This study argues both that the proofs are ultimately unconvincing and that Plato was aware of the problems. The Phaedo is shown as a truly dialectical philosophical conversation about the immortality of the soul.
This paper is about: a) the model of friendship bonds Plato presents to us through his character, Socrates; b) the kinds of friendship bonds Plato tried to create with his students and wanted his students to create when they returned home; c) the friendship bonds lovers of Plato’s dialogues have created with each other for 2400 years; and d) the bonds that those who want to imitate Socrates should create with all of their fellowcitizens. Such bonds are critical for sustaining (...) non-authoritarian societies. Since 2016, Westerners have become more aware of the need of intellectuals to develop these bonds. (shrink)
This paper summarizes Ervin Laszlo’s worldview in The Systems View of the World: A Holistic Vision for Our Time.1 Laszlo claims that current discoveries in the sciences have led to a different model of the physical world, human nature, and human culture. Instead of the models formulated during the Enlightenment, according Systems thinkers “systems interact with systems and collaboratively form suprasystems”. This view has led to a reexamination of: 1) each academic discipline; 2) the relationship between disciplines; 3) the nature (...) of theory and its relation to practice; 4) the relationship between religion and the sciences; 5) of the nature of the social sciences and our ability to develop a universal, normative ethic; 6) the relation between reasoning, emotion and imagination. The evolution of the reflective self-consciousness unique to homo sapiens has led to the formation of cultures. Cultures must be understood assuprasystems that emerged from natural systems and are dependent upon them. Given this universal natural foundation, systems thinkers are recognizing the common patterns between nature and culture and between different cultures. The examination of systems has also shown us that the suprasystems of culture create a level of complexity and reality over and above the natural world and can even destroy themselves and their own natural foundationFrom the perspective of the ISUD, this view means it is possible, natural, and necessary for academics to engage in meaningful dialogue with each other, showing how the ways they have been trained to examine “reality,” or “truth,” can be integrated. Further, professional academics should be able to talk to non-academics, to people in leadership roles, and to all human actors. Since it is a fact that individuals are parts of many larger wholes, the ISUD can nurture the process of the development of reflective self-consciousness in the formation of an international culture, an emerging suprasystem.Laszlo calls this sphere of spiritual interaction, with its physical foundation, a noosphere, his word for a “meeting of the minds.” Given our collective destruction of natural systems, it is imperative that human beings develop some version of a Systems view of reality. ISUD should work to foster this development, even though the professional training of individuals will call the process by other names, based on the labels of the past. (shrink)
In response to the rise of conservative women, the author engaged in a long and meaningful Socratic dialogue with two self-identified conservative women. The paper describes the conversation, then analyzes it according to various political trends, Jungian and other psychological theories, the author’s dialectical teaching methodology, the value of a traditional liberal arts education and the failure of the intellectual elite in the past 50 years to create and sustain meaningful friendships with fellow citizens from all social sectors and educational (...) levels. Athenian democracy also degenerated into authoritarianism because of the professional elite’s corruption and/or detachment. (shrink)
This paper links the claims of neuroscientist Antonio Damasio to the civilization of the Ancient Greeks. Although Damasio’s book, Looking for Spinoza: Joy, Sorrow and the Feeling Brain, makes the argument for the connection between Spinoza and neuroscience, he says that he prefers Aristotle’s model of human flourishing, but he does not describe Aristotle’s model. I explain Aristotle’s model and connect neuroscience to Aristotle and to the educational system underlying Greek mythology, Hesiod, Homer, tragedy and other aspects of Greek culture, (...) including the role of the arts, religious rituals and the institutions of Greek democracy. (shrink)
This paper describes many connections between the wisdom literature of the Ancient Greeks and the work of contemporary scholars, intellectuals and professionals in many fields. Whether or not they use the word nous to refer to the highest power of the human soul, I show that their views converge on the existence of such a power. The paper begins with a brief summary of Greek educational texts, including Greek mythology, Homer, tragedy, and Plato’s dialogues, showing that they are designed to (...) educate the power of mind. Usually without realizing it, many later schools of thought can be shown to come to conclusions that are consistent with the insights of one school of thought or cultural practice among the Ancient Greeks. Many other ancient cultures also had a holistic view of the cosmos, the human soul, and the best human life. (shrink)
This paper tries to show that the insights of Ancient Greek wisdom are still relevant today and can provide guidance, as we move toward what seems to be a historically unique, complex network of interrelationships between human beings all over the world and between human society and the natural world. The paper focuses on only two of the deities of the Olympian pantheon: Aphrodite, goddess of beauty and Ares, god of war, the extreme attraction they feel toward each other, and (...) their relationships to the other de-ities and to human beings. Like all the deities, each of them can be either sacred and motivate human beings to noble achievements or they can drive individuals and societies to self-destruction. The lessons implied in the Iliad and myths apply to international development today. We seem to be creating a world of consumers who seek material comfort and wealth, worshipping Aphrodite without noticing she will always bring Ares with her: faction and conflict within and between nations. We are making the mistakes the Greeks thought most obvious and dangerous. (shrink)