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Timbuktu1
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Re: Plato

Well said. Hadn't thought about parental authority and how it trains our minds, maybe because I have 3 children who never listen to a thing I say! I was watching The Odyssey, again, and thinking about how so much of Greek thinking flowed from it. Odysseus is a hero because he's always thinking for himself. He's tricky and even that is accepted as a virtue as it helps him to survive. How different from the bible where obedience to G-d is the ultimate virtue.

I've been thinking about that Darwin show a lot. Darwin had collected an amazing amount of data. They displayed his notebooks and his specimens. I remarked to my friend that had he been born today he would have been declared obsessive-compulsive and put on prozac. I think this incredible amount of evidence is what separates philosophy from science. He also had to be willing to reject religious teachings, and that must have come, in part, from the philosophy of the day.

The exhibit also explained how he never recovered from the loss of his l0 year old daughter. He blamed himself, the weakness of his biology. And there's the rub, eh? Religious belief can be such comfort in this life. As you say, the authority that we felt when we listened to our parents kept us safe and warm in a dangerous world. Maybe that's why they killed Socrates? Although it's hard to think of the Greek gods being of much comfort...
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Timbuktu1
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Re: Plato

BTW, thanks for the reference to Eva Brann!!!!!
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Timbuktu1
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Re: Plato

I understand and agree with what you're saying. I think this situation is a little different as the students are generally older than the teachers! Still, I'm traditional enough to see it your way.

When I was a Brownie leader, about l0 years ago, my co-leader asked if I wanted to be called Mrs. or by my first name. I said "Mrs." Made no difference. The children called us by our first names and it felt extremely uncomfortable. My eldest child is 33 and all of her friends always addressed me as "Mrs." which I felt was very respectful. My l6 year old's friends call me by my first name. Things have changed. Even the year a taught nursery school, the 3 year olds called me by the the first name! The ultimate break-down of all authority! Not much we can do about such "progress"! ;-)
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Re: Plato

I love the older novels where husbands and wives still called each other by Mr. and Mrs. Only the servants were called by one name, often their last name but without a Mr. or Miss. But I do like it in, for example, Pride and Prejudice where the Bennets call each other Mr. Bennet and Mrs. Bennet.
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Timbuktu1
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Re: Plato

I've begun listening to the teaching company tapes and they're very helpful. I had taken them out of the library a while ago but wanted to read the text before listening to them. Changed my mind about that!

I plan to get over to B & N today to get the Eva Brann book. Thanks again for all of your help!
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Re: Plato

I think you're right to listen to the Teaching company tapes before, or during, reading the Republic. They're excellent.

I hope you enjoy Eva Brann!
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Timbuktu1
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Re: Plato

I ordered two of Eva Brann's books, they should be here in 3 days.

Worked all day on the Republic and it's beginning to make sense. Such a feeling of accomplishment! ;-)

Also reassuring to hear the prof on the tape say that Plato wants us to be confused!
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Re: Plato

Sounds like you're having fun! Keep us posted on how your thinking develops.
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Timbuktu1
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Re: Plato

Many thanks, once again! I bought the two books by Eva Brann and they're wonderful. They're exactly what I needed. She writes wonderfully. Only problem, tearing myself away from her to read the real thing!
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Re: Plato

Which two? I assume The Music of the Republic, but which is the second one? She wrote quite a number of books.

Timbuktu1 wrote:
Many thanks, once again! I bought the two books by Eva Brann and they're wonderful. They're exactly what I needed. She writes wonderfully. Only problem, tearing myself away from her to read the real thing!


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Timbuktu1
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Re: Plato

Sorry about that. I'm so immersed in all of this I guess I expected you to read my mind!
Music of the Republic and Homeric Moments. I'm particularly enjoying Homeric Moments and I have a hunch my professor has read it too. "His" understanding is awfully close to hers! Of course she's probably not the only one to have come up with the same ideas. But she does make them very accessible. Music of the Republic, like The Republic itself, is more difficult. The Republic is like a wonderful kaleidoscope. It's images keep changing and sometimes the ideas fall so beautifully and clearly and then they get shuffled again! Last night I started a course on Maimonides. The entire first lecture was on Plato and Aristotle, I was in heaven! I'm particularly interested in the interaction between the Jewish ideas and the Greek. It seems the Greeks get a lot of credit for influencing the east, but I have a hunch it was more reciprocal than that. I'm referring to the time of Plato, not Maimonides, of course. After all, Homer's works were written in the Phoenician alphabet and there was an awful lot of trade, not to mention the upheavel in the l200's. I'm really new to all of this so again, my mind is in flux. I've actually been asking around about this and it amazes me how little is known. I took a couple of courses at the Oriental Institute last year in biblical archaeology and asked the professor about my ideas. She was a specialist on the bible and had no idea about Greece. The Greek scholars seem to be the same way. Anyway, as you can tell, my poor brain is working overtime!

The class did complain to the powers that be about the terrible professor and last class was better as the director of the program sat in on the class. She was amazing. She asked a couple of questions and things immediately came into focus. I've heard that there's a wonderful professor teaching the same course on Tuesday nights and I just might try to get there. The director of the program instructed my professor to sit in on the Tuesday class to learn how to do it!

Of course, in the end, it comes down to a lot of work on my own. The amazing thing is that Not a day goes by that Plato doesn't come to mind. Every discussion, every political debate or news report or talk show. He's there. How is it that we don't educate our children?
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Re: Plato

It sounds as though you're having a wonderful time --what a great post to read! I agree with you that there was a lot more interaction between Greece and the midEast than many scholars, who are so focused on their narrow areas of specialization, are willing to admit. (One reason why I loved St. John's: every tutor had to teach every part of the program, so they were as interdisciplinary as the students were.) I admit that I don't know much at all about Maimonides, other than, as you say, that he was significantly influenced by both Aristotle and Plato. As to why we don't teach our children these things -- I think it's three things. First, their parents don't know any of it and don't value any of it, so would oppose taking time away from the three Rs. Second, there's no evidence that it would do them any good in getting jobs and fitting neatly into our economic system, so why spend the money to teach this? Third, our teachers have to concentrate on getting kids to pass the standardized tests, which punish rather than reward creative thinking. Sad, isn't it?
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Timbuktu1
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Re: Plato

It only takes one generation to lose so much! OTH, I've been thinking... Plato is interwoven in so much. I remember an assignment my kids had in junior high. Fact or opinion? It was a Platonic assignment, just wasn't called that. And then there is science, now, which is basically an outgrowth of the Greeks. I just think it would be nice if the kids understood the source. A friend and I were discussing Ode on a Grecian Urn, a few months ago. She'd never read it but I had in high school. Truth is beauty, beauty is truth. What the heck did that mean, truth can be ugly! So we went round and round trying to understand it. She found that it was a quote of Sir Joshua Reynolds, Hmmm. I just told her... look at book V in the Republic. So much misunderstanding because we didn't know the source!
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Timbuktu1
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Re: Plato

Just wanted to mention one more thing... You mentioned the lack of economic utility of studying these things and yes, I agree, most people think it's "fluff". That's why I was so thrilled to hear about an alum of U of C who just donated a huge amount of money to the university. It's to be used for middle class students who want to study liberal arts. Turns out he was such a student. It was very difficult for his family to support his studies. But he feels he gained so much that it was what enabled him to create his very successful computer software company! He's actually pretty young but he's a multi-millionaire and he says he owes it all to U of C. He wants to make sure that other students who might be drawn to more practical studies, will have the opportunity to get a liberal arts education! Isn't that wonderful????
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Re: Plato

And, of course, geometry. We owe the organization of it to the Greeks, but the development of the core principles probably as much (if not more) to the Nile flooding.
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Re: Plato

What a neat gift! BTW,is there a web site that describes the program you're in or the courses you're taking? I browsed for a few minutes but didn't find anything that looked like what you've been describing.
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Timbuktu1
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Re: Plato

Google Graham School of General Studies, University of Chicago. The program is 61 years old and the only one of it's kind in the world.
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Re: Plato

Credit or noncredit?
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Timbuktu1
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Re: Plato

Noncredit. When Adler and Hutchins originally set up the program they wanted it to be without grades, and solely socratic questioning. As time went on grades, tests, papers, etc. took over. My son is so jealous because he says I'm getting the program as it was meant to be while what he had was something else. There is a Master of Liberal Arts program. I went to the open house and it sounded great. It did require one paper per course and to tell the truth, there have been times when push came to shove, that I have kind of let things go because I knew there was no accountability. As much as I'm enjoying this, if I had to write a paper I'm sure I'd learn even more. But the courses in master's program are $2000 each and these are just over $300 each. The Master's courses do have more full professors. David Bevington, Redfield, Wendy Doniger, if you're familiar with any of those names. My goal is really to read the great books, period.
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Re: Plato

My goal is really to read the great books, period. Well, not only to read them, but to benefit from reading them through discussion with other serious readers, right? :smileyhappy:
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