Saturday, May 30, 2009

Essays on Consciousness and Interpretation by J.N. Mohanty

Essays on Consciousness and Interpretation
Edited with an Introduction by Tara Chatterjee
Mohanty and Tara Chatterjee Oxford University Press
Add to Cart ISBN13: 9780195698510 ISBN10: 0195698517 Hardback, 168 pages
Feb 2009, Not Yet Published Price:$39.95 (06)
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J.N. Mohanty is one of the most distinguished philosophers India has produced in recent years. Written mostly in the 21st century, this collection deals with the nature of consciousness and its interpretation. Starting from the concept of consciousness as an event in time, he investigates the notion of consciousness as a social phenomenon. The temporality and historicity of consciousness are also emphasized. He examines experiences from various walks of life, from religion to quantum physics, from interpretation of perception to that of sacred Indian texts to demonstrate his theory. The introduction locates Mohanty's work in the larger context of philosophical discourses in the West and India. Product Details 168 pages; ISBN13: 978-0-19-569851-0 ISBN10: 0-19-569851-7 About the Author(s) J.N. Mohanty is Professor (Retd), Department of Philosophy, Temple University, Philadelphia

Books › "Jitendra Nath Mohanty" Did you mean: jitendranath mohanty Showing 7 Results
Reason and Tradition in Indian Thought: An Essay on the Nature of Indian Philosophical Thinking by Jitendra Nath Mohanty (Hardcover - Feb 11, 1993) Buy new: $210.00 27 Used & new from $81.74
The Concept of Intentiionality by Jitendra Nath Mohanty (Hardcover - Jan 1, 1972) 1 Used & new from $178.60
The Concept of Intentionality by Jitendra Nath Mohanty (Hardcover - 1972) 1 Used & new from $39.95
The Concept of Intentionality (Modern Concepts of Philosophy) by Jitendra Nath Mohanty (Hardcover - Jan 1, 1972) 2 Used & new from $125.00
Phenomenology on Kant, German Idealism, Hermeneutics and Logic - Philosphical Essays in Honor of Thomas M. Seebohm (Contributions To Phenomenology) by Joseph J. Kockelmans and Jitendra Nath Mohanty (Hardcover - May 1, 2000) Buy new: $172.00 23 Used & new from $152.75
Theory and Practice in Indian Philosophy by Jitendra Nath Mohanty (Paperback - 1998) 1 Used & new from $25.30
The concept of intentionality, (A monograph in modern concepts of philosophy, 8) by Jitendra Nath Mohanty (Hardcover - 1972)

Results for "jitendranath mohanty" (corrected from "jitendra nath mohanty")
Language, Reality and Analysis: Essays on Indian Philosophy (Indian Thought and Culture, Vol 1) by Jitendranath Mohanty, G. Mishra, and J. N. Mohanty (Hardcover - Aug 1, 1997)
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Phenomenology - East and West: Essays in Honor of J.N. Mohanty (Contributions To Phenomenology) by F.M. Kirkland and D.P. Chattopadhyaya (Hardcover - Jan 31, 1993)
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Between Two Worlds: East and West: An Autobiography by J. N. Mohanty (Hardcover - Aug 22, 2002) 4 Used & new from $96.71
Phenomenology and Indian Philosophy by D. P. Chattopadhyaya, Lester Embree, and Jitendranath Mohanty (Hardcover - Dec 1992) Buy new: $49.50 3 Used & new from $45.89
Edmund Husserl's theory of meaning (Phaenomenologica) by Jitendranath Mohanty (Unknown Binding - 1969) 1 Used & new from $49.90
Phenomenology and the Formal Sciences (Contributions To Phenomenology) by Thomas M. Seebohm, Dagfinn Føllesdal, and J.N. Mohanty (Hardcover - Nov 30, 1991) Buy new: $202.00 18 Used & new from $170.08
Classical Indian Philosophy by Jitendranath/ Mohanty, J. N. Mohanty (Hardcover - 1999)
The Self and Its Other by Jitendranath/ Mohanty, J. N. Mohanty (Paperback - 2001)
Explorations in Philosophy: Indian Philosophy by Jitendranath; Mohanty, J.N.; Gupta, Bina Mohanty (Paperback - 2001)
Relativism, Suffering and Beyond: Essays in Memory of Bimal K. Matilal by P. Bilimoria, Jitendranath Mohanty, Purusottama Bilimoria J. N. Mohanty (Paperback - 1997)
Nicolai Hartmann and Alfred North Whitehead;: A study in recent platonism by Jitendranath Mohanty (Unknown Binding - 1957)
The Empirical and the Transcendental by Bina Gupta (Hardcover - Aug 16, 2000) Buy new: $100.00 33 Used & new from $5.37
Essays on Consciousness and Interpretation by J. N. Mohanty (edited with an Introduction by Tara Chatterjea) (Oxford University Press, 2009, forthcoming)

For Hartmann, the Dasein-Sosein distinction is not quite the same as real-ideal distinction

Theory and History of Ontology. A Resource Guide for Philosophers
Nicolai Hartmann is only one of the many great figures of the past that have lapsed into oblivion, as witnessed by the well-known cases of Brentano, Peirce and Whitehead. From Roberto Poli - Foreword to Axiomathes - Vol. 12 Nos. 3-4 2001, Special Issue: The legacy of Nicolai Hartmann (1882-1950).

"How to get at the basis of Hartmann's ontology? Let us sketch the superstructure, and then descend into the depths of the foundation. Besides the two primary spheres, there are two secondary spheres of being — the spheres of 'logic' and 'knowledge'. These are mid-way spheres inasmuch as they share the categories of both the primary spheres. (Compare Whitehead's 'hybrid' entities.)

Following the Aristotelian tradition, Hartmann takes ontology as the science of beings as beings. Ontology is concerned with what first makes beings beings. The word "Sein" gives rise to the illusion, as if there is some entity or attribute corresponding to it, something over and above, may be, underlying or pervading the various beings. Hartmann rejects this thought. A science of beings as beings is not a science of any such entity or attribute as Sein. On the other hand, it can only be a science which lays bare the various spheres of being along with their general and special categories and inter-categorial (hence, inter-sphere) relations. Hence, ontology becomes a doctrine of categories, a "Kategorienlehre".

To keep these primary and secondary spheres along with their general and special categories before the mind, in their distinctions as well as in their interrelations, is essential for an understanding of Hartmann's ontology. Hartmann displays great acumen in drawing these distinctions and in keeping clearly apart what he considers to be distinct. Through these distinctions, he claims to have the clue in hand for avoiding many of the errors of the traditional ontologies.

There are two primary spheres of being : the real and the ideal. The real consists of the chain of temporal events. The structure of the real sphere is a stratification of various levels : the material, vital, psychical and spiritual. The stratification consists in the relation of "founding". The higher level is "founded" on the lower. The lower provides the basis for the higher. The real sphere has its general categories, those which determine the entire sphere, irrespective of the differences of strata. Such categories are, for example, the modal categories. But each stratum of reality has also its own special categories. The relation in which two levels of reality stand I o each other is concretely illustrated in the relation in whit l lie categories of the

The key to this entire discussion lies in the formulation of the nature of the ideal sphere. In setting aside what he calls the errors of tradition, Hartmann shows here his capacity at its best." pp. 116-117. From: Jitendra Nath Mohanty. Phenomenology and ontology. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff 1970 - Chapter XI. A recent criticism of the foundations of Nicolai Hartmann's ontology - pp. 115-128.

"... Hartmann regards ontology to be concerned with: (1) the two aspects ("moments") of being: Dasein and Sosein, or that and what; (2) the two spheres of being: real and ideal; and (3) the modalities of being: actuality, possibility, and necessity.

One of the errors of phenomenology — including both Husserl's and Scheler's — is that when it regards itself as investigation into essences, as distinguished from existence (as a consequence of eidetic reduction), it forgets that essences also have their Dasein (existence) and their Sosein, that Dasein is not as such real existence. There is also, as with essences and mathematical idealities such as numbers, and values, ideal Dasein. Husserl does sometimes insist that essences are a kind of objects sui generis, so it may be just right to interpret eidetic reduction not as abstracting from existence, but as abstracting from real existence. But, then there is the curious consequence that essences have both real and ideal existence (when they are taken in their purity). Hartmann seems to have wavered on this question. In his early work Grundzüge einer Metaphysik der Erkenntnis, he denied existence and individuality to ideal entities, but still ascribed to them Ansichsein, intrinsic being. In Die Grundlegung der Ontologie, he ascribed existence to them, but that only means he was taking "existence" and "Ansichsein" as being the same.

So, for Hartmann, the Dasein-Sosein distinction is not quite the same as real-ideal distinction. In addition, Hartmann insisted that some Soseins are "neutral" as against both real and ideal existence: "roundness" belongs to a real spherical ball as well as a geometrical circle.

If concerns (1) and (2) do not coincide, it is also a mistake to collapse (2) with (3). The latter mistake is committed by those who hold that reality is the domain of all that is actual, while essences are pure possibilities. A corollary of this view is that truths about reality (i.e., about what is actual) are contingent, whereas truths about essences (i.e., about pure possibilities) are necessary. This is a widely held view, and one of Hartmann's important theses is that this view is based on an inadequate analysis of modal concepts.

Hence the importance of modal concepts in Hartmann's thinking. It is only the modal concepts as pertaining to a sphere of being, which explicate the precise mode of being of that sphere. In other words, Hartmann held that while in an important sense we cannot say much about what "real existence" (or "ideal existence") consists in, the best we can do in this regard is to look at how the concepts of "possibility" "actuality," and "necessity" (and their opposites) behave with regard to the domain of reality (or, with regard to the domain of ideality). So we shall turn to his modal theory, but before I do that, perhaps a quick sketch of what he counts as belonging to the two domains would be in order.

The real world is a stratified structure, on Hartmann's view, with nonliving matter at the base, living organisms founded on it, mental reality founded on organic life, and spirit or Geist (including society and all social formations) at the apex. Each of these strata has its own categorial structure, and the entire domain of reality also has certain common structures.

The domain of idealities consists of: mathematical entities (such as numbers) , essences, and values. None of the idealities is spatiotemporally individuated. An ideality maybe instantiated or be an ingredient in many real individuals, without surrendering its own identity.

Besides these two primary spheres of being, Hartmann also recognized two intermediate (or hybrid) spheres: those of logic and cognition. With this brief sketch, let us look at his modal theory worked out in Möglichkeit and Wirklichkeit." From: Jitendra Nath Mohanty - Phenomenology. Between essentialism and transcendental philosophy - Chapter 3: Nicolia Hartmann's phenomenological ontology - Evanston, Northwestern University Press, 1997 pp. 26-27.

"In his Möglichkeit und Wirklichkeit (Berlin 1937, 2nd. ed. 1949), Hartmann gives us an ontological theory of the modes. He starts from a distinction between the modes of the various spheres of being, primary and secondary. The two primary spheres of being, according to his ontology, are the real and the ideal. The two secondary spheres are those of logic and knowledge. The modes of the real world are accordingly contrasted with those of the ideal realm; the modes of the realm of logic are again different from those of knowledge. The modal doctrine is thereby divided into four parts. But there must be also a part on the relations between these different spheres.

Traditional discussion of the problem of modality did not see clearly through these distinctions. This gives to Hartmann's treatment of the problem its originality. Further, these modes of the various spheres are distinguished from the naive day to day consciousness of modality.

The ontological point of view requires specification. For this purpose, we are to distinguish between three different approaches to the problem of modality:

First, it is possible to consider the modalities as criteria for classifying all objects in the three groups, those that are merely possible, those that are both possible and actual, and those that are possible, actual and also necessary.

Secondly, it is possible to consider the modes as if they were different stages of a process. Thus, it may be said that a thing first becomes possible, then is made actual, and further may or may not be necessary. The process however may not be carried to the end; what is possible may never be actualised.

Thirdly, the modes may be taken neither as criteria nor as stages of a process, but as the constituent aspects of the existent or the subsistent, as the case may be. This is the point of view which we may call the critical point of view, because we may trace it to Kant. Kant starts from the given object of experience and then asks how the same is possible, actual and necessary.

Hartmann rejects the first two approaches. Modes are for him neither criteria nor stages, but the most primary characteristics of the being of anything. As such, given an object of experience, we can ask: what makes it possible? What makes it actual? What makes it necessary?

Thus in an important sense, Hartmann's treatment of the problem is similar to Kant's, even though Kant's own solutions are rejected by Hartmann. For Kant, the given is possible when considered in relation to its form and actual when considered in relation to its matter. Hartmann finds this not only inadequate but also misleading; to this however we shall turn later on.

The second approach is attributed to Aristotle. Both the first and the second approaches attribute to the merely possible which is not 'or has not yet become actual' a sort of ghostly existence — a position in between being and non-being. Aristotle's doctrine of dynamis and energia is further criticised as an illegitimate extension of the categories of the sphere of organic being to the entire domain of being. Further, if a prior stage of mere possibility is admitted, the question arises as to what must be added to it in order to render it actual. Kant had shown that any answer to this question is absurd. For, that which must be so added, argued Kant, must be other than the possible, that is to say, must be impossible! (1)

As such, we come back to the critical formulation of the question. This is one of the points where we begin to see the influence of Kant on Hartmann's ontology which claims the name of critical ontology." pp. 181-182. (1) I. Kant, Kritik der reinen Vernunft, WW III p. 206, hg. v. Ernst Cassirer. From: Jitendra Nath Mohanty - Remarks on Nicolai Hartmann's modal doctrine - Kant-Studien 54, 1963, pp. 181-187.

Between Two Worlds, East and West: An Autobiography: Mohanty ... Phenomenology and Indian Philosophy: D. P. ... Reason and Tradition in Indian Thought: An Essay on the Nature of Indian Philosophical Thinking by Jitendra Nath Mohanty Essays on Consciousness and Interpretation by J. N. Mohanty (edited with an Introduction by Tara Chatterjea) (Oxford University Press, 2009, forthcoming)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The furniture of the universe does not rely upon us for existence or for essence

Realism Through the Eyes of Anti-Realism
from Larval Subjects by larvalsubjects
After grading all day and making substantial progress (hopefully I’ll be done tomorrow, yay!), I sat down and read the introduction and first chapter of Lee Braver’s A Thing of This World: A History of Continental Anti-Realism. Although I am of the realist orientation myself, I can already tell that this book will be deeply valuable to my own philosophical project. [...] What I do not endorse is the anti-realist thesis that all objects are constituted (in the non-Berkeleyian sense) by mind or some other agency like culture.
One final point, Braver’s initial description of the realist’s metaphysical thesis help to distinguish different orientations among Speculative Realist orientations of contemporary realism. The realist, as Braver describes her, is committed to the thesis that there are objects that are not dependent on humans. As Roy Bhaskar and Quentin Meillassoux so beautifully put it, we must conceive a world without humans, a sort of wild open. However, Braver then goes on to distinguish between trivial dependent entities like beliefs and real independent entities. Attitudes towards this distinction actually define something of a fault line among Speculative Realists. Speculative Realists like Ray Brassier, Nick Srinicek, and perhaps Quentin Meillassoux (I can’t speak to Iain Hamilton Grant’s Position here) would wholeheartedly endorse Braver’s description. To be real, for these realists, is to be independent of humans. Object-Oriented realists such as myself, Graham Harman, and Bruno Latour adopt a more egalitarian ontological position. Our view is not that the puff of matter on the other side of the universe is somehow more real than the United States (an entity dependent on humans). Rather, the Object-Oriented Philosophies are united around the thesis of a flat ontology in which there is no hierarchy of being or modernist distinction between culture and nature. There is just being. Being is pluralistic and differential, coming in many kinds and flavors, but it is no less real for all that. [...]

In A Realist Theory of Science, Roy Bhaskar develops a realist metaphysics of science and theory of inquiry that both integrates the mind independence of objects and integrates the findings of philosophers of science like Kuhn, Feyerabend, Foucault, etc., that accentuate the role that politics, history, the social, power, training, etc., play in the process of inquiry. For Bhaskar, scientists aren’t born but must be built. They are the result of an ontogeny. However, Bhaskar argues, this ontogenesis of scientists, while resembling certain aspects of anti-realism, does not lead to the anti-realist conclusion that we can never “grasp a bit of the real” through scientific inquiry.

In my own case, my ontology forbids or prohibits anything like a simplistic correspondence theory of truth based on a sort of mirroring between world and object. The basic principle of my ontology– what I call the Ontic Principle –states that there is no difference that does not make a difference. To be, I hold, is to make a difference. Not necessarily to you or me or anyone else (I’m a realist, after all), and not necessarily to any other object in the universe (the object could be completely unrelated), but nonetheless a difference in some manner, way or form is made in being. To be is to act. From this principle follows what I call “Latour’s Principle”. Latour’s Principle states that there is no transportation without translation, or that no object is ever simply a vehicle for another difference. “Transportation”, of course, refers to the transport of difference from one object to another. “Translation” here should be understood in terms closer to the translation of DNA into RNA, than the translation of something into another language.

To say that there is no transportation without translation is to say that there is no difference imposed on another entity wherein the target or receiving entity does not contribute its own differences translating the difference from the source object (cf. my recent post on Category Theory). My skin does not simply transport sunlight as I weed my garden, but rather it translates that sunlight, creating a dark pigment that constitutes a tan. Likewise with the relation between mind and world. In the relation between mind and world, just as in the case of any other relation between objects, there is a translation that takes place that cannot be characterized as a simple transport of the difference embodied in the object to the mind as a simple wax table. [...]

In a post-quantum, post-Darwinian world it is difficult to know what it could possibly mean to claim that there is a totality of all objects, for we have learned that new types of objects come into being at both the atomic level and at the species level. Indeed, if we go with Gould’s biological orientation, our ontology becomes even more exotic, including a variety of different ontological levels differing in scale and temporally individuating themselves (i.e., differing from themselves) in natural history.

But setting aside appeals to history, we can refer to the positions of various realists as well. Realists such as Deleuze and DeLanda would object to this thesis on the grounds of systems thought, as assemblages of objects themselves, in turn, form objects that possess their own properties. As a result, there are no grounds on which there could ever be a complete catalog of beings. Moreover, this thesis seems to be premised on the idea that beings or entities are unchanging, yet if beings or entities are processes, events, verbs or becomings– as most current evidence seems to suggest –this thesis seems to be significantly challenged. In the case of my ontology, such a thesis couldn’t possibly hold by virtue of Latour’s Principle.

Like Leibniz’s universe where each monad represents the entirety of the universe from a particular point of view, Latour’s Principle entails a sort of ontological relativity that is ontological (and not simply epistemological). That is, quoting Deleuze, it entails a Truth of Relativity rather than a Relativity of Truth. Yet this Truth of Relativity holds not simply for subject-world relations, but for any object-object relation. My skin grasps the sun from a particular point of view and under a particular translation. Finally, in the case of Graham’s metaphysics, the infinitely withdrawn nature of objects that only touch through a sort of vicarious causation undermines the possibility of a privileged point of view on the universe. Another Leibnizian.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Sri Aurobindo's synthesis of the Indian tradition

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This webpage contains information on Indian Psychology relatedconferences, seminars, workshops, lectures, courses, etc.
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National Conference on Indian Psychology: Psychology, Culture and the Ideal of Human Unity
October 1-4, 2009 Department of Psychology University of Delhi, Further information 6:01 PM

Two Introductory Courses in Indian Psychology organised by Indian Psychology Institute- "Pondicherry course": 8-day intensive + 6 weekends , all in Pondicherry- "Delhi course": 8-day intensive in Pondicherry + 6 weekends in Delhi 8-day intensive: June 7-14, 2009 6 weekends: August, Sept, Nov, Dec 2009; Feb, March 2010 Further information

Two Courses Indian Psychology
Academic year 2009 - 2010

These two courses will focus on the needs of post-graduate students, teachers and professionals in Psychology and related subjects, who want to get a basic understanding of Indian approaches to Psychology. They offer an introduction to Indian Psychology, based on the work of Sri Aurobindo, and cover topics like philosophical background; self and personality; cognition and modes of knowing; motivation and the aim of life; emotions and attitudes; individual change and development; relationships; professional work involving psychology (education, therapy, organisational psychology, etc.); research methodologies.

Information transfer is, however, only one aspect of these courses. The central focus is on increasing one's self-knowledge, and on developing those psychological skills and attitudes that help in one's personal growth. It is, after all, only to the extent that one understands one's own self and is able to apply that understanding in life, that one can help others.

More and more people are becoming aware of the treasures which the Indian tradition can contribute to our psychological understanding of human nature. Indian literature, philosophy and yoga are based on a very deep insight in life and how it unfolds on this planet, and Indian approaches to psychology can add depth and meaning to psychological theory as well as practice. The life-affirming spirituality that is the very basis of the Indian civilization is not only essential for our own individual happiness, but also for the harmonious evolution of the global civilization. In theoretical fields as well as in applications like counselling, psychotherapy and education, Indian approaches to psychology are not only more in harmony with the Indian culture but also with human nature in general, so that they can play a crucial role in the future of the whole of humanity. In each of these courses we will try to develop a genuinely integral approach to psychology, for which we will base ourselves largely on Sri Aurobindo's synthesis of the Indian tradition, though other sources will be brought in when needed.

Content and structure of the courses
The basic concepts and processes that are part of Indian psychology will be explained in lectures and discussion groups that are based on an intense, direct interaction with the participants. To the extent possible we will have, besides the larger groups, also small-group and individual sessions.
An attempt will be made to help the participants experience the core concepts and processes that come up in the lectures, and to explore, both collectively and individually, how they can be used for one's personal growth as well as in one's professional work.
During the course the participants are required to take up one or more research projects in any area of Indian psychology of their choice. These largely self-directed projects will involve besides literature study, detached self-observation and other yoga-based research methodologies.
Maintaining a diary will be part of the course structure.

Friday, May 01, 2009

All those small little local interactions through which something like social structure emerges

Entropy and Locality from Larval Subjects by larvalsubjects

Perhaps one of the greatest achievements of Western philosophy and science has been the so-called “locality hypothesis”. The locality hypothesis, articulated nicely in Lucretius’ axiom that “nothing can come from nothing”, is roughly the thesis that things must touch or interact to affect one another. Although this hypothesis has now been called into question in the highly specific and strange(!) case of quantum entanglement where particles at very great distances appear to immediately influence one another in a way that exceeds the speed of light (thereby excluding the possibility of any information exchange), this hypothesis has been extremely fruitful in shedding light on the workings of the world. If the locality hypothesis is kept firmly in mind, it significantly changes the way you conceive of the world about you.

For example, where before it might not have ever occurred to you to consider how vision is possible, you now wonder what might allow you to see something over there, here. There must be some interaction with your eyes and the object you see, but what is that interaction? The transfer of photons of light, of course. Yet now you see that what you see as simultaneous to you is not, in fact, simultaneous as light takes time to travel. The world becomes a very strange place when the locality hypothesis is kept in mind.

The problem with explanations of social phenomena through things like “social forces”, “power”, “social structures”, “ideology”, etc., is that it black boxes the entropy reducing mechanisms, the local interactions, that are the very things to be explained. In moving in an overly hasty fashion to explanation it believes itself to have explained what it sought to understand when instead it has simply given a name to the phenomenon. As a result, it denies itself an insight into all those small little local interactions through which something like social structure emerges, foreclosing the means to change the forms of social organization it would like to change.

More Agamben Notes: Il sacramento del linguaggio, §§7-12 from An und für sich by Adam Kotsko

In Greek, the link between faithfulness and the oath is even closer, as pistis could often serve as a synonym for horkos. The link with personal fidelity makes sense of the dual sense of faith (active and passive, given and received) — because faith is a bond. Bringing in the close link in Latin between fides and credere, which as he notes was to have a huge influence in Christian theology, he claims that etymologically credere meant “to give one’s *kred,” meaning a promise of protection that binds two people in a bond of fidelity. Fides also took on an important role in international law, modelled on the fides between individuals — a city could capitulate to a conquerer and swear fealty, leading to more merciful treatment. In every case, what’s at stake in fides is the correspondence between word and action.

And again, as Dumezil has demonstrated in his study of archaic Roman institutions, fides or the oath is the origin of religion rather than being grounded in religion. The oath is where our concepts of law and religion, as well as moral and social, break down — and so we don’t need to bring in some concept of the “pre-juridical” that would be solely religious, but rather to call into question our entire notions of religious and juridical on the basis of the oath.

A footnote attempts to dispel the notion that the separation between human and divine law was an ancient principle in Roman and Greek law by showing that scholars have missed the irony in the passages from Tacitus and Plato usually brought forward in support of that view. [This footnote was pretty amusing, but it's hard to capture in this format.]