[Milton-L] help interpret a line

Carrol Cox cbcox at ilstu.edu
Mon Jan 26 11:51:39 EST 2004



Gardner Campbell wrote:
> 
> I don't think Satan has a bad argument. Rather the opposite, which I
> think is one of the brilliant facets of Milton's epic here. No doubt I'm
> writing too casually about "specious" logic. The argument is bad not
> because the logic doesn't work (though I'd still say that there are some
> dodgy premises here), but because it invites certain conclusions about
> logic and its self-sufficiency that interact with one's experience of
> interiority and emotion in such a way as to lull the conscience to
> sleep.

Are you claiming that the purpose (or one of the purposes) of the
passage, _within_ PL, is to dramatize the limitations of logic? Or the
ill effects of "too much" dependence on logic? (Scare quotes because the
principle of "too much" is always hard to pin down.) Also: do you
distinquish "reason" and "logic" or use them interchangeably?

A remark of Keynes may be relevant to your argument -- or at least you
might clarify and sharpen your argument by relating it to Keynes point. 
Keynes described Hayek's Prices and Production as "an extraordinary
example of how, starting with a mistake, a remorseless logician can end
up in Bedlam."  (Collected Writings, vol. XII, p. 252) (I got this from
a secondary source on another list: I haven't read Keynes.)

I would guess that Keynes would _not_ conflate "logic" and "reason," and
if you agree with that, Keynes is I believe making your general point.
The question then is whether it applies to the line in question in PL.

Carrol



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