[Milton-L] Abdiel (thought-sins)

Harold Skulsky hskulsky at email.smith.edu
Sun Jul 6 16:44:52 EDT 2008


"I am not sure how to express the ontological status of Dream Eve.
Harold Skulsky seems to identify her rather directly with Eve.  Although
it seems that her initial "damp horror" expresses Eve's moral
consciousness, I don't think Eve would be morally responsible for Dream
Eve."

As will be clear in a few short paragraphs, I have reason to doubt that
I ever identified Dream Eve with Eve.  

Call the series of dreamed events S. For Eve to dream that S is
happening to her is 

             (a) for Eve to be asleep,   
             (b) for Eve to be encountering S-APPEARANCES but no
S-REALITIES,
             (c) for Eve to mistake the S-APPEARANCES for S-REALITIES
             (d) for Eve (as a result of (c)) to respond to the
S-APPEARANCES as if they were S-REALITIES.

Given (a-d), it is Eve (and not a Dream Eve) who is doing the dreaming,
i.e., who is taken in  by empty S-appearances she encounters, and who
responds to the S-appearances in various ways — for example, by "damp
horror" and by irresistibly desiring apples she SEEMS to be seeing,
smelling, etc. 

In short, there is no conceptual work here for a Dream Eve to do —
except to allow critics to provide the dreamer with a superfluous alibi
for a desire that would convict Eve of sin only if she freely consented
to it (producing a sin of thought). I have already laid out the case for
acquitting her of that consent and won't rehearse it here.The burden of
my remarks here is simply that I never identified Dream Eve with Eve
because (in my view at least) there is no Dream Eve in the first place.

(By the way, Satan seems, in this episode at least, to be a victim of
the fallacy that Eve can be made to sin merely by being made to desire
to sin: the S-appearances that generate that desire are due to Satan's
manipulation of Eve's brain (middle "cell") as he squats near her ear in
the shape of a toad. Satan never seems to rid himself of this fallacy;
otherwise, he would not take credit for a Fall that is genuine only
because Eve's unconstrained will is the culprit.)




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