The summer was good but went by very quickly. Here's my update on my estival activities.
The Mullery (where I mull things over)
Let me start this post like a poor undergraduate essay: with a definition from the Merriam-Webster dictionary.
Mull: (1) To grind or mix thoroughly. (2) To consider at length; to ponder.
What follows is the text of comments I gave at a recent symposium at the University of South Carolina on the topic of "Christianity and State-Sponsored Violence." I was one of four panelists, each of whom was invited to speak for about 10 minutes on the topic, or some aspect of the topic, after which there was about an hour and a half of free-wheeling conversation between the panelists and the audience. It seemed to go well so far as I could tell; but this was my first experience as a "panelist," so what do I know?
I started teaching full time in the fall of 2017, and not much blogging has happened since then. This is predictable.
Wisdom cries aloud in the street,
in the markets she raises her voice;
When we learn from others, do we learn from their beliefs, or from their words?
Jennifer Lackey insists that we learn from words rather than beliefs, as the title of her book indicates:
Augustine of Hippo (A.D. 354 - 430), a.k.a. Saint Augustine, was an accomplished philosopher and theologian, and showed remarkable insight in his philosophical writings. The preceding sentence is an exercise in understatement. How much of an understatement?
Annette Baier (1929 - 2012) was one of the most influential philosophers on trust in the last 100 years. Her work on the nature and ethics of trust has influenced just about every philosopher working on trust today, including me. But nobody is perfect. I was recently re-reading her essay "Trust and Anti-Trust" when I noticed a claim regarding the relationship between love and trust that I'm pretty sure is not quite right, or at least needs some significant qualification. Here's the claim:
As I've been reflecting on Elizabeth Anscombe's work on trust and testimony, I remembered some passages from Thomas Hobbes on similar themes, and I'd like to bring them into dialog with each other. In an earlier post I discussed Anscombe's distinction between believing a person and believing that what a person says is true, as well as her distinction between original and derivative epistemic authority.
In my last post, I reflected on Elizabeth Anscombe's 1979 essay "What Is It to Believe Someone?"; that essay is, more or less, a continuation of a line of thought she began exploring in her 1973 article "Hume and Julius Caesar," which is concerned with knowledge of history. In this post, I want to sketch Anscombe's argument in this earlier work, and raise a question or two about it.