Monday, November 26, 2012

More Pre-Socratics

(All quotes are from Early Greek Philosophy, by Jonathan Barnes) My introductory commentary is contained in brackets [] before each quote. The quote is followed by a page # from Barnes’ book and the name of the source which Barnes sites given in parentheses (). If the quote is a paraphrase contained in the source it is referenced to as “by” and the name of the source author, if it is a direct quote of the original philosopher it is given as “from” and the authors name.


[Darwin foreshadowed] Further, he says that originally men were born from animals of different kind, because the other animals can soon look after themselves while men alone require a long period of nursing; that is why if they had been like this originally they would hot have survived. Pg. 20 (by Plutarch)

[On the infinite] . . . what is limited is always limited by something, so that there cannot be an [ultimate] limit if one thing must always be limited by another. Pg. 22 (by Aristotle)

[On the infinite] Hence if mass is anywhere, it is everywhere. At the same time, if empty space and place are limitless, body too must be limitless – for with eternal things there is no difference between being possible and being actual. Pg. 23 (by Aristotle)


[Man defined] Alcmaeon first determines the difference between men and animals: he says that men differ from the other animals because they alone understand, whereas the others perceive but do not understand. Pg. 38 (by Theophrastus)


[Nature of truth] And the clear truth no man has seen nor will anyone know concerning the gods and about all the things of which I speak; for even if he should actually manage to say what is the case, nevertheless he himself does not know it; but belief is found over all. Pg. 41 (from Sextus Empiricus)

[Nature of truth] Let these things be believed as similar to truth, Pg. 41 (from Plutarch)

[What is relative] If god had not made yellow honey, they would say that figs are far sweeter. Pg. 41 (from Herodian)

[On learning] Not at first did the gods reveal all things to mortals, but in time, by inquiring, they make better discoveries. Pgs. 41-42 (from Stobaeus)


[On War] War is father of all, king of all: some it has shown as gods, some as men; some it has made slaves, some free. Pg. 50 (from Hippolytus)

[On learning] Much learning does not teach thought. Pg. 53 (from Diogenes Laertius)

[On politics] When they [the citizens of Emphasis] asked him [Heraclitus] to write laws for them, he refused on the grounds that the city had already been mastered by a wicked constitution. He retired into the temple of Artemis and played dice with the children. When the Ephesians stood round him, he said: Why are you staring, you wretches? Isn’t it better to do this than to play politics with you?” pg. 53 (by Diogenes Laertius)

[Infinite abilities of the mind/soul] You will not find the limits of the soul although you travel all the path – so deep is its account. Pg. 54 (from Diogenes Laertius)

[On what makes us human] Thinking is common to all. Pg. 57 (from Stobaeus)

[We do not know] Most do not understand the things they meet with – not even when they have learned them do they know them; but they seem to themselves to do so. Pg. 57 (from Clement)

[On man’s universal ability to recognize Justice] They would not know the name of justice if these things did not exist. Pg. 64 (from Clement)

[On heroes slain in battle] Gods and men honor those slain in battle. Pg. 65 (from Clement)

[On finding the good] . . . those who search for gold, dig over much earth and find a little. Pg. 68 (from Clement)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Presocratic Philosophy

Thales of Miletus –Founder of Natural Philosophy – born 625 BC

Quoted from Lives of the Philosophers by Diogenes Laertius, as presented in Jonathan Barnes’ Early Greek Philosophy, Penguin Putnan Inc., New York, 2001, pgs.15-17,

The following aphorisms are ascribed to him [Thales].

1. Of existing things, god is the oldest – for he is ungenerated.

2. The world is the most beautiful – for it is god’s making.

3. Space is the greatest – for it includes everything.

4. Mind is the swiftest – for it runs through everything.

5. Necessity is the strongest – for it controls everything.

6. Time is the wisest – for it discovers everything.

7. He said that death is no different from life.  “Then why don’t you die?” someone asked him.  ‘Because death is no different,’ he replied.

8. When someone asked him which came first, night or day, he answered, ‘Night came first – by a day.’

9. When someone asked him whether a man can escape the notice of the gods if he does wrong, he replied: ‘Not even if he thinks of doing wrong.’ 

10. An adulterer asked him if he should swear that he had not committed adultery: he replied, ‘Perjury is no worse than adultery.’

11.  When asked what is difficult, he said, ‘To know yourself’;

12. what is easy, ‘To give advice to someone else’;

13. what most pleasant, ‘Success’;

14. what divine, ‘What has neither beginning nor end’.

15. When asked what was the strangest thing he had seen, he said: ‘An old tyrant.’

16. How can we bear misfortune most easily? – If we see our enemies fairing worse.

17. How can we live best and most justly? – If we do not ourselves do the things we blame others for doing. 

18. Who is happy? – One who has a healthy body, a well-stocked soul and a cultivated nature. 

19. He says that we should remember our friends both present and absent,

20. and that we should not beautify our appearance but be beautiful in our practices.

21. ‘Do not be rich by evil means,’ he says,

22. ‘and let not words set you against those who have had your trust.’

23. ‘Expect from your children the same provision you made for your parents.’

23. [His motto] – Know thyself!


Thursday, November 01, 2012

We Get to Choose

America and the world are at a cross road.  Americans are uniquely blessed and bear the heavy responsibility to choose a course for our people’s future struggle.

I do not believe four more years of President Obama will destroy America or end the world but he has taken the country in the wrong direction and four more years will only make our journey to success more difficult.

Our economy is worse than it was four years ago.  Our debt, aggravated by reckless spending, has greatly increased under Mr. Obama, and his plan is projected to double it.

More Americans are out of work than at any time since the Carter Catastrophe.  Family income is down and more Americans than ever are on food stamps.

Business is under siege, beset by over-regulation and government meddling.

Our national resources are locked up, our trade deficit soaring, and gigantic new entitlements are bankrupting our country and evaporating opportunities of generations yet unborn.

Just as great a danger is the loss of American’s standing in foreign affairs.  Our country is now seen as weak by our enemies and unreliable by our friends.

We are held hostage by Chinese money, Venezuelan Oil, Islamic terror, Iranian atomics, and Russian Ambition.

A Romney Administration is the best hope to right this slide to disaster.  Self-determination, freedom, free-enterprise, and reduced government power will increase individual opportunity and will solve the economic ills.  Mr. Romney will allow America to utilize its resources, stop wasteful spending, lower taxes for all, and strengthen business and personal prosperity and incentive.

Internationally, America can again take the lead economically, technologically, and stand again as the hope of freedom and peace.

It comes down to this.  Mr. Obama is a weak leader who has led us poorly.  Mr. Romney is a proven strong leader who will guide our American journey to a better future.