Tuesday, March 04, 2014

"He observed to friends how common it was to find a dedicated anti-fascist who conducted his erotic life as if he were invading Poland."

Edward Mendelson on Auden
On one side are those who, like Auden, sense the furies hidden in themselves, evils they hope never to unleash, but which, they sometimes perceive, add force to their ordinary angers and resentments, especially those angers they prefer to think are righteous. On the other side are those who can say of themselves without irony, “I am a good person,” who perceive great evils only in other, evil people whose motives and actions are entirely different from their own. This view has dangerous consequences when a party or nation, having assured itself of its inherent goodness, assumes its actions are therefore justified, even when, in the eyes of everyone else, they seem murderous and oppressive.
I reposted the above, between two short paragraphs, in a comment at the Boston Review.

"Does Reading Literature Make You More Moral? This was the question posed by philosophy professor Debra Satz to three panelists—myself, David Kidd, and Joshua Landy—at an event celebrating the 25th anniversary of Stanford’s Center for Ethics in Society earlier this month."
It's sad that almost every time I come here I come here to mock.
Does philosophy make you more moral? Why is it that people who teach Plato for a living don't feel any necessary obligation to teach him alongside Aristophanes, while teachers of Aristophanes have no choice but to teach both?...
"I am a serious person" is the claim of every philosophy professor, so we get very 'serious' discussions of whether to take 'non-philosophical' and 'non-serious' writing seriously at all.
And we're having this discussion about philosophy and literature for the same reason the US is repeating the absurdities of 50 years ago in foreign policy.
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update. the ghost of Panofsky. posted above but it belongs here.

Raymond Geuss
Aristophanes may or may not have got Socrates right in taking him to be a dangerous subversive, but Plato was certainly on Aristophanes’ side in thinking that a happy ending was possible only in a polity from which “sophists” were excluded. The difference is that Plato added to Aristophanes’ arsenal of satire, innuendo, drama, slapstick, and verbal pyrotechnics a highly developed variant of one of the sophists’ own weapons, ratiocination.

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