9 Comments

  1. Joseph Jedwab
    June 27, 2009 @ 1:17 pm

    I mean that ‘caritas’ means love. But the word ‘love’ is ambiguous. So ‘caritas’ means love but only in a certain sense of the word ‘love’. Remember C S Lewis’ four loves: eros, storge, philos, and agape.

    I think, as Richard uses the word, it involves love of another person, it may also involve self-love, but we don’t know this from what Richard says.

    If you agree that ‘caritas’ means love, then you should also agree that it doesn’t mean a disposition to love. Compare: ‘cogito’ means thinking, not a disposition to think.

    I claimed that love is partly dispositional. It involves belief and desire, which are dispositions. And you can love someone even if there is no mental activity going on in you (e.g. in deep dreamless sleep). But it is also a relation. Love of another couldn’t exist without the lover and the other who is beloved. But a disposition to love another could exist without that other. So love is not itself a disposition to love.

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  2. Scott
    June 26, 2009 @ 4:49 pm

    Couldn’t a ‘disposition to love’ be satisfied by an act of loving oneself _and_ the act of loving another person? Or, are you just restricting what satisfies caritas, that is, loving-another-person?

    By “a certain kind of love” do you mean (1) a disposition to love another person (and not a disposition to love without reference to the object of love being oneself or another person), or (2) the act of loving another person?

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  3. Joseph Jedwab
    June 26, 2009 @ 8:30 am

    There’s a distinction to make between a disposition and its characteristic manifestation. But my point is simpler than that. It’s just that caritas is love of a certain kind, rather than the disposition to love. This point holds even if love is itself a disposition or dispositional.

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  4. Scott
    June 25, 2009 @ 5:39 pm

    Joseph wrote:

    <I don’t think caritas is a disposition to love <another person, but is rather the love itself of <another person.

    Is the distinction here between a disposition and an (episodic) action?

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  5. Joseph Jedwab
    June 25, 2009 @ 2:26 pm

    Someone can love herself. Indeed, I think it is important for the good life that one does so.

    In the ordinary sense of charity, I don’t see why someone can’t exercise charity towards himself. I suppose this would have to be in some way indirect though. For example, if a pastor gives money to his church and part of that goes towards his own cost of living, perhaps we could say he has exercised charity towards himself.

    But if I’m right about the way Richard uses the word ‘caritas’, then, in his sense, no: by definition, it requires love of another person.

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  6. JT Paasch
    June 24, 2009 @ 7:29 pm

    Good stuff Joseph.

    Do you think someone can be charitable towards themselves?

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  7. Joseph Jedwab
    June 16, 2009 @ 1:46 pm

    I’m sorry to take so long to get on this. But here are some belated comments:

    1. It seems to me Richard thinks by definition, caritas is love of another person. So that means the question shouldn’t be: why does caritas require love of another person? But rather it should be: why does a divine being, in virtue of being perfect, essentially have caritas?

    2. Relatedly, I don’t think caritas is a disposition to love another person, but is rather the love itself of another person. I would agree, though, that at least in us, love is a dispositional relation. Love of another person involves belief that the beloved is good in some way and desire for the well being of the beloved for her own sake not only for the sake of the lover. The belief and desire are dispositional states. You can believe and desire things even when there is no consciously mental activity going on in you. Finally, there is nothing in love itself that requires conscious mental activity. You can love someone even where there is no experience going on in you or no intentional action you are doing (e.g. in deep dreamless sleep). But love does involve a disposition at least to intentional actions of certain kinds.

    From this we can see why Richard says no one has charity on the basis of self-love. It’s consistent with this that no one has charity unless he has self-love. Indeed, it’s hard to see how to make sense of the command to love your neighbour as yourself unless you do love yourself.

    3. Also, I think Richard wants to speak of caritas being perfect rather than as you have in T4 and T5, the person who has caritas being perfect only if the love is exercised on another.

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  8. JT Paasch
    June 2, 2009 @ 5:42 pm

    I agree Palamas. If I still haven’t forgiven myself for missing that last minute jump shot at the state championship in my senior year, surely I’m not perfect yet.

    One of the big questions I have for Ricardo St. Vick is this: why wouldn’t self-love satisfy the perfection requirement?

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  9. Palamas
    May 26, 2009 @ 11:38 am

    Is there any hint that Richard also believes “self-love” to be a necessary criterion of being perfect? For suppose that some person X is disposed to love Y and that that love manifests itself, but X is not disposed to love X and, of course, that love does not manifest itself.

    I think person X would not be perfect. Perfection also seems to necessitate “self-love.” That is, a perfect being cannot love others and not love itself or even hate itself.

    And so, perhaps, Richard should have said

    “no one is properly said to have charity [ONLY] on the basis of his own private love of himself.”

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