Friday, 6 March 2009

Plato, philosophy and death

More thanks to my reader from Seattle, Dr Michael Aristidou, for taking me to task over the update I provided regarding Ritsos and Plato in my post on Grigoris Afxentiou. I initially wrote this

A reader from Seattle wrote to me about Ritsos' poem to point out that the line

'Before my death I need this final piece of knowledge,

The knowledge of my own death, so that I can die'


reflects the heart of Plato's philosophy, which is, my reader writes: 'the study of death and knowing how to die'.


Michael, who is a maths professor and philosophy teacher, quite rightly insists on the precise use of language, especially in such important matters, and I am pleased to draw attention to the correction he suggests I make to my above statement, which is misleading inasmuch as it suggests that Plato's philosophy is the study of death and knowing how to die, when in fact Plato is saying that it is the role of philosophy to study death and investigate how to die. The corrected statement should read:

A reader from Seattle wrote to me about Ritsos' poem to point out that the line

'Before my death I need this final piece of knowledge,
The knowledge of my own death, so that I can die'


reflects the heart of Plato's definition (and essence) of philosophy, which is, my reader writes: 'the study of death and knowing how to die'.


I would also recommend Hellenic Antidote readers take a look at Michael's scathing review here of Clifford Conner’s A People's History of Science. The book appears to be part of that banal trend in modern culture that wants to minimise Greek creativity – in philosophy, science, politics and so on – suggest that Greeks merely imitated the achievements of other cultures and propose that the Greeks exalted place in the history of human civilisation is undeserved.

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