There is a history yet to be written in which the Medici princes, Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell, Frederick the Great and Napoleon, Walpole and Wilberforce, Jefferson and Robespierre are understood as expressing in their actions, often partially and in a variety of different ways, the very same conceptual changes which at the level of philosophical theory are articulated by Machiavelli and Hobbes, by Diderot and Condorcet, by Hume and Adam Smith and Kant. There ought not to be two histories, of political and moral action and one of political and moral theories, because there are not two pasts, one populated only by actions, the other only by theories. Every action is the bearer and expression of more or less theory-ladden beliefs and concepts; every piece of theorizing and every expression of belief is a political and moral action.

Alasdair MacIntyre, After Virtue, p. 61.


[The Other Planets Blog Continues . . .]

Spirit has taken a new, closer panaorama of the looming Columbia Hills.


There is but one true Lord of the Rings.

The picture is totally awesome, especially at a larger image scale. I feel like a little kid again. (I was in elementary school the last time our probes visited Saturn.



Marsha and I had lunch at the Mustard Seed Market & Cafe in Solon today. My trout was extremely good.

We have been making a habit of going to a nearby Handel's Ice Cream for a "nightcap."
The Third Wave

We had an additional severe thunderstorm this morning at about 2 a.m. This makes three severe waves (and cower-under-the-bed waves at that) in just 24 hours. The other two were at 3:30 a.m. yesterday and about 4:30 p.m.

See this dramatic video of a classical bow echo crossing downtown Cleveland.


Spectacular Storm!

We had a very intense storm line sweep through the Akron/Cleveland area several hours ago. The squall line was accompanied by extremely high winds (i.e., >60 mph). (Ann Arbor logged 95 mph earlier in the day.) Marsha and I were on the front porch when it came through and watched a tall tree fall into a house across the street (much to our alarm). We submitted pictures to a Cleveland TV station, and they were posted.


O Canada!

Marsha and I went to Canada this past weekend. We got a number of AERO bars. (Yum!) We stayed in the Minolta Tower, a strangely-shaped building on the Canadian side overlooking the Horseshoe Falls. We ate too much beef and suffered gastric distress. (Either that or it was this cool wedding we attended.) Marineland was, alas, closed, so no whales for Marsha. :(

We went on to Toronto and mulled around the University district, visiting the Royal Ontario Museum, saying hi to a 1/10 scale chrysoelephantine Athena Parthenos, several Albertosauri, and about 500 bronze and iron age implements. (We also went to two large bookstores, and passed a humungeous Pottery Barn.) Then we went past downtown to the lake and hung out on the islands for a few hours. I have pictures of my (rather cold) feet in a (rather cold) Lake Ontario to prove it. The sky and water were very clear, and the sailboats made it quite picturesque.

I only regret that we didn't have time to do the CN Tower . . . oh, and that I didn't research used U of T bookstores on classics and medievalia in advance.


Good girl

I'm in the basement working, and my wife is upstairs online and chortling, "Oh my, I have 18 hours of 4.0's!"

I'm jealous of her first-year Ph.D. grades. My first year law school grades weren't even close. :(



We found mushrooms, Farmer Maggot!

Marsha and I went walking with my parents on the old family farm this evening--and Marsha found her first three mushrooms! (I found one myself.)


The Mars rover Opportunity reaches "Endurance" crater, and what a spectacular view!


Ruth's Chris Steakhouse is an extremely good place to eat in Cleveland. Sorta comparable to a Smith & Wollensky. Their creme burlee is superb.
Philosophical texts most worthy of close study I

I have a rather open, somewhat stereotypical question for anyone who comes across or reads this blog: What philosophical texts are most worthy of close study? I should probably qualify this by saying that my interest and motive is asking is largely history of ideas than abstract problem solving, so "most worthy" encompasses both retrospective and prospective purposes. Also, my approach is essentially Straussian, not in terms of esoteric exegesis, but in terms of emphasis on ethical and political philosophy.

I ask this because I have this annoying tendency to take a shotgun approach to reading—presently have feet in a dozen books. As Karen Oprea once said of her brother, the problem is that you get far enough in to see the conclusions and you get lazy and don't finish. And this despite generous inculcations of Mortimer J. Adler. And, practically speaking, the occasion is that I am trying to assemble something of a mult-year program for reading and writing. (Now that I'm settling into "bourgeois domesticity" and all.)

For sheer scope and sweep, it strikes me that the Aeneid is uniquely suited to sustained reading. Not entirely a traditional philosophical text, however. And yet very much an extension of the Socratic project of bringing philosophy down from the heavens and elaborating an ethics.

I'll readily confess that I have not spent enough time in Plato lately. But which Plato to concentrate on? (i) The Socratic corpus? (ii) the Republic? (iii) the Laws?

I know the Politics well, the Ethics less well, but the Metaphysics hardly well enough.

I am afraid to wade into the Critique of Pure Reason. One has almost to resent the "obligatoriness" of Kant. Ditto for Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. LOL

I feel obliged to develop something of a special competence in the Arabo-Jewish tradition, so close readings of the Guide for the Perplexed and the Al-Ghazali/Ibn Rushd Incoherence are in order.

Grotius' De iure belli ac pacis strikes me as a neglected text worthy of close reading, after which it will be less necessary to consult Locke or Pufendorf.

I'm still struggling as to which of the other moderns to concentrate upon. I have a sinking suspicion that Pope is the least dense of them. A new edition of Spizona's Theologico-Political Treastise will be out shortly—I've been putting that off on account of the piss-poor readability of the old Dover reprint.

Speaking of new books, Richard Tarrant's OCT edition of the Metamorpheses should be out any time now!

Last but not least, how important is Suarez?

"Put your p---- where your mouth is."
Marsha and I stopped by Great Harvest Bread Co. yesterday and got a loaf of White Chocolate Raspberry. This loaf is now 3/4 gone. :) Really good stuff!