Part I: The Art of Living:
Hospitality to The Stranger Within
- 1. INTRODUCTION
- 2. What is Fundamental to Education?
- 3. Self-Knowledge, Secondary Talk and The Examined Life
- 3.5 Introduction to an Artistic Commentary
on George Steiner's Real Presences
- 4. Academic Talk about the Arts
- 5. Artistic Talk about the Arts
- 6. The Labor Cost of Academic and Artistic Talk
- 7. An Artistic Commentary on
George Steiner's Real Presences
- 8. A Socratic Summa Summarum of the Secondary City
- 9. The Buddhist Hands Interpretation
of the Adagio Cantabile
- 10. Peak Performance as a Function of Envisioning
- 11. Toward a Socratic Persistence of Vision
- 12. The Relevance of Character for
the Design of Education Systems
- 13. Artistic Performance Within the
Gates of the Secondary City
- 14. A Stranger in a Strange Land
- 15. The Return from Exile
- 16. The Immanence of the Other
- 17. Hospitality to the Stranger
Part II: Socratic Talk:
Hospitality to The Stranger
- 18. The Birth of a Socratic Philosopher
- 19. Of Philosophy and Method
- 20. The Malaise of Public Discourse
The False Teachings
of the Anti-Socratic
- 21. Anyone with a Different Point of View is an Enemy
- 22. Rudeness has a place in intelligent conversation.
- 23. Winning is more important than truth.
- 24. Important topics can be justly handled
in the time between commercial breaks
- 25. Democracy can validate ideas
- 26. You ARE your Perspective.
- 27. The Art of the Anti-Socratic Talking Head
- 28. The Talking Head and The Problem of Endless Talk
- 29. Persuasion in the Socratic Method of Conversation
- 30. Socratic Persuasion Summary
- 31. The Socratic Method of Conversation
as the Practice of Peace
- 32. The Anti-Socratic War on Peacemaking
Part III: The Fundamentals of the
- 33. What does it Mean to be Human?
- 34. The Constant Human Response to Variation
- 35. Repetition, Variation, Complexity and Meaning
- 36. Exploring the Structure of the Artistic
The Last half of Part III through Parts IV-V, and Part VI will be finished soon. Below are notes on those parts, and links to relevant texts of Parts VII and VIII.
Part IV: Groundwork of The Physics of Metaethics: The Rubato of Being in the Music of Life
Key ideas from Socrates, Kant and Nietzsche are organized into a systemic relationship under a framework of focus created by Max's reading of Martin Heidegger's Being and Time. Our take on the relationship between being and time, which began with the focus on repetition and variation in Part III, is the focus for defining the physical necessities that demand we pay attention to Socrates' ideal of living an examined life. Heidegger's ontology project is moved forward through a system (set of relationships) inspired from Max's reading of Buckminster Fuller's work, in particular from: Synergetics: Explorations in the Geometry of Thinking. The focus on the fundamentality of repetition, variation, increasing complexity, and meaning, which was established in Part III, join into a systematic relationship with other concepts such as the relationship between frequency and meaning, the relationship between expansion and contraction, group object formation, the unity of singularity and multiplicity, and the unity of knowledge and will that will redefine knowledge as a space filling geometry. The result is a description of an "inherently minimum set of essential concepts" needed to clarify the cognitive-temporal dynamics of the human process of being leading to the articulation of one uncontroversially universal human world view, which underlies all possible world views that claim any concern for living well. The temporal geometry that results constitutes the physical foundation for describing the universal human need for incorporating metatheoretical inquiry into our daily practice of trying to live well. Making room for metatheoretical inquiry is at the heart of Socrates' ideal of living an examined life, in which the structure of the artistic developed in Part III shows itself to be fundamental to all human living.
Part V: A Socratic Perspective on The Examined Life: Toward a Human Consensus on The Art of Living,
Part V is the conclusion of the "Philosophical Foundations" portion of the essay. It translates the language of principles from Parts I through IV into simple common language. Part V can be read independently from parts I through IV since Part V is the essential practical fruit of the "Philosophical Foundations" portion of this essay. This take on the examined life maintains that its foundation is composed of things people already know, which consciously or unconsciously underlay their world views. Part V could also be read as a criticism of Plato's theory of anamnesis. It is not in remembering just any knowledge (such as the geometry experiment in Meno), but in bringing into remembrance basic self knowledge that does the trick. The living repetition of embracing and recalling that which we already know of ourselves is a powerful resource in living well and the heart of living an examined life. The nature of this knowing of self is very different from Plato's theoretical obsessions. The most succinct summary of the philosophical foundations portion of this essay is: "The principles that underlay the living of an examined life are the fundamentals of education".
Research Implications: Part VI, Envisioning the Examined Life, explores the first direction of research involving the creation of new types of Socratic exercises that do not depend on the dialogues of Plato for their form, yet retain the important character developing Socratic dynamics. The example provided is a method to encourage a Socratic envisioning of personal development. The purpose is to help students develop their own personal vision of living the examined life. The concept of the 'Hero' is used as a focus to help students envision their better self.
Part VII, Socratic Texts: Written Tools for encouraging the Examined Life, looks into the second direction of research by exploring the use of the Socratic method as a written text. An example of how to apply the Socratic method to modern topics in written form is provided. The Moral Bankruptcy of Faith is a Socratic dialogue I wrote that is close to the dialectical style of the early dialogues of Plato. This dialogue can be used in written or oral form. It uses a technique for refuting definitions that relies on clarifying the scope of knowledge pertaining to morality. It also uses the "one example" technique, which allows an idea or definition to stand or fall based on the success or failure of finding one illustrative example of the idea that is able to stand up to further examination. The net result of this dialogue is that the respondent is unable to either define morality or the scope of application of moral knowledge. The implications of this dialogue are discussed regarding the application of the Socratic method in both written and oral form to a broader range of topics.
The most exciting implication of this line of research is the recovery of an ancient aspect of Socratic dialogue. The most famous portrait of Socrates is in the early dialogues of Plato. Here, Socrates and his conversation partners fail to find the answer they seek as each definition is refuted. The repeated cycle of definition and refutation ends with an admission of failure to find the knowledge they seek. We almost never use the Socratic method as portrayed in the early dialogues of Plato because it is too complex to reliably overturn another's deeply held view through simply asking questions. The verbal possibilities are too unwieldy, the tenacity of people in clinging to their views too great. The Moral Bankruptcy of Faith is a demonstration of the ability to use the style of Socratic method, as seen in the early dialogues of Plato, in application to modern topics. To the best of my knowledge, this dialogue is the first, or one of very few, dialogues since Plato that actually captures the flavor and functionality of the early dialogues of Plato.
Part VIII, The Semantic Independence of Socratic Focus, demonstrates a third direction of new research. This direction explores the possible use of the Socratic method as a formal system such as propositional logic or formal systems capable of basic arithmetic. The first step in this research is to create methods for generating valid Socratic questions in a way that functions through dependence on rules and exhibits semantic independence from natural language. A proof of concept example is provided that describes a technique for generating valid Socratic questions in response to a definition by attending only to the formalities of the definition's grammar. The introduction of this kind of formality means that we can create effective Socratic questions that can be asked without the questioner knowing the meaning of the respondent's definition. This line of research favors the development of the Socratic method as seen in the styling's of the early dialogues of Plato. The proof of concept example is constructed by using a formal rule that eliminates most of the natural language semantic entanglements of human dialogue. This research demonstrates that the Socratic facilitator may indeed be quite ignorant, yet still able to successfully conduct a Socratic process. It also indicates that it is more possible than previously believed to write computer programs capable of having effective Socratic dialogues with a human being.