Last night’s discussion has stayed with me for some reason. Like many, I only finished reading the text at lunch, so I didn’t have a lot of time to reflect. Here’s what comes to mind since:
1. In retrospect, I am not sure Phil and Pat ultimately disagree, or, more to the point, I think I agree with both. I want to agree with Pat that we should be able as a species to come to some bedrock understandings and that, having done so, we could eliminate some painfully stupid, harmful misunderstandings. (Maybe that’s what knowledge is?) Yet experience doesn’t give me a lot of hope for this on a any large scale. I also agree with where (I heard) Phil ending up: that we at least do what we can in ever-growing communities to expand critical thinking. Maybe knowledge qua knowledge is the embracing of critical thinking? I don’t have a proof for this but I think we’d be a lot better off if more embraced it and, with Socrates as a guide, I’ll plant the seed not bring it to term. 🙂
2. I really like the image of the soul as (partly) a block of wax, maybe soft, maybe hard, et cetera. We only touched on it briefly, but it resonates for me as a nice way to think about the soul.
3. I have reread the six-part “thing you both know and are perceiving…” passage (192 b – c) a couple of times today, and I’ll leave this last thought without additional editorializing:
“Reports that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say there are some things we know we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns–the ones we don’t know we know.
Don Rumsfeld (from the official transcript of the DoD briefing, 13 Feb., 2003)
This won Rumsfeld the “Foot in Mouth” prize, awarded annually by Great Britain’s Plain English Campaign. Said Campaign spokesman John Lister: “We think we know what he means. But we don’t know if we really know.”