The 300 new ideas included in the latest update (of 2nd May), by Theme

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1. Philosophy / A. Wisdom / 1. Nature of Wisdom
Unlike knowledge, wisdom cannot be misused [Zagzebski]
1. Philosophy / C. History of Philosophy / 4. Later European Philosophy / d. Nineteenth century philosophy
Hegel inserted society and history between the God-world, man-nature, man-being binary pairs [Safranski]
Hegel, Fichte and Schelling wanted to know Kant's thing-in-itself, as ego, or nature, or spirit [Safranski]
1. Philosophy / D. Nature of Philosophy / 6. Despair over Philosophy
How many mediocre thinkers are occupied with influential problems! [Nietzsche]
1. Philosophy / F. Analytic Philosophy / 4. Ordinary Language
Grammar only reveals popular metaphysics [Nietzsche]
1. Philosophy / G. Scientific Philosophy / 3. Scientism
Scientific knowledge is nothing without a prior philosophical 'faith' [Nietzsche]
2. Reason / D. Definition / 2. Aims of Definition
Precision is only one of the virtues of a good definition [Zagzebski]
2. Reason / E. Argument / 1. Argument
Objection by counterexample is weak, because it only reveals inaccuracies in one theory [Zagzebski]
2. Reason / E. Argument / 7. Thought Experiments
So-called 'though experiments' are just philosophers observing features of the world [Cappelen]
3. Truth / A. Truth Problems / 4. Uses of Truth
Like animals, we seek truth because we want safety [Nietzsche]
7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 4. Naturalism
Laws of nature are universal, so everything must be understood through those laws [Spinoza]
First see nature as non-human, then fits ourselves into this view of nature [Nietzsche]
8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 1. Powers
Storms are wonderful expressions of free powers! [Nietzsche]
10. Modality / B. Possibility / 7. Chance
'Luck' is the unpredictable and inexplicable intersection of causal chains [Kekes]
11. Knowledge Aims / A. Knowledge / 1. Knowledge
The strength of knowledge is not its truth, but its entrenchment in our culture [Nietzsche]
11. Knowledge Aims / A. Knowledge / 2. Understanding
Epistemology is excessively atomic, by focusing on justification instead of understanding [Zagzebski]
Modern epistemlology is too atomistic, and neglects understanding [Zagzebski]
11. Knowledge Aims / A. Knowledge / 3. Value of Knowledge
The only real evil is loss of knowledge [Plato]
The most important things in life are wisdom and knowledge [Plato]
True opinions only become really valuable when they are tied down by reasons [Plato]
Truth is valuable, but someone knowing the truth is more valuable [Zagzebski]
11. Knowledge Aims / A. Knowledge / 4. Belief / d. Cause of beliefs
Belief is not an intellectual state or act, because propositions are affirmed or denied by the will [Zagzebski on Descartes]
Belief is a feeling, independent of the will, which arises from uncontrolled and unknown causes [Hume]
Some beliefs are fairly voluntary, and others are not at all so [Zagzebski]
11. Knowledge Aims / A. Knowledge / 5. Aiming at Truth
Knowledge either aims at a quantity of truths, or a quality of understanding of truths [Zagzebski]
11. Knowledge Aims / B. Certain Knowledge / 2. Common Sense Certainty
Arguments that my finger does not exist are less certain than your seeing my finger [Moore,GE]
12. Knowledge Sources / B. Perception / 1. Perception
We became incresingly conscious of our sense impressions in order to communicate them [Nietzsche]
12. Knowledge Sources / C. Rationalism / 1. Rationalism
Sensation prepares the way for intellectual knowledge, which needs the virtues of reason [Aquinas]
12. Knowledge Sources / E. Direct Knowledge / 1. Intuition
When analytic philosophers run out of arguments, they present intuitions as their evidence [Williamson]
The word 'intuitive' often plays not role at all in arguments, and can be removed [Cappelen]
13. Knowledge Criteria / A. Justification Problems / 2. Justification Challenges / b. Gettier problem
We avoid the Gettier problem if the support for the belief entails its truth [Zagzebski]
Gettier cases arise when good luck cancels out bad luck [Zagzebski]
For internalists Gettier situations are where internally it is fine, but there is an external mishap [Zagzebski]
Gettier problems are always possible if justification and truth are not closely linked [Zagzebski]
13. Knowledge Criteria / B. Internal Justification / 1. Epistemic virtues
Intellectual virtues are forms of moral virtue [Zagzebski]
Intellectual and moral prejudice are the same vice (and there are other examples) [Zagzebski]
We can name at least thirteen intellectual vices [Zagzebski]
A justified belief emulates the understanding and beliefs of an intellectually virtuous person [Zagzebski]
A reliable process is no use without the virtues to make use of them [Zagzebski]
13. Knowledge Criteria / B. Internal Justification / 2. Pragmatic justification
We have no organ for knowledge or truth; we only 'know' what is useful to the human herd [Nietzsche]
We shouldn't object to a false judgement, if it enhances and preserves life [Nietzsche]
13. Knowledge Criteria / C. External Justification / 3. Reliabilism / b. Anti-reliabilism
Epistemic perfection for reliabilism is a truth-producing machine [Zagzebski]
14. Science / D. Explanation / 2. Types of Explanation / a. Types of explanation
Evolutionary explanations look to the past or the group, not to the individual [Stout,R]
14. Science / D. Explanation / 2. Types of Explanation / f. Causal explanations
Not all explanation is causal. We don't explain a painting's beauty, or the irrationality of root-2, that way [Stout,R]
15. Nature of Minds / B. Features of Minds / 1. Consciousness / d. Purpose of consciousness
All of our normal mental life could be conducted without conscious [Nietzsche]
Only the need for communication has led to consciousness developing [Nietzsche]
15. Nature of Minds / B. Features of Minds / 1. Consciousness / e. Cause of consciousness
Only our conscious thought is verbal, and this shows the origin of consciousness [Nietzsche]
15. Nature of Minds / B. Features of Minds / 2. Unconscious Mind
Most of our lives, even the important parts, take place outside of consciousness [Nietzsche]
Whatever moves into consciousness becomes thereby much more superficial [Nietzsche]
15. Nature of Minds / C. Capacities of Minds / 1. Faculties
Whether the mind has parts is irrelevant, since it obviously has distinct capacities [Aristotle]
16. Persons / B. Concept of the Self / 6. Denial of the Self
Everyone is other, and no one is himself [Heidegger]
16. Persons / C. Self-Awareness / 2. Self-Knowledge
Things are the boundaries of humanity, so all things must be known, for self-knowledge [Nietzsche]
The self is known as much by its knowledge as by its action [Zagzebski]
16. Persons / F. Free Will / 1. Free Will / c. Free will critique
Aristotle assesses whether people are responsible, and if they are it was voluntary [Zagzebski on Aristotle]
16. Persons / F. Free Will / 2. Free Will Theories / a. Fate
People used to think that outcome's were from God, rather than consequences of acts [Nietzsche]
18. Thought / A. Modes of Thought / 3. Emotions
The feeling accompanying curiosity is neither pleasant nor painful [Zagzebski]
20. Action / A. Definition of Action / 1. Action Theory
Philosophy of action studies the roles of psychological states in causing behaviour [Mele]
Philosophy of action studies the nature of agency, and of deliberate actions [Stout,R]
Agency is causal processes that are sensitive to justification [Stout,R]
Actions include: the involuntary, the purposeful, the intentional, and the self-consciously autonomous [Wilson/Schpall]
20. Action / A. Definition of Action / 2. Duration of an Action
If one event cause another, the two events must be wholly distinct [Wilson/Schpall on Hume]
If one action leads directly to another, they are all one action [Wilson/Schpall on Davidson]
Are actions bodily movements, or a sequence of intention-movement-result? [Stout,R]
If one action leads to another, does it cause it, or is it part of it? [Stout,R]
20. Action / A. Definition of Action / 3. Actions and Events
I do actions, but not events, so actions are not events [Stout,R]
20. Action / A. Definition of Action / 4. Action as Movement
Bicycle riding is not just bodily movement - you also have to be on the bicycle [Stout,R]
Maybe bodily movements are not actions, but only part of an agent's action of moving [Wilson/Schpall]
Is the action the arm movement, the whole causal process, or just the trying to do it? [Wilson/Schpall]
20. Action / A. Definition of Action / 5. Action as Trying
Bodily movements are not actions, which are really the tryings within bodily movement [Hornsby]
20. Action / B. Motives for Action / 1. Acting on Desires
Motives involve desires, but also how the desires connect to our aims [Zagzebski]
Maybe your emotions arise from you motivations, rather than being their cause [Stout,R]
For an ascetic a powerful desire for something is a reason not to implement it [Stout,R]
20. Action / B. Motives for Action / 2. Acting on Beliefs / a. Acting on beliefs
Acting for a reason is a combination of a pro attitude, and a belief that the action is appropriate [Davidson]
To control our actions better, make them result from our attitudes, not from circumstances [Kekes]
20. Action / B. Motives for Action / 2. Acting on Beliefs / b. Action cognitivism
Strong Cognitivism identifies an intention to act with a belief [Wilson/Schpall]
Weak Cognitivism says intentions are only partly constituted by a belief [Wilson/Schpall]
Strong Cognitivism implies a mode of 'practical' knowledge, not based on observation [Wilson/Schpall]
20. Action / B. Motives for Action / 3. Acting on Reason / a. Practical reason
Practical reason is truth-attaining, and focused on actions good for human beings [Aristotle]
20. Action / B. Motives for Action / 3. Acting on Reason / b. Intellectualism
The 'motive' is superficial, and may even hide the antecedents of a deed [Nietzsche]
20. Action / B. Motives for Action / 3. Acting on Reason / c. Reasons as causes
We assign the cause of someone's walking when we say why they are doing it [Aristotle]
Early Davidson says intentional action is caused by reasons [Davidson]
Actions are not mere effects of reasons, but are under their control [Audi,R]
It is generally assumed that reason explanations are causal [Wilson/Schpall]
20. Action / C. Preliminaries of Action / 1. Intention to Act / a. Nature of intentions
Intentional actions are those which are explained by giving the reason for so acting [Anscombe]
We explain an intention by giving an account of acting with an intention [Stout,R on Davidson]
An intending is a judgement that the action is desirable [Davidson]
Intentions are normative, requiring commitment and further plans [Wilson/Schpall on Bratman]
Intentions must be mutually consistent, affirm appropriate means, and fit the agent's beliefs [Wilson/Schpall on Bratman]
An action may be intended under one description, but not under another [Kekes]
The causal theory says that actions are intentional when intention (or belief-desire) causes the act [Stout,R]
Deciding what to do usually involves consulting the world, not our own minds [Stout,R]
Should we study intentions in their own right, or only as part of intentional action? [Stout,R]
You can have incompatible desires, but your intentions really ought to be consistent [Stout,R]
An intention is a goal to which behaviour is adapted, for an individual or for a group [Stout,R]
The normativity of intentions would be obvious if they were internal promises [Stout,R]
To be intentional, an action must succeed in the manner in which it was planned [Wilson/Schpall]
If someone believes they can control the lottery, and then wins, the relevant skill is missing [Wilson/Schpall]
We might intend two ways to acting, knowing only one of them can succeed [Wilson/Schpall]
20. Action / C. Preliminaries of Action / 1. Intention to Act / b. Types of intention
Intention is either the aim of an action, or a long-term constraint on what we can do [Wilson/Schpall on Bratman]
Intentional agency is seen in internal precursors of action, and in external reasons for the act [Stout,R]
Speech needs sustained intentions, but not prior intentions [Stout,R]
We can keep Davidson's account of intentions in action, by further explaining prior intentions [Stout,R]
20. Action / C. Preliminaries of Action / 1. Intention to Act / c. Reducing intentions
Davidson gave up reductive accounts of intention, and said it was a primitive [Wilson/Schpall on Davidson]
Bratman rejected reducing intentions to belief-desire, because they motivate, and have their own standards [Wilson/Schpall on Bratman]
On one model, an intention is belief-desire states, and intentional actions relate to beliefs and desires [Wilson/Schpall]
20. Action / C. Preliminaries of Action / 1. Intention to Act / d. Group intentions
Bratman has to treat shared intentions as interrelated individual intentions [Stout,R]
A request to pass the salt shares an intention that the request be passed on [Stout,R]
An individual cannot express the intention that a group do something like moving a piano [Stout,R]
Groups may act for reasons held by none of the members, so maybe groups are agents [Wilson/Schpall]
If there are shared obligations and intentions, we may need a primitive notion of 'joint commitment' [Wilson/Schpall]
20. Action / C. Preliminaries of Action / 2. Willed Action / b. Volitionism
Merely willing to walk leads to our walking [Descartes]
If the action of walking is just an act of will, then movement of the legs seems irrelevant [Stout,R]
20. Action / C. Preliminaries of Action / 2. Willed Action / c. Weakness of will
If you can judge one act as best, then do another, this supports an inward-looking view of agency [Stout,R]
20. Action / D. Explaining an Action / 1. Explanations of Actions
Maybe the explanation of an action is in the reasons that make it intelligible to the agent [Wilson/Schpall]
20. Action / D. Explaining an Action / 2. Causes of Actions
If a desire leads to a satisfactory result by an odd route, the causal theory looks wrong [Chisholm]
Mental states and actions need to be separate, if one is to cause the other [Stout,R]
In order to be causal, an agent's reasons must be internalised as psychological states [Stout,R]
Beliefs, desires and intentions are not events, so can't figure in causal relations [Stout,R]
Causalists allow purposive explanations, but then reduce the purpose to the action's cause [Wilson/Schpall]
20. Action / D. Explaining an Action / 3. Agent Causation
Reid said that agent causation is a unique type of causation [Stout,R on Reid]
There has to be a brain event which is not caused by another event, but by the agent [Chisholm]
If you don't mention an agent, you aren't talking about action [Stout,R]
Most philosophers see causation as by an event or state in the agent, rather than the whole agent [Stout,R]
Freedom of action needs the agent to identify with their reason for acting [Wilson/Schpall]
20. Action / D. Explaining an Action / 4. Justifying an Action
The rationalistic approach says actions are intentional when subject to justification [Stout,R]
There may be a justification relative to a person's view, and yet no absolute justification [Stout,R]
A standard view says that the explanation of an action is showing its rational justification [Stout,R]
20. Action / D. Explaining an Action / 5. Responsibility for Actions
An action is only yours if you produce it, rather some state or event within you [Stout,R]
21. Aesthetics / F. Arts / 1. Music
Without music life would be a mistake [Nietzsche]
22. Metaethics / A. Ethical Ends / 1. Value / a. Nature of value
Values help us to control life, by connecting it to what is stable and manageable [Kekes]
We are bound to regret some values we never aspired to [Kekes]
Innumerable values arise for us, from our humanity, our culture, and our individuality [Kekes]
Cultural values are interpretations of humanity, conduct, institutions, and evaluations [Kekes]
Kant focuses exclusively on human values, and neglects cultural and personal values [Kekes]
The big value problems are evil (humanity), disenchantment (cultures), and boredom (individuals) [Kekes]
There are far more values than we can pursue, so they are optional possibilities [Kekes]
22. Metaethics / A. Ethical Ends / 1. Value / d. Value of life
Human beings are not majestic, either through divine origins, or through grand aims [Nietzsche]
22. Metaethics / A. Ethical Ends / 1. Value / e. Ultimate value
Our attitudes include what possibilities we value, and also what is allowable, and unthinkable [Kekes]
Unconditional commitments are our most basic convictions, saying what must never be done [Kekes]
Doing the unthinkable damages ourselves, so it is more basic than any value [Kekes]
22. Metaethics / A. Ethical Ends / 2. Goodness / b. Candidates for the Good
True goodness is political, and consists of love of and submission to the laws [Montesquieu]
22. Metaethics / A. Ethical Ends / 5. Happiness / b. Eudaimonia
Nowadays we doubt the Greek view that the flourishing of individuals and communities are linked [Zagzebski]
22. Metaethics / A. Ethical Ends / 5. Happiness / d. Routes to happiness
A happy and joyous life must largely be a quiet life [Russell]
Well-being needs correct attitudes and well-ordered commitments to local values [Kekes]
Control is the key to well-being [Kekes]
22. Metaethics / A. Ethical Ends / 8. Love
Marriage upholds the idea that love, though a passion, can endure [Nietzsche]
Friendly chats undermine my philosophy; wanting to be right at the expense of love is folly [Nietzsche]
22. Metaethics / B. Basis of Ethics / 1. Morality
The very idea of a critique of morality is regarded as immoral! [Nietzsche]
22. Metaethics / B. Basis of Ethics / 2. Moral Theory
Moral feelings are entirely different from the moral concepts used to judge actions [Nietzsche]
Modern moral theory concerns settling conflicts, rather than human fulfilment [Zagzebski]
22. Metaethics / B. Basis of Ethics / 3. Morality as Convention
Relativists say all values are relative; pluralists concede much of that, but not 'human' values [Kekes]
22. Metaethics / B. Basis of Ethics / 5. Moral Responsibility
A man is a responsible agent to the extent he has an intention, and knows what he is doing [Hampshire]
Blame usually has no effect if the recipient thinks it unjustified [Williams,B]
Blame partly rests on the fiction that blamed agents always know their obligations [Williams,B]
Responsibility is unprovoked foreseeable harm, against society, arising from vicious character [Kekes]
22. Metaethics / B. Basis of Ethics / 8. Superman
Higher human beings see and hear far more than others, and do it more thoughtfully [Nietzsche]
Nietzsche's higher type of man is much more important than the idealised 'superman' [Leiter on Nietzsche]
There is an extended logic to a great man's life, achieved by a sustained will [Nietzsche]
Christianity is at war with the higher type of man, and excommunicates his basic instincts [Nietzsche]
22. Metaethics / B. Basis of Ethics / 9. Morality critique
Morality prevents us from developing better customs [Nietzsche]
22. Metaethics / C. Sources of Ethics / 2. Human Nature
Evil isn't explained by nature, by monsters, by uncharacteristic actions, or by society [Kekes]
Each person has a fixed constitution, which makes them a particular type of person [Leiter on Leiter]
22. Metaethics / C. Sources of Ethics / 4. Expressivism
Treating morality as feelings is just obeying your ancestors [Nietzsche]
22. Metaethics / C. Sources of Ethics / 6. Ethics from Reason
Reason and morality do not coincide; immorality can be reasonable, with an ideology [Kekes]
Practical reason is not universal and impersonal, because it depends on what success is [Kekes]
If morality has to be rational, then moral conflicts need us to be irrational and immoral [Kekes]
22. Metaethics / C. Sources of Ethics / 8. Will to Power
All animals strive for the ideal conditions to express their power, and hate any hindrances [Nietzsche]
22. Metaethics / D. Consequentialism / 3. Moral Luck
Punishment has distorted the pure innocence of the contingency of outcomes [Nietzsche]
Moral luck means our praise and blame may exceed our control or awareness [Zagzebski]
23. Ethics / B. Contract Ethics / 1. Contractarianism
Morality is a compromise, showing restraint, to avoid suffering wrong without compensation [Plato]
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 1. Virtue Theory / a. Nature of virtue
Every moral virtue requires a degree of intelligence [Zagzebski]
Virtue theory is hopeless if there is no core of agreed universal virtues [Zagzebski]
A virtue must always have a corresponding vice [Zagzebski]
Eight marks distingush skills from virtues [PG on Zagzebski]
Virtues are deep acquired excellences of persons, which successfully attain desire ends [Zagzebski]
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 1. Virtue Theory / b. Basis of virtue
Eudaimonia first; virtue is a trait which promotes it; right acts are what virtues produce [Zagzebski on Hursthouse]
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 1. Virtue Theory / c. Particularism
Moralities extravagantly address themselves to 'all', when they never generalise [Nietzsche]
Virtue theory can have lots of rules, as long as they are grounded in virtues and in facts [Zagzebski]
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 1. Virtue Theory / d. Virtue theory critique
You are mastered by your own virtues, but you must master them, and turn them into tools [Nietzsche]
Many virtues are harmful traps, but that is why other people praise them [Nietzsche]
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 2. Elements of Virtue Theory / j. Unity of virtue
We need phronesis to coordinate our virtues [Zagzebski]
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 3. Virtues / a. Virtues
Unlike us, the early Greeks thought envy was a good thing, and hope a bad thing [Nietzsche]
The Jews treated great anger as holy, and were in awe of those who expressed it [Nietzsche]
Christianity replaces rational philosophical virtues with great passions focused on God [Nietzsche]
For the virtue of honesty you must be careful with the truth, and not just speak truly [Zagzebski]
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 3. Virtues / d. Courage
The courage of an evil person is still a quality worth having [Zagzebski]
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 3. Virtues / f. Compassion
Pity consoles those who suffer, because they see that they still have the power to hurt [Nietzsche]
23. Ethics / F. Existentialism / 1. Existentialism
We could live more naturally, relishing the spectacle, and not thinking we are special [Nietzsche]
Nietzsche tried to lead a thought-provoking life [Nietzsche]
23. Ethics / F. Existentialism / 2. Nihilism
The ethical teacher exists to give purpose to what happens necessarily and without purpose [Nietzsche]
23. Ethics / F. Existentialism / 4. Boredom
Flight from boredom leads to art [Nietzsche]
Boredom always involves not being fully occupied [Russell]
Life is now more interesting, but boredom is more frightening [Russell]
Happiness involves enduring boredom, and the young should be taught this [Russell]
Boredom is an increasingly strong motivating power [Russell]
Boredom destroys our ability to evaluate [Kekes]
Boredom is apathy and restlessness, yearning for something interesting [Kekes]
23. Ethics / F. Existentialism / 5. Existence-Essence
It is absurd to think you can change your own essence, like a garment [Nietzsche]
23. Ethics / F. Existentialism / 6. Authentic Self
We can cultivate our drives, of anger, pity, curiosity, vanity, like a gardener, with good or bad taste [Nietzsche]
To become what you are you must have no self-awareness [Nietzsche]
23. Ethics / F. Existentialism / 7. Existential Action
Nietzsche was fascinated by a will that can turn against itself [Nietzsche]
23. Ethics / F. Existentialism / 8. Eternal Recurrence
Reliving life countless times - this gives the value back to life which religion took away [Nietzsche]
The great person engages wholly with life, and is happy to endlessly relive the life they created [Nietzsche]
Eternal recurrence is the highest attainable affirmation [Nietzsche]
24. Applied Ethics / A. Decision Conflicts / 6. Double Effect
Describing a death as a side-effect rather than a goal may just be good public relations [Stout,R]
25. Society / A. State of Nature / 1. A People / b. The natural life
Primitive people would be too vulnerable and timid to attack anyone, so peace would reign [Montesquieu]
Men do not desire to subjugate one another; domination is a complex and advanced idea [Montesquieu]
25. Society / A. State of Nature / 1. A People / c. A unified people
People are drawn into society by needs, shared fears, pleasure, and knowledge [Montesquieu]
People are guided by a multitude of influences, from which the spirit of a nation emerges [Montesquieu]
Society is alienating if it lacks our values, and its values repel us [Kekes]
25. Society / A. State of Nature / 5. Original Position / b. Veil of ignorance
The rich would never submit to a lottery deciding which part of their society should be slaves [Montesquieu]
25. Society / B. The State / 1. Purpose of a State
All states aim at preservation, and then have distinctive individual purposes [Montesquieu]
The ideal of an ideology is embodied in a text, a role model, a law of history, a dream of the past... [Kekes]
Ideologies have beliefs about reality, ideals, a gap with actuality, and a program [Kekes]
25. Society / B. The State / 2. State Legitimacy / a. Sovereignty
Nowadays sovereignty (once the basis of a state) has become relative [Reybrouck]
25. Society / B. The State / 2. State Legitimacy / c. Natural authority
The state begins with brutal conquest of a disorganised people, not with a 'contract' [Nietzsche]
25. Society / B. The State / 2. State Legitimacy / e. General will
Today it seems almost impossible to learn the will of the people [Reybrouck]
There are no united monolothic 'peoples', and no 'national gut feelings' [Reybrouck]
25. Society / B. The State / 5. Leaders / a. Autocracy
The natural power of a father suggests rule by one person, but that authority can be spread [Montesquieu]
25. Society / B. The State / 5. Leaders / b. Monarchy
Ambition is good in a monarchy, because the monarch can always restrain it [Montesquieu]
The nobility are an indispensable part of a monarchy [Montesquieu]
Monarchs must not just have links to the people; they need a body which maintains the laws [Montesquieu]
In monarchies, men's actions are judged by their grand appearance, not their virtues [Montesquieu]
In a monarchy, the nobility must be hereditary, to bind them together [Montesquieu]
Monarchies can act more quickly, because one person is in charge [Montesquieu]
25. Society / B. The State / 5. Leaders / c. Despotism
Despots are always lazy and ignorant, so they always delegate their power to a vizier [Montesquieu]
Despotism and honour are incompatible, because honour scorns his power, and lives by rules [Montesquieu]
Tyranny is either real violence, or the imposition of unpopular legislation [Montesquieu]
A despot's agents must be given power, so they inevitably become corrupt [Montesquieu]
The will of a despot is an enigma, so magistrates can only follow their own will [Montesquieu]
No authority ever willingly accepts criticism [Nietzsche]
25. Society / B. The State / 5. Leaders / d. Elites
If the nobility is numerous, the senate is the artistocracy, and the nobles are a democracy [Montesquieu]
Aristocracy is democratic is they resemble the people, but not if they resemble the monarch [Montesquieu]
Great inequality between aristocrats and the rest is bad - and also among aristocrats themselves [Montesquieu]
Only aristocratic societies can elevate the human species [Nietzsche]
Technocrats may be efficient, but they lose legitimacy as soon as they do unpopular things [Reybrouck]
Technocrats are expert managers, who replace politicians, and can be long-term and unpopular [Reybrouck]
25. Society / B. The State / 6. Government / a. Government
A government has a legislature, an international executive, and a domestic executive [Montesquieu]
If a government is to be preserved, it must first be loved [Montesquieu]
25. Society / B. The State / 6. Government / b. Legislature
The judiciary must be separate from the legislature, to avoid arbitrary power [Montesquieu]
25. Society / B. The State / 8. Religion in Society
Religion has the most influence in despotic states, and reinforces veneration for the ruler [Montesquieu]
French slavery was accepted because it was the best method of religious conversion [Montesquieu]
Religion can support the state when the law fails to do so [Montesquieu]
The clergy are essential to a monarchy, but dangerous in a republic [Montesquieu]
25. Society / B. The State / 8. Culture
Every culture loses its identity and power if it lacks a major myth [Nietzsche]
25. Society / B. The State / 9. Population / a. State population
In small republics citizens identify with the public good, and abuses are fewer [Montesquieu]
In a large republic there is too much wealth for individuals to manage it [Montesquieu]
25. Society / C. Political Doctrines / 4. Conservatism
Fans of economic freedom claim the capitalism is self-correcting [Micklethwait/Wooldridge]
25. Society / C. Political Doctrines / 5. Democracy / a. Nature of democracy
If deputies represent people, they are accountable, but less so if they represent places [Montesquieu]
Democracy is the best compromise between legitimacy and efficiency [Reybrouck]
25. Society / C. Political Doctrines / 5. Democracy / b. Consultation
The fundamental laws of a democracy decide who can vote [Montesquieu]
It is basic to a democracy that the people themselves must name their ministers [Montesquieu]
Voting should be public, so the lower classes can be influenced by the example of notable people [Montesquieu]
All citizens (apart from the very humble poor) should choose their representatives [Montesquieu]
A referendum result arises largely from ignorance [Reybrouck]
25. Society / C. Political Doctrines / 5. Democracy / c. Direct democracy
A democratic assembly must have a fixed number, to see whether everyone has spoken [Montesquieu]
In a democracy the people should manage themselves, and only delegate what they can't do [Montesquieu]
You don't really govern people if you don't involve them [Reybrouck]
25. Society / C. Political Doctrines / 5. Democracy / d. Representative democracy
In the 18th century democratic lots lost out to elections, that gave us a non-hereditary aristocracy [Reybrouck]
Representative elections were developed in order to avoid democracy [Reybrouck]
25. Society / C. Political Doctrines / 6. Liberalism
Classical liberalism seeks freedom of opinion, of private life, of expression, and of property [Micklethwait/Wooldridge]
25. Society / C. Political Doctrines / 7. Communism
For communists history is driven by the proletariat [Micklethwait/Wooldridge]
25. Society / C. Political Doctrines / 9. Socialism
The welfare state aims at freedom from want, and equality of opportunity [Micklethwait/Wooldridge]
25. Society / D. Social Rights / 1. Legal Rights / c. Property rights
Roman law entrenched property rights [Micklethwait/Wooldridge]
25. Society / D. Social Rights / 2. Social Freedom / a. Slavery
Slavery is entirely bad; the master abandons the virtues, and they are pointless in the slave [Montesquieu]
Slaves are not members of the society, so no law can forbid them to run away [Montesquieu]
The demand for slavery is just the masters' demand for luxury [Montesquieu]
25. Society / D. Social Rights / 2. Social Freedom / b. Freedom of belief
Without liberty of thought there is no trust in the state, and corruption follows [Spinoza]
25. Society / D. Social Rights / 2. Social Freedom / c. Free speech
Freedom of speech and writing, within the law, is essential to preserve liberty [Montesquieu]
25. Society / D. Social Rights / 2. Social Freedom / e. Freedom of lifestyle
One principle of liberty is to take turns ruling and being ruled [Aristotle]
Freedom in society is ability to do what is right, and not having to do what is wrong [Montesquieu]
25. Society / D. Social Rights / 3. Social Equality / a. Grounds of equality
Jew and Greeks, bond and free, male and female, are all one in Christ [Paul]
Equality is not command by everyone or no one, but command and obedience among equals [Montesquieu]
No one even thinks of equality in monarchies and despotism; they all want superiority [Montesquieu]
25. Society / D. Social Rights / 3. Social Equality / b. Political equality
Democracy is corrupted by lack of equality, or by extreme equality (between rulers and ruled) [Montesquieu]
25. Society / D. Social Rights / 3. Social Equality / d. Economic equality
Democracies may sometimes need to restrict equality [Montesquieu]
Some equality can be achieved by social categories, combined with taxes and poor relief [Montesquieu]
Equal distribution is no good in a shortage, because there might be no one satisfied [Kekes]
25. Society / D. Social Rights / 4. Right to Punish / a. Right to punish
The death penalty is permissible, because its victims enjoyed the protection of that law [Montesquieu]
If religion teaches determinism, penalties must be severe; if free will, then that is different [Montesquieu]
Get rid of the idea of punishment! It is a noxious weed! [Nietzsche]
25. Society / E. State Functions / 2. The Law / b. Natural law
Prior to positive laws there is natural equity, of obedience, gratitude, dependence and merit [Montesquieu]
Sensation gives animals natural laws, but knowledge can make them break them [Montesquieu]
25. Society / E. State Functions / 5. Education / b. Aims of education
In monarchies education ennoble's people, and in despotisms it debases them [Montesquieu]
25. Society / E. State Functions / 5. Education / c. Teaching
Teaching is the best practice of the general virtue that leads us to love everyone [Montesquieu]
25. Society / E. State Functions / 6. War
The only right victors have over captives is the protection of the former [Montesquieu]
26. Natural Theory / B. Concepts of Nature / 3. Space / a. Space
Hilbert Space is an abstraction representing all possible states of a quantum system [New Sci.]
26. Natural Theory / B. Concepts of Nature / 4. Time / e. Existence of time
Entropy is puzzling, so we may need to build new laws which include time directionality [New Sci.]
Entropy is the only time-asymmetric law, so time may be linked to entropy [New Sci.]
Quantum theory relies on a clock outside the system - but where is it located? [New Sci.]
26. Natural Theory / B. Concepts of Nature / 5. Space-Time
Space-time may be a geometrical manifestation of quantum entanglement [New Sci.]
26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 2. Particular Causation / b. Causal relata
Aristotelian causation involves potentiality inputs into processes (rather than a pair of events) [Stout,R]
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 8. Scientific Essentialism / c. Essence and laws
Laws are the necessary relations that derive from the nature of things [Montesquieu]
27. Natural Reality / A. Physics / 1. Matter / l. String theory
In string theory space-time has a grainy indivisible substructure [New Sci.]
It is impossible for find a model of actuality among the innumerable models in string theory [New Sci.]
27. Natural Reality / A. Physics / 2. Movement
Motion fulfils potentiality [Aristotle]
27. Natural Reality / C. Biology / 3. Evolution
Enquirers think finding our origin is salvation, but it turns out to be dull [Nietzsche]
27. Natural Reality / D. Cosmology / 5. General Relativity
Einstein's merging of time with space has left us confused about the nature of time [New Sci.]
Black holes have entropy, but general relativity says they are unstructured, and lack entropy [New Sci.]
29. Religion / C. Monotheistic Religion / 3. Christianity / a. Christianity
Life aims at the Beatific Vision - of perfect happiness, and revealed truth [Zagzebski on Aquinas]
Christianity hoped for a short cut to perfection, that skipped the hard labour of morality [Nietzsche]