Comments

  • Afghanistan, Islam and national success?
    However, that does not make Christianity God's truth. It is not a revealed religion but the work of many minds building on stories others have told.Athena

    But that doesn’t mean that there is no truth in those stories.

    Christianity went through a period of clarifying its theology and rejecting anything that was pagan. That is when it went into the Dark Age.Athena

    I don’t think there is any evidence for that. There was no “Dark Ages” in the Greek East.

    Why single out the Christians? Because they rebelled against the law and gave us a different truth from the revealed religion the Jews followed.Athena

    They didn’t rebel against the Law. Christians rebelled against animal sacrifices, rituals and dietary regulations that in their opinion distracted from true spiritualty. The core of the Law, consisting of the Ten Commandments, was preserved intact.

    To say science reemerged in a Christian society seems to deny what the rest of the world achieved and what the achievements of others has to do with the advancements that the west made.Athena

    Not at all. There is no connection between one and the other. As already stated, Christianity built upon what was already there in Classical and other traditions. And we can’t deny the fact that modern science developed in the West, not in Arabia.

    Jews became the money dealers so Christians didn't have to get their hands dirty. You know a lot so perhaps you know of the history of which I speak?Athena

    I think this may be another modern era myth. Of course some Jews were involved in monetary transactions. But large-scale money lending (at interest!) was already practiced by Christian estates controlled by monasteries and the Church.

    There was some initial opposition to commercial activities by the clergy and monks but by the 1100's this was no longer the case and capitalism was able to develop without hindrance from the Church. There was nothing comparable in the Islamic world where production and exchange came increasingly under the control of the state. It was the economic freedom in Christian Europe that made the difference IMO.
  • An analysis of the shadows
    It's not just one intellectual, it's the whole cosmopolitan intelligentsia, and the thrust of modern academia generally, particularly in the English-speaking world.Wayfarer

    Indeed. Straussianism is a whole school, mainly based in Chicago. There are hundreds of them!

    And they are just the tip of the anti-Platonist iceberg. So, Maritain is perfectly right.

    The fact is that Strauss was a follower of Maimonides who got the idea from Ibn Sina and al-Farabi that ancient philosophers had secret teachings concealed in their works. Maimonides said that people should avoid Plato because he uses too many allegories and should read Aristotle instead.

    Strauss had a “better” idea. He decided to use the “noble lie” myth to develop his own political theory according to which governments and political philosophers must hide the truth from the public and disclose it to an initiated intellectual elite, only.

    Of course Strauss was backed by Fabians and their financial sponsors because Fabianism believes in gaining influence and power through deception and “permeation”, i.e. propaganda, and their sponsors like the Rockefellers were among America’s most devious and ruthless industrialists and bankers who were notorious for using academics and politicians to promote their agenda.

    The fraudulence of the Straussians and the wider anti-Platonist movement is evident from their spurious interpretation of Platonic texts. The fact is that the phrase “a noble lie” does not occur in the Greek text and it does not refer to the Forms.

    Unfortunately, being themselves committed atheists and materialists, Strauss and other anti-Platonist ideologists obviously feel that Plato must have been an atheist and materialist, too. This is why they fail to examine their own assumptions. Their self-confident, dogmatic approach prevents them from even asking themselves why not every translation of the Republic has “noble lie”.

    Let us look at the Wikipedia Article “Noble Lie”. It says:

    This is his [Socrates'] noble lie: "a contrivance for one of those falsehoods that come into being in case of need, of which we were just now talking, some noble one...”

    Note how the translation abruptly stops after “noble one”. What could the reason for this be? Simply put, the Greek text does not say “noble lie”!

    And this illustrates the wider problem of a mainstream consensus being built by a (well-funded) intellectual elite that seeks to suppress all forms of opposition to its dogma. It has not yet completely taken over public sources like Wikipedia, but this is what it aims to achieve ….
  • Free spirited or God's institutionalize slave?
    They are promoting Islam lite, offering a point of contact between Western culture (soap operas depicting romance, personal and family tribulations) and Muslim culture (those tribulations are effectively addressed within the Muslim religious context, wjhich can nevertheless be made to appear secular enough).baker

    I think "secular" is the key word. Islam has always been the sweetheart of the Left who see Islam as a form of atheism (invisible god, no religious images, etc.) that will rid the world of Christianity for them. Hence their constant appeasement of Islam.

    It reminds one of Churchill's comment about appeasing the enemy:

    Each one hopes that if he feeds the crocodile enough, the crocodile will eat him last. All of them hope that the storm will pass before their turn comes to be devoured. But I fear greatly that the storm will not pass. It will rage and it will roar ever more loudly, ever more widely.
  • An analysis of the shadows
    The idea of something existing “outside of space and time” makes empiricists nervousWayfarer

    I think it positively freaks them out.

    But what is really hilarious is the way Straussians are attempting to cover up their master’s true colors.

    Strauss started his career as a teacher at a rabbinical seminary in Berlin.

    In 1932 he left Germany for France on a Rockefeller fellowship. The Rockefellers were major sponsors of Fabian Socialist outfits like the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

    From France Strauss moved to London, England, where he became a close friend of Fabian Socialists like H. R. Tawney who were connected with the Rockefeller-funded LSE.

    In 1937, Strauss moved from London to New York under the patronage of Harold Laski, a Fabian Socialist and Marxist who taught political science at LSE and who also was a member of the Fabian Society and British Labour Party executives.

    In New York, Strauss taught political science at The New School, a Fabian Socialist institution funded by the Rockefeller Foundation and Universal Oil, after which he moved to Chicago.

    Not content with Judaism, Strauss also took a keen interest in Spinozism and Arabism and maintained close links to Arabists like Paul Kraus (who married Strauss’ sister). After studying anti-Platonists like Maimonides, Strauss developed the theory (or fixed idea) that Classical philosophers like Plato had a hidden political agenda which they concealed behind allegorical language.

    Leo Strauss – Wikipedia

    Strauss believed that governments and political philosophers (like himself) should hide the truth from the public by means of “noble lies”. So, we can see why it became so important for Strauss to propagate the myth of “Plato’s noble lie”. He was making a living out of it by using this myth to justify his own teachings!

    In any case, it is clear that Strauss is either psychologically incapable of understanding Plato or deliberately misinterprets him for his own political agenda. And the same goes for his followers.

    Take, for example the inability to understand that Forms can be at once transcendent to and immanent in the sensible world. I think everyone can see that the sun is above the world we live in but its light is immanent in it. Similarly, the Forms themselves are transcendent but their properties reflected in the sensible particulars are very much in this world.

    As already noted, the phrase “noble lie” seems to be a (deliberate) mistranslation of the Greek original and it clearly distorts Plato’s intention.

    As you can see, they cherry pick a bit of text to suit their agenda:

    γενναῖόν τι ἓν ψευδομένους πεῖσαι μάλιστα μὲν καὶ αὐτοὺς τοὺς ἄρχοντας, εἰ δὲ μή, τὴν ἄλλην πόλιν

    Moreover, they provide no translation! Not surprisingly, they are unable to say where exactly the text says “noble lie”. They expect us to believe that Plato needs 17 words to say just 2 :grin:

    And, of course, nowhere does Plato say that the Forms are a myth or a lie.

    This is why in addition to reading Plato we also need to keep a tab on his detractors, especially those with a hidden (or perhaps not so hidden) political agenda.
  • An analysis of the shadows
    Forms, ideas, numbers, principles and so on, are not 'existent things', they're not 'out there somewhere'. Rather they are better thought of as constitutive elements of reason. But they're also not simply subjective or a product of the mindWayfarer

    Correct. One way of looking at it is that the Forms are within the Universal Consciousness or "Mind of God", in which case they are subjective to the One, but "objective" to the many. As the individual nous expands its field or sphere of awareness, it gets closer and closer to the World Nous and thereby acquires an ever-clearer grasp of the nature of the Forms. In any case, Buddhists and Hindus, especially those who have some experience of meditative states of consciousness seem to find it easier to understand the concept.

    Regarding the “noble lie” theory, it is just a theory, typically advanced by those who believe in political propaganda like Strauss and his followers. In reality, it is far from clear that “noble lie” is the correct translation in the first instance.

    Desmond Lee makes the following observation:

    Plato has been criticized for his Foundation Myth as if it were a calculated lie. That is partly because the phrase here translated ‘magnificent myth’ (p. 145) has been conventionally mistranslated ‘noble lie’; and this has given rise to the idea that Plato countenances political propaganda of the most unscrupulous kind. In fact, as Cornford points out, the myth is accepted by all three classes, Guardians included. It is meant to replace the national traditions which any community has, which are intended to express the kind of community it is, or wishes to be, its ideals, rather than to state matters of fact. And one of Plato’s criticisms of democracy was, in effect, that it was government by propaganda, telling the right lie to the people (cf. p. 263).

    - H. D. P. Lee, Plato The Republic, p. 156

    If we look at it objectively, some important points become obvious:

    Plato’s foundation myth is simply replacing an old myth with a new one. It is not replacing truth with a lie.

    A myth taken as a whole, may be false but it also contains truth, as Socrates himself says (Rep. 377a).

    Myth enables philosophical inquiry to reach its goal (Rep. 614a).

    This is the key to understanding Plato’s myths: they serve a philosophical purpose as well as conveying a truth.

    And, of course, nowhere does Plato say that the Forms or God are just myths!

    On the contrary, it is imperative to remember that, in order to develop our power of abstract thought, Plato urges us to study mathematics not in any way but in a particular way that prepares us for the specific task of grasping the nature of the Forms.

    Such studies he says, “guide and convert the soul to the contemplation of true being” (Rep. 525a), a statement he repeats several times.

    Calculation and arithmetic, which “plainly compels the soul to employ pure thought with a view to truth itself”, focuses not just on numbers, but also on spatial arrangements (such as military formations in lines and columns) which prepare us for the next stage involving geometrical forms.

    Geometry, “the knowledge of the eternally existent”, focuses on pure geometrical figures consisting of the lines that were introduced in the previous stage.

    Astronomy, which “converts the natural indwelling intelligence of the soul from uselessness to right use”, focuses on the correlations of spatial and temporal relations among geometrical solids (heavenly bodies) whose movement gives rise to day and night, etc.

    Harmony, the study of which “is of use only when conducted for the investigation of the beautiful and the good”, takes us beyond spatiality by focusing on the ratios expressed by the figures studied up to this point and including musical pitch.

    Thus, Plato’s training program takes us from the one-dimensional to the two-dimensional, from the two-dimensional to the three-dimensional, from the three-dimensional to the three-dimensional in motion, and from the latter to time, thus covering all the dimensions of the material world and facilitating our understanding of the innermost structure of the world of becoming as constituted by intelligibles and dependent on being.

    Plato’s statements are definitely no “lies”. The study of mathematics in the way suggested by Plato, does actually help in the development of the ability to think abstractly and to grasp abstract concepts.

    It is true that Plato stops at the threshold to Forms having Socrates and Glaucon say:

    You will not be able, dear Glaucon, to follow me further, though on my part there will be no lack of goodwill. And, if I could, I would show you, no longer an image and symbol of my meaning, but the very truth, as it appears to me—though whether rightly or not I may not properly affirm. But that something like this is what we have to see, I must affirm. Is not that so?” “Surely.” “And may we not also declare that nothing less than the power of dialectics could reveal this, and that only to one experienced in the studies we have described, and that the thing is in no other wise possible?” “That, too,” he said, “we may properly affirm.” (533a)

    Still, we know that the method that takes philosophical inquiry forward and enables the philosopher to go beyond mathematical thought is dialectic, which further develops the soul’s internal capacity for insight until it is sufficiently finetuned to grasp the reality of the Forms. The Parmenides, Timaeus, and other works offer further points of departure in this direction.

    In any case, it is clear that it is not sufficient to understand the inner structure of the world. Philosophical inquiry demands that we also understand the inner structure of the soul and the interrelation of soul and world. E.g., how does the individual nous relate to the Nous of the World Soul? The answer to this also provides the answer to the nature of the Forms and their relation to both the One and the many.

    See also Mitchell Miller, Beginning the “Longer Way” – Research Gateway
  • Beautiful and know it?
    I find it annoying when women seem to think so highly of themselves when in truth they don't look that great in my opinion.TiredThinker

    I think this can be annoying both in men and women.

    But is your complaint about women who think they look great without actually looking great, or about women who don't care about you telling them that they look great?
  • Beautiful and know it?
    It's odd that people say things like, "you have the brains, use it" but never in my life (never say never) have I heard someone say, "you're beautiful, use it."TheMadFool

    It would probably depend on the particular society and culture we are talking about.

    In the Western world (some) women do get told things like “you could be a model” or “you could be a movie star”, or even encouraged to become one on account of their good looks.

    I think physical attractiveness is a personal asset like any other one, and can perfectly well be used to advance one’s career, to find a partner, or whatever. After all, humans learn how to manipulate others in many ways from an early age and looks, including in terms of what we wear, are used to make a certain impression on others or elicit a certain response from them.

    Hence, the not unheard-of question, "Do I look good in this"? :smile:
  • An analysis of the shadows
    Is it said that the forms are the subject of such a ‘noble lie’? If they are so central to Plato’s philosophy, that would be unlikely, wouldn’t it?Wayfarer

    Good point. According to Plato:

    The tendency to facilitate the apprehension of the idea of Good is to be found in all studies that force the soul to turn its vision round to the region where dwells the most blessed part of reality, which it is imperative that it should behold (Rep. 526e)

    Plato makes it clear that in order to apprehend the Form of the Good, the philosopher must develop the power of abstract thought, which is why he emphasizes the study of mathematics for this purpose:

    It [the study of geometry, etc.] would tend to draw the soul to truth, and would be productive of a philosophic attitude of mind, directing upward the faculties that now wrongly are turned earthward (527b)

    He then makes another important point:

    It is indeed no trifling task, but very difficult to realize that there is in every soul an organ or instrument of knowledge that is purified and kindled afresh by such studies when it has been destroyed and blinded by our ordinary pursuits, a faculty whose preservation outweighs ten thousand eyes; for by it only is reality beheld. Those who share this faith will think your words superlatively true. But those who have and have had no inkling of it will naturally think them all moonshine. For they can see no other benefit from such pursuits worth mentioning (527d-e).

    Obviously, those who uncritically follow Strauss in the belief that Plato’s Forms are “an absurd doctrine”, belong to the second group.

    IMHO the real absurd doctrine is to suggest that we spend years developing our power of abstract thought in the pursuit of the Good, only to discover, in our 50’s, 60’s, or later, that it is all just a “noble lie”. But then Strauss himself apparently believes in deception as an essential ingredient of government and one has to wonder to what extent his own teachings are an elaborate hoax ….
  • An analysis of the shadows
    Is this noesis?Shawn

    Good question. Mathematics starts with dianoia and ends in noesis, after which the Forms take over. In other words, mathematics takes us from sensibles to intelligibles but stops at the threshold of the Forms.

    We are out of the cave but we still see the objects in themselves (Forms) only in their reflection (e.g. ideal object).
  • An analysis of the shadows
    that's what I thought I said.Wayfarer

    And that's why I don't think I confused intellect and imagination :smile:
  • Afghanistan, Islam and national success?
    If anyone committed heresy it was the Christians! I think Christians have some gall to create a new "revealed religion" and pick and choose what they wanted from the revealed religion of Jews and then say the Muslims committed heresy because the Muslims did the same thing the Christians did.Athena

    But why single out Christians? The Jews got much of their religion and culture from neighboring peoples.

    Christianity is not a form of Judaism, it is a different religion with core beliefs and practices that are totally different from Judaism.

    In contrast, Islam saw itself as the heir to Judaism and Christianity and a lot of the narratives found in the Koran are taken from those religions, which was the point made by St John.

    And, as I said, it is important to bear in mind that the Christian Bible does not claim to have been dictated by God, but the Koran does claim to have been dictated by Allah to Mohammad and there are difficulties with this claim.

    If we look at the Koran verse before the one quoted in my previous post, it says:

    But if you back each other against him, then verily, Allah is his Mawla (Lord, Master, Protector), and Gabriel and the righteous of the believers and the angels, moreover, are his helpers.” (Al-Tahrim 66:4)

    We are told that Mohammad had 13 wives in total:

    Muhammad’s wives - Wikipedia

    At the time, however, he apparently only had two, Hafsah and Aishah. Why would the Koran threaten two women with the might of a whole army, terrestrial and celestial, from Allah and the Angels down to the faithful?

    To get to the bottom of it, we must consult the Hadith for additional information. And there we find the following interesting statement:

    Narrated Omar:
    “Once the wives of the Prophet made a united front against the Prophet and I said to them, 'It may be if he (the Prophet) divorced you, his Lord (Allah) will give him instead of you wives better than you.' So this verse (the same as I had said) was revealed." (Sahih al-Bukhari 8.402)

    So, the speaker in the Koran is not Allah but Mohammad’s father-in-law Omar! The situation must have been serious enough for it to be included in the Koran. Whatever may have caused it, it is interesting to note that Mohammad’s wives, though said to be “jealous”, were united against their husband and prophet.

    In light of the incontrovertible evidence, it would seem that the Koran was not, after all, revealed by Allah to Mohammad and that St John is right.

    However, another critical point is, what are the lessons that the women of Afghanistan could draw from this as a basis for political action?

    Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that "Afghan women are strong" and they will get their rights in "two or three years". But to do so, political action will be needed.
  • Afghanistan, Islam and national success?
    So while you might want to give Christians credit for the wisdom of pagan civilizations, only by eliminating facts can this be done.Athena

    But this is not what I am doing. What I am saying is that Christian culture (and to some extent religion) is based on Classical (Greek and Roman) culture.

    Christianity emerged within the cultural context of the Hellenized Roman Empire. Christians had a different religion but they had the same Graeco-Roman culture as Pagan citizens of the Roman Empire. And science as we know it today emerged within Christian society.
  • An analysis of the shadows


    Yes. But we are talking about Plato. In Plato, sensory faculties, emotions, thoughts, are part of the soul the essential core of which is the nous. The soul described by Socrates in afterlife situations is not just the nous but the entire soul which is capable of sensory perception, emotion, etc.

    And an abstract concept conceived in the mind is not the same as a visually perceptible object created by the imagination.
  • An analysis of the shadows
    Here I think you're confusing intellect and imagination.Wayfarer

    I don't think so.

    To begin with, sensory faculties, emotions, imagination, thoughts, contemplation, all are functions of the same one intelligence which ultimately is the nous. The nous is the experiencing subject in all cases.

    Even imagination is ultimately an intellectual activity. However, the mathematical object is not visualized as in imagination, it is a purely abstract concept which is why it is in the domain of intelligibles and close to Forms. If it were visualized as in imagination, then it would belong to sensibles and would not be an ideal object.
  • An analysis of the shadows


    There are four levels of awareness given in the Allegory of the Cave:

    1. Shadows on the cave wall.

    2. Images of outside objects and beings whose shadows are seen on the wall

    3. Outside reflections and shadows of outside objects and beings.

    4. Objects themselves.

    Taking a geometrical figure, e.g., a triangle drawn on paper or in the sand, this would correspond to level (1) of the shadows on the wall, which is the level of sensibles.

    As we look at the drawn triangle, we notice that “it falls short of” being perfect which gives rise in our mind of the concept of perfection that, at this stage, is indeterminate. This would correspond to level (2) of the man-made images of outside objects.

    Guided by this concept of perfection, we next form in our mind a perfect triangle as an ideal mathematical object, that corresponds to level (3) of outside reflections in water, etc. This is the first level of intelligibles, the mathematical level where we are outside the cave and begin to get used to the outside world.

    Contemplation (or dialectical examination) of the ideal object leads to the next intelligible level of Forms, in this case Shape or Triangularity, which corresponds to level (4) of the outside objects themselves.

    Beyond these there is the level of the Sun that illumines the outside, real world and that symbolizes the Good or the One, the source of all knowledge.

    It may be worth pointing out that the shadows are not illusory. They are not figments of imagination but imperfect likenesses of what ultimately are real objects. So, the four awareness levels are levels of increasingly greater reality that the philosopher can use to get as close as possible to ultimate reality as his intellectual abilities permit.

    Obviously, some readers may lack the necessary abilities to get very far. (Some Straussians come to mind.) Perhaps Plato is right in suggesting that the philosopher must go through the five mathematical disciplines (calculation and arithmetic, plane geometry, solid geometry, astronomy, and harmonic theory) before reaching dialectic proper.

    In any case, in order to really understand something we must become as much like it as possible:

    For surely, the man whose mind is truly fixed on eternal realities has no leisure to turn his eyes downward upon the petty affairs of men, and so engaging in strife with them to be filled with envy and hate, but he fixes his gaze upon the things of the eternal and unchanging order, and seeing that they neither wrong nor are wronged by one another, but all abide in harmony as reason bids, he will endeavor to imitate them and, as far as may be, to fashion himself in their likeness and assimilate himself to them (Rep. 500b-c).

    Hence the difficulty experienced by some to understand even basic Platonic concepts ....
  • An analysis of the shadows
    No, they're not, but I think numbers, universals, and the Forms are of the same order - they inhere in the 'formal realm', the domain of pure form, which is not visible to the senses but only to reason - which is a straightforward Platonist view.Wayfarer

    Correct. It is the close proximity of mathematical objects to Forms that tends to lead to the erroneous assumption that they are Forms.

    In reality, according to Plato, mathematics is just the preparatory intellectual training that unshackles the soul and enables it to turn away from the shadows and towards the light.

    The contemplation of mathematical objects starts off the learning or recollecting process leading to a grasp of the Forms (and can take years before the philosopher is ready for the study of the Forms).

    But mathematical objects are not Forms. An ideal triangle is a mathematical object conceived in the mind, but it is not a Form. The Form corresponding to the mathematical object “triangle” is Shape.

    1. The Good or the One.

    2. Nous or "intellect" proper: World of Forms, e.g. Shape

    3. Logistikon, "intellectual" or "thinking" aspect: World of mathematical objects, e.g. ideal triangle.

    4. Thymos or "emotional" aspect.

    5. Epithymetikon or "sensual aspect".

    So, Forms are above mathematical objects.

    Of course we could say, for example, that Shape itself is a kind of mathematical concept. However, being above "triangle", it is not the same as the mathematical object, it is more a function constitutive of objects than an object as such.

    Forms are also different from universals in that they are prior to the objects, though again, they are close to universals or in the same general direction leading to the light of reality ....
  • An analysis of the shadows
    I was wondering recently whether this is because our culture has only kept those elements of Platonism which are useful for science and engineering, while discarding the moral and aesthetic principles that Plato apparently thought indispensable to his philosophy.Wayfarer

    This seems to be a plausible cause.

    But another possibility I had in mind would be that Plato's Forms are not mathematical objects.
  • Is Plato's nous related to IQ?
    Perhaps to decipher the "Linear B" script, we should use the ancient Vedic and/or Iranian (?) alphabets.Gus Lamarch

    "Vedic alphabet"? Do you mean Brahmi or Indus script (that no one knows what it is)?
  • An analysis of the shadows
    Forms are mathematical objects. Forms are a subset of math.ArisTootelEs

    I don't remember my math teacher saying anything about goodness or justice though.
  • Free spirited or God's institutionalize slave?
    I don't believe that in our lifetime an event as big as a "war" of the proportions you refer to - religious wars - will happen.Gus Lamarch

    If it does happen, it will be in places like Africa, Mid East, India, Indonesia.

    In the West Islam is far more likely to spread as it has done for decades - through immigration, high birth-rates, and conversions. Too gradual and peaceful for non-Muslims to feel motivated to put up resistance ....
  • An analysis of the shadows
    And the meaning of 'anamnesis' is recalling what the soul knew prior to this life. These are associated with asceticism and specifically, in the context, with Orphic asceticism.Wayfarer

    Plato's connections with Orphism are essential in the correct reading of his writings.

    I have noticed that when anti-Platonists fail to understand something they invariably resort to the rather risible claim that Plato (or Socrates) is being “ironic”.

    But what is really funny is that they go so far as to deny the text of the dialogue itself and to conveniently forget that Plato’s cave has an entrance open to outside light, and that there is a whole new world out there illumined by the sun! :grin:

    In reality, the attentive reader cannot fail to see that the allegory only makes sense if there is a world outside the cave and the possibility of those inside to visit the outside world.

    The philosopher who ventures outside the cave is not an ordinary philosopher but one who has seen the light. The symbolism of light is very important in Socrates (and Plato). Socrates compares the light of truth to the light of the Sun and later relates the vision of a column of light (616b).

    Further, he also speaks of a guide that leads the soul to that vision of light, and of the enlightened philosopher descending back into the cave to lead the others.

    I think the Orphic symbolism is unmistakable. Socrates himself is the guide who descends into the netherworld (the world of ignorance) in order to lead the unenlightened to the light above. The dialogue starts with Socrates descending to Piraeus where they pray to the Thracian Goddess (Orphism was associated with Thrace) and gaze on the celebrations, and ends with the vision of light.

    Socrates’ method of guidance is his dialectic which leads to a “turning around of the soul” (periagoge), and “transformation” or “conversion” (metanoia) and, finally, to a vision of reality:

    This organ of knowledge [inner eye] must be turned around from the world of becoming together with the entire soul, like the scene-shifting periact in the theater, until the soul is able to endure the contemplation of essence and the brightest region of being (Rep. 518c)
  • An analysis of the shadows
    This raises an interesting question as to whether a philosopher or philosophers have any duty towards their fellow citizens. What do you think?Shawn

    I think there can be absolutely no doubt about it. Both in general and in a Platonic context. Plato's philosophers, after all, were to be trained for the express purpose of serving the people.
  • Afghanistan, Islam and national success?
    Perhaps we could look at our argument in a new way? How were European Christians educated?Athena

    Good idea. European Christians were educated in institutions run by the clergy. The catechetical schools founded in the early days of Christianity at Alexandria and Antioch were run by the Church. Professors from ecclesiastical and lay schools later formed universities like that of Bologna. This shows that Christianity did value and promote knowledge and explicates the important fact that science arose in Christian Europe and nowhere else.

    The Bible is not a revealed work of God but the work of men, as are all holy books.Athena

    The Bible does not need to be a revealed work of God. It is sufficient to be the eye-witness account of certain events that manifested divine revelation or were interpreted as such. Matthew says:

    This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about …

    So the Christian Bible is not God dictating things, it is a record of eye-witness accounts related to the writer.

    Regarding the subordination of women to men, this was not the teaching of Jesus, but the opinion of the author of Timothy which reflected the prevailing situation of the time. And subordination does not necessarily equate “oppression”. The lower ranks of the military are not “oppressed” by the higher echelons just because they are subordinate to them.

    The Koran, on the other hand, seems to be a totally different story. It is supposed to be the direct word of Allah as dictated to Mohammad:

    This is the book! There is no doubt about it —a guide for those mindful ˹of Allah˺ who believe in the unseen, establish prayer, and donate from what We [Allah] have provided for them and who believe in what has been revealed to you, O Prophet!˺

    St John of Damascus, a Christian scholar who lived in the early days of Islamic rule in Syria, investigated the current claims regarding the Koran and was told that the Koran was given to Mohammad in a dream. He also found out that Mohammad obtained knowledge of Christian scriptures from his close companions some of whom were Christians (of whom there were many in Arabia at the time). He concluded that "This man, after having chanced upon the Old and New Testaments, devised his own heresy".

    And we know that St John is not lying because it is confirmed by Islamic tradition (Hadith). Mohammad did in fact have Christian friends and relatives and used to spend time on his own in caves in the mountains. When someone hears stories about prophets from his friends, and then spends time on his own thinking about those stories he will likely dream about them and may even conceive the thought that he could be a prophet himself!

    In any case case, why did Prophet Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him) claim that Allah said that of all men he alone could have an unlimited supply of women? And why did Allah tell Mohammad’s wives to be submissive to their husband or else Allah will replace then with better and more submissive ones? What could this mean?! Was the Prophet unable to control his wives and needed some assistance from Allah to subdue them? I think these are important questions that should not be ignored.
  • Free spirited or God's institutionalize slave?
    I can not imagine Islam and their male domination of females consuming the West. I might even pick up a gun and fight against that as women in Afghanistan have.Athena

    It has happened in many places. And it is happening gradually. By the time Islam becomes dominant it will be too late for you to pick up your gun.

    Women in Afghanistan have not fought against Islam. Those who have done so have been a minority and the results are quite clear, IMO.
  • Free spirited or God's institutionalize slave?
    We are not born all-knowing, but only with the capacity for learning.Athena

    Exactly. Learning who we really are. Self-knowledge is the central aim of philosophy.

    Most often I hear the indignant comment " do you think you are god?" Or "playing God." meaning we should not attempt to control what happens. If I must be perfect, then I live in fear of never being good enough and I feel cut off from all that is holy.Athena

    Being godlike is not the same as being God. Nothing to do with "controlling" anything.

    If I must be perfect, then I live in fear of never being good enough and I feel cut off from all that is holy.Athena

    1. "Perfect" as far as humanly possible. On the other hand, if we don't want to improve ourselves, what does this say about us?

    2. If we must be spiritual, then we live in fear of never being spiritual (or good) enough and we feel cut off from all that is spiritual ....
  • An analysis of the shadows
    Isn't it the case that in the later tradition of Aristotelian philosophy that nous apprehends the forms, and the senses apprehend the body? That all particulars are a compound of form (morphe) and matter (hyle)?Wayfarer

    Correct. According to Socrates, particulars exist by virtue of their participating in the Forms. This is why Socrates urges us time and again to go beyond our sense-perceptions and use our reasoning and intuitive faculties to get to the truth.

    This is what sets the true philosopher apart from the nonphilosophical crowds.

    The properties seen in the particulars, the sun’s reflections seen in water, the shadows reflected on the wall, all draw the philosopher’s attention to the existence of realities beyond and above the objects of ordinary perception and everyday experience. Thus he proceeds to the unknown by means of the known and to the new by means of the old.

    In contrast, the anti-Platonists (and anti-philosophers) are the ones who refuse to contemplate anything beyond everyday experience. They are the ones who are supremely content with their chained condition, who refuse to see the light or even conceive its existence.

    In their opinion, the world of shadows reflecting images of beings in the outside world is all there is, and nothing else can ever exist.
  • An analysis of the shadows
    Why can't the prisoner unshackle and free himself? Why is philosophy still associated with no inherent value, or even more practically, valued so little?Shawn

    I think what Plato is saying is that not everyone can unshackle and free themselves. Plato's philosophers are an intellectual elite with special abilities and training and capable of seeing a higher truth. As such, the philosophers are mankind’s link to a higher reality.

    There seems to have been an age-old tradition in which priests, shamans, and wise men and women spent a period of time (usually years) exploring, discovering, and learning new or special knowledge that they later imparted to their communities.

    Similarly, the task of Plato's philosophers is to distance themselves from everyday life in order to see things in a different light (the light of the Good) after which they return to society to enlighten their fellow citizens.

    In Christian times, a comparative role was performed by monks, hermits, and holy men. Obviously, not all attained the same degree of enlightenment, but as in the case of Plato’s philosophers, they had some kind of cognitive contact with the “light (or Form) of the Good”, i.e., they somehow “saw the light” and were able to impart some of it to others.

    With the rise of materialism, people in general became perhaps less receptive to guidance from such individuals and this has led to loss of interest in the practical application of philosophy and to its reinterpretation as a purely intellectual endeavor.
  • Is Plato's nous related to IQ?
    That's why I was leery of Apollodorus' linkage of 'nous' with the root 'gno-' (knowledge), which I thought suggested a form of gnostic insight. I think there's a distinction to be made between 'gnostic' and 'noetic' (the latter being more associated with the Platonic tradition.)Wayfarer

    My linkage of nous with gno was due to Bailly's Greek-French Dictionary where he has:

    νόος-νοῦς ... R. Γνω, connaitre, v. γιγνώσκω

    - Anatole Bailly, Le Grand Bailly: Dictionnaire grec-français, p. 1333

    I am aware that the etymology of nous is currently held to be "unknown" or "uncertain". But a derivation from "to know" seemed more plausible to me than one from "to swim", "to sniff" and other suggested alternatives .... :smile:

    Of course nous changes its meaning according to context so that on a higher level it is closer to English "intuition" and on other levels closer to "knowledge" or, again, to "reason", "sense", "wit", and so on.

    At any rate, both "intuition" and "knowledge" seem to be functions of the same immaterial, living, intelligent or conscious psyche or "soul".
  • Is Plato's nous related to IQ?
    recognizing that the Greek mind of the period was one to which naturalism, that is, the natural world and its intrinsic conditions, was the absolute rule, "Tradition" makes much more sense to them contemporarily than "Mind".Gus Lamarch

    Certainly interesting as a working hypothesis, but given the paucity of supporting evidence it seems like an uphill task.

    What if the Greeks started with psyche and then developed the notion of nous as an attribute or faculty of it?
  • Is Plato's nous related to IQ?
    It is not claimed that "Nous" encompasses all these concepts. It is only said that "Nous" is one of those attributes.Gus Lamarch

    Would it be possible to know which of those attributes nous is claimed to be? And what is it an attribute of?
  • Is Plato's nous related to IQ?


    Sure. However, I would have thought that if nous is already known to mean awareness, consciousness, intelligence, etc., then it may be easier to simply add newly-found meanings to the existing list than to coin a new word?

    By the way, where would you say nous is used in the sense of "tradition" by Plato?
  • Is Plato's nous related to IQ?


    You are right about techne. If anything, it would be more like an art or skill.

    As to nous, if we can't decide what it actually means, I can see no advantage in creating a new word for it. But I do not wish to prevent anyone from doing so. :smile:
  • Is Plato's nous related to IQ?
    Is it hard to be, or merely to become, good?Gary M Washburn

    As with everything else, there are different levels or degrees of goodness.

    The highest level is attained through knowledge or experience of the Good (to Agathon) which is the source of everything that is good. Only when acting in complete harmony with the Good does man become perfectly good (and divine).
  • Is Plato's nous related to IQ?
    I was under the impression phronesis and sophrosune were synonyms, usually (incorrectly) translated as "prudence". Sophia appears as a root in many words, bringing it a bit more down to earth than divine wisdom.Gary M Washburn

    Correct. "Prudence" is a rather odd translation that makes little sense to modern ears (to the younger generations in any case).

    And yes, sophia does appear to have been used in the sense of "practical wisdom", "skillfulness" or "cleverness". However, the point Socrates is making is that God alone is wise (sophos) and that the philosopher (philosophos) is not one who is wise but one who aspires to be wise:

    I think, Phaedrus, that the epithet “wise” is too great and befits God alone; but the name “philosopher,” that is, “lover of wisdom,” or something of the sort would be more fitting and modest for such a man (Phaedrus 278d).

    In other words, the philosopher is sufficiently wise to realize his own ignorance and to consciously start on the journey from ignorance to wisdom (sophia). This would make sophia the highest goal.
  • Is Plato's nous related to IQ?
    In any case, "Nous" would most likely be better synthesized contemporarily by the creation of a new term that encompasses "mind/intellect/reason" and "tradition/common sense".Gus Lamarch

    However, considering that there is a tradition to use Greek or Latin when creating new words, we may simplify matters by keeping the original nous.
  • Free spirited or God's institutionalize slave?
    This difference between a god and spirit is very problematic. Let's see, spirit and ghost can mean the same thing. So the term would be I am the spirit of God-made flesh?Athena

    According to the Bible, God created us in his own image, which implies that in some way we are godlike already. This seems to be the implication of some NT statements:

    Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?” (John 10:34)

    As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God (John 1:12)

    Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect (Matthew 5:48)

    Being godlike by birth, humans have the potential to manifest their divinity by becoming perfect like God. This comes very close to the Platonic teaching to the effect that man must strive to become as godlike as possible, and it implies that on a higher level we are, in fact, godlike.

    But I am not sure this is something that Ancient Celts would have recognized as part of their tradition. My guess would be that when moderns speak of “Celtic spirituality”, they really mean “Neo-Celtic” or simply some kind of New-Age concoction. In which case I think it would be more honest to not label it “Celtic”.
  • Is Plato's nous related to IQ?
    Then what of sophia?Gary M Washburn

    Good question.

    Philosophy was in its infancy. There were no exact technical terms in the modern sense. And even in modern usage the same word can have different meanings, depending on the context.

    We also need to remember that Plato was a Greek who wrote for Greek speakers. Even in the Roman Empire those who wanted to learn philosophy started by learning Greek. In fact, the higher classes in the Roman Empire would have learned Greek as part of their education.

    The real problem starts when we insist on reading Ancient Greek authors in English or other modern languages. This is why, personally, I would leave key terms like nous untranslated.

    Having said that, Socrates/Plato does make a clear distinction between body (soma) and “soul” (psyche). And nous is associated with psyche.

    “Wisdom”, “knowledge”, etc, are the various modern translations of Greek words like phronesis and gnosis.

    Socrates says that strictly speaking the epithet “wise” (sophos) befits God alone (Phaedrus 278d).

    It may be inferred from this that sophia is a higher, if not highest, form of wisdom. But this doesn’t exclude the possibility of humans having some degree of sophia in certain matters. So, again, it would depend on the context ….
  • Free spirited or God's institutionalize slave?
    Jack Cummins presents a more universal understanding of spiritualism and social organization before the Father in Heaven replaced the mother.Athena

    Unfortunately, there are no Ancient Celts available to confirm that this was their actual view. After all, they never put their beliefs into writing.

    And I don't think Christianity holds us separate from God. It is for the individual believer to hold themselves as far or as near to God as they choose.

    In any case, Christianity teaches its followers to see the Spirit of God in his Creation and states that the human body is the temple or dwelling place of God:

    Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God? (1 Cor. 6:19)
  • Free spirited or God's institutionalize slave?
    Do we live in fear of God organized by a hierarchy of authority and power, or do we live with the spirit of freedom and liberty and rejoicing in our individual power and glory?Athena

    We do not know that there was no hierarchy in Celtic society or that there was no fear of deities and other supernatural forces.

    Plus, an empire cannot be organized in the same way as a small nomadic tribe.

    I think more complex societies tend to be more hierarchical than less complex ones. Humanity cannot revert to nomadism.
  • Free spirited or God's institutionalize slave?


    Ancient Celtic religion, commonly known as Celtic paganism, comprises the religious beliefs and practices adhered to by the Iron Age people of Western Europe now known as the Celts, roughly between 500 BCE and 500 CE, spanning the La Tène period and the Roman era, and in the case of the Insular Celts the British and Irish Iron Age. Very little is known with any certainty about the subject, and apart from documented names, which are thought to be of deities, the only detailed contemporary accounts are by hostile Roman writers, who were probably not well-informed.

    Ancient Celtic Religion - Wikipedia

    If so little is known about Celtic religion, I wonder how much is known about Celtic spirituality?