Here we go again. It’s been a while, but I’m back. I’m going to start with Luke since I recently heard a podcast that said Luke is the part of the new testament that most applies to what we think is good about the bible. I’ve been in New York for a year and also now have moved to LA. Long story. I’ll explain later.
August 11, 2013
February 26, 2012
I’m fourteen pages in, seems a lot easier to read than I originally expected..
November 7, 2010
The Physics (Greek: “Φυσικῆς ἀκροάσεως” or “phusikes akroaseos”; Latin: “Physica”, or “Physicae Auscultationes,” meaning “lectures on nature”) of Aristotle is one of the foundational books of Western science and philosophy. As Martin Heidegger once wrote,
The Physics is a lecture in which he seeks to determine beings that arise on their own, τὰ φύσει ὄντα, with regard to their being. Aristotelian “physics” is different from what we mean today by this word, not only to the extent that it belongs to antiquity whereas the modern physical sciences belong to modernity, rather above all it is different by virtue of the fact that Aristotle’s “physics” is philosophy, whereas modern physics is a positive science that presupposes a philosophy…. This book determines the warp and woof of the whole of Western thinking, even at that place where it, as modern thinking, appears to think at odds with ancient thinking. But opposition is invariably comprised of a decisive, and often even perilous, dependence. Without Aristotle’s Physics there would have been no Galileo.
It is a collection of treatises or lessons that deal with the most general (philosophical) principles of natural or moving things, both living and non-living, rather than physical theories (in the modern sense) or investigations of the particular contents of the universe. The chief purpose of the work is to discover the principles and causes of (and not merely to describe) change, or movement, or motion (kinesis), especially that of natural wholes (mostly living things, but also inanimate wholes like the cosmos). In the conventional Andronichean ordering of Aristotle’s works, it stands at the head of, as well as being foundational to, the long series of physical, cosmological and biological treatises, whose ancient Greek title, τὰ φυσικά, means “the [writings] on nature” or “natural philosophy“.
November 6, 2010
Poetics is an attempt to define and classify different forms of literature that were present in Aristotle’s time. Much of the book focuses on the tragedy and Aristotle presents it as a higher form of literature as opposed to prose, comedy, or epic poetry. Aristotle identifies the parts of the tragedy and what it takes to write a good tragedy. He covers plots, characters, diction, thought, discovery, peripety, and many other aspects of a good tragedy. It is important to know the plays of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides if you want to understand what Aristotle is talking about here. There are also many other references to other lesser works of art.
I wish I read Poetics before I started reading the ancient Greek plays/poems because it offers some grounding in the subject as a whole. Also, I learned a lot about basic terms like the dithyramb, the satyr play, the epic, and iambic pentameter. I think Poetics is also essential for anyone who wants to seriously engage in writing.
October 24, 2010
The Statesman (Greek: Πολιτικός, Politikos), also known by its Latin title, Politicus, is a Socratic dialogue written by Plato. The text describes a conversion among Socrates, the mathematician Theodorus, another person named Socrates (referred to as “Young Socrates”), and an unnamed philosopher from Elea referred to the as “the Stranger” (ξένος, xénos). It is ostensibly an attempt to arrive at a definition of “statesman,” as opposed to “sophist” or “philosopher” and is presented as following the action of the Sophist.
According to John M. Cooper, the dialogue’s intention was to clarify that to rule or have political power called for a specialized knowledge. The statesman was one who possesses this special knowledge of how to rule justly and well and to have the best interests of the citizens at heart. It is presented that politics should be run by this knowledge, or gnosis. This claim runs counter to those who, the Stranger points out, actually did rule. Those that rule merely give the appearance of such knowledge, but in the end are really sophists or imitators. For, as the Stranger maintains, a sophist is one who does not know the right thing to do, but only appears to others as someone who does. The Stranger’s ideal of how one arrives at this knowledge of power is through social divisions. The visitor takes great pains to be very specific about where and why the divisions are needed in order to properly rule the citizenry.
October 17, 2010
The sophist is one of the series of dialogues that Plato wrote near the end of his life. It was supposed to be a trilogy with separate dialogues covering the meaning of the sophist, the statesman, and the philosopher. I believe that it was intended to be a series of steps that you should strive for in your life and each position is better than the next until you become a revered philosopher.
Most of the dialogue covers familiar themes: Sophists are interested in influencing opinion in exchange for money. They are not seeking truth, but only the appearance of truth. They don’t have real knowledge, only the appearance of knowledge. Socrates defines the sophist through a series of divisions that are entertaining. For example, the sophist is involved in the acquisitive instead of the productive arts, he is a hunter of men and not animals, he is interested in learning of the soul and not the body, etc.
The second part of the dialogue is harder to follow and involves what it means when we say something “is” or exists. In this second part, Socrates tackles the claim that Parmenides made that there cannot be false opinion or idea. He also attacks Parmenides claim that everything is really just one thing. I believe all this is just background information that one needs to define the sophist, because for the sophist to have false beliefs, false beliefs must exist.
In any case, Socrates has laid out the basis for the trilogy, so it will be interesting to see how the statesman differs from the sophist. Interestingly, the philosopher was never written by Plato, perhaps because he died before he wrote it, or perhaps because we are supposed to do the work ourselves and figure out what it means to be a philosopher.
August 14, 2010
The Theætetus (Greek: Θεαίτητος) is one of Plato’s dialogues concerning the nature of knowledge. The framing of the dialogue begins when Euclides tells his friend Terpsion that he had written a book many years ago based on what Socrates had told him of a conversation he’d had with Theaetetus when Theaetetus was quite a young man. (Euclides also notes that he’d had to go back to Socrates to ask some more questions about the speeches due to his spotty recollection of the account.)
Euclides is prompted to share his book when Terpsion wonders where he’d been: Euclides, who apparently can usually be found in the marketplace of Megara, was walking outside of the city and had happened upon Theaetetus being carried from Corinth to Athens with a case of dysentery and a minor war wound; Euclides remarks that Socrates had made some uncanny predictions about Theaetetus needing to rise to fame. Euclides’ book is read aloud to the two men by a slave boy in the employ of Euclides.
In this dialogue, Socrates and Theaetetus discuss three definitions of knowledge: knowledge as nothing but perception, knowledge as true judgment, and, finally, knowledge as a true judgment with an account. Each of these definitions are shown to be unsatisfactory. The conversation ends with Socrates’ announcement that he has to go to court to answer to the charges that he has been corrupting the young and failing to worship Athenian Gods.
August 8, 2010
Parmenides is one of the dialogues of Plato. It is widely considered to be one of the more, if not the most, challenging and enigmatic of Plato’s dialogues.
The Parmenides purports to be an account of a meeting between the two great philosophers of the Eleatic school, Parmenidesand Zeno of Elea, and a young Socrates. The occasion of the meeting was the reading by Zeno of his treatise defending Parmenidean monism against those partisans of plurality who asserted that Parmenides’ supposition that there is a one gives rise to intolerable absurdities and contradictions.
July 25, 2010
The Symposium (Ancient Greek: Συμπόσιον) is a philosophical text by Plato dated c. 385–380 BCE. It concerns itself at one level with the genesis, purpose and nature of love.
Love is examined in a sequence of speeches by men attending a symposium, or drinking party. Each man must deliver an encomium, a speech in praise of Love (Eros). The party takes place at the house of the tragedian Agathon in Athens. Socrates in his speech asserts that the highest purpose of love is to become a philosopher or, literally, a lover of wisdom. The dialogue has been used as a source by social historians seeking to throw light on life in ancient Athens, in particular upon sexual behavior, and the symposium as an institution.
July 10, 2010
Plato’s Phaedo (pronounced /ˈfiːdoʊ/, Greek: Φαίδων, Phaidon) is one of the great dialogues of his middle period, along with theRepublic and the Symposium. The Phaedo, which depicts the death of Socrates, is also Plato’s seventh and last dialogue to detail the philosopher’s final days (the first six being Theaetetus, Euthyphro, Sophist, Statesman, Apology, and Crito).
In the dialogue, Socrates discusses the nature of the afterlife on his last day before being executed by drinking Hemlock poison. Socrates has been imprisoned and sentenced to death by Athenian political leaders for not believing in Athenian gods and for corrupting the youth of the city. The dialogue is told from the perspective of one of Socrates’ students, Phaedo of Elis. Having been present at Socrates’ death bed, Phaedo relates the dialogue from that day to Echecrates, a fellow philosopher. By engaging in dialecticwith a group of Socrates’ friends, including the Thebans Cebes and Simmias, Socrates explores various arguments for the soul’s immortality in order to show that there is an afterlife in which the soul will dwell following death. Phaedo tells the story that following the discussion, he and the others were there to witness the death of Socrates.