Online reading group and book discussion forum
  HOME FORUMS BOOKS LINKS DONATE ADVERTISE CONTACT  
View unanswered posts | View active topics It is currently Fri Oct 31, 2014 3:44 pm




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 10 posts ] • Topic evaluate: Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average. 
Ch. 2 - The Classical Conception of the Good Life 
Author Message
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Online
BookTalk.org Hall of Fame

BookTalk.org Owner
Diamond Contributor 3

Joined: May 2002
Posts: 14012
Location: Florida
Thanks: 1990
Thanked: 767 times in 607 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)
Highscores: 8

Post Ch. 2 - The Classical Conception of the Good Life
This thread is for discussing Ch. 2 - The Classical Conception of the Good Life. You can post within this framework or create your own threads.

Chris

"For Every Winner, There Are Dozens Of Losers. Odds Are You're One Of Them"




Wed Sep 01, 2004 3:40 pm
Profile Email YIM WWW
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Asleep in Reading Chair


Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 199
Thanks: 0
Thanked: 0 time in 0 post
Gender: Male
Country: United Kingdom (uk)

Post Aristotle & Bush, wisdom & stupidity?
In this chapter Grayling starts by contrasting the ancient honour codes and hero worship of the earlier traditions of the Mycenaean civilisation, exemplified by Homer in his writings, with the culture-centred views which prevailed during the legendary Classical period of Pericles' Athens.

I don't know about you, but it occurred to me that there was an interesting parallel here with the impending American election. How would a modern Socrates fare as a candidate? Someone who accepted that he "knew nothing", would get no further in the modern world than he did in ancient Greece (although I don't suppose he would be condemned to drink hemlock). Today, Socrates would be seen as weak and indecisive: the ultimate flip-flopper. But it's impossible to see Bush as a Homeric hero either (a Homeric hero would have been in the front line). The appeal of leaders like Bush (another example is Margaret Thatcher) is that they are perceived to have a clear vision and a simple ideology that everyone can understand. The obvious problem is that simple ideologies are bound to lead them to make simple-minded snap decisions, which have an even chance of being right or wrong. It is a sad fact that such leaders are seen as decisive and competent in the modern world, even if their decisions turn out to be wrong, as Bush obviously was about his decision to invade Iraq. In our country Mrs. Thatcher, is remembered by some as a great Prime Minister because she had a clear vision. This is so, even though her vision entailed the introduction of an unfair Poll-Tax (which led to her being kicked out by her party before the electorate got the chance) and the effective destruction of many mining communities who are still suffering to this day. How can someone who has a simple-minded vision, and determination, also be described as being very clever (as our press described her)? To me the expression: "simple minded" is a euphemism for stupid. The world is not a simple place; simple solutions are never going to be enough.

Grayling says of Aristotle's view of anger: he... 'saw it as an emotion of great power and good effect if wisely directed. It is easy to fly into a passion,' he remarked, 'anyone can do that; but to be angry with the right person, to the right extent, at the time, in the right way, with the right aim; that is not easy.'

It is only through the thoughtful pragmatism of Aristotle and the kind of examined reflection that Socrates promoted that an understanding of truth be approached and appropriate action taken. A good leader must weigh up evidence dispassionately and make the best decision based on the available evidence, taking proper account of the likely behaviour of his friends and potential enemies. How can this ever come from a simple predetermined ideology, which his enemies will probably completely misunderstand because they might come from a culture which doesn't understand it or want it.

Edited by: PeterDF at: 11/7/04 1:34 pm



Sat Oct 02, 2004 6:03 am
Profile
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
I dumpster dive for books!

Bronze Contributor

Joined: Aug 2003
Posts: 1796
Thanks: 0
Thanked: 14 times in 12 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Socrates, Dialogue, Democracy, Ignorance, and a Cross
I think the, or a, primary component of the Socratic enterprise is an exchange of voices, or Dialogue. The Truth is arrived at by an exchange, interaction, wrestling, even combat of ideas. Furthermore, these Logoi are alive, active, and personal things- nothing dispassionate or aloof: the Logos grips and consumes the interlocutors.

But, as far as Leadership qualities are concerned, Plato's Dialogues are precious examples of dismantling the mantle of 'Expert' status laid at the feet of Athen's "leaders".

If there is anything worthy of the Socratic enterprise, it is this: there are no experts in human affairs, nobody knows the human experience in ways that others don't or can't share.

More precisely, in democratic terms: ALL share in this predicament; thus MANY voices are needed to guide, direct, and sail this ship of fools called, "Humanity".

And, as Socrates points out again and again, push far enough behind the veneer of Expert, or Leader, confront the staged performances that keep the Powerful in power...and you will expose just how simply ignorant they, and we, really are.

And, as Socrates case exemplifies....do this enough, and you will find a cup of hemlock waiting for you.

Or a Cross.




Sat Oct 02, 2004 11:28 am
Profile
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Asleep in Reading Chair


Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 199
Thanks: 0
Thanked: 0 time in 0 post
Gender: Male
Country: United Kingdom (uk)

Post Re: Socrates, Dialogue, Democracy, Ignorance, and a Cross
Shannon

I agree with you that dialogue is a crucial tool for determining truth, but it seems that much of the political dialogue that we hear today is a sterile reiteration of the same old ideological positions. left versus right, liberal versus conservative, etc. etc This goes on ad nauseum without ever bringing any deeper insight.

Socrates' dialogue was deeper and more corrosive (No one likes having their cherished ideologies attacked - hence the hemlock) It was about exposing logical inconsistencies and reducing an opponents argument to what can ultimately be known.

Where I disagree with you - if I understand your position correctly - is in your assertion that just because a view is widely held that it somehow means it is more right than one which is only held by a few.

Socretes and Plato were against the form of democracy that prevailed in Athens (they may have been predisposed to like the modern form more.)

You are right that all leaders are human beings, and have the same susceptibility to error as the rest of us, so why the hell do people lay down their lives for them?




Sun Oct 03, 2004 3:50 am
Profile


Post Re: Socrates, Dialogue, Democracy, Ignorance, and a Cross
Quote:
How would a modern Socrates fare as a candidate? Someone who accepted that he "knew nothing", would get no further in the modern world than he did in ancient Greece... Socrates would be seen as weak and indecisive: the ultimate flip-flopper


What if a Socrates-type could be the Official Presidential Advisor? He/She would be nonpartisan, of course, and resistant to political influence one way or the other (could that be?) To foster temperance and patience in decision-making would be a good thing, especially with our current administration.




Sat Oct 09, 2004 8:58 pm


Post Re: Socrates, Dialogue, Democracy, Ignorance, and a Cross
Quote:
Where I disagree with you - if I understand your position correctly - is in your assertion that just because a view is widely held that it somehow means it is more right than one which is only held by a few.


As mentioned in this chapter, Gorgias, who was a teacher of rhetoric, describes the two persuasions of using rhetoric: one, to impart knowledge and two, simply to persuade minds whether an issue is factual or not. Gorgias must have been a republican.




Sat Oct 09, 2004 9:14 pm
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
I dumpster dive for books!

Bronze Contributor

Joined: Aug 2003
Posts: 1796
Thanks: 0
Thanked: 14 times in 12 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: Socrates, Dialogue, Democracy, Ignorance, and a Cross
Peter

Quote:
Where I disagree with you - if I understand your position correctly - is in your assertion that just because a view is widely held that it somehow means it is more right than one which is only held by a few.


This is not my view of democracy. I don't endorse a type of concensus-epistemology
where truth is determined by committee, and I think Socrates would see such a thing as repugnant.

My view of democracy, and where I see the Dialogue as essential, is the importance of keeping the powerful accountable, and each other too.

The Socratic pathos shows that no person has any more or less legitimacy in the Dialogue...the only determininant is Reason, and it is an equal opportunity force in human affairs, not a respector of class, caste, or race.




Sun Oct 10, 2004 9:05 am
Profile


Post Re: Socrates, Dialogue, Democracy, Ignorance, and a Cross
Quote:
My view of democracy... is the importance of keeping the powerful accountable... the only determininant is Reason, and it is an equal opportunity force in human affairs, not a respector of class, caste, or race.


But, do you see this as actually happening? Idealogically, it is the lofty goal upon which our country was built, but is it happening? To an extent, I suppose, otherwise we'd be under tyrannical control.
I believe modern media tactics are perpeptuating political spin to a new level, thus allowing demagoguery to rise to new levels as well.




Sun Oct 10, 2004 9:55 am
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
I dumpster dive for books!

Bronze Contributor

Joined: Aug 2003
Posts: 1796
Thanks: 0
Thanked: 14 times in 12 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: Re: Socrates, Dialogue, Democracy, Ignorance, and a Cro
OF course I don't see the democratic spirit I describe here as actually existing in the political and economic structures of the USA.

First of all, in the world of Business and Finance, the world of Croporate Industries and Stock Markets, there is absolutely no space for the democracy of accountability. On the contrary, the most cursory of examinations display profoundly oligarchic hierarchies of the most stringent forms of top-down control and domination...anything BUT democracy is what turns the engines of this Nation's economy.

Then, consider the vast control these largely unaccountable elite sectors of the population have over the Electoral processes. Consider their domination over the Legislation of laws by way of highly skilled, thoroughly financed lobbyists- and don't forget the 'revolving door' from Elected Office to Corporate Board.

Likewise, the Media are structured upon this same mentality and order of control...the Media are not controlled by Corporate Hierarchical Oligarchies- they ARE Corporate Hierarchical Oligarchies. They will produce what supports, furthers, entrenches, and maximizes Corporate Profit...and they will call it News.

This, by the way, cuts across Party Lines, Democratic or Republican.

So, you will NOT find the struggle for democratic legitimacy in the most powerful regions of American politics or economics for these reasons.




Mon Oct 11, 2004 10:45 am
Profile
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Online
BookTalk.org Hall of Fame

BookTalk.org Owner
Diamond Contributor 3

Joined: May 2002
Posts: 14012
Location: Florida
Thanks: 1990
Thanked: 767 times in 607 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)
Highscores: 8

Post Re: Re: Socrates, Dialogue, Democracy, Ignorance, and a Cro
Vote vote vote!

We only have 4 vote so far.


"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." - Nelson Mandella




Mon Oct 11, 2004 11:27 pm
Profile Email YIM WWW
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 10 posts ] • Topic evaluate: Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average. 



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:


BookTalk.org Links 
Forum Rules & Tips
Frequently Asked Questions
BBCode Explained
Info for Authors & Publishers
Featured Book Suggestions
Author Interview Transcripts
Be a Book Discussion Leader!
    

Love to talk about books but don't have time for our book discussion forums? For casual book talk join us on Facebook.

Featured Books

Books by New Authors



Booktalk.org on Facebook 



BookTalk.org is a free book discussion group or online reading group or book club. We read and talk about both fiction and non-fiction books as a group. We host live author chats where booktalk members can interact with and interview authors. We give away free books to our members in book giveaway contests. Our booktalks are open to everybody who enjoys talking about books. Our book forums include book reviews, author interviews and book resources for readers and book lovers. Discussing books is our passion. We're a literature forum, or reading forum. Register a free book club account today! Suggest nonfiction and fiction books. Authors and publishers are welcome to advertise their books or ask for an author chat or author interview.


Navigation 
MAIN NAVIGATION

HOMEFORUMSBOOKSTRANSCRIPTSOLD FORUMSADVERTISELINKSFAQDONATETERMS OF USEPRIVACY POLICY

BOOK FORUMS FOR ALL BOOKS WE HAVE DISCUSSED
Sense and Goodness Without God - by Richard CarrierFrankenstein - by Mary ShelleyThe Big Questions - by Simon BlackburnScience Was Born of Christianity - by Stacy TrasancosThe Happiness Hypothesis - by Jonathan HaidtA Game of Thrones - by George R. R. MartinTempesta's Dream - by Vincent LoCocoWhy Nations Fail - by Daron Acemoglu and James RobinsonThe Drowning Girl - Caitlin R. KiernanThe Consolations of the Forest - by Sylvain TessonThe Complete Heretic's Guide to Western Religion: The Mormons - by David FitzgeraldA Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man - by James JoyceThe Divine Comedy - by Dante AlighieriThe Magic of Reality - by Richard DawkinsDubliners - by James JoyceMy Name Is Red - by Orhan PamukThe World Until Yesterday - by Jared DiamondThe Man Who Was Thursday - by by G. K. ChestertonThe Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven PinkerLord Jim by Joseph ConradThe Hobbit by J. R. R. TolkienThe Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas AdamsAtlas Shrugged by Ayn RandThinking, Fast and Slow - by Daniel KahnemanThe Righteous Mind - by Jonathan HaidtWorld War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max BrooksMoby Dick: or, the Whale by Herman MelvilleA Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer EganLost Memory of Skin: A Novel by Russell BanksThe Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas S. KuhnHobbes: Leviathan by Thomas HobbesThe House of the Spirits - by Isabel AllendeArguably: Essays by Christopher HitchensThe Falls: A Novel (P.S.) by Joyce Carol OatesChrist in Egypt by D.M. MurdockThe Glass Bead Game: A Novel by Hermann HesseA Devil's Chaplain by Richard DawkinsThe Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph CampbellThe Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor DostoyevskyThe Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark TwainThe Moral Landscape by Sam HarrisThe Decameron by Giovanni BoccaccioThe Road by Cormac McCarthyThe Grand Design by Stephen HawkingThe Evolution of God by Robert WrightThe Tin Drum by Gunter GrassGood Omens by Neil GaimanPredictably Irrational by Dan ArielyThe Wind-Up Bird Chronicle: A Novel by Haruki MurakamiALONE: Orphaned on the Ocean by Richard Logan & Tere Duperrault FassbenderDon Quixote by Miguel De CervantesMusicophilia by Oliver SacksDiary of a Madman and Other Stories by Nikolai GogolThe Passion of the Western Mind by Richard TarnasThe Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le GuinThe Genius of the Beast by Howard BloomAlice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll Empire of Illusion by Chris HedgesThe Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner The Extended Phenotype by Richard DawkinsSmoke and Mirrors by Neil GaimanThe Selfish Gene by Richard DawkinsWhen Good Thinking Goes Bad by Todd C. RinioloHouse of Leaves by Mark Z. DanielewskiAmerican Gods: A Novel by Neil GaimanPrimates and Philosophers by Frans de WaalThe Enormous Room by E.E. CummingsThe Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar WildeGod Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher HitchensThe Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco Dreams From My Father by Barack Obama Paradise Lost by John Milton Bad Money by Kevin PhillipsThe Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson BurnettGodless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists by Dan BarkerThe Things They Carried by Tim O'BrienThe Limits of Power by Andrew BacevichLolita by Vladimir NabokovOrlando by Virginia Woolf On Being Certain by Robert A. Burton50 reasons people give for believing in a god by Guy P. HarrisonWalden: Or, Life in the Woods by Henry David ThoreauExile and the Kingdom by Albert CamusOur Inner Ape by Frans de WaalYour Inner Fish by Neil ShubinNo Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthyThe Age of American Unreason by Susan JacobyTen Theories of Human Nature by Leslie Stevenson & David HabermanHeart of Darkness by Joseph ConradThe Stuff of Thought by Stephen PinkerA Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled HosseiniThe Lucifer Effect by Philip ZimbardoResponsibility and Judgment by Hannah ArendtInterventions by Noam ChomskyGodless in America by George A. RickerReligious Expression and the American Constitution by Franklyn S. HaimanDeep Economy by Phil McKibbenThe God Delusion by Richard DawkinsThe Third Chimpanzee by Jared DiamondThe Woman in the Dunes by Abe KoboEvolution vs. Creationism by Eugenie C. ScottThe Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael PollanI, Claudius by Robert GravesBreaking The Spell by Daniel C. DennettA Peace to End All Peace by David FromkinThe Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey NiffeneggerThe End of Faith by Sam HarrisEnder's Game by Orson Scott CardThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark HaddonValue and Virtue in a Godless Universe by Erik J. WielenbergThe March by E. L DoctorowThe Ethical Brain by Michael GazzanigaFreethinkers: A History of American Secularism by Susan JacobyCollapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared DiamondThe Battle for God by Karen ArmstrongThe Future of Life by Edward O. WilsonWhat is Good? by A. C. GraylingCivilization and Its Enemies by Lee HarrisPale Blue Dot by Carl SaganHow We Believe: Science, Skepticism, and the Search for God by Michael ShermerLooking for Spinoza by Antonio DamasioLies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them by Al FrankenThe Red Queen by Matt RidleyThe Blank Slate by Stephen PinkerUnweaving the Rainbow by Richard DawkinsAtheism: A Reader edited by S.T. JoshiGlobal Brain by Howard BloomThe Lucifer Principle by Howard BloomGuns, Germs and Steel by Jared DiamondThe Demon-Haunted World by Carl SaganBury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee BrownFuture Shock by Alvin Toffler

OTHER PAGES WORTH EXPLORING
Banned Book ListOur Amazon.com SalesMassimo Pigliucci Rationally SpeakingOnline Reading GroupTop 10 Atheism BooksFACTS Book Selections

cron
Copyright © BookTalk.org 2002-2014. All rights reserved.
Website developed by MidnightCoder.ca
Display Pagerank