Anthroapologia II

Plato records Socrates speaking allegorically, in seeking the definition for justice.  Despite the heavily-edited version of the translation, I believe I have managed to extract some of the concepts, which in turn remind me of a book I read 20 years ago, Habits of the Heart.  Despite the odd description and reviews on Amazon, my recollection is that the study documented in this text explored the modern American’s concept of value. The authors undertook interviews, in which individuals were asked to explain their values, discuss how those values have changed over time, and define the word.

Although I do agree with some of the Amazon reviewers that the Habits… text is ultimately unsatisfying and, in itself, rather fuzzy, one of the interesting observations was that the interviewees considered their ethics as a matter of personal, not social, relevance.  While this did not mean that the values espoused by individuals were necessarily anti-social, it did suggest why values changed over time as a response to the individuals’ situation in life.

As for Plato and Socrates, my understanding so far is that they believed that true values were fixed, concepts that did not change over time or at the whim of an individual.  Unlike their contemporaries, and ours as well, they held that values are unchanging, intrinsic components of the essence of human.  Of course, this is a terribly general explanation of what I am getting from my study thus far.  More to come …

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