Self-Knowledge Through Justification

How do you know that you know something? When does a belief or opinion become knowledge? Often an intuitive response to this is - when I can offer justification, proof, for my belief. Justification seems to play a silent but crucial role in our understanding of what counts as knowledge. However, there is more.  When you justify …

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Socrates and Phaedrus: Art of Thinking and Practice of Persuasion (Part 3 of 3)

This is the final part of the 3-part series on the art of thinking and pratice of persuasion as gathered from Plato's dialogue Phaedrus (a version of its translation available here). So far I have concluded that Socrates had the following goal in this dialogue: to demonstrate that no practice deserves to be called art if its practitioner does …

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Socrates and Phaedrus: Art of Thinking and Practice of Persuasion (Part 2 of 3)

Last week I published the first part of this 3-part series. This is the second part of the article where I continue by exploring in more detail the ideas that can be gathered from Plato's dialogue Phaedrus (a version of its translation available here). Of course, there are many insights that can be gleaned. The one I …

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Socrates and Phaedrus: Art of Thinking and Practice of Persuasion (Part 1 of 3)

In Plato's dialogue Phaedrus (a version of its translation available here), Socrates discusses the merits of rhetoric as the art of speaking. He wants to establish whether rhetoric, as practised and taught in Athens by the orators at the time and understood as "a way of directing the soul by means of speech" (we could say - …

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Anaxagoras on Change: Everything Contains Everything

One of the last pre-Socratic philosophers of Ancient Greece, Anaxagoras hailed from the Ionian city of Clazomenae but is notable for being the first one to bring philosophy to Athens. There he taught and flourished for about 30 years until the mid-5th century BCE when he went back to Ionia due to charges brought against …

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Parmenides on Truth vs Opinion

For the 5th century BCE pre-Socratic philosopher and leading figure of the Eleatic school Parmenides, truth is universal. It contains everything, unifies all. It is All and, therefore, One. Because of this, truth has the unshakable attribute of certainty. Accordingly, if something cannot pass the test of universality, it cannot generate certainty, so it cannot be the …

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Common Sense and Truth – Reflections

"How prone to doubt, how cautious are the wise!"  Homer, some 3.000 years ago "The Thinker" by Auguste Rodin, in the Legion's courtyard, San Francisco* How reliable is our common sense? It gets us by on a day-to-day basis mostly without big blunders. So we can agree that common sense is reliable as an adaptability …

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The Meaning of Objectivity, Reality, Truth – Part II (Final)

In the first part of this article (published last week), I stopped at the appearance on the stage of Plato and his ideas of what is real, as expressed in his famous cave allegory. Now, I jump right in and pick up from exploring Plato`s thoughts on the topic of reality. Afterwards, I offer some …

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The Meaning of Objectivity, Reality, Truth – Part I

Real life. Objective reality. True fact. We all confront these and similar short phrases in our daily lives. They are powerful because they are meaningful to us. Yet, do we really, objectively, truly know the meaning of these words? Do we understand that it is us who endow them with meaning? If we are ready to contemplate …

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Miracles – should we believe in them? (and is this the right question to ask)

Christmas time in the air, it was very fitting that my last philosophy course essay topic was on miracles. It was in the context of the philosophy of religion and focused on the questions of what do we understand by miracles and should we believe in them. image from pixabay While working on the essay …

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