Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Humanities/2007 October 13

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October 13[edit]

philosophy and metaphysics[edit]

good morning. i am doing research on the novels of Michel tournier. i would like to know what is the difference between philosophy, metaphysics and oncology. cqn anyone help me please? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:55, 13 October 2007 (UTC)

you can start by reading the articles on philosophy, metaphysics, and oncology, although I think you probably meant to say ontology. -- Diletante —Preceding signed but undated comment was added at 04:08, 13 October 2007 (UTC)
In short, ontology is part of metaphysics, which in turn is part of philosophy. Note: metaphysics is a more 'dreamy' side of philosophy, but ontology is a less 'dreamy' part of metaphysics (that last bit is a bit pov). By 'dreamy' I mean it's more like 'I believe things are such and so', without any evidence whatsoever, rather like religion. Which is not to say it's worthless. In order to find what is true, it helps to think about what could be true. Most of what metaphysics comes up with is bull, but sometimes it leads to interesting thoughts. It's one extreme of science, the other extreme being mathematics. And there is a one-on-one relationship between mathematics and Logic, which is part of philosophy. So philosophy covers quite a wide area. Actually, it covers all thought that is not formalised. Formalised through mathematics, that is, which itself is studied by philosophy through Logic. I can ramble on and on about this. Somebody shut me up please. :) DirkvdM 18:18, 13 October 2007 (UTC)

punishment as the right of the criminal[edit]

Hannah Arendt, in the Origins of Totalitarianism, referred without a citation (unusual for her) that "the ancients" viewed punishment as the right of the criminal. I would like to know where sources for this assesrtion might be found. It is a concept with, I think, profound implications. 04:06, 13 October 2007 (UTC)

Could you, perhaps, quote the original? I'm having trouble making sense of what exactly the phrase is supposed to mean, as you have presented it. -- 17:26, 13 October 2007 (UTC)
I haven't read Origins of Totalitarianism, but I'd guess the reference might be to one of the later arguments in Plato's Gorgias. Davidreed 16:14, 14 October 2007 (UTC)

Town Commons of Tarboro NC (Again) New[edit]

I have found more information about the Tarboro,NC Town Commons. Besides the one in Boston, MA it is the only town common that was "officially" "federally-chartered" Town Common in America. The lay out of the Town Common is very large and unique. With memorials, art structures on the commons near the heart of downtown. The Tarboro Town Commons host festivals, concerts and other events. When I went there, the many different old trees are nature at its best for nature lovers and land is very well taking care of. I like that the Tarboro NC Town Common can remind you of many other places in one, such as Vienna in one area, and looking at another part of the Town Commons some of the old very detailed buildings can give you an 1800's feeling. One area of the Town Common reminds me of New York's Central Park with the big tall glass standing building(formerly called)the Carolina Telephone & Telegraph Headquarters Buiding,standing tall near the Town Commons is great! A lot of historic things happened in the Tarboro Town Common such as George Washington trip here, and more historic trivia I can't name. Some sources that help me is the book ECHOES OF EDGECOMBE COUNTY 1860-1940 version, local historians and going there in person. And Thank you Wikipedia people too! This 15-acre park is truly a great! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:08, 13 October 2007 (UTC)

Spain and Franco[edit]

Spain, it has been said, lived long under the shadow of the Civil War. What were the immediate and long-term implicationss of Franco's victory? Cryinggame 06:20, 13 October 2007 (UTC)

The immediate effect was that Spain lost close on a million people-300,000 killed in the War and another 400,000 forced into exile, some 10,000 of whom were later to die in Nazi concentration camps. In Spain itself many of those on the losing side ended up in prison, in concentration camps or in forced labour battalions, many of whom were employed in the construction of Franco's act of 'national atonement', the Valle de los Caidos, a project of worthy of the Pharoahs, in more senses than one. As late as 1975, the year of the Caudillo's death, political prisoners were still being executed, in a country where many lived as if they were under occupation by a foreign army.
In economic terms it took Spain many years to recover from the trauma and dislocation of the Civil War, and there was still food rationing as late as 1952. Such food that was available was of poor quality, with milk being watered down as a matter of course. Disease rates reached record levels. With poor diet came a high level of infant mortality, as much as 347 per 1000 in the province of Jaen alone in the year 1942. For some time the only growth industry was prostitution. The labour laws, moreover, were draconian, with strikes being treated as sabotage. In essence Spain was forced back into an earlier stage of economic development, with conditions for agricultural workers, who were not allowed to move around, little better than forms of serfdom.
The memory of the war was kept alive by the state in a triumphalist fashion that admitted of no reconciliation with the defeated. Peace, for Franco, was the continuation of war by other means. The manipulation of memory was a useful way, moreover, of keeping a fragile coalition of the right alive, by reminding them constantly of the dangers of a resurgence of the left. The mythology was sustained by the three pillars of the Francoist State: the Church, the Falange and the Army. All three were prone to compare the conflict with the earlier ages of the Spanish Crusades, the struggle against the Moors, ironic, really, when one considers that the victory of the right would hardly have been possible without the contribution of Franco's Moroccan veterans.
The whole apparatus, the institutionalisation of punishment, really only started to weaken in the early 1970s, when the Church began to rethink its own position as a result of encyclicals issued by Pope John XXIII. In September 1971 a joint assembly of Spanish bishops and priests published a declaration rejecting the old Civil War ideology, asking the Spanish people for forgiveness for failing to be 'true ministers of reconciliation.' The long day of revenge, and of Franco, was drawing to a close. Clio the Muse 02:13, 14 October 2007 (UTC)
So are we to believe that no positive effects came from Franco's rule? Richard Avery 11:43, 14 October 2007 (UTC)
It probably protected Spain from being invaded by the Germans. If a liberal government had been ruling Spain at the time of the runup to World War II, it would surely have been antagonistic to Nazi Germany. And there might even have been military action between Spain and Portugal. Corvus cornix 20:57, 14 October 2007 (UTC)
Ah, Richard, 'we' believe what our wit and intellect permits; I was addressing myself to a specific question in terms which I considered relevant There were indeed some people who drew positive benefits from Franco's rule, and you are certainly at liberty to define what those benefits were; but in general it was a time when Spain seemed to cling on to an uncomfortable past, which had the effect of isolating it from the main currents of European development. The way in which you have framed your question suggests a rhetorical intent, so I suspect you already have the outline of your own answer in mind. If I have misjudged you I apologise, without hesitation; and if you really are in search of further enlightenment I would refer you to the work of Paul Preston, in particular his superb Franco: A Biography and Juan Carlos: Steering Spain from Dictatorship to Democracy. Clio the Muse 23:14, 14 October 2007 (UTC)

Derby and Tories[edit]

Good morning. I'm in the process of writing a paper on the development of the British Conservative Party from the nineteenth century to the present day, and I would appreciate some expert help. What I am looking for at present is material on the significance of the Stanley, earls of Derby. Some background and references would be a great help. Thank you in advance. Richard Rayfield. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:37, 13 October 2007 (UTC)

A good and interesting area of research! You should begin with the general page on the Earl of Derby, the latter part of which deals with some of the people to whom you should give particular attention. The greatest of the Stanleys was, of course, Edward, the 14th Earl, who was Prime Minister three times; for the most part of 1852; from February 1858 to June 1859; and finally from June 1866 to February 1868. He is a sadly and unjustly neglected figure in Conservative Party history. So, too, is is son, Edward Stanley, 15th Earl of Derby. The family were one of the great politcal dynasties, serving in every cabinet from 1840 to 1940. They still hold the unique record of having the only father and son who have been Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary in the same cabinet. The 14th earl in particular had the reputation of being a first class public speaker, whom the historian T. B. Macaulay referred to as the best natural orator that he had ever heard. He was also a scholar of some magnitude, the only Prime Minister, so far as I am aware, to have produced his own translation of the Iliad. For references I would suggest Disraeli by R. Blake; A History of Conservative Politics, 1900-1996 by J. Charmley; The Diaries of Edward Henley Stanley, 15th Earl of Derby ed. by J. R. Vincent; and Salisbury: Victorian Titan by A Roberts. Good luck! Clio the Muse 01:15, 14 October 2007 (UTC)
David Cannadine, The decline and Fall of the British Aristocracy provides good context here. --Wetman 07:57, 14 October 2007 (UTC)
Yes, absolutely. I quite forgot that important reference. Clio the Muse 22:56, 14 October 2007 (UTC)


The article about millionaires talks about individuals, as in "high net worth individuals (HNWI)". However, it is likely that many millionaires are in fact married - and share household assets worth $1 Million or more with a spouse.

How are such individuals counted in the statistics presented? As two HNWI? Or, would household assets be divided equally between spouses - so that household net worth would have to exceed $2 Million before either spouse could be considered a millionaire?

Golferphil 13:50, 13 October 2007 (UTC)golferphil

The great difficulty with your question is that in most countries few people need to publish any details of their financial affairs, so that when articles about very rich people are written they are often a mass of speculation. With a few exceptions, almost no one knows who really owns something or what might have been borrowed on the security of it. Even large shareholdings in public companies aren't always what they seem. What exactly is in Ziggy Stardust's pre-nuptial agreement? Has Dr Jekyll handed over an asset (or a share in it) to his wife or his son, or has he done something else which affects its value? Usually, we just don't know. In many countries, the granting of probate to a Will leads to details being publicly available of someone's assets at death, and they can come as a surprise. A case which shows how badly speculation can go wrong is that of Robert Maxwell. Shortly before his death he was reported (as usual) to be a billionaire. In fact, he was insolvent. Xn4 18:11, 14 October 2007 (UTC)

Annual Budget of the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation[edit]

What is the annual budget for the NC SBI Foggirl 15:12, 13 October 2007 (UTC) I have to know for a report I am doing in Criminal Justice. Thank you.Foggirl 15:12, 13 October 2007 (UTC)

No Idea if I'm reading this correctly, but this page would suggest a little over $55 million. --YbborTalk 20:13, 13 October 2007 (UTC)


Is it true that philosophical idealism has almost won the argument, or are the political extremists and the satanists on the the side of materialism still managing to keep the dispute going? 18:15, 13 October 2007 (UTC)

email address removed to protect the innocent against spammers.
Here's a nice evasive answer: as soon as a philosophy 'wins the argument' it ceases to be philosophy. Other than that, I haven't a clue what you're on about. :) DirkvdM 18:37, 13 October 2007 (UTC)

According to the news - the satanists are still quite active - wars etc... 18:47, 13 October 2007 (UTC)

Satanists cannot be materialists, as they obviously believe in a soul. Don't believe everything you read in Chick comics -- Diletante 18:49, 13 October 2007 (UTC)
Actually, modernist "LaVeyan"-style Satanism has a minimum of spiritual beliefs, and is in some ways a combination of a philosophy of egotism with a name deliberately chosen to be shocking... AnonMoos 21:31, 13 October 2007 (UTC)

What, might I ask, is the 'argument' that idealism has almost won? I'm sorry, 79.66, I, too, find it difficult to understand your precise meaning here. I also find it odd that you seem to equate materialism with a peculiar combination of political extremism and satanism! Are idealists, then, incapable of extremism, or of satanism!? The point is that materialism and idealism are essentially twins, two ways of looking at the same problem. As such, they will always walk hand-in-hand. I think therefore I am; I am therefore I think. Clio the Muse 23:36, 13 October 2007 (UTC)

I just love the fact that the OP equates materialists with Satanists, rather than the reverse (which is more accurate: LaVeyan Satanists are materialists). Not all (nor even most) materialists are Satanists. I would point to our article on begging the question.
I've heard our anon's point made by certain members of Fundamentalist Churches, that their version of Idealism has "won" over materialism, and only a few hold-outs are still arguing for it. It's a form of "framing" an argument, by making the other side look like they've already lost to bolster their own sides' views. -- Kesh 20:51, 14 October 2007 (UTC)

Voluntarism with Mao[edit]

I am wondering how the term of Voluntarism connects with Mao, and how he used this philosophy. The articles on both Mao and Voluntarism don't mention each other, but I know this concept was important in Mao's China. Thanks- 18:22, 13 October 2007 (UTC)

Yes, it certainly was important. The text you should look for, if you are looking for a text, is The Politcal Thought of Mao Tse-Tung by Stuart Schram. It was Mao's belief that there was a specifically Chinese road to socialism, though in pursuit of that road he effectively turned the classic doctrines of Marxist materialism inside out, with quite disastrous consequences for China and the Chinese people.
You see, in terms of economic development and industrial resources, China of the mid-twentieth century was about as far removed from that stage of advanced historical development that Karl Marx had believed to be the essential precursor of a successful revolution. Short of many natural resources it possessed one thing in abundence-people. And it was people who were to be the raw material in Mao's great experiment. Now, though Lenin had always stressed that there was a subjective element to the whole revolutionary process, that it was an act of political consciousness, Mao took this subjectivity to what might be described as an anti-materialist extreme. Distrustful of experts and obstacles, distrustful of bureaucracy, he placed his greatest intellectual emphasis on achieving goals by an 'act of faith' alone; that even the most difficult things were not beyond the power of will. In other words, it was the will of the people, the power of the masses, that would enable the Chinese to catch up with the Soviets and the advanced industrial powers of the west.
This, in essence, is the key to the Great Leap Forward. By this Mao hoped that steel production would increase if the energy and will of the whole nation could simply be directed towards that particular end, regardless of technical and practical objections. Revolutionary zeal would be enough. Of course it was not. The steel that was produced was of poor quality and the neglect of other areas of the economy, agriculture in particular, was to create one of the worst man-made famines in the whole course of Chinese history. Despite this Mao did not abandon his belief in revolutionary spontaneity, which was to emerge once again, with equally disastrous consequences, in the Cultural Revolution.
In thinking of the deleterious effects of these forms of anti-materialist and, it might be said, anti-Marxist voluntarism you might also wish to consider the actions of Pol Pot, Mao's greatest and most murderous disciple. Clio the Muse 23:19, 13 October 2007 (UTC)

I need help understanding the short story named "The Birthmark." written by Nathaniel Hawthorne[edit]

Insert non-formatted text here—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Okay, what is it you specifically need help with? Keep in mind that while we will not do your homework for you, we will attempt to help you out if you have any specific misunderstandings that you can demonstrate you've already tried to work through on your own. What is it specifically you're having difficulty with? the story itself is fairly straightforward, I assume it's his message and/or symbolism?--YbborTalk 20:05, 13 October 2007 (UTC)

Nigel Hawthorne and Jaques Loussier[edit]

anyone else think they look alike? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:56, 13 October 2007 (UTC)

Well yes a little (in their photos on wikipedia), but i'm not certain this warrants a query on the reference desk. ny156uk 02:39, 14 October 2007 (UTC)
Is this any way related to the previous question, about Nathaniel Hawthorne? -- JackofOz 02:42, 14 October 2007 (UTC)
Yes and no. The names are similar though-- 19:44, 14 October 2007 (UTC)