A genuine one-of-a-kind original

Thursday, March 15, 2018. 🦋
I think that if I were to discover one day that I were not my own genuine person, and that I were only a clone, then I would suddenly find my life not very worth living any more…
You see, this life isn’t so great that it is worth repeating. Some lives are like that. The only thing that gives it any kind of value is that it is a one-of-a-kind — an original.


Botched interpretations of Plato

Friday, March 9, 2018. 🦉
But one shouldn’t take Aristotle’s botched interpretations of Plato to be the authoritative source for telling us quite accurately what Plato himself actually thought. That would be like thinking that the Alexandrian conquest was a manifestation of some Greek design, just because an ambitious and ruthless Macedonian decided to use the Greeks and their history as an excuse to invade Persia.

The gods delight in being seen

Thursday, March 8, 2018.
“In truth, the gods honor virtue most highly when it belongs to Love. They are more impressed and delighted, however, and are more generous with a loved one who cherishes his lover, than with a lover who cherishes the boy he loves. A lover is more godlike than his boy, you see, since he is inspired by the god.” (Symposium, 180b)
The gods are delighted with the boy, because when the boy cherishes his lover, it is because he can see something of the lover’s love. And so what the boy cherishes is the Love itself that exists between the lover and the boy, and the gods delight in being seen.

How to engage with Christians, when you are not Christian yourself

Tuesday, March 6, 2018.
Being Christian (or Catholic), they’ll do unto others as they would wish to have done unto them (since this is their golden rule). And so, if I wanted to know how they wanted to be treated, then I should just look to how they treat me, and then I will know what they think is “good” treatment. (On the other hand, I am not Christian, and I believe in treating others as they would like to be treated, to the best of my ability. And if I must live amongst them, they must be habituated or educated so that we have the same values — otherwise, their ignorant and self-righteous good-will will be incredibly intolerable to live with.)

Prometheus’ Gift of Fire

Monday, March 5, 2018.
Social contracts (and other voluntary contracts) aside, the very first duty (which is to our own selves) comes from the biological fact that life is a burden that has been (somewhat violently) thrust upon us. Rights are like Prometheus’ gift of fire to humans; rights are an attempt to even out the unfair difficulty of the burden. As I see it, duty is the obligation that we each have to ourselves to keep the flame of justice alive (ie, to preserve and to exercise our rights at the right times). And, insofar as rights and duties go, numbers have nothing to do with it.

What matters

Sunday, March 4, 2018.
“It is the loss to the individual that matters to me, not the loss of the individual.” (Taurek, “Should the Numbers Count?” p.307)

As I once had been permitted to do

Saturday, March 3, 2018.
Without this, life seems to me to be so pointless — and as great as living is sometimes, it just doesn’t seem to really be worth living. It’s not even that the future holds something dreadful, or that I am enmired in some terrible emotional or psychological turmoil. It’s just that the future appears to me to be so dull and empty without my being able to fly freely (as I once had been permitted to do), that no amount of luxurious comfort could make me see the point of all the busy-ness of life.

The Making of a Philosopher

Friday, March 2, 2018.
There is a special history that I have which affords me the insights that are unique to the experiences that I’ve had. And it is these insights from these particular experiences that make me a good philosopher, I believe.
I understand some bits of forbidden knowledge, such as Achilles’ rage as described by Homer, and what Plato means precisely in speaking of not wanting to be ruled a worse person. I am especially made to be a philosopher, because I have the secret knowledge which Plato wanted to limit to only a small number of the population.

In Service to Humanity

Thursday, March 1, 2018.
This is why I think that I can argue that the numbers can and do matter, despite agreeing with Taurek that in some sense, they also don’t. As it is said in the Euthyphro, there are two parts to justice: the part of justice that is in service to the gods (that which is called “piety”) and the rest of justice that is in service to humanity.
Now, insofar as we are speaking of the part of justice that is in service to the gods, the actual numbers don’t matter. But insofar as we are speaking of the part of justice that is in service to humanity, the numbers do matter. However, the fact that numbers do matter doesn’t always lead to the conclusion that the greater quantity of some “good” is always the best conclusion. Sometimes the lesser quantity (even of a “good”) is what the objective requires. The numbers matter because they are useful in determining the “correct” quantity, rather than because more is always better.

The burden of being David

Wednesday, February 28, 2018.
It is an undeniable fact that no one else in the whole universe, in the past, present, or future, will ever have quite the same duty that David has to himself. No one else can bear the full burden of the responsibility of being David. It is a responsibility that has been thrust upon him by the awesome power of Nature, and it is this responsibility which gives him “rights” that no one else can have in regards to himself.

The “right” size of humanity

Saturday, February 24, 2018.
(For instance, the number of humans that is “just right” for life on earth might depend on the amount of natural resources, what it is for a human life to be flourishing and to be healthy, how much pollution each human makes during her lifetime, whether humans consume meat and/or animal products, what is our purpose here on Earth, etc.)
So surely I disagree with the people who think that it’s necessarily the case that more is better. I think that if numbers matter, it will only matter in a way that ultimately aims for a state of health (taking into consideration the environment and other contexts that may help determine what is the “right” quantity), rather than a limitless reach for the infinite good.

Taking into consideration the quality of human life

Friday, February 23, 2018.
Perhaps the best regard for human life is to see what the appropriate or correct quantity of human life is (while taking into consideration the quality of each human life), and to aim for attaining that appropriate quantity — rather than just blindly aiming for the greatest quantity of human life. This line of reasoning might allow for a reason to save the lesser number of people, over the greater number of people.

The Sensitivity of a Man

Monday, February 19, 2018.
For Plato, the issue is resolved by taking serious consideration of the virtue of ‘sensitivity’ — which many philosophers either ignore or are confused about. That fact is evidenced by their calling sophrosune “self-control.” They are not so different from the oi-polloi, which Socrates describes as thinking precisely this way in ‘Republic’. The virtue of sensitivity is about making apt, tactful, responsive decisions regarding the who-what-when-where-why-and-how to speak and to act. It is about being able to move fluidly through every context; and it is not about forcing oneself to behave rigidly according to some script.
Achilles had this virtue. It’s what makes him so attractive as a man, and so effective at being a human being.

i, Matter

Sunday, February 18, 2018.
But I do not agree with him that “matter is simply some metaphysical carrier of qualities which latter alone gave rise to experiences that are mental contents” because I don’t think that “matter” is “metaphysical.” It is the mind that is metaphysical, while matter is what is physical. And so, I disagree also that “bare matter as such cannot be experienced and is therefore an otiose abstraction.” (p.221) That is, I can agree that we cannot know the “bare matter” as itself, but I do think that we can experience it in the distinct way that we do. Even if it isn’t a perfectly accurate experience, still, my point is that it is some experience.
As long as we acknowledge that our experience isn’t the thing itself, then I think that it is fine to build on the appearances (so long as the appearances are both consistent and un-coerced) and to continue to do our science with the experiences that we are capable of having — limited as it may be.

Paint with all the Colors of the Wind

Saturday, February 17, 2018.
Language is not only rules and grammar, but it is also learning the unspeakable meaning of the words so that one can “paint with all the colors of the wind.”

A Waste of Time

Friday, February 16, 2018.
The only upshot to subbing is that if the students don’t themselves want to work on their classwork (since, they’d rather do something else instead), and I can’t “make” them do it, then there’s nothing else for me to do with that class time than to get a little studying done myself — and, I get paid to do that! If the students won’t use that time to study, then why should I let that time go to waste?

The Helmsman

Thursday, February 1, 2018
Consider Plato’s Gorgias 511c-512b. In that example of the helmsman, the helmsman doesn’t consider himself to have done a beneficial thing if he delivers his passengers to safety. For, he thinks that it is worse for a corrupt person to remain alive and to live badly, than to die.

The gods want to be seen

Tuesday, January 30, 2018.
Most people consider “maths” to be something quite special — And it is! But, it is still a way of “clear and distinct” thinking. And as such, it’s a product of the mind. But nature is not something to be limited by the mind, nor can it consist only in what can be discovered, recognized, or known by the mind.

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