Phronesis is a kind of sophia

Saturday, October 14, 2017.
But I think that phronesis is itself a kind of judgment-making skill (ie, sophia). It’s just that phronesis is the skill used for the sake of particular purposes, rather than for the sake of the form. Still, what the skill is used for doesn’t change what the skill itself is essentially — and essentially, phronesis is itself a kind of sophia.


alēthēs sophia

Friday, October 13, 2017 🕯️
Now, there is, I believe, a common conclusion whenever one attempts to answer the following question in a mathematical way: “What do all the gods love?” (As first posed in Plato’s Euthyphro) And the mathematical conclusion to this question is this: each themselves.
To clarify, the mathematical conclusion to this polytheistic riddle is the “self.” And insofar as anything is a “self,” it must be said to be at least divine (meaning, “of the gods”) even if it might not itself be one of the gods. Thus, even a mortal man like Socrates is also divine, insofar as he is also a self. And so, this is how the “self” comes to be the bedrock and relevant domain of morality.

Neglected by one who is like her

Thursday, October 12, 2017.
“For surely the gods at least will never neglect anyone who eagerly wishes to become just and, by practicing virtue, to make himself as much like a god as a human being can… It is certainly reasonable to think that a man of that sort won’t be neglected by one who is like him… Those, then, are the sorts of prizes that come from the gods to the just man.” (Republic, 612c-613b)

The Shining Good-will

Wednesday, October 11, 2017.
“For me, a man’s good enough as long as he’s not lawless, and if he has the common sense of right and wrong that does a city good—a decent guy. I certainly won’t find fault with a man like that. . . So long as he doesn’t willfully do wrong, I give my praise and love to any man. But not even the gods can resist necessity.” (Simonides, Fragment PMG 542)

Why I strive so hard every day

Tuesday, October 10, 2017. 🌌
I am also practicing something, so that, as Lear would put it, I can get better at it, and perhaps even good at it. It is this thought — and also the thought that I might be called upon to speak as an expert of this philosophy at any moment — which makes me strive so hard every day to improve myself in my understanding of my topic. In a crucial moment, I don’t want to be found lacking. I don’t want to fail the person who might be trusting me to know.

True agency is only possible while in a state of harmony

Monday, October 9, 2017.
“Remember, then, that you are marching against a very great city. Think, too, of the glory, or, if events turn out differently, the shame which you will bring to your ancestors and to yourselves, and, with all this in mind, follow your leaders, paying the strictest attention to discipline and to security, giving prompt obedience to the orders which you receive. The best and safest thing of all is when a large force is so well disciplined that it seems to be acting like one man.” (Thucydides, Peloponnesian War, Book 2, 11)

“He who drinks without thirst does not know the taste of water.”

Saturday, October 7, 2017 🌦️
Some of us, I suspect, have grown excessively lazy in satisfying this special duty of ours. We let other people speak for us, when they shouldn’t. We passively accept the words, explanations and reasons that come from so-called “authority figures” (some of whom are philosophers), without investigating our own hearts and minds to see whether they’ve gotten it right or not. We just accept that they must know, somehow, since they are the so-called “experts.” But by settling for pragmatic or comfortable explanations, we inevitably settle for an existence that lacks genuineness.

Universal healthcare for Callicles

Friday, October 6, 2017 🏆
And if I wanted to be happy myself, then I should encourage you to be other-regarding, since your other-regardingness is what makes me happy. But you can’t be other-regarding if you’re dead, distracted, and/or impoverished. So, presumably, if I wanted to be happy, then I have some interest in promoting your existence and your welfare to some reasonable standard. (This is sort of like having a reason to water the cabbages regularly if I want to eat them later, or having a reason to feed my cows fresh grass if I want their milk to taste sweet, or providing my employees with affordable healthcare if I want them to show up for work every day.)

Platonic Existentialism

Thursday, October 5, 2017 🌲
If Socrates discovered any new way of thinking, it is away of thinking about existence. As I had said earlier today at 1304 hours: “For Plato, the good is rooted in nature — ie, the world outside of the cave, where the sun is. The good isn’t some metaphysical ‘idea.’ For Plato, there is something real that the shadows in the cave are merely representing. The real and genuine good is therefore the sun, and it is found outside of the cave. It is a kind of ‘pure love.’ . . . I am myself the form/shape of the Good. Thus, Plato’s philosophy is the first known case of an ‘existentialist philosophy’ in the West. And ‘essence’ is an Aristotelian favorite, and not a Platonic one.”

Beyond the universal mind

Wednesday, October 4, 2017.
I think that it helps to say that what we often consider to be “objectivity” is actually a “universal subjectivity.” According to the Hesiodic Muses, the only true objectivity is the fact of the existence of matter, force, void, numbers, contrasts, motion, location — but also our own minds. The conceptual content produced by our minds are not objective things. Nevertheless, the phenomenological experience of our world may indeed be universal to beings like us. But, to my understanding, “universality” isn’t quite the same thing as “objectivity.”

“Why did you want to φ?”

Tuesday, October 3, 2017.
But I think that there’s an important difference between “origins” and “desired end-results.” Confusingly, both are called “causes.” But, because both “origins” and “desired end-results” are considered to be “causes,” there’s actually two ways that a person can answer the “why” question.

Desire: A mere tool of Nature?

Monday, October 2, 2017.
And also, sometimes people even equate “being rational” with “being the same” — ie, being “homo.” For instance, people who share a certain relevant physiological feature might come to similar conclusions about things when presented with the same body of evidence, or they might have similar appetites when presented with the same stimulus.

The “all or nothing” nature of Pascal’s wager

Sunday, October 1, 2017 🌞
If the universe were the expression of some irrational number φ, and if I were as much a product of this great universe as the leaf on the tree outside my window or the nautilus shell I find on the shoreline, then surely I should expect to find something “φ-ish” in myself — something irrational. And perhaps I might call it “free will,” or “imagination,” or something of that sort.

Why things like perceived race, gender, and ability do matter

Friday, September 29, 2017 🏆
“I’ve never learned anything from you, as you know. But I made progress whenever I was with you, even if i was only in the same house and not in the same room — but more when I was in the same room. And it seemed to me at least, that when I was in the same room and looked at you when you were speaking, I made much more progress than when I looked away. And I made by far the most and greatest progress when I sat right beside you, and physically held on to you or touched you.” (Theages, 130d-e)

Walking a mile in someone else’s mind

Thursday, September 28, 2017.
But, I think that Socrates actually was intending to do his interlocutors some good, if “being understood” is indeed of some good to a person. It seems to me to be a sign of respect to genuinely want to understand the other person from her or his own perspective. It seems to me that Socrates was asking questions because he wanted to understand things — especially from the perspective of the individual, and not as an “outsider.”

Who qualifies to be an expert of “me”?

Wednesday, September 27, 2017 🌊
“I have often heard you say that every one of us is good with respect to that in which he is wise and bad in respect to that in which he is ignorant.” (Laches, 194d)

The democratic project

Tuesday, September 26, 2017 🔥
Secondly, if I were a firm believer in the “democratic project,” and I had witnessed the miracles at Marathon and Thermopylae, then I’d know as a fact (and not merely as a hypothesis) that the fate of Athens is actually in the hands of each and every citizen. Knowing this, I would want to promote “ownership” of beliefs over a “blind obedience” to dogma.

A theory of everything

Monday, September 25, 2017.
Now, imagine each individual as a snapshot of the universe at the precise moment of their conception. If this could be imagined, then I can see how what Socrates is suggesting could be pretty amazing. The process of recollection is to gain, through inquiry and elenchus, knowledge of the whole universe. To me, that’s pretty amazing. That means that each individual is like a book that contains information about the entire universe, and one only need examine oneself to discover it all. Aletheia is pretty great, isn’t it?