Posts Tagged ‘Socratic Method’

Did Socrates Say We Know Nothing? No! He Said The Exact Opposite! Why Plutocracy Pushes Cognitive Nihilism

February 9, 2021

We live in the age of cognitive and collective nihilism. Nothing really new there; Friedrich Nietzsche was already fighting the same exact mass psychology of ignorance extolled as wisdom… in Germany. That’s why the musician Nietzsche broke away from his friend the musician Wagner. (a German hypernationalistic racist) Nietzsche said the herd constituted by most Germans had become ignorant nationalistic brutes and terrible things would result from this. So Friedrich went to live in France and Italy, celebrating both cultures, and calling himself a Pole. Einstein, three decades later would follow a similar path, with similar (very justified) complaints.

A preferred tactic of Internet bullies, is to claim that Socrates would have said that he knew nothing, and, thus that it is the epitome of wisdom for Internet critters to say that their opponents know nothing, because, well, we know nothing. In particular Internet critters claim that whatever a superior interlocutor said in a cognitive dimension they didn’t even know existed, is irrelevant, because there is no knowledge in knowledge. 

Actually Socrates said the exact opposite of claiming that we knew nothing… And that we know plenty, and can know much more, and much better, is probably Socrates’ main message. The so-called Socratic method is a way to get to the truth, not just a s consequence, but as hypothesis. To claim the opposite is a piece of vicious disinformation. Actually, to tell the whole truth, the so-called Socrates method was probably invented as soon as language was. It is just the manner of improving ideas, hypotheses, observations and principles through a debate, by looking at all the consequences. When all the false stuff has been eliminated, the truth is left. 

The lie that Socrates claimed to be a cognitive nihilist was planted by Roman plutocrats four centuries after Socrates’ death, in an effort to devalue knowledge, all of knowledge

The Socratic Methods consists in conducting a succession of ever more refined thought experiments. The method is probably as old as language itself.

So now we have this paradox of people who think they are wise because they do as Socrates did, according to them, scrupulously knowing nothing and replacing this by frantic tribal howling (presently with the word “Trump” within in the USA, although that will pass soon). And they repeat what their owners told them to say, presently from media owned by the world’s wealthiest persons…

Socrates is viewed as a pillar of philosophy, yet Socrates wrote directly or indirectly, nothing. This is remarkable. By indirectly writing nothing I mean that we do not know of a text that Socrates originated: we have to take Plato’s word for it (and there are reasons to doubt Plato’s good judgement, namely his love affair with the tyrant of Syracuse). Whereas, for example, we know that it is Pericles’ wife, Aspasia of Miletus, who made explicit the concept of “Open Society”… a very important concept explicitly mentioned in the funeral oration given by Pericles… (We know this, because Pericles himself did not believe in the Open Society that much; clearly his wife forced him to extoll the Open Society…)… The concept of open Society was later picked and expanded upon by French Nobel laureate philosopher Henri Bergson, then Popper. By contrast the “Socratic Method” is something that Plato shows in various dialogues, conducted in pursuit of… the truth. The truth envisioned as axiomatics and consequences.

Thus, we have no direct evidence of Socrates’ thinking. Aristophanes, Xenophon and of course Plato mention Socrates. Aristophanes makes fun of Socrates for instituting a “thinkery“… if it sounds akin to a winery, this is no accident: Plato himself presents Socrates as having been the most depraved of men before he became a lover to the best, war hero, and finally beyond it all.. So the Socratic Method arose in the sort of circumstances that were rather informal… And we are not too sure in what Socrates really believed (the reason is that he may have had different political beliefs than Plato who was already an obvious right wing authoritarian…)

The result has been that many thoughts are attributed to Socrates which he did not have. As he and Plato are viewed (somewhat idiotically) as the fathers of philosophy, “philosophy” is then viewed as something it was never meant to be… Namely, a negation of knowledge. 

In particular many fake thinkers quote Socrates as saying that he only knew one thing, and that was that he knew nothing. Socrates did not say this, and actually in some places, as reported by Plato, Socrates says explicitly that he knows some things very well. 

Indeed, one of Socrates’ thought system insisted that specialized mental activities should be left to specialists who know the body of knowledge. That was Socrates’ main beef against Athenian style Direct Democracy, according to Plato. For example, Socrates-Plato points out, generals should be professionals, just as shoemakers are professionals.

Pretending that the “father of philosophy” (as the snobs love to say) said that we knew nothing is to claim that wisdom is not grounded in knowledge, and we may as well be a barnacle, knowing nothing while clinging to stuff. The “we know nothing mantra” is nihilism at its best.

That silliness, that Socrates said he knew nothing, was a lie invented 4 centuries later, in a civilization which wanted to know nothing, because knowing something was highly inconvenient: that society had Pluto Derangement Syndrome.

Roman society was busy devaluing wisdom, and thus knowledge. So Roman intellectual-prostitutes invented and glorified the cretin, by pretended that the highest wisdom was to claim one knew nothing, so that the idiotic greedy brutes could rule the world… as they do now… consider the Gamestop scandal, where the friends of the Treasury Secretary are involved, with their “Citadel”. So Yellen and company are worried that Internet critters conspired against the world’s wealthiest conspirators… Because the latter pay her, while the former do not… presumably…

Instead Socrates thought he could learn a lot by dialoguing with ignorant students. Learning from the naive and ignorant works quite a bit along the same principles as a heat pump…

The Internet is a cornucopia of the ignorant belching creative absurdities…

Socrates would have been delighted…

Patrice Ayme

Socrates On The Lake Of Selfishness

October 3, 2016

I write complicated essays using knowledge which is all too often so esoteric as to leave readers frozen in disbelief. This is the times of brainmolded masses (an attempt is made to get out of it by using Trump as a ‘human Molotov cocktail’). (“Brainmold” is a useful neologism: we are beyond ‘brainwashed’. Appropriately molded brains never need to be washed. They are always clean, approved by our rulers.)

Oftentimes a simple cartoon can go to the heart of the matter, giving a more marking sketch of a particular point. Such is the case with Socrates, a fundamentally inhuman philosopher, prominently driven in his actions, Plato wrote, by sex, drink, food, and delirious sophistry to better drown the subjects at hand. As long as Socrates, Plato and Aristotle enjoy a quasi-divine status, civilization will be at bay (Nietzsche nearly said). But enough said, sometimes it’s easier to drown that to drone on. Here we drown:

Socrates In A Nutshell. What's Wrong With Him? The Big Picture.

Socrates In A Nutshell. What’s Wrong With Him? The Big Picture.

[From “Existential Comics“.]

Highest, and deepest reasons are not about the next micro-step done right. If it were so, ants would be the most reasonable organisms. Highest, and deepest reason is about getting the big picture right. Humanity is a social phenomenon, where we learn not from the gods (as Socrates believed), but from the wisdom piled up by others. Thus, taking care of others is taking care of wisdom.

Somebody sent me mysterious messages I could not answer directly, coming to the defense of Socrates, telling me Plato was the real fascist, and that he, Plato, built up a fake Socrates, etc. Whatever: intellectuals have been in love, not to say awe, with Plato’s Socrates, fake or not. The fact the general amnesty was in the end overridden, just for Socrates, after the latter was to his old tricks, show that the “real” Socrates was surely anti-democratic, just like the “fake” one.

Socrates depended upon his rich friends, boyfriends, and lovers’ money, the money of Athens’ golden youth. That makes his critique of the Sophists all the strangest, and reflecting an hypocritical mood.

Verily, when thinking depends upon money, civilization turns into barbarity.

Nobel laureate says his scientific breakthrough on the accelerating universe ‘would not be possible’ today. Saul Perlmutter says that there is a ‘fundamental misunderstanding’ of the purpose of research: ‘the current funding climate means researchers are “very good at not wasting any money and also not good at making any discoveries”. He won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2011 after leading one of two teams that simultaneously discovered the accelerating expansion of the universe.

Speaking at the Times Higher Education World Academic Summit at Berkeley on 28 September, Professor Perlmutter said: “In the modern-day context there’s a tendency to ask: ‘What is it that you are planning to research? When will you finish it? And what day will your discovery be made?’”

Perlmutter said that it took 10 years for him to make the discovery that led to the Nobel prize, during which time he was working at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, which is supported by the US government’s department of energy. “I don’t think this particular project I’m describing would have happened in today’s funding environment. I think that would be very difficult in a world where you are managing every last cent and making sure you don’t waste any money.”

We are coming onto a world where machines will do the work. A world in which machines will do most of what constitute work now. What will humans do, what should they do? They should think as deeply as possible, and that means as sincerely as possible. Socrates’ refusal to see when people, or a civilization, his civilization was drowning, is not the most educational paradigm to emulate.

The age of robots & Artificial Intelligence will also be that of the deepest thinking, or won’t be. Because never have been the problems we can solve and have to solve, been as complex. The sustainability of the biosphere itself depends upon the deepest thinking imaginable, or won’t be. To strive towards the deepest methods, we have to eschew the Socratic method of cutting hair into pieces, somewhere out there, irrelevant to the situation at hand. Hypo-crisy means to be under-critical. By refusing to address what the problem really is, by claiming no animal knows anything,  Socrates is not just ridiculous, he insults the very concept of brains, and thus civilization itself. That puts him roughly at the level of the Islamist State, and this is exactly what a jury of 2,000 of his peers in Athens decided.

Patrice Ayme’


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SoundEagle 🦅ೋღஜஇ

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Artificial Turf At French Bilingual School Berkeley

Artificial Turf At French Bilingual School Berkeley

Patterns of Meaning

Exploring the patterns of meaning that shape our world

Sean Carroll

in truth, only atoms and the void

West Hunter

Omnes vulnerant, ultima necat

GrrrGraphics on WordPress

www.grrrgraphics.com

Skulls in the Stars

The intersection of physics, optics, history and pulp fiction

Footnotes to Plato

because all (Western) philosophy consists of a series of footnotes to Plato

Patrice Ayme's Thoughts

Striving For Ever Better Thinking. Humanism Is Intelligence Unleashed. From Intelligence All Ways, Instincts & Values Flow, Even Happiness. History and Science Teach Us Not Just Humility, But Power, Smarts, And The Ways We Should Embrace. Naturam Primum Cognoscere Rerum

Learning from Dogs

Dogs are animals of integrity. We have much to learn from them.

ianmillerblog

Smile! You’re at the best WordPress.com site ever

Defense Issues

Military and general security

RobertLovesPi.net

Polyhedra, tessellations, and more.

How to Be a Stoic

an evolving guide to practical Stoicism for the 21st century

Donna Swarthout

Writer, Editor, Berliner

coelsblog

Defending Scientism

SoundEagle 🦅ೋღஜஇ

Where The Eagles Fly . . . . Art Science Poetry Music & Ideas

Artificial Turf At French Bilingual School Berkeley

Artificial Turf At French Bilingual School Berkeley

Patterns of Meaning

Exploring the patterns of meaning that shape our world

Sean Carroll

in truth, only atoms and the void

West Hunter

Omnes vulnerant, ultima necat

GrrrGraphics on WordPress

www.grrrgraphics.com

Skulls in the Stars

The intersection of physics, optics, history and pulp fiction

Footnotes to Plato

because all (Western) philosophy consists of a series of footnotes to Plato

Patrice Ayme's Thoughts

Striving For Ever Better Thinking. Humanism Is Intelligence Unleashed. From Intelligence All Ways, Instincts & Values Flow, Even Happiness. History and Science Teach Us Not Just Humility, But Power, Smarts, And The Ways We Should Embrace. Naturam Primum Cognoscere Rerum

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Dogs are animals of integrity. We have much to learn from them.

ianmillerblog

Smile! You’re at the best WordPress.com site ever

Defense Issues

Military and general security

RobertLovesPi.net

Polyhedra, tessellations, and more.

How to Be a Stoic

an evolving guide to practical Stoicism for the 21st century

Donna Swarthout

Writer, Editor, Berliner

coelsblog

Defending Scientism