Socrates

Should you think about your duty, or about the consequences of your actions? Or should you concentrate on becoming a good person?

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tbieter
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Socrates

Post by tbieter » Sat Dec 17, 2016 7:10 pm

This letter will accompany the book that I'm mailing to my grandson's school.
December 17, 2016

Margaret McCarney
Nova Classical Academy
1455 Victoria Way
St. Paul, MN 55102

RE: Socrates - A Man for Our Times, by Paul Johnson

Dear Dr. McCarney:

I’m interested in Nova because my grandson, Geno Bieter, is in the fourth grade there.

I enclose and donate a copy of Socrates, a wonderful book that nicely supplements the Socratic writings that the students read in the ninth grade. I believe that reading historical, biographical, and autobiographical writings about great men and women is an essential part of a humane education. Consistent with the Nova educational philosophy, Johnson writes:

But beyond knowledge, education was a process whereby virtue or the ability to lead a good life was acquired. And to cap it all, Socrates was in no doubt that education, by making one virtuous, was the surest road to happiness. He was the first seer we know of who pondered deeply on what makes humans happy and how such a blessing can be acquired. pp. 7-8

Finally, I recommend that at the beginning of the academic year each member of the ninth grade class should be given a copy of Socrates to read and to keep in his or her personal library, which should be a life-time accumulation of books of enduring value.

I will be interested in any comments that you may have.

Sincerely,

Thomas J. Bieter
https://www.amazon.com/Socrates-Man-Tim ... nson+books

Impenitent
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Re: Socrates

Post by Impenitent » Sat Dec 17, 2016 7:20 pm

I think it's great that you are involved with your grandson and that he enjoys reading; however, Socrates? ... I hope you aren't suggesting that 4th graders should embrace state sanctioned euthanasia as virtuous...

-Imp

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Harbal
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Re: Socrates

Post by Harbal » Sun Dec 18, 2016 12:25 am

tbieter wrote:This letter will accompany the book that I'm mailing to my grandson's school.
December 17, 2016

Margaret McCarney
Nova Classical Academy
1455 Victoria Way
St. Paul, MN 55102

RE: Socrates - A Man for Our Times, by Paul Johnson

Dear Dr. McCarney:

I’m interested in Nova because my grandson, Geno Bieter, is in the fourth grade there.

I enclose and donate a copy of Socrates, a wonderful book that nicely supplements the Socratic writings that the students read in the ninth grade. I believe that reading historical, biographical, and autobiographical writings about great men and women is an essential part of a humane education. Consistent with the Nova educational philosophy, Johnson writes:

But beyond knowledge, education was a process whereby virtue or the ability to lead a good life was acquired. And to cap it all, Socrates was in no doubt that education, by making one virtuous, was the surest road to happiness. He was the first seer we know of who pondered deeply on what makes humans happy and how such a blessing can be acquired. pp. 7-8

Finally, I recommend that at the beginning of the academic year each member of the ninth grade class should be given a copy of Socrates to read and to keep in his or her personal library, which should be a life-time accumulation of books of enduring value.

I will be interested in any comments that you may have.

Sincerely,

Thomas J. Bieter
https://www.amazon.com/Socrates-Man-Tim ... nson+books
Unless Dr. McCarney is partial to pomposity I'm not at all sure you've chosen the best strategy to win her over.

duszek
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Re: Socrates

Post by duszek » Sun Dec 18, 2016 12:39 pm

Do you mean one of the dialogues ? And if so which one ?

Republic is good but the style is not easy for a child to grasp. I have a translation from the 19th century I suppose. The grammar is a challenge.

Socrates is a character in dialogues which were written by Plato and so on the cover there will be normally the name of Plato and not the one of Socrates.

tbieter
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Re: Socrates

Post by tbieter » Sun Dec 18, 2016 8:24 pm

Impenitent wrote:I think it's great that you are involved with your grandson and that he enjoys reading; however, Socrates? ... I hope you aren't suggesting that 4th graders should embrace state sanctioned euthanasia as virtuous...

-Imp
Socratic readings are for ninth graders, not fourth graders.
The first sentence just identifies the source of my interest.
There is an historical Socrates and a Platonic Socrates. It is called the "Socratic Problem"

tbieter
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Re: Socrates

Post by tbieter » Sun Dec 18, 2016 8:31 pm

Harbal wrote:
tbieter wrote:This letter will accompany the book that I'm mailing to my grandson's school.
December 17, 2016

Margaret McCarney
Nova Classical Academy
1455 Victoria Way
St. Paul, MN 55102

RE: Socrates - A Man for Our Times, by Paul Johnson

Dear Dr. McCarney:

I’m interested in Nova because my grandson, Geno Bieter, is in the fourth grade there.

I enclose and donate a copy of Socrates, a wonderful book that nicely supplements the Socratic writings that the students read in the ninth grade. I believe that reading historical, biographical, and autobiographical writings about great men and women is an essential part of a humane education. Consistent with the Nova educational philosophy, Johnson writes:

But beyond knowledge, education was a process whereby virtue or the ability to lead a good life was acquired. And to cap it all, Socrates was in no doubt that education, by making one virtuous, was the surest road to happiness. He was the first seer we know of who pondered deeply on what makes humans happy and how such a blessing can be acquired. pp. 7-8

Finally, I recommend that at the beginning of the academic year each member of the ninth grade class should be given a copy of Socrates to read and to keep in his or her personal library, which should be a life-time accumulation of books of enduring value.

I will be interested in any comments that you may have.

Sincerely,

Thomas J. Bieter
https://www.amazon.com/Socrates-Man-Tim ... nson+books
Unless Dr. McCarney is partial to pomposity I'm not at all sure you've chosen the best strategy to win her over.
Instead of an ad hominem attack on me, why not address the arguments in my letter.

tbieter
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Re: Socrates

Post by tbieter » Sun Dec 18, 2016 8:38 pm

duszek wrote:Do you mean one of the dialogues ? And if so which one ?

Republic is good but the style is not easy for a child to grasp. I have a translation from the 19th century I suppose. The grammar is a challenge.

Socrates is a character in dialogues which were written by Plato and so on the cover there will be normally the name of Plato and not the one of Socrates.
Paul Johnson is a historian. The book is primarily a historical introduction to the historical Socrates and the Platonic Socrates.

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Harbal
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Re: Socrates

Post by Harbal » Sun Dec 18, 2016 8:56 pm

tbieter wrote: Instead of an ad hominem attack on me, why not address the arguments in my letter.
I'd describe it more as constructive criticism. Incidentally, what was Dr. McCarney's response to your letter? Was it a positive one or did she politely tell you to go take a running jump?

mickthinks
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Re: Socrates

Post by mickthinks » Sun Dec 18, 2016 9:14 pm

Tom, you're recommending a book by Paul "Looneybins" Johnson? He has a much higher reputation in the USA than he does over here.

tbieter
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Re: Socrates

Post by tbieter » Sun Dec 18, 2016 10:03 pm

mickthinks wrote:Tom, you're recommending a book by Paul "Looneybins" Johnson? He has a much higher reputation in the USA than he does over here.
Mick, thanks for the link. I read the article. I was aware of how controversial and polemical he has been. And did you know that a woman objected to his public stance as a moralist? She went public and announced that she and Johnson had carried on an affair for eleven years! Johnson was silent on her hypocrisy charge.

In arriving at my judgment on the book, I tried to apply broadly some scholarly standards of history and philosophy. I concluded that the book has merit as an introduction. Johnson writes at p.185:
"In terms of influence, Socrates was the most important of all philosophers.He supplied some of the basic apparatus of the human mind, especially in the way men and women approach moral choices and make them, and in the consequences that flow from them in this world and the next".

I'll be interested in the reply that I ever from her.

Merry Christmas, Mick.

tbieter
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Re: Socrates

Post by tbieter » Sun Dec 18, 2016 10:33 pm

Harbal wrote:
tbieter wrote: Instead of an ad hominem attack on me, why not address the arguments in my letter.
I'd describe it more as constructive criticism. Incidentally, what was Dr. McCarney's response to your letter? Was it a positive one or did she politely tell you to go take a running jump?
I'll advise you of her response if and when I receive one.

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vegetariantaxidermy
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Re: Socrates

Post by vegetariantaxidermy » Sun Dec 18, 2016 10:48 pm

Harbal wrote:
tbieter wrote: Instead of an ad hominem attack on me, why not address the arguments in my letter.
I'd describe it more as constructive criticism. Incidentally, what was Dr. McCarney's response to your letter? Was it a positive one or did she politely tell you to go take a running jump?
From what I can tell it's a school that encourages heavy parental involvement, so she's probably used to it.

tbieter
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Re: Socrates

Post by tbieter » Fri Jan 20, 2017 8:32 pm

vegetariantaxidermy wrote:
Harbal wrote:
tbieter wrote: Instead of an ad hominem attack on me, why not address the arguments in my letter.
I'd describe it more as constructive criticism. Incidentally, what was Dr. McCarney's response to your letter? Was it a positive one or did she politely tell you to go take a running jump?
From what I can tell it's a school that encourages heavy parental involvement, so she's probably used to it.
Here is Dr. McCarney's response:

Mr. Bieter,
Thank you for the book on Socrates. I received it when I returned to Nova after our winter break and very much appreciate your selection and your generosity.

My delay in responding is due in part to a preoccupying project newly completed in Nova's School of Rhetoric. We remodeled a room that had not been properly used and have turned it into an interdisciplinary seminar space. Seminar, as you may know, is a cornerstone to our School of Rhetoric training, and this room celebrates the spirit of Socratic inquiry for its own sake, as opposed to serving a grade. In just our first week of use, we have noted a marked difference in how our students approach inquiry while in that room. We invite you to come see this space if you are visiting Nova.

Part of that remodeling involved sorting through our entire collection of books once stored in a little-used library. I volunteered to do that sorting, which is why I have been remiss in responding to you. We have divided books according to intellectual level and discipline and have made a concerted effort to put books closer to students' daily activities. It has been wonderful to see the gems we did not know we had and to share them among teachers and students. The seminar room contains bookshelves as well, where we house books appropriate to a non-circulating reading/reference room.

I agree: all new SoR students deserve their own copy of Socrates. I suspect we may not be able to provide an individual to all of our students in perpetuity, but we are definitely reviewing our 9th grade rhetoric curriculum to ensure that our students have a more complete understanding of this foundational thinker.


Margaret McCarney Dept. of English | 651-209-6320 x303| mmccarney@novaclassical.org

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Harbal
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Re: Socrates

Post by Harbal » Fri Jan 20, 2017 9:48 pm

tbieter wrote: Here is Dr. McCarney's response:

Mr. Bieter,
Thank you for the book on Socrates. I put it under the leg of my wobbly desk and it fits perfectly.
I apologise, tbieter, I didn't expect her to respond positively.
My delay in responding is due in part to a preoccupying project newly completed in Nova's School of Rhetoric.
Rhetoric? Wow! Well, I'm sure they know what they're doing, teaching them rhetoric, but, remembering what annoying little bastards teenagers can be, the last thing I would have wanted is for my kids to come home from school skilled in rhetoric.
We remodeled a room that had not been properly used and have turned it into an interdisciplinary seminar space.
Kids these days don't know how lucky they are.
In just our first week of use, we have noted a marked difference in how our students approach inquiry while in that room.
Now all they need to do is figure out how to sustain their curiosity once they have left that room.
We invite you to come see this space if you are visiting Nova.
Having got a sense of the type of person you are, tbieter, I have a feeling you will accept that invitation.
The seminar room contains bookshelves as well, where we house books
How resourceful of Dr, McCarney to utilise the bookshelves for this purpose.
I agree: all new SoR students deserve their own copy of Socrates.
I think it wonderful that Dr, McCarney has such an indulgent attitude towards interfering grandparents, it must be very gratifying for you, tbieter, well done.

EchoesOfTheHorizon
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Re: Socrates

Post by EchoesOfTheHorizon » Fri Nov 10, 2017 8:28 am

Late elementary school is a good time for rhetoric. When the kids learn how to argue and make fun of each other, start fighting. That's when you know they are ready, as debate is largely a extension of these behaviors.

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