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October 20, 2008



Have you read anything by J. Krishnamurti?

steven andresen

Merlin M.,

Thanks for the reply.

I'm want to explain myself as best I can, but I'm not sure, myself, about how to help you out.

You began by saying you were not sure you followed what I was saying. I am not surprised. My position needs a lot of finishing work.

You first, pointed out that my account of things involves 'the sons of light' and the 'sons of darkness.' These are not terms of either modern or ancient philosophy that I have so far been able to discover. However, they are terms found on a scroll discovered along the Dead Sea in the 1940's.

I am arguing that the problems of philosophy, whether ancient or modern are irresolvable unless we are able to see a picture of all what has been argued. I want to say, and I've attempted this in other posts, that the religious and the philosophical arguments need to be considered together.

Hence, I have tried to find similarities between Socrates and the philosophers after him with the Genesis writers.

As for the 'sons of light' and the 'sons of darkness,' I have claimed that Socrates is the leader of the 'sons of darkness,' mainly because what he advocates results in skepticism about language, knowledge, and morality. In effect, if we go along with him, we are blind to the world around us.

I claim there is an opposition to the Socratic view, a view lead by a character I call the 'Teacher." This guy advocates, on my view, a position that rejects the Socratic view and advocates another view that does not result in Socratic skepticism. This Teacher is the lead for the 'sons of light.' His position allows us language, knowledge, and morality.

Thjere is a conflict between these two positions. It is the war suggested by the 'war scroll.'

You said that 21st century philosophy is a tool to know things rather than to resolve conflict. It is my understanding that philosophers under Socrates have pretty much agreed with him that knowledge as well as morality is a matter of the Forms. That is, we aren't in a position now to know stuff, like the way things are, until we have access to something Socrates called the forms, but which others might call by other names. Say, for example, the 'things in themselves.'

I'm just saying that knowledge understood in that way is now, always has been, and always will be impossible. And so, I argue we need to look for some other way of understanding things.

You mentioned my term, the 'Socratic Hero.' I made up this term but it refers to that character in the Allegory of the cave who begins up in the place where the fires burn and the objects are carried, and climbs down into the cave in order to tell the people there who are deluded about their real situation. It's that guy I call the 'Socratic Hero.'

What you went on to say is confusing to me.

I don't believe any 'Socratic Hero' can help us. That is a character we can only understand in terms of the Allegory and I'm saying we cannot understand anything in terms of the Allegory or any of its alternatives.

So, for example, Socrates is telling us that our lives are like the lives of Zombies who have committed themselves to not making any decisions. Consequently, they are driven by their insatiable hungers or the commands of their voodoo masters.

According to Socrates, we could just as easily understand ourselves in terms of Zombies. Do we want to understand morality as being about the hungers, or the commands? Rachels tells us the pros and cons about each supposition in his book 'The Elements of Moral Philosophy.' According to him, the subjective view is hard to accept. In the same way, the view advocating morality is about the commands can't work either.

Do you think either 'empiricism' or 'rationalism' can be understood independently of my argument? Isn't the way scientists understand themselves dependent on how the cave people understand the shadows? That's how I want to argue they understand themselves, and the limitations of the cave view of the shadows is then, just the limitations of the scientist's view of science.

You last suggest that the cave dwellers will have critics on their hands. They will have critics, but I am not at all sure from what you say what the criticism will be about.

Well, thanks again.

Merlin M.

Interesting perception! However, I am not sure I follow...on the account of there need being a resolution to the conflict between the Sons of Light and the sons of Darkness. Is it man's prerogative to define the terms of nature, that of light and darkness? 21st century philosophy is a tool to know things for sure as it is, rather than sort to resolve conflict...as if to emphasize the need of a resolution, even where a matter is simply inexplicable! I realize the danger of that sounding absolute,granted! However it puzzles me to think that Sons of Darkness and those of Light interact unobserved, or unaware of their own objectiveness.
The 'Socratic Hero' does seem to flatter the attempt. The presumption of having experienced(Empiricism) and conjured reason to grasp that reality imposed on them(rationalism)as precept to attaining a truth, hence resolve or avail assembly towards reaching a solution. Then the cave dwellers will certainly have critics on their hands,in as much as they are native to the cave details and surroundings.

Merlin M.

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