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Hogwarts, Hogwarts,
Hoggy Warty Hogwarts,
Teach us something please,
Whether we be old and bald,
Or young with scabby knees,
Our heads could do with filling,
With some interesting stuff,
For now they're bare
And full of air,
Dead flies and bits of fluff.
So teach us stuff worth knowing,
Bring back what we forgot,
Just do your best
We'll do the rest,
And learn until our brains all rot!

1: The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.
2: Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.
3: There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.
4: Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun,
5: Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race.
6: His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.
7: The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
8: The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
9: The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.
10: More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
11: Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.
12: Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults.
13: Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.
14: Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Newman's "Illative Sense"

Since I have made reference a number of times on this blog to John Henry Cardinal Newman's "Illative Sense," I thought maybe I should give a brief over-view/definition, since it it not a very commonly known thing.

By way of maybe some broader background that may help to get a better grasp - my introduction to it was in a class on "Reason and the Heart/Faith." The focus of the class was an examination of ways other than strict deductive reasoning that we can also have "true knowledge," such as "inductive" paths.

The best way to describe the "Illative Sense" as one of these "inductive paths to true knowledge" is by giving the primary example that was used for it in the course. If you have a scholar who has immersed himself in medieval Latin texts, you might put before them a text that is purported to be from say the 5th or 6th century, and they might tell you "I don't think so ... it doesn't feel like it." They may not be able to give you an explanation complete with notes on the particular style of specific elements and instances in the text and cite textbook definitions and "authoritative" expositions of Latin from that period that the specific elements do not conform to, but this does mean you should not trust their intuition. There is a certain "authority" in the fact that they have immersed themselves so heavily in primary texts from that period that they have a "feel" for it. Upon further study they may be able to provide you with more concrete arguments, but you should not withhold trusting their opinion simply because they have not yet provided you with such (or maybe never do).

That "feel" or "intuition" is a prime example of the "Illative Sense." It is in this sense that I say Rowling may have more of an "illative sense" for how to combine these elements in story form, rather than a "reasoned out" plan.

(another example of such "paths" to true knowledge, as studied in this course, was that of "divine charity as an objective characteristic in the world" - that approaching the world through charity not only puts you in a better subjective stance with regards to the salvation of your soul [under the categorical heading of "soteriology," the study of salvation as such] but it also puts you in a better stance objectively in regards to epistemology [which is the categorical study of "knowledge" or "how do we know," under headings such as "knowledge" vs "true beliefs" and "opinions"] because, being created by God, who is Love, the universe has charity objectively in its nature and you are objectively better suited to "know" that objective nature if you approach it with a corresponding charity. I mention this other "path" [which is not in competition with the illative sense - they can work together, and both work with valid reason] because it relates to one of the primary themes in HBP, Harry's advantage over Voldemort in being able to love.)
posted by Merlin at 1:08 AM

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