Thomas Conlan - The Culture of Force & Farce, 14th Century by Thomas Conlan
By Thomas Conlan
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World-renowned novelist Mark Helprin deals a ringing Jeffersonian safety of non-public estate within the age of electronic tradition, with its degradation of notion and language, and collectivist bias opposed to the rights of person creators.
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He may be gifted in a special degree with workmanlike aptitudes, may by nature be stout or dextrous or keen-sighted or quick-witted or sagacious or industrious beyond his fellows; but with all these gifts, so long as he has assimilated none of this common stock of workmanlike knowledge he remains simply an admirable parcel of human raw material; he is of no effect in industry. With such special gifts or with special training based on this common stock an individual may stand out among his fellows as a workman of exceptional merit and value, and without the common run of workmanlike aptitudes he may come to nothing worth while as a workman even with the largest opportunities and most sedulous training.
If credence is given to the view that intelligence is, in its elements, of the nature of an inhibitive selection, it seems necessary to assume some such chain of idle and irrelevant response to account for the further course of the elements eliminated in giving the motor response the character of a reasoned line of conduct. So that associated with the pragmatic attention there is found more or less of an irrelevant attention, or idle curiosity. This is more particularly the case where a higher range of intelligence is present.
But this early-modern law of cause and effect — the law of efficient causes — is of an anthropomorphic kind. “Like causes produce like effects,” in much the same sense as the skilled workman’s product is like the workman; “nothing is found in the effect that was not contained in the cause,” in much the same manner. These dicta are, of course, older than modern science, but it is only in the early days of modern science that they come to rule the field with an unquestioned sway and to push the higher grounds of dialectical validity to one side.