Grim’s Hall

We are moving again, which explains the recent lack of posts. This time, we are moving to a place that befits the name “Grim’s Hall.”  I’ll be another three weeks with it at least, but that’s what is keeping me away.

Samantha Fish and Some Cigar Box Blues

Elmore James (1918-1963)

"Dust My Broom" opens with one of the best-known blues riffs of all time. BB King used it later on.

James wrote "The Sky Is Crying" in 1960 or so. Stevie Ray Vaughn (1954-1990) did a good version of it.

An Interesting Take on Hume's NOFI Principle

David Hume famously argued that you cannot logically deduce an ought from an is, which principle can be abbreviated as NOFI: No Ought From Is. This seems reasonable but it potentially leaves morality in a quandary.

Some time back we discussed whether or not there could be moral facts; I thought there could be moral facts, but some here vehemently disagreed. One of the possible conclusions from NOFI is that moral facts are impossible. Maybe a moral statement like "murder is wrong" is simply cheerleading: "Yay for not murdering people!" Or maybe it is a command: "Don't murder!" But it cannot be a fact that murder is wrong because there is no way to deduce what ought not be done just from what is.

Philosopher Charles Pigden disagrees. He has a different explanation for NOFI and its implications. Since I am not a philosopher, nor do I play on one TV, it is best to read his explanation if you are interested. However, in brief, as I understand it, he uses historical evidence and reason to clarify that Hume's NOFI claim was that there was no logically valid way to derive ought from is, but that Hume left open analytically valid ways to derive morality. This, then, would leave the door open for an objective basis for morality.

As to why I am considering Hume's NOFI principle at 4:12 a.m., I will leave that to the reader's imagination, but note that champagne was involved.

Good night, all.

In the Cathedral of May

But how many months be in the year?
There are thirteen, I say;
The midsummer moon is the merryest of all
Next to the merry month of May.
IN summer time, when leaves grow green,
And flowers are fresh and gay,
Robin Hood and his merry men
Were [all] disposed to play.

Then some would leap, and some would run,
And some use artillery:
'Which of you can a good bow draw,
A good archer to be?

'Which of you can kill a buck?
Or who can kill a doe?
Or who can kill a hart of grease,
Five hundred foot him fro?

Queen Guinevere's Maying

"It's a matter of consumer perception"

Yeah, I'll say it's a matter of consumer perception.  New York restaurants are coming unspooled over the consequences of the minimum wage hikes that, in theory, both they and their fashionable patrons support 100%.  But wait, someone has to pay the higher wages.  Let's see, can we eat into restaurant profits?  Surely not.  Magically save money somewhere else?  Apparently we can't.  Well, we could charge the patrons more for the food.  How do we do that?

It's very complicated.  There are these things called menus that reveal the prices.  Suppose we change the numbers there to higher numbers?  What, and spook all the people impressing their clients and their dates by taking them to expensive fashionable restaurants?

I know, let's leave the menu prices alone and add a surcharge at the very last minute on the check, when everyone's too drunk to notice.  Because social justice for the back-of-the-house staff.

The problem is, apparently the restaurants need a city ordinance to allow them to add such a last-minute surcharge, and the city fathers aren't dumb enough to catch this hot potato when it's tossed back to them.  The patrons believe in social justice, the restaurateurs believe in social justice, and the politicians believe in social justice.  They just don't want to be blamed for it.  Thus the spectacle of restaurants running full-page ads demanding the right to impose the surcharge and blaming the city for subjecting them and their underpaid staff to financial hardship.  We want to pay the staff more!  You just won't let us, you meanies!

Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will Be Done

The Pope wants to ban all weapons. All weapons, which potentially means almost every physical object. Water is a weapon.

OK, so, the goal isn't practical. But should it at least be aspirational? After all, the Bible says something about beating swords into plowshares. On the other hand, the Bible also says something about beating plowshares into swords, and pruning hooks into spears: and "let the weak say, 'I am a warrior.'" For everything, there is a season.

As for the New Testament, Jesus came not to bring peace but a sword, and urged his disciples to buy themselves swords if they had to sell their coats.

In terms of Natural Theology, it's hard to think that God is very interested in a world without arms. Animals tend to have natural weapons better than our own for their size; and all animal life, including human beings, can only sustain itself by the consumption of other things that were once alive. If you can know something about God by knowing His works, you would have to reason that God is not opposed to violence. Violence has a purpose in God's scheme.

Banning weapons means that the strong rule over the weak; men over women; the large tribe over the small one. But God favored the David and his sling over Goliath, Judith and her sword over Holofernes, and the Jews over the Egyptians, as well as the other tribes they destroyed in the age of Joshua.

It's a strange sentiment for a Pope to express. It is out of order, as far as I can tell, with reasoned theology whether based on revelation or nature.

Iran: We Can Enrich Better Than Ever!

Somehow the fact that they've improved their enrichment capacity under the deal is meant to be a good argument for keeping the deal in place? This is not the best deal ever.