s own sweat and labor should be possessed and enjoyed by any one else? As effects follow their cause, so is it just and right that the results of labor should belong to those who have bestowed their labor.  –Rerum Novarum (empahsis mine)

Whereas the classical defense focuses upon the common good, i.e. that men in general care for goods well and the peace of society, His Holiness takes the approach of addressing the man himself in his acting upon nature.

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Common Good, Liberalism and Jeans Days

Liberalism is a specific error that makes a proper good superior to the common good, namely the potential to act either for good or evil indifferently. The bespeaks of a genus of errors defined by making a proper good superior to the common good.

Tyranny is a specific example of the genus which is not itself a species of liberalism. In a tyranny (i.e. a degenerate form of monarchy), the tyrant seeks his own proper good over and against the common good over those whom he has authority. That is the object of his authority becomes his own proper good and all the the subsequent impossibility of such and the lack of obedience that such commands would otherwise entail.

In some ways, liberalism attempt to make a million tyrant, because it aims, theoretically if not actually, at the proper good of every individual and each seeking their proper good over the common good. In a manner, a liberal society is maximally tyrannical in that it seeks to make everyone a tyrant.

A concrete and proximate example of this error are jeans days. Recently my company announced that jeans are acceptable every day of the week, because “we want everyone to be comfortable.” Ignoring for a moment those people who are uncomfortable working in a professional environment where no one dresses and therefore looks professional, this is explicitly about raising the proper good of comfort over the common good of order and professionalism.

A curiosity is who is the mother and who are the daughters for all of the errors are connected in various ways and tend to create and reinforce one another.

One potential goes back to Ockam’s denial of the existence of real relations, which tends toward nominalism, Protestantism, and Liberalism.

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Sovereign Notes

  • Sovereignty has the character of a first cause under the aspect of intellectual.
  • God is the most sovereign. His authority extends to all things completely.
  • Human sovereignty is finite and bounded. E.g. Humans have sovereignty over things but not the nature of thing but rather in a limited respected.
  • Sovereignty than includes the notion of jurisdiction or the extent of the authority.
  • Sovereignty is considered sovereign in the same manner as a first cause. God is the First Cause, the State is a first cause but only within a limited system and with authority dispensed from a higher authority. The State than is sovereign with respect to its jurisdiction but not so with respect to God or some higher authority. E.g. King, duke, count, baron, peasant, each sovereign in at his proper level yet subject to a higher authority.
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Personal Notes

  • Common good vs proper good as superior – false dichotomy? De Knoninck. 
  • Does God will man simply as constitutive of the order of the universe, that is filling in all the ontological levels such that man’s dignity is grounded simply is the perfection of the order of the universe? James Chasteck.
  • A person is not able to know and will the common good in virtue of reason but communicate its proper goods in a manner in virtue of being semiotic.
  • Communication of interiority is made a central theme in modern philosophy bc it happens but mod phil is unable to account for it.
  • Semiotics bridges the gap without undermining the great classical traditions. Semiotic Thomism and Deely.
  • Take the common good as superior. Man not only wills and participates in the common good, but communicates his inner life as a common good to be shared in. 
  • Each person of the Trinity communicates himself entirely to the others such that the personal life of each is utterly united and they are of the same substance, nature and essence.
  • There is something deficient in a sexual act where husband and wife do not communicate their pleasure to one another. It is a lack of unity and openness. Yet, this pleasure is a proper good which is impossible to share in itself, but needs to be shared in a manner. 
  • The inner life and semiosis was not thematic in the Scholastic period and there are deficiencies in Thomism to understanding and explaining this particularly in the context of animal semiosis and with the reductive account of ens rationis. 
  • The Incarnation seems to show us that personhood may be grounded in a nature but also transcends it. Christ has an individual human nature but is not a human person. As one person he takes on two natures, human and divine, in the hypostatic union.
  • Semiotics reveals something of the theology of the Trinity. Each person is a substantial relation and united as a triadic relation. A sign is a triadic relation. 
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Another Ordering of Goods

What’s in Trump’s religious liberty order?

It is not a matter of discrimination vs non-discrimination but a discriminatory ordering of the goods of religious indifferentism or sexual indifferentism, each discriminating in themselves, oppressing Christianity in the first and human sexuality in the second.

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