From: jim <jmd@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sat, 20 Feb 1999 10:31:00 +0000
Daniel, I have re-included your comments to which I was responding:
>>Philosophy is not discourse with the dead but the living. Through
>>their work we are in active dialogue with philosophers, their active
>>thinking, active upon us and receptive to our own working positions.
>>The spirit of Socrates e.g. is alive, and kept alive through us living
>>and having dialogue in the spirit in which Socrates practised it.
>That is hilarious! (besides, bad example, Socs didn't produce any
>Did not produce any textual works you mean.
So, in the above quotation you did not mean to refer to "textual works"
particularly? You don't mean the non-textual works as exhibited in their
daily life, do you, like Socrates' views about women (as that view is
suggested by Plato's written work), or Locke's, Hume's, and Kant's
blatantly racist views, or some 'living' philosophers' non-textual views as
expressed in their membership to the National Party here in the UK?
> I am sure Plato, Xenophon and
>so on would not agree that he did not produce any philosophical work.
(An appeal to authority, but ...) That is not what I'm contending. Your
comment suggested to me, that you were referring to 'texts' whose
'authorship' is attributed to a person.
>And I suspect that you do not mean that any philosopher
>really worthy of his salt would commit 'suicide' (accepting Nietzsche's
>interpretation of Socs) if forced by the State to give up doing
>Ad hominem argument.
This is not an ad hominem attack. Although what you have written
suggests so, i do not think that you would put forward this 'standard' as
one that must be met to be worthy of being called 'a philosopher.'
>your comments read like
>the stuff one reads on the back covers of popularizing, paperback
>publications of introductory philosophy texts. Eg, "Through his own
>critical acumen and lively exercise of the Elenchos, Prof Jones brings
>Socrates back to life in our present-day arena of philosophical debate.
>Engage with Socrates yourself as you weigh the great perennial
I would still maintain this assessment of your written claims about
>His [Socrates'] spirit is
>absent from his body but present to all those who practise this way of
>What you have written in the sentence immediately above, is incredibly
>bewitching; it makes philosophy seem like some mystical occult
I would still hold this claim concerning your comment about Soc's 'spirit'
being 'absent from his body', etc. Doesn't that seem occult to you? It
certainly does to me and it would seem so, I venture, to person's with
'philosophical ears', as you put it.
My responses to your claims arise from the question:
To whom are such utterances directed? To whom could these
utterances be 'telling'?
I'm not claiming that they cannot be 'telling'. Rather, I'm asking for
Whom could they be -- asking about the nature of the audience you are
addressing: students in an introductory course, academic practitioners,
...? That was the point of my suggestion -- perhaps, rudely worded, that
your comments were posted to the wrong list.
To be more specific, consider the following quote, for example:
"Let us suppose, then, that we are now asleep, and that all these
particulars, namely, that we open our eyes, move our heads, hold out
our hands, and such like actions, are only false illusions; and let us think
that perhaps our hands and all our body are not as we see them."
Who is this comment addressing? My point is not that this was
fabricated in monologue. But we can envisage these comments as very
appropriately uttered in the context of a magician's show, or as spoken
by a hypnotist, a Rasputin, or a Houdini, .... They are extremeley
obtuse; outrageous from within the purview of the everyday, or at least
outside the confines of a 'kind of show'. But who were the utterances'
intended audience? For these comments to even be a 'philosophical
telling', we (in some sense) 'already' have to have 'severed' ourselves
from our bodies, if you will. (I try to 'read' Heidegger as asking and
providing one answer to the question 'how is such an audience
possible?' When these comments are 'telling'/'speak to us' -- as the
tradition is for us/does to us -- we become accomplices, as it were, in a
misconstrual of the kind of creature that we are ...).
That was the concern behind my question: To whom were you trying to
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