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Everything posted by Ludovicus

  1. Ludovicus added a post in a topic Tarot   

    It's interesting to speculate on the ordering of the cards. For example, it's easy to see how the sequence Empress, Emperor, Pope relates, but why do the Lovers then follow the Pope? I see a possible point to the Death - Temperance - Devil - Tower sequence, but it might just be me. My guess is that there are several disparate schema involved in the design of the sequence, so no master theory to explain it convincingly.
    Jasper, if you see the Death card as signifying rebirth, then how do you leave yourself open to a reading involving actual death? Ten of Swords looks like death to me, too. But since it makes little statistical sense to go around predicting death every time you come across it, you have to call it "betrayal" or "disaster" or something. I think you would have to have a pretty loose attitude regarding set meanings of cards to avoid this kind of 'ruling out' situations like actual death.
    It reminds me of Lyra and the alethiometer. All the individual symbols have a plethora of different meanings, and she just has to "know" which one is true at any given time. She also gets insight from the sequence of the symbols, which seems like tarot reading.
    I would have been to a tarot reader by now to assuage my curiosity about their rhetorical skills if it weren't for a disappointing experience a few years back. Walking through a psychic fair I observed a guy doing some kind of reading with runes. I stood nearby to listen to what he was saying. No inspiration here, not even a con artist's confidence! He stammered a few suggestions about how this rune might mean taking a trip...uh, maybe. It was pretty sad. But maybe my judgment was too hasty and the decisive factor is that it really does require the intuition of a woman!
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  2. Ludovicus added a post in a topic Tarot   

    I think it's interesting that the tarot cards have gone from a playing card game to an oracle to a sort of subculture of the art world. That's not to say there can't be overlap between the latter two categories though. As a Wiccan you might be familiar with the Robin Wood deck, which is designed for tarot readings but has a number of interesting artistic qualities.
    I collect tarot decks for the art. I have about 90 decks, many of them independently produced and of limited edition. For an idea of the quality difference between these sort and the majority of what you find in the bookshops, check out Adam McLeans Art Tarot series.
    Can't comment on tarot as an oracle, except that I think the history of oracles and divination is interesting. The tarot books I've seen don't have much to say about theory, other than I guess signs just appear to those who look for them. Or do angels or demons channel the message? I don't have truck with any of that, but am also interested in the skills an ideal tarot reader would have to possess assuming that, whether she was aware of it or not, the spread is just a random result without any guiding spiritual influences. I've never seen or heard a tarot reader perform, but am curious about the extent to which the cards insist on a particular reading and how much leeway is given to creativity on the part of the reader.
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  3. Ludovicus added a post in a topic Site update problesm   

    Now it seems like you have to be logged in to view the site. Otherwise you get Error code: EX145
    Any news on the posts that have been cut off?
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  4. Ludovicus added a post in a topic Site update problesm   

    Some older posts seem not to have survived the transfer. For example, the review on Goodman's Starmaking in the Read forum. I've noticed this on a few different threads in Read. Gone forever?
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  5. Ludovicus added a topic in Extend   

    spiritually significant films
    I came across this list of top 100 films from the Arts and Faith website: They have some really good films listed for anyone wondering what to watch. There is an emphasis on religion, but it's not the case for all of them. I've only seen a handful of them, my favorite being Seventh Seal and the Three Colours Trilogy (I saw Blue ages ago and caught the other two after reading Hugo's terrific essay). Can anyone here say they've seen most of these? What would you add to the list?
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  6. Ludovicus added a post in a topic How to get a cheap flight?   

    It looks like Bing has a "flexible search" option, but it only works for flights in the US. Rats.
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  7. Ludovicus added a topic in Extend   

    How to get a cheap flight?
    In a couple of months I'll be traveling to Australia to meet a friend and bum around for a few weeks. Since I don't need to leave or return on an exact date, is there a way to find out what days/times will be the cheapest to book a flight? I tried punching in a few dates on Expedia and got some slightly different prices, but it seems like a waste of time to go through it systematically, especially if it turns out that the differences aren't that great.

    Anyone been to Australia? We'll be starting out in Melbourne, but have no solid plans from there.
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  8. Ludovicus added a post in a topic Pedro P   

    I only started this book today and am reading it in the original spanish, which means it will take me a bit longer to read. I'm also about three quarters the way through Zafon's novel The Shadow of the Wind, which Hugo reviewed here earlier (another spanish novel). I'm trying to build up my language proficiency by reading these, so thanks for a good recommendation.
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  9. Ludovicus added a post in a topic The Cosmological Argument   

    Thanks for starting this thread, david. I accept the cosmological argument as a sophisticated way of dealing with the infinite regress of causation, i.e., shifting the concept of the uncaused from existence to being. This way of positing a first cause avoids begging the question: e.g. "what caused the first cause?" This is because Being is taken to be different from yet related to existence and its domino chain of cause and effects.

    However, I think "proof" is a misnomer in arguments for the existence of God. The so-called proofs are actually appeals to our sense of proportion and rationality, as beauty and poetry are. They boil down to subjective pointers and are, in my opinion, strongest when seen that way. One popular subjective argument is to start with the moral sense and ask where it comes from, if not from God. Another is to ask whether its true that "our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee" (Augustine). Although not seen as often in philosophy, I find these arguments more prevalent in literature. In Dostoevsky, for instance.

    Anyways, I'll take a look at those links and see what is being said about the cosmological argument in the recent literature. I've only read the classical stuff, so it should be interesting. Speaking of the classical stuff,
    here is Aquinas' proof for the Unmoved Mover. It's from St. Aquinas' Summa Theologica, Question 2, Article 3. Hold on to your seats.

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  10. Ludovicus added a post in a topic Yale Courses Online   

    I think the original idea of choosing one to discuss would be more interesting. This way we can chew over the lectures together rather than respond to one person's take. Not that I feel like I should have any say in this matter, but the course on the American Novel davidm mentioned sounds good, and would be fun to discuss.
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  11. Ludovicus added a post in a topic Yale Courses Online   

    I haven't been a big contributor here, but I'm interested in this Yale course idea and would especially enjoy one of the following topics:

    ENGL 291 - The American Novel Since 1945
    ENGL 310 - Modern Poetry,
    HIST 119 - The Civil War and Reconstruction Era, 1845-1877
    PSYC 110 - Introduction to Psychology
    RLST 145 - Introduction to the Old Testament

    The others looked good too, but these have my vote.
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  12. Ludovicus added a post in a topic Hume's philosophy   

    That's an excellent paper, Campanella. I must admit that I interpreted a lot of what I read of Hume through that same analytic model, through osmosis I guess... I'm currently into his second book of the Treatise on the passions. Tomorrow I'll try to post an outline of the first book, and see if anyone has any comments on that.
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  13. Ludovicus added a post in a topic Fitness Resolutions   

    Thanks again for the great advice, Godot! I really appreciate it. I never thought before that a gym workout could be enjoyable, but it really is. Writing down what I accomplish keeps me focused, which I might not have done without Hugo's advice. However, since I've just started, it's still more like finding out what I'm capable of rather than tracking definite improvements.

    Before I read about these things here, I began to do a few exercises religiously--wondering what would happen if I gradually built up a routine of several exercises that I wouldn't slack on. So now every day I do at least 30 pullups (usually 3 to 4 sets to exhaustion), and every 2 or 3 days try holding the plank, aiming for a few seconds improvement each time.

    To burden you with another question, do you think this is a good supplement to my gym workout to continue with this, or should I give it up to focus on the routine with each specific day for the different muscles? I'm worried about the pullups in particular. I'm not sure if they are really making me stronger (they feel easy now), and am concerned that they might just be taking away from my back workout at the gym, wherein I might powerlift for some real gains. The pullup routine sure seemed impressive when I started it, but I wonder if there is a negative side to this kind of 7 day a week exercise? Any thoughts?

    Sorry to be such a newbie. This is my last question, I promise. At least for a while...
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  14. Ludovicus added a topic in Explore   

    Hume's philosophy
    For the last couple of weeks I've been immersed in Hume's Treatise of Human Nature and Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding. The former was his first work and magnum opus, while the Enquiry is a shorter tome that reformulates some of his arguments from the Treatise, and also several chapters concerning religious topics. I've only made it through the first book of the Treatise, and come across many unexpected passages where Hume makes some point that I've heard before but never attributed to him. For example, in 1.4.6, Hume gives a skeptical argument against the "self" that takes apart Descartes' Cogito. It's slow going, but I'm looking forward to the next book on the passions, where I expect to find the famous quote: "Reason is and ought only to be the slave of the passions."

    I'll write more about what I've found in Hume so far, but for now just want to say that this is great stuff. I'm sure most of you have read him before (actually, I read the Enquiry in college but forgot most of it), but this is a definite milestone in my quest to understand modern philosophy. I'll probably spend a while longer on Hume before I move on to Kant (who I've also studied too briefly). Before I do that, can anyone point me to any good critiques or studies of Hume to supplement my reading his primary works?
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  15. Ludovicus added a post in a topic Fitness Resolutions   

    The workout plan is going good so far. The only thing I can't stand is the deadlift. Quick question: What's the best way to focus on increasing the size of my arms? I don't want my chest to grow much until I've had some results with my arms, so I'm sticking with lower weight for the bench presses and more weight for the bicep curls and tricep pulldowns. Will this do?
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  16. Ludovicus added a post in a topic Homer's Iliad   

    Warning, spoilers...

    AllBlue, I think the religion was already more developed than you think. While the gods seem to rule the world through arbitrary whim, there are places that suggest (at least in reference to Zeus) the notion of divine law.

    There are repeated instances of characters referencing the moral law of Zeus. Agamemnon is confident that the Trojans will pay the price for breaking the truce in Book 4. He says:
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  17. Ludovicus added a post in a topic What books are you reading now?   

    I've started Hume's Treatise of Human Nature.
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  18. Ludovicus added a post in a topic Who's Chatting?   

    I always miss everyone in chat.
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  19. Ludovicus added a post in a topic Evolution and Progress   

    I think one of the problems lies in the very name of the theory. The word 'evolution' just doesn't seem to signify a blind process without purpose. Actually, since the modern understanding of evolution finds the ultimate explanation of evolutionary change rooted in chance, I don't see how it can be considered a process at all. So to decouple the idea of progress from the scientific theory of evolution, I think the latter should be renamed into something like "mutationism."

    However, as Timothy's last post demonstrated, biology does include some teleology, in the simple sense that creatures develop over time to fulfill their predetermined "end," their genetic programming. St. Thomas was an "evolutionist" in this sense. In Summa Contra Gentiles he put forward the idea that the human fetus develops in a 3 stage process. A vegetative soul existing at conception develops into a sensitive soul before developing enough for the infusion of a rational soul. A pretty unsophisticated theory, but genetics was a long ways off. In any case, I don't think Scholasticism can make heads or tails of evolutionary theory. The classical understanding of evolution is at least progressive in the sense that a substantial form becomes fully realized over time (such as an acorn developing to an oak tree), but species evolution implies a substantial form being replaced by another substantial form, that is itself not to be thought of as an end of the evolving activity.

    I'm also interested in the problem of Social Darwinism, which is now usually dismissed as a regrettable distortion of Darwin's theories. However, if the basic standards of Darwinism are true in biology (pragmatism, what's good is that which survives), then what's to stop people from applying these ideas to other fields? Far from being an anomaly, Social Darwinism seems to me a logical application of evolution. Thank God homo sapiens aren't actually very logical most of the time!
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  20. Ludovicus added a post in a topic Fitness Resolutions   

    Thanks, Godot! This looks like a great program. When I start going through the first few months of weight training, should I give it 100% every time, or build up slowly? Each new week, is it reasonable to expect I should be able to lift at least the same amount as the previous session?
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  21. Ludovicus added a post in a topic Fitness Resolutions   

    I have a "as seen on tv" chin-up bar that I use every day, doing between 30 and 50 reps over the course of the day. I also have a set of dumbbells from 5 to 45 lbs that I use occasionally. Other than that, I play lots of racquetball and do martial arts twice a week. I don't have any specific fitness goals, other than losing a few pounds (my weight and weight goal is similar to Godot's), but I would like to develop my upper body to the max. I don't know much about weights, though. Can someone put up a decent weight training routine that I could try out? I haven't bench pressed since I was in high school, but I do have access to a gym for heavier lifting.
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  22. Ludovicus added a post in a topic Homer's Iliad   

    My mind is blown by the suggestion that the Greeks weren't self-conscious. I'll be looking into Jayne's work for more details. The speeches in the poem, such as the entreaties in the tent, suggest that the characters had much more self-consciousness than schizophrenics. My guess is that a link is made between the god's appearances and the kind of situation that provokes the "hallucinations," usually a stressful circumstance that precludes a well thought response. Whether this is plausible or not, I have no idea.

    I love The Iliad, and wonder if anyone has read Simone Weil's famous criticism of it as the "poem of force." She writes: "'The true hero, the true subject matter, the center of the Iliad is force. The force that men wield, the force that subdues men, in the face of which human flesh shrinks back." I strongly disagree with her thesis, which attributes to the characters a sense of bitterness and futility in the face of a world dominated by brute force. Its an interesting essay, but seems anachronistic to me, and I wonder how anyone can believe it when they have finished the book and read Chapter 12.
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  23. Ludovicus added a post in a topic On Existence   

    I think I agree with Campanella, at least in part. At least since Maritain, scholastic philosophers have noticed that St. Thomas gives existence primacy over essence. He claims that essences are known directly through our intellect, via ideas. Within the idea of the represented object is incorporated the essence of that thing. However, existence cannot be conceptualized, because the act of existing is not a thing. We do, however, have an intuitive knowledge of existence because we are.

    I think its a mistake to conflate essence and existence. The two cannot be separated but they are not the same. In the history of philosophy, "essence" is similar to the Aristotelian concept of form. "Pure existence," would be the act of existing with no subject for that act. So when you say "Jane's existence is Jane," I would say you are already referring to Jane's essence, or form or substance.
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  24. Ludovicus added an answer to a question Idea: Foreign Languages   

    Hi One, I'm fairly advanced in Spanish, and could probably help you out with some conversational skills. I started learning it for my job, and I'll be soon be taking an advanced grammar class to help with that as well. I've gotten some good practice through LiveMocha, but haven't been there lately. Watching movies with subtitles is also useful. Once you've gotten some Spanish down then the best practice is probably to find a mexican soap opera, or telenovela, to watch daily since there is usually lots of dialogue.
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  25. Ludovicus added a post in a topic Pansychism and religious belief   

    Great idea, david, and I like how you've laid it all out. I wonder if this conception of mind as a radio signal works with ideas like the subconscious, though. Using the metaphor of the "layered" mind, isn't this somehow inconsistent with a simple "lighting up" of the brain by an outside force? As an explanation of sensory qualia, I like the idea, but higher level consciousness seems to me to demand more.
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