Aldous Blair


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The modern rebirth of Aristotle's ideas.

These four* tagged speakers invoke powerful arguments that Aristotle's theories about society, morals, democratic debate, and motivation are not outdated or dis-proven, but rather have been vindicated over time, and are now more relevant than ever.

For the less familiar, here are some examples of modern proposals of his ideas at their simplest;

-That citizens and politicians have a responsibility to debate about what we consider moral, and this debate is not possible and impractical to avoid.

-Rules and incentives that compose conventional wisdom should give way to 'Practical Wisdom' where those knowledgeable and able to bend rules to fit circumstances that morally require such, do so..

-"Emotions are not separate from reason, but they are the foundations of reason because they tell us what to value." - David Brooks.

-There's little about us that can be said to be truly individual due to our obvious but forgotten or ill-considered interdependence and influence.

-Human beings are motivated more by a sense of purpose than by any other material incentive.

Part of what this stems from is a universal resentment of institutions, governmental and private, that are failing to treat people as people.
Our opinions must be judged and cannot be calculated or generalised. We need to be seen in a manor that responds to us as we are, not as would be politically convenient.
Why should this come to pass? Why not? And, importantly, how?

*Edit- corrected from 'three' to 'four'

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    Mar 27 2011: Phillosophy in general has never been as urgent as today Adan. We need to get everybody's wheels turning. First of among many things that can be done in this endeavor we need to rescue our ethical, wise heroes. Here at home there has been a huge growing trend of what i have come to call "Idiot-latry" the people or characters that are constantly been waved and celebrated in front of eveyone are done so in terms of how agreessive they are, how much money they have and yes how stupid they can be even. No one is celebrated for their values, wisdome, insight or creativity. That brings one problem through a distorted logic it is implied that inturn wise people are not popular, loners, rejected individuals whom no one wants to associate with much less try to emulate. We need to rescue our wise heroes and use our creativity to depict them in ways that are appealing. But there lies the rub, phillosophers are so used to be looked at as wise looners that they in turn aid to create that distance between themselves and society. Just step into a phillosophy class and you will see it. Fortunaletly this ctrend is starting chage in campus but we need it to change everywhere. Writers, filmmakers, producers and (God forbid) TV execs. need to start using the same strageties that have so successfully been used to sell cars and clothes to bring our Wise heroes back into the media landscape. it would be a start.
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    Mar 27 2011: Until we respect the contribution of ancient and modern teachers, history will continue to repeat itself. As a whole, we don't know where we come from. How might we know where we are going?
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    Mar 27 2011: Oh, absolutely...The Wall Street movers and shakers have brought this nation and others to grief. The "Joe the Plumber" is no longer valued except for what can be squeezed out of him. Consider the Ceo's etc that pull salaries of millions plus stock options even when they drive a company to bankruptcy, while "Joe" is being laid off because the company cannot "afford" him. I realize that I am painting with a broad brush and there are exceptions but really are these wise people ever held up as examples ??? Only occasionally.
    • Mar 27 2011: The CEOs who pull down millions are the exception, not the rule. Thousands of (well paid but not ludicrously paid) CEOs work hard to create genuine value and to provide stable, well-paying jobs. Business people are the true heroes as they are the ones who create the value that allows taxes to be collected to finance all the social programs that help keep our society functioning.
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        Mar 27 2011: I agree it is a pity that these honest CEO's reputation should be spoiled. This highlights another problem we should work to address; we live with an emphasis on the extreme.
        No-one would say that the Tea Party represents accurately US working class citizens, or that Islamic extremists represent the Muslim population, or that politicians represent their people.
        Yet the Tea Party, extremists, and politicians are best at making their voices heard and receive the most media attention. We can't even truly blame the media, as that's what they think we want to read/hear about.
        And we inherently make judgements based on these assumptions despite it's lack of logic. A clear solution would be a more vocal majority, as what Jon Stewart tried to achieve in his 'March to restore Sanity', by Americans who felt both the Tea Party and the Democrats misrepresented them.
        Another would be to tackle the media. Hillary Clinton addressed the senate saying that viewership of the Al Jazeera news network is rising in the US because, she felt, Americans feel they cannot get real news at home, and Al Jazeera offers that. (I personally agree)

        I've mentioned examples of how these problems are beginning to be solved. A greater, more politically engaged body of citizens, where the majority are as vocal as the extremes and no longer passive, can and will lead to a better society.