The Inquisitor's Manual

Semiotic Studies in Photography, Philosophy, Ethics and Education


Experimental Studies of the Affordances of the Camera, Photography and Pictures and the Relevance of these Affordances for Educational, Ethical, Metaphysical and Theological Semiosic Reflection

Copyright 2011 Jude Chua Soo Meng

New working paper

9Sep2014_Designing the Law


Incomplete manuscript with incomplete referencing for comments.



Designing the “Law”: Overcoming Textolatry in Natural Law and Natural Rights (1980)


Jude Chua Soo Meng


In this paper I  tried to make the case that the practice of photography can be employed to overcome, to borrow Vilem Flusser, a kind of weak textolatry inherent in legal texts, such as in Natural Law and Natural Rights (1980) by John Finnis.  By putting the photographer-theorist back into the world of sense and by “presence-ing” him, the practice of photography can re-situate him ontologically and semiotically into that life-world of practical thinking in which the natural law shows.  It is this grasp of the natural law that is the methodological center-piece in the Design of the law in the philosophy of law, without which Natural Law and Natural Rights (1980) and the new natural law tradition with it appears theoretically vacuous.  


push processing

I pushed process my ilford hp5 400 and developed it for 800 iso (development time 13:30 min) and it’s turned out great, much finer grain. will post some samples

Vilem Flusser

…is quite something.


Check out his A Philosophy of Photography.  Worth a look indeed.

Signs and Media publication

I will be having a paper on photography and new natural law theory appearing in this peer reviewed journal called Signs and Media published by the Institute for Studies in Media and Semiotics, at Sichuan University, China.

Will add a link on the widget when I get news of the offprint.


I think that for the next chapter I need to put out a retraction regarding some earlier musings about the value of the asethetic studium.

I think I overstated the lack of significance of the attractive studium. I should rather have made a distinction between a mere attractive (colorful) preferred image, and the other colorful, intelligible photo. beautiful.

I would still maintain that white and black works better, not that it disregards the beautiful, which it does not, but that it helps us be less obsessed with the beautiful. so that the other intelligible goods can show, and puncture (punctum) us

good piece by Eric Kim

Next paper

Here is the General idea for the next chapter
The Guardian Angel

our capacity for intuition of first principles, incl by way of syndersis, is actually a kind of angelic power, says Aquinas

in a sense we have, besides the powers of ratiocination proper to us qua humans, some residues of the angelic powers of intuition.

and it is possible that these first principles direct us to basic goods, as well as the intentions of what are inferred secondary principles

i think its true. these would of course be self evident and are henc e a kind of first principle. there might be a term for these. call these quasi first principles. maybe there can be a better term.

taking pictures sometimes surfaces and emerges these intuitions

philosophical raciocinnation can then seek to derive or demonstrate these very same principles. here we have a kind preferential option for the poorly displaying. obviuosly the intuition of quasi first principles cannot be as rigorous or clear and distinct as the intuitionof the fpprs, and are by their very nature prone to error, being the least manifest.

new equipment and new thoughts

bought some new equipment
so that i can study bw photography and develop my philosophy of photography even more seriously
some where tradein exchanges of stuff i dunt need

all compatible with my Leica II screwmount

a leitz afga daylight development tank
an nickel ALBON film cutting template
couple of FILCA film cassettes
a Watson 66B daylight film loader
a FIKUS variable hood (sold my VALOO at a profit)
an A36 clear filter

just need some ilford hp5 and developing chems.

will also be returning to blogging here. some new thoughts on photography. will also link some papers i have published on the subject.

Signs and Media (China)

A paper of mine on photography and natural law will be published in the journal Signs and Media, of a Chinese University.

Aesthetic: pointless delight or meaningful point

Looking through my blogs, I notice that a clarification of my denunciation, of the aesthetic studium, is needed, and the latter needs to be distinguished from another meaningful aesthetic. Can there be? It can’t be just mere experience or delight. It must be an admirable order. Or something beautiful, not just pretty. Something saturating.


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