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post #21 of 92 Old 12-07-2007
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One might suspect that Hesiod was the first to look for such a
thing-or some one else who put love or desire among existing things as
a principle, as Parmenides, too, does; for he, in constructing the
genesis of the universe, says:-

Love first of all the Gods she planned.

And Hesiod says:-

First of all things was chaos made, and then
Broad-breasted earth...
And love, 'mid all the gods pre-eminent,

which implies that among existing things there must be from the
first a cause which will move things and bring them together. How
these thinkers should be arranged with regard to priority of discovery
let us be allowed to decide later; but since the contraries of the
various forms of good were also perceived to be present in
nature-not only order and the beautiful, but also disorder and the
ugly, and bad things in greater number than good, and ignoble things
than beautiful-therefore another thinker introduced friendship and
strife, each of the two the cause of one of these two sets of
qualities. For if we were to follow out the view of Empedocles, and
interpret it according to its meaning and not to its lisping
expression, we should find that friendship is the cause of good
things, and strife of bad. Therefore, if we said that Empedocles in
a sense both mentions, and is the first to mention, the bad and the
good as principles, we should perhaps be right, since the cause of all
goods is the good itself.
These thinkers, as we say, evidently grasped, and to this
extent, two of the causes which we distinguished in our work on
nature-the matter and the source of the movement-vaguely, however, and
with no clearness, but as untrained men behave in fights; for they
go round their opponents and often strike fine blows, but they do
not fight on scientific principles, and so too these thinkers do not
seem to know what they say; for it is evident that, as a rule, they
make no use of their causes except to a small extent. For Anaxagoras
uses reason as a deus ex machina for the making of the world, and when
he is at a loss to tell from what cause something necessarily is, then
he drags reason in, but in all other cases ascribes events to anything
rather than to reason. And Empedocles, though he uses the causes to
a greater extent than this, neither does so sufficiently nor attains
consistency in their use. At least, in many cases he makes love
segregate things, and strife aggregate them. For whenever the universe
is dissolved into its elements by strife, fire is aggregated into one,
and so is each of the other elements; but whenever again under the
influence of love they come together into one, the parts must again be
segregated out of each element.
Empedocles, then, in contrast with his precessors, was the first
to introduce the dividing of this cause, not positing one source of
movement, but different and contrary sources. Again, he was the
first to speak of four material elements; yet he does not use four,
but treats them as two only; he treats fire by itself, and its
opposite-earth, air, and water-as one kind of thing. We may learn this
by study of his verses.
This philosopher then, as we say, has spoken of the principles
in this way, and made them of this number. Leucippus and his associate
Democritus say that the full and the empty are the elements, calling
the one being and the other non-being-the full and solid being
being, the empty non-being (whence they say being no more is than
non-being, because the solid no more is than the empty); and they make
these the material causes of things. And as those who make the
underlying substance one generate all other things by its
modifications, supposing the rare and the dense to be the sources of
the modifications, in the same way these philosophers say the
differences in the elements are the causes of all other qualities.
These differences, they say, are three-shape and order and position.
For they say the real is differentiated only by 'rhythm and
'inter-contact' and 'turning'; and of these rhythm is shape,
inter-contact is order, and turning is position; for A differs from
N in shape, AN from NA in order, M from W in position. The question of
movement-whence or how it is to belong to things-these thinkers,
like the others, lazily neglected.
Regarding the two causes, then, as we say, the inquiry seems to
have been pushed thus far by the early philosophers.
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post #22 of 92 Old 12-07-2007
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EVERY art and every inquiry, and similarly every action and pursuit,
is thought to aim at some good; and for this reason the good has
rightly been declared to be that at which all things aim. But a
certain difference is found among ends; some are activities, others
are products apart from the activities that produce them. Where
there are ends apart from the actions, it is the nature of the
products to be better than the activities. Now, as there are many
actions, arts, and sciences, their ends also are many; the end of
the medical art is health, that of shipbuilding a vessel, that of
strategy victory, that of economics wealth. But where such arts fall
under a single capacity- as bridle-making and the other arts concerned
with the equipment of horses fall under the art of riding, and this
and every military action under strategy, in the same way other arts
fall under yet others- in all of these the ends of the master arts
are to be preferred to all the subordinate ends; for it is for the
sake of the former that the latter are pursued. It makes no difference
whether the activities themselves are the ends of the actions, or
something else apart from the activities, as in the case of the
sciences just mentioned.

If, then, there is some end of the things we do, which we desire for
its own sake (everything else being desired for the sake of this), and
if we do not choose everything for the sake of something else (for
at that rate the process would go on to infinity, so that our desire
would be empty and vain), clearly this must be the good and the
chief good. Will not the knowledge of it, then, have a great influence
on life? Shall we not, like archers who have a mark to aim at, be more
likely to hit upon what is right? If so, we must try, in outline at
least, to determine what it is, and of which of the sciences or
capacities it is the object. It would seem to belong to the most
authoritative art and that which is most truly the master art. And
politics appears to be of this nature; for it is this that ordains
which of the sciences should be studied in a state, and which each
class of citizens should learn and up to what point they should
learn them; and we see even the most highly esteemed of capacities
to fall under this, e.g. strategy, economics, rhetoric; now, since
politics uses the rest of the sciences, and since, again, it
legislates as to what we are to do and what we are to abstain from,
the end of this science must include those of the others, so that this
end must be the good for man. For even if the end is the same for a
single man and for a state, that of the state seems at all events
something greater and more complete whether to attain or to
preserve; though it is worth while to attain the end merely for one
man, it is finer and more godlike to attain it for a nation or for
city-states. These, then, are the ends at which our inquiry aims,
since it is political science, in one sense of that term.
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post #23 of 92 Old 12-07-2007
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Our discussion will be adequate if it has as much clearness as the
subject-matter admits of, for precision is not to be sought for
alike in all discussions, any more than in all the products of the
crafts. Now fine and just actions, which political science
investigates, admit of much variety and fluctuation of opinion, so
that they may be thought to exist only by convention, and not by
nature. And goods also give rise to a similar fluctuation because they
bring harm to many people; for before now men have been undone by
reason of their wealth, and others by reason of their courage. We must
be content, then, in speaking of such subjects and with such premisses
to indicate the truth roughly and in outline, and in speaking about
things which are only for the most part true and with premisses of the
same kind to reach conclusions that are no better. In the same spirit,
therefore, should each type of statement be received; for it is the
mark of an educated man to look for precision in each class of
things just so far as the nature of the subject admits; it is
evidently equally foolish to accept probable reasoning from a
mathematician and to demand from a rhetorician scientific proofs.
Now each man judges well the things he knows, and of these he is a
good judge. And so the man who has been educated in a subject is a
good judge of that subject, and the man who has received an
all-round education is a good judge in general. Hence a young man is
not a proper hearer of lectures on political science; for he is
inexperienced in the actions that occur in life, but its discussions
start from these and are about these; and, further, since he tends
to follow his passions, his study will be vain and unprofitable,
because the end aimed at is not knowledge but action. And it makes
no difference whether he is young in years or youthful in character;
the defect does not depend on time, but on his living, and pursuing
each successive object, as passion directs. For to such persons, as to
the incontinent, knowledge brings no profit; but to those who desire
and act in accordance with a rational principle knowledge about such
matters will be of great benefit.
These remarks about the student, the sort of treatment to be
expected, and the purpose of the inquiry, may be taken as our preface.

Let us resume our inquiry and state, in view of the fact that all
knowledge and every pursuit aims at some good, what it is that we
say political science aims at and what is the highest of all goods
achievable by action. Verbally there is very general agreement; for
both the general run of men and people of superior refinement say that
it is happiness, and identify living well and doing well with being
happy; but with regard to what happiness is they differ, and the
many do not give the same account as the wise. For the former think it
is some plain and obvious thing, like pleasure, wealth, or honour;
they differ, however, from one another- and often even the same man
identifies it with different things, with health when he is ill,
with wealth when he is poor; but, conscious of their ignorance, they
admire those who proclaim some great ideal that is above their
comprehension. Now some thought that apart from these many goods there
is another which is self-subsistent and causes the goodness of all
these as well. To examine all the opinions that have been held were
perhaps somewhat fruitless; enough to examine those that are most
prevalent or that seem to be arguable.
Let us not fail to notice, however, that there is a difference
between arguments from and those to the first principles. For Plato,
too, was right in raising this question and asking, as he used to
do, 'are we on the way from or to the first principles?' There is a
difference, as there is in a race-course between the course from the
judges to the turning-point and the way back. For, while we must begin
with what is known, things are objects of knowledge in two senses-
some to us, some without qualification. Presumably, then, we must
begin with things known to us. Hence any one who is to listen
intelligently to lectures about what is noble and just, and generally,
about the subjects of political science must have been brought up in
good habits. For the fact is the starting-point, and if this is
sufficiently plain to him, he will not at the start need the reason as
well; and the man who has been well brought up has or can easily get
startingpoints. And as for him who neither has nor can get them, let
him hear the words of Hesiod:

Far best is he who knows all things himself;
Good, he that hearkens when men counsel right;
But he who neither knows, nor lays to heart
Another's wisdom, is a useless wight.
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post #24 of 92 Old 12-07-2007
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Originally Posted by TrueBlue View Post
See, I'm already arguing with myself.
... with your own made-up representation of yourself, rather.
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Let us, however, resume our discussion from the point at which we
digressed. To judge from the lives that men lead, most men, and men of
the most vulgar type, seem (not without some ground) to identify the
good, or happiness, with pleasure; which is the reason why they love
the life of enjoyment. For there are, we may say, three prominent
types of life- that just mentioned, the political, and thirdly the
contemplative life. Now the mass of mankind are evidently quite
slavish in their tastes, preferring a life suitable to beasts, but
they get some ground for their view from the fact that many of those
in high places share the tastes of Sardanapallus. A consideration of
the prominent types of life shows that people of superior refinement
and of active disposition identify happiness with honour; for this is,
roughly speaking, the end of the political life. But it seems too
superficial to be what we are looking for, since it is thought to
depend on those who bestow honour rather than on him who receives
it, but the good we divine to be something proper to a man and not
easily taken from him. Further, men seem to pursue honour in order
that they may be assured of their goodness; at least it is by men of
practical wisdom that they seek to be honoured, and among those who
know them, and on the ground of their virtue; clearly, then, according
to them, at any rate, virtue is better. And perhaps one might even
suppose this to be, rather than honour, the end of the political life.
But even this appears somewhat incomplete; for possession of virtue
seems actually compatible with being asleep, or with lifelong
inactivity, and, further, with the greatest sufferings and
misfortunes; but a man who was living so no one would call happy,
unless he were maintaining a thesis at all costs. But enough of
this; for the subject has been sufficiently treated even in the
current discussions. Third comes the contemplative life, which we
shall consider later.
The life of money-making is one undertaken under compulsion, and
wealth is evidently not the good we are seeking; for it is merely
useful and for the sake of something else. And so one might rather
take the aforenamed objects to be ends; for they are loved for
themselves. But it is evident that not even these are ends; yet many
arguments have been thrown away in support of them. Let us leave
this subject, then.


We had perhaps better consider the universal good and discuss
thoroughly what is meant by it, although such an inquiry is made an
uphill one by the fact that the Forms have been introduced by
friends of our own. Yet it would perhaps be thought to be better,
indeed to be our duty, for the sake of maintaining the truth even to
destroy what touches us closely, especially as we are philosophers
or lovers of wisdom; for, while both are dear, piety requires us to
honour truth above our friends.
The men who introduced this doctrine did not posit Ideas of
classes within which they recognized priority and posteriority
(which is the reason why they did not maintain the existence of an
Idea embracing all numbers); but the term 'good' is used both in the
category of substance and in that of quality and in that of
relation, and that which is per se, i.e. substance, is prior in nature
to the relative (for the latter is like an off shoot and accident of
being); so that there could not be a common Idea set over all these
goods. Further, since 'good' has as many senses as 'being' (for it
is predicated both in the category of substance, as of God and of
reason, and in quality, i.e. of the virtues, and in quantity, i.e.
of that which is moderate, and in relation, i.e. of the useful, and in
time, i.e. of the right opportunity, and in place, i.e. of the right
locality and the like), clearly it cannot be something universally
present in all cases and single; for then it could not have been
predicated in all the categories but in one only. Further, since of
the things answering to one Idea there is one science, there would
have been one science of all the goods; but as it is there are many
sciences even of the things that fall under one category, e.g. of
opportunity, for opportunity in war is studied by strategics and in
disease by medicine, and the moderate in food is studied by medicine
and in exercise by the science of gymnastics. And one might ask the
question, what in the world they mean by 'a thing itself', is (as is
the case) in 'man himself' and in a particular man the account of
man is one and the same. For in so far as they are man, they will in
no respect differ; and if this is so, neither will 'good itself' and
particular goods, in so far as they are good. But again it will not be
good any the more for being eternal, since that which lasts long is no
whiter than that which perishes in a day. The Pythagoreans seem to
give a more plausible account of the good, when they place the one
in the column of goods; and it is they that Speusippus seems to have
But let us discuss these matters elsewhere; an objection to what
we have said, however, may be discerned in the fact that the
Platonists have not been speaking about all goods, and that the
goods that are pursued and loved for themselves are called good by
reference to a single Form, while those which tend to produce or to
preserve these somehow or to prevent their contraries are called so by
reference to these, and in a secondary sense. Clearly, then, goods
must be spoken of in two ways, and some must be good in themselves,
the others by reason of these. Let us separate, then, things good in
themselves from things useful, and consider whether the former are
called good by reference to a single Idea. What sort of goods would
one call good in themselves? Is it those that are pursued even when
isolated from others, such as intelligence, sight, and certain
pleasures and honours? Certainly, if we pursue these also for the sake
of something else, yet one would place them among things good in
themselves. Or is nothing other than the Idea of good good in
itself? In that case the Form will be empty. But if the things we have
named are also things good in themselves, the account of the good will
have to appear as something identical in them all, as that of
whiteness is identical in snow and in white lead. But of honour,
wisdom, and pleasure, just in respect of their goodness, the
accounts are distinct and diverse. The good, therefore, is not some
common element answering to one Idea.
But what then do we mean by the good? It is surely not like the
things that only chance to have the same name. Are goods one, then, by
being derived from one good or by all contributing to one good, or are
they rather one by analogy? Certainly as sight is in the body, so is
reason in the soul, and so on in other cases. But perhaps these
subjects had better be dismissed for the present; for perfect
precision about them would be more appropriate to another branch of
philosophy. And similarly with regard to the Idea; even if there is
some one good which is universally predicable of goods or is capable
of separate and independent existence, clearly it could not be
achieved or attained by man; but we are now seeking something
attainable. Perhaps, however, some one might think it worth while to
recognize this with a view to the goods that are attainable and
achievable; for having this as a sort of pattern we shall know
better the goods that are good for us, and if we know them shall
attain them. This argument has some plausibility, but seems to clash
with the procedure of the sciences; for all of these, though they
aim at some good and seek to supply the deficiency of it, leave on one
side the knowledge of the good. Yet that all the exponents of the arts
should be ignorant of, and should not even seek, so great an aid is
not probable. It is hard, too, to see how a weaver or a carpenter will
be benefited in regard to his own craft by knowing this 'good itself',
or how the man who has viewed the Idea itself will be a better
doctor or general thereby. For a doctor seems not even to study health
in this way, but the health of man, or perhaps rather the health of
a particular man; it is individuals that he is healing. But enough
of these topics.
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Let us again return to the good we are seeking, and ask what it
can be. It seems different in different actions and arts; it is
different in medicine, in strategy, and in the other arts likewise.
What then is the good of each? Surely that for whose sake everything
else is done. In medicine this is health, in strategy victory, in
architecture a house, in any other sphere something else, and in every
action and pursuit the end; for it is for the sake of this that all
men do whatever else they do. Therefore, if there is an end for all
that we do, this will be the good achievable by action, and if there
are more than one, these will be the goods achievable by action.
So the argument has by a different course reached the same point;
but we must try to state this even more clearly. Since there are
evidently more than one end, and we choose some of these (e.g. wealth,
flutes, and in general instruments) for the sake of something else,
clearly not all ends are final ends; but the chief good is evidently
something final. Therefore, if there is only one final end, this
will be what we are seeking, and if there are more than one, the
most final of these will be what we are seeking. Now we call that
which is in itself worthy of pursuit more final than that which is
worthy of pursuit for the sake of something else, and that which is
never desirable for the sake of something else more final than the
things that are desirable both in themselves and for the sake of
that other thing, and therefore we call final without qualification
that which is always desirable in itself and never for the sake of
something else.
Now such a thing happiness, above all else, is held to be; for
this we choose always for self and never for the sake of something
else, but honour, pleasure, reason, and every virtue we choose
indeed for themselves (for if nothing resulted from them we should
still choose each of them), but we choose them also for the sake of
happiness, judging that by means of them we shall be happy. Happiness,
on the other hand, no one chooses for the sake of these, nor, in
general, for anything other than itself.
From the point of view of self-sufficiency the same result seems
to follow; for the final good is thought to be self-sufficient. Now by
self-sufficient we do not mean that which is sufficient for a man by
himself, for one who lives a solitary life, but also for parents,
children, wife, and in general for his friends and fellow citizens,
since man is born for citizenship. But some limit must be set to this;
for if we extend our requirement to ancestors and descendants and
friends' friends we are in for an infinite series. Let us examine this
question, however, on another occasion; the self-sufficient we now
define as that which when isolated makes life desirable and lacking in
nothing; and such we think happiness to be; and further we think it
most desirable of all things, without being counted as one good
thing among others- if it were so counted it would clearly be made
more desirable by the addition of even the least of goods; for that
which is added becomes an excess of goods, and of goods the greater
is always more desirable. Happiness, then, is something final and
self-sufficient, and is the end of action.
Presumably, however, to say that happiness is the chief good seems a
platitude, and a clearer account of what it is still desired. This
might perhaps be given, if we could first ascertain the function of
man. For just as for a flute-player, a sculptor, or an artist, and, in
general, for all things that have a function or activity, the good and
the 'well' is thought to reside in the function, so would it seem to
be for man, if he has a function. Have the carpenter, then, and the
tanner certain functions or activities, and has man none? Is he born
without a function? Or as eye, hand, foot, and in general each of
the parts evidently has a function, may one lay it down that man
similarly has a function apart from all these? What then can this
be? Life seems to be common even to plants, but we are seeking what is
peculiar to man. Let us exclude, therefore, the life of nutrition
and growth. Next there would be a life of perception, but it also
seems to be common even to the horse, the ox, and every animal.
There remains, then, an active life of the element that has a rational
principle; of this, one part has such a principle in the sense of
being obedient to one, the other in the sense of possessing one and
exercising thought. And, as 'life of the rational element' also has
two meanings, we must state that life in the sense of activity is what
we mean; for this seems to be the more proper sense of the term. Now
if the function of man is an activity of soul which follows or implies
a rational principle, and if we say 'so-and-so-and 'a good
so-and-so' have a function which is the same in kind, e.g. a lyre, and
a good lyre-player, and so without qualification in all cases,
eminence in respect of goodness being idded to the name of the
function (for the function of a lyre-player is to play the lyre, and
that of a good lyre-player is to do so well): if this is the case,
and we state the function of man to be a certain kind of life, and
this to be an activity or actions of the soul implying a rational
principle, and the function of a good man to be the good and noble
performance of these, and if any action is well performed when it is
performed in accordance with the appropriate excellence: if this is
the case, human good turns out to be activity of soul in accordance
with virtue, and if there are more than one virtue, in accordance with
the best and most complete.
But we must add 'in a complete life.' For one swallow does not
make a summer, nor does one day; and so too one day, or a short
time, does not make a man blessed and happy.
Let this serve as an outline of the good; for we must presumably
first sketch it roughly, and then later fill in the details. But it
would seem that any one is capable of carrying on and articulating
what has once been well outlined, and that time is a good discoverer
or partner in such a work; to which facts the advances of the arts are
due; for any one can add what is lacking. And we must also remember
what has been said before, and not look for precision in all things
alike, but in each class of things such precision as accords with
the subject-matter, and so much as is appropriate to the inquiry.
For a carpenter and a geometer investigate the right angle in
different ways; the former does so in so far as the right angle is
useful for his work, while the latter inquires what it is or what sort
of thing it is; for he is a spectator of the truth. We must act in the
same way, then, in all other matters as well, that our main task may
not be subordinated to minor questions. Nor must we demand the cause
in all matters alike; it is enough in some cases that the fact be well
established, as in the case of the first principles; the fact is the
primary thing or first principle. Now of first principles we see
some by induction, some by perception, some by a certain
habituation, and others too in other ways. But each set of
principles we must try to investigate in the natural way, and we
must take pains to state them definitely, since they have a great
influence on what follows. For the beginning is thought to be more
than half of the whole, and many of the questions we ask are cleared
up by it.
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Does any one not agree??

I have plenty more to say...just ask!!!!
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post #28 of 92 Old 12-07-2007
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Feeble minds corrupt the dignity of philosophy when they handle it; philosophy appears to be useless and defective when sheathed in a bad covering

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Originally Posted by TwentySeven View Post
... with your own made-up representation of yourself, rather.
That's deep . . . now where'd that number go for my psychotherapist?

True Blue . . .
sold the Nauticat
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Originally Posted by poopdeckpappy View Post
Feeble minds corrupt the dignity of philosophy when they handle it; philosophy appears to be useless and defective when sheathed in a bad covering

YEs...I agree, but...

This argument is nothing like any of the Socratic Dialogues in any way except its frustrating nature. While Socrates was never satisfied with an answer, it was always because the answers were ill thought-out and defective, not because he was just being difficult. However, facing the withering dialectic of Socrates, especially about a matter you consider yourself to be an expert on, could seem as infuriating as this. Socrates harps on what may seem like minor details, but he is never content to rest until the answer to these most important questions are settled completely.

Oops, I lied again. There is one other similarity between this argument and the Dialogues. As a literary device, Plato had some of the interlocutors agree with Socrates's assertions during long passages in which Socrates is on a roll. Pages can go by where the only responses to Socrates are "Yes, Socrates," "How could it be otherwise, Socrates," "By the dog, Socrates, it is true" (whatever that means) and "Only a fool could doubt it, Socrates." You will often have the chance to suck up to Socrates in this fashion, although doing so in our little game could expose you to the scorn of some of history's great philosophers.

We stole most of our ideas from the Monty Python skit referred to above, in which the argument proceeds mostly because the interlocutor, Mr. Vibrating, will disagree with whatever answer the victim gives, no matter how trivial or obviously true it is.

For some exposure to the real Socratic dialogues, go to The Internet Classics Archive.

2. In 399 B.C., Socrates was found guilty of corrupting the youth, making the weaker argument appear the stronger, investigating matters in the heavens and below the earth and believing in deities of his own invention rather than in those approved of by the state. He was convicted and sentenced to die by hemlock. Whether he corrupted the youth, he certainly took his self-assigned role as the "gadfly" of Athens seriously. As anyone who has read Plato's dialogues will tell you, Socrates was so annoying in his persistent questioning that anyone would sympathize with an interlocutor who throttled him after a frustrating bout of dialectical discussion. Part of the problem was Socrates's claim of ignorance--Socrates never answered questions (at least in the early dialogues), he just asked them of his victim and showed the victim's answers to be sadly wanting.

Interestingly, Socrates goaded the court at his trial. When offered the option of leaving Athens as punishment, he replied that if set free, he would continue to behave as before. When offered a chance to pay a fine, he offered a sum laughably out-of-whack with reality. When offered the chance to propose his own penalty after he was found guilty (as was the Athenian custom), Socrates suggested that he be treated like a hero of the state--well-kept by public funds for the rest of his life.

In the final moments of his life, he urged those around him to think that death was not a great evil, but rather the beginning of an existence where knowledge is possible, with the soul finally freed of bodily constraints. He commented that to live a long time was to be a long time sick and required his friends to offer the sacrifice of a **** to Asclepius, the God of Healing.

While I harbor a deep and abiding respect for the Socrates described in the early Platonic Dialogues, I would be kidding if I said I wondered why they killed him. I wish I could reach back into time through the pages of my books sometimes and beat the Athenians to the punch.

Friedrich Nietzsche, in the Twilight of the Idols had the following to say on the subject:

Indeed, as a physician might ask: "How could the most beautiful growth of antiquity, Plato, contract such a disease? Did the wicked Socrates corrupt him after all? Could Socrates have been the corrupter of the youth after all? And did he deserve his hemlock?"

"A foreigner who knew about faces once passed through Athens and told Socrates to his face that he was a monstrum--that he harbored in himself all the bad vices and appetites. And Socrates merely answered: "You know me, sir!"

Did he himself comprehend this, this most brilliant of all self-outwitters? Was this what he said to himself in the end, in the wisdom of his courage to die? Socrates wanted to die: not Athens, but he himself chose the Hemlock; he forced Athens to sentence him. "Socrates is no physician," he said softly to himself; "here death alone is the physician. Socrates himself has merely been sick a long time."

3.Well, if all you're concerned about is winning, then the answer is yes. Besides killing Socrates, the ultimate form of victory in your petty little world view, there is another way to defeat the master. But really, is that all there is to life? Isn't finding out the truth better than beating someone (especially an old man) in an argument? Maybe you can make him cry, too...Socrates doesn't want to win, he is concerned with living the good life, and on his view, finding out what this entails is an activity that takes nearly constant inquiry. So grow up!

4. You shouldn't. Go back to the important surfing you were doing. Where were you going today? The live picture of Bentham's embalmed corpse? Pictures of Supermodels? All the hits on a search for your name? By all means, go back to your important work.

Now that I've gotten that off my chest, you need to see just how clever we are. And the only way to do that is by playing the game.

If you mean "Why should I bother to think hard about the important issues in life as Socrates did?" then all I have to say is, to paraphrase Socrates, your miserable life has only one chance of being worth living, and that is if you expose yourself to some philosophical self scrutiny and try to evaluate the reasons you have for believing the things you do. So there.
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