Saturday, December 18, 2021

Republic Book 5 Section 2

Out of order:
"At this point, Glaucon and the auditors for the debate again say that the ideas Socrates has presented are probably impracticable."

You don't say.

"This remark, says Glaucon, is so revolutionary that it might cause more than one important citizen to seize the nearest weapon and attack Socrates."

They would have been entirely correct.


"Socrates now turns his attention to the question as to whether such a class as the Guardians would be possible. His answer is yes"

Big nope.

"the men and women Guardians of the ideal state would make war together, stirrup to stirrup, against any enemy of the state."

In reality, every man's grip strength overwhelms every woman's grip strength. If she lets him into melee range, he rips the weapon out of her hand and wins by default. 

Women also face severe psychological obstacles when attempting to be an effective combatant. She simply doesn't need to be. If she surrenders, she's going to be spared 99% of the time. Plus or minus a spot of rape, which is a Darwininan win in this case, not a loss. Measure how much of a win by how repulsed women are by the idea of surrender.


"And as part of their children's training as Guardians, they should be taken to war when possible and permitted to witness battles and battle tactics and to witness exhibition of courage and cowardice in the field."

This is actually true. All children should be regularly allowed, even required, to see their fathers at work. If a workplace isn't suitable for children, the place is at fault, not the child. Send them anyway until it's fixed.

For numerous reasons, women's work is ideally inside the home, so that part happens automatically. 

I rather suspect the main, driving reason sons aren't allowed to see their modern fathers at work is because their fathers are ashamed of the job they do. They genuinely believe it would be better to be unemployed, but are too cowardly to do anything but exactly what they've been told to do. 

"all participants are to remember that they are fellow-Greeks. After all, fellow-Greeks are not to be treated as barbarians."

Fractally wrong. Cooperate with cooperators. As we know, Greeks didn't cooperate with "barbarians" not because the foreigners lacked honour, but because Greeks were too lazy to learn to understand them. Greeks used the negligent misunderstandings to "prove" they were Rationally Justified in not trying to understand them and could treat them sadistically if they wanted to. 

Result: pissed off the heavens. Now: their average IQ has been browned down to 92 and it's called Istanbul, not Constantinople. For the time of Socrates 115 is a conservative estimate. 

Further, nothing stops Greeks from starting to act like barbarians. In case you weren't sure, they acted barbarically toward "barbarians." If your opponents don't "spread rapine and woe throughout the land" then you ought to likewise do the same, because it's in your best interests not to escalate. It's not a moral thing, it's just prudent. 

By contrast, if they start it, it's in your best interests to end it. Immediately switch to genocide mode, because personnel is policy. Hate the sin and not the sinner if you want, but the best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour, and we're all best served if total war types are removed from existence. Including the total war types themselves.

"he argues that a real state, if it could be realized, might very well closely resemble the state he has been theorizing about"

Big nope.

Turns out Literally Communism is one of the worst possible ideas. 

Personnel is policy: Plato liked these sort of ideas because he wanted to make everyone else as miserable as he was. 

"justice will never be fully realized until philosophers become the rulers or until present rulers and kings show themselves to be philosophers."

Plumber says only plumbers are suited to the highest offices. Conflict of interest? What's that?

"philosophy and political power must be melded in order for the ideal state to be realized"

Depending on exactly what you mean by 'philosophy' this is either trivially true or,

"This remark, says Glaucon, is so revolutionary that it might cause more than one important citizen to seize the nearest weapon and attack Socrates."

If by "philosophy" we mean that rulers will rule healthier states if they use logiomancy, then yes of course that's true. If we mean they have to be a believer in the specific religion called "philosophy" then...

I did previously hope philosophy would be a true religion, but considering that the Academy lives and the Lykeion does not, descriptively philosophy can only be a false religion.

"Glaucon immediately objects; he argues that there exist plenty of people who know things and who display curiosity, but they are surely not philosophers."

Philosophy is not a method, but a set of dogma. 

Though that said, the true methods of epistemology work as a dogma, and produce a dogma. All wise men agree on what is wise.

"Socrates, here, adopts Plato's theory of Forms"

Real Socrates asked questions and was on topic. Plato asserted facts, and went thoroughly off the reservation, exactly as per his reputation and the reputation of Academics in general.

"the philosopher possesses knowledge of the real; the non-philosopher possesses only belief in appearance."

The usual inverted belief of the Sophist or narcissist. It is of course those who don't get hung up on "Forms" who appreciate substance instead of appearances. 

I find the forms themselves to be honest error, rather than Sophism. A very bad error, but honest nonetheless.

Plato was grappling with the relationship between thoughts/ideas and the objects they're about. If you want to look it up on google, it's [intentionality]. This is a nontrivial problem, since you're using ideas to try to understand ideas. You get some recursion going on.

However, it's not really that difficult if you start with observing behaviour rather than trying to start with theory. Figure out what it is by looking at what it does. 

The idea of Forms combines incompatible things into a category. It appears sort-of real if you take it first, but if you start with a list of observations you realize it's just kind of dumb. 

A) You can define "Good" however you want as long as it's internally consistent. B) Obviously "Good" is a thought and can't exist outside of a mind which contains it. Physical objects are neither good nor non-good, for most definitions of [good]. Good is a property of the relationship between physical objects and a mind interacting with them and forming the relationship. Since it's a relationship and not a discrete object, its properties depend on the nature of the mind in question, because that nature affects the properties of the relationship. 

Ω) just discard the idea of Forms. Don't think about it at all until you already have useful ideas, and then it's only a toy theory. Contrast it with useful ideas for fun or for practice. Maybe use it to find parts of yourself that would come up with [form]-like ideas and figure out how they got deranged, for the purposes of re-ranging them. Plato confounded himself and if you take [forms] seriously you (almost) only risk confusing yourself too.

On the other hand, just about everyone is already very confused on this topic, so perhaps it's merely a risk of swapping one confusion for another. Learning the truth here is largely a matter of discarding delusion, not a matter of garnering wisdom. Every happy family is alike; everyone who thinks about ideas per se is deluded in their own way; trying to address each idiosyncratic error here in a general-audience post would itself be nothing but idiosyncratic error.

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