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  • Jan E Garrett
    The Last Attachment: A Dialogue The ancient Stoics with whom we are familiar include a number that were active in Roman public life, for example Seneca and
    Message 1 of 13 , Aug 3, 2002
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      The Last Attachment: A Dialogue

       

      The ancient Stoics with whom we are familiar include a number that were active in Roman public life, for example Seneca and Marcus Aurelius (We might add Cicero, who, although he was not a Stoic in philosophical respects, admired the Stoic ethics). It was assumed by the Romans that those active in public life would also be active in the military. The association of duty, the virtue of courage, and defense of the state was fairly close among the Roman elites, and the Stoics of this period seem to have assimilated this association.

       

      While the Stoics surely did not suppose that one would properly defend the state if he was motivated by lust or anger or any of the other passions associated with vices, they do not appear to question whether attachment to the state or its current form might not constitute an excessive attachment similar to attachments to one’s material possessions or the love of a particular friend. Thus, it seems to me that Stoics are a bit more prone to, or at least give a sort of backdoor support to, what one might call the fetishism of the state than they ought, given the general teachings of Stoicism.

       

      Reflecting on this issue may be relevant today. As I write the militarization of “democratic” societies as part of an endless “war on terrorism” threatens to treat preservation of the actual existing state as such an absolute value that all other values, including not only liberty but the values of virtuous action, may be sacrificed for it.

       

      Let us listen in on a conversation between Krates, a Cynic philosopher, and Zeno.

       

      Z. What do you think, Krates, of my proposition that philosophers should take part in the life of the polis (henceforth: state)?

       

      K. Why do you think they should?

       

      Z. Man is by nature akin to man. It is according to nature that humans should serve each other in communities and the state is the natural form of the human community.

       

      K. Is that all?

       

      Z. Logos, reasoned discourse and the power than binds together, binds human beings to one another. It is communication and the medium of communication. And in the Assembly or in the Council men propose what is expedient and just for the whole state. In general, humans are animals with capacity for rational discourse.

       

      K. So, you are saying that we should serve in politics because doing so would be the key expression of our social natures and our rational nature, without which we cannot be fully human or live well?

       

      Z. I admit that philosophical reflection on nature as a whole and on nonpolitical parts of nature, which can be done in private or with a few friends, is also a virtuous activity that can contribute to our happiness. But with that qualification, yes.

       

      K. Does public service entail defending the state against attack, say by military action and war?

       

      Z. Surely it must, for if the state is so closely tied to our social and rational nature, then its preservation would be among the greatest of the advantageous externals.

       

      K. Then the good person will often sacrifice his very life for the state?

       

      Z. Yes.

       

      K. Have you thought carefully about what the state is?

       

      Z. I think so.

       

      K. Perhaps you are mixing things that might be kept separate?

       

      Z. Such as?

       

      K. Is the state just a set of human beings that we might name individually, A, B, C, D, etc.

       

      Z. No, individuals are born and die; they can even leave a state and go away from it forever, yet the state may nevertheless endure.

       

      K. Is the state just a set of laws that hang together with a certain degree of consistency?

       

      Z. I might say that a state is a set of such laws embodied in a population, understanding by that phrase that the population may change over time, as old citizens perish and new ones are born and trained in the laws.

       

      K. Then a change in the laws might constitute the destruction of the state? Suppose a state changes its law regarding the minimum age required to join the Council, say, from 25 to 27. Has the state been destroyed and a new one put in its place?

       

      Z. Well, no, but if the institutions of a democratic state, such asAthens was for most of Socrates’ lifetime, are destroyed and the democracy is replaced by a tyranny, that surely would be a destruction. And if one state is conquered by another and from having been independent because subordinate to its conqueror, that would seem to be destruction as well.

       

      K. Is it really plausible to say that Athens was destroyed at the end of the war with Sparta when the democracy was overturned and the tyranny of the Thirty was imposed by Sparta ?

       

      Z. What do you mean?

       

      K. You know that the Athenians’ devotion to democratic laws (together perhaps with their fear that the Thirty might kill or exile them and seize their property) led them to revolt against the Thirty and restore democratic laws.

       

      Z. Yes, I know that history.

       

      K. So the end of the democracy, and the operation of democratic laws, at the time of the Spartan victory did not mean an end to Athens , or even to the annihilation of democratic laws and customs because those laws remained in the hearts and minds of the Athenians.

       

      Z. You may be right.

       

      K. In any case, defending Athens “to the death,” which I imagine some Athenians tried to do before the Spartan victory, did not preserve Athens if an essential feature of Athens is the continuous operation of democratic laws. But if Athens did survive, that was due to something other than the continuous operation of democratic laws.  We can dispute some other time whether the revival of democratic laws after the Thirty means that Athens was reborn as a new state or whether the state remained throughout the period in which democracy was suspended.

       

      Z. You seem to mean that the Athenians waited for an opportunity to revive their favored legal and constitutional customs.

       

      K. Yes, but how are those customs related to virtue? You and I agree that virtue is the good.

       

      Z. The customs—or at least the best of those customs—are approximations of virtue. They tell the non-philosopher, the person who is not making philosophical progress, his proper function or appropriate action. If the person becomes a philosopher, and even more if the person becomes a sage, he will have critically sifted those customs and come up with a truly consistent intellectual scheme, consisting in part of a worked out science of ethics.

       

      K. Thus many customs or laws are valuable insofar as they are something like the raw material from which virtue is formed by further habituation and reflection?

       

      Z. They are also valuable in a second way because they contribute to the preservation of advantageous things, things that are normally in accord with nature, and the avoidance of disadvantageous things, things that are normally contrary to nature. They make it possible to grow crops, cure the sick, train the young, etc.

       

      K. But which is decisive, between virtue and these valuable customs and laws?

       

      Z. Virtue, of course.

       

      K. So, then, is the “destruction” of the state by a change of laws or regime or even by conquest a decisive blow to virtue?

       

      Z. Not necessarily—though it could be in a sense if it is accompanied by genocide or the long-term breakdown of the most basic framework of justice: that could produce the total extinction of human beings, and the virtuous among them.

       

      K. But the philosopher should know that the end of a particular regime, even of a particular state (assuming it is absorbed by another state), need not mean the end of the culture (paideia) of lawfulness out of which virtuous habits may grow, with practice and critical reflection—or what Socrates called self-examination.

       

      Z. The philosopher is not a defender of any existing state at all costs, if that is what you mean.

       

      K. The philosopher is not absolutely attached to any particular state nor to its leaders, especially not to leaders who confuse the state with their personal or elite group privilege in the state. There is no absolute duty to defend Corinth or Megara or Athens . Depending on circumstances, of course, the philosopher may have a duty to risk his life to defend a state against its enemies. If in his position of responsibility he has pledged, explicitly or tacitly, to defend the state in a way that is compatible with virtue, he will not abandon his duty out of concern for his health or survival. He will not put money or power ahead of virtue. But he may also yield in the physical struggle and survive, with equanimity, if externals permit, to live to promote virtue another day.

       

      Z. It seems so.

       

      K. May we conclude, then, that the philosopher’s total attachment to his or her state is not justified by devotion to virtue. Attachment to the state is conditional, like his attachment to family and friends whom he may “love very deeply” if not more so than those whose attachments to family and friends are mixed up with their self-regarding passions.

       

      Z. It may be overridden not by lust or greed or anger but by devotion to virtue itself in certain circumstances.

       

      K. The “material of virtue,” if we can call roughly good customs and laws that, can be preserved even if regimes fall. That preservation would be highly preferred, and it would give the philosopher something to work with after the regime has been altered.

       

      Z. This can happen, and often does, though it does not always happen.

       

      K. Then perhaps there are acts that a philosopher will not do to preserve a regime, acts for example that harm highly valuable advantageous things, such as the lives of innocent persons which are often overlooked in the prosecution of a war.

       

      Z. Innocent persons?

       

      K. I don’t mean virtuous persons necessarily or even for the most part. I mean persons who are not remotely blameworthy for the actions of an enemy government. Even if we suppose it is not wrong to kill attacking enemy soldiers in self-defense, it may nonetheless be of dubious "virtue" to attack enemy fortresses in ways that are certain to produce injury and death to children and other politically powerless persons. The mere "preservation" of our own state cannot justify it.

       

      Z. Your argument seems persuasive, although I must think about it further. But I agree with what seems to be a corollary of what you say: we must not confuse the state itself with a fragile deity, as if the very presence of what is valuable on earth were dependent upon the preservation of the state in its current form.

    • Jeffrey Smart
      As one who serves in the military, I find this dialogue very interesting. It does cause one to think about duty, war, and the present situation we find
      Message 2 of 13 , Aug 4, 2002
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        As one who serves in the military, I find this dialogue very interesting.  It does cause one to think about duty, war, and the present situation we find ourselves in.  There are very few people, I think, who would condone the indescriminate killing or innocent people (non-combatants). In fact, in our history, there have been many court martials and investigations concerning the killing of non-combatants. 

            Every soldier, sailor, marine, and airman is taught the Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC).  This law or code of conduct governs their actions and tells them what they can or cannot do in most circumstances.  You cannot kill a non-combatant, period.  You cannot kill one who surrenders.  I think this code, to a certain degree, instills virtue in the American soldier.

             Of course we must take into account the confusion of battle,  the psychological toll that combat places on the soldier, and the type of weapons we use now, as compared to the days of ancient Athens.  A 2000 pound bomb falling from an aircraft at 25,000 ft cannot distinguish between an enemy soldier or a child.  If a bomb was dropped to destroy a military target and the enemy was allowing non-combatants to live in or around this target, would their deaths be a blemish against our virtue? 

             I believe Pres. Truman went through some soul searching when making the decision to drop the bombs on Heroshima and Nakasaki.  His view was that it was his duty to save more Americans from death at the hands of a fanatical Japan.  This was accomplished by the killing of untold amounts of civilians and non-combatants.  I think it would be hard to tell Pvt. Smith's mother that we were wrong and that her son should have invaded Japan and been killed.  Of course we did not have to make that decision.  Looking at things from the Stoic perspective, we should have invaded Japan and kept the death of innocents to a minimum.  What does everyone think?  I can see the pro and con of both sides. 

               J Smart

          Jan E Garrett <jangarrett@...> wrote:

        The Last Attachment: A Dialogue

         

        The ancient Stoics with whom we are familiar include a number that were active in Roman public life, for example Seneca and Marcus Aurelius (We might add Cicero, who, although he was not a Stoic in philosophical respects, admired the Stoic ethics). It was assumed by the Romans that those active in public life would also be active in the military. The association of duty, the virtue of courage, and defense of the state was fairly close among the Roman elites, and the Stoics of this period seem to have assimilated this association.

         

        While the Stoics surely did not suppose that one would properly defend the state if he was motivated by lust or anger or any of the other passions associated with vices, they do not appear to question whether attachment to the state or its current form might not constitute an excessive attachment similar to attachments to one�s material possessions or the love of a particular friend. Thus, it seems to me that Stoics are a bit more prone to, or at least give a sort of backdoor support to, what one might call the fetishism of the state than they ought, given the general teachings of Stoicism.

         

        Reflecting on this issue may be relevant today. As I write the militarization of �democratic� societies as part of an endless �war on terrorism� threatens to treat preservation of the actual existing state as such an absolute value that all other values, including not only liberty but the values of virtuous action, may be sacrificed for it.

         

        Let us listen in on a conversation between Krates, a Cynic philosopher, and Zeno.

         

        Z. What do you think, Krates, of my proposition that philosophers should take part in the life of the polis (henceforth: state)?

         

        K. Why do you think they should?

         

        Z. Man is by nature akin to man. It is according to nature that humans should serve each other in communities and the state is the natural form of the human community.

         

        K. Is that all?

         

        Z. Logos, reasoned discourse and the power than binds together, binds human beings to one another. It is communication and the medium of communication. And in the Assembly or in the Council men propose what is expedient and just for the whole state. In general, humans are animals with capacity for rational discourse.

         

        K. So, you are saying that we should serve in politics because doing so would be the key expression of our social natures and our rational nature, without which we cannot be fully human or live well?

         

        Z. I admit that philosophical reflection on nature as a whole and on nonpolitical parts of nature, which can be done in private or with a few friends, is also a virtuous activity that can contribute to our happiness. But with that qualification, yes.

         

        K. Does public service entail defending the state against attack, say by military action and war?

         

        Z. Surely it must, for if the state is so closely tied to our social and rational nature, then its preservation would be among the greatest of the advantageous externals.

         

        K. Then the good person will often sacrifice his very life for the state?

         

        Z. Yes.

         

        K. Have you thought carefully about what the state is?

         

        Z. I think so.

         

        K. Perhaps you are mixing things that might be kept separate?

         

        Z. Such as?

         

        K. Is the state just a set of human beings that we might name individually, A, B, C, D, etc.

         

        Z. No, individuals are born and die; they can even leave a state and go away from it forever, yet the state may nevertheless endure.

         

        K. Is the state just a set of laws that hang together with a certain degree of consistency?

         

        Z. I might say that a state is a set of such laws embodied in a population, understanding by that phrase that the population may change over time, as old citizens perish and new ones are born and trained in the laws.

         

        K. Then a change in the laws might constitute the destruction of the state? Suppose a state changes its law regarding the minimum age required to join the Council, say, from 25 to 27. Has the state been destroyed and a new one put in its place?

         

        Z. Well, no, but if the institutions of a democratic state, such as Athens was for most of Socrates� lifetime, are destroyed and the democracy is replaced by a tyranny, that surely would be a destruction. And if one state is conquered by another and from having been independent because subordinate to its conqueror, that would seem to be destruction as well.

         

        K. Is it really plausible to say that Athens was destroyed at the end of the war with Sparta when the democracy was overturned and the tyranny of the Thirty was imposed by Sparta ?

         

        Z. What do you mean?

         

        K. You know that the Athenians� devotion to democratic laws (together perhaps with their fear that the Thirty might kill or exile them and seize their property) led them to revolt against the Thirty and restore democratic laws.

         

        Z. Yes, I know that history.

         

        K. So the end of the democracy, and the operation of democratic laws, at the time of the Spartan victory did not mean an end to Athens , or even to the annihilation of democratic laws and customs because those laws remained in the hearts and minds of the Athenians.

         

        Z. You may be right.

         

        K. In any case, defending Athens �to the death,� which I imagine some Athenians tried to do before the Spartan victory, did not preserve Athens if an essential feature of Athens is the continuous operation of democratic laws. But if Athens did survive, that was due to something other than the continuous operation of democratic laws.  We can dispute some other time whether the revival of democratic laws after the Thirty means that Athens was reborn as a new state or whether the state remained throughout the period in which democracy was suspended.

         

        Z. You seem to mean that the Athenians waited for an opportunity to revive their favored legal and constitutional customs.

         

        K. Yes, but how are those customs related to virtue? You and I agree that virtue is the good.

         

        Z. The customs�or at least the best of those customs�are approximations of virtue. They tell the non-philosopher, the person who is not making philosophical progress, his proper function or appropriate action. If the person becomes a philosopher, and even more if the person becomes a sage, he will have critically sifted those customs and come up with a truly consistent intellectual scheme, consisting in part of a worked out science of ethics.

         

        K. Thus many customs or laws are valuable insofar as they are something like the raw material from which virtue is formed by further habituation and reflection?

         

        Z. They are also valuable in a second way because they contribute to the preservation of advantageous things, things that are normally in accord with nature, and the avoidance of disadvantageous things, things that are normally contrary to nature. They make it possible to grow crops, cure the sick, train the young, etc.

         

        K. But which is decisive, between virtue and these valuable customs and laws?

         

        Z. Virtue, of course.

         

        K. So, then, is the �destruction� of the state by a change of laws or regime or even by conquest a decisive blow to virtue?

         

        Z. Not necessarily�though it could be in a sense if it is accompanied by genocide or the long-term breakdown of the most basic framework of justice: that could produce the total extinction of human beings, and the virtuous among them.

         

        K. But the philosopher should know that the end of a particular regime, even of a particular state (assuming it is absorbed by another state), need not mean the end of the culture (paideia) of lawfulness out of which virtuous habits may grow, with practice and critical reflection�or what Socrates called self-examination.

         

        Z. The philosopher is not a defender of any existing state at all costs, if that is what you mean.

         

        K. The philosopher is not absolutely attached to any particular state nor to its leaders, especially not to leaders who confuse the state with their personal or elite group privilege in the state. There is no absolute duty to defend Corinth or Megara or Athens . Depending on circumstances, of course, the philosopher may have a duty to risk his life to defend a state against its enemies. If in his position of responsibility he has pledged, explicitly or tacitly, to defend the state in a way that is compatible with virtue, he will not abandon his duty out of concern for his health or survival. He will not put money or power ahead of virtue. But he may also yield in the physical struggle and survive, with equanimity, if externals permit, to live to promote virtue another day.

         

        Z. It seems so.

         

        K. May we conclude, then, that the philosopher�s total attachment to his or her state is not justified by devotion to virtue. Attachment to the state is conditional, like his attachment to family and friends whom he may �love very deeply� if not more so than those whose attachments to family and friends are mixed up with their self-regarding passions.

         

        Z. It may be overridden not by lust or greed or anger but by devotion to virtue itself in certain circumstances.

         

        K. The �material of virtue,� if we can call roughly good customs and laws that, can be preserved even if regimes fall. That preservation would be highly preferred, and it would give the philosopher something to work with after the regime has been altered.

         

        Z. This can happen, and often does, though it does not always happen.

         

        K. Then perhaps there are acts that a philosopher will not do to preserve a regime, acts for example that harm highly valuable advantageous things, such as the lives of innocent persons which are often overlooked in the prosecution of a war.

         

        Z. Innocent persons?

         

        K. I don�t mean virtuous persons necessarily or even for the most part. I mean persons who are not remotely blameworthy for the actions of an enemy government. Even if we suppose it is not wrong to kill attacking enemy soldiers in self-defense, it may nonetheless be of dubious "virtue" to attack enemy fortresses in ways that are certain to produce injury and death to children and other politically powerless persons. The mere "preservation" of our own state cannot justify it.

         

        Z. Your argument seems persuasive, although I must think about it further. But I agree with what seems to be a corollary of what you say: we must not confuse the state itself with a fragile deity, as if the very presence of what is valuable on earth were dependent upon the preservation of the state in its current form.



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      • tom_paines_ghost
        In the case of the atomic bombs, the situation is actually simpler than it seems. Japan was looking to make peace, and had made overtures by various means.
        Message 3 of 13 , Aug 5, 2002
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          In the case of the atomic bombs, the situation is actually simpler
          than it seems. Japan was looking to make peace, and had made
          overtures by various means.

          These included our reading of the Japanese diplomatic code,
          including several sets of instructions to Japanese diplomats in the
          Soviet Union and Sweden to seek intervention by those (then) neutrel
          powers.

          Those in decision making positions only required a guarantee that
          the Imperial system would be retained. (And not neccesarily, the
          Emperor.)

          The US dropped the bomb, apparently from a desire to gain leverage
          in a post war world and to test the differing effects of the uranium
          and plutonium bombs on real live city targets.

          So any way you wish to cut it the decision was immoral and
          unjustified.


          --- In stoics@y..., Jeffrey Smart <smartja23@y...> wrote:
          >
          > As one who serves in the military, I find this dialogue very
          interesting. It does cause one to think about duty, war, and the
          present situation we find ourselves in. There are very few people,
          I think, who would condone the indescriminate killing or innocent
          people (non-combatants). In fact, in our history, there have been
          many court martials and investigations concerning the killing of non-
          combatants.
          > Every soldier, sailor, marine, and airman is taught the Law of
          Armed Conflict (LOAC). This law or code of conduct governs their
          actions and tells them what they can or cannot do in most
          circumstances. You cannot kill a non-combatant, period. You cannot
          kill one who surrenders. I think this code, to a certain degree,
          instills virtue in the American soldier.
          > Of course we must take into account the confusion of battle,
          the psychological toll that combat places on the soldier, and the
          type of weapons we use now, as compared to the days of ancient
          Athens. A 2000 pound bomb falling from an aircraft at 25,000 ft
          cannot distinguish between an enemy soldier or a child. If a bomb
          was dropped to destroy a military target and the enemy was allowing
          non-combatants to live in or around this target, would their deaths
          be a blemish against our virtue?
          > I believe Pres. Truman went through some soul searching when
          making the decision to drop the bombs on Heroshima and Nakasaki.
          His view was that it was his duty to save more Americans from death
          at the hands of a fanatical Japan. This was accomplished by the
          killing of untold amounts of civilians and non-combatants. I think
          it would be hard to tell Pvt. Smith's mother that we were wrong and
          that her son should have invaded Japan and been killed. Of course
          we did not have to make that decision. Looking at things from the
          Stoic perspective, we should have invaded Japan and kept the death
          of innocents to a minimum. What does everyone think? I can see the
          pro and con of both sides.
          > J Smart
          > Jan E Garrett <jangarrett@j...> wrote:
          > The Last Attachment: A Dialogue
          >
          >
          >
          > The ancient Stoics with whom we are familiar include a number that
          were active in Roman public life, for example Seneca and Marcus
          Aurelius (We might add Cicero, who, although he was not a Stoic in
          philosophical respects, admired the Stoic ethics). It was assumed by
          the Romans that those active in public life would also be active in
          the military. The association of duty, the virtue of courage, and
          defense of the state was fairly close among the Roman elites, and
          the Stoics of this period seem to have assimilated this association.
          >
          >
          >
          > While the Stoics surely did not suppose that one would properly
          defend the state if he was motivated by lust or anger or any of the
          other passions associated with vices, they do not appear to question
          whether attachment to the state or its current form might not
          constitute an excessive attachment similar to attachments to one's
          material possessions or the love of a particular friend. Thus, it
          seems to me that Stoics are a bit more prone to, or at least give a
          sort of backdoor support to, what one might call the fetishism of
          the state than they ought, given the general teachings of Stoicism.
          >
          >
          >
          > Reflecting on this issue may be relevant today. As I write the
          militarization of "democratic" societies as part of an endless "war
          on terrorism" threatens to treat preservation of the actual existing
          state as such an absolute value that all other values, including not
          only liberty but the values of virtuous action, may be sacrificed
          for it.
          >
          >
          >
          > Let us listen in on a conversation between Krates, a Cynic
          philosopher, and Zeno.
          >
          >
          >
          > Z. What do you think, Krates, of my proposition that philosophers
          should take part in the life of the polis (henceforth: state)?
          >
          >
          >
          > K. Why do you think they should?
          >
          >
          >
          > Z. Man is by nature akin to man. It is according to nature that
          humans should serve each other in communities and the state is the
          natural form of the human community.
          >
          >
          >
          > K. Is that all?
          >
          >
          >
          > Z. Logos, reasoned discourse and the power than binds together,
          binds human beings to one another. It is communication and the
          medium of communication. And in the Assembly or in the Council men
          propose what is expedient and just for the whole state. In general,
          humans are animals with capacity for rational discourse.
          >
          >
          >
          > K. So, you are saying that we should serve in politics because
          doing so would be the key expression of our social natures and our
          rational nature, without which we cannot be fully human or live well?
          >
          >
          >
          > Z. I admit that philosophical reflection on nature as a whole and
          on nonpolitical parts of nature, which can be done in private or
          with a few friends, is also a virtuous activity that can contribute
          to our happiness. But with that qualification, yes.
          >
          >
          >
          > K. Does public service entail defending the state against attack,
          say by military action and war?
          >
          >
          >
          > Z. Surely it must, for if the state is so closely tied to our
          social and rational nature, then its preservation would be among the
          greatest of the advantageous externals.
          >
          >
          >
          > K. Then the good person will often sacrifice his very life for the
          state?
          >
          >
          >
          > Z. Yes.
          >
          >
          >
          > K. Have you thought carefully about what the state is?
          >
          >
          >
          > Z. I think so.
          >
          >
          >
          > K. Perhaps you are mixing things that might be kept separate?
          >
          >
          >
          > Z. Such as?
          >
          >
          >
          > K. Is the state just a set of human beings that we might name
          individually, A, B, C, D, etc.
          >
          >
          >
          > Z. No, individuals are born and die; they can even leave a state
          and go away from it forever, yet the state may nevertheless endure.
          >
          >
          >
          > K. Is the state just a set of laws that hang together with a
          certain degree of consistency?
          >
          >
          >
          > Z. I might say that a state is a set of such laws embodied in a
          population, understanding by that phrase that the population may
          change over time, as old citizens perish and new ones are born and
          trained in the laws.
          >
          >
          >
          > K. Then a change in the laws might constitute the destruction of
          the state? Suppose a state changes its law regarding the minimum age
          required to join the Council, say, from 25 to 27. Has the state been
          destroyed and a new one put in its place?
          >
          >
          >
          > Z. Well, no, but if the institutions of a democratic state, such
          as Athens was for most of Socrates' lifetime, are destroyed and the
          democracy is replaced by a tyranny, that surely would be a
          destruction. And if one state is conquered by another and from
          having been independent because subordinate to its conqueror, that
          would seem to be destruction as well.
          >
          >
          >
          > K. Is it really plausible to say that Athens was destroyed at the
          end of the war with Sparta when the democracy was overturned and the
          tyranny of the Thirty was imposed by Sparta?
          >
          >
          >
          > Z. What do you mean?
          >
          >
          >
          > K. You know that the Athenians' devotion to democratic laws
          (together perhaps with their fear that the Thirty might kill or
          exile them and seize their property) led them to revolt against the
          Thirty and restore democratic laws.
          >
          >
          >
          > Z. Yes, I know that history.
          >
          >
          >
          > K. So the end of the democracy, and the operation of democratic
          laws, at the time of the Spartan victory did not mean an end to
          Athens, or even to the annihilation of democratic laws and customs
          because those laws remained in the hearts and minds of the Athenians.
          >
          >
          >
          > Z. You may be right.
          >
          >
          >
          > K. In any case, defending Athens "to the death," which I imagine
          some Athenians tried to do before the Spartan victory, did not
          preserve Athens if an essential feature of Athens is the continuous
          operation of democratic laws. But if Athens did survive, that was
          due to something other than the continuous operation of democratic
          laws. We can dispute some other time whether the revival of
          democratic laws after the Thirty means that Athens was reborn as a
          new state or whether the state remained throughout the period in
          which democracy was suspended.
          >
          >
          >
          > Z. You seem to mean that the Athenians waited for an opportunity
          to revive their favored legal and constitutional customs.
          >
          >
          >
          > K. Yes, but how are those customs related to virtue? You and I
          agree that virtue is the good.
          >
          >
          >
          > Z. The customs—or at least the best of those customs—are
          approximations of virtue. They tell the non-philosopher, the person
          who is not making philosophical progress, his proper function or
          appropriate action. If the person becomes a philosopher, and even
          more if the person becomes a sage, he will have critically sifted
          those customs and come up with a truly consistent intellectual
          scheme, consisting in part of a worked out science of ethics.
          >
          >
          >
          > K. Thus many customs or laws are valuable insofar as they are
          something like the raw material from which virtue is formed by
          further habituation and reflection?
          >
          >
          >
          > Z. They are also valuable in a second way because they contribute
          to the preservation of advantageous things, things that are normally
          in accord with nature, and the avoidance of disadvantageous things,
          things that are normally contrary to nature. They make it possible
          to grow crops, cure the sick, train the young, etc.
          >
          >
          >
          > K. But which is decisive, between virtue and these valuable
          customs and laws?
          >
          >
          >
          > Z. Virtue, of course.
          >
          >
          >
          > K. So, then, is the "destruction" of the state by a change of laws
          or regime or even by conquest a decisive blow to virtue?
          >
          >
          >
          > Z. Not necessarily—though it could be in a sense if it is
          accompanied by genocide or the long-term breakdown of the most basic
          framework of justice: that could produce the total extinction of
          human beings, and the virtuous among them.
          >
          >
          >
          > K. But the philosopher should know that the end of a particular
          regime, even of a particular state (assuming it is absorbed by
          another state), need not mean the end of the culture (paideia) of
          lawfulness out of which virtuous habits may grow, with practice and
          critical reflection—or what Socrates called self-examination.
          >
          >
          >
          > Z. The philosopher is not a defender of any existing state at all
          costs, if that is what you mean.
          >
          >
          >
          > K. The philosopher is not absolutely attached to any particular
          state nor to its leaders, especially not to leaders who confuse the
          state with their personal or elite group privilege in the state.
          There is no absolute duty to defend Corinth or Megara or Athens.
          Depending on circumstances, of course, the philosopher may have a
          duty to risk his life to defend a state against its enemies. If in
          his position of responsibility he has pledged, explicitly or
          tacitly, to defend the state in a way that is compatible with
          virtue, he will not abandon his duty out of concern for his health
          or survival. He will not put money or power ahead of virtue. But he
          may also yield in the physical struggle and survive, with
          equanimity, if externals permit, to live to promote virtue another
          day.
          >
          >
          >
          > Z. It seems so.
          >
          >
          >
          > K. May we conclude, then, that the philosopher's total attachment
          to his or her state is not justified by devotion to virtue.
          Attachment to the state is conditional, like his attachment to
          family and friends whom he may "love very deeply" if not more so
          than those whose attachments to family and friends are mixed up with
          their self-regarding passions.
          >
          >
          >
          > Z. It may be overridden not by lust or greed or anger but by
          devotion to virtue itself in certain circumstances.
          >
          >
          >
          > K. The "material of virtue," if we can call roughly good customs
          and laws that, can be preserved even if regimes fall. That
          preservation would be highly preferred, and it would give the
          philosopher something to work with after the regime has been altered.
          >
          >
          >
          > Z. This can happen, and often does, though it does not always
          happen.
          >
          >
          >
          > K. Then perhaps there are acts that a philosopher will not do to
          preserve a regime, acts for example that harm highly valuable
          advantageous things, such as the lives of innocent persons which are
          often overlooked in the prosecution of a war.
          >
          >
          >
          > Z. Innocent persons?
          >
          >
          >
          > K. I don't mean virtuous persons necessarily or even for the most
          part. I mean persons who are not remotely blameworthy for the
          actions of an enemy government. Even if we suppose it is not wrong
          to kill attacking enemy soldiers in self-defense, it may nonetheless
          be of dubious "virtue" to attack enemy fortresses in ways that are
          certain to produce injury and death to children and other
          politically powerless persons. The mere "preservation" of our own
          state cannot justify it.
          >
          >
          >
          > Z. Your argument seems persuasive, although I must think about it
          further. But I agree with what seems to be a corollary of what you
          say: we must not confuse the state itself with a fragile deity, as
          if the very presence of what is valuable on earth were dependent
          upon the preservation of the state in its current form.
          >
          > Yahoo! Groups SponsorADVERTISEMENT
          >
          > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
          > stoics-unsubscribe@y...
          >
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          Service.
          >
          >
          >
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        • Jeffrey Smart
          The decision to drop the atomic bombs could never have been so simple. J Smart tom_paines_ghost wrote:In the case of the atomic bombs, the situation is
          Message 4 of 13 , Aug 6, 2002
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            The decision to drop the atomic bombs could never have been so simple. 

            J Smart

             tom_paines_ghost wrote:

            In the case of the atomic bombs, the situation is actually simpler
            than it seems. Japan was looking to make peace, and had made
            overtures by various means.

            These included our reading of the Japanese diplomatic code,
            including several sets of instructions to Japanese diplomats in the
            Soviet Union and Sweden to seek intervention by those (then) neutrel
            powers.

            Those in decision making positions only required a guarantee that
            the Imperial system would be retained. (And not neccesarily, the
            Emperor.)

            The US dropped the bomb, apparently from a desire to gain leverage
            in a post war world and to test the differing effects of the uranium
            and plutonium bombs on real live city targets.

            So any way you wish to cut it the decision was immoral and
            unjustified.


            --- In stoics@y..., Jeffrey Smart <smartja23@y...> wrote:
            >
            >  As one who serves in the military, I find this dialogue very
            interesting.  It does cause one to think about duty, war, and the
            present situation we find ourselves in.  There are very few people,
            I think, who would condone the indescriminate killing or innocent
            people (non-combatants). In fact, in our history, there have been
            many court martials and investigations concerning the killing of non-
            combatants. 
            >     Every soldier, sailor, marine, and airman is taught the Law of
            Armed Conflict (LOAC).  This law or code of conduct governs their
            actions and tells them what they can or cannot do in most
            circumstances.  You cannot kill a non-combatant, period.  You cannot
            kill one who surrenders.  I think this code, to a certain degree,
            instills virtue in the American soldier.
            >      Of course we must take into account the confusion of battle, 
            the psychological toll that combat places on the soldier, and the
            type of weapons we use now, as compared to the days of ancient
            Athens.  A 2000 pound bomb falling from an aircraft at 25,000 ft
            cannot distinguish between an enemy soldier or a child.  If a bomb
            was dropped to destroy a military target and the enemy was allowing
            non-combatants to live in or around this target, would their deaths
            be a blemish against our virtue? 
            >      I believe Pres. Truman went through some soul searching when
            making the decision to drop the bombs on Heroshima and Nakasaki. 
            His view was that it was his duty to save more Americans from death
            at the hands of a fanatical Japan.  This was accomplished by the
            killing of untold amounts of civilians and non-combatants.  I think
            it would be hard to tell Pvt. Smith's mother that we were wrong and
            that her son should have invaded Japan and been killed.  Of course
            we did not have to make that decision.  Looking at things from the
            Stoic perspective, we should have invaded Japan and kept the death
            of innocents to a minimum.  What does everyone think?  I can see the
            pro and con of both sides. 
            >        J Smart
            >   Jan E Garrett <jangarrett@j...> wrote:
            > The Last Attachment: A Dialogue
            >

            >
            > The ancient Stoics with whom we are familiar include a number that
            were active in Roman public life, for example Seneca and Marcus
            Aurelius (We might add Cicero, who, although he was not a Stoic in
            philosophical respects, admired the Stoic ethics). It was assumed by
            the Romans that those active in public life would also be active in
            the military. The association of duty, the virtue of courage, and
            defense of the state was fairly close among the Roman elites, and
            the Stoics of this period seem to have assimilated this association.
            >

            >
            > While the Stoics surely did not suppose that one would properly
            defend the state if he was motivated by lust or anger or any of the
            other passions associated with vices, they do not appear to question
            whether attachment to the state or its current form might not
            constitute an excessive attachment similar to attachments to one's
            material possessions or the love of a particular friend. Thus, it
            seems to me that Stoics are a bit more prone to, or at least give a
            sort of backdoor support to, what one might call the fetishism of
            the state than they ought, given the general teachings of Stoicism.
            >

            >
            > Reflecting on this issue may be relevant today. As I write the
            militarization of "democratic" societies as part of an endless "war
            on terrorism" threatens to treat preservation of the actual existing
            state as such an absolute value that all other values, including not
            only liberty but the values of virtuous action, may be sacrificed
            for it.
            >

            >
            > Let us listen in on a conversation between Krates, a Cynic
            philosopher, and Zeno.
            >

            >
            > Z. What do you think, Krates, of my proposition that philosophers
            should take part in the life of the polis (henceforth: state)?
            >

            >
            > K. Why do you think they should?
            >

            >
            > Z. Man is by nature akin to man. It is according to nature that
            humans should serve each other in communities and the state is the
            natural form of the human community.
            >

            >
            > K. Is that all?
            >

            >
            > Z. Logos, reasoned discourse and the power than binds together,
            binds human beings to one another. It is communication and the
            medium of communication. And in the Assembly or in the Council men
            propose what is expedient and just for the whole state. In general,
            humans are animals with capacity for rational discourse.
            >

            >
            > K. So, you are saying that we should serve in politics because
            doing so would be the key expression of our social natures and our
            rational nature, without which we cannot be fully human or live well?
            >

            >
            > Z. I admit that philosophical reflection on nature as a whole and
            on nonpolitical parts of nature, which can be done in private or
            with a few friends, is also a virtuous activity that can contribute
            to our happiness. But with that qualification, yes.
            >

            >
            > K. Does public service entail defending the state against attack,
            say by military action and war?
            >

            >
            > Z. Surely it must, for if the state is so closely tied to our
            social and rational nature, then its preservation would be among the
            greatest of the advantageous externals.
            >

            >
            > K. Then the good person will often sacrifice his very life for the
            state?
            >

            >
            > Z. Yes.
            >

            >
            > K. Have you thought carefully about what the state is?
            >

            >
            > Z. I think so.
            >

            >
            > K. Perhaps you are mixing things that might be kept separate?
            >

            >
            > Z. Such as?
            >

            >
            > K. Is the state just a set of human beings that we might name
            individually, A, B, C, D, etc.
            >

            >
            > Z. No, individuals are born and die; they can even leave a state
            and go away from it forever, yet the state may nevertheless endure.
            >

            >
            > K. Is the state just a set of laws that hang together with a
            certain degree of consistency?
            >

            >
            > Z. I might say that a state is a set of such laws embodied in a
            population, understanding by that phrase that the population may
            change over time, as old citizens perish and new ones are born and
            trained in the laws.
            >

            >
            > K. Then a change in the laws might constitute the destruction of
            the state? Suppose a state changes its law regarding the minimum age
            required to join the Council, say, from 25 to 27. Has the state been
            destroyed and a new one put in its place?
            >

            >
            > Z. Well, no, but if the institutions of a democratic state, such
            as Athens was for most of Socrates' lifetime, are destroyed and the
            democracy is replaced by a tyranny, that surely would be a
            destruction. And if one state is conquered by another and from
            having been independent because subordinate to its conqueror, that
            would seem to be destruction as well.
            >

            >
            > K. Is it really plausible to say that Athens was destroyed at the
            end of the war with Sparta when the democracy was overturned and the
            tyranny of the Thirty was imposed by Sparta?
            >

            >
            > Z. What do you mean?
            >

            >
            > K. You know that the Athenians' devotion to democratic laws
            (together perhaps with their fear that the Thirty might kill or
            exile them and seize their property) led them to revolt against the
            Thirty and restore democratic laws.
            >

            >
            > Z. Yes, I know that history.
            >

            >
            > K. So the end of the democracy, and the operation of democratic
            laws, at the time of the Spartan victory did not mean an end to
            Athens, or even to the annihilation of democratic laws and customs
            because those laws remained in the hearts and minds of the Athenians.
            >

            >
            > Z. You may be right.
            >

            >
            > K. In any case, defending Athens "to the death," which I imagine
            some Athenians tried to do before the Spartan victory, did not
            preserve Athens if an essential feature of Athens is the continuous
            operation of democratic laws. But if Athens did survive, that was
            due to something other than the continuous operation of democratic
            laws.  We can dispute some other time whether the revival of
            democratic laws after the Thirty means that Athens was reborn as a
            new state or whether the state remained throughout the period in
            which democracy was suspended.
            >

            >
            > Z. You seem to mean that the Athenians waited for an opportunity
            to revive their favored legal and constitutional customs.
            >

            >
            > K. Yes, but how are those customs related to virtue? You and I
            agree that virtue is the good.
            >

            >
            > Z. The customs�or at least the best of those customs�are
            approximations of virtue. They tell the non-philosopher, the person
            who is not making philosophical progress, his proper function or
            appropriate action. If the person becomes a philosopher, and even
            more if the person becomes a sage, he will have critically sifted
            those customs and come up with a truly consistent intellectual
            scheme, consisting in part of a worked out science of ethics.
            >

            >
            > K. Thus many customs or laws are valuable insofar as they are
            something like the raw material from which virtue is formed by
            further habituation and reflection?
            >

            >
            > Z. They are also valuable in a second way because they contribute
            to the preservation of advantageous things, things that are normally
            in accord with nature, and the avoidance of disadvantageous things,
            things that are normally contrary to nature. They make it possible
            to grow crops, cure the sick, train the young, etc.
            >

            >
            > K. But which is decisive, between virtue and these valuable
            customs and laws?
            >

            >
            > Z. Virtue, of course.
            >

            >
            > K. So, then, is the "destruction" of the state by a change of laws
            or regime or even by conquest a decisive blow to virtue?
            >

            >
            > Z. Not necessarily�though it could be in a sense if it is
            accompanied by genocide or the long-term breakdown of the most basic
            framework of justice: that could produce the total extinction of
            human beings, and the virtuous among them.
            >

            >
            > K. But the philosopher should know that the end of a particular
            regime, even of a particular state (assuming it is absorbed by
            another state), need not mean the end of the culture (paideia) of
            lawfulness out of which virtuous habits may grow, with practice and
            critical reflection�or what Socrates called self-examination.
            >

            >
            > Z. The philosopher is not a defender of any existing state at all
            costs, if that is what you mean.
            >

            >
            > K. The philosopher is not absolutely attached to any particular
            state nor to its leaders, especially not to leaders who confuse the
            state with their personal or elite group privilege in the state.
            There is no absolute duty to defend Corinth or Megara or Athens.
            Depending on circumstances, of course, the philosopher may have a
            duty to risk his life to defend a state against its enemies. If in
            his position of responsibility he has pledged, explicitly or
            tacitly, to defend the state in a way that is compatible with
            virtue, he will not abandon his duty out of concern for his health
            or survival. He will not put money or power ahead of virtue. But he
            may also yield in the physical struggle and survive, with
            equanimity, if externals permit, to live to promote virtue another
            day.
            >

            >
            > Z. It seems so.
            >

            >
            > K. May we conclude, then, that the philosopher's total attachment
            to his or her state is not justified by devotion to virtue.
            Attachment to the state is conditional, like his attachment to
            family and friends whom he may "love very deeply" if not more so
            than those whose attachments to family and friends are mixed up with
            their self-regarding passions.
            >

            >
            > Z. It may be overridden not by lust or greed or anger but by
            devotion to virtue itself in certain circumstances.
            >

            >
            > K. The "material of virtue," if we can call roughly good customs
            and laws that, can be preserved even if regimes fall. That
            preservation would be highly preferred, and it would give the
            philosopher something to work with after the regime has been altered.
            >

            >
            > Z. This can happen, and often does, though it does not always
            happen.
            >

            >
            > K. Then perhaps there are acts that a philosopher will not do to
            preserve a regime, acts for example that harm highly valuable
            advantageous things, such as the lives of innocent persons which are
            often overlooked in the prosecution of a war.
            >

            >
            > Z. Innocent persons?
            >

            >
            > K. I don't mean virtuous persons necessarily or even for the most
            part. I mean persons who are not remotely blameworthy for the
            actions of an enemy government. Even if we suppose it is not wrong
            to kill attacking enemy soldiers in self-defense, it may nonetheless
            be of dubious "virtue" to attack enemy fortresses in ways that are
            certain to produce injury and death to children and other
            politically powerless persons. The mere "preservation" of our own
            state cannot justify it.
            >

            >
            > Z. Your argument seems persuasive, although I must think about it
            further. But I agree with what seems to be a corollary of what you
            say: we must not confuse the state itself with a fragile deity, as
            if the very presence of what is valuable on earth were dependent
            upon the preservation of the state in its current form.
            >
            > Yahoo! Groups SponsorADVERTISEMENT
            >
            > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
            > stoics-unsubscribe@y...
            >
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            Service.
            >
            >
            >
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          • tom_paines_ghost
            After having invested quite a lot of money and resources in developing the bomb, there was a need to show results... As to testing the effects, both of the
            Message 5 of 13 , Aug 6, 2002
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              After having invested quite a lot of money and resources in
              developing the bomb, there was a need to show results...

              As to testing the effects, both of the original targets were ones
              not conventionaly bombed; good test subjects, in other words.

              --- In stoics@y..., Jeffrey Smart <smartja23@y...> wrote:
              >
              > The decision to drop the atomic bombs could never have been so
              simple.
              > J Smart
              > tom_paines_ghost wrote:In the case of the atomic bombs, the
              situation is actually simpler
              > than it seems. Japan was looking to make peace, and had made
              > overtures by various means.
              >
              > These included our reading of the Japanese diplomatic code,
              > including several sets of instructions to Japanese diplomats in
              the
              > Soviet Union and Sweden to seek intervention by those (then)
              neutrel
              > powers.
              >
              > Those in decision making positions only required a guarantee that
              > the Imperial system would be retained. (And not neccesarily, the
              > Emperor.)
              >
              > The US dropped the bomb, apparently from a desire to gain leverage
              > in a post war world and to test the differing effects of the
              uranium
              > and plutonium bombs on real live city targets.
              >
              > So any way you wish to cut it the decision was immoral and
              > unjustified.
              >
              >
              > --- In stoics@y..., Jeffrey Smart <smartja23@y...> wrote:
              > >
              > > As one who serves in the military, I find this dialogue very
              > interesting. It does cause one to think about duty, war, and the
              > present situation we find ourselves in. There are very few
              people,
              > I think, who would condone the indescriminate killing or innocent
              > people (non-combatants). In fact, in our history, there have been
              > many court martials and investigations concerning the killing of
              non-
              > combatants.
              > > Every soldier, sailor, marine, and airman is taught the Law
              of
              > Armed Conflict (LOAC). This law or code of conduct governs their
              > actions and tells them what they can or cannot do in most
              > circumstances. You cannot kill a non-combatant, period. You
              cannot
              > kill one who surrenders. I think this code, to a certain degree,
              > instills virtue in the American soldier.
              > > Of course we must take into account the confusion of
              battle,
              > the psychological toll that combat places on the soldier, and the
              > type of weapons we use now, as compared to the days of ancient
              > Athens. A 2000 pound bomb falling from an aircraft at 25,000 ft
              > cannot distinguish between an enemy soldier or a child. If a bomb
              > was dropped to destroy a military target and the enemy was
              allowing
              > non-combatants to live in or around this target, would their
              deaths
              > be a blemish against our virtue?
              > > I believe Pres. Truman went through some soul searching
              when
              > making the decision to drop the bombs on Heroshima and Nakasaki.
              > His view was that it was his duty to save more Americans from
              death
              > at the hands of a fanatical Japan. This was accomplished by the
              > killing of untold amounts of civilians and non-combatants. I
              think
              > it would be hard to tell Pvt. Smith's mother that we were wrong
              and
              > that her son should have invaded Japan and been killed. Of course
              > we did not have to make that decision. Looking at things from the
              > Stoic perspective, we should have invaded Japan and kept the death
              > of innocents to a minimum. What does everyone think? I can see
              the
              > pro and con of both sides.
              > > J Smart
              > > Jan E Garrett <jangarrett@j...> wrote:
              > > The Last Attachment: A Dialogue
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > The ancient Stoics with whom we are familiar include a number
              that
              > were active in Roman public life, for example Seneca and Marcus
              > Aurelius (We might add Cicero, who, although he was not a Stoic in
              > philosophical respects, admired the Stoic ethics). It was assumed
              by
              > the Romans that those active in public life would also be active
              in
              > the military. The association of duty, the virtue of courage, and
              > defense of the state was fairly close among the Roman elites, and
              > the Stoics of this period seem to have assimilated this
              association.
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > While the Stoics surely did not suppose that one would properly
              > defend the state if he was motivated by lust or anger or any of
              the
              > other passions associated with vices, they do not appear to
              question
              > whether attachment to the state or its current form might not
              > constitute an excessive attachment similar to attachments to one's
              > material possessions or the love of a particular friend. Thus, it
              > seems to me that Stoics are a bit more prone to, or at least give
              a
              > sort of backdoor support to, what one might call the fetishism of
              > the state than they ought, given the general teachings of Stoicism.
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > Reflecting on this issue may be relevant today. As I write the
              > militarization of "democratic" societies as part of an
              endless "war
              > on terrorism" threatens to treat preservation of the actual
              existing
              > state as such an absolute value that all other values, including
              not
              > only liberty but the values of virtuous action, may be sacrificed
              > for it.
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > Let us listen in on a conversation between Krates, a Cynic
              > philosopher, and Zeno.
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > Z. What do you think, Krates, of my proposition that
              philosophers
              > should take part in the life of the polis (henceforth: state)?
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > K. Why do you think they should?
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > Z. Man is by nature akin to man. It is according to nature that
              > humans should serve each other in communities and the state is the
              > natural form of the human community.
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > K. Is that all?
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > Z. Logos, reasoned discourse and the power than binds together,
              > binds human beings to one another. It is communication and the
              > medium of communication. And in the Assembly or in the Council men
              > propose what is expedient and just for the whole state. In
              general,
              > humans are animals with capacity for rational discourse.
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > K. So, you are saying that we should serve in politics because
              > doing so would be the key expression of our social natures and our
              > rational nature, without which we cannot be fully human or live
              well?
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > Z. I admit that philosophical reflection on nature as a whole
              and
              > on nonpolitical parts of nature, which can be done in private or
              > with a few friends, is also a virtuous activity that can
              contribute
              > to our happiness. But with that qualification, yes.
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > K. Does public service entail defending the state against
              attack,
              > say by military action and war?
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > Z. Surely it must, for if the state is so closely tied to our
              > social and rational nature, then its preservation would be among
              the
              > greatest of the advantageous externals.
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > K. Then the good person will often sacrifice his very life for
              the
              > state?
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > Z. Yes.
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > K. Have you thought carefully about what the state is?
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > Z. I think so.
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > K. Perhaps you are mixing things that might be kept separate?
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > Z. Such as?
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > K. Is the state just a set of human beings that we might name
              > individually, A, B, C, D, etc.
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > Z. No, individuals are born and die; they can even leave a state
              > and go away from it forever, yet the state may nevertheless endure.
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > K. Is the state just a set of laws that hang together with a
              > certain degree of consistency?
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > Z. I might say that a state is a set of such laws embodied in a
              > population, understanding by that phrase that the population may
              > change over time, as old citizens perish and new ones are born and
              > trained in the laws.
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > K. Then a change in the laws might constitute the destruction of
              > the state? Suppose a state changes its law regarding the minimum
              age
              > required to join the Council, say, from 25 to 27. Has the state
              been
              > destroyed and a new one put in its place?
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > Z. Well, no, but if the institutions of a democratic state, such
              > as Athens was for most of Socrates' lifetime, are destroyed and
              the
              > democracy is replaced by a tyranny, that surely would be a
              > destruction. And if one state is conquered by another and from
              > having been independent because subordinate to its conqueror, that
              > would seem to be destruction as well.
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > K. Is it really plausible to say that Athens was destroyed at
              the
              > end of the war with Sparta when the democracy was overturned and
              the
              > tyranny of the Thirty was imposed by Sparta?
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > Z. What do you mean?
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > K. You know that the Athenians' devotion to democratic laws
              > (together perhaps with their fear that the Thirty might kill or
              > exile them and seize their property) led them to revolt against
              the
              > Thirty and restore democratic laws.
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > Z. Yes, I know that history.
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > K. So the end of the democracy, and the operation of democratic
              > laws, at the time of the Spartan victory did not mean an end to
              > Athens, or even to the annihilation of democratic laws and customs
              > because those laws remained in the hearts and minds of the
              Athenians.
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > Z. You may be right.
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > K. In any case, defending Athens "to the death," which I imagine
              > some Athenians tried to do before the Spartan victory, did not
              > preserve Athens if an essential feature of Athens is the
              continuous
              > operation of democratic laws. But if Athens did survive, that was
              > due to something other than the continuous operation of democratic
              > laws. We can dispute some other time whether the revival of
              > democratic laws after the Thirty means that Athens was reborn as a
              > new state or whether the state remained throughout the period in
              > which democracy was suspended.
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > Z. You seem to mean that the Athenians waited for an opportunity
              > to revive their favored legal and constitutional customs.
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > K. Yes, but how are those customs related to virtue? You and I
              > agree that virtue is the good.
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > Z. The customs—or at least the best of those customs—are
              > approximations of virtue. They tell the non-philosopher, the
              person
              > who is not making philosophical progress, his proper function or
              > appropriate action. If the person becomes a philosopher, and even
              > more if the person becomes a sage, he will have critically sifted
              > those customs and come up with a truly consistent intellectual
              > scheme, consisting in part of a worked out science of ethics.
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > K. Thus many customs or laws are valuable insofar as they are
              > something like the raw material from which virtue is formed by
              > further habituation and reflection?
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > Z. They are also valuable in a second way because they
              contribute
              > to the preservation of advantageous things, things that are
              normally
              > in accord with nature, and the avoidance of disadvantageous
              things,
              > things that are normally contrary to nature. They make it possible
              > to grow crops, cure the sick, train the young, etc.
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > K. But which is decisive, between virtue and these valuable
              > customs and laws?
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > Z. Virtue, of course.
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > K. So, then, is the "destruction" of the state by a change of
              laws
              > or regime or even by conquest a decisive blow to virtue?
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > Z. Not necessarily—though it could be in a sense if it is
              > accompanied by genocide or the long-term breakdown of the most
              basic
              > framework of justice: that could produce the total extinction of
              > human beings, and the virtuous among them.
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > K. But the philosopher should know that the end of a particular
              > regime, even of a particular state (assuming it is absorbed by
              > another state), need not mean the end of the culture (paideia) of
              > lawfulness out of which virtuous habits may grow, with practice
              and
              > critical reflection—or what Socrates called self-examination.
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > Z. The philosopher is not a defender of any existing state at
              all
              > costs, if that is what you mean.
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > K. The philosopher is not absolutely attached to any particular
              > state nor to its leaders, especially not to leaders who confuse
              the
              > state with their personal or elite group privilege in the state.
              > There is no absolute duty to defend Corinth or Megara or Athens.
              > Depending on circumstances, of course, the philosopher may have a
              > duty to risk his life to defend a state against its enemies. If in
              > his position of responsibility he has pledged, explicitly or
              > tacitly, to defend the state in a way that is compatible with
              > virtue, he will not abandon his duty out of concern for his health
              > or survival. He will not put money or power ahead of virtue. But
              he
              > may also yield in the physical struggle and survive, with
              > equanimity, if externals permit, to live to promote virtue another
              > day.
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > Z. It seems so.
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > K. May we conclude, then, that the philosopher's total
              attachment
              > to his or her state is not justified by devotion to virtue.
              > Attachment to the state is conditional, like his attachment to
              > family and friends whom he may "love very deeply" if not more so
              > than those whose attachments to family and friends are mixed up
              with
              > their self-regarding passions.
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > Z. It may be overridden not by lust or greed or anger but by
              > devotion to virtue itself in certain circumstances.
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > K. The "material of virtue," if we can call roughly good customs
              > and laws that, can be preserved even if regimes fall. That
              > preservation would be highly preferred, and it would give the
              > philosopher something to work with after the regime has been
              altered.
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > Z. This can happen, and often does, though it does not always
              > happen.
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > K. Then perhaps there are acts that a philosopher will not do to
              > preserve a regime, acts for example that harm highly valuable
              > advantageous things, such as the lives of innocent persons which
              are
              > often overlooked in the prosecution of a war.
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > Z. Innocent persons?
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > K. I don't mean virtuous persons necessarily or even for the
              most
              > part. I mean persons who are not remotely blameworthy for the
              > actions of an enemy government. Even if we suppose it is not wrong
              > to kill attacking enemy soldiers in self-defense, it may
              nonetheless
              > be of dubious "virtue" to attack enemy fortresses in ways that are
              > certain to produce injury and death to children and other
              > politically powerless persons. The mere "preservation" of our own
              > state cannot justify it.
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > Z. Your argument seems persuasive, although I must think about
              it
              > further. But I agree with what seems to be a corollary of what you
              > say: we must not confuse the state itself with a fragile deity, as
              > if the very presence of what is valuable on earth were dependent
              > upon the preservation of the state in its current form.
              > >
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              > >
              > >
              > >
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            • Fortunatus
              ... Out of curiosity, do you have any evidence for these allegations, or are you basing them on your personal interpretation of the events? If you do have
              Message 6 of 13 , Aug 6, 2002
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                > After having invested quite a lot of money and resources in
                > developing the bomb, there was a need to show results...
                >
                > As to testing the effects, both of the original targets were ones
                > not conventionaly bombed; good test subjects, in other words.

                Out of curiosity, do you have any evidence for these allegations, or are
                you basing them on your personal interpretation of the events? If you
                do have evidence, would you be so kind as to point me to it?

                -Conrad
                --
                "Since death alone is certain and the time of death uncertain, what
                should I do?"
              • joseph cris
                ... The PAST. What is in it as a Stoic? Like science, we can postulate on how the atomic bomb was made, the behind-the-scenes decisions to drop or not to and
                Message 7 of 13 , Aug 6, 2002
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                  > -Conrad
                  > --
                  > "Since death alone is certain and the time of death
                  > uncertain, what
                  > should I do?"


                  The PAST. What is in it as a Stoic?

                  Like science, we can postulate on how the atomic bomb
                  was made, the behind-the-scenes decisions to drop or
                  not to and the death of many people in Japan. We may
                  theorize with so many IFs and BUTs, but the bottomline
                  is still...it was DONE. Similar incident will happen
                  in the future that will kill even more.

                  How should I live my life knowing the past and the
                  future 'history'?

                  regards
                  Joseph



                  __________________________________________________
                  Do You Yahoo!?
                  Yahoo! Health - Feel better, live better
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                • Fortunatus
                  ... I m not really sure what you mean here. If you re reacting to the questions I posed to tom_paines_ghost, then you may have misunderstood my purpose for
                  Message 8 of 13 , Aug 6, 2002
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                    > Like science, we can postulate on how the atomic bomb
                    > was made, the behind-the-scenes decisions to drop or
                    > not to and the death of many people in Japan. We may
                    > theorize with so many IFs and BUTs, but the bottomline
                    > is still...it was DONE. Similar incident will happen
                    > in the future that will kill even more.

                    I'm not really sure what you mean here. If you're reacting to the
                    questions I posed to tom_paines_ghost, then you may have misunderstood
                    my purpose for asking them. I really am interested in whatever
                    information he or she may have on the subject, as I find the history of
                    atomic weapons quite fascinating.

                    > How should I live my life knowing the past and the
                    > future 'history'?

                    Virtuously according to nature, of course.

                    -Conrad
                    --
                    "Since death alone is certain and the time of death uncertain, what
                    should I do?"
                  • tom_paines_ghost
                    What exactly would you like evidence for? The history of Japanese peace overatures is well established, even in some of the early histories; I can certainly
                    Message 9 of 13 , Aug 6, 2002
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                      What exactly would you like evidence for?

                      The history of Japanese peace overatures is well established, even
                      in some of the early histories; I can certainly point you at them.

                      The history of the broken Japanese diplomatic codes is also well
                      established, although a little more recent (the extent of our
                      success at code breaking was to some extent hidden for a time after
                      the war.)

                      Organizational pressure for using the bomb is pretty clear, both
                      internally within the military, government, and political pressure
                      with a lot of folks feeling heat for political outcomes from the
                      hugely expensive Manhatten project should it not produce concrete
                      results.

                      Or is it the need to begin winning the peace, including a
                      demonstration of out new ultimate weapon that you doubt?

                      The choice of targets from a list of unimportant cities of little
                      military value (indeed, B-29 bombers had been suffering from a lack
                      of worthwhile targets in the months leading up to the atomic
                      attacks. The planners Kept a short list of atomic targets off the
                      conventional bombing list so as to have suitable test subjects.

                      Decision making on this issue is also in the historical record.

                      If you want proof of all of this, it will take a while for me to dig
                      references up for it. If it is specific issues, than my response can
                      certainly be quicker.

                      In summary, all of this is available in the public record. The
                      decisions made, reasons for the decisions, and contemperaneus
                      circumstances of the events are all there.

                      Some of the conclusions are there in print as well as the evidence
                      they are based on. You of course can judge for yourself, and should.

                      The United States could have had peace as early as April 1945, had
                      we been willing to guarantee an Imperial sucession. No need for Iwo
                      Jima or Okinawa, the Atomic or a number of other attacks...



                      --- In stoics@y..., Fortunatus <labienus@t...> wrote:
                      > > After having invested quite a lot of money and resources in
                      > > developing the bomb, there was a need to show results...
                      > >
                      > > As to testing the effects, both of the original targets were
                      ones
                      > > not conventionaly bombed; good test subjects, in other words.
                      >
                      > Out of curiosity, do you have any evidence for these allegations,
                      or are
                      > you basing them on your personal interpretation of the events? If
                      you
                      > do have evidence, would you be so kind as to point me to it?
                      >
                      > -Conrad
                      > --
                      > "Since death alone is certain and the time of death uncertain,
                      what
                      > should I do?"
                    • tom_paines_ghost
                      Those who fail to remember the past are doomed to repeat it- Santayanna. Certainly examining historical situations is an appropriate way of gaining knowledge
                      Message 10 of 13 , Aug 6, 2002
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                        Those who fail to remember the past are doomed to repeat it-
                        Santayanna.

                        Certainly examining historical situations is an appropriate way of
                        gaining knowledge of proper ethical behavior.

                        The question of WHY is important and worthy of discussion, as is the
                        question of SHOULD or SHOULD NOT implicit in any policy issue,
                        whether past of present.


                        --- In stoics@y..., joseph cris <jcris11@y...> wrote:
                        > > -Conrad
                        > > --
                        > > "Since death alone is certain and the time of death
                        > > uncertain, what
                        > > should I do?"
                        >
                        >
                        > The PAST. What is in it as a Stoic?
                        >
                        > Like science, we can postulate on how the atomic bomb
                        > was made, the behind-the-scenes decisions to drop or
                        > not to and the death of many people in Japan. We may
                        > theorize with so many IFs and BUTs, but the bottomline
                        > is still...it was DONE. Similar incident will happen
                        > in the future that will kill even more.
                        >
                        > How should I live my life knowing the past and the
                        > future 'history'?
                        >
                        > regards
                        > Joseph
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > __________________________________________________
                        > Do You Yahoo!?
                        > Yahoo! Health - Feel better, live better
                        > http://health.yahoo.com
                      • Steve Marquis
                        Joseph wrote: ____________________ We may theorize with so many IFs and BUTs, but the bottomline is still...it was DONE. How should I live my life knowing the
                        Message 11 of 13 , Aug 8, 2002
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                          Joseph wrote:
                          ____________________

                          We may theorize with so many IFs and BUTs, but the bottomline
                          is still...it was DONE.

                          How should I live my life knowing the past and the future 'history'?
                          ___________________

                          Ghost responded:
                          ___________________

                          Certainly examining historical situations is an appropriate way of gaining
                          knowledge of proper ethical behavior.

                          The question of WHY is important and worthy of discussion, as is the
                          question of SHOULD or SHOULD NOT implicit in any policy issue, whether past
                          of present.
                          ___________________

                          Hmm . . . , I like Joseph's thrust more. History (true facts about what
                          has gone before) is nothing but a large data base from which to learn which
                          causes lead to which effects. When we start judging things external to us
                          as good or bad, especially complicated events about which we truly know
                          very little, I think all we are doing is looking for fodder to reinforce
                          unconsidered opinion we already hold. This is not going to lead us to
                          virtue, quite the contrary.

                          Jan made a good point in a recent post out his ethics students. Its one
                          thing to review the decisions of others and judge them right or wrong,
                          quite another to do the hard work of self improvement. Stoicism was never
                          intended as a study, a hobby, or as entertainment, but a way of life. The
                          student is never off duty or out of school. Homework is every waking second.

                          Debating is fun, but what value is it if we can't apply the lesson to our
                          everyday life?

                          Here is a real life issue to consider. In our daily relationships what are
                          some suggestions as to how to explain that my emotions are not caused by
                          others but are part of my chosen response (ie, assent to an impression) to
                          a situation. In other words, how can we suggest personal responsibility
                          for one's emotions to someone close to us without appearing as a threat to
                          their belief system?

                          Steve
                        • Fortunatus
                          ... If you know of evidence that proves, or at least strongly suggests, the sort of powerful organizational pressure to test the bomb on Japan that you
                          Message 12 of 13 , Aug 11, 2002
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                            > If you want proof of all of this, it will take a while for me to dig
                            > references up for it. If it is specific issues, than my response can
                            > certainly be quicker.

                            If you know of evidence that proves, or at least strongly suggests, the
                            sort of powerful organizational pressure to test the bomb on Japan that
                            you suggest, I'd like to know of it. Please don't go to a great deal of
                            trouble, but a reference or two would be appreciated. Best would be
                            some source that refers to memos and the like that I might request
                            through FOIA (for however long it survives).

                            -Conrad
                            --
                            "Since death alone is certain and the time of death uncertain, what
                            should I do?"
                          • tom_paines_ghost
                            Not really my field, but I will see if I can find you a name or two of people writing on it... You might try doing a google search on the controversy on the
                            Message 13 of 13 , Aug 11, 2002
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                              Not really my field, but I will see if I can find you a name or two
                              of people writing on it...

                              You might try doing a google search on the controversy on the
                              Smithsonian WWII exhibit a few years ago, IIRC some of the stuff
                              pissing people off was related to this..

                              --- In stoics@y..., Fortunatus <labienus@t...> wrote:
                              > > If you want proof of all of this, it will take a while for me to
                              dig
                              > > references up for it. If it is specific issues, than my response
                              can
                              > > certainly be quicker.
                              >
                              > If you know of evidence that proves, or at least strongly
                              suggests, the
                              > sort of powerful organizational pressure to test the bomb on Japan
                              that
                              > you suggest, I'd like to know of it. Please don't go to a great
                              deal of
                              > trouble, but a reference or two would be appreciated. Best would
                              be
                              > some source that refers to memos and the like that I might request
                              > through FOIA (for however long it survives).
                              >
                              > -Conrad
                              > --
                              > "Since death alone is certain and the time of death uncertain,
                              what
                              > should I do?"
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