Luminous Notes

  • White light is materially the same as many different colors of light taken together yet it is formally distinct. If white light were not formally distinct, white light for be mere a heap of colors but it is not simply many colors.
  • A line segment is materially the same as several parts of it, but it is formally distinct in being terminated by two particular points. 
  • Color as understood in physics related to a certain power in things to generate certain kinds of light when excited or activated. There is a distinction because there is the reception and the generation. Not all that is received goes into the generation. Some is not received at all.
  • Color then is an active power to generate certain kinds of light. However, this power is dependent upon a passive power which receives light. Like nutrition is a passive power upon which the motive power is dependent.
  • In physics terms, an electron is excited. When it returns to its stable state it emits light. The atom is potentially in an excited state. When there, the power becomes active and naturally does. The first move is like being able to learn Chinese the second is having learned Chinese being able to speak it. 
  • Yet this will not do for we are then to say the thing does not have color save when it is illuminated. That is it does not have the power to generate light until it receives light. 
  • Yet, the passive power to receive the light is naturally ordered in such a way that the active power follows with natural necessity. The color is the natural tendency to generate certain kinds of light when illuminated. The two can be separated in thought but not in reality.
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The Saints Go Marching On

My contribution to Catholic children’s music:

To the tune of: The Ants Go Marching

The saints go marching one by one… to sing the victory they have one

… two by two… to give Jesus his due…

… three by three… from sin they are free…

… four by four… to praise God forevermore…

… five by five… now they are fully alive…

… six by six… with their prayer the world to fix…

… seven by seven…to enjoy the glory of heaven…

… eight by eight… to tear down Hell’s gate…

… nine by nine… their glory shall be mine…

… ten by ten… the love of God never ends…

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Price Gouging Consequentialist

It is interesting to read a man chide consequentialist arguments when the sum total of his argumentation is consequentialist.

I don’t have any definite theory of the morality of price gouging, however, I know that the argument offered by Joe and his YouTube compatriot is seriously insufficient in even addressing the question.

The problem as I see it is that we must first address the question as to whether price gouging is in itself just or licit. If it is licit, we may then go on to consider under what conditions it is tolerable or prudent.

As a point of departure I ask the following question: If a man can licitly take another’s property when in grave need, why can he not pay what he is able when in grave need but with some means? Or, if a man have no authority over his property when another is in grave need of it, how is it that the man can sell it for more than a man in grave need with some means can afford?

The presupposition is Aquinas’ defense of taking in grave need from a man with abundance. This presupposes something of the limits of authority over property and the natural law as more fundamental and circumscribing that authority.

Another angle to the problem is just price. However, this is more difficult, since there is no comprehensive or well established theory of just price. Moreover, it must be admitted that goods indeed are objectively more valuable in a crisis than not, thus implying a greater price. However, the problem of price gouging again comes to the obscene increase in price given the “superabundance” of the owner, the manifest and grave need of the crisis victims, and the demands of the natural law and the ordering of all material things to the succoring of man’s needs.

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Light and Color

Color is a quality of a particular material object. Light is that by which we know the color of the particular object. Light itself does not contain color except in an equivocal sense. Even more, color is not a wavelength, for wavelength is a quantity and color is a quality. Wavelength represents a certain property of light which is specifically a quality itself. Wavelength is a metric representation of that quality.

When light interacts with a colorful object, it takes on the form in a manner of the color of the object. It has color in an equivocal sense, but transmits the form of the color to an organism. Light becomes a sign of the color of the object on the basis of which we know the color of the thing itself.

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First Law as Definition

Every body persists in its state of being at rest or of moving uniformly straight forward, except insofar as it is compelled to change its state by force impressed.

The quality that causes a change in place is called impetus or momentum. Newton’s “law” appears simply to say that the cause of change in impetus is called “force.” 

The first part is descriptive of the quality of impetus. The second is that this quality is changed by a cause we will call force. 

The law tells us what impetus is and what force is with respect to impetus.


The above seems to be a rearticulation of Definition IV of “impressed force.” The rest seems to say that something is not changed unless it is caused to change, which is the principle of causality. I’m not sure what the law adds to the definition. 

That is force is defined as the cause of change of state of motion and the “law” simply states a thing doesn’t change unless changed by that which changes a state of motion.

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Irrational Employment

Something done for any reason whatsoever cannot be rational because the is no standard of reason.

Something irrational cannot be moral for moral is to act with right reason.

My employment contract says it can be terminated for any reason whatsoever by either party.

Ergo my employment contract has a provision to act immorally.

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Metaphysical Notes

  • Substantial form is organization or order, that is a certain relation or relations.
  • Pure potency or prime matter is a pure relation. It is a relation of can become, which clearly terminates in some non-being to become. This cannot exist of itself for then it would have no ground or terminus. 
  • Some real substantial order has the relation of becoming some other substantial order.
  • Life arising from non-life does not seem as difficult in this respect. Life arises where a fortuitous order of matter can sustain the operations of life. 
  • Confusion in moving from non-life to life seems to arise from ignoring equivocal causation and assuming generation is always univocal or that life only comes from life. 
  • Equivocal causation does not violate the principle of intelligibility or causality as the effect is in the cause but per accidens rather than per se as with univocal causation. 
  • Update: a man is the cause of moving a ball. However, he is proportioned to the movement not qua man but qua material mobile body, that is per accidens. 
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