This week was an amazing initial experiance. Ralph and I spent quality time reviewing my reading from the Socrates section of Hannah Arendt’s The Promise of Politics, as well as I.F. Stone’s The Trail of Socrates. I had many points I wished to discuss from these books, mainly focusing around the idea of Doxa(Arendt, H., & Kohn, J. (2005), 7-8), and Socratic Ideology, ie. Virtue vs. Knowledge(Stone, Feinstein Isidor, (1989), 40). I had many ideas focusing around Arendt’s work and the challenge of defining the abstract. How can we do this? Arendt tackles this challenge beautifully by helping her reader cope with many of the challenges that all philosophers have dealt with. The major theme that I took away from her writing is that philosophy is defining the abstract to help others.
Socrates made people think. Obviously there is no one way or set of ideals that makes the world go round or that one should solely live by. However, there are key points from Socrates teachings and important lessons that can help one live a better life and understand different aspects of life. Socrates wanted to make people think and question life. It was the power of the individual mind that Socrates was trying to unlock not just use his own knowledge to bestow upon everyone else. Socrates challenges people to unlock new ideas and depths in their minds to help answer the questions that haunted them. Obviously all one can ask is that you understand and take in these teachings as best you can for who you are, but as Ralph said, to make these teachings truly meaningful; one must always be aware of what is around them and always be open to new points of view.
I am beginning to grapple with these ideas and beginning to think about how they are related to government and the modern day. Socrates and Plato both had strong ideas about politics and how their philosophy related to their government. It is these lessons that I am focusing on and thinking about how they are relevant to my time. I cannot wait to get my first full week in, and I am looking forward to how my study unfolds and what my reader responses and new types of blogging look like!
-Arendt, H., & Kohn, J. (2005). The promise of politics. New York: Schocken Books
-Stone, Feinstein Isidor, (1989). The Trail of Socrates. Mew York: Anchor Books