57 Matching Annotations
  1. Feb 2024
    1. plato's höhle ... seit 2000 jahren nichts neues:<br /> die idioten sind lebenslang gefangen in angeborener dummheit,<br /> und ziehen alle anderen mit runter in die hölle, ins verderben...<br /> weil keiner denkt an die langzeitfolgen, jeder von diesen idioten denkt nur 5 sekunden voraus

  2. Dec 2023
    1. Some favor the idea of a gradualsupersession of the political forms andmethods of mass democracy by govern-ment by some sort of elite in which theman of science and the technician willplaya dominating part. There are verylarge vague patches upon this idea butthe general projection is the form of asort of modern priesthood, an oligarchyof professors and exceptionally compe-tent people. Like Plato, they wouldmake the philosopher king. This proj-ect involves certain assumptions aboutthe general quality and superiority of theintellectual worker that I am afraid willnot stand scrutiny.

      Is every age afflicted by this superstition?



  3. Sep 2023
    1. The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato . I do not mean thesystematic scheme of thought which scholars have doubtfully extractedfrom his writings . I allude to the wealth of general ideas scattered throughthem . His personal endowments, his wide opportunities for experience ata great period of civilization, h is inheritance of an intellectual traditionnot yet stiffened by excessive systematization, have made h is writings t aninexhaustible mine of suggestion
  4. Aug 2023
  5. Apr 2023
    1. The Incoherence also marked a turning point in Islamic philosophy in its vehement rejections of Aristotle and Plato.

      The Incoherence of the Philosophers by al-Ghazali marks a dramatic turn in Islamic philosophy away from Aristotle and Plato which had been followed by previous Arab philosophers like Avicenna and al-Farabi.

  6. Mar 2023
    1. Or, did you ever see a dog with a marrowbone in his mouth,—the beast of all other, says Plato, lib. 2, de Republica, the most philosophical? If you have seen him, you might have remarked with what devotion and circumspectness he wards and watcheth it: with what care he keeps it: how fervently he holds it: how prudently he gobbets it: with what affection he breaks it: and with what diligence he sucks it. To what end all this? What moveth him to take all these pains? What are the hopes of his labour? What doth he expect to reap thereby? Nothing but a little marrow

      The description of this scene is insinuating on the importance of the little things which I believe is what the author was trying to convey when asking such questions to seeing a dog with a bone. He even refers to Plato at one point who was known as a philosophical speaker who was wise in such ideas. "Plato says that true and reliable knowledge rests only with those who can comprehend the true reality behind the world of everyday experience." (Macintosh) Platos theory of forms suggested that there is a different reality to everything for each person. That would insinuate that for a dog, that bone is big thing worth his time, while as humans, we see the dog with his bone and think "why bother?".

  7. Jan 2023
    1. This independent confirmation ofthe testimonythat Dr Gowers has personally borne to the helpfulness ofPhonography in his professional career, is peculiarlyvaluable, because there are still some able men in themedical world who discourage the practice of note- takingby students . Professor Struthers, for instance, is reportedto have said before the General Medical Council that" the student takes his notes, puts his book in his pocket,and walks out, knowing no more about the subject than amere reporter would do."

      There's an interesting parallel between this example and that of the character of Socrates in Plato with respect to writing and memory.

      Some take notes to increase understanding, while others might suggest that note taking decreases understanding. The answer to remedying the discrepancy is in using the proper process.

  8. Dec 2022
    1. But Thamus replied, " Most ingenious Theuth, oneman has the ability to beget arts, but the ability tojudge of their usefulness or harmfulness to their usersbelongs to another ; and now you, who are the fatherof letters, have been led by your affection to ascribeto them a power the opposite of that which theyreally possess. For this invention will produce for-getfulness in the minds of those who learn to use it,because they will not practise their memory. Theirtrust in writing, produced by external characterswhich are no part of themselves, will discourage theuse of their own memory within them. You haveinvented an elixir not of memory, but of reminding ;and you offer your pupils the appearance of wisdom,not true wisdom, for they will read many thingswithout instruction and will therefore seem to knowmany things, when they are for the most part ignorant

      and hard to get along with, since they are not wise, but only appear wise." pp 563-564

    2. Plato. Euthyphro. Apology. Crito. Phaedo. Phaedrus. Translated by Harold North Fowler. Loeb Classical Library 36. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1914. https://www.loebclassics.com/view/LCL036/1914/volume.xml.

  9. Nov 2022
    1. Socrates is turned into a systematic set of psycho-technologies that you internalise into your metacognition. So, what became crucial for Plato, as we saw, was argumentation. But for Antisthenes the actual confrontation with Socrates was more important. Both Plato and Antisthenes are interested in the transformation that Socrates is affording.Plato sees this happening through argumentation. Antesthenes sees it as happening through confrontation because... And you can see how they're both right, because in Socratic elenchus, Socrates comes up and he argues with you. But of course he's also confronting you. We talked about how he was sort of slamming the Axial revolution into your face! So, Antesthenes has a follower, Diogenes, and Diogenes epitomizes this: This confrontation. And by looking at the kinds of confrontation we can start to see what the followers of Antesthenes are doing. So Diogenes basically does something analogous to provocative performance art. He gets in your face in a way that tries to provoke you to realizations. Those kinds of insights that will challenge you. He tries to basically create aporia in you, that shocked experience that you had when confronting Socrates that challenges you to radically transform your life. But instead of using argumentation and discussion, as Socrates did and Plato picked up on, they were really trying to hone in on how to try to be as provocative as possible.

      John Vervaeke on Socrates becoming set of psychotechnologies to internalize and augment metacognition. Agues agumentation become central for Plato, whereas confrontation itself become central for Antisthenes. They're disagree about how the cause of the transformation through the Socratic approach

      Unclear is stoics take up Plato's mantle of argumentation orientation, but they at least seem distinct from the Cynics (Antisthenes & teach Diogenes

      Aporia is moment of shock from experience that you're radically transformed. Could be from Diogenes' provocative performance art or through discourse a la Plato & Socrates

      Nietzche may have favored Cynics approach over stoic/Socratic. Possible parallel in left-hand path and right-hand path. Quick & risky vs. slow & steady

  10. Oct 2022
    1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephanus_pagination

      Stephanus pagination is a system of reference numbers used in editions of Plato based on the three volume 1578 edition of Plato's complete works published by Henricus Stephanus (Henri Estienne) and translated by Joannes Serranus (Jean de Serres).

      See also: - Bekker numbering (for Aristotle) - Diels-Kranz numbering (for early pre-Socratics)

    1. ‘Now, all this study of reckoning and geometry...must be presented to them while still young, not inthe form of compulsory instruction.’ ‘Why so?’ ‘Because,’ said I, ‘a free soul ought not to pursueany study slavishly; for while bodily labours performed under constraint do not harm the body,nothing that is learned under compulsion stays with the mind.’ ‘True,’ he said. ‘Do not, then, myfriend, keep children to their studies by compulsion but by play.’The Republic, 536d–e; 537a

      Apparently one couldn't ever force children to learn anything...

  11. Apr 2022
    1. to show that it not only gives pleasure but is beneficial both to the constitutions and to human life

      Platos challenge to the arts

  12. Feb 2022
    1. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/an-ancient-greek-astronomical-calculation-machine-reveals-new-secrets/

      Overview and history of the Antikythera mechanism and the current state of research surrounding it.

      Antikythera mechanism found in diving expedition in 1900 by Elias Stadiatis. It was later dated between 60 and 70 BCE, but evidence suggests it may have been made around 205 BCE.


      One of the primary purposes of the device was to predict the positions of the planets along the ecliptic, the plane of the solar system.

      The device was also used to track the positions of the sun and moon. This included the moon's phase, position and age (the number of days from a new moon). It also included the predictions of eclipses.

      Used to track the motions of the 5 known planets including 289 synodic cycles in 462 years for Venus and 427 synodic cycles in 442 years for Saturn.

      Risings and settings of stars indexed to a zodiac dial


      metonic cycle, a 19-year period over which 235 moon phases recur; named after Greek astronomer Meton, but discovered much earlier by the Babylonians. The Greeks refined it to a 76 year period.

      saros cycle, the 223 month lunar cycle which was used by the Babylonians to predict eclipses. A dial on the Antikythera mechanism was used to predict the dates of the solar and lunar eclipses using this cycle.

      synodic events: conjunctions with the sun and its stationary points


      Archimedes - potentially the designer of an early version of the Antikythera mechanism

      Elias Stadiatis - diver who discovered the Antikythera mechanism

      Albert Rehm - German philologist who the numbers 19, 76 and 223 inscribed on fragments of the device in the early 1900s

      Derek J. de Solla Price, published Gears from the Greeks in 1974. Identified the gear train and developed a complete model of the gearing.

      Michael Wright - 3D x-ray study in 1990 using linear tomography; identified tooth counts of the gears and understood the upper dial on the back of the device

      Tony Freeth - author of article and researcher whose made recent discoveries.

    2. Eventually we found a process, developed by philosopher Parmenides of Elea (sixth to fifth century B.C.E.) and reported by Plato (fifth to fourth century B.C.E.), for combining known period relations to get better ones.

      Parmenides of Elea developed a process reported by Plato for combining the known period relations of planets to get better ones.

    1. In truth, it is highly unlikely that every text you read will containexactly the information you looked for and nothing else. Otherwise,you must have already known what was in there and wouldn’t havehad reason to read it in the first place.[7]
      1. This problem is known as Meno’s paradox (Plato, Meno 80e, Grube translation).

      Meno's paradox: If you know what you're looking for, inquiry is unnecessary. If you don't know what you're looking for, inquiry is impossible. Therefore, inquiry is either unnecessary or impossible.



  13. Jul 2021
  14. Jun 2021
    1. In Plato’s Phaedrus, Socrates bemoaned the development of writing. He feared that, as people came to rely on the written word as a substitute for the knowledge they used to carry inside their heads, they would, in the words of one of the dialogue’s characters, “cease to exercise their memory and become forgetful.” And because they would be able to “receive a quantity of information without proper instruction,” they would “be thought very knowledgeable when they are for the most part quite ignorant.” They would be “filled with the conceit of wisdom instead of real wisdom.” Socrates wasn’t wrong—the new technology did often have the effects he feared—but he was shortsighted. He couldn’t foresee the many ways that writing and reading would serve to spread information, spur fresh ideas, and expand human knowledge (if not wisdom).

      I feel like Western culture has lost so much of our memory traditions that this trite story, which I've seen often repeated, doesn't have the weight it should.

      Why can't we simultaneously have the old system AND the new? Lynne Kelly and Margo Neale touch on this in their coinage of the third archive in Songlines.

  15. Jan 2020
    1. no difference

      The nature of the wants that commodities satisfy makes no difference. This is perhaps somewhat surprising to readers, given the extent to which everyday critiques of capitalist society often center around the role that consumerism plays and the subjective effects that this produces, namely, the way that consumer society creates all sorts of desires (as well as the obverse--many will defend capitalism on the grounds that it is able to satisfy our inordinate appetite for novelty by producing an enormous proliferation of desirable commodities). Yet, for Marx, the nature of these desires "makes no difference."

      It is worth pointing out that the critique of the appetites that consumer society spawns is by no means new (a rather early moment in the history of consumer society). We find it already on display in Book II of Plato's Republic. In looking to shift the terrain of the analysis of justice from the individualistic, social contractualist theory of justice elaborated by Glaucon, Socrates founds a 'city' based on the idea that no one is self-sufficient, that human beings have much need of one another, and that the various crafts--farming, weaving cloth, etc.--fare best when each person specializes in that craft to which they are most suited by nature. After sketching out a kind of idyllic, pastoral community based on the principle of working together to satisfy our natural appetites, Socrates aristocratic companion Glaucon objects, describing this city as a 'city fit for pigs'. At this point, Socrates conjures what he calls the 'luxurious city', at which point a whole host of social ills are unleashed in order to satisfy Glaucon's desire for the luxuries to which he is accustomed. Currency and trade are introduced, along with a more complex division of labor (and wage labor!), and quite quickly, war. On the basis of the principle of 'one person, one craft', Socrates argues that making war is itself a craft that requires specialization (and thus a professional army).

      For Plato, this represents the beginning of class society, as the profession military becomes a class distinct from the class of producers and merchants.

      Plato thus anticipates a version of a view that becomes one of the key theses of the Marxist theory of the state, namely, the idea that the state exists only in societies that have become "entangled in an insoluble contradiction within itself" and which are "cleft into irreconcilable antagonisms which it is powerless to dispel," (Engels, The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State). The state emerges as "a power apparently standing above society...whose purpose is to moderate the conflict and keep it within the bounds of 'order'" Engels writes, "this power arising out of society, but placing itself above it, and increasingly separating itself from it, is the state." Lenin cites this passage in the first pages of State and Revolution in order to critique the 'bourgeois' view that the state exists in order to reconcile class interests. In Lenin's reading of Marx, the state exists as "an organ of classs domination, an organ of oppression of one class by another," a view articulated in The Communist Manifesto, (cf. V.I. Lenin, State and Revolution in V.I.Lenin: Collected Works, Vol. 25, pp. 385-497).

      Marx cites this same passage from Republic in a long footnote to his discussion of the Division of Labor and Manufacture on pp. 487-488, which also happens to be the sole place in Capital where Marx cites Plato.

      The fact that Marx here expresses indifference to the particular appetites that commodities satisfy is thus intriguing and ambiguous. Given that this question both clearly animates Plato's discussion of the origin of class society in Republic and, additionally serves as an alternative to the social contractarian view of justice that descends from Glaucon through Hobbes and the 18th century 'Robinsonades', this seemingly technical point also touches upon questions concerning Marx's engagement with both classical and modern political theory.

      If for Plato, the unruly appetites represent the seed of which class-divided society is the fruit, Marx's dismissal of the question of the nature of the appetites that are satisfied by commodities points to exchange-value and the social forms that it unleashes as being key dimensions of the particular form that class-antagonism takes in capitalist society.

    1. Ever since Plato, there have been people who worried about whether we can gain access to Reality, or whether the finitude of our cognitive faculties makes such access impossible.

      The question!

  16. Feb 2019
    1. You don't know. He's a nice enough guy, but he sure gets preachy.

      This really is an effective format, the fictional dialogue. Not unlike Plato's use of it.

    1. it, is much more Divine, lo Save a Soul from Dea1h

      Again the (Platonic) ranking of the spiritual over the physical.

    2. I-laving developed one's rational powers, one could then read as extensively (or not) as one wished.

      This reminds me of Plato's "Chariot Allegory:" the notion that the charioteer (logic, reason) attempts to drive and control the two horses (rational and irrational) toward the truth.

    1. But it would have been more difficult to have proved the superiority of the fonner, to the conviction of every by-stander.

      Even though there are those in the room who aren't fans of Plato, I'm reminded of his description of the philosopher here, where he likens the philosopher to the only one who understands navigation by the stars on a ship full of people. The other sailors laugh and deride the "stargazer," because he seems foolish to them. But of course, the philosophers are right and the sailors are wrong.

      Granted, this may just be a highly stylized and ancient form of "I'm rubber, you're glue."

  17. Jan 2019
    1. notebooks serving as memory aids. Their use as books of life, as guides for conduct

      Hm. So in the analogy above, does that mean "others" in a community serve as reminders of how not to live (in the case of non-ascetics) or how to live (other ascetics)?

      Plato wouldn't like that (Phaedrus, writing as destructive to memory).

  18. Dec 2018
    1. πῶς, φάναι, ὦ Ζήνων, τοῦτο λέγεις; εἰ πολλά ἐστι τὰ ὄντα, ὡς ἄρα δεῖ αὐτὰ ὅμοιά τε εἶναι καὶ ἀνόμοια, τοῦτο δὲ δὴ ἀδύνατον: οὔτε γὰρ τὰ ἀνόμοια ὅμοια οὔτε τὰ ὅμοια ἀνόμοια οἷόν τε εἶναι; οὐχ οὕτω λέγεις;

      Being is one

    1. The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradi- tion is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato

      But these footnotes are inscribed forms of thought. Plato is himself nothing but a series of written inscription - of which these footnotes are a part.

  19. Oct 2018
    1. All narratives of the origin take on a mythical turn, in that they speak what is: to speak what is qua what absolutely is, is always to endure Meno’s aporia, to which a positive answer cannot be given. For there to be, in becoming (there can be an origin only when becoming is; the question of origin could never arise in a world of being), something after all, for being to be itself always the same, for it to have an identity in essence, a threshold should not be crossed but experienced. This is the difficulty Rousseau will encounter in thinking originary man7 as what he is in his nature, before any determination by his becoming. This will also be the very difficulty of our question: the human / the technical. When do(es) the human / the technical begin and end?

      Stiegler: "When do(es) the human / the technical begin and end?"

    2. Responding to this question will lead Plato to the enunciation of what will inaugurate metaphysics: the myth of anamnesis. The myth ripostes to an aporia addressed by Meno to Socrates in his discourse on the essence: If you do not rely on experience, if this recourse is in principle impossible in your search for the essence, how will you look for something when you don’t in the least know what it is? How on earth are you going to set up something you don’t know as the object of your search? To put it another way, even if you come right up against it, how will you know that what have found is the thing you didn’t know? (Plato 1961, Meno, 80d) According to you, Meno, says Socrates, repeating the aporia to bring out the stakes, a man cannot try to discover either what he knows or what he does not know. He would not seek what he knows, for since he knows it there is no need of the inquiry, nor what he does not know, for in that case he does not even know what he is to look for. (80e) This aporia, crucial in the history of philosophy, sets out the very difficulty of a reflection on essence, on origin, on that whereby a thing begins to be. The stakes are incredibly high. “Aporia” means that if truth is truly something that is achieved, and achieved in dialogue, one cannot learn; there is therefore nothing new; one cannot say what is. A discourse of truth, which would not be a simple collection of facts but would unite dejure these facts in an essential unity that would speak their origin, such a discourse is a deception. Meno’s aporia, left unanswered, is the thoroughgoing victory of skepticism.

      Stiegler > Plato: Meno's "aporia" / "the myth of anamnesis" ||

  20. Sep 2018
    1. Although the Phaedrus also criticizes the rhetoric of the day,4 it explains what an art of rhetoric would be: the speech of the true rhetorician is based on knowledge of the soul and its different forms and of the kinds of speeches appropriate to eac

      Plato's version of rhetoric

    2. e. Rhetoric is the counterpart of cookery, Socrates says, for just as cookery provides pleasure for the body with no regard for what truly benefits it, rhetoric gratifies the soul without considering its good. Consequently, rhetoric is ignoble flattery rather than art, both because it aims at the pleasant and also because it cannot give a rational account of its own activity.

      Rhetoric as bad.

  21. May 2017
    1. The comic spirit is given to us in order that we may analyze, weigh, and clarify things in us that nettle us, or that we are outgrowing, or trying to reshape.

      Perhaps this helps us understand what Eryximachus says to Aristophanes in the Symposium about his comedy focing Eryximachus to be on guard against Aristophanes's speech (189a8-10).

  22. Apr 2017
    1. exists independently of all perspectives and points of view and the many truths

      Plato's idea of beauty?

    2. Most importantly for Fish, there is no place to stand that is outside some context and set of presuppositions.

      Is it in the Phaedrus where the conversation takes place outside the city walls?

  23. Mar 2017
    1. o field of study seemed for-eign to him, and his many books and articles are marked by his continuing enthusi-asm for psychology, linguistics, anthropology, information theory, and philosophy.

      Gor. Some answers, Socrates, are of necessity longer; but I will do my best to make them as short as possible; for a part of my profession is that I can be as short as any one.

      Soc. That is what is wanted, Gorgias; exhibit the shorter method now, and the longer one at some other time.

      Gor. Well, I will; and you will certainly say, that you never heard a man use fewer words.

      Soc. Very good then; as you profess to be a rhetorician, and a maker of rhetoricians, let me ask you, with what is rhetoric concerned: I might ask with what is weaving concerned, and you would reply (would you not?), with the making of garments?

      Gor. Yes.

      Soc. And music is concerned with the composition of melodies?

      Gor. It is.

      Soc. By Here, Gorgias, I admire the surpassing brevity of your answers.

      Gor. Yes, Socrates, I do think myself good at that.

      Soc. I am glad to hear it; answer me in like manner about rhetoric: with what is rhetoric concerned?

      Gor. With discourse.

      Soc. What sort of discourse, Gorgias?-such discourse as would teach the sick under what treatment they might get well?

      Gor. No.

      Soc. Then rhetoric does not treat of all kinds of discourse?

      Gor. Certainly not.

      Soc. And yet rhetoric makes men able to speak?

      Gor. Yes.

      Soc. And to understand that about which they speak?

      Gor. Of course.

      Soc. But does not the art of medicine, which we were just now mentioning, also make men able to understand and speak about the sick?

      Gor. Certainly.

      Soc. Then medicine also treats of discourse?

      Gor. Yes.

      Soc. Of discourse concerning diseases?

      Gor. Just so.

      Soc. And does not gymnastic also treat of discourse concerning the good or evil condition of the body?

      Gor. Very true.

      Soc. And the same, Gorgias, is true of the other arts:-all of them treat of discourse concerning the subjects with which they severally have to do.

      Gor. Clearly.

      Soc. Then why, if you call rhetoric the art which treats of discourse, and all the other arts treat of discourse, do you not call them arts of rhetoric?

      Gor. Because, Socrates, the knowledge of the other arts has only to do with some sort of external action, as of the hand; but there is no such action of the hand in rhetoric which works and takes effect only through the medium of discourse. And therefore I am justified in saying that rhetoric treats of discourse.

      Soc. I am not sure whether I entirely understand you, but I dare say I shall soon know better; please to answer me a question:-you would allow that there are arts?

      Gor. Yes.

      Soc. As to the arts generally, they are for the most part concerned with doing, and require little or no speaking; in painting, and statuary, and many other arts, the work may proceed in silence; and of such arts I suppose you would say that they do not come within the province of rhetoric.

      Gor. You perfectly conceive my meaning, Socrates.

  24. Feb 2017
    1. Because rhetoric tries to orient the audience toward a worldview, it is imperative for the study of rhetoric to identify and evaluate the controlling ideas (or "god-terms") on which the ethics of any discourse is based.

      Ah ha! So I guess this answers my question about the Burke reading. I had a hard time following the Burke, but Weaver's connection to Plato is obviously much clearer. (And Weaver in general is also much clearer.)

    1. For Burke, every epistemology has a key term, a "God-term," that names the fundamental ground of human action, as the name God does for religious epistemologies.

      This sort of sounds like the Platonic forms, but for human actions rather than objects. Are these ideas sort of analogous?

    1. This awakens the idea that, in addition to the leaves, there exists in nature the "leaf': the original model according to which all the leaves were perhaps woven, sketched, measured, col· ored, curled, and painted-but by incompetent hands, so that no specimen has turned out to be a correct, trustworthy, and faithful likeness of the original model.

      Does this almost harken back to Plato's Theory of Forms, or the idea that a perfect and original realization of a thing exists in a higher form beyond our grasp? Can we only see and know shadows of a thing (in this case, a leaf) and mere copies of our perception of that thing?

  25. Jan 2017
    1. memory is a link not just with earthly places but with those heavenly places where ideal fonns and true knowledge reside.

      How exactly was memory so powerful for Plato? This seems to be one of the biggest shifts from ancient rhetoric to modern rhetoric. In academia and rhetoric, it seems that memory isn't considered access to higher knowledge but more of a roadblock, just parroting other ideas rather than becoming truly innovative and a critical thinker.

  26. Sep 2016
    1. ‘Utopia’ is sometimes said to mean ‘no place,’ from the Greek ou-topos;

      The Ancient Greeks were depressingly pragmatic. The Elysian Fields was where heroes went when they died. However, they acknowledged that most went to Asphodel which was a place where souls just kind of existed. In Plato's Critias, he describes Atlantis. It's primary source of the legend. Though the society is supposed to be far superior to anything else in the Aegean world, it's never described as perfect. Beautiful, but never perfect. If the word 'utopia' did come from the Greeks with the idea that it was the perfect society, they probably meant 'no place.' Besides, the Greeks loved their heroes and you can't become a hero in a world without conflict.

  27. Feb 2016
    1. p. 95 "For nearly all of recorded history, we human beings have lived our lives isolated inside tiny cocoons of information. The most brilliant and knowledgeable of our ancestors often had direct access to only a tiny fraction of human knowledge. Then in the 1990s and 2000s, over a period of just two decades, our direct access to knowledge expanded perhaps a thousandfold. At the same time, a second, even more important expansion has been going on: an expansion in our ability to find meaning in our collective knowledge."

    2. p. 60 "Citation is perhaps the most powerful technique for building an information commons that could be created with seventeenth-century technology."

    3. Nielsen, Michael A. 2012. Reinventing Discovery: The New Era of Networked Science. Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press.

    1. We got some intriguing feedback. The vast majority of this elite group felt that their most important paper was indeed one of their most-cited ones. Yet they described most of their chart-topping work as evolutionary, not revolutionary.

      Top cited biologists describe their most important (i.e. most cited) work as the result of an evolutionary not revolutionary process.

  28. Jan 2016
    1. Harpers 1873 the telegraph, pp. 359-360

      Discusses the future importance of the telegraph in terms of its impact on knowledge: will free language from philology and allow us to make improvements on that. Mentions the beginnings of the typewriter.

      "The immense extension of the general telegraphic system, and its common use for business and social correspondence and the dissemination of public intelligence, are far more important to the community than any of these incidental applications of the system. The telegraph system is extending much more rapidly than the railroad system, and is probably exerting even a greater influence upon the mental development of the people than the railroad is exerting in respect to the material and physical prosperity of the country. It has penetrated almost every mind with a new sense of the vastnessof distance and the value of time. It is commonly said that it has annihilated time and space--and this is true in a sense; but in a deeper sense it has magnified both, for it has been the means of expanding vastly the inadequate conceptions which we form of space and distance, and of giving a significance to the idea of time which it never before had to the human mind. It lifts every man who reads its messages above his own little circle, gives him in a vivid flash, as it were, a view of vast distances, and tends by an irresistible influence to make him a citizen of his country and a fellow of the race as well as a member of his local community.

      In other respects its influence, though less obvious, will probably prove equally profound. So long as the mysterious force employed in the telegraph was only known in the mariner’s compass, or by scientific investigations, or in a few special processes of art, the knowledge of the electric or magnetic force had, so to speak, a very limited soil to grow in. By means of the telegraph many thousands of persons in this country are constantly employed in dealing with it practically--generating it, insulating it, manipulating it. The invention of Morse has engaged some one in every considerable town and village in studying its properties, watching its operation, and using it profitably. Nothing could be better calculated to attract general attention to this newfound power, and to disseminate that knowl edge of it from which new applications may be expected to result.

      The tendency of scientific pursuits to promote the love of truth and the habit of accuracy is strikingly illustrated in the zeal and fidelity with which the minute and long-continued investigations have been pursued that have led to the development of this new realm of knowledge and this new element in human affairs.

      But perhaps the most extended and important influence which the telegraph is destined to exert upon the human mind is that which it will ultimately work out through its influence upon language.

      Language is the instrument of thought. It is not merely a means of expression. A word is a tool for thinking, before the thinker uses it as a signal for communicating his thought. There is no good reason why it should not be free to be improved, as other implements are. Language has hitherto been regarded merely in a historical point of view, and even now philology is little more than a record of the differences in language which have separated mankind, and of the steps of development in it which each branch of the human family has pursued. And as a whole it may be said that the science of language in the hands of philologists is used to perpetuate the differences and irregularities of speech which prevail. The telegraph is silently introducing a new element, which, we may confidently predict, will one day present this subject in a different aspect. The invention of Morse has given beyond recall the pre-eminence to the Italian alphabet, and has secured the ultimate adoption through-out the world of that system or some improvement upon it. The community of intelligence, and the necessary convertibility of expression between difl‘erent languages, which the press through the influence of the telegraph is establishing, have commenced a process of assimilation, the results of which are already striking to those who carefully examine the subject. An important event transpiring in any part of the civilized world is concisely expressed in a dispatch which is immediately reproduced in five or ten or more different languages. A comparison of such dispatches with each other will show that in them the peculiar; and local idioms of each language are to a large extent discarded. The process sifts out, as it were, the characteristic peculiarities of each language, and it may be confidently said that nowhere in literature will be found a more remarkable parallelism of structure, and even of word forms, combined with equal purity and strength in each language, than in the telegraphic columns of the leading dailies of the capitals of Europe and America. A traveler in Europe, commencing the study of the language of the country where he may be, finds no reading which he can so easily master as the telegraphic news column. The telegraph is cosmopolitan, and is rapidly giving prominence to those modes of speech in which different languages resemble each other. When we add to this the fact that every step of advance made by science and the arts increases that which different languages have in common by reason of the tendency of men in these pursuits the world over to adopt a common nomenclature, and to think alike or in similar mental processes, we see the elements already at work which will ultimately relegate philology to its proper and useful place among the departments of history, and will free language from those restrictions which now forbid making any intentional improvements in it. With the general use of the telegraphic system other things begin to readjust themselves to its conditions. Short-hand writing is more cultivated now than ever before. The best reporter must understand both systems, and be able to take his notes of a conversation while it passes, and then by stepping into an office transmit it at, once without writing out. There is now in practical use in the city of New York a little instrument the size of a sewing-machine, having a keyboard like the printing telegraph, by which any one can write in print as legibly as this page, and almost as rapidly as a reporter in short-hand. When we consider the immense number of people that every day by writing a telegram and counting the words are taking a most efficient lesson in concise composition, we see in another way the influence of this invention on the strength of language. If the companies should ever adopt the system of computing all their charges by the number of letters instead of words, as indeed they do now for all cipher or unintelligible messages, the world would very quickly be considering the economic advantages of phonetic or other improved orthography.

      These processes are in operation all the world over, and in reference to the use of one and the same alphabet. By the principle which Darwin describes as natural selection short words are gaining the advantage of long words, direct forms of expression are gaining the advantage over indirect, words of precise meaning the advantage of the ambiguous, and local idioms are every where at a disadvantage. The doctrine of the Survival of the Fittest thus tends to the constant improvement and points to the ultimate unification of language.

      The idea of a common language of the world, therefore, however far in the future it may be, is no longer a dream of the poet nor a scheme of a conqueror. And it is significant of the spirit of the times that this idea, once so chimerical, should at the time we are writing find expression in the inaugural of our Chief Magistrate, in his declaration of the belief “ that our Great Maker is preparing the world in His own good time to become one nation, speaking one language, and when armies and navies will be no longer required.”

    2. Harpers 1873 the telegraph, pp. 334-336.

      "With the exception of those general readers whose taste or course of reading has led them somewhat into scientific paths, there are not many persons who find it easy to form a definite idea of the precise mode of action by which a telegraphic wire conveys its messages--so multitudinous and varies in their character, and transmitted with such inceivable rapidity...<pb n="335"/><pb n="336"/>[stories of people looking for physical messages]. Still to the mass even of intelligent and well-informed readers, the precise mode in which the communications are made is a mystery more or less inscrutable.

      The difficulty of forming a clear conception of the subject is increased by the fact that while we have to deal with novel and strange facts, we have also to use old words in novel and inconsistent senses.

    3. Harper's 1873 p. 334 "The Telegraph": Mr. Orton, the president of Western Union, comments on the value of metadata as a way of gathering commercial intelligence:

      "Our observer, if he could not only see the oscillations of electric condition, but also discern the meaning of the pulsations, and read the messages as they circulate, would thus have a panorama of the business and social affairs of the country passing under his eye. But the telegraphy has now become so true a representative of our life that would hardly be necessary to read the messages in order to find an indication of the state of the country. The mere degree of activity in the business uses of the telegraphy in any given direction affords an index of the prosperity of the section of the country served thereby. Mr. Orton, the president of the Western Union Company, gave a striking statement of this fact in his argument before a committee of Congress in 1870. He said: "The fact is, the telegraph lives upon commerce. It is the nervous system of the commercial system. If you will sit down with me at my office for twenty minutes, I will show you what the condition of business is at any given time in any locality in the United States. After three years of careful study of the matter, I am ready to appeal to the telegraphy receipts as a criterion under all circumstances. This last year, the grain business in the West has been very dull; as a consequence, the receipts from that section have fallen off twenty-five per cent. Business in the South has been gaining a little, month by month, for the last year or so; and now the telegraphic receipts from that quarter give stronger indications of returning prosperity than at any previous time since the war."'

  29. Feb 2014
    1. The conservative influence of property does not, however, depend on primogeniture or even inheritance -- features that gave property a valuable role in Burke's political system as well as in the political theories advanced by Hegel and Plato. n11 Within a single lifetime, property tends to make the property owner more risk-averse. This aversion applies both to public decisions [*291] affecting property, such as taxes, and to personal decisions that might diminish one's property, such as investment strategies and career choices. Inheritance and capital appreciation are only additional characteristics of traditional notions of property that tend to stabilize social stratification.
  30. Nov 2013
    1. They are deeply immersed in illusions and in dream images; their eyes merely glide over the surface of things and see "forms."

      Plato's shadow cave.

  31. Oct 2013
    1. For Socrates in Plato seems to say to Gorgias that the matter of oratory is not in words but in things.

      reference to Socrates in Plato

    2. AS to the material of oratory, some have said that it is speech, an opinion which Gorgias in Plato is represented as holding. If this be understood in such a way that a discourse, composed on any subject, is to be termed a speech, it is not the material, but the work, as the statue is the work of a statuary, for speeches, like statues, are produced by art

      reference to Gorgias in Plato