Jul 17, 2018

Are you Thrasymachus?

Lou Keep talks about why Plato's Republic matters (a) (and thus why philosophy matters), in response to this Robinson article (a).

I really like his hook:

So you go down to some Mediterranean port city for a vacay, because the job is hard and there’s a banging festival and one day you’ll die like a shivering cur.

Lolling in the sun and mangling a fruitbooze, you seize upon a sympathetic listener and confess a certain dissatisfaction with the earth. They have very little in the way of practical advice, and like a philosopher they insist on a single point: What, exactly, do you think “good” is, and why do you think you deserve it?

You’re no fool. You may be middle-class-management now, but in college you were a radical, i.e. you slammed a verse and Mom got you Orientalism for Christmas. Thinking about ‘the good’ is impractical, and besides it’s naive to think about non-subjective forms of the Good, and besides it’s an ivory tower preoccupation, and besides everyone already knows it, and besides it’s culturally determined, and besides it’s merely a sign, and besides it should be determined scientifically, plus, like, axioms and Godel? It’s far more useful to think about the practical, useful, calculable things. “You just mixed up several stereotypes.” I did not.

Unpopular opinion, but consider that you might be Thrasymachus.