This short comment is on another comment about Plato’s Republic. I think it’ll be helpful in terms of thinking about the structure of the book as a whole. Thanks to http://arexandriuhrae.tumblr.com/ for mentioning Plato & Socrates.
(Editing this, adding some neat stuff, hoping people have the patience to work through it carefully).
I write a lot. Some of what I write is terrible; I really need to go back and edit a ton. Still, going over what I wrote this past year, I’m stunned by how much I’ve covered and in what depth. What is below is a sampling from my main blog - http://www.ashokkarra.com - in January. It isn’t close to everything covered that month.
In January of 2012 I was preparing to go to a conference and talk about academic things. I felt like I hadn’t read enough Greek tragedy, so I read Euripides’ “Bacchae” and tried to make sense of it. I think I concluded tentatively that the god of wine has to be seen as the god of drama to make any sense of the play.
I also started looking more closely at haiku, the one form of poetry I feel comfortable writing. I’m very happy with the comment on Basho’s “Winter Solitude.”
The remarks on Plato’s “Minos” turned out really well. I can’t say I understand the dialogue without speculating. Tim probably agrees with me that the original goal - to understand Strauss’ essay on the dialogue better - might take us a bit longer than we hoped. Still, I remember sitting focused, trying to think how to introduce the dialogue without saying something technical. I wanted to say something about how the problem of justice and law hits us deeply and more often than we think.
I was trying to read - still am trying to read - more Polish poetry in translation. Świetlicki had my attention that month.
At the time, I was trying to write really short blog entries every so often for readers who did not have much time. Yehuda Amichai’s “What I will never see again I must love forever” was something I came across while reading about God and rationality.
pinkpanthress asked: Would you tell us 3 books that you enjoyed this Year? :) (whether new or old)
Again, thank you so much for the question - hope you are rewarded with tons of likes and reblogs.
This is tricky. I read Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” and Plato’s “Meno” very closely, line-by-line with friends. I also read a ton of graphic novels. I don’t think I read a single novel or completed a book of poetry or philosophy, for that matter.
“Twelfth Night” was incredible. The one conclusion I was reaching was that Malvolio was the thesis that virtue can be learned. It sounds crazy: he’s not particularly bright and he’s extremely mean. But he is trying to learn how to be a gentleman - he’s always reading books that teach him class - and it is precisely that he isn’t bright and is mean that makes him a perfect test case for whether he can learn to be better.
The “Meno” reread - I think I must have read that dialogue 10 times or something now - that also went well. Spent a lot of time talking about the drama of the dialogue, how the epistemological questions stem from the task of Socratic moderation. Still not entirely sure what to make of “true opinion,” the rough conclusion of the dialogue about the truth of moral propositions (I think).
Oh, and Ghost World is something everyone should read.
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This is one of those things that falls under my specialty (ancient thought, specifically Plato & Xenophon) where I still have to look up things because I forget (or, worse, things differ from text to text). I think your observations are generally right and I’m only introducing a few more details and complications to flesh out the issue.