Tag Archives: philosophy

THE NEXT WORLD

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PLATO — 348/347 BC) was a Classical Greek philosophermathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the foundations of Western philosophy and science.[3] In the words of A. N. Whitehead:

“The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato. I do not mean the systematic scheme of thought which scholars have doubtfully extracted from his writings. I allude to the wealth of general ideas scattered through them.

Plato’s sophistication as a writer is evident in his Socratic dialogues; thirty-six dialogues and thirteen letters have been ascribed to him. Plato’s writings have been published in several fashions; this has led to several conventions regarding the naming and referencing of Plato’s texts.[5] Plato’s dialogues have been used to teach a range of subjects, including philosophylogicethicsrhetoric, and mathematics. Plato is one of the most important founding figures in Western philosophy. — Wikipedia.org

DIOGENES THE CYNIC

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DiogenesDiogenes of Sinope  was a Greek philosopher and one of the founders of Cynic philosophy.  The term “Cynic” itself derives from the Greek word κυνικός, “dog-like”. Later Cynics also sought to turn the word to their advantage, as a later commentator explained:

There are four reasons why the Cynics are so named. First because of the indifference of their way of life, for they make a cult of indifference and, like dogs, eat and make love in public, go barefoot, and sleep in tubs and at crossroads. The second reason is that the dog is a shameless animal, and they make a cult of shamelessness, not as being beneath modesty, but as superior to it. The third reason is that the dog is a good guard, and they guard the tenets of their philosophy. The fourth reason is that the dog is a discriminating animal which can distinguish between its friends and enemies. So do they recognize as friends those who are suited to philosophy, and receive them kindly, while those unfitted they drive away, like dogs, by barking at them.

Diogenes of Sinope he was born in Sinope (modern-day Sinop, Turkey), an Ionian colony on the Black Sea, in 412 or 404 BCE and died at Corinth in 323 BCE.  He was a controversial figure. His father minted coins for a living, and when Diogenes took to debasement of currency, he was banished from Sinope. 

After being exiled, he moved to Athens and criticized many cultural conventions of the city.  He believed that virtue was better revealed in action than in theory. He used his simple lifestyle and behavior (which arguably resembled poverty) to criticize the social values and institutions of what he saw as a corrupt or at least confused society. In a highly non-traditional fashion, he had a reputation of sleeping and eating wherever he chose and took to toughening himself against nature.

He declared himself a cosmopolitan and a citizen of the world rather than claiming allegiance to just one place.  Diogenes made a virtue of poverty. He begged for a living and often slept in a large ceramic jar in the marketplace. He became notorious for his philosophical stunts such as carrying a lamp in the daytime, claiming to be looking for an honest man. He criticized and embarrassed Plato, disputed his interpretation of Socrates and sabotaged his lectures, sometimes distracting attendees by bringing food and eating during the discussions.

Diogenes was also noted for having publicly mocked Alexander the Great: 

“Alexander the Great found the philosopher looking attentively at a pile of human bones. Diogenes explained, “I am searching for the bones of your father but cannot distinguish them from those of a slave.”

PHILOSPHICAL MIND: 360 B.C.E.

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Painting by John LaFarge, American (1835- 1910)

“Philosophical minds always love knowledge of a sort which shows them the eternal nature not varying from generation and corruption. He whose desires are drawn towards knowledge in every form will be absorbed in the pleasures of the soul. Then how can he who has magnificence of mind and is the spectator of all time and all existence, think much of human life?

He cannot.

Or can such an one account death fearful?

No indeed.

Then the cowardly and mean nature has no part in true philosophy?

Certainly not.

Or again: can he who is harmoniously constituted, who is not covetous or mean, or a boaster, or a coward-can he, I say, ever be unjust or hard in his dealings?

Impossible.

Then you will soon observe whether a man is just and gentle, or rude and unsociable; these are the signs which distinguish even in youth the philosophical nature from the unphilosophical. ”

Plato, THE REPUBLIC, 360 BCE

THE PHILOSOPHICAL MIND

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“Philosophical minds always love knowledge of a sort which shows them the eternal nature not varying from generation and corruption.  He whose desires are drawn towards knowledge in every form will be absorbed in the pleasures of the soul.  Then how can he who has magnificence of mind and is the spectator of all time and all existence, think much of human life?

He cannot.

Or can such an one account death fearful? 

No indeed.

Then the cowardly and mean nature has no part in true philosophy? 

Certainly not. 

Or again: can he who is harmoniously constituted, who is not covetous or mean, or a boaster, or a coward-can he, I say, ever be unjust or hard in his dealings? 

Impossible. 

Then you will soon observe whether a man is just and gentle, or rude and unsociable; these are the signs which distinguish even in youth the philosophical nature from the unphilosophical. ”

Plato, THE REPUBLIC, 360 BCE