Misogyny


Misogyny is the hatred or dislike of women. Misogyny comes from Greek misogunia, from misos, hatred, and gynē, woman. A person who hates women is called a misogynist.

According to sociologist Allan G. Johnson; ‘misogyny is a cultural attitude of hatred for females because they are female.’ Johnson argues that:

‘[Misogyny] is a central part of sexist prejudice and ideology and, as such, is an important basis for the oppression of females in male-dominated societies. Misogyny is manifested in many different ways, from jokes to pornography to violence to the self-contempt women may be taught to feel for their own bodies.’

Michael Flood defines misogyny as the hatred of women, and notes:

‘Though most common in men, misogyny also exists in and is practised by women against other women or even themselves. Misogyny functions as an ideology or belief system that has accompanied patriarchal, or male-dominated societies for thousands of years and continues to place women in subordinate positions with limited access to power and decision making. […] Aristotle contended that women exist as natural deformities or imperfect males […] Ever since, women in Western cultures have internalised their role as societal scapegoats, influenced in the twenty-first century by multimedia objectification of women with its culturally sanctioned self-loathing and fixations on plastic surgery, anorexia and bulimia.’

In Ancient Greece, the early and long and complete passages on misogyny come from a stoic philosopher called Antipater of Tarsus in a moral tract known as On Marriage circa 150 BC. Antipater argues that marriage is the foundation of the state, and considers it to be based on divine – polytheistic – decree. Antipater uses misogunia to describe Euripides’ usual writing—tēn misogunian en tō graphein ‘the misogyny in the writing’.

However, he mentions this by way of contrast. He goes on to quote Euripides at some length, writing in praise of wives. Antipater does not tell us what it is about Euripides’ writing that he believes is misogynistic, he simply expresses his belief that even a man thought to hate women – namely Euripides – praises wives, so concluding his argument for the importance of marriage. He says; ‘This thing is truly heroic.’

Marcus Tullius Cicero

Marcus Tullius Cicero reports that Greek philosophers considered misogyny to be caused by gynophobia, a fear of women. The context is worth quoting in full, because it deals directly with matters already discussed in this article.

It is the same with other diseases; as the desire of glory, a passion for women, to which the Greeks give the name of philogyneia: and thus all other diseases and sicknesses are generated. But those feelings which are the contrary of these are supposed to have fear for their foundation, as a hatred of women, such as is displayed in the Woman-hater of Atilius; or the hatred of the whole human species, as Timon is reported to have done, whom they call the Misanthrope. Of the same kind is inhospitality. And all these diseases proceed from a certain dread of such things as they hate and avoid.

In summary, Greek literature considered misogyny to be a disease, an anti-social condition, in that it ran contrary to their perceptions of the value of women as wives, and of the family as the foundation of society. These points are widely noted in the secondary literature.

Nowadays, feminist theorist Marilyn Frye alleges that misogyny is phallogocentric and homoerotic at its root. In Politics of Reality, Frye analyses the alleged misogyny characteristic of the fiction and Christian apologetics of C.S. Lewis. Frye argues that such misogyny privileges the masculine as a subject of erotic attention. She compares the alleged misogyny characteristic of Lewis’ ideal of gender relations to underground male prostitution rings, which allegedly share the quality of men seeking to dominate subjects seen as less likely to take on submissive roles by a patriarchal society, but in both cases doing so as a theatrical mockery of women.

Neophile


Neophile or Neophiliac is a term used by counter-culture cult writer Robert Anton Wilson to describe a particular type of personality.

A neophile or neophiliac can be defined as a personality type characterized by a strong affinity for novelty. The phrase was used earlier by Christopher Booker in his 1969 book The Neophiliacs. Neophiles or Neophiliacs have the following basic characteristics:

– The ability to adapt rapidly to extreme change

– A distaste or downright loathing of tradition, repetition, and routine

– A tendency to become bored quickly with old things

– A desire, bordering on obsession in some cases, to experience novelty

– A corresponding and related desire to create novelty by creating or achieving something and/or by stirring social or other forms of unrest.

A neophile is distinct from a revolutionary in that anyone might become a revolutionary if pushed far enough by the reigning authorities or social norms, whereas neophiles are revolutionaries by nature. Their intellectual abhorrence of tradition and repetition usually bemoans a deeper emotional need for constant novelty and change. The meaning of neophile approaches and is not mutually exclusive to the term visionary, but differs in that a neophile actively seeks first-hand experience of novelty rather than merely pontificating about it.

The opposite of a neophile is a neophobe; a person with an aversion to novelty and change. Wilson observes that neophobes tend to regard neophiles, especially extreme ones, with fear and contempt, and to brand them with titles such as witch, Satanist, heretic, etcetera.

There is more than one type of neophile. There are social neophiles – the extreme social butterfly, intellectual neophiles – the revolutionary philosopher and the technophile, and physical/kinetic neophiles – the extreme sports enthusiast. These tendencies are not mutually exclusive, and might exist simultaneously in the same individual.

Miller Test


The Miller test is the United States Supreme Court’s test for determining whether speech or expression can be labelled obscene, in which case it is not protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and can be prohibited.

West face of the United States Supreme Court

The Miller test was developed in the 1973. It has three parts:

a. Whether the average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest,

b. Whether the work depicts/describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by applicable state law,

c. Whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.

The object or unit or so-called work is considered obscene only if all three conditions are satisfied.

The first two prongs of the Miller test are held to the standards of the community, and the last prong is held to what is reasonable to a person of the United States as a whole. The national reasonable person standard of the third prong acts as a check on the community standard of the first two prongs, allowing protection for works that in a certain community might be considered obscene but on a national level might have redeeming value.

Another important issue is that Miller asks for an interpretation of what the so-called average person finds offensive, rather than what the more sensitive persons in the community are offended by, as obscenity was defined by the previous test, the Hicklin test, stemming from the English precedent.

Pallium


The pallium is an ecclesiastical vestment in the Roman Catholic Church, originally peculiar to the Pope, but for many centuries bestowed by him on metropolitans and primates as a symbol of the jurisdiction delegated to them by the Holy See. In that context it has always remained unambiguously connected to the papacy. Essentially the same garment is worn by all Eastern Orthodox bishops, and is called omophor.

As early as the 6th century the pallium was considered a liturgical vestment to be used only in the church, and indeed only during Mass, unless a special privilege determined otherwise. This is proved conclusively by the correspondence between Pope Gregory I and John of Ravenna concerning the use of the pallium.

The rules regulating the original use of the pallium cannot be determined with certainty, but its use, even before the 6th century, seems to have had a definite liturgical character. From early times more or less extensive restrictions limited the use of the pallium to certain days.

The symbolic character now attached to the pallium dates back to the 9th century, when it was made an obligation for all metropolitans to petition the Holy See for permission to use it. The evolution of this character was complete about the end of the eleventh century; thenceforth the pallium is always designated in the papal bulls as the symbol of plenitudo pontificalis officii.

In the sixth century the pallium was the symbol of the papal office and the papal power, and for this reason Pope Felix transmitted his pallium to his archdeacon, when, contrary to custom, he nominated him his successor. On the other hand, when used by metropolitans, the pallium originally signified simply union with the Apostolic See, and was an ornament symbolizing the virtue and rank of its wearer.

For his formal inauguration Pope Benedict XVI adopted an earlier form of the pallium, from a period when it and the omophor were virtually identical. It is wider than the modern pallium although not as wide as the modern omophor, made of wool with black silk ends, and decorated with five red crosses, three of which are pierced with pins, symbolic of Christ’s five wounds and the three nails. Only the Papal pallium was to take this distinctive form. Beginning with the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul Benedict XVI reverted to a form similar to that worn by his recent predecessors, albeit in a larger and longer cut and with red crosses, therefore remaining distinct from pallia worn by metropolitans.

At present only the Pope and metropolitan archbishops wear the pallium. A metropolitan has to receive the pallium before exercising his office in his ecclesiastical province, even if he was previously metropolitan elsewhere. No other bishops, even non-metropolitan archbishops or retired metropolitans, are allowed to wear the pallium unless they have special permission.

Is–ought Problem


In 1739 Hume discusses the problem in book III, part I, section I of his work, A Treatise of Human Nature:

In every system of morality, which I have hitherto met with, I have always remarked, that the author proceeds for some time in the ordinary ways of reasoning, and establishes the being of a God, or makes observations concerning human affairs; when all of a sudden I am surprised to find, that instead of the usual copulations of propositions, is, and is not, I meet with no proposition that is not connected with an ought, or an ought not. This change is imperceptible; but is however, of the last consequence. For as this ought, or ought not, expresses some new relation or affirmation, ’tis necessary that it should be observed and explained; and at the same time that a reason should be given; for what seems altogether inconceivable, how this new relation can be a deduction from others, which are entirely different from it.

David Hume

For thousands of years philosophers and thinkers have asked the questions such as “What should I do?”, “What should be my purpose?”, “What is the meaning of life?”. Even after all this time, people still ask these questions, and do not come up with self satisfying answers. David Hume recognized that one cannot deduce what one ought to do from what is.

For example, you cannot deduce that your hair should look neat and clean from the observation “I have thick dark brown hair.”. So how can one ever make a statement proclaiming what one should do?

Indeed, it is true that it cannot be deduced what one ought to do from merely what is. “Should” is a declaration that it is best for a thing to act or be some way in order to achieve a particular goal. There is always a goal, frequently implied. Your mother may have told you “You should brush your teeth after breakfast and before bed time.”. You asker her “Why?”, and she replied “So that your teeth don’t rot away.”. You asked “Why?” again, and she said “So you look healthy and can digest food properly.”. You asked “Why?” again, and she replied “So people will enjoy looking at you and making friends with you, and so that you don’t die early from malnutrition.”. You asked “Why?” again, and she was stumped, and replied “Because mother says so, now brush your teeth or I’m going to have daddy make you.”. Weren’t you smart, if there is no basis reason to brush your teeth, then how can she be correct in making you brush your teeth before going to bed? Before being able to decide what one should do, one first needs a goal.

There is no universal goal. It is not satisfactory to include what one ought to do in your definition of what one is. Rand tried to do this with her concept of a “proper man”. There is no goal prescribed by properties of the universe. No scientist will ever deduce what one should do from discovering the properties of elemental components of the universe. Nor will a religious person ever satisfactorily discover a worthwhile goal from some proposed God. Lacking evidence, a religious person accepts a proposed God’s moral commands. They then frequently claim that a non-believer lacks morality. But their reason for acceptance of the moral commands are baseless: still the same problem.

How do we come about acquiring a goal, one’s first goal, one’s primary goal, and have a satisfactory logically valid reason for having it? It is impossible, unless you finally accept that your first goal is baseless. The meaning of life only exists as chosen by the individual. “The meaning of life”, your goals, are chosen by you. One’s only defence to someone’s criticism is “These are the goals chosen and that is how it is.”.

So in this way, one can have goals. Once can then build a collection of behaviours and actions to perform and avoid in various contexts in order to accomplish one’s goals. This collection is one’s morals.

Many individuals have morals that guide each of them to perform actions that are mutually beneficial. Rand’s morals to act in one’s own rational self interest is an excellent example. Given that one’s goal is to live a healthy happy life long term:

Through specialization comes increased productivity. Alone, an individual must do everything required to survive, gathering food, water, and maintaining one’s shelter, leaving little room for specialization. In a free market economic system the products of one’s labour can be exchanged for what one desires. One can specialize in growing corn, and produce incredible saleable value in the free market, then purchase more items and services than one could create and perform by oneself. Hence producers and traders have generally mutually beneficial relationships.

Modus Ponens


In classical logic, modus ponendo ponens often abbreviated as modus ponens – Latin for ‘the way that affirms by affirming’.

It is a valid, simple argument form. It is related to another valid form of argument, modus tollens. Both Modus Ponens and Modus Tollens can be mistakenly used when proving arguments. Both respectfully have invalid arguments such as affirming the consequent or denying the antecedent and proof by contradiction or proof by contrapositive or Evidence of absence.

Modus ponens is a very common rule of inference, and takes the following form:

If P, then Q.

P.

Therefore, Q.

The argument form has two premises. The first premise is the ‘if–then’ or conditional claim, namely that P implies Q. The second premise is that P, the antecedent of the conditional claim, is true. From these two premises it can be logically concluded that Q, the consequent of the conditional claim, must be true as well. In artificial intelligence, modus ponens is often called forward chaining.

An example of an argument that fits the form modus ponens:

If today is Tuesday, then I will go to work.

Today is Tuesday.

Therefore, I will go to work.

This argument is valid, but this has no bearing on whether any of the statements in the argument are true; for modus ponens to be a sound argument, the premises must be true for any true instances of the conclusion.

An argument can be valid but nonetheless unsound if one or more premises are false; if an argument is valid and all the premises are true, then the argument is sound. For example, I might be going to work on Wednesday. In this case, the reasoning for my going to work – because it is Wednesday – is unsound. The argument is only sound on Tuesdays – when I go to work – but valid on every day of the week. A propositional argument using modus ponens is said to be deductive.

In single-conclusion sequent calculi, modus ponens is the Cut rule. The cut-elimination theorem for a calculus says that every proof involving Cut can be transformed into a proof without Cut, and hence that Cut is admissible.

The Curry-Howard correspondence between proofs and programs relates modus ponens to function application:

If f is a function of type P → Q and x is of type P, then f x is of type Q.

Modus Tollens


In classical logic, modus tollens – Latin for ‘the way that denies by denying’ – has the following argument form:

If P, then Q.

Not Q.

Therefore, not P.

It can also be referred to as denying the consequent, and is a valid form of argument, unlike similarly named but invalid arguments such as affirming the consequent or denying the antecedent. Modus tollens is sometimes confused with proof by contradiction or proof by contrapositive. Evidence of absence applies modus tollens. A related valid form of argument is modus ponens.

The argument has two premises. The first premise is the conditional ‘if-then’ statement, namely that P implies Q. The second premise is that Q is false. From these two premises, it can be logically concluded that P must be false.

Consider an example:

If the watch-dog detects an intruder, the dog will bark.

The dog did nothing in the night-time.

Therefore, no intruder was detected by the watch-dog.

Supposing that the premises are both true – the dog will bark if it detects an intruder, and does indeed not bark – it follows then that no intruder has been detected. This is a valid argument since it is not possible for the premises to be true and the conclusion false.

It is conceivable that there may be have been an intruder that the dog did not detect, but that does not invalidate the argument; the first premise goes: “if the watch-dog detects an intruder.” The thing of importance is that the dog detects or doesn’t detect an intruder, not if there is one.

Another example:

If I am the axe murderer, then I used an axe.

I cannot use an axe.

Therefore, I am not the axe murderer.

Modus tollens became well known when it was used by Karl Popper in his proposed response to the problem of induction, falsificationism. However, here the use of modus tollens is much more controversial, as truth or falsity are inappropriate concepts to apply to theories – which are generally approximations to reality – and experimental findings.