[LMB] OT: Dark Ages [not], was, What makes ...

Marc Wilson marc.wilson at gmx.co.uk
Mon Sep 9 01:43:07 BST 2019


On Wed, 28 Aug 2019 10:05:53 -0500, "Tony Zbaraschuk" <tonyz at eskimo.com>
wrote:

>
>
>On Wed, August 28, 2019 8:38 am, Damien Sullivan wrote:
>> On Sun, Aug 25, 2019 at 11:02:41PM -0400, Nicholas David Rosen wrote:
><re Romans>
>>>> Their philosophers mostly covered ground the Greeks had already gone
>>>> over. Even today, it's noted that all philosophy is covered in the
>>>> works of Plato
>>
>> Dubious...
>
>Whitehead argued that most European philosophy is really just footnotes
>to Plato, and I think he has a point; the Greeks really did explore huge
>chunks of the probability space of philosphy and you can usually find a
>Greek precursor to most modern views (and a lot of Indian and Chinese
>philosophy as well).  For Whitehead, Paul's introspective "I know and
>approve the good thing, but I do the worse", was maybe the only real
>advance (as opposed to Plato/Socrates arguing that knowledge of the
>true good led inevitably to doing it).
>
>
>>>> Yeah, Rome never used slaves.  And despite acquiring virtually
>>>> everything else imaginable, they didn't "get things done" when it came
>>>> to acquiring knowledge.
>>
>> No worse than anyone else.
>
>There's an enormous amount of practical knowledge the Romans worked
>on, notably civil engineering but also big chunks on farming and
>animal husbandry and so forth, and let's not forget Roman law and
>political science, from the view of practical philosophy.
>
>>> I don’t see how the early years of the Renaissance discovered much
>>> about how the world worked; Copernicus and Galileo were late
>>> Renaissance, and it’s hard to see how there was much advance in
>>> science before that, unless you count improved perspective (and perhaps
>>> use of a camera obscura in painting) as an advance in optics.
>
>There's a good deal of work at Oxford and Paris in the High Middle
>Ages on the philosophy of physics, most of which nobody knows about
>except specialists -- "God said, 'Let Newton be!', and all was light", is
>the popular view, but Newton and Galileo were standing on the shoulders of
>a lot of people who had worked out and clarified stuff about motion and
>related things.
>

Nature and Nature's laws lay hid in night:
God said, "Let Newton be!" and all was light.

- Alexander Pope


It did not last; the devil howling
"Ho! Let Einstein be!" restored the status quo.

- Sir John Collins Squire
--
Rock journalism is people who can't write interviewing people who can't talk for people who can't read.   - Frank Zappa


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