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 Plato - as a person

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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: Plato - as a person   Fri 07 Feb 2014, 10:13

I treated myself to that book, "Platonism and the English Imagination" and have been reading it non-stop. I am ashamed to say that I had no idea just how much Platonism has influenced English Literature - from Chaucer right through to Auden.

What is odd is that Plato himself had no time for poets:

"When Plato discusses literature he is concerned not with individual creativity or artistic imagination, but with the truthfulness of poetic representations. He holds that poets, however fine their work, lack the knowledge which is the hallmark of the philosopher."

Gulp. I'm struggling with this. Lack of knowledge - true understanding - of the Forms?  I suppose it's to do with the artist holding up a mirror, producing only reflections of everything in the visible world? If particulars (things that reflect the Forms?) imitate the Forms, the products of the artist imitate particulars. They can only ever be imitations of imitations. The same applies to poetry which Plato describes as mere appearance, "three removes from reality".

I have never understood this criticism -  it seems such an arrogant judgement.

I was incidentally much comforted to read in the chapter on Auden ("Platonism in Auden") that Auden's main criticisms "are that Plato's Republic was a tyranny and his philosophy dualist". I said that (the tyranny bit) over forty years ago to my father and was hit around the head (literally, I'm afraid, not metaphorically) with a copy of The Republic. Hence my fear, I think, that has lasted for nearly half a century, of expressing any opinion on philosophy.

Auden, all through his career, insisted on the unique value of every individual and on the necessity of free will. These are Christian values and opposed to

Plato's lie of intellect
That all are weak but the Elect.


EDIT: Just been reading the chapter on Augustine and was delighted to find this: "The teaching of the Church is 'Platonism for the multitude', addressing unphilosophical minds in pictorial and figurative ways in order to guide their minds with reason." That's just what I meant when I said the Gospels were Plato For Dummies. I think I deleted that comment - wish I hadn't now.


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PostSubject: Re: Plato - as a person   Fri 07 Feb 2014, 10:48

No, Plato, No

I can’t imagine anything
that I would less like to be
than a disincarnate Spirit,
unable to chew or sip
or make contact with surfaces
or breathe the scents of summer
or comprehend speech and music
or gaze at what lies beyond.
No, God has placed me exactly
where I’d have chosen to be:
the sub-lunar world is such fun,
where Man is male or female
and gives Proper Names to all things.

I can, however, conceive
that the organs Nature gave Me,
my ductless glands, for instance,
slaving twenty-four hours a day
with no show of resentment
to gratify Me, their Master,
and keep Me in decent shape
(not that I give them their orders,
I wouldn’t know what to yell),
dream of another existence
than that they have known so far:
yes, it well could be that my Flesh
is praying for ‘Him’ to die,
so setting Her free to become
irresponsible Matter
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PostSubject: Re: Plato - as a person   Fri 07 Feb 2014, 12:19

Have you encountered The Philosophers' Mail yet, Temp? Alain de Botton and others' response to the on-line Mail; same topics, same style, different treatments.
http://www.philosophersmail.com/290114-capitalism-cowell.php
http://www.philosophersmail.com/
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PostSubject: Re: Plato - as a person   Fri 07 Feb 2014, 14:24

Thanks for that link, ferval - I had not come across the Philosophers' Mail. Will read it daily from now on.

I note the picture of Simon Cowell smoking. That reminded me of a chilling quotation - I think it's from "Bonfire of the Vanities" - about one of the Masters of the Universe. Said Master of said Universe was congratulating himself on his various triumphs, financial, emotional and physical, and was confidently - jauntily even -  looking forward to more of the same: "And at that moment, deep within his body, a rogue cell silently and efficiently divided."
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PostSubject: Re: Plato - as a person   Fri 07 Feb 2014, 14:41

I'm really in gif mode today. Found this one representing the conventional Roman attitude to Plato, Socrates et al ...



By the way - whoever wrote this really didn't get Plato at all (or actually has never read the stuff he wrote)

Temp (on behalf of someone else) wrote:
Plato's lie of intellect
That all are weak but the Elect

It seems the Roman attitude persisted into more modern times ...
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PostSubject: Re: Plato - as a person   Fri 07 Feb 2014, 15:11

The quotation, which I thought was rather good, is from Auden's "New Year Letter". I certainly may not have read much Plato, let alone understood him (I am trying), but I do think Auden had a reasonable grasp of what he was on about.

I'm on Iris Murdoch now - she thought Plato was OK, of course. Not that it did her much good in the end. I've always found her terribly difficult.

After being immersed in my book yesterday and today, I'm beginning to think that just about everyone has been influenced by Plato - even King Alfred (via Boethius, also Augustine). I know absolutely nothing about Boethius - but his chapter (Boethius and King Alfred by Janet Bately)  will have to wait until tomorrow.

PS Many thanks to Priscilla for starting this thread - I'm learning so much, even if my head is spinning with it all.


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PostSubject: Re: Plato - as a person   Fri 07 Feb 2014, 16:31

PS In his Introduction to "The Protestant Mystics" (ed. Fremantle), Auden contrasts Plato's and Dante's account of eros "as a prefiguration of a higher love". I think he probably had read a bit of Plato - and probably Dante too - before he agreed to write the intro.

I can understand anyone disagreeing with Auden's views, but to dispute his scholarship is ridiculous.
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PostSubject: Re: Plato - as a person   Fri 07 Feb 2014, 20:48

Was it Auden? I'm not disputing Auden's scholarship.

But where's Plato the pedagogue in that comment? And there's ample evidence for that person. You know, the guy who said that education was democracy in its infancy, its development and its maturity, at all times despite the pupil's age. Otherwise no one was actually learning.

You can see why I have little time for Tim's "scholars", despite their number, until I have heard what they have said.

Ridiculous? Tell me about it ...
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PostSubject: Re: Plato - as a person   Sat 08 Feb 2014, 08:06

nordmann wrote:


Ridiculous? Tell me about it ...



I certainly wouldn't presume to tell you anything - ridiculous or not - about Plato: I am sure you have forgotten more than I have ever known or understood (I am not being sarcastic) about the man. I am simply trying to catch up with his difficult ideas - ideas that I should have made more effort with years ago. I am actually appalled at my own ignorance - especially as to Plato's influence on Shakespeare, Milton and the Metaphysical poets - also modern writers such as Woolf and Auden.

I am finding "Platonism and the English Imagination" enormously helpful and interesting. The book is "the first compendious study of the influence of Plato on the English literary tradition, showing how English writers have used Platonic ideas and images within their own imaginative work. Source texts include Plato's dialogues, and the writings of Neoplatonists and the early Christians who were largely responsible for assimilating Platonic ideas into a Christian culture; and there are essays on more than thirty English authors from the Middle Ages to the twentieth century, including Shakespeare, Milton, Blake, Wordsworth, Eliot, Iris Murdoch and W.H. Auden."

Re Auden. The essay on Platonism in Auden does actually suggest that Auden was of Plato's party without knowing (well, without admitting) it. The scholar who offers this chapter (Daphne Turner - only Kingston University, I'm afraid, so I expect Catty would sneer) writes that Auden, who famously wrote: "I would rather, if I must be a heretic, be condemned as a pantheist than as a Neoplatonist", actually takes Plato's ideas very seriously. She says:

This (the heretic quotation given above)is typical of Auden's attitude to Plato: writing about him casually in poems and at some length in essays, he is usually critical. One such essay is his preface to "The Portable Greek Reader", which contains his own selection from Plato. His main criticisms are that Plato's "Republic" was a tyranny and his philosophy dualist. But one argues earnestly only against ideas that one takes very seriously. In fact, Auden seems to define himself against Plato. Christian sacramentalist against classical transcendentalist...But there are other ways of reading Plato which connect (my emphasis) rather than oppose Christian and classical. Iris Murdoch reads his work as a religious vision based on love of good, on the energy of Eros and on purifying Eros from the blurring projections of ego by constantly attending to reality. Auden is secretly much closer to this version of Plato than to his own, enough for G.T. Wright to write that, 'his way of thinking is at times remarkably Platonic'.

Apologies for great long quotation, but I wanted to put the record straight there.

But Plato has not been without his critics, I think? We may ridicule a seventeen-year-old Temperance's adolescent outbursts (although this JSTOR article does consider the problem of Plato and fascism (Auden's "tyranny"?)


http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/3746128?uid=3738032&uid=2129&uid=2&uid=70&uid=4&sid=21103365970391


but more recently of course feminist and liberal critics have been deconstructing Platonic texts to reveal androcentric, authoritarian values which have been "passed down through the generations".

But no doubt that way madness lies.
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PostSubject: Re: Plato - as a person   Sat 08 Feb 2014, 12:01

PS And what - to get away from the Eng. Lit. angle - are we to make of Karl Popper's "The Spell of Plato" - volume one of his The Open Society and its Enemies? This is from Wiki:


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Open_Society_and_Its_Enemies

In "The Open Society and Its Enemies", Popper developed a critique of historicism and a defense of the open society, liberal democracy. The book is in two volumes; volume one is subtitled "The Spell of Plato", and volume two, "The High Tide of Prophecy: Hegel, Marx, and the Aftermath".

The subtitle of the first volume is also its central premise — namely, that most Plato interpreters through the ages have been seduced by his greatness. In so doing, Popper argues, they have taken his political philosophy as a benign idyll, without taking into account its dangerous tendencies toward totalitarian ideology.

Contrary to major Plato scholars of his day, Popper divorced Plato's ideas from those of Socrates, claiming that the former in his later years expressed none of the humanitarian and democratic tendencies of his teacher. In particular, he accuses Plato of betraying Socrates in "The Republic", wherein Plato portrays Socrates sympathizing with totalitarianism (see: Socratic problem). As Gilbert Ryle wrote reviewing the text of Popper and agreeing with him, Plato "was Socrates' Judas".




I see Bertrand Russell gets a mention too:

Noted liberal philosopher and logician Bertrand Russell called "The Open Society and its Enemies" "a vigorous and profound defence of democracy".
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PostSubject: Re: Plato - as a person   Sun 09 Feb 2014, 10:28

The Popper point is interesting. Normally when "The Republic" is being discussed in purely philosophical terms its authorship is referred to rather circumspectly, depending on the point being made. While Plato indubitably wrote it there is huge debate concerning the role of Socrates as the character whose narration includes the more important points regarding the structure of this hypothetical state (others contribute in the dialogues concerned). To what extent Plato was using Socrates to lend authority to his own vision of this state, and to what extent he may in fact have been using the same device to distance himself from its origination is extremely mute. The accepted convention therefore when writing about this topic is to refer to "The Republic" the book as Plato's; the "republic" as a concept however must be accredited with much more care. 

Having read Popper I have never found that he deviated from this convention and therefore any distinction he made between Socratic and Platonic philosophy was not by any means unique. He also acknowledged frequently that constant problem one encounters with regard to these two people. Socratic philosophy as presented by Plato is much less complicated and much more consistent than that of the author himself. It is not for me to criticise Popper's deduction that Plato is regarded as having the more benign of the two - it is not an adjective I would use for so complex and large a body of work expressing so many philosophical concepts from the metaphysical to the arithmetical - but I would not dispute that historically he had a point with regard to how others, less familiar with the author's actual works, have been inclined to summarise his influence. If Popper had an objection it was to this, not to any innate benignity in all that Plato professed - such would have been unprosecutable as a stance, so easy is it to find examples of its main premise's contradiction. 

My take on "Open Society" was that Popper did a good job of outlining the danger of attempting to construct a society based on any single philosophy and could use the narrow-visioned Socratic model as presented by Plato to illustrate his point. It does indeed veer towards authoritarianism "for the common good", and this in turn has been used to justify totalitarianism in its day. However this veiled warning may indeed have been Plato's point too (as Glaucon's role in the dialogue appears to have been invented to amplify), and I am sure Popper knew this too. "The Republic" is not just a book depicting Socrates "sympathising with totalitarianism" but a discourse, one in which is indeed explored, albeit limitedly, the fallacy of allowing a structured society default through logical application of philosophical deductions to becoming such a state. 

Popper's own underlying belief was that society itself is a fallacy of sorts anyway. No matter how it is decided where one ends and the other begins politically, ideologically, geographically or even historically, it is by definition composed of internal diversity and dissension and any society that does not include an accommodation of this is ultimately bound to fail through selective dishonesty eventually provoking a political reaction which will undermine its structure. The totalitarian state in terms of innate honesty is actually superior since it identifies diversity and dissent as a matter of principle in order to negate them. However it too ultimately fails for the same reason as the resources used to implement this accommodation outstrip those devoted to any common good for the rest, however well intentioned the reasoning at the outset. Accepted models of "democracy" with government by the status quo score lowest of all, basically denying the diverse and the dissenter access to control, essentially through ignoring them while pretending they have a role (one of Glaucon's expressed quibbles - as written by Plato - to which Socrates has no ready answer except a philosophical version of "omelettes and eggs"). In a sense Popper's warnings echo Glaucon's as described by Plato. We might even conjecture that Popper's "Open Society" was that which Glaucon might have come up with had he had a book to himself to focus on his own vision as hinted at by his accredited objections to Socrates' (maybe he did - we work with a frustratingly small fraction of these people's writings thanks largely to early Christian disrespect for their contents). However what both share is the conviction that the term society implies a structure which contains inherently dishonest assertions and compromises in its make-up. Popper argued that these should be eliminated before any society could ever call itself a true "democracy". Russell also agreed with this view, as you point out.

We do not know if Plato presented a honed and accurately Socratic vision in his "Republic". Some are convinced that Socrates could not ever even have argued such a vision in real life since its delivery would appear to contradict his own pedagogic principles, let alone his philosophical principles, as reported elsewhere, even by Plato himself. The phrase "Plato was Socrates' Judas" therefore sounds catchy but really is so over a simplification that it does credit to neither man. Much as the reviewer you quote does credit neither to Popper nor "major Plato scholars of his day" who, contrary to the claim in the review, did indeed attempt to divorce Platonic from Socratic ideas as standard. 

My own bottom line in all this is that both Socrates and Plato, regardless of the argument being prosecuted, and in line with the principle that all thought is valuable, repeatedly afforded all manner of contradiction and dissent huge respect in their recorded deliberations. This is interpreted maybe as "benign" in some quarters (it fits the "do unto others" principle also to be found in their discourses) but ultimately it was a deliberate stance based on a belief that this was actually the most logical reaction and ultimately beneficial for everyone. Had either man ever really had opportunity to single-handedly design a real society as opposed to the hypothesis Popper and others discussed, I cannot see but that it would have been doomed to failure largely because of such inherent counter-intuitiveness in its fundamental philosophy. Human imagination seems generally unequal to the task of accommodating such benign and respectful disposition when constructing states and the institutions of state. In a sense the Christian experiment (amongst many others) has proven this too, in the Christian case with almost immediate effect once it acquired political influence.


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PostSubject: Re: Plato - as a person   Sun 09 Feb 2014, 12:32

Thank you for the long and detailed reply to points raised by my rather pathetic wanderings through Wiki.

Next ball to be patted gingerly across the net concerns Plato, Erasmus and More.

Is it true to say that More and Erasmus - who are so often linked - actually embody quite different responses to Plato's stimulus? I've read this this morning about Erasmus - Dominic Baker-Smith (University of Amsterdam) says:

"...Erasmus does not engage with Plato as a philosopher, at least not in any rigorous sense, but rather as a rhetorician of spiritual experience, the instigator of a metaphorical system which coheres effectively with Pauline Christianity. In particular it is the figure of Socrates, the midwife of understanding in others, that holds a powerful attraction for him."

If I'm understanding things aright, the parallel between Platonists and Christians lies - for Erasmus - in their joint recognition of a higher reality. But Thomas More's response to Plato is different? Obviously More was deeply religious, but was his engagement with Plato more a radical questioning of the ways in which the idealising imagination can - should - engage with social institutions? What are the civic - rather than spiritual -  obligations of those who have escaped the cave to those still trapped within? In other words was More's interest in Plato that of the reforming (if authoritarian) politician rather than of the mystic or the philosopher? (I do so hope this is not a stupid question).

Which gets me nicely to Utopia. I was amazed to read that Lucian of Samosata - wonderfully funny man - was  hostile to the Platonists and that he actually enjoyed ridiculing Plato. Shocked I mention Lucian because in True History, when the narrator reaches the Isles of the Blest and meets the great figures of Greek history, guess who's missing? No Plato. Our man is nowhere to be seen. He is, we are informed, in his ideal city and is consequently invisible. It is a mocking joke that points to the name of More's island - Utopia -  No-Place.

(Baker-Smith suggests that More's discovery of Plato may have been through translating Lucian.)

“There was no sign of Plato, and I was told later that he had gone to live in his Republic, where he was cheerfully submitting to his own Laws. [...] None of the Stoics were present. Rumour had it that they were still clambering up the steep hill of Virtue [...]. As for the Sceptics, it appeared that they were extremely anxious to get there, but still could not quite make up their minds whether or not the island really existed.”  Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Plato - as a person   Sun 09 Feb 2014, 12:56

I really know nothing about Thomas More to contradict or support that view. He was a pragmatic man so it appears to make sense. With Erasmus I would be on surer ground agreeing with the view above, but only because as with so many others educated through a Christian prism he misunderstood the logos as it would have been understood in pre-Christian times and therefore misinterpreted Plato's notion of what "higher" actually entailed. Nothing against Erasmus, of course. Had he lived another hundred years or so he would have had access to the seminally secular translations of Plato (and indeed Cicero) coming from Leipzig etc as mainly Muslim and some Byzantine libraries found their way into mainstream European academia. In Catholic countries they gravitated towards private collections whereas in Protestant Europe they acted as one giant insulin injection into the epistemologically diabetic veins of academic research and study thanks to centuries of their having been reliant on that which the church arbitrarily had drip-fed them. Exciting times - but unfortunately just beginning as Ersamus's career was ending.

PS - your PS (now deleted, I see) did not please me at all. One can learn as much about Plato in a well delivered Christian sermon as in a poorly written academic critique, often much more.

PPS - Lucian was comedy, and good comedy. So funny that he was "disapproved of" by the church and actually banned in some Catholic universities and seminaries up to recently. A bit like the infamous Swedish poster for "Monty Python's Life of Brian" when the film came out first: "The movie so funny that it's been banned in Norway!".


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PostSubject: Re: Plato - as a person   Sun 09 Feb 2014, 13:19

Mmm. Just being reading - rather ruefully - Lucian's comment about the donkey listening the lyre and then wagging its ears.

Back later to ask something about Platonic love. Been reading how the Renaissance theologians had a bit of a hard time dealing with the Symposium - but as ever they got round the problems - soul's ascent to God and all - and a nice comparison with the Song of Songs. Auden was perhaps more honest.

“They see nothing indecent in sexual intercourse, whether heterosexual or homosexual, and indulge in it quite openly, in full view of everyone. The only exception was Socrates, who was always swearing that his relations with young men were purely Platonic, but nobody believed him for a moment, and Hyacinthus and Narcissus gave first-hand evidence to the contrary.”
― Lucian of Samosata, Satirical Sketches
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PostSubject: Re: Plato - as a person   Sun 09 Feb 2014, 13:25

Lucian was no accurate social commentator or historian, as you can see. By the way did you know that his native tongue was most likely Aramaic? The area he came from seems to have been great for producing almighty shit-stirrers!
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PostSubject: Re: Plato - as a person   Sun 09 Feb 2014, 16:49

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PostSubject: Re: Plato - as a person   Mon 10 Feb 2014, 08:43

Deleted? In response to your appeal I had just prepared a huge defence of our favourite wrestler regarding his championing of many causes dear to feminist hearts today!   Smile 

But I agree that Plato (and indeed much discussion about Greek philosophy) leaves the vast majority very underwhelmed in these modern times of ours when complex questions require fast, simple solutions that can be expressed in 140 characters or less, and so many live in a constant state of terror that anything might occur which could conceivably prompt one's mental faculties into straying a fraction from the safe certainties we are encouraged to believe we enjoy by the Daily Mails of this world, photogenic TV presenters and having Google to hand.

I am reminded of the Radio 4 news programme a few days ago when a "flood victim" (ie. someone who bought a house next to a river - duh) berated a civil servant on air who was attempting to explain that flooding is not actually initiated by government and that "dredging" rivers sufficiently to avoid all such incidents for ever more would begin with an annual outlay of 120 billion pounds which would logically have to be borne by the rates system. There was a two second gap while the citizen mulled over this estimate. "Just drain the bloody things then" was the reasoned response.
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PostSubject: Re: Plato - as a person   Mon 10 Feb 2014, 09:11

Dear nordmann - you can always be relied on for boosting your contributors' self-esteem.  Smile 

I read the Daily Mail (ironically, of course), google non-stop, love watching history stuff on the tele and I live by a tidal river. Our flood defences however have so far held, and we are an island of green in the middle of all the water (apart from my shed). We are now being blamed for the really bad flooding further upstream.

And it continues to rain.

And here  I am trying to cope with Plato. Oh well, if the deluge overcomes us, it'll be some comfort to know I'm about to answer for my sins waving a copy of the Symposium at my Maker. That'll go down well no doubt. And England does appear to be drowning, not waving.

PS But I have never tweeted or twittered a word - I only post garbage here.

PPS Seriously, were they all just a bunch of elitist misogynists who loved the sound of their own voices - Diotima just the token female?

PPPS For posters elsewhere - it is very wet in England at the moment and the seas around our coast are getting wilder by the minute. The Septic Isle, as nordmann has been known to call our little island, is actually quite septic now, as septic tanks are overflowing everywhere, especially in Somerset. Everyone is having a great time blaming everyone else.



http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2555658/UK-weather-16-areas-South-warned-flooding-danger-lives-Armed-Forces-battle-save-homes.html

Somerset, not the seaside.


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PostSubject: Re: Plato - as a person   Mon 10 Feb 2014, 09:28

Misogyny is a hatred of women. Plato and most of those influenced by his philosophies on the other hand bemoaned women's lack of opportunity to contribute to the guardianship of the community (as they saw it). There is absolutely no evidence that a single woman who contributed to philosophical exchanges at a high-profile level was berated or belittled for her sex, and given Plato's views as expressed in "The Republic" he wished there were more who could have partaken in the exercise - their mere presence as productive contributors to philosophical debate proved his point, he would have thought.

Having said that Plato was a product of his time. His radical solution to this imbalance in "The Republic" is part of the reason he was later dismissed as a "sympathiser with totalitarianism" by 20th century commentators who had first hand knowledge of just where surrogate motherhood programmes, state-run childcare and slavery gets one. However his aim was the liberation of women (of non-slave classes) from full-time child-rearing, which he saw as an unfair impediment to their progress and to the detriment of the community as a whole.

On the subject of women philosophers - there are tantalising references to several of whose output we now have nothing left at all, leading one to suspect that there were many more of whom we no longer even have a tantalising reference. We know that Christian and later Muslim institutions did much to eradicate their written legacy but I suspect the Romans too played their part. However if one is tempted to blame misogyny for their absence I would look further afield than Plato and his contemporaries.

PS: Getting wet when one lives by a river is surely not a totally unexpected possibility? However it is the expectation that this unwelcome dampness can be eradicated through legislation that amuses me. Insurance actuaries must regard news bulletins these days as highly entertaining comedy indeed.
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PostSubject: Re: Plato - as a person   Mon 10 Feb 2014, 10:01

nordmann wrote:
However if one is tempted to blame misogyny for their absence I would look further afield than Plato and his contemporaries.


 idea 

I know! The Christians!

I was going to put a smiley thing, but it's not actually funny. They killed Hypatia, I know, but weren't those responsible fanatics (dangerous men, whatever their creed - or none)? Cyril of Alexandria certainly doesn't come out of the story with much credit. I wonder why they made him a saint?


Orestes, the governor of Alexandria, like Hypatia, was a pagan (non-Christian). Orestes was an adversary of the new Christian bishop, Cyril, a future saint. Orestes, according to the contemporary accounts, objected to Cyril expelling the Jews from the city, and was murdered by Christian monks for his opposition.

Cyril probably objected to Hypatia on a number of counts: She represented heretical teachings, including experimental science and pagan religion. She was an associate of Orestes. And she was a woman who didn't know her place. Cyril's preaching against Hypatia is said to have been what incited a mob led by fanatical Christian monks in 415 to attack Hypatia as she drove her chariot through Alexandria. They dragged her from her chariot and, according to accounts from that time, stripped her, killed her, stripped her flesh from her bones, scattered her body parts through the streets, and burned some remaining parts of her body in the library of Caesareum.
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PostSubject: Re: Plato - as a person   Mon 10 Feb 2014, 10:23

Yes, you can always rely on the Christians for a little charitable flesh rendering.

But seriously - long before the Christians the Romans who were amassing libraries of Greek philosophy just couldn't seem to get their heads around the fact that women had contributed to the lore. Cicero, for example, had by his own admission devoured the contents of the library of his Greek friend Atticus which we know contained many works by women. We know he also loaned books repeatedly from Atticus and others through which by copying he built a hugely impressive library of his own, until his exile it was the envy of his Roman contemporaries. He also wrote several philosophical treatises himself, good ones too in which he cited his sources, over a hundred of whom were Greek philosophers from before his time. Not one woman amongst them however.
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PostSubject: Re: Plato - as a person   Tue 11 Feb 2014, 08:29

Over on the Dangerous Philosophers thread I confessed that attempting a crash course in Philosophy at a certain age (i.e  old) is possibly an unwise undertaking - one finds oneself bewildered at times. Nordmann has the advantage over us all; he is never bewildered, or at least he has the sense never to admit it.

So I was much cheered last night to discover that Plato's theory of Forms has had its critics; others, just like me, have felt that the theory of Forms does set up dreadful confusions between things, ideas and words. I have read in my little Plato With Pictures and Conversations book that Lewis Carroll, for one, found that Plato's claim that only the Forms are "real" and that particulars are "less real" (as if reality were a matter of degree??) was actually quite weird. I was delighted to discover that that was what the Cheshire Cat was all about - the annoying feline who oscillates between being real, half-real and non-existent.

Ontology, the great mystery, is the central problem - and it remains a mystery.

Which leads me to the thing I find most annoying about Plato: his idea that knowledge of reality is an arcane secret -  a secret that only a few uber-intelligent philosophers are able - or indeed should be allowed -  to penetrate. What I really puzzle over is that he says that "knowing" and "meeting" are virtually the same thing and then maintains that real knowledge has to be a kind of personal and mystical encounter. Isn't this just what Christianity says - except it is more democratic - if you like, an experience open to all who seek, even the most humble, not just a few self-appointed specialists?

PS Plato's conclusions on art are chilling too - but I like this quotation from Michelangelo: "Art does not imitate a 'copy of an ideal Form': it sets free the ideal Form which is concealed in silent matter."

EDIT: more confusion - have just read  study  that Plato himself eventually realised that there were several problems with the theory of Forms, and he voiced them in The Parmenides which "made some scholars think that Plato finally abandoned his theory of Forms altogether"  Shocked . The "third man argument" and "ultimate regress" has defeated me utterly - "it doesn't prove the theory of Forms is wrong, but it does point to something very odd about it."
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PostSubject: Re: Plato - as a person   Tue 11 Feb 2014, 10:33

There is much wrong with the theory of Form. However there is much to be said for it too, which is why Aristotle, who reckoned himself way superior a thinker to his old teacher, actually revised it and began drawing rules from it (some of which incidentally are still used in heuristic virus detection by software manufacturers of Anti-Malware programmes - but that's another story).

I have made the point already that Plato, compared to Socrates, is extremely self-contradictory when taken on the whole. I actually like this about the man - he was never afraid to ditch a line of reasoning if it went into a cul-de-sac and could provide reasons for his re-think. This is a good solid scientific, non-religious approach to truth-searching.

And I wouldn't agree at all with the notion that Plato thought truth available only to über-intelligent philosophers like himself. He actually said several times that the logos, if it was ever to be realised, would likely be by the most ignorant and innocent mind, not the one obsessed with giving it form like himself. This is not a million miles from the Christian notion of being god's best buddy according to Jesus - and another indication that Platonic thinking was filtering down to the sticks in the first century CE. Aristotle hated this notion and I suppose it is no accident either that it was his attitude that found favour with the church once it had set a hierarchy of expertise with regard to interpreting god in place.

Anyway, the point is not to get hung up on form - Plato himself realised that it was more the abstract lent solidity in human perception than evidence of an ideal. Once the aspiration is taken out of it one is left more or less where quantum physics is now - understanding a universe in mechanical terms based on notions lent form for the purpose. When they are eventually revealed through observation after first having been mathematically deduced (which slowly but surely they are being) then it validates the theory and method used to express it. However validating the notion's value as an aspiration is actually rendered futile in the process. Plato belatedly understood this. Aristotle couldn't let the older notion go, and fell right in to the hands of the über-religious as a result.
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PostSubject: Re: Plato - as a person   Tue 11 Feb 2014, 15:27

I want to ask something else, if I may.

At the very beginning of the What is Art? thread, two years ago, I asked this:

Temperance wrote:


Jung said "all cognition is akin to recognition". By this does he mean that we come to know in the sense of "cognise" something only by recognising something we already knew? In the process it becomes clear, familiar where before it was latent, intuitive? I am confused.

Now why am I thinking of Wordsworth here - "Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting" - (Ode. Intimations of Immortality).



You replied that you were unsure what Jung was getting at. Could it be something to do with Plato's Theory of Recognition (anamnesis)? If I understand this correctly, Plato argued that the reason we recognise particular sticks and stones as equal is that our soul has seen the Form of Equality in a disembodied existence before we were born. In the Meno he used this theory to account for our a priori knowledge of mathematical truths. In both the Phaedo and the Meno, recollection is connected with the immortality of the soul and it is made explicit that the soul's true home is the world of unchanging Forms: life in the body is only a temporary episode in the soul's timeless existence.

I mentioned Wordsworth's Ode on the Intimations of Immortality above, thinking of the following:

Whither is fled the visionary gleam?  
Where is it now, the glory and the dream?  
Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:  
The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star,    
       Hath had elsewhere its setting,  
         And cometh from afar:  
       Not in entire forgetfulness,  
       And not in utter nakedness,  
But trailing clouds of glory do we come    
       From God, who is our home...



These lines from The Prelude are also perhaps relevant:

Our simple childhood sits,
Our simple childhood, sits upon a throne
That hath more power than all the elements.
I guess not what this tells of being past,
Nor what it augurs of the life to come,
But so it is.


This is philosophy - Plato -  made poetry.

So Plato was indeed something of a mystic - and one appreciated by other mystics; why then should Platonists and Christians fall out? There are different paths to understanding (as far as we can understand anything) - Revelation or Reason. We need both perhaps. Plato would, I think, have appreciated the following words of Julian of Norwich (that "simple, unlettered creature") and of William Blake (though no doubt Aristotle would have wanted to classify the hazelnut and the grain of sand rather than just contemplate them):

The Vision of a Little Thing the Qualiy of a Hazlenut.

"And in þis he shewed me a lytil thyng þe quantite of a hasyl nott. lyeng in þe pawme of my hand as it had semed. and it was as rownde as eny ball. I loked þer upon wt þe eye of my vnderstondyng. and I þought what may þis be. and it was answered generally thus. It is all þat is made. I merueled howe it myght laste. for me þought it myght sodenly haue fall to nought for lytyllhed. & I was answered in my vnderstondyng. It lastyth & euer shall for god louyth it. and so hath all thyng his begynning by þe loue of god. In this lytyll thyng I sawe thre propertees. The fyrst is. þt god made it. þe secunde is þet god louyth it. & þe þrid is. þat god kepith it."

[And in this he showed me a little thing, the quantity of a hazelnut, lying in the palm of my hand, it seemed, and it was as round as any ball. I looked thereupon with the eye of my understanding, and I thought, 'What may this be?' And it was answered generally thus: 'It is all that is made.' I wondered how it could last, for I thought it might suddenly fall to nothing for little cause. And I was answered in my understanding: 'It lasts and ever shall, for God loves it; and so everything has its beginning by the love of God.' In this little thing I saw three properties; the first is that God made it; the second is that God loves it; and the third is that God keeps it.]


Fragment from "Auguries of Innocence"

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.


Bit of quantum physics from Blake there, too, perhaps.
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PostSubject: Re: Plato - as a person   Tue 11 Feb 2014, 21:22

Temp wrote:
why then should Platonists and Christians fall out?

What on earth is a "Platonist"? Could never figure that one out.
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PostSubject: Re: Plato - as a person   Wed 12 Feb 2014, 07:05

Oh dear, have I said something really stupid (apart from mentioning God)? I just meant someone who is a disciple of the big P. But apparently the question has been asked: "Was Plato a Platonist?" See Cornell site below.

http://www.cornellpress.cornell.edu/book/?GCOI=80140100479160

What on earth is Ur-Platonism? I've heard of Ur-Hamlet, but Ur-Platonism? Early Plato?

Gerson contends that the philosophical position of Plato—Plato’s own Platonism, so to speak—was produced out of a matrix he calls “Ur-Platonism.” According to Gerson, Ur-Platonism is the conjunction of five “antis” that in total arrive at anti-naturalism: anti-nominalism, anti-mechanism, anti-materialism, anti-relativism, and anti-skepticism. Plato’s Platonism is an attempt to construct the most consistent and defensible positive system uniting the five “antis.” It is also the system that all later Platonists throughout Antiquity attributed to Plato when countering attacks from critics including Peripatetics, Stoics, and Sceptics. In conclusion, Gerson shows that Late Antique philosophers such as Proclus were right in regarding Plotinus as “the great exegete of the Platonic revelation."

I really do not know what emoticon to put after that.


PS But I am afraid I have things other than Plato on my mind at the moment (although he is a good distraction): the BBC tells us a month's rain is due to fall in the next 48 hours, so we all hope that our sandbags are not illusions. But a sense of humour still prevails here in this soggy land. Garages are offering a novel gift for Saint Valentine's Day, suggesting, in hastily produced adverts, "Nothing says 'I love you' like a dozen sandbags". Fortunes are being made.


http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2557256/Frantic-families-fight-gold-dust-sandbags.html


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PostSubject: Re: Plato - as a person   Wed 12 Feb 2014, 07:58

Plato was most definitely not a Platonist, that much I know. To be an "-ist" in anything one has to be pretty confident all the bits of the "-ism" make sense. I have found however that this idea of "followers" or "disciples" rather than "students" is something that crops up with regard to Plato most often when he's written about by religious people. Philosophical literature tends to be more vague regarding how best to describe his "fans" (Plato himself I imagine would have been satisfied with "audience"), both contemporary and subsequently, especially considering that some of his pupils were cynics and he seemed to value their input very highly (it helps to have someone constantly asking for evidence when constructing form from abstract - even Plato knew that he was inclined to take a few too many leaps now and again). Not only that but his "star" pupil Aristotle was also his most famous critic - with "followers" like that who'd be bothered leading anyone anywhere?.

The passage you quote above highlights the problem with trying to work out just what "Platonism" could have been once the issue is opened, normally by someone who is trying to accommodate a theological argument within Plato's essentially philosophical theorising in which the gods themselves serve only as another abstract to be contemplated. However it's a quandary he himself would never have understood - for him I suppose "Platonism" was just being himself and applied as much to wondering about the value of stratification within the ideal form as wondering what he was going to have for dinner that day.
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PostSubject: Re: Plato - as a person   Sat 15 Feb 2014, 16:07

How neatly you sidestepped my question about Jung, nordmann; but perhaps you considered it to be of little relevance. Jung was influenced by Plato, apparently:


Jung's idea of archetypes was based on Kant's forms, Plato's Ideas and Schopenhauer's prototypes. For Jung, "the archetype is the introspectively recognizable form of a priori psychic orderedness". These images must be thought of as lacking in solid content, hence as unconscious. They only acquire solidity, influence, and eventual consciousness in the encounter with empirical facts."


I'm not sure quibbling over my use of the word "disciple" is terribly important - rather like telling Tim off for saying "governor" when referring to Pilate. But, suitably irked, I looked it up:

mathētḗs (from math-, the "mental effort needed to think something through") – properly, a learner; a disciple, a follower of Christ who learns the doctrines of Scripture and the lifestyle they require; someone catechized with proper instruction from the Bible with its necessary follow-through (life-applications). See also 3100 /mathēteúō ("to disciple").

also

The Greeks used the term μαθητής to refer to a “learner,” or on a more committed level, an “adherent.” The Sophists also used the term to refer to an “institutional pupil.” At the time of Jesus μαθητής was used in Hellenism to refer simply to a “learner,” but apparently more often to an “adherent” of some wise teacher (Dio Chrysostom, Regno 1.38.6). Regarding the nature of the adherence involved, Wilkins observes:
The type of adherence was determined by the master, ranging from being the follower of a great thinker and master of the past like Socrates, to being the pupil of a philosopher like Pythagoras, to being the devotee of a religious master like Epicurus.



I continued reading my excellent book about Plato and the English literary tradition yesterday. I was hoping, in the chapter on the twentieth century, to find something about Plato and Aldous Huxley. I found, however, only one fleeting reference - "In the ironic turnabout of Aldous Huxley's Brave New World (1932), a caste system based on science erodes the possibility of Platonic freedom and moral choice". I was rather disappointed that there was no elaboration of this, because it had crossed my mind that there are striking parallels between Plato's Republic and Huxley's Brave New World. But was this just another of my mad ideas? Apparently not - others have also pondered on this. This article is interesting (well, I think it is):


http://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/brave-new-world-platos-republic-and-our-scientific-regime


But an even more telling comparison can be made — that Brave New World is a modern counterpart to the “city in speech” built by Socrates and his young interlocutors in Plato’s Republic. Whether Huxley saw the similarities himself is far from clear. In neither the “Foreword” added to the 1946 edition nor his lengthy 1958 essay Brave New World Revisited, which is published together with the novel in some editions, does he indicate any consciousness of a parallel. Nor do his Complete Essays (published 2000 – 2002) shed light on this. His biographer Murray mentions no such connection in Huxley’s mind either; nor does his earlier biographer Sybille Bedford. Yet it may not be necessary to confirm any precise authorial intention on Huxley’s part to imitate Plato. Whereas Huxley’s other novels are largely forgotten today by the general public, and his later visits to the themes of Brave New World are those of a crank whose imaginative gifts have deserted him, in writing his greatest work he seems to have been in the grip of an idea larger than himself. Plato’s Socrates tells us in the Apology that when he “went to the poets” to “ask them thoroughly what they meant” in their greatest poems, he found to his surprise that “almost everyone present, so to speak, would have spoken better than the poets did about the poetry that they themselves had made.” For as Socrates said (not without some biting irony) in Plato’s Ion, “all the good epic poets speak all their fine poems not from art but by being inspired and possessed, and it is the same for the good lyric poets.” Perhaps during the mere four months it took Huxley to write Brave New World, he was “possessed” in this way and remained forever unconscious of his debt to Plato.


I rather sourly commented in the bar earlier that arguing with/about Greek philosophers is a waste of time because they/you are all left-brainers who cannot/will not understand/appreciate a right-brainer's viewpoint (spare me remarks about no-brainers please). Just for interest, I idly flicked through the chapter on The Ancient World in Iain McGilchrist's superbly erudite book, The Master and his Emissary and I found this comment on page 288:

"But there is no doubt that it is ultimately the left-hemisphere version of the world that Plato puts forward, for the first time in history; puts forward so strongly that it has taken two thousand years to shake it off."

McGilchrist then mentions how, while awaiting death, Socrates' daemon (conscience?) visited him and told him to "make music". A quotation from Nietzsche follows:

...it was his Apolline insight that, like some barbarian king, he did not understand the noble image of some god, and, in his ignorance, was in danger of committing a sin against a deity. The words spoken by the figure who appeared to Socrates in dream are the only hint of scruples in him about the limits of logical nature (my emphasis); perhaps, he must have told himself, things which I do not understand are not automatically unreasonable. Perhaps there is a kingdom of wisdom from which the logician is banished. Perhaps art may even be a necessary correlative and supplement of science?

PS McGilchrist's book which, as I have mentioned elsewhere is most definitely not to be dismissed as psychobabble, is a tour de force. It is an astonishing work, and its author's knowledge of how the human brain works ("I know of no better exposition of the current state of functional brain neuroscience" - Professor W.Y. Bynum, writing in the TLS), plus the man's ability to discuss with intelligence and insight the history of Western art, literature, musicology and philosophy leaves one awestruck. A.C. Grayling, who dislikes McGilchrist's thesis (well, he would, wouldn't he?), nevertheless admits the writer's brilliance:


http://www.literaryreview.co.uk/grayling_12_09.html
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PostSubject: Re: Plato - as a person   Sun 16 Feb 2014, 10:05

Jung was influenced by Plato. So was Adolf Hitler when you think about it. For that matter so are you, whether you stop to consider the extent to which it runs or not. So am I. In fact one could quite coherently argue a case that everyone in the world is, however indirectly. One can claim all this since Plato himself presented the world with an anthology of wisdom as he understood it in his day. The issue to me is not to which extent Plato has influenced anyone but in why the religious mindset presupposes philosophical strictures and rules based on such influence (coincidentally conforming to their own theological suppositions), however that influence may be deduced and defined, especially since Plato's body of work, to the extent of access we can appreciate it, is essentially a series of questions based on assertions placed by Plato in the mouths of others.

PS: "Disciple" (from "discire") may once have been a reasonable translation of "mathētḗs". However to fail to recognise how far apart they have grown semantically since classical times would be akin to calling students of Newtonian or Einstein's theories disciples (a rather loaded description) or, even more ludicrously, calling believers in Jesus, Buddha and "Man Belongs Mrs Queen" mathematicians. One uses the word "disciple" with not unreasonable caution due to the rather pointed inference it now conveys thanks to its traditional use by the religious.
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PostSubject: Re: Plato - as a person   Sun 16 Feb 2014, 11:25

nordmann wrote:
Jung was influenced by Plato. So was Adolf Hitler when you think about it. For that matter so are you, whether you stop to consider the extent to which it runs or not. So am I. In fact one could quite coherently argue a case that everyone in the world is, however indirectly. One can claim all this since Plato himself presented the world with an anthology of wisdom as he understood it in his day.


Yes, I can follow that, and I agree with you. The influence is enormous - for good and for bad ( same can be said for Pauline Christianity of course?).


nordmann wrote:
The issue to me is not to which extent Plato has influenced anyone but in why the religious mindset presupposes philosophical strictures and rules based on such influence (coincidentally conforming to their own theological suppositions), however it is deduced and defined, especially since Plato's body of work, to the extent of access we can appreciate it, is essentially a series of questions based on assertions placed by Plato in the mouths of others.


That is one of your Jamesian sentences which tend to lose us all - well certainly me. I don't understand what you are saying.  Embarassed 

nordman wrote:
PS: "Disciple" (from "discire") may once have been a reasonable translation of "mathētḗs". However to fail to recognise how far apart they have grown semantically since classical times would be akin to calling students of Newtonian or Einstein's theories disciples (a rather loaded description) or, even more ludicrously, calling believers in Jesus, Buddha and "Man Belongs Mrs Queen" mathematicians. One uses the word "disciple" with not unreasonable caution due to the rather pointed inference it now conveys thanks to its traditional use by the religious.


Well, I've been struggling my way through Benjamin Jowett's translation of Euthyphro and BJ (sometime Regius Professor of Greek at Oxford and Master of Balliol) has Socrates use "disciple". I thought if Socrates used it, it was OK for me to use of Plato's fans/adherents/students/followers/ audience. But I take your point about the word having too many New Testament connotations now.



EUTHYPHRO: The best of Euthyphro, and that which distinguishes him, Socrates, from other men, is his exact knowledge of all such matters. What should I be good for without it?

SOCRATES: Rare friend! I think that I cannot do better than be your disciple.




PS I hate the word "mindset" used of all the religiously inclined. Nothing is set in stone, whatever Moses said. I like Plato and his chums because they refused to take traditional answers for granted. Of course everything must be questioned. I - like lots of other "religious" people - am quite capable of appreciating this, and I do try to be critical and investigative. With the greatest respect, I  wish that you would acknowledge this - perhaps even occasionally question your own prejudices.

 
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PostSubject: Re: Plato - as a person   Sun 16 Feb 2014, 12:05

There is a religious mindset, just as there is an areligious mindset. They distinguish themselves from each other in how inclusive they are respectively with regard to that which can be deemed knowledge and in how didactic they then are when defining that knowledge's core meaning and worth. At their extremes it comes down to that one cannot bear the notion of knowledge for its own sake while the other cannot understand why anyone should really imagine there is anything else to it. I do not apologise for using the term mindset as to me it sums up two relevant concepts at once - the idea that thought processes can be trained through experience to run along set lines, as well as the notion that these processes are applied to concepts generally falling within one distinct set whose components share common traits.

The sentence you did not understand was my attempt to question the validity of using the term "influence" with reference to an anthologist of ideas, such as Plato.

Take Shakespeare, for example, since I know you and I both share an appreciation of his authorship. Would you say you were "influenced by Shakespeare"? Well, indeed you might. But what exactly would you mean by that? Leaving aside his contribution to your own personal love of language as a tool of sublime expres​sion(we can agree on that one) we can surely both identify not a few sentiments expressed by Shakespeare's characters which are not only didactic but profoundly so and which we will certainly quote on occasion when explaining our own morality, not least because we can't imagine them being better expressed by us.

But you can also surely appreciate what we have done when we do this - namely plucking gems of wisdom from dramatically presented dialogues in which these gems were often presented with an argument as counterpoint placed in the mouth of another character. Should we, for example, fail to see the wisdom in one character's line and plump to adopt the counterpoint as the true  expression of wisdom (one can electively do just this in several places when Lear converses with the fool) we can still argue that we are being "influenced by Shakespeare", though the actual vagueness of such a claim is made evident by the process we employ.

When you read philosophers discussing Plato you find they fall into two distinct camps, and we can apply the same dichotomy to Shakespeare's expressed philosophical content even if such is not a traditionally normal approach to his work. There are those who - with regard to Plato just as with Shakespeare - ignore the author's point of placing expressions in the mouths of characters and ascribe the wisdom directly to the author. This is fair enough, except they then have to explain why not everything he wrote is wise, and how indeed they draw a line between that which is wise and that which is not. For them being a "Shakespearist" involves conscious or even unconscious evaluation of content, even sometimes ignoring whole swathes of the collected oeuvre in order to persevere with their definition of what that word means to them. Shakespeare's "wisdom" is in the excerpts, not the whole.

Then there is the other "Shakespearist" - the one who is grateful that so intelligent an anthologist placed so much accrued wisdom in so amenable a location and with such an available style too. That type of "Shakespearist" will use the term as shorthand for the conduit to accumulated wisdom the author's works represent. However for them, especially when discussing didactic content, it is absolutely necessary to cite the context the author provided in the relevant dramatic encounter. For them it would be silly to simply say "Shakespeare tells us 'this above all to thine own self be true'" without contextual reference to the character who Shakespeare originally had say it and why.

I could, humorously, call myself a "disciple of Shakespeare", knowing full well that all it really means is a student of same (it would be an exaggeration but that is my loss, not language's). However to the religious mindset the same claim would have much bigger import, and to certain people within that mindset would actually be offensive and blasphemous. This is why I avoid the term "disciple" too when discussing Plato. It is semantically suspect and in any case hankers primarily to the first definition of authorism above whereas I am most firmly with the second.
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PostSubject: Re: Plato - as a person   Sun 16 Feb 2014, 15:15

You make me feel ashamed of myself, nordmann. An extremely interesting - and gracious - reply to my rather ill-tempered post.

Much to think about in what you say - about Shakespeare (ironically) rather than Plato.
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PostSubject: Re: Plato - as a person   Sun 16 Feb 2014, 16:36

I most definitely wasn't trying to divert the thread into a Shakespeare discussion, simply point out that as a general rule of thumb one should be eminently cautious when encountering sentences beginning with "Plato said ..." as opposed to "Plato once had Socrates say ...". For me the man's intelligence - indeed his greatness - rests with his ability to hold disparate and often contradictory concepts in his mind when creating his dialogues (most definitely not a left-hemisphere skill according to the rules of that particular conceit). It is something most authors should aspire to when introducing multiple characters in their work. However when someone achieves this while simultaneously presenting divergent but equally logical philosophical theories of great complexity, yet still presented coherently and entertainingly then you know you're in the presence of genius.

The same cannot be said for Aristotle. Had he lived a generation earlier he would have ended up a character in a Platonic dialogue whose ideas would have been presented by the author with respect and lucidity. He did not however afford the same professional consideration or treatment to his former mentor. He gives us a critique of Plato, ironically the only cohesive summary of the man's own philosophy, or at least in so far as Aristotle rated it. Trying to gauge the same however from Plato's own words is fraught with the dangers of "The Shakespeare Trap" as defined earlier.
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PostSubject: Re: Plato - as a person   Sun 16 Mar 2014, 16:45

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PostSubject: Re: Plato - as a person   Sun 16 Mar 2014, 20:15

Thanks, ferval. Looks good. I like the idea of Plato jokes: Plato walks into a bar and says...

I'm glued to Breaking Bad at the moment - working my way through my box set: reading anything, for once, has been abandoned for the time being. I'll be back to normal soon.

PS I did think your link (Padded Cell) to the street version of our Aristotelian Tragic Hero stuff was funny.
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PostSubject: Re: Plato - as a person   Thu 04 Jun 2015, 10:07

nordmann wrote:
I would like to think that a point about Plato using his own words or direct reference to his writings as illustration of the point is not mere assertion. Religious people might have a handy aversion to the recognition of word definitions when it suits them but it is a luxury of semantic latitude I do not afford myself. Hic sunt dracones ...






Last edited by nordmann on Thu 23 Jan 2014, 14:16; edited 1 time in total



I know who this is now and the signficance of the little dragon! Nordmann had the picture moving which I can't do.

Better late than never.

Alas, I have given in and am now watching Season Two. Plato and Sir Christopher have bitten the dust.
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Plato - as a person

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