Thankyou, it seemed almost like nearly being a rare original idea; rather than an old idea
recycled from someone else.
As an aside -- I just remembered with this Socratic criticism of authority. Well, the problem now is "political correctness". There are various differing groups, and they take offence at any criticism of their beliefs, so the Politicans are putting limits on what is allowed to be said. Various comedians (such as I think Benny Hill) became politically incorrect. And possibly philosophers like Socrates will also become Politically Incorrect.
The Motto might be: "you have freedom of speech, so long as what you say does not upset anyone" -- which could translate into - any criticism you have is bond to upset someone, so you can't say anything.
----- Original Message -----
From: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]">Karl Rogers
To: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]">[log in to unmask]
Sent: Sunday, October 29, 2006 10:36 PM
Subject: Re: On the issue of Wisdom Inquiry

Well said Roger.

Roger Anderton <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
Poor Socrates was forced to drink poison for criticising authorities; to teach this method to students and get everyone criticising everything must eventually end up with anarchy (I think).
The problem with grading is that there needs to be an authority saying what's right and what's wrong. Then  if this authority could be  wrong, there needs to be those who are Socratic in criticising.
There are lots of different points-of-view. There are religious groups that want to impose their point-of-view on Society. But Society is composed of these many groups and other types.
It is difficult to judge one point-of-view against another.
On the emotive issue of child abuse, Society has had different beliefs as to what was acceptable. For instance in the Dickensian period (Victorian) it was acceptable to send orphans up chimneys to clean them, often they died; opinions changed and such a thing is now considered child abuse. Different societies will hold different opinions as to acceptable behaviour.
>>Can we stop pretending that we do not need to make judgments about difficult issues, despite our fallibilities and the likelihood that many of our judgments may, after all, turn out to be wrong.
It is part of our nature to try to make judgements on issues. As to what will be considered right or wrong, opinions will vary over the years, and society will be based upon these different opinions which can reverse the beliefs of the past; so what is considered wrong will continually change.
----- Original Message -----
From: "John H Spencer" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Sunday, October 29, 2006 7:10 PM
Subject: Re: On the issue of Wisdom Inquiry

Karl and others are missing important distinctions. True enough, as
Socrates long ago showed us, Wisdom cannot be taught. And I agree with
Karl that the purpose of wisdom inquiry is to Ďteach students how to learn
for themselves, how to challenge and criticise authority, how to
participate in their own educational process, how to develop their
characters, and how to discover for themselves what is of value for the
enhancement of the quality and meaning of life.í But I completely disagree
with the notion that there should be no grades and that just going though
the motions of attempting to defend a thesis is enough to get a PhD. I
think such a proposal is as frightening as it is self-contradictory, which
I will explain. Do we want surgeons who really understand how to perform
surgery, pilots who really know how to fly planes, and so on? Surely we
do. You do not want me to perform surgery on you or to fly your plane,
because I am not trained in either profession. If I could just show up for
a class whenever I wanted and not be graded or assessed and then still be
able to be employed as a surgeon or pilot, clearly that could be
disastrous. Thus, here is the first problem, which requires a proper
distinction between wisdom and technical knowledge. Perhaps it is unwise
to grade people according to their level of wisdom, but we must grade
people according to their level of technical competence, whether in
medicine, aeronautics, or logic etc. These distinctions between wisdom and
technical knowledge require finer tuning, but the main point should be
clear. Learning about oneself is one of the most important things we can
do (wisdom based inquiry) but it is also important to learn technical arts
(which require clear assessments). I have already mentioned to the list
that the University of Philosophical Research has successfully integrated
both approaches. If the FoW want to develop an educational institute, then
we will have to focus on wisdom based inquiry or technical knowledge or
integrate them both.
The second problem concerns self-contradiction. If Roger, for example,
thinks that we should grade students and Karl thinks we should not, then
Karl believes that his own ideas are better than Rogerís, which implies
that Karl would necessarily judge himself to be wiser than Rogers, at
least so far as future educational development is concerned. But, Karl has
stated that no one can judge who is better or wiser etc, and so Karl
cannot say that his ideas are better or wiser than Rogerís or anybodyís.
Thus, Karl cannot attack the current educational systemís emphasis on high
grades and careers etc because such an attack requires making a judgment,
in effect a grading, and he places his own ideas above the conventional
ones. But he cannot both say that we cannot make such judgments AND yet
make such judgments. This is the problem with holding a relativist
position. If relativism is true, then everything is just as true and just
as false as anything else. But, relativism does not equal pluralism.
Pluralism allows for many voices to be heard and to be given equal
consideration, although we still must judge which ones are better. Karl
sent an email about the horrific child abuse around the world, but a
relativist cannot really condemn such horrors, only someone who really
believes that it is REALLY wrong can consistently say that child abuse in
all forms everywhere is wrong. But only a realist can say that, someone
who is not afraid to make a judgment and provide reasoned arguments to
defend it. There will always be a difficult dialectal tension between
differing ideas and desires etc, but refusing to make distinctions and
judgments is no way to deal with the inherent challenges. Worse still is
pretending not to value distinctions yet making them yourself about
others. A relativist who refuses to make distinctions cannot disagree with
me, so, if you disagree with me, if you really think I am wrong about one
or all my points (or correct), then you are being a realist. And it is
only with someone who admits that there is truth outside of relativized
context that you can have a good argument. If truth is nothing but context-
dependent convention, then there is no way to say that child abuse is
really wrong if it is an accepted, prevalent practice in a particular
society. Can we stop pretending that we do not need to make judgments
about difficult issues, despite our fallibilities and the likelihood that
many of our judgments may, after all, turn out to be wrong.


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