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Showing posts from July, 2018

Reciprocally Unrequited Love

If I love you, but you do not love me, then my love for you is unrequited.  Suppose you come to love me.  Does it follow that my love for you becomes requited?  Not necessarily.  There is more to requitedness than reciprocation, since I may not know that you have come to love me. If you keep it to yourself, your love of me makes no mark on my first-personal experience.  And this situation might be symmetrical: it could be that you came to love me in total ignorance of the fact that I loved you.  For it could be that I, too, am good at keeping the signs of my love to myself.  In this case, each of us loves the other but it seems that in some sense we do not love each other.  For instance we might both pine miserably for one another in the manner characteristic of unrequited lovers.  
In the case I’ve just described, our mutual ignorance is an accident.  Our love happens to be both reciprocal and unrequited.  It could become requited if we were informed about one other’s mental lives. …

Socratic Humility

Philosophers aren’t the only ones who love wisdom.  Everyone, philosopher or not, loves her own wisdom: the wisdom she has or takes herself to have.   What distinguishes the philosopher is loving the wisdom she doesn’t have.   Philosophy is, therefore, a form of humility: being aware that you lack what is of supreme importance.   There may be no human being who exemplified this form of humility more perfectly than Socrates. It is no coincidence therefore, that he is considered the first philosopher within the Western canon.
Socrates did not write philosophy—he simply went around talking to people.  But these conversations were so transformative that the second philosopher, Plato, devoted his life to writing dialogues that represent Socrates in conversation.  These dialogues are not transcripts of actual conversations, but they are nonetheless clearly intended to reflect not only Socrates’ ideas but his personality. Plato wanted the world to remember Socrates.  Generations after Socra…