[Milton-L] Free Will, Forgiveness

Harold Skulsky hskulsky at email.smith.edu
Thu Jul 27 17:50:06 EDT 2006


". . . given the vast amount of evidence . . ."

 "I do not want to rehearse arguments already in print."

Most of us are not at leisure to dissect a "vast" array of
interpretations with the rigor each deserves. Yet absent such a
dissection we are left with rodomontade on both sides.

It might be a useful exercise to provide Milton-L with a concise
version of one or two or three of the most persuasive of such arguments,
simply to illustrate the method of argument the author thinks
appropriate to proving his case. To serve this purpose, the arguments
would have to (1) turn on the interpretation of specific passages, (2)
apply unambiguous moral criteria Milton demonstrably shares with his
intended audience, (2) establish one of the following theses: 

(a) Milton intentionally presents his narrator as intentionally
presenting the character called "God" as cruel and mendacious by a
standard Milton shares with his intended audience; 

(b) Milton intentionally presents his narrator as inadvertently
presenting the character called God, etc.;  

(c) Milton inadvertently presents his narrator as intentionally
presenting the character called God, etc., 

(d) Milton inadvertently presents his narrator as inadvertently, etc.;


Remarks: (i) For requirement (2) see the debate between Scalia and
Dworkin on the original meaning of "cruel and unusual." (ii) The
breakdown of permutations would be very much simplified, of course, if
the author-narrator distinction could be dispensed with. (iii) This
suggestion is meant to be helpful in facilitating dialogue; emphatically
not as declaring an intention to join the dialogue. 




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