The physical quality of the Bible itself would vary the content would not.

Given that theologians spent their lives studying the Bible I would think you have an infinite source there. I need to check because I thought it also had organisation lore in it which makes no sense...for the organisation of the RC Church you need to study the various documents of the Council's of Bishops/Papel Bulls, etc. And then given the joy I had studying Vatican II I would say make all church writings incomprehensible.

As for the original copies of the Gospels...if you want them to exist they would (written likely in Hebrew or Greek) but in reality I don't think so. The first few hundred years of the Church are a bit of blank spot historically. Search for information on the Council of Niceane and see what you find. That is where the "Bible" was fixed if my memory serves, and that is why the Nicean Creed is recited at Mass. Come to think about it reciting that or the Apostal's Creed should give you bonus's versus demonic stuff given that is a powerful affirmation of your belief in God, and the Church.

The Gospels sort of fall out of the blue. I am not sure the historical "linkages" are all known (though it isn't my field so I could be out to lunch).

If you want original copies in your game you can add them in, they might or might not be holy relics though. I'm not sure they would have the "relic status" as they were not viewed that way.

For copying times of authorities I think 2 seasons for an average copy, 3 seasons for a good quality copy, and 4 seasons for the coffee table version if done by a person with average skill in Proffession (Scribe) covers any authority. The quality doesn't change your rate of learning any but it just ups the value of the book in trade.

For Artes Liberalis though you should be required to study the 7 books. So you should only gain one seasons worth from each book or something. Since Artes Liberalis has 7 authorities you should not be able to study only one and gain points in the ability significantly. I am not sure I am clear here but you should have to cycle through the various authorities to increase your overall Artes Liberales score not just read one book ad nauseum.

Tura's suggestion of making them incomprehensible is good but frankly I don't have a problem with them simply being lvl (inf), Quality 3 or 4 summae and leaving it at that.

The logic behind incomprehensible, to my mind, is to limit their usefullness to character's with Book Learner.

At Quality 3, a Book Learner still gains a Study Total of 6... but at Quality 6 Incomprehensible , a Book Learner only gains a Study Total of 4 (rounding down).

Uh, as not every player has that virtue I don't see why there is any special need to go do things to limit the study total. As a comprimise I would make the church stuff incomprehensible since it basically was (is)...the Bible also would rate that since knowing God is a fairly incomprehensible thing but Artes Liberales and other things (law's etc) are not incomprehensible and I see no reason to make them so. Also not every ability has an authority and I see no problem with the ones that I can remember having an authority giving a higher study quality for a book learner.

LuciusT made the suggestion, I just liked it.

To my mind, it's a matter of not giving a minor virtue a potentially overwhelming advanatage. Authories are "infinate" in level after all. If a book learner gains twice as many exp from studying it then someone without the virtue, and can read it as many times as they like, that is IMO, a significant advantage for the book learner.

Of course, since it's just a house rule, it's all a question of what's right for your game. I have several book learners in my saga (which also tends to fall in the Fast end of a Medium speed saga). I don't want them to have an unfair advantage over the non-book learners.

So why not remove Book Learner from the Game altogether?
That way no one person is advantaged over any other.

With Authorities , don't allow constant re-study maybe.
If players had to do something with the knowledge they gained from an Authority ,
like write a Summa , Tractatus or whatever before they went back to study.

Well at the end of the day there is a cap based on your age. So that means the book learners hit it first.

Look at the abilities that have authorities and see if it is game destroying (I don't think it is). Also consider that incomprehensible realy messes up the non-book learners so basically they can't study the authorities since the xp point gain for them becomes "not worth it."

Also the book learners could teach classes in it to the non-book learners.

I don't like authorities as inifnite-level as that leads to stagnation in the game. People need to go out and get new tractatus or raw vis (or adventure!) to reach high levels of Ability. With infintie-level authorities, you end up with characters that are content to just stay and read ad infinitum. Not interesting.

I don't like the idea of Authorities, but I do like the idea of Commentaries.

Ars Magica's system is really not good at representing the accumulative structure of knowledge. Real learning typically start at the basic Authorities (or textbooks, nowdays), moves on to commentaries on these, then to commentaries on the commentaries, and so on... occasionally making references to previous levels in this chain.
I'm a physicist. There are physics textbooks that are a Summa, picking up from the very redumentary foundations and moving on to some, often high, level. They typically rely on some Artes Liberales knowledge (an understanding of English, trigonometry, geometry, algebra, calculus, and so on), but not knowledge in the subject matter.
Then there are articles, but these are not Tractatus. They require extensive prior knowledge to understand, and familiarity with prior papers, famous papers and views in the subject, and cannonic textbooks.
There is also the occasional high-level text, that assumes a basic familiarity with the subject matter. This is not modeled at all in ArM.

I think the way to model an Authority is by constructing a Commentary system.
Let's say a Tractatus, any tractatus, has Requisites: you can only learn from it if you've read its requisites. You already need to note down which Tractatus you have read, so demanding to list all books you have read isn't a big difference in book-keeping.
The Authorities are Summa. Basic Tractatus refer to the Authorities; more advanced ones refer to basic tractatus, more advanced ones yet refer to advanced tractatus, and so on.
Perhaps you would need to base your first tractatus on a Summa, the second on a tractatus, the third on a tractatus based on a tractatus, and so on.
This renders certain Summa as authoritive, as knowing them allows you to read the vast collection of commentaries (Tractatus) collected on them. Other Summa may be more insightful or well written, but are no substitute for familiarity with the authoritive texts. [A single season of perusal should sufice for familiarity.]
In areas without authorities, the first tractatus in the commentary chain could be based on any text. As a result, you will need to familiarize yourself with the notions of many summae instead of one if you are to use lots of tractatus. This naturally leads to the choice of natural candidates to serve as authoritive texts - clear, often low-level, Summae. It just makes more sense refering to them, using their notations, relying on their content, and so on.

A more abstract requirement can be a certain score in the subject matter. While it may be appealing, such a requirement does not lead to authoritive texts or to schools of commentary traditions (building upon different authoritive texts and commentaries thereof).
It may be appropriate for writing "high-level Summa", containing only a fraction of the whole Summa by relying on prior knowledge instead of bothering to write up all the elementary stuff.

This is a radical change. It's far less radical than letting people study indefnitely from a single book.

What is the problem with Authorities? Studying seven books to gain skill in Artes Liberales is the way it worked in real life. And since the quality is 3 or 4 there are better books out there anyway.

I can't recall exactly which abilities have authorities but the list is something like:
Artes Liberales (7 books), Theology(The Bible/The Qu'oran/etc), Law (Not sure but there is a mess of law that they found from roman times), Natural Philosophea (3 books).

Are there others (I am all but sure since I am working from memory)? Possibly some specific lores I imagine. Now tell me how these abilities are game breaking? And don't forget the cap due to age.

I am not noted for being soft on giving people things for free but in this case I don't see why one can't be historically accurate and maintain game balance. There is no game balance destruction of having characters who are supposed to be well educated being capable of actually being well educated.

I think somewhere along the line I am missing exactly what problem has you all hot and bothered about this. There is no authority for Arts and there is no authority for Magic Theory so game balance is not going to be affected.

YR7 -

you are missing the attempt emulate medieval belief that the ancientys were far more knowledgeable than ourselves - therefore, all there is to know about a subject is contained in their work - the Authority

You should look at ArM4 and WGRE - these have rules for Libra Quaestionem (sp?) and commentaries, which are what you are looking for.

Also - there are authorities on the Arts and Magic Theory. Are you suggesting that any magus living has better knowledge of Fire than Flambeau? or Magic Theory than Bonisagus?


That cap is explicitly limited to the complex character generation process. In play or in the extremely complex character generation process it does not apply.

As I understand it, there's a difference of intent between 4th and 5th edition.

Yes, there could be a magus who knows more about fire than Flambeau or more about magic theory than Bonisagus.

Bonisagus had the insight necessary to invent magic theory - with the help of the other Founders, but that doesn't mean he had forecast and mastered all the implications of his invention. Neither does that mean that magic theory is complete. There wouldn't be need for original research otherwise.

Flambeau was an unusually powerful fire wizard, but that doesn't mean he was the most powerful wizard to have lived ever. He just happened to be in the right place at the right time to contribute to MT and the foundation of the Order.

If the age cap doesn't apply in game it is rather stupid to have it in the character generation system...but it is not there. Frankly it doesn't matter since at the end of the day there are not authorities for the only two things that can be abused by this: Arts and Magic Theory.

A Quality 3 or 4 makes itself felt when you are trying to learn high levels. Its likely there are better books to study to learn the basics, ones written by good communicators and teachers for example. But once you read those then its time to go back to the authorites and live with the long time requirements.

That is one model. It is not the only model appropriate for the middle ages. Certainly not to a Mythic recasting of the middle ages.
I believe my interpertation fits much closer to what ArM5 has to say on Authorities: "The authorities are not regarded as infallible or as having said all of what there is to be said on a subject. They are, however, supposed to have gotten the essentials right..." (ArM5, p. 63)

Yes. Like Fruny said, there is a keen difference between ArM5 and ArM4.
ArM5 intentionally avoids answering whether magic is declining or in its apex (ArM5, p. 217). It is entirely possible Flambeau didn't know as much about Ignem as modern specialists, within core ArM5.
That said, this isn't a forgone conclusion in my system. I certainly perceive the Ignem authority to be a low-level high-quality Summa that Flambeau wrote down one season for his apprentices. It doesn't come close to explaining the advanced Ignem material, it just covers the essentials. Being the active magus that he was, he probably didn't bother writing much anyways, leaving his more advanced teaching to personal teaching sessions and, perhaps, a few tractatus (perhaps incomprehensible ones relying on familarity with his hedge tradition, some virtue, or now-lost texts?).


Serf's Parma as to whether the number of tractati you can write is rounded up or down, but an authority would probably only need to be high level enough to enable you writing a tractatus or two, while remaining easily copiable. Thus would ensure that other magi in the Order be able to expand on what they learned as well as facilitating dissemination through the Order.

If one wanted to treat authorities specially, studying from an authority, or being able to reference it directly while writing might enable you to write, say, one more tractatus than your skill/art level would allow you otherwise, thus representing their seminal nature.

Hi, I'm new and this is my first post here. I hope I'm within bounds of what's considered decent conversation and that I haven't misformatted this message into total unclarity; I don't seem to be able to make the text to which I'm responding look different from the text I'm writing. (All of the buttons to italicize and change color or size and so forth are non-functional.)

Some of the rest of my troupe and I were talking about infinite-insight summae, commentaries, seminal works, and so forth, so I was very interested in your collective takes on these sorts of things. I found a lot to agree with and a lot to disagree with in this very thoughtful post:

I don't like authorities as inifnite-level as that leads to stagnation in the game. People need to go out and get new tractatus or raw vis (or adventure!) to reach high levels of Ability. With infintie-level authorities, you end up with characters that are content to just stay and read ad infinitum. Not interesting.

I'm not sure I agree; whether this is true or not would depend on the structure of the canons in the various disciplines. If the character's specialty is philosophy, then it's true, she wouldn't need to go adventuring once she's got Plato and Aristotle on hand. But then, that's actually true about philosophers, and is one reason we don't play philosophers (or at least don't rely on their philosophizing to generate adventure or any special powers they may wish to use). But are magical texts quite so canonized? Or is there basically a summa and then a whole pile of tractatus on each art? Or are most magical texts spell books, which provide very limited insight? If that were the case, then the idea of infinite-level summae can be a good one that just doesn't apply to magical texts, which happen to be the most desirable and most obscure books in the game.

Ars Magica's system is really not good at representing the accumulative structure of knowledge. Real learning typically start at the basic Authorities (or textbooks, nowdays), moves on to commentaries on these, then to commentaries on the commentaries, and so on... occasionally making references to previous levels in this chain.

I think that this is partly true and partly false. It's true that some works are more fundamental than others, but it's not clear that AM5 fails to show that. Consider the advantages and disadvantages of studying summae vs. studying tractatus when beginning to study a discipline. Once your ability is at the same level as that of the summa, the summa is no longer useful. But tractatus are still useful at whatever level the character has. So it's plain that the natural course of study is: summae first, tractatus later. The writer has proposed a more rigorous version of the same, looser, system from the rules.

What's needed, it seems to me, is something that better reflects both the foundational nature of the seminal texts and their diversity. You can't be a very good philosopher (to continue the example) unless you are familiar with, let's say, both Plato and Aristotle. To simulate the structure of the discipline and its canon, why not tie various disciplines to various texts, and say that you can't progress beyond level x without having read that text? It seems to me that this would achieve the writer's goal of really making certain texts foundational, without requiring quite so much work structuring the canon in a tree structure with increasingly narrow dependencies.

Also, it's worth pointing out that you can often learn at least something from a work that depends on another work, without having read the other work. So various tractatus might come with prerequisites — I think that's an excellent idea that just shouldn't be applied to every book — but some might come with semi-prerequisites: if you haven't read the appropriate background, the book is of lower, but not no, quality for you. (Consider, for instance, the discussions early in Aristotle's Metaphysics of his predecessor philosophers. It's enormously helpful to already be familiar with the predecessors, but not strictly necessary to gain some limited insight from the discussion.)

I think the way to model an Authority is by constructing a Commentary system.

I think that the idea of imposing greater structure on the canons of the various disciplines is a great idea, and I love the idea of commentaries. As I suggested, I might implement it differently: everything other than the seminal works is, in a sense, a commentary, since you can't understand them without understanding the seminal works at a certain stage.

But commentaries aren't just any books that you have to have read a different book to understand; commentaries have as their role to facilitate understanding of the object of the commentary. Why not allow a specific category of books, neither summa nor tractatus, the function of which is to increase the quality of a summa when read concurrently? Like tractatus, commentaries can be used only once; a 'commentary' that can be used more than once is plainly an independent summa, a commentary in name only. (Consider St. Thomas's 'Commentary' on Aristotle's Ethics, which is not generally read for help with Aristotle and, I suspect, never was.)

A more abstract requirement can be a certain score in the subject matter. While it may be appealing, such a requirement does not lead to authoritive texts or to schools of commentary traditions (building upon different authoritive texts and commentaries thereof).

That's true, but there's no reason the two ideas can't be combined. One of the amazing facts about certain seminal works is that they seem to be infinitely deep. I will never be able to read Aristotle without coming away with an insight. But that's not true of everybody; it takes some pretty good familiarity with philosophy, beyond what you can get from reading Aristotle, to be able to gain limitless insight from the text. So, for some seminal works, we might suggest that you can't get past a certain level of ability without having read them, but, on the other hand, once you have some rather higher level of ability in the discipline, you can return to that text forever. And of course any text might have a pre-requisite level.

For example, we could let Aristotle's Metaphysics be a level 4 and also limitless level summa, quality whatever-it-is. You can't progress beyond level 4 in philosophiae without having read it, but if you have level, say, 8, then you can read it forever. If you have, I don't know, Theophrastus's commentaries in Aristotle (are there any such?), then you can double the quality of the Metaphysics for one season.

I'd love to hear anyone's thoughts about any of this.


I hardly use the buttons at all. The way to do stuff like that is to use tags (the buttons just put the tags in for you).
To quote someone, write (quote) quoted text here (\quote), but replacing the round parenthesis ( ) with square brackets [ ]. You can also press the quote button in the upper-right of each post to quote it in its entirety (or parse it into segments as you edit it - that's what I'm doing now).

You can do all kinds of other nifty stuff with tags. See here (I don't know where there is such a page on this forum, if there is any, so this link will take you to my usual haunt - ENWorld).

Edit: Apparently Atlas has a nice page explaning how to do all those tags, here.

Edit: I think, from the end of you post, that the buttons are working for you. Mark out the text you want to turn bold/italic/whatever with the mouse - you know, so it's black. Now press the right button. The proper tag will be added to the highlighted text.
If no text is highlighted, the tags just pile up at the end of the post. You had some of those in yours, but since no text was between them you didn't notice...

Why, thank you :smiley:

If authorities are limited to only a few academic Abilities, than certainly the impact of having them at infinite-level will be far less significant. Even then the effect will be to raise the effective limits of these Abilities, making them have a much higher value than other Abilities. As these include Philosophiae and Artes Liberales, which are actually useful for magic, I argue that this will have a detrimental impact on the game.
At best, delegating authorities for a limited list of Abilities serves only to contain a bad mechanic to peripheral aspects of the game. It doesn't make it a good mechanic.

I am not sure whether I like the idea of magical authorities or not. I wrote what I did, however, out of an understanding that authorities are meant to be present on every subject.
This has a certain uniformity and elegance to it, a founding-fathers effect. On the other hand having no authority on magical issues leads to an eclectic and disparate structure, well-suited for mystery cults, hidden serets, and a vast array of traditions and schools.

I think this is partly true and partly false :wink: The ArM5 system has certain books suitable only for beginners, and shorter works that fit any knowledge level. The real-world academic disciplines has books suitable for beginners, but also relies heavily on works that reference each other. And these are not Tractatus, as they are not suitable for any level.

I like what you write below on that, though, so let's skip ahead...

Quite so. Perhaps, for simplicity, the work should be considered Incomprehensible if the prerequisites aren't met?

This, again, is too black and white. I like the idea of having the non-authorities have requisites that if not met lower their quality, but that you can't understand anything without reading the seminal works... no, that's not right.
I didn't understand Kant one bit by reading him. (Now that's an Incomprehensible author, I tell you.) I did understand a lot by reading commentaries about his work, and more modern explanations of it. Effectively, I read higher-quality Summae on the subject instead of reading his own Summa. And these summae didn't have prerequisites (well, except perhaps some Artes Liberales again).

Very true. Having read the commentaries and summas, I was able to read Kant much better.
I think we agree the basic function of an Authority should be a that of a Summa.
We can have a Commentary be a Tractatus that must be read alongside an Authority. (Perhaps allowing for two Seasons of reading - one to represent reading the Commentary, and one a re-reading of the Authority. But both things can be assumed to happen on the same Season for simplicity.) This allows for the infinite-nature of the Authority, while keeping deviations from the rules to a minimum.
Note that this is simply a Tractatus with a requirement that it be read concurrently with the Authority.

(emphasis mine) I started out with an attack against authorities from a metagame prespective - having an inifinite level source for learning is just not interesting. This objection applies here.
While it may be possible that you can read more into a book, I can't see how the "forever" part comes in. The real text contains only so much, the reason we are able to learn from it repeatedly is that we keep having new ideas and develop what's in it in fresh directions with every rereading. At a certain point, you either reach the stage where you have departed so much from the text that you are thinking independently of it, or alternatively stagnate in your thought patterns. At least that's my experience. I need external stimulai, dicussion or commentaries or anything - even from a leyman not familiar with the subject at all - to start my brain working in new directions. Sometimes just the act of explaining it to another does the trick.
Having a book serve as an infinite Source is bad for the game and not necessary to reproduce verisimilitude.
Perhaps a Commentary would allow you to learn two seasons from the authority. Perhaps it will allow it's Quality + a stress die. Although it really isn't much different from an infinite-level Source at some stage, I suppose.

My suggestion is simply to have Aristotle's Metaphysics be a level 4 Summa. Each Commentary serves as a Tractatus, allowing you to gain the Tractatus's Quality as your Study Total for the rereading of the Authority in light of the commentary, perhaps for several seasons (say, a stress die). You can keep on rereading the Authority and gaining more and more insight infinitely, as long as you keep inseminating your mind with new ideas.

P.S. all this talk of philosophy... I haven't read Aristotle since my B.A., some 7 years ago...

For game balance and flavor purposes the only Authorities should be in Academic and Relgious abilities.

In the Midievel view there is no original research, all that is worth knowing is known before. So all you need to do is study the original text. That is why it is an authority. Of course a person who is a better teacher, communicator etc can produce a better text to aid in clarifying what the person who wrote the Authority was saying but that is a normal summae with Lvl x and quality y.

For magic either theoretical or the arts no such book exists. Boni-buddy is the Newton of Hermetic magic but there is no reason that an Einstien or Fermi, or Planck, or Michaelson or etc can not come along...we can call these people the PCs. So long as original research is possible then there can never be an authority in theoretical magic.

As for the Arts, who says Flambeau was the best fire mage in existance? Or more importantly that he could write a book worth reading? From the covenent project the ultimate book on Ignem was written by someone else anyway...who apparently filled it with gibberish and childish doodles. So again no authority for an art exists. This is even more true as mages can create their own spells so it is an active field.

Authorities exist when the subject is basically dead. There is no experimentation in the middle ages to any great extent (most "discoveries" are accidents), no scientific method, no peer reviewed journals. There is what was known and is being rediscovered. Though admittedly if you are playing in the 1200's then you are getting out of the really dark times and into the transition period where things are happening but still for the acadmic world it is a case of "Aristotle says so."

The SG can do what they want but allowing authorities in Magic Theory and the Arts strikes me as, well putting it mildly, not so good an idea. Their existance in Academic or Religious abilities isn't going to break the game. The quality of the Authority is so low that they become rather slow to increase at high levels and at low levels there are frankly better books. As for using Artes Liberales and Philosophea in spell casting...sure but that all requires time and effort to use, not something that will make a huge difference in every adventure. Plus time spent learning Artes Liberales is time not spent learning arts levels which are a much more signifcant impact.

For the religious abilities I would classify the Authorities (Bible, etc) as incomprehensible and let it go at that. People study the Bible their entire lives and don't exhaust it but frankly it is likely that the writings of St. Thomas will make your development as a theologian go faster.

As usual YMMV. But I don't see where you can abuse this in a way that is game breaking.

Continuing the dialogue:

You actually solved this problem when you pointed out:

Problem solved by reality. You can continue to read the same book forever. However, you can only do so for some number of seasons a year, or (better, I think) as some proportion of your XP in the ability. New commentaries would allow extra reading. So while it's true that these abilities would have higher heights, they would still be quite hard to reach, while we're still in principle allowing for unlimitedly insightful texts. So not very severe imbalancing between abilities.

That's exactly what I was thinking. The universities get to be organized around Authorities, but the esoteric Order has to settle for the meandering thoughts of many Warped wizards' minds.

I said:

You replied:

Yes, that's perfect. Uh, I don't own ArM4, so it's not that I don't want to use ideas from it, it's that I can't.

To focus on the last claim: not quite true. At the outset, recall that St. Thomas, who really made Aristotle acceptable to Latin Christendom, will be born 5 years in the future of the game's official setting.

In the early 1100s, new translations were done of some of Aristotle's logic texts which joined the old translations of others, by Boethius, so Aristotle's entire logic (less the Posterior Analytics, which is crucial to understanding Aristotle's theory of mind) was available. The Metaphysics was translated in Sicily between 1126 and 1151; the Posterior Analytics in Toledo in the middle of the 1100s. The Physics was translated only early in the 13th century. Books 2 and 3 (that's about twenty pages, depending on page and type size) of the Nicomachean Ethics were available at the end of the 12th century; the rest of the book not being translated until somewhat later; since the most important part of Nic Eth is Book 1, that means that the Latin West just didn't have Aristotle's ethics. On the Soul was done not too long before 1215. (Sorry about all of the imprecision; I'm using Copleston's History of Philosophy.) My point here so far is that, other than the logic, Aristotle's work hadn't been available long enough to be the final word on anything. (And, when it comes to the logic, Aristotle's really was the final word until about 1880, so it wasn't medieval dogmatism that was the problem there.)

But the main point I want to make is that Aristotle, so far from being the last word, was widely prohibited reading in 1220. In 1210, the Provincial Council of Paris forbade the teaching of Aristotle's natural philosophy. At the University of Paris, as of 1215 the study of the natural philosophy including the Metaphysics was prohibited. (The study of Aristotle's logic was compulsory; Nicomachean Ethics was neither prohibited nor compulsory.) Most commentaries were under ban at the same time. Bear in mind that the University of Paris was the leading faculty on Aristotle at the time; that's where St. Thomas would be. This isn't like some Kansas high school not teaching evolution, this is like [insert finest biology department in the world here] not teaching evolution, when there are only half a dozen biology departments in the world, and the rest of them have never even heard of evolution.

In 1231, Gregory IX got some theologians to go over the books; they decided that they weren't so dangerous (and that some of them weren't by Aristotle, as indeed they were not), and so the ban wasn't really enforced. Innocent IV banned Aristotle at Toulouse in 1245. By 1255, they were lecturing on Aristotle at Paris, but in 1263 Innocent revived the 1210 ban to no real effect.

Aristotle didn't get to be the final word on anything (other than logic) until substantially after the game's official setting. So far from Europe beginning to enter the recovery from Aristotelian dogmatism, Europe is only beginning to enter the ascendancy of Aristotle. If you want to make a case for the death of a discipline under the dead weight of authority, you'll have to look forward hundreds of years; the 13th century was in a ferment.

To focus on the earlier claims: It's true that there were no peer reviewed journals or scientific method. But in the disciplines to which the medievals mainly contributed, there still isn't a scientific method. Philosophy and theology are still armchair disciplines (for the most part, so insert any caveats needed to make what I just said come out true). We do have peer-reviewed journals, but I'm sceptical that what appears in a contemporary peer-reviewed liberal arts journal is better than what appeared in a medieval tome on the same subject. To accept an authority for a discipline is not for the discipline to be dead; for do we not accept "On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies" as an Authority (in the sense I mean: seminal, foundational) in physics? And this does not suggest that physics is dead; far from it.