Saturday, May 9, 2009

20 Boethius

Today we may relax, Boethius was born in 480 AD and didnt get older than 44. Then he was executed by Theoderic, then ruler of ..say Italy. His father in law and a pope followed in his footsteps to the grave.

A real waste, for Boethius was a remarkable man, un upperclass kid with emperors among his ancestors, but he was a bright guy, good brains..studied like hell...translated all works on logic by Aristotle from greek into latin.

He wrote numerous texts on mathematics, Eucledian geometry, arithmetics. In fact he was a good teacher.

It is amazing to me to see the intellectual level people attained in those days, if you compair it with our well organized educational system. There was an educational system too in those days, but only for the upperclass.

Boethius may rightly be called an eminent founder of the Middle Ages and a figure of supreme importance in history of Western thought.

Himself one of the "last of Romans", he was also the last Western thinker to whom the works of Plato and Aristotle were familiar in Greek and to whom ancient thought in all its fullness was still comprehensible.

His translations and comentaries, though neglected for centuries, stimulated and fed the minds of those who brought about the revival of dialectics in the eleventh century, and gave to medieval speculation the dialectic bent and the Aristotelian color that it never lost.

We discuss 100 philosopers, but what is so amazing is that in those days you only needed just the wiritings of one man to make a difference. Thinkers who survived centuries, still influencing us in the way we think about ourself, the world, the meaning of life.

On the other hand some of the crucial debates of those days are so alien to me. Just take the debate on the relation between God - Son and Holy Spirit. "Problem" is are they all equal to eachother or is one more equal than the other...they really had serious debates about that.

In his De Consolatione Philosophiae, written in prison while waiting for his execution, Boethius brings up a lot of hot issues, at least hot in his days.

For instance his axiom that God == Good. This makes it hard to deal with evil. Where does it come from. Did God create it? The Manichaeians said he did. Evil is an independent entity.

For Boethius God was more an observer in this matter, not the creator, but here he got into trouble regarding the allmightiness of God. If god cant interfere with evil he is not allmighty.

An other interesting debate was that on free will in relation to God. If you define god as allknowing he also knows what I am going to do the next moment. But if he knows, is my doing caused by free will or already predestined because god already knew. How could I have acted otherwise????

These were serious issues in those days, but don think they are worth a good laugh only nowadays. We still have to deal with these isssues in the very same way, we only use other words.

We still talk about free will, but on the other hand we say all is already coded in the genes, or is it not?......Just other words but still the same fascinating challenges....
Is there free will or are we just selfish genes..:-)

The Discussion

[13:19] Sinclair Bracken: there's experience, although that
[13:19] Herman Bergson: As you see...we still have to deal with the same questions
[13:19] Sinclair Bracken: 's not the same as free will
[13:19] Herman Bergson: what do you mean Sinclair?
[13:19] oola Neruda: Kurt Vonnegut's book.. Timequake... sort of gets into this... smiles
[13:20] Herman Bergson: The SF writer?
[13:20] oola Neruda: yes
[13:20] Sinclair Bracken: even geneticists agree that the expression of genes, just to take that level, is dependent on an interaction with the environment
[13:20] Rodney Handrick: Haven't read the book
[13:20] Sinclair Bracken: but beyond that personality is largely dependent on experience
[13:20] gava Oyen is Offline
[13:20] Sinclair Bracken: and no gene, or combination of genes, really explains that
[13:21] Herman Bergson: I agree with that, but experience can condition a man
[13:21] Rodney Handrick: I agree...if we were on Mars we would be thinking differently
[13:21] Sinclair Bracken: yes, well that's what I mean
[13:21] hope63 Shepherd: sinclair.. to our knowlwege today<:) [13:21] Sinclair Bracken: it's not tantamount to free will, or will, or some sort of real choice [13:21] bundy Razor: sorry [13:21] Qwark Allen: HI BUNDY [13:21] Sinclair Bracken: true, hope-- always limited by that [13:21] Herman Bergson: Hello Bundy [13:22] Rodney Handrick: Hi Bundy [13:22] bundy Razor: hope m not late [13:22] bundy Razor: hi everyone :) [13:22] herman Bergson smiles [13:22] Sinclair Bracken: factually, you are late [13:22] AristotleVon Doobie: :) [13:22] bundy Razor: i know [13:22] Herman Bergson: lol...yes indeed [13:22] bundy Razor: lol [13:22] Ewa Aska: can I ask what do you all mean by free will? I think you have diffrent thoughts about it? [13:22] Herman Bergson: but nevertheless.... [13:23] hope63 Shepherd: please.. what are we going rto talk about..peotius in his time.-. genetics or free will.. let take jus tone subject.. [13:23] Gemma Cleanslate: ty hope [13:23] Herman Bergson: what strikes me in Boethius and those after him is the elaborate discussion on god [13:23] Gemma Cleanslate: :-)) [13:23] Maphisto Mapholisto: we can cope, hope [13:23] Gray Cardiff: why dont we just listen [13:23] bundy Razor: yes [13:24] Maphisto Mapholisto: because we are thinkers [13:24] Herman Bergson: the thing first have to explain how you can know that there exists a god [13:24] Gray Cardiff: silence is golden [13:24] Rodney Handrick: because this is about interaction [13:24] Herman Bergson: in those days that question didnt seem to be an issue [13:25] bundy Razor: u mean the question about god? [13:25] Sinclair Bracken: when did it begin to be a question? [13:25] Sinclair Bracken: or issue? [13:25] Herman Bergson: but even if you dont question that, how can you discuss about the properties of god [13:25] hope63 Shepherd: since the existance ot man thinking about his evironment sinclair. [13:25] Herman Bergson: We could be more precise Hope... [13:26] hope63 Shepherd: yes.. the bible puts the apple in the mout of adam.. [13:26] Herman Bergson: ofcourse..skepticism is of all ages.... [13:26] hope63 Shepherd: and the idiot eats it lol [13:26] Herman Bergson: but you might point at two moments in history [13:27] Herman Bergson: the first one is when the soul was disconnected from the mind [13:27] Herman Bergson: it was Freud who did that.. [13:27] Ewa Aska: and jung lol [13:27] Maphisto Mapholisto: hmm [13:27] hope63 Shepherd: thats not history hermay<>
Posted by herman_bergson on 2007-11-21 00:20:33

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