In the Shadow of the Acropolis

Very hard not to think about November 8, on this November 7, but that’s my next act of free will (“the sustaining of a thought because I choose to when I might have other thoughts”).

Our next chapter is “In the Shadow of the Acropolis.” In the shadow of our own local acropolis, aka the dog park overlooking Nashville’s Parthenon (why didn’t they put it up there in 1897?), I rode my Raleigh on Saturday en route to TPA and my old pal’s latest attempt to quell the problem of the criterion.

“The problem of the criterion is an epistemic regress problem. It assumes that justification requires justified criteria of truth that are reasons for belief. I provide an account of criteria of truth that supports this assumption. Paradigmatic criteria of truth provide sufficient conditions of (probable) truth. Other principles can be criteria of truth including (i) propositions stating that belief-forming procedures are reliable and (ii) epistemic principles. All of these would provide us with procedural epistemic reasons for belief by underwriting the reliability of the ways in which we activate our beliefs.” AC

Back to Centennial Park, where I encountered the hundreds of Harleys that later would trap us up on the Sitar side of West End), and the Marchers for Diabetes. It was a glorious late autumn day, not (let’s hope) a harbinger of hotter and harder days ahead.

As for that other Acropolis…

The old Parthenon was all about Greek exceptionalism, the newer one a centenary celebration of Tennessee statehood and “the Athens of the South,” but both now stand as reminders that time marches on. It’s very cool, though, to have our very own giantess of wisdom reminding us to think before we fight (Athena was the goddess of wisdom and war).

We face a big choice at the polls tomorrow. Achilles chose glory, though I think his dilemma was false. You should enter every meaningful battle with the intent of making it home. Live long and prosper.

Speaking of extraordinariness, how about that Axial Age?  “Confucius and Lao-Tse were living in China, all the schools of Chinese philosophy came into being, including those of Mo Ti, Chuang Tse, Lieh Tzu and a host of others; India produced the Upanishads and Buddha and, like China, ran the whole gamut of philosophical possibilities down to materialism, scepticism and nihilism; in Iran Zarathustra taught a challenging view of the world as a struggle between good and evil; in Palestine the prophets made their appearance from Elijah by way ofIsaiah and Jeremiah to Deutero-Isaiah; Greece witnessed the appearance of Homer, of the philosophers – Parmenides, Heraclitus and Plato, – of the tragedians, ofThucydides and Archimedes. Everything implied by these names developed during these few centuries almost simultaneously in China, India and the West.”

Does our arete lack kleos, in this era of celebrity for its own sake? The Greeks can teach us something about that, and about how a genuinely virtuous person would use his superpowers for good. How many of us, though, would you really trust with Gyges ring?

More good questions today: How many Renaissance People do you know? How many of us sprang from the very soil we occupy? How many of us are truly atopia, and how many more will feel that way after the polls close tomorrow night?
5:30/6:18, 46/78, 4:43

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