George H. Smith

Hmmm...Not so great quotations

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I will use this thread to post quotations, mainly from early texts on philosophy, that may strike modern readers as a little odd.

1) The following is from an English translation (1735) of Samuel Pufendorf's influential book The Whole Duty of Man, According to the Law of Nature (first published in Latin, 1673). Pufendorf argues that a man cannot be held morally responsible for his failure to do what no man can possibly do, and he gives the following example:

"Thus we cannot blow and suck all at once."

Hmmm....

Ghs

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How interesting his antagonistic relationship with Leibniz and under-rated influence on political philosophy and philosophers.

--Brant

loves Wikipedia

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[Pufendorf:] "Thus we cannot blow and suck all at once."

He just came along about a century too early to see the Congress of the United States in action, that's all.

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How interesting his antagonistic relationship with Leibniz and under-rated influence on political philosophy and philosophers.

--Brant

loves Wikipedia

I just read the Wiki article on Pufendorf. It doesn't give a very good idea of why his writing was so important. Moreover, there has been a revival of serious interest in Pufendorf in recent decades, so it would be a mistake to say that he is now underrated.

The Whole Duty of Man was the title given to Pufendorf's book by the English translator Andrew Tooke, but the title is more properly translated as On the Duty of Man and Citizen. This is an abridgement, intended for university students, of Pufendorf's massive work, Law of Nature and Nations. (I have the standard English translation of the latter, published by Oxford in 1934, and it runs nearly 1400 pages.)

Pufendorf's abridgement became a standard text in European universities. Gershom Carmichael, appointed the first professor of moral philosophy at Glasgow University, used the book in his classes and thereby made it standard fare for leading thinkers of the Scottish Enlightenment.

Carmichael was a Lockean, so he disagreed with the Hobbesian slant that we find in parts of Pufendorf's book. Carmichael therefore provided his students with "corrections" of Pufendorf, and these were later published as Supplements and Observations Upon the Two Books of Samuel Pufendorf's On the Duty of Man and Citizen according to the Law of Nature, composed for the use of students in the Universities (2nd ed., 1724).

Liberty Fund has done a great service to libertarian scholarship by making available Tooke's translation of Pufendorf and Carmichael's commentary. See here:

http://catalog.liber...uemart&Itemid=1

and here:

http://catalog.liber...product_id=1054

Ghs

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[Pufendorf:] "Thus we cannot blow and suck all at once."
He just came along about a century too early to see the Congress of the United States in action, that's all.

I must admit that your interpretation had not occurred to me. My mind was in the gutter when I posted the quotation, so I took it another way. 8-)

Ghs

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(2) This remarkable and humorous passage was first published in 1621. It is from Robert Burton's classic work on what today would be called psychology -- The Anatomy of Melancholy.

[L]ove is blind, as the saying is, Cupid's blind, and so are all his followers. Quisquis amat ranam, ranam putat esse Dianam. Every lover admires his mistress, though she be very deformed of herself, ill-favoured, wrinkled, pimpled, pale, red, yellow, tanned, tallow-faced, have a swollen juggler's platter face, or a thin, lean, chitty face, have clouds in her face, be crooked, dry, bald, goggle-eyed, blear-eyed, or with staring eyes, she looks like a squissed cat, hold her head still awry, heavy, dull, hollow-eyed, black or yellow about the eyes, or squint-eyed, sparrow-mouthed, Persian hook-nosed, have a sharp fox nose, a red nose, China flat, great nose, nare simo patuloque, a nose like a promontory, gubber-tushed, rotten teeth, black, uneven, brown teeth, beetle browed, a witch's beard, her breath stink all over the room, her nose drop winter and summer, with a Bavarian poke under her chin, a sharp chin, lave eared, with a long crane's neck, which stands awry too, pendulis mammis, her dugs like two double jugs, or else no dugs, in that other extreme, bloody fallen fingers, she have filthy, long unpared nails, scabbed hands or wrists, a tanned skin, a rotten carcass, crooked back, she stoops, is lame, splay-footed, as slender in the middle as a cow in the waist, gouty legs, her ankles hang over her shoes, her feet stink, she breed lice, a mere changeling, a very monster, an oaf imperfect, her whole complexion savours, a harsh voice, incondite gesture, vile gait, a vast virago, or an ugly tit, a slug, a fat fustilugs, a truss, a long lean rawbone, a skeleton, a sneaker (si qua latent meliora puta), and to thy judgment looks like a mard in a lantern, whom thou couldst not fancy for a world, but hatest, loathest, and wouldst have spit in her face, or blow thy nose in her bosom,remedium amoris to another man, a dowdy, a slut, a scold, a nasty, rank, rammy, filthy, beastly quean, dishonest peradventure, obscene, base, beggarly, rude, foolish, untaught, peevish, Irus' daughter, Thersites' sister, Grobians' scholar, if he love her once, he admires her for all this, he takes no notice of any such errors, or imperfections of body or mind, Ipsa haec—delectant, veluti Balbinum Polypus Agnae,; he had rather have her than any woman in the world. If he were a king, she alone should be his queen, his empress. O that he had but the wealth and treasure of both the Indies to endow her with, a carrack of diamonds, a chain of pearl, a cascanet of jewels, (a pair of calfskin gloves of four-pence a pair were fitter), or some such toy, to send her for a token, she should have it with all his heart; he would spend myriads of crowns for her sake. Venus herself, Panthea, Cleopatra, Tarquin's Tanaquil, Herod's Mariamne, or Mary of Burgundy, if she were alive, would not match her....

Ghs

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[Pufendorf:] "Thus we cannot blow and suck all at once."
He just came along about a century too early to see the Congress of the United States in action, that's all.

I must admit that your interpretation had not occurred to me. My mind was in the gutter when I posted the quotation, so I took it another way. 8-)

Ghs

Is that your default?

--Brant

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From my earlier quotation by Robert Burton:

...and to thy judgment looks like a mard in a lantern, whom thou couldst not fancy for a world....

Anyone happen to know what "mard in a lantern" means? I tried googling the phrase, but with no real success.

Ghs

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[Pufendorf:] "Thus we cannot blow and suck all at once."
He just came along about a century too early to see the Congress of the United States in action, that's all.

I must admit that your interpretation had not occurred to me. My mind was in the gutter when I posted the quotation, so I took it another way. 8-)

Ghs

Is that your default?

--Brant

Only since I was eight years old.

Ghs

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Anyone happen to know what "mard in a lantern" means? I tried googling the phrase, but with no real success.

My guess is that since “mard” sounds like “merde”, and the fact that shit can be used as a fuel in this way, that that’s what Burton had in mind. “Mard” also sounds like “lard”, so that’s another possibility, but in context I think “merde” works better. Or, maybe if you mix shit with lard you get mard?

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