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The Evil Socrates

By Timo Laine in Fiction
Wed Jul 13, 2005 at 12:55:26 AM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)


MELETUS: To conclude, it is really very simple. Socrates here believes that reason is the ultimate standard of everything. But as I have tried to show, there are limits to its acceptable use. We are first and foremost ethical beings, and our sense of morality must be the ultimate standard. Sometimes we may not be able to defend our sense of morality in a rational way, but that is not a problem because rationality is not as important as morality. In a moral community, asserting the correct moral claim is enough.

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SOCRATES: If that is the crime, I am guilty. It is true that I believe in these things, and I should therefore be handed the appropriate sentence. But since I have been given the opportunity to talk to you, I will. Maybe I can explain why I believe what I believe. And if I can, maybe you will decide that I do not deserve a harsh punishment.

To begin with, I should make a clarification: strictly speaking, I do not believe rationality is superior to an educated sense of morality. Instead I claim that an educated sense of morality is necessarily guided by the principles of rationality. Of course we should be ethical, but really to be ethical means to be rational as well. The two are not in conflict.

Rationality in turn is nothing but the tendency to be persuaded by the best arguments that have been presented. Presenting an argument means asserting a claim and then presenting reasons to believe that this claim is correct. In a rational community, the winner of a debate is the person who is able to present the best arguments.

MELETUS: That all sounds very nice, apart from one thing. Surely you realize, Socrates, that a rational community is not always an ethical community. The only thing required to corrupt a rational community is a very clever but less than virtuous person with an ability to defend immoral doctrines with good arguments. Since he is so talented in philosophy and public speech, everyone will naturally be persuaded to believe in what he says. But of course this does not make his actions any less immoral.

And this is precisely what we have here. We Athenians appreciate philosophy, and strive to be a rational community. This is a proud tradition in our city. But now an admittedly excellent philosopher has appeared to abuse this tradition and corrupt us.

SOCRATES: Why, I am proud to be called an excellent philosopher, although I am not sure I deserve the compliment. But I reject the accusation: I never tried to corrupt anyone, and as far as I know I never did. If I cannot claim to have benefited anyone to any great extent, at least I believe my actions are quite harmless.

In fact it is difficult even to understand how I could have corrupted anyone. Let us assume for the sake of argument that I am indeed an excellent philosopher. But if I am, then I have had to become one; nobody is a philosopher at birth. Learning philosophy is a process of education in which one does not simply acquire a new skill to use for whatever purpose. Becoming a philosopher means changing in a profound way as a person. As one slowly approaches the love of wisdom, one begins to see more clearly the truths of morality as well. And becoming acquainted with these truths is to live according to them, to be a virtuous person. Thus my opponent is confused: I can not be both a good philosopher and a less than virtuous person.


SOCRATES: I am saddened by the verdict you have reached. It did not surprise me, and I am not as unhappy to be found guilty as I am about something else. Can you see, Athenians, where your desire to punish me has led you? You have broken with our tradition of free public speech. You have given up the respect we have always had for excellent speakers. And above all, you have rejected rationality itself. This is what makes me sad, not whatever the punishment you feel I deserve.

You ask me to suggest an appropriate punishment for myself. But what can I say? When you found me guilty despite admitting that reason is on my side, it appears you rejected the only way of arguing I know. I have always tried to be a rational man. And according even to you, I have had better success in this than anyone else in our city. But what good will that do me now that rationality is no longer considered necessary?

I accept any punishment you find appropriate. Seeing that it does not matter whether a man is rational or not, I suggest you do not punish me as a rational man—but merely as a man.


SOCRATES: I would not like to repeat myself, but I am afraid I will. Please be patient with me. As I said, I am prepared to accept any punishment. And so I should not and will not flinch even now that that punishment turns out to be death.

If your intention was to hurt me, you have failed. I am an old man with not much life ahead of me anyway, so the prospect of losing what little I had left does not intimidate me. Even if you believe that pain is a bad thing, mere death is hardly a very painful thing. The fact that you did not condemn me to something more obviously bad leads me to believe that you do not want to hurt me as much as you want simply to remove me. It seems you have succeeded.

Of course you know that I have never had to work very hard to find an audience. I find that youths are eager to listen to me speak and debate. I do not believe they do this because I am particularly interesting as a man. Instead, there is something in debate itself they find interesting. This is what guarantees that there will be philosophers for so long as there will be men.

I predict that rationality will eventually prevail and replace irrational superstition. This will not happen quickly, because philosophy is so difficult. But after time, and after generations of able thinkers, culture will have evolved so that people like you will have to explain yourself in front of people like me. The great philosophers of the future will be able to present arguments superior to those of anyone else, and therefore in a rational community they will be in a position to devise principles according to which societies will be organized. Rational people will be persuaded by their arguments, and irrational people will be unable to present better ones. Even if an irrational person questions the virtue of the philosophers, he will just have to trust them, because, as I have already said, a philosopher is necessarily virtuous.

In short, you may kill me, but you cannot do away with the inherent temptation of philosophy. Depending on how you look at it, this can be either a curse or a blessing. I would of course argue that it is a blessing. But from your perspective philosophy is more likely to appear a curse.


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The Evil Socrates | 139 comments (120 topical, 19 editorial, 0 hidden)
-1, Philosophy is gay [nt] (1.11 / 17) (#3)
by Egil Skallagrimson on Sun Jul 10, 2005 at 04:14:55 PM EST


Enterobacteria phage T2 is a virulent bacteriophage of the T4-like viruses genus, in the family Myoviridae. It infects E. coli and is the best known of the T-even phages. Its virion contains linear double-stranded DNA, terminally redundant and circularly permuted.

as opposed to (3.00 / 7) (#9)
by Lode Runner on Sun Jul 10, 2005 at 07:18:11 PM EST

a 5-part discussion about a guy who's trying to have buttsex with his typewriter?

[ Parent ]
Uhh, Captain Douchebag (none / 1) (#15)
by Egil Skallagrimson on Sun Jul 10, 2005 at 08:58:07 PM EST

It's an 8-part series.

And he's trying to have butt-sex with other men. You're thinking of that horrible movie. Or your homewor. Whatever.


Enterobacteria phage T2 is a virulent bacteriophage of the T4-like viruses genus, in the family Myoviridae. It infects E. coli and is the best known of the T-even phages. Its virion contains linear double-stranded DNA, terminally redundant and circularly permuted.
[ Parent ]

I really couldn't be bothered (none / 0) (#19)
by Lode Runner on Sun Jul 10, 2005 at 09:51:24 PM EST

to ever go so far as to read Burroughs -- far too whiny and no sense of humor. Now, Hunter Thompson, that's entertaining commentary.

[ Parent ]
You realize, of course, that (none / 0) (#85)
by Egil Skallagrimson on Tue Jul 12, 2005 at 02:58:49 PM EST

Burroughs is considered a satirist, implying humor, right?

Anyway, Thompson was good, but that's journalism, an entirely different thing.


Enterobacteria phage T2 is a virulent bacteriophage of the T4-like viruses genus, in the family Myoviridae. It infects E. coli and is the best known of the T-even phages. Its virion contains linear double-stranded DNA, terminally redundant and circularly permuted.
[ Parent ]

I don't think it was that kind actually (none / 1) (#100)
by MichaelCrawford on Tue Jul 12, 2005 at 11:33:45 PM EST

... but a more oral kind, from what I recall.

I haven't read the book, but always intended to, and your series convinced me if nothing else that reading it could motivate one to write a lot of articles, something that I like to do.


Live your fucking life. Sue someone on the Internet. Write a fucking music player. Like the great man Michael David Crawford has shown us all: Hard work, a strong will to stalk, and a few fries short of a happy meal goes a long way. -- bride of spidy

[ Parent ]

They're both equally interesting. -nt- (3.00 / 2) (#27)
by Medicated on Mon Jul 11, 2005 at 09:15:58 AM EST

[ Parent ]
not good but not horrible either (2.85 / 14) (#7)
by SocratesGhost on Sun Jul 10, 2005 at 05:36:44 PM EST

From his Apology, Socrates said, "If I am wise, it is because I know that I know nothing." He didn't consider himself rational or a teacher or really having much to offer except as a sort of gadfly that is meant to provoke the polis as though it were a horse, and by being a pest he provokes the polis into action and self-examination. His value, he felt was in provocation but this is all far from having any conviction about what is right and what is wrong.

Your Socrates seems a bit too earnest and a bit too confident in what he knows. The Socrates we see in the early Platonic writings has an ignorance that is useful only in destroying a person's confidence in their ideas; it's not very productive in supporting them.

I think it also lacks a clear idea of how philosophy was viewed in those days. To be a philosopher always implied rationality. The physikoi (literally, natural philosophers but from this we derive our word "physicists") were the scientists of their day; the first of them was Thales who is also credited as being the first cartographer, predicting eclipses, and a sophisticated understanding of meteorology--enough so that he predicted an surge in the olive harvest and so he bought up all of the olive presses and made his fortune; his philosophy consisted in the theory that all matter was made from water. Facts, rationality and book learning were expected from these men. The last great physikoi among the pre-Socratics was Democritus, he's the one who proposed the bold theory that everything was made from atoms. The Sophists took philosophy down a side track of converting philosophy into an aspect of rhetoric but Socrates basically rejected both approaches. His contribution was to approach philosophy morally. Outside of the socratic method, this was his biggest contribution. His focus was in asking questions like "What is virtue? What is piety? What is moderation? What is the proper way to instruct a child?"

As a result, I think you mischaracterize how people viewed Socrates. His jury would not have doubted that he was interested in morality; in fact, they probably overheard his yammering in the agoura or was even accosted by the crotchety bastard himself. Morality was the only thing in which he ever showed any interest.

The problem wasn't that he pursued philosophy or rationality at the expense of morality. The problem was that he was undermining the cohesiveness of society. Imagine if you were a general and you had this old fart telling you that you don't know courage (the natural outcome of the famous socratic ignorance) or if you were an old priest being chastised by some busy body for presuming to know what is pious. I think they understood his philosophical project, they just couldn't afford to buy it. A general that doubted himself could not fight effectively in battles (and virtually every Athenian saw war--it was the practically the natural state between nations) and a priest who could not say how to worship the gods only invites divine wrath. Socrates wasn't punished for being too rational, he was punished for not being practical.

I drank what?

if I could meet Socrates (none / 0) (#10)
by Lode Runner on Sun Jul 10, 2005 at 07:20:41 PM EST

I'd ask him about his sex life.

[ Parent ]
Couldn't have been very good. (none / 0) (#11)
by Kasreyn on Sun Jul 10, 2005 at 07:46:47 PM EST

"My advice to you is get married: if you find a good wife you'll be happy; if not, you'll become a philosopher."

Supposedly a quote from ol baldy himself. One gets the feeling Xanthippe might have been a bit of a nag. Yet they apparently had three kids.

"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
[ Parent ]
socrates' sex life (none / 0) (#124)
by Rhodes on Thu Jul 14, 2005 at 02:11:21 PM EST

not about what is considered normative sexual relations (at least the contemporary defination).   here is a great link: best when young

if his sexual relationships were to go into a bin, it would be bisexual or homosexual- since procreative sex likely were considered a citizen's duty.

as far as I've understood, women were treated better than slaves, but not too much more. funky site with GREAT photos

and just to amp up the flame: imagine socrates and karl rove.  somehow the latter seems more protagoras than rationalist.

[ Parent ]

I think it also had to do with (3.00 / 3) (#12)
by Kasreyn on Sun Jul 10, 2005 at 07:51:21 PM EST

the fact that Athens was in decline, what with getting their tails whipped by Sparta recently, and they weren't too keen on tolerating someone who was constantly questioning the assumptions they lived by. Blind nationalism was doubtless one of the many intellectual shortcomings he was unencumbered by.

"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
[ Parent ]
somewhat agree (3.00 / 2) (#23)
by SocratesGhost on Mon Jul 11, 2005 at 02:31:04 AM EST

I don't think we altogether disagree. I don't think it was as much blind nationalism so much as practical nationalism. Socrates was good at criticising, but not very productive at producing any results. This isn't exactly the kind of person that's helpful in a troubled society where people felt he was just using rhetoric to make people feel stupid.

And he was rather defiant in his trial. Doubtlessly the jury found some of his claims as prideful: Don't kill me because I'm the only one who can make sure you examine yourselves. Don't kill me, instead, treat me to a lifelong feast in the temple.

So, looking at it from the perspective of a society in trouble, what exactly did Socrates bring to the polis?

I drank what?

[ Parent ]
If every city had a Socrates... (3.00 / 2) (#32)
by Alfie on Mon Jul 11, 2005 at 01:26:07 PM EST

And he managed to convince the generals not to fight, then there would be no more wars.

If one city has a Socrates but the other doesn't, then the city which decides not to fight will likely end up losing.

If no cities have a Socrates, then everyone fights, and everyone, to some extent, loses.

It's like a Prisoner's Dilemma. :-)

[ Parent ]
Thucydides (none / 0) (#54)
by joecool12321 on Mon Jul 11, 2005 at 04:42:13 PM EST

Socrates was no pacifist. He was well known for his prowress in battle. His unwillingness to give Alcibiades what he wanted is what angered people. And when Alcibiades turns out to be the turncoat Socrates knows him to be, still Athens does not punish him. Who can punish a man who feels no shame?

[ Parent ]
The Anguish (3.00 / 2) (#48)
by joecool12321 on Mon Jul 11, 2005 at 04:25:24 PM EST

"Socrates was good at criticising, but not very productive at producing any results."

Yet he was the father of Plato. If in my life I give birth to one student that halfway approaches Plato, I will consider my life productive beyond merit. But then, I am no Socrates.

This is the question that plagues me: Is Socrates Hero or Villain? In the "Hero" category, we have Plato. This fact alone may be insurmountable, but depends somewhat on what we think of Plato. But what can we think of Socrates when we know Alcibiades? Had the teacher been bested? Was he uncaring? (seems unlikely!) Or is Alcibiades, the potential savior of the city, impossible because of his beauty?

And Glaucon, what are we to make of Socrates' relation to him? In the starry-eyed student, we have the greatest potential. Yet, perhaps, Glaucon cannot walk the same path as Socrates, and Socrates' insensitivity to his student turns him from the starry-eyed student to the sea monster Glaucus? I want to hope, but Republic may not let me. It only mirrors the indiscreetness of Socrates at the end of Symposium, talking on well past the ability of his fellows, talking to them in their sleep. Is this dialectic!? If Socrates is responsible, what do we think of him?

What, indeed, did Socrates bring to the polis? Yet, is it a polis, properly named, without Socrates?

Plato didn't think so: He left, unlike Socrates, rather than die--so that Athens would not make the same mistake twice.

[ Parent ]

Hitler is a hero? (none / 0) (#59)
by SocratesGhost on Mon Jul 11, 2005 at 05:04:48 PM EST

After all, without him, we wouldn't have Anne Frank. I think a person must be judged on their own merits and actions and not in who he inspired. Anyone can inspire for all the wrong reasons. My father is a good man because he offers a portrait of how not to be? (not that this is the case, I'm just sayin')

Also, I thought it was Aristotle who left Athens for that reason. For him, though, it probably wasn't as big of a deal as he would have been a foreigner anyway and his decision to leave wouldn't have been as encumbered as Socrates who was born there, raised there, and never travelled more than 20 miles from there.

I drank what?

[ Parent ]
Certainly not (none / 1) (#61)
by joecool12321 on Mon Jul 11, 2005 at 05:25:07 PM EST

You may be right, I had thought it was Plato, but I may be wrong.

There are several reasons my thoughts above wouldn't cause me to think of Hitler as a hero. First, the evils he did were so great, and the greatness of Frank so small, that the scales would not tip in his balance. Second, though, there was no direct relationship. I'm not talking about "inspiring". The Teacher's role is much deeper than mere inspiration, and the relationship much closer than Hitler and Frank.

A teacher bears some responsibility for both the successes and the failures of their student. Socrates says as much in the Phaedrus.

What did Socrates bring to the polis? Plato and Alcibiades; hope, and guilt.

[ Parent ]

Socrates got around (none / 0) (#125)
by Rhodes on Thu Jul 14, 2005 at 02:54:27 PM EST

socrates walks on ice udring the Potidea campaign

Potidea is more than 20 miles

in fact socrates fought at least three times

and the port of athens was 215 nautical miles from potidea three days by trieme

[ Parent ]

Isn't this the same (none / 1) (#17)
by trane on Sun Jul 10, 2005 at 09:19:40 PM EST

Socrates wasn't punished for being too rational, he was punished for not being practical.

as what the story is saying, basically? Ethics == practical, in the sense that it's ethical to obey the law, and "fit into the community", and not piss off those with more power than you have. I think this is the sort of "ethics" the story and Socrates are talking about.

Socrates on the other hand is arguing that there is a rational basis behind virtue and piety and moderation. He may not have attained unto the final exposition of that rational basis, but he was affirming that that was the right direction to head in. His accusers didn't want to follow down that path; they believed there was something that trumped rationality - call it "ethics", "practicality", "mysticism", "religion", "respecting the gods", whatever...

[ Parent ]

except (3.00 / 3) (#26)
by SocratesGhost on Mon Jul 11, 2005 at 03:15:15 AM EST

Socrates wouldn't even know what it means to be rational, virtuous, ethical, practical, etc. It's one thing to say that ethics is practical, but I think Socrates would find this unsatisfactory. In fact, I'm pretty sure he does although I can't find the exact citation right now.*

Timo has basically said that he's not trying to paint an accurate picture of Soc, and I can respect that but I think we need to recognize that Socrates ability to doubt and remain ignorant is his most distinguishing feature and so this portrayal probably** lacks historical accuracy.

*I would imagine a conversation to go something like this:
S: What is the best shepherd, the one who takes care of his flock or one who neglects it?
A: The one who takes care of his flock.
S: And would you say that the shepherd who takes care of his flock may have to do things that are against his interest?
A: I'm not certain.
S: Well, suppose that a lamb were to fall into a dangerous river. Would a good shepherd risk his life to save it? Or rather, which shepherd would be the better, the one who risked his life for that lamb or one who did not?
A: I cannot tell. If he dies, then he can no longer tend his flock and so would be a bad shepherd.
S: So, the best shepherd would never take a risk?
A: No, the best shepherd would take some risk.
S: And so, if the shepherd faces a reasonable risk and fails and so loses his life, would we say that he was behaving immorally or morally?
A: Morally.
S: And would such a person be better than one who never risked his life under any circumstances at all for his flock?
A: Certainly.
S: And so, the best shepherd may do some actions that are not in his best interest.
A: It seems so.
S: And yet, we would still call him moral, and not just a moral shepherd but possibly the best shepherd?
A: Of course.
S: Well, it seems that I know less now than I knew before, since I found the idea promising that the moral was the practical, but here we find that a shepherd can do the right thing, yet lose his life. Surely, we wouldn't consider such a shepherd to be a practical man for losing his life for a sheep.
A: No, I don't think we could.

** I hedgingly say "probably" because what we know of Socrates is all second hand; it may be accurate but only accidentally so. General consensus speaks otherwise.

I drank what?

[ Parent ]
Socrates wouldn't know (none / 0) (#31)
by trane on Mon Jul 11, 2005 at 12:47:19 PM EST

but he would know that he doesn't know, and continously seek to find out what it (piety, virtue, courage, horse-trading, shoe-making, whatever...) is.

The accusers in convicting him were denying the validity of Socrates's approach; they were denying that things (maybe only certain "social" things, I'm not saying they disputed the physical sciences) can be "known" in a rational, explicit sense. Or maybe they weren't denying it right out but saying that since it ("piety", say) couldn't be defined satisfactorily they would, for practicality's sake, rely on some essentially arbitrary definition. Then they applied that essentially arbitrary definition to Socrates, found him guilty, and killed him.

So the story, in my opinion, is accurate, in the main philosophical points.

[ Parent ]

It has nothing to do with his approach (none / 0) (#33)
by SocratesGhost on Mon Jul 11, 2005 at 01:38:27 PM EST

Socrates wasn't defending the method, he was defending himself. They convicted him because he was undermining their society. I think it would be a bit extreme to say that the Athenians were judging the socratic approach as undermining society. They probably didn't even recognize it as a system especially since Socrates didn't seem it worthy enough to try to defend.

Look at it this way, if someone develops a superweapon in his basement after years of research and just as he was going to publish for peer reveiw we were to go in and say this man has done something dangerous, are we condemning the scientific ingenuity that allowed him to develop it (in your words, are we denying the validity of the scientific method) or are we simply saying that he created a menace?

That's the difference between convicting him because he's a philosopher and convicting him for being an asshole.

I drank what?

[ Parent ]
Disagree. (none / 0) (#89)
by trane on Tue Jul 12, 2005 at 06:58:02 PM EST

Socrates wasn't defending the method, he was defending himself. They convicted him because he was undermining their society.

I don't think you can separate his philosophy (and his method) from the impression society got that he was undermining it. His philosophy naturally led him to question principles and pillars of his society, and that pissed people off.

Your arguments sound a lot like I. F. Stone's.

[ Parent ]

nothing like Stone (none / 0) (#112)
by SocratesGhost on Wed Jul 13, 2005 at 01:51:48 PM EST

You're too hung up on methodology, much more than any Athenian ever would have been. Athenians didn't care if he introduced false gods in the name of philosophy, science, or whatever reasons. Norms back then were to consider only the effects. "Right effects arise from right action" is probably close to the mark and, yes, this does somewhat approximate the idea that "The ends justify the means" but the identification of that conundrum belongs to a much later time for which the Death of Socrates provides an illustration. For the Greeks, the right results reveals that the methods the person used was right. The jury deemed that Socrates did wrong and whatever his method is inconsequential to justify that wrong effect.

Also, Stone comes at the trial from a point of view of Socrates versus Democracy. I don't care (and it's not necessary for me to embrace) if Socrates made the youth turn anti-democratic. I look at it more from the point of view of tribalism where one member of the village is doing something that is perceived to endanger the entire village. Whether it's a democratic trial or a village elder who issues the verdict and sentence, I think Socrates' outcome in light of his defense was a forgone conclusion.

Stone looks at the Apology and wonders what parts Plato omitted. I can take the Apology at face value and can see the flaws since there is enough in Plato's words (and even in Xenophones which we can use for a comparison) to see what Athenian jurors saw: pride, petulence, and a form of zealotry for his ideology. Basically, his defense is this: I am guilty of what you say and I'll continue doing so and here's my reasons why.

What's absent? Contrition. He also lacks an ability to effectively make his case. After failing to make his case, he further displays an unwillingness to cooperate with the values of the polis. The bastard wouldn't even offer exile but wanted to continue to introduce false gods (and presumably to corrupt the youth although this is never really addressed). "I'm guilty but since I know I'm right, all of you can shove it."

Socrates likened himself to a gadfly, but Athenians saw him as a termite. And what do we do with termites?

I drank what?

[ Parent ]
I cannot believe (none / 0) (#113)
by trane on Wed Jul 13, 2005 at 03:16:24 PM EST

you are defending the right of society to put to death anyone it wants for arbitrary reasons.

The right to free speech (to introduce false gods or whatever) is "inalienable". Even back in 4rth century B.C. Athens.

This divine, unassailable-by-logic "right of society" you espouse is scary to me and something I will fight against for as long as I can.

[ Parent ]

Society must have the right (none / 0) (#115)
by Eddie the Jedi on Wed Jul 13, 2005 at 04:25:52 PM EST

to evict anyone it wants. If you feel the need to fight that, maybe you are better off leaving anyway.

[ Parent ]
no yuo (none / 0) (#119)
by trane on Wed Jul 13, 2005 at 08:52:58 PM EST

What about the concept of "inalienable rights"?

Society does not have the right to take away certain fundamental human rights that everyone has, regardless of the society they are born into.

[ Parent ]

tell that to Socrates (none / 0) (#121)
by SocratesGhost on Wed Jul 13, 2005 at 09:49:03 PM EST

especially since I can't even find an equivalent parsing of "inalienable rights" in my Modern English-Attic Greek dictionary.

I drank what?

[ Parent ]
i think (none / 0) (#122)
by trane on Wed Jul 13, 2005 at 10:50:00 PM EST

but I would really have to research this more, that Aristotle wrote of a concept of "dikos" or justice that he endowed all humans with. He also named "aidos" or shame as another human characteristic, and society was formed by combining these.

You appear to stress the importance of shame (or a sense of "fitting in" with society) over justice. I reverse that weighting.

[ Parent ]

not at all (none / 0) (#128)
by SocratesGhost on Thu Jul 14, 2005 at 03:54:42 PM EST

I'm unconcerned with the philosophical basis behind anceint Greek culture on this issue since I don't think that the average Greek really considered things in those terms, especially not those in the jury that day and that is what matters. When they voted to condemn him to death, they didn't stop and think that they were trampling Socrates' rights. Rights are norms that the Greeks did not possess and you would need to supply anthropological or historical evidence otherwise.

Rather, I think there was a mixture of influences that combined together to create the outcome. The health of the polis was probably the most important concern since, if the polis fails, the society would get destroyed and that would be bad for everybody. As a result, there was a strong tendency back then to adjudicate based on the good of the polis. The best evidence for this is in the few transcripts we have of court cases in which there are frequent appeals that, if someone is allowed to do this, he harms everyone.

The Greeks frequently took away people's rights as a part of their system of punishment. They used torture, humiliation, disenfranchisement, and exile. To say that there are inalienable rights is a bit of stretch in such a flexible system.

Besides, Aristotle was hardly an Athenian, he was from Macedonia. Also, considering that both he and Plato wrote only after the trial, we should be careful to consider whether they faithfully reflect the motivations of the people leading into the courtroom on that day.

So, present your evidence, if you have any.

I drank what?

[ Parent ]
Well (none / 0) (#129)
by trane on Thu Jul 14, 2005 at 06:33:44 PM EST

I don't see you citing anything other than vague sources either. I am aware of Aristotle postdating Socrates, that reference was merely to indicate that such ideas were around at the general period.

You are making a lot of strange claims about what the Greeks were capable of thinking. My own feeling based on studying Classical Greek for my undergraduate degree is that the Ancient Greeks were as capable of understanding the concept of "inalienable rights" as you or I.

One piece of supporting evidence would be the scene in the Iliad (early on) where a common soldier is allowed to seize the sceptre that grants speech during an assembly and challenges the kings' resolve to continue the seige. This indicates to me that there was already a concept of democracy and free speech in Homer's time.

Admittedly, the incident above (which I'm citing from memory) ends up with the soldier being beaten by Odysseus with the sceptre. But the democratic concept of letting him speak in the first place, and judging him on the reaction of the assembly as a whole, was there.

Anyway I just don't agree with you that what mattered to the jury of the day is all that's important. Socrates's right to free speech is more important than whatever they were thinking.

[ Parent ]

Not a good example (none / 0) (#130)
by SocratesGhost on Fri Jul 15, 2005 at 04:25:43 PM EST

Theristes (I think that was the soldier) wasn't speaking out about the war. He was calling Agamemnon greedy. At that point, the forces of law and order (Odysseus) beat him into submission. Later on, Theristes upbraids Achilles who then beats him to death. It should be noted that Achilles goes unmolested when he calls Agamemnon greedy.

That's hardly a good example of free speech. It may, however, be a good example of the Greek's views on speech; that it is the perogative of those who are worthy. Theristes was always portrayed as ugly, bow-legged, and unlikeable. He never really earned the right to speak which is why the nobility could beat him up for speaking his mind.

I drank what?

[ Parent ]
You just have a narrower focus than I do (none / 0) (#131)
by trane on Fri Jul 15, 2005 at 05:27:49 PM EST

It was up to the accusers and the Athenians in general to find a better solution than violence (or poisoning) to resolve whatever problem it was Socrates caused. They failed.

Just as it was up to early astronomers to figure out a better way than epicycles to explain observed planetary motion. We can understand the impulse to do it that way, but that doesn't make it any more valid as a scientific theory. Aristotle was not incapable of conceiving of elliptical orbits or a heliocentric universe. In the same way a Greek mind was not incapable of conceiving of the right to free speech. Indeed, I believe Socrates was arguing for his right to speak his mind without legal consequence.

I looked up the Thersites (not Theristes) passage in the Iliad (Book ii, Lines 211 - 277). I totally misremembered the "sceptre of speaking" or whatever. Odysseus hit him with his own (Odysseus's) staff. Anyway, the overall point is, Thersites was right. Odysseus prolonged the war's suffering and gave himself years of miserable wandering away from his home. Just the fact that the passage appears in a war epic is remarkable. Is there another example of a common soldier challenging kings during a war? The  phenomenon of a simple soldier speaking out at an assembly where kings were present is not presented by Homer as being out-of-the-ordinary. It indicates to me that the ideas that underlie democracy and equality and freedom of speech were germinating.

[ Parent ]

soldiers always grumble (none / 0) (#133)
by SocratesGhost on Fri Jul 15, 2005 at 05:59:00 PM EST

If Homer didn't portray that, it wouldn't be as realistic to the Greeks who saw war constantly and were familiar with how soldiers acted.

Also, I doubt that any Greek would see this as the germination of free speech. The Iliad was basically their Bible and was frequently used as examples of right action. I'm not familiar of any citation of this particular case, but I'd suggest that the average Greek would aspire to be more like Odysseus than Thersites.

And one more thing, that we should consider: free speech implies that individuals have rights that supercede those of the state. I think we're on opposite sides of this issue and I think you'd have a hard time finding support for this--specifically that this was how the Greeks viewed the role of the state versus the individual. I'm away from my home office where I have my materials otherwise I'd do more research on this, but before long, we're both going to have to take this up. It may not occur until Monday for me so I'll give you a head start if you want to. ;-)

Still, I think this takes us a little off point. Somehow, we've gotten hung up on the issue of free speech and democracy. I've never denied that Athens was a democracy and free speech was not the issue in his trial which was one of impiety and corrupting the youth. In his Apology, Socrates doesn't deny his charges, so if you want to argue for Socrates, I think a free speech defense is a bit premature. You'd have to first prove that what he was doing was only speech and that it did not entail any action. Even under modern jurisprudence speech ends as soon as people act on it. Hence, we have laws against conspiracy and solicitation.

Thanks for the name correction, by the way. Theristes flows off the tongue more easily, but oh well.

I drank what?

[ Parent ]
soldiers may always grumble (none / 0) (#135)
by trane on Fri Jul 15, 2005 at 06:11:43 PM EST

but can they do it at an assembly where their kings are present? The fact that he even had a chance sets the Greeks apart from anyone else that I can think of from around that period...

I will probably have to reread the Apology.

If you had been able to vote at Socrates's trial, which way would you have cast it?

[ Parent ]

Innocent (none / 0) (#136)
by SocratesGhost on Fri Jul 15, 2005 at 06:20:16 PM EST

But I have a lot of hindsight to back me up. That's pretty much my entire point.

I hope you don't think that I agree that Soc should was executed; what a strange hero he would have had to be for me all these years.

I drank what?

[ Parent ]
"Inalienable Rights" = fancy language (none / 0) (#138)
by coder66 on Tue Jul 19, 2005 at 06:38:57 AM EST

Sure, we were all given the freedom to do what we want by God. However, other people can do whatever they want as well and often these wants confict with each other.

So, what makes one person's desire to do what they want greater than another's? Simple, violence or the threat of violence. What freedoms we enjoy today were obtained and are maintained by violence and the threat of violence. How many people hate America enough to kill us all if they could? How many people would rob/rape/kill you if they didn't have the threat of arrest and prison in which they can be beaten/raped/killed? In fact, when we place people in prison, we take away their "inalienable rights".

Americans do not have anywhere near the degree of freedom outlined in the constitution. The idea was as long as what you wanted to do didn't interfere with anyone else then you could do whatever you wanted. That is simply not true in America. What if I want to pay for sex? If I get caught I go to jail, but does anyone get hurt? Do the participants consent to it? What if I want to grow a marijuana plant, and smoke a joint on Sunday while I watch TV? Does it hurt anyone but me? Again, if I get caught I go to jail. Not only do I lost my rights in jail, but due to the demands of a few people having to control a majority violence and mistrust is encouraged among the population. See The Stanford Prison Experiment Also, if you want to see the lack of freedom in America read "Ain't Nobody's Business if You Do", which is now conviently available online. See Ain't Nobody's Business if You Do

I served in the Army, and we had a saying. "Soldiers protect freedom, they don't have it". If someone who outranks you wants to chew you out for something or give you corporal punishment for something(pushups, running until you passout), you aren't even allowed to explain your actions or lack of actions unless they choose to allow it. Ever hear of an Article 15? This is "non-judicial" punishment. Your commander can simply decide that you are guilty of a crime and "sentence" you to whatever he thinks is appropriate. Of course you can push for a court marshall, but the UCMJ is stacked against you, and higher rank always means you speak the truth over someone who is lower ranked(if you lose your court marshall case, you will NEVER get a job in America, hell even being tried is enough to make it hard). I myself was confined to barracks and forced to remain in military uniform for a week, because someone called my commander and said I assaulted them. They was no evidence(because I didn't do it), but they didn't stop them from punishing me on hearsay. I counted myself lucky that I didn't get an Article 15. Speaking of which, beatings still occur in the military, just behind closed doors and you can't leave any marks. If you have the rank, and there is no evidence, you didn't do the crime.

If you want to see some travesty's of justice in modern America read The Chicago Seven Conspiracy Trial". I don't think the defendants were totally innocent, and they were defintely immature, but the case was obviously setup to convict them regardless. The judge showed obvious bias in the presenting of evidence, the defense's office was bugged by the FBI, and one black panther member was sentenced to 4 years in prison for contempt when he demanded to be dropped from the trial and have his own due to the juvenile behavior of his fellow defendants. Yeah he also called the judge a fascist, but he was just exercising his "free speech". All the convictions were later overturned, but the defendants had all already served 2 years in prison. They lost their "inalienable rights" for 2 years, and all they got was an, "I'm sorry that conviction was bogus".

I don't think that Socrates should have been convicted, but at least he got the option to leave the country. When was the last time an American who "corrupted" our society by growing marijuana for his own use was given the option of leaving the country or a 10 year prison sentence?

[ Parent ]
you assume a lot (none / 1) (#116)
by SocratesGhost on Wed Jul 13, 2005 at 06:13:37 PM EST

If I said that the L.A. riots came about because of a verdict pertaining to the Rodney King beating, would you say that I was justifying or defending the L.A. riots? That is what you are doing here.

Am I defending the execution of Socrates? No, merely explaining how the whole thing went down and trying to put it into the context of ancient Athens. I don't think they were justified but I do think that the society of the day had their reasons. Look at it this way: if they didn't have their reasons, it would not have happened. We may as well try to understand them.

We no longer live in a society that survives upon a knife's point, that witnesses how famine, disease and war destroys entire civilizations, that recognizes that acts of genocide are considered an option for suppressing revolts, that would soon see the destruction of a great metropolis like Persepolis because it's conqueror was a little too drunk, that experienced their city put to the torch twice within 20 years, and who was overthrown by a military junta just a decade before. They have their reasons for wanting their society to be as cohesive as possible.

They don't have the luxuries that you and I enjoy. Nowadays, if someone offers a wrong opinion, we're likely to correct it before the outcome of those ideas annihilates everyone. This was not so for many ancient peoples. So, no, they did not enjoy freedom of speech or religion. There was no conception even remotely like that: a person could be sued for anything under Attic law. If you want to see how the first democracy operated, I'd recommend these articles: you'll see that there was no Bill of Rights, there were no mechanisms to guarantee that punishments fit their crimes, and most cases were not criminal (meaning that a person violated a law) but civil disputes as was the case with Socrates. There was also no appeals process so if a jury convicted contrary to the specification of the law, there was no remedy. Laws were simply tools to be used rhetorically by the orators, often successfully but sometimes not.

Socrates was found guilty and was executed. Fight against it all you want but that point in history won't change. You can only try to understand it, especially if you want it to never happen again. Blindly shouting, "Freedom of Speech! Freedom of Religion!" does nothing to explain why they didn't exist in 399 BC.

I drank what?

[ Parent ]
Okay, so (none / 0) (#118)
by trane on Wed Jul 13, 2005 at 08:50:35 PM EST

how do you prevent it from happening again?

I guess my approach is to note the mistakes Athens made in Socrates's case, and try to figure out how not to repeat them.

I don't see Socrates's as having done anything legally actionable. (If Athenian law said otherwise that is a flaw in Athenian law, and trying to understand that flaw is only interesting in helping to prevent it from creeping into our law.) Comparing his dialogues to the LA riots (if that is what you were doing) is extreme. There is a clear difference, in my opinion, between words and actual physical violence.

I just get the impression you have a strong emotional investment in "understanding" Socrates's accusers. I've read the Apology (and some other Plato) in the original, I understand the accusers just enough to know that they erred when they decided violence was the best way to deal with Socrates. Beyond that their thoughts are not so interesting to me.

[ Parent ]

Reading Plato doesn't shed light on the society (none / 1) (#120)
by SocratesGhost on Wed Jul 13, 2005 at 09:39:37 PM EST

You are correct, I do invest a lot in understanding the accusers. The death of Socrates has been a subject that has fascinated me ever since the Junior High School report that first introduced me to the man--and that was about 20 years ago. Because of that single paper, I have written numerous drafts of an unproduced play called "The Trial and Death of Socrates", I've majored in Philosophy with an emphasis in ancient greek thought, and even though I am no longer in academia, I continue to read about the man. Hell, just look at my screen name.

So, yes, I do have an investment in understanding the entire situation surrounding his death.

My conclusion is this: Greece is a different society than modern day America (or Britain, or pretty much where ever you are from, including if you are from Greece). It has different priorities, threats, and thresholds for tolerance. It has different ethics, and even a different way of thinking of things that we believe are ethical. One facile example is that the Greek word for virtue doesn't really mean "virtue" as we understand it today. It is closer to meaning "excellence". A virtuous person was one who excelled. It gives a whole new understanding to the Republic when you keep in mind that the point of the entire book was how to construct a virtuous person via the model of a virtuous state. And that's just one word. What about sophrosyne? This was among the chief of the Greek virtues but there is no equivalent in modern English. This was the entire subject of Plato's Charmides, so it was pretty important to Plato but the ideas behind it are relatively alien to a modern audience. And what does sophrsyne translate to? Well, my translation of the Charmides has this intro:

"...that word cannot be translated by any one English word. The truth is this quality which to the Greeks was an ideal second to none in importance, is not among our ideals. We have lost the conception of it. Enough has been said about it in Greek literature for us to be able to describe it in some fashion, but we cannot give it a name. It was the spirit behind the two great Delphic sayings, "Know thyself" and "Nothing in excess". Arrogance, insolent self-assertion, was the quality most detested by the Greeks. Sophrosyne was the exact opposite. It meant accepting the bounds which excellence lays down for human nature, restraining impulses to unrestricted freedom, to all excess, obeying the inner laws of harmony and proportion."
(The Collected Dialogues of Plato, Including the Letters, Bolingen Series LXXI, Princeton University Press)

Now, I'm not trying to say that ancients defy scrutability, but if you want to say, "This is the reason Socrates died," then you should make the least effort to try to understand the society of the time. You have not. Your great mistake is in trying to understand the Apology in modern terms, like freedom of speech and of religion. Even the idea of something being legally actionable is rather juvenile because you live in a society with a highly developed legal system. When you're dealing with societies that do not have the benefit of the last 2000 years of hindsight via the written word, the printing press, hell, even the invention of the scientific method, there's bound to be some substantial differences. Further, Greek law is not a "lite" version of modern American law; it was it's own development that served the needs of those people at that time. People, I might add, that you've taken no effort in getting to know.

This also doesn't mean to say that the Greeks were unsophisticated. They were highly sophisticated, perhaps moreso than our modern society. But, that just indicates to me that they were sophisticated in a different way, and considering their culture and the limits of their time, small variations in important cultural ideals can have an enormous influence on that society's actions.

We see a similarity with ancient Greece in that we have democratic traditions and, hey, the greeks had a democratic tradition, too! (well, only one unstable part of greece, but since we're generalizing...) I hate to surprise you, but I'm afraid that the comparison pretty much ends there and if you want to understand it in its proper context, you are best served by ridding yourself of a lot of notions you currently have about that society.

I drank what?

[ Parent ]
I dunno (none / 0) (#123)
by trane on Wed Jul 13, 2005 at 10:59:32 PM EST

When I read the texts though, I get a sense that they were capable of grasping "modern" concepts such as freedom of speech and religion, inalienable rights, etc.

I'm familiar with classical scholarship, with the interpretations and commentaries and endless editing decisions. I'm not impressed with the linguistic evidence for a lot of claims that are made about the Greek language and how it affected Greek thought.

I guess the only way to proceed with this discussion is to start providing examples from the texts. There's a Loeb collection in this library... :)

[ Parent ]

Passage (none / 0) (#51)
by joecool12321 on Mon Jul 11, 2005 at 04:37:22 PM EST

It's the Republic. Is virtue good for what it gets you, or is it good for some other reason?

[ Parent ]
but thats just not good reasoning (none / 0) (#52)
by army of phred on Mon Jul 11, 2005 at 04:38:19 PM EST

really, this sort of reasoning almost fully depends on syntax, a sort of linguistic trickery that is ultimately useless.

Risk is only valid in weighing ones worthiness if taken as a value. A failure of risk, ie., ones death is worthless as a measure, yet you are making this failure the entire basis of your argument, ie., "practical for dying," whereas a better calculation would be "out of 1000000 shepherds, 999999 of them successfully rescued sheep," and now this risk is a manageable calculatable measure or value, and to be a good shepherd is to realise that the actuary tables of sheep rescue suggest that a particular sheep could be rescued at low risk.

If what you have demonstrated is indeed the Socratic method then absolutely this fellow died for the betterment of humanity as he was fundamentally full of shit. Having not studies Socrates, I'd alternatively hazard a guess that you instead are simply yet another kuron misinterpreting scholarship.

"Republicans are evil." lildebbie
"I have no fucking clue what I'm talking about." motormachinemercenary
"my wife is getting a blowjob" ghostoft1ber
[ Parent ]

Sounds about right (none / 0) (#24)
by Timo Laine on Mon Jul 11, 2005 at 02:41:03 AM EST

However, I was not trying to present an "authentic" Socrates or even a Platonic Socrates. I am using the man as a symbol for an idea. I got the idea from a discussion I had with a friend a while ago, and it has nothing specifically to do with Socrates, but with philosophy and rationality in general.

I thought it would be amusing to use the form of the Apology to present the idea, but apparently people do not really understand what I am trying to say.

PS. Would a kind editor please change this thread to topical?

[ Parent ]

A possible cause (none / 1) (#49)
by joecool12321 on Mon Jul 11, 2005 at 04:30:37 PM EST

I don't know that you can mereley "mention" Socrates, without at the same time conjuring up the images that go with the name. "I am using the man as a symbol for an idea." Yet you use the man in a way devoid of what makes it possible for him to be a symbol. It would be like me using Spock to talk about a romantic flame. My protestations that I'm just using the symbol of Spock is meaningless when I use it in a manner antithetical to the sybolism.

"I got the idea from a discussion I had with a friend a while ago, and it has nothing specifically to do with Socrates, but with philosophy and rationality in general."

So use a new name, in a new dialogue. This will unburden your writing from the name.

[ Parent ]

Well... (none / 0) (#55)
by Timo Laine on Mon Jul 11, 2005 at 04:48:16 PM EST

The idea is a metaphilosophical idea, and Socrates is the icon or symbol of philosophy. I am not just "mentioning" him. There is a point to using him as the symbol, and it is perfectly all right if people associate certain ideas with Socrates. My idea is that there is a problem in philosophy in general, and in a way this problem exists in Socratic philosophy as well. It was not a problem for Socrates, but I think it is a problem for us. It is not necessarily a practical problem though.

[ Parent ]
A better symbol (none / 0) (#62)
by joecool12321 on Mon Jul 11, 2005 at 05:27:45 PM EST

Lady Philosophy would be a better symbol of philosophy. Teachers from a particular school represent that particular school. If your problem is with her, she deserves a chance to respond--and a better mouthpiece than Socrates.

[ Parent ]
i have no problem with Socrates as a symbol (3.00 / 2) (#72)
by SocratesGhost on Mon Jul 11, 2005 at 09:09:44 PM EST

For all intents, neither Plato nor Xenophone were using the real Socrates, but simply piggy-backing on his fame to bolster their own ideas about philosophy and religion.

Socrates is somewhat content neutral. He's like a good pasta upon whom you can bestow any philosophical ragu you want. It worked for Plato and I have no problem letting it work for Timo.

I drank what?

[ Parent ]
Socrates and Society (none / 0) (#50)
by joecool12321 on Mon Jul 11, 2005 at 04:34:49 PM EST

"The problem was that he was undermining the cohesiveness of society."

Socrates wasn't the one going around destroying the phallus of the statues of the gods. Socrates wasn't, I don't think, undermining the cohesiveness. Rather, he was unwilling to 'play along' and follow the path that would lead Athens to her own destruction. So, in a sense, this ultimate conservatism (in the true sense) undermined 'cohesiveness', but not in any true meaning of the word. In Socrates, Athens found its best chance to remain cohesive. It is the damnation of Aristophanes that he turned the city against him.

But in a contest between wisdom and youth, what chance does the philospher have?

[ Parent ]

Fuck Socrates (1.00 / 16) (#13)
by UNITE on Sun Jul 10, 2005 at 07:54:50 PM EST


8======A==Proud==Author==of==the==FNH==nastygram==story====D ~~~
Shut Up, Xanthippe. [nt] (none / 0) (#20)
by CheeseburgerBrown on Sun Jul 10, 2005 at 11:04:01 PM EST

I am from a small, unknown country in the north called Ca-na-da. We are a simple, grease-loving people who enjoy le weeke
Parent ]
Hey, don't drag me into this! [nt] (none / 0) (#34)
by Xanthipe on Mon Jul 11, 2005 at 01:49:30 PM EST

[ Parent ]
+1FP excellent (2.85 / 7) (#14)
by Kasreyn on Sun Jul 10, 2005 at 07:56:07 PM EST

Btw good job putting it under fiction, your writing is very persuasive and really reads like a modern translation of an actual Socratic dialogue.

The great philosophers of the future will be able to present arguments superior to those of anyone else, and therefore in a rational community they will be in a position to devise principles according to which societies will be organized.

*wipes away a tear, sighs*

If only the human race merited such optimism. Sadly, we're still ruled by rogues and tricksters.

"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
Socrates denied morality? (3.00 / 12) (#16)
by strlen on Sun Jul 10, 2005 at 09:09:21 PM EST

Socrates the first of moral philosophers, he would be the first to challenge the Sophists -- who held [much like, unfortunately, many in today's world] that ethics are "whatever I can convice you are", that there is really no right and wrong and whatever I can rhetorically trick you into believing is for all intends and purposes the truth. His ideas made people ultimately uncomfortable. He challenged the idea that beings that engaged in caprice, cowardice and selfishness could be gods [something which is a pretty reasonable idea to people who are used to Judeo-Christian-Islamic or even Buddhist deities, who do not view their $deities and prophets as being capable of immorality] (hence the charge of atheism -- which he was not guilty off), he challenged the supposed authorities of societies. This (and the rather unfair allegations of his involvement in a "junta" which held power for a short amount of time after Athens defeat in the Peloponessian(sp?) war) is ultimately why he was executed (or rather, offered a choice between shutting up, exile or death).

In today's world, Socrates would not vote, would not run for office, would not put up political bumper stickers on his car; but what he would do, is show up at DC banquets and troll people (e.g.: asking Jerry Falwell what he knew about Christianity (and would demonstrate it to be nothing), asking environmentalists what they knew about environmental science, asking editorial writers covering the Middle East what they knew about it, so on...) and watch them burst into emotion and not be able to support, rationally, what they believed. His employment of satire in making people uncomfortable in their beliefs would likely make adequacy.org seem like a child's toy.

Socrates was to moral philosopher what Thales was to natural philosopher (read SocratesGhost's comment about Thales) -- a founder. Sure some of his ideas were just as wrong as thinking everything is (literally) made out of water, but what is important is that he laid the rational and logical framework behind it. There's a good reasons that the Greek philosophers who came before him were called pre-Socratic.

[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.

Socrates was a troll (none / 1) (#18)
by trane on Sun Jul 10, 2005 at 09:24:54 PM EST

or "gadfly" - same difference.

But the essence of his moral philosophy seems to be that we can "know" what virtue, piety, moderation, courage, etc. is through rational exploration. This differs substantially from other views (that rationality is not the ultimate standard in moral matters, for example).

[ Parent ]

Yes, he was a troll (3.00 / 2) (#21)
by strlen on Mon Jul 11, 2005 at 12:34:09 AM EST

Yes he was a troll -- much like Daniel Defoe, the author of "Modest Proposal" was, as are myriads of others who have used sarcasm to an end. There's a difference between that and a GNAA or "frist psot" type character, don't you think?

And yes, that we can know virtue and goodness is precisely what he had claimed -- and that is where he was a founder of moral philosophy: the framework for precisely that knowing. If you claim that virtue is beyond the rationality, beyond knowledge you will create a system where emotional feeling can easily be substituted for true knowledge, leading to the ultimate "there is no right and wrong besides what makes me fool good" situation (which is pretty much what the Sophists advocated -- training their pupils for a fee to use emotion and other rhetorical tricks to in argument (similar situation likely goes in today's law schools and business schools as well)).

[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
[ Parent ]

Defoe? (none / 0) (#29)
by Timo Laine on Mon Jul 11, 2005 at 11:56:17 AM EST

Swift, you mean?

[ Parent ]
Thank you, Swift indeed. (none / 0) (#47)
by strlen on Mon Jul 11, 2005 at 04:03:25 PM EST

No idea why I had them mixed up, yes, I indeed meant Swift.

[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
[ Parent ]
This is what the accusers were guilty of (none / 0) (#30)
by trane on Mon Jul 11, 2005 at 12:42:28 PM EST

If you claim that virtue is beyond the rationality, beyond knowledge you will create a system where emotional feeling can easily be substituted for true knowledge

in my opinion. They eschewed a rational response to Socrates's arguments and instead relied on some "higher than rationality" entity to convict him. That was the point of the story, I think.

[ Parent ]

Er (none / 1) (#71)
by trhurler on Mon Jul 11, 2005 at 08:29:28 PM EST

You are giving the likes of Falwell(and understand that the religious right is hardly the only group to have such people among them,) far too much credit. Falwell knows Christianity very well. He knows that real Christianity will never make anyone rich or powerful. So, he preaches fake Christianity. He's not ignorant - he's evil.

Sort of like the author of this lame story, really.

'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
I am evil? (nt) (none / 0) (#76)
by Timo Laine on Tue Jul 12, 2005 at 01:45:45 AM EST

[ Parent ]
Er (none / 0) (#96)
by trhurler on Tue Jul 12, 2005 at 07:55:48 PM EST

Are you Jerry Falwell? If so, then yes.

'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Hmm (none / 0) (#98)
by Timo Laine on Tue Jul 12, 2005 at 10:49:24 PM EST

You said this:
He's not ignorant - he's evil.

Sort of like the author of this lame story, really.

If this does not mean that like Falwell, also I am evil, then what does it mean?

[ Parent ]
Hmm (none / 1) (#117)
by trhurler on Wed Jul 13, 2005 at 08:18:18 PM EST

It probably means one of the following:
I was in a nasty mood.
I made a rather rude joke.
I didn't like your story.
Some or all of the above.

'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Odd (none / 1) (#110)
by generaltao on Wed Jul 13, 2005 at 11:51:41 AM EST

"there is really no right and wrong and whatever I can rhetorically trick you into believing is for all intends and purposes the truth."

Interesting, because after reading Socrates for years, I had come to the conclusion that this is exactly what Socrates himself was all about.

The more I read him, the more I felt everything he said was tongue in cheek.  Sometimes he amused himself by leading simple people to contradictory conclusions using obvious tricks of logic, but then he would slip into a more sophisticated (no pun intended) version of the same thing with whomever he was debating.

The logic flow was always sound, but the assumptions were ever so slightly off and the conclusion was whatever Socrates wanted it to be.

[ Parent ]

I think the important thing to take from Socrates (none / 0) (#114)
by trane on Wed Jul 13, 2005 at 03:57:57 PM EST

is the method, the "logic flow" as you put it.

If he didn't know the answer to a lot of the questions he asked, or if he came to incorrect conclusions, still the possibility remained that future philosophers would refine the assumptions or come up with new information that would correct him.

[ Parent ]

I guess, but.. (none / 0) (#127)
by generaltao on Thu Jul 14, 2005 at 03:21:21 PM EST

What I'm trying to say is that I always felt like Socrates was being deliberately misleading.  I think he was guilty of the very crimes of which he accused the sophists.  It's like every debate was a private joke to himself.  Know what I mean?

[ Parent ]

yes (none / 0) (#132)
by trane on Fri Jul 15, 2005 at 05:31:05 PM EST

but I really think he had an end goal in mind, which was noble: that everything could be fully specified. I think we now have much better tools to test his hypothesis: we can construct computer models of things that he was trying to define explicitly. If you can make a shoe automatically, you have fully defined the shoemaker's art. I think that's what Socrates was after, or that is the present-day result of the same spirit that propelled him.

That's my 2 cents :)

[ Parent ]

Ironically (none / 0) (#139)
by X3nocide on Thu Jul 21, 2005 at 03:41:59 PM EST

it turns out his end goal was impossible. We can't even represent all the basic numbers on computers. Language is even harder, as most human languages leave a great amount of ambiguity.

As for whether a shoemaker's art can be fully expressed as a series of ones or zeros, isn't part of a shoemaker's art making a shoe entirely different from anything else they've ever made?

Besides, it's impossible to tell from Plato's writings whether Socrates was guilty of the rhetorician's techniques or Plato simply wished him so.

[ Parent ]

I did not read this article n/t (1.00 / 23) (#25)
by Jason the Mathematical Solo Guitarist on Mon Jul 11, 2005 at 03:07:53 AM EST

In a math sense this sig is just applied group theory: what we are talking about is the decomposition of the direct product of 2 irreducible representations of the rotation group into a direct sum of irreducible representations

I for one... (3.00 / 2) (#28)
by regeya on Mon Jul 11, 2005 at 11:52:00 AM EST

[ yokelpunk | kuro5hin diary ]
[ Parent ]

a winner is you -nt (none / 0) (#75)
by Kasreyn on Tue Jul 12, 2005 at 01:32:56 AM EST

"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
[ Parent ]
Favorite Socrates quote, (2.71 / 7) (#35)
by LilDebbie on Mon Jul 11, 2005 at 01:59:40 PM EST

from the Apology:

I have seen men of reputation, when they have been condemned, behaving in the strangest manner: they seemed to fancy that they were going to suffer something dreadful if they died, and that they could be immortal if you only allowed them to live...

Only cowards beg for remittance. Real men die with their heads held high in defiance of that authority which thinks it can defeat them by killing them.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

Sexist. [nt] (1.50 / 6) (#36)
by Alfie on Mon Jul 11, 2005 at 02:18:05 PM EST

[ Parent ]
Picture in your mind a vision of Jesus (3.00 / 5) (#37)
by LilDebbie on Mon Jul 11, 2005 at 02:20:11 PM EST

...rolling his eyes at you, and you will see in your mind's eye my reaction to your comment.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
Crawl back under whatever rock you came from. (1.66 / 3) (#38)
by Alfie on Mon Jul 11, 2005 at 02:23:32 PM EST

Your chauvanism may have flown in the dark ages, but by now we've realized that men's willingness to throw their lives away is what leads to problems like suicide bombers as well as making large-scale wars possible. Your sexism is not welcome here, and I suggest you take a critical look at your concept of gender roles.

[ Parent ]
Retort (none / 1) (#39)
by LilDebbie on Mon Jul 11, 2005 at 02:27:58 PM EST

Women have been taking an active role in Jihad by blowing themselves up for Allah too, you sexist pig.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
Um, (none / 1) (#40)
by Alfie on Mon Jul 11, 2005 at 02:36:20 PM EST

Yes, women occassional do such things. The vast majority who throw their lives away are men. This is the result of sexual dimorphism. If a couple is expecting a child and the man goes out and dies, then the child is still born. If the women goes out and dies instead, then there is no child. It's a slight difference, but over millions of years of evolution the selection process causes the sexes to diverge. The negative effects of this divergence are something we must struggle with if we are to reduce the violence in our societies.

[ Parent ]
*sigh* (corrections) (none / 0) (#41)
by Alfie on Mon Jul 11, 2005 at 02:39:45 PM EST


And change

If the women goes out

to singular rather than plural

If the woman goes out

Sometimes I really wish k5 let one edit posts. Then again, I suppose the current implementation has the benefit of preserving the flow of discussion.

[ Parent ]
So you admit your sexist ideas! (nt) (3.00 / 3) (#42)
by LilDebbie on Mon Jul 11, 2005 at 02:53:28 PM EST

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
Discussion Gender Issues and Sexism (none / 1) (#43)
by Alfie on Mon Jul 11, 2005 at 03:03:19 PM EST

In order to discuss gender roles, sexuality, and its effects, we must talk about men, women, and people in general. This in itself is not sexist in the negative sense. It is when we have stereotypes of gender roles which are harmful and/or misinformed that one begins to approach what is commonly, and derogatorily, refered to as "sexism".

[ Parent ]
So it's okay to say that women should raise kids (3.00 / 2) (#44)
by LilDebbie on Mon Jul 11, 2005 at 03:31:15 PM EST

and men should bring home the bacon as long as I can demonstrate the validity of that statement through cultural anthropology? Sweet! Back in the kitchen, bitches!

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
Ugh. (none / 1) (#45)
by Alfie on Mon Jul 11, 2005 at 03:53:08 PM EST

Can you stop and listen to what I'm saying instead of being mindlessly oppositional? The results of gender dimorphism are easily observeable both in our species and in others. This doesn't mean we can't resist and, over time, overcome the negative effects of such asymmetry. But, in order to resist, we must first recognize our harmful gender stereotypes.

[ Parent ]
(correction) (none / 0) (#46)
by Alfie on Mon Jul 11, 2005 at 03:56:11 PM EST

s/gender dimorphism/sexual dimorphism/

Gender and sex are not the same, of course. :-)

[ Parent ]
Negative effects? (3.00 / 2) (#53)
by LilDebbie on Mon Jul 11, 2005 at 04:38:20 PM EST

On what basis do you make this statement? Is it harmful to humanity that only women can give birth to children? Is this one of those asymmetries we must overcome?

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
See your original comment. (none / 0) (#56)
by Alfie on Mon Jul 11, 2005 at 04:49:57 PM EST

About men proudly proclaiming that although they'll be killed they won't be defeated. This is what makes for suicide bombers and large scale wars.

Think about it.

[ Parent ]
And? (none / 0) (#58)
by LilDebbie on Mon Jul 11, 2005 at 05:03:49 PM EST

You are under the mistaken impression that I view war as a bad thing.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
Fair Enough. [nt] (none / 0) (#60)
by Alfie on Mon Jul 11, 2005 at 05:05:47 PM EST

[ Parent ]
One more thing (3.00 / 3) (#63)
by LilDebbie on Mon Jul 11, 2005 at 05:45:55 PM EST

I should probably note that I do fully support real women who die with heads held high as well, it's just that I'm a firm believer that the gender-neutral pronoun is the masculine pronoun, but the discussion was amusing nonetheless.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
Sexist. [nt] (2.33 / 3) (#64)
by Alfie on Mon Jul 11, 2005 at 05:50:31 PM EST

[ Parent ]
ROR (nt) (2.66 / 3) (#65)
by LilDebbie on Mon Jul 11, 2005 at 05:58:47 PM EST

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
men is an old form of saying humans (none / 1) (#81)
by boxed on Tue Jul 12, 2005 at 05:51:26 AM EST

You're just calling the English language sexist, which is kinda silly imho. In my native language for example mankind is the feminine, does that make Sweden a matriarchy?

[ Parent ]
I am Aware. (none / 0) (#83)
by Alfie on Tue Jul 12, 2005 at 12:08:37 PM EST

Yes, I am familiar with the use of "man" to refer to people in general, and, yes, I am calling its use by people of modern times sexist. I have met some men (and I do mean men) who continue to insist that it is a gender-neutral pronoun, and, to the best of my ability to determine, they genuinely believe what they say. However, realistically, the rest of us are aware of the oppressing psychological effect such usage can evoke, both consciously and, in an orwellian sense, subconsciously.

And, I think the use of a feminine pronoun as a gender-neutral pronoun would be pretty much just as bad. If one wants a gender-neutral pronoun then one should find a word that's gender-neutral.

[ Parent ]
Like "it"? (none / 0) (#87)
by LilDebbie on Tue Jul 12, 2005 at 05:46:22 PM EST

As to your other comment, you shouldn't have too much trouble. I make it a point to use the masculine pronoun. If I absent-mindedly type out "he or she", I'll ^H the "or she".

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
Okay, (none / 0) (#88)
by Alfie on Tue Jul 12, 2005 at 06:11:17 PM EST

Can you link to me one such comment then? Thanks.

And, I think you know whether "it" is an appropriate pronoun to use when referring to a person.

[ Parent ]
It's gender-neutral (none / 0) (#90)
by LilDebbie on Tue Jul 12, 2005 at 07:06:40 PM EST

Not only that, it's antecedant neutral, for people concerned about offending species, concepts, and abstracts alike!

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
A.I. (none / 0) (#91)
by Alfie on Tue Jul 12, 2005 at 07:18:54 PM EST

I enjoyed Stephen Spielberg's A.I.. I thought he did a fairly good job, and I can see hints of Kubrick all over the script. However, Kubrick would have made a very different movie. I regret that he did not live long enough to do so.

It's fun to look for references in Kubrick movies. Among the seven words which Monica used to imprint upon David was the word "tulip". There's an interesting story about tulips in an old book written by Charles Mackay entitled Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds. I wish I still had my copy of that book, but luckily the excerpt on tulips is on the web at http://www.andrewtobias.com/ExPopDel-5.html. I always chuckled at the poor misfortune of the sailor, who is far enough past in history that his situation becomes humorous rather than serious:

A wealthy merchant, who prided himself not a little on his rare tulips, received upon one occasion a very valuable consignment of merchandise from the Levant. Intelligence of its arrival was brought him by a sailor, who presented himself for that purpose at the counting-house, among bales of goods of every description. The merchant, to reward him for his news, munificently made him a present of a fine red herring for his breakfast. The sailor had, it appears, a great partiality for onions, and seeing a bulb very like an onion lying upon the counter of this liberal trader, and thinking it, no doubt, very much out of its place among silks and velvets, he slyly seized an opportunity and slipped it into his pocket, as a relish for his herring. He got clear off with his prize, and proceeded to the quay to eat his breakfast. Hardly was his back turned when the merchant missed his valuable Semper Augustus, worth three thousand florins, or about 280 sterling. The whole establishment was instantly in an uproar; search was everywhere made for the precious root, but it was not to be found. Great was the merchant's distress of mind. The search was renewed, but again without success. At last some one thought of the sailor.

The unhappy merchant sprang into the street at the bare suggestion. His alarmed household followed him. The sailor, simple soul! had not thought of concealment. He was found quietly sitting on a coil of ropes, masticating the last morsel of his "onion." Little did he dream that he had been eating a breakfast whose cost might have regaled a whole ship's crew for a twelvemonth; or, as the plundered merchant himself expressed it, "might have sumptuously feasted the Prince of Orange and the whole court of the Stadtholder."

There's another part to that book which has some direct relevance to the movie, A.I., as well as to our little discussion. During the French revolution, nobles were brought out and executed upon the guillotine. Noble after noble stoicly faced there death, until one noble, a duchess if I recall correctly, pleaded and begged and fought for her life as she was being brought up to be executed. That is, I believe, what inspired the scene where David protests loudly while Gigalo Joe stands awaiting his fate under the bucket of acid.

[ Parent ]
(corrections) (none / 0) (#92)
by Alfie on Tue Jul 12, 2005 at 07:31:59 PM EST

And now for a regular feature: Typographical Corrections to one of Alfie's Posts. Heh.

s/Stephen/Steven/ # Steven was not blessed with the "ph" spelling. :-)

s/faced there death/faced their death/ # See what an aversion to pronouns I have now?

Also, I continue to search for the reference to the woman who begged and pleaded for her life before the crowd of peasants. There were no more excutions after that because everyone felt so bad.

[ Parent ]
That was random (nt) (none / 0) (#93)
by LilDebbie on Tue Jul 12, 2005 at 07:50:19 PM EST

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
Not for those with reading comprehension. [nt] (none / 0) (#94)
by Alfie on Tue Jul 12, 2005 at 07:51:21 PM EST

[ Parent ]
On second thought, I have more to say... (none / 0) (#95)
by Alfie on Tue Jul 12, 2005 at 07:55:02 PM EST

The reason why it was not a quick, thoughtless reponse is because I was trying to break us from that cycle. Yes, you have to read and think about what is written in order to understand how it applies. You must also keep in mind your original comment, wherein you suggested that real men project the attitude that they will not be defeated by death.

[ Parent ]
Tenuous at best (none / 0) (#97)
by LilDebbie on Tue Jul 12, 2005 at 08:01:19 PM EST

and you expect me to maintain the original theme of the thread over several days? My attention span is only so large, monsieur!

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
sure.. but what should be used instead? (none / 0) (#106)
by boxed on Wed Jul 13, 2005 at 08:32:37 AM EST

"Man" means mankind/humans. Accusing old texts of being "sexist" because they use English is not even silly, but doublethink. There are compromises in languages, and a gender needs to be chosen for some things in some contexts, simple as that. Flip a coin, and sometimes it'll turn out "male", doesn't mean the coin is sexist when that side happens to be up. Nor the opposite.

Quite frankly I'm sick and tired of people randomly throwing "sexist" around. If there's a picture of a naked woman, it's oppression of women, and if there's a picture of a naked man, that's ALSO oppression of women. There's no logic here, just a deep need to be victims. Women need to stop seeing themselves as victims, simple as that.

[ Parent ]

*nod* I agree. (none / 0) (#107)
by Alfie on Wed Jul 13, 2005 at 09:09:14 AM EST

Accusing old texts of being "sexist" because they use English is not even silly, but doublethink.

I completely agree. I would never accuse an old text of being sexist solely because it uses "men" to refer to both men and women. Those were different times, and such usage was accepted practice back then. Nowadays, we are more enlightened. Progress marches on. :-)

I will accuse modern users of being sexist. That wasn't really my point though. Comment #64 was half-intended as a joke because I was put in an awkward position when LilDebbie basically rewrote (#63) the meaning of "real men" to include women, too. Haha. Fun rhetorical trick.

However, I think that dragging women into what has traditionally been men's folly is even worse. So I still have plenty to say, but at the time I wasn't sure this article would be posted, and I didn't feeling like playing steal-the-bait from a possible trolling attempt.

There are compromises in languages, and a gender needs to be chosen for some things in some contexts, simple as that.

There is no need to use a word which carries tremendous gender connotations, such as "man"/"men" or "he"/"him", when one desires a gender-neutral term. There are several ways one can say the same thing without the gender-baggage of those pronouns. My freshman english teacher in college gave us a few. If you'd like me to list them, I'd be happy to share them.

Quite frankly I'm sick and tired of people randomly throwing "sexist" around. If there's a picture of a naked woman, it's oppression of women, and if there's a picture of a naked man, that's ALSO oppression of women. There's no logic here[...]

I belong firmly to the sex-positive camp myself. I'm with ya on this.

As for victimhood, well, that gets complicated. I'm not a mindless adherent to either feminism, masculinism, or the gender equality crowd. I do think the question of victimhood is interesting, and it's worth discussion and thought.

[ Parent ]
Bah. (corrections) (none / 0) (#108)
by Alfie on Wed Jul 13, 2005 at 09:15:12 AM EST

s/feeling like playing/feel like playing/

I even reread this comment, yet I somehow missed it. Darn it. I suck.

[ Parent ]
Oh, can you do me a favor? (none / 0) (#84)
by Alfie on Tue Jul 12, 2005 at 12:48:41 PM EST

Can you point out a single one of LilDebbie's comments, other than the response to Socrates' quote above, where "man" has been used to refer to both men and women?


[ Parent ]
Sure, granted (none / 0) (#101)
by dhall on Wed Jul 13, 2005 at 03:50:16 AM EST

Then again, you could try understanding the comment's message and stop quibbling about semantics.

[ Parent ]
Excuse me? (none / 0) (#102)
by Alfie on Wed Jul 13, 2005 at 04:06:26 AM EST

I fail it. I tried to discuss ideas; the other person brought up semantics by rewriting his original comment several posts later with a claim that "real men" meant women too (obviously not what he meant), and then I still try to discuss ideas, but the other person dodges or decides that the original topic is "days old" and apparently that's too long to keep one's attention span.

Yes, I am aware that women have been the Christ Figure in some movies, most notably Ripley in Alien 3. I am aware that women sometimes fight and die. By and large, those who are stupid enough to engage in wars are men. The man who does not fight is considered weak, a pansy. This is the gender stereotype which is the problem. --Unless, of course, you don't believe wars are a bad thing. Which is fair enough.

And it isn't only wars where this issue comes up. If a man hits a man, it is generally not a big deal. If a man hits a woman, it is. Why don't we protect the man the same way we protect the woman? If a man lets himself be beat up, he is considered, as one of my friends puts it, "a pansy". Men are supposed to stoicly take their abuse instead of seeking help--or so the sexist chauvinists say. But I say bullshit.

[ Parent ]
beh (none / 0) (#103)
by dhall on Wed Jul 13, 2005 at 04:26:05 AM EST

It sounded like LilDebbie was advocating the position that you don't have to be scared when you die.

Sexism should be ignored like bad spelling and bad grammar.

[ Parent ]

Unnatural Death at the Hands of Others (none / 0) (#105)
by Alfie on Wed Jul 13, 2005 at 06:52:19 AM EST

It sounded like LilDebbie was advocating the position that you don't have to be scared when you die.

LilDebbie's position, essentially, is that real men never beg when faced with unnatural death at the hands of fellow humans--instead they should hold their heads high as if they cannot be defeated by dying.

Personally, I prefer to be a David--meek, and quite able to beg for my life. LilDebbie, and those who adhere to his position, can be Gigolo Joe and get acid dumped on their head--or IEDs, etc. The position that we all have to adhere to this stereotype of what a real man is, well...

And it really is a shame that Kubrick didn't live long enough to do his version.

Sexism should be ignored like bad spelling and bad grammar.

Sure, when it's not relevant.

[ Parent ]
Oh, and another thing... (none / 0) (#104)
by Alfie on Wed Jul 13, 2005 at 04:34:38 AM EST

Lately our society has been integrating women into the violence. Movies and television shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer have women knocking people around, punching, stabbing, etc. However, this integration is not limited to fantasy: Women now play a role in combat operations in the U.S. military.

It's like we're going completely backwards. Instead of questioning the role men play in violence and how it can be avoided, we're instead questioning women's pacifism. Some may not care, or may even like this. Fine, fair enough. On one level, I like shows such as Buffy, too. Overall, however, think we're headed straight into facism.

As far as the idea of integrating women into the military, well, if we do have a military--which we'll obviously need for awhile--then, yeah, it makes sense to have women represented equally. However, we also have to question our aggression abroad and whether it really counts as defending the country, which I think it doesn't. We have to question how honorable the suicide impulse is--the desire to throw one's life away for one's country. Wouldn't it be better to live for one's country instead? I mean, when's the last time that the U.S. was genuinely defending itself in a war? And keep in mind that we now have nuclear weapons.

[ Parent ]
it goes both ways (none / 0) (#111)
by dhall on Wed Jul 13, 2005 at 01:09:56 PM EST

Men and women's roles are slowly averaging out to the same thing, it would seem.

[ Parent ]
No it doesn't. (none / 0) (#126)
by vectro on Thu Jul 14, 2005 at 03:17:18 PM EST

Look at it this way: Which is more likely to upset a parent more, a boy playing with Barbie (or Ken) dolls, or a girl playing with G.I. Joe (or Jane)?

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]
+1FP Philosophy *NT* (none / 1) (#57)
by collideiscope on Mon Jul 11, 2005 at 05:03:37 PM EST

Hope is a disease. Get infected.
excellent (none / 1) (#82)
by feandil on Tue Jul 12, 2005 at 11:40:48 AM EST

the kind of things that force people to start to use their brain. one may agree or not with your or socrates view but at least one has to think about it.

Links to Editorial Comments (none / 0) (#86)
by Alfie on Tue Jul 12, 2005 at 03:30:37 PM EST

Socrates... (3.00 / 2) (#99)
by MichaelCrawford on Tue Jul 12, 2005 at 10:51:23 PM EST

... drank no-cal hemlock.

Maybe he is better off that way, as he was thus spared from seeing what has become of reason in our modern world.


Live your fucking life. Sue someone on the Internet. Write a fucking music player. Like the great man Michael David Crawford has shown us all: Hard work, a strong will to stalk, and a few fries short of a happy meal goes a long way. -- bride of spidy

Somewhat Related (3.00 / 2) (#109)
by Rezand on Wed Jul 13, 2005 at 10:05:37 AM EST

This reminds me of: Gorgias over IRC

Repost with fixes (none / 0) (#137)
by Timo Laine on Tue Jul 19, 2005 at 05:09:00 AM EST

I posted a copy of this on my own site, with a couple of fixes and nicer formatting.

The Evil Socrates | 139 comments (120 topical, 19 editorial, 0 hidden)
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