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PHILOSOPHY PATHWAYS electronic journal

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P H I L O S O P H Y   P A T H W A Y S                   ISSN 2043-0728
http://www.philosophypathways.com/newsletter/

Issue number 97
11th January 2005

CONTENTS

I. 'Personal Transformation: A Personal Integrity' by Erwin B. Laya

II. 'Philosophy - Rigorous Science or Intuitive Thought:
    A Critique of Mind by John Searle' by Richard Schain

III. 'The Euthyphro as a Philosophical Work' by D.R. Khashaba

-=-

EDITOR'S NOTE

The first issue of Philosophy Pathways for 2005 sees three scintillating
essays, from Erwin B. Laya, a philosophy instructor from the Philippines, and
from Pathways veterans Richard Schain and D.R. Khashaba.

For Erwin Laya, personal transformation is the prerequisite for any agenda for
social change. Laya's essay makes an interesting foil to Thomas Basboll's
defence of the 'civilizing effects' of hypocrisy in his article for Philosophy
for Business Issue 13 ('Let He Who is Without Sin Articulate the First Virtue').

Philosopher John Searle is famous for his stubborn defence of the reality of
mental phenomena in the face of encroachments of AI theory. Yet Richard Schain
is right on the button in placing Searle firmly in the camp of the 'scientific
philosophers' who in attempting to account for the nature of mind only want
'the facts and nothing but the facts'.

Daoud Khashaba's piece on Plato's Euthyphro is a welcome corrective to the
popular myth of the Platonic Socrates as vainly seeking, and failing to find
'definitions' of the moral virtues. Khashaba's subtle and careful reading shows
the dialogue in a far more positive light, illustrating his thesis that 'the
searching examination is the whole of the philosophical act.'

Geoffrey Klempner

-=-

I. 'PERSONAL TRANSFORMATION: A PERSONAL INTEGRITY' BY ERWIN B. LAYA

    A philosophical reflection on social change

Society is replete with examples of persons who say one thing but to do
something else, of individuals whose left hand pretends not to know what the
right hand is doing, of people whose actions belie the very convictions they
claim to cherish. While government officials and darlings of the media have the
lion's share of public criticism, it only takes a modicum of self-examination to
realize that all of us, in varying degrees, are troubled by the universal
weakness of humanity, a factory defect characterized by the old adage: 'follow
what I say, do not follow what I do.'

Many of us are familiar with the primary school textbook story of the boy who
is model of behavior in school, but a little demon at home. In a very real
sense, all of us are like that. We are plagued by a dichotomy between our
actions and convictions, between what we know is right and what we actually do,
between ideals and the reality of our personal faults. The double standards of
judgment that we frequently, often without realizing it, apply to other people
bears this out. We are quick to criticize the faults of other people, harangue
the inconsiderate family member, or brand the government official spineless,
but seldom give second thought to the possibility that perhaps we too are
insensitive to the needs of our friends, or of our families, or make small
compromises in our work. The cartoon character Charlie Brown speaks eloquently
for us all: 'I love people. It's humanity I hate.'

Our flawed human nature, without exception, is always torn between the
convenient, immediately apparent course of action and the more difficult path
that must be trodden by those seeking what is authentically and objectively the
correct thing to do.

Very often, we avoid directing this critical ray of judgment at ourselves.
After all, criticizing other people is always the easiest and socially
fashionable thing to do. We jump deliciously at the chance to point out the
mistakes of people, but are slow to cast the same critical eye upon ourselves.
While it seems that the acceptable norm is to become the self-righteous
watchdog of government ineptitude and excess, or the loud conscience of the
errant family member we accuse of never being able to do the right thing, or
the responsible manager who corrects wayward subordinates at every turn, we
nevertheless have to train the magnifying glass at ourselves. Often, we forget
the truism that all charity begins at home - indeed, within ourselves. We
should examine our own actions for the very faults we find in others. Perhaps
we don't because subconsciously the discomfiting truth is that we are guilty
too.

All change begins within. Improving society starts with self-improvement, which
comes only with self-scrutiny. To change the whole of society, we begin with the
individual parts that make up the whole, namely ourselves. All of us should
therefore struggle to improve: in our use of the time, space, and other
resources at our disposal. People must examine themselves critically: how have
we deployed the resources made available to us? This is premised on the
assumption that what we do redounds to the benefit or loss of others. This
self-examination should boil down to the smallest things. Have we made good use
of our time, starting our work on the dot, acting with a sense of urgency, and
striving to finish ahead of schedule? Have we pushed ourselves to put things in
the right place, keeping clean internally, and externally, maintaining only the
essential things we need to work well, maintaining things so they can be used
by others, and contributing to the general cleanliness of our surroundings?
Have we been systematic in deploying our resources, employing them where they
can be most beneficial, setting targets, following an orderly sequence, and
operating within an effective framework? Because Providence has given us
limited capital, we must make do with this scarcity, ordering our time, space,
and other personal resources within a framework that benefits everyone. Our
small activities - precisely because they take up space, time, and energy and
therefore affect everyone else - should pass scrutiny before we even think of
carping about other people's shortcomings.

This personal self-scrutiny is the flaw many self-styled advocates of social
change overlook: they claim that oppressive social structures must be
overthrown and replaced before any meaningful improvement in society can take
place. They fail to see that the large social problems we see are, very often,
the accumulation of small, individual weaknesses of the people who make up the
system. This explains why, as is the case with failed communist societies, the
substitution of the old 'oppressive' structure with a new 'liberating' one does
not work unless their formulas call for change at the grassroots. Very often,
only the players are replaced, with no real improvement to speak of. Historical
evidence support this: invariably, the new structures merely aggravate the
social excesses they intended to eradicate.

Thus any agenda for social change is bound to fail if it lacks the core formula
of personal transformation. Without personal discipline, and personal integrity,
no master plan for improving society can succeed.

(c) Erwin B. Laya 2005

E-mail: kiembo@yahoo.com

-=-

II. 'PHILOSOPHY - RIGOROUS SCIENCE OR INTUITIVE THOUGHT:
    A CRITIQUE OF MIND BY JOHN SEARLE' BY RICHARD SCHAIN

Ever since its origins in the antique Hellenic world, philosophy has been
bedeviled by a double identity - a search for meaning in human existence or a
search for reliable knowledge of the world. The first approach will always be
associated with Plato, of whom Alfred North Whitehead said that all subsequent
philosophy was only a series of footnotes. The second is exemplified by
Aristotle, who in the Middle Ages was regarded as 'The Philosopher.' To be
sure, there are many overlaps of both aspects of philosophy in these two great
figures of the antique world, but the relative emphasis in them is clear.

In the twentieth century, this duality of philosophy was noted by the
mathematician-philosopher Bertrand Russell in a comment that all philosophers
were either inclined to science or to mysticism. Russell himself regarded
intuitive aspects of philosophy as mysticism. There was no doubt where
Russell's sympathies lay; he and other proponents of the analytic method in
philosophy are responsible for the pejorative meaning now usually associated
with the term 'mysticism.' The 'mystics' may be regarded as being predominant
throughout most of the history of western philosophy when the latter was
dominated by Christian dogma with its substructure of Platonic metaphysics.
However, beginning with the Siecle des lumieres, then followed by the
incredible scientific revolution of the past two centuries, philosophy has come
to adopt the scientific world-view and even regard itself as a science. Most
contemporary philosophers identify with Husserl's defining philosophy as
'rigorous science' (strenge Wissenschaft). William James once joked that if
they dared, philosophers would wear white coats.

The problem for scientific philosophy today is that the mind - which has been
an essential focus of philosophical thought since Descartes - already has not
one but two fields of science connected with it, neurology and psychology. The
neurological sciences have taken giant steps in studying brain structures and
relating them to mental processes. The psychological sciences have equally
progressed by analyzing perception, cognition, and behavior and subjecting them
to experimental study. What then is left for philosophy as science other than
popularizing the scientific advances made by scientists in these fields? It is
notable that the history of 'scientific' philosophy reveals that its domain has
steadily diminished as astronomy, medicine, physics, and physiology matured into
bona fide scientific specialties. The same has happened with psychology in the
last century.

John Searle is a distinguished professor of philosophy at the University of
California, Berkeley who has published extensively on the philosophy of mind.
His most recent book on this topic proposes to provide a comprehensive review
of the entire subject. The reader is immediately exposed to Searle's style when
the author asserts at the beginning that 'all of the most famous and influential
theories [on the mind] are false.' Searle later puts forth his own point of view
that places subjective mental phenomena as part of nature but ontologically
distinct from object phenomena.

Searle reviews contemporary theories of mind from the perspective of philosophy
as rigorous science. There are discussions of consciousness, intentionality,
mental causation, free will, and the self. The last chapter is entitled
'Philosophy and the Scientific World-View.' He makes the following categorical
statement: 'So if we are interested in reality and truth, there is really no
such thing as "scientific reality" or "scientific truth." There are just the
facts that we know. I cannot tell you how much confusion in philosophy has been
generated by the failure to perceive these points.' Like the emotionless
Detective Friday of the American television series Dragnet whose trademark
saying was 'just the facts, ma'am, just the facts,' Searle wants just the
facts. Of course, he is not alone in this viewpoint in contemporary academic
philosophy; it is shared implicitly or explicitly by most analytically minded
philosophers committed to the scientific world-view. In fact, Searle would have
to be placed among the more open-minded academicians since he accepts concepts
such as consciousness and the self as bona fide mental realities in their own
right, not ontologically reducible to physical entities. He views the former
'as much as part of the natural world as is photosynthesis or digestion.'
Searle does not want to be classified as a materialist or a dualist.

Searle's approach reflects the pervasive influence of phenomenology in modern
philosophy, although there is no mention of Husserl in his discussions.
Consciousness is a real phenomenon; therefore it must be objectively described
in its own right. In fact, Searle seems to be skirting dangerously close to
dualism with his point of view. The mere fact that he views the brain as
causally related to the mind does not obviate the fact that he accepts the
latter as a realm ontologically distinct from the neuronal network of the
brain. This sounds like Cartesian dualism with an unspecified relationship
between the two ontological realms instead of the pineal gland performing this
function. Still, Searle thinks of Descartes' ideas as a 'disaster' for
philosophy, a common point of view among materialist philosophers. One might
compare his formulation with that of Schopenhauer, who labeled Searle's mental
'first person ontology' as will and his object 'third person ontology' as
representation [Wille und Vorstellung.] Of course they differ in that
Schopenhauer was deeply pessimistic about the principle of individuation he
called 'will' while Searle, as befits an unbiased proponent of 'biological
naturalism' toward the mind, avoids value judgements either way.

The phenomenology of Searle reveals itself in that he is not interested in the
rich intuitive content of western philosophy that has characterized it ever
since the era of Socrates. Plato is not even mentioned in this book described
as an introduction to the philosophy of mind. Nor is Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard,
Nietzsche, Bergson, Berdyaev, Whitehead, or Teilhard de Chardin. William James
gets a passing comment. Presumably these are philosophers whose ideas about the
mind do not meet the strictly factual criteria subscribed to by Searle. Not for
him is the proclamation of Kierkegaard that 'truth is subjectivity' or
Berdyaev's discovery of meaning in creativity. He uses the same approach in his
'first person ontology' as in his 'third person ontology.' The knowledge of
subjectivity is just materialism pitched at a different level.

When one reads Searle's book, it is possible to feel as Socrates is said to
have felt when he came across the book of Anaxagoras on the mind. The story is
recounted by Plato in the Phaedo. Socrates had heard that Anaxagoras taught
that Mind [Nous] was the cause of all things. He expected to find the mind's
ideas about the common good in Anaxagoras' writing. However, he was grievously
disappointed because all he found was physical and physiological discussions
but nothing about what he thought was important about the mind. After that,
Socrates turned to his own mind in his search for wisdom. If one expects to
find philosophical depth in Searle's book, he or she will be similarly
disappointed. Philosophy as rigorous science is the only topic; there is no
consideration of the mind's search for man's place in existence or of the
wisdom that accrues from a higher type of mental activity.

For the philosopher, the important thing about mind should be its content of
creative thought not the mechanics of its operation. The latter can be left to
scientists who are competent in these problems. Philosophy in this latter area
will never be taken seriously by scientists anyway, since philosophers do not
engage in the principal requirements of modern science - data collection, data
analysis, and verification of hypotheses. Without these functions, philosophers
can only perform as armchair theorists, relying on the discoveries of others to
propound their theories and incapable of verifying them by scientific methods.
The risk exists of philosophy again becoming a sterile scholasticism.

However, philosophy is indispensable in the search for meaning in the world
since meaning stems from the subjective element of existence, an element not
explicable by scientific investigation. The sciences may provide useful
metaphors in this search but the mind thinking creatively is the only source of
meaning in human existence. Profound philosophy about the mind existed prior to
modern science. Another way of expressing this dichotomy is to recognize the
universal metaphysical need of human beings as distinct from their need to
objectivize existence. This need has been historically gratified by religions;
thus Schopenhauer thought of religion as 'the metaphysics of the people.'
Schopenhauer, who was an elitist of the first order, believed that philosophy
should perform this role for those of greater intellectual capacity. However
one may view Schopenhauer's prejudices, he is correct in thinking the
metaphysical need is properly satisfied in unfettered philosophic activity. Man
has been referred to as the animal metaphysicum and philosophy is metaphysics.
These concepts require valuation of the mysteriously rational, mysteriously
mystical human mind above mere phenomenological analysis.

(c) Richard Schain 2005

E-mail: rjschain@lycos.com

Web site: http://rschain1.tripod.com/index.html

Mind: A Brief Introduction by John R. Searle
Hardcover 336 pages
Oxford University Press 2004
ISBN: 0195157338

-=-

III. 'THE EUTHYPHRO AS A PHILOSOPHICAL WORK' BY D.R. KHASHABA

What is a philosophical work? This is a question to which there can be a myriad
of reasonable answers. So without claiming to give the one right answer, I will
try to offer an answer by examining Plato's Euthyphro, whose title to being
accounted a philosophical work will not be questioned by many.

In doing so I may be imitating the foolish interlocutors in the Socratic
dialogues who, when asked: What is, say, courage?, answer: Standing firm in
battle is courage. So, asked: What is a philosophical work?, I will answer: the
Euthyphro is a philosophical work. So much of foolishness I ask to be permitted
me. But I will not stop there. I will go on to show what, in my view, makes the
Euthyphro a philosophical work.[1]

Analysis

Socrates comes to the Stoa of the Archon Basileus to meet the indictment
brought up against him by Meletus. There he meets with the soothsayer Euthyphro
who has come to lay charges against his own father who has caused the death of a
man without due process of law. Euthyphro proceeds against his father to remove
the pollution thus incurred. The impiety in failing to do so would outweigh the
impiety of acting against his own aged father. Euthyphro is fully confident that
his expert knowledge of theology makes it possible for him to decide what is
pious and what impious in such a situation.

What, then, Socrates asks, is piety? Tell me what do you say piety is and what
impiety? (5c, 5d.) What are we to understand by - what do we mean by - piety?
As I have often reiterated in my writings, Socrates does not ask for a
definition, but wants his interlocutor to look within his own mind and try to
make out what he understands by the concept under discussion.

Euthyphro answers that to do what he is doing is piety. As evidence he cites
the action of Zeus against his father Cronus and what Cronus in turn had done
to his own father. Socrates is incredulous of such tales, but that is not what
he wishes to examine right now. He is content to register his incredulity and
lead his partner back to the question under examination.

By his initial answer Euthyphro has shown that, like most interlocutors in the
Socratic dialogues, he has no idea what it is to examine a concept apart from
the concrete instances in which it is exemplified. At this point Socrates tries
to clarify the distinction between the various perceptible instances of a
certain character and the idea that we have in our mind of that character, the
distinction between a sensible realm of things in the world surrounding us and
an intelligible realm of ideas which render the things meaningful. He asks
Euthyphro to tell him of that one character which makes all things pious pious.

The creative concept of the distinction between the intelligible and the
perceptible is Socrates' original and profound contribution to philosophical
thought and is pivotal to the whole of Plato's philosophy. Socrates nowhere
tries to 'prove' this distinction or to 'prove' the 'existence' of the
intelligible realm. He proclaims the distinction and the reality of the
intelligible realm, and in all he says and does he manifests the value and
meaning with which our life becomes infused in the light of these concepts.

Euthyphro says that what is agreeable to the gods is pious, what is
disagreeable to them impious (6e-7a). Even if we found no other fault with this
statement, still, believing what Euthyphro does believe about the wars and
quarrels among the gods, it would not help us know what is pious and what
impious: what pleases one god may displease another (7a-8b). Clearly, the ideas
in Euthyphro's mind do not form a consistent, coherent whole; they clash as much
as his gods do.

Technically, this is an argument ad hominem, which is legitimate within proper
limits, and Socrates does not make much of it. Indeed, for Plato its value
resides more in revealing the absurdity of the popular conception of the gods
than in disclosing the insufficiency of the statement proposed.

Prompted by Socrates, Euthyphro accepts an amendment to his statement: what all
the gods like is pious, what all of them hate is impious (9d). Let us see: shall
we say that the pious is loved by the gods because it is pious or that it is
pious because it is loved by the gods (10a)? This is a knotty question that
Euthyphro cannot easily comprehend. It is also a question with a tremendously
profound dimension, which Plato is content to leave hovering here because in
the present context it could not be dealt with commensurately with its
profundity. Still, the prophetic notion of the autonomy of morality, which was
to be the core of Kant's moral philosophy, is here clearly hinted at.

Socrates, leaving aside the profounder problem, explains the logic of the
question: we speak of carrying and being carried, leading and being led, seeing
and being seen. So also being loved is one thing and loving another. In short,
what is carried, led, seen, loved, is in such a state because of some action to
which it is subject. To say that a thing is in a state of being loved by the
gods is to say that the gods love it. In other words, it is to say that
something is happening to it. That is not to say what it is. The statement,
then, that the pious is pious because it is loved by the gods tells us of an
accident to which it is subject, but does not tell us what it is.

We shall say then that the gods love what is pious because it is pious. In
other words, the gods love piety because of what it is. But then we are back to
the question: What is piety?

Euthyphro confesses to his being at a loss what more to say and Socrates offers
to help. We will readily agree that what is pious is righteous (dikaion). Well,
is all that is righteous pious, or shall we say that, while all that is pious
is righteous, part of what is righteous is pious and part of some other
character? (11e-12a.) Once more, the question is too complex for Euthyphro and
Socrates has again to explain a point of logic.

No modern student has any problem with such a question, thanks to the work done
by philosophers. Philosophers create notions, distinctions, ways of looking at
things, of examining questions, that become an integral part of the mental
equipment of cultured humans. We very easily forget that these tools are gifts
of individual creative thinkers.

Socrates then suggests that the pious is part of the righteous. What part of
righteousness is piety? Euthyphro says that piety is that part of righteousness
that has to do with attending to the gods; the rest of righteousness covers our
dealings with humans (12e). Well, what do we mean by this tendance or service
to the gods? We make use of this notion of tendance when we speak of tending to
horses or cattle. We are then speaking of a special skill or branch of
knowledge. Euthyphro thinks this may well be true of piety as tendance to the
gods (13b). But in the case of attending to horses or cows the purpose and the
result is to benefit the horses and cows and improve them. This cannot be the
case with attending to the gods (13c).

Euthyphro suggests a different analogy. The service to the gods that is piety
is of the kind rendered by slaves to their masters (13d). It is then some kind
of assistance. A slave assists his master in performing work aiming at some
good. What then is the good work in the performance of which the pious assist
the gods? (13e).

Many and fine are the works of the gods. But what is the chief work in the
performance of which they make use of the assistance of the pious? Euthyphro
says that when someone knows how to gratify the gods in offering sacrifices and
prayers, that amounts to piety, and that secures the wellbeing of individuals
and of society (14a-b). That, Socrates finds, comes down to offering gifts to
the gods and asking favours in return (14c-d). To ask properly would be to ask
for what we need; to give properly would be to give what the recipients need.
Piety would be a species of trading carried out between humans and gods
(14d-e.). The goods that we may receive from the gods are obvious, but what
benefit do they derive from our gifts? Nothing but honour and reverence and
gratification. Then piety is simply pleasing to the gods. We have thus returned
full circle to the view that piety is what is pleasing to the gods, which we
have already found unsatisfactory (15a-b).

We should go back and start the investigation anew. But Euthyphro has to attend
to his business and excuses himself, leaving the discussion in this inconclusive
condition.

Conclusions

To my mind, what makes of the Euthyphro a philosophical work is precisely that
it is not anything of what most people expect of a philosophical work. It does
not advance a thesis; it does not draw inferences from a proposition or set of
propositions; it does not establish a theory or present arguments in support of
a hypothesis.

What do we find in this little philosophical work? A word that is part of our
common vocabulary, that we use and think we understand, is examined to see what
meaning or meanings and what associations of meanings it evokes for us: a piece
of the furniture of our mental chamber is turned this way and that way to see
how well-wrought it is and how well it sits with the rest of the furniture in
the chamber.[2]

A philosophical work, true to Socratic dialectic, does not seek to arrive at a
definite conclusion, or to prove or uphold a thesis or set of theses, but to
subject one's own and others' beliefs, presuppositions, and accepted notions to
searching examination, to illumine obscure nooks and crannies in one's own mind
and others' minds. The end is not to arrive at conclusions, but to help us gaze
within ourselves with clearer eyes.

F. M. Cornford has this to say of the dialectical treatment of a subject:

     "[A modern reader] will readily understand that dialectic
     means a co-operative inquiry carried on in conversation
     between two or more minds that are equally bent, not on
     getting the better of the argument, but on arriving at the
     truth. A tentative suggestion ('hypothesis') put forward by
     one speaker is corrected and improved until the full meaning
     is clearly stated. The criticism that follows may end in
     complete rejection or lead on to another suggestion which
     (if the examination has been skilfully conducted) ought to
     approach nearer to the truth."[3]

This is a good description of the procedure of dialectical discourse, which is
basically true of all genuine philosophical discourse however conducted. My
only reservation is about the phrases 'arriving at the truth' and 'to approach
nearer to the truth'. There is no objective truth to be arrived at. The end of
proper philosophical discourse is to achieve a fuller awareness of our
presuppositions, a clearer understanding of the fundamental notions and
principles on which we base our judgements. Those fundamental notions and
principles cannot be discovered in anything external to the mind and are not
amenable to proof. To argue with a view to establishing their truth or
revealing their falsity is vain. They rest in their own self-evidence. The
question to be raised with regard to them is not a question of truth or
falsity, but one of value and sufficiency and viability. The critical question
to be posed in assessing a philosophical view should be: What kind of world
does that view give us to live in? What kind of life does it offer? What level
of intelligibility does it secure for us?

Does this mean that philosophical thought has no positive content whatever? No.
What I am saying is (and I believe this was Plato's position too) that it can
rest in no definitive formulation whatever. The searching examination is the
whole of the philosophical act: that perpetuated act is a constant affirmation
and realization of the reality of human intelligence and the integrity of the
human mind. That is our whole reality and the ground of our proper worth. That
reality finds creative expression in ideals and principles and theoretical
models, rooted in our reality and 'true' in so far as they are expressions of
that reality. But their particular formulations are necessarily always relative
and contingent. Taken as final and absolute, as 'true', they turn into dogma and
superstition. That is why they have to be constantly re-examined, put under the
light-rays of new questions, revealing the inherent insufficiency of all
determinate thought, that being the critical function of philosophy.

And since the expression of our inner reality in ideal formulations does not
represent or seek to represent any outer, objective, actuality, the concept of
truth is irrelevant and inapplicable to it. That is what I mean by saying that
all creative philosophical thinking is mythical and oracular. It has nothing to
do with facts; its whole concern is with values, the values of goodness. beauty,
and, no!, not truth, but truthfulness.

The philosophical endeavour soars on two wings: the oracular and the
dialectical.[4] The two are complementary and no genuine philosophy can be
without a share of both, but a particular work of philosophy, or even the bulk
of a particular philosopher's work, can be either principally dialectic or
principally oracular. In the Euthyphro we can see the dialectical dimension
clearly illustrated, but we can also glimpse the oracular dimension, not only
in the ideal of God or the gods as necessarily good but also and markedly in
the principle that moral values must be autonomous. This was the insight that
formed the core of Kant's moral philosophy.

Socrates' life-mission was to combat amathia ('ignorance') by helping his
interlocutors examine themselves. Amathia, the evil of which the Socratic
elenchus rids the soul, is not lack of knowledge: in its milder variety, it is
obscure and confused thought; in its more pernicious variety, it is
'disknowledge' instilled into the soul by bad upbringing and bad education,
consisting in false values and notions and beliefs. But the process is not
purely negative. In the philosophical dialectic (of which the elenchus is
simply the characteristically Socratic mode) the philosopher introduces,
actually creates, concepts, conceptual distinctions, ideal patterns, which
expand, enrich, deepen, the capacity of the mind to infuse meaning into the
givennesses of experience. Such concepts, conceptual distinctions, and ideal
patterns, are not derived from the outer world and therefore cannot be in any
way verified or proved. Again, they are not 'knowledge' imparted to the
learner. If the learner receives them as factual knowledge they turn into
dogmatic superstitions, a new amathia. When the learner sees them as creative
developments of her/ his own mind, they become forms of intelligibility under
which the mind can translate more of the chaos of the givennesses of experience
into the cosmos of intelligence.

ENDNOTES

1. In the fifth of my Excursions into the Dialogues of Plato, "The Argument of
the Republic", available on my Website: http://www.Back-to-Socrates.com, I give
an ampler answer by examining the chef-d'oeuvre of Plato's.

2. I hope no one will conclude from this that I align myself with the Ordinary
Language school of thought: there may be points of contact, but there are
radical differences between their outlook and mine.

3. F. M. Cornford, Plato's Theory of Knowledge (1935), p.30.

4. For a fuller elucidation of this view, see my "Philosophy as Prophecy",
available on my Website.

(c) D. R. Khashaba 2005

E-mail: daoud.khashaba@gmail.com, dkhashaba@yahoo.com

Website: http://www.Back-to-Socrates.com

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  reflect those of the editor. Contributions, suggestions or
  comments should be addressed to klempner@fastmail.net
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