Daily Archives: December 26, 2010

Justice, Courage, Love and Truth

Sometimes, when you grow up, the stuff you discussed in Philosophy 101 actually seems to matter.

The nature of reality.  It’s a big question.  The more you think about it, the more questions you ask, the more you seem to get bogged down in abstractions bordering on absurdities.

There are the physical things, the tangible things.  We see them, feel them, smell them, touch them.  Our senses tell us they are real.  We treat them as real things.  They litter our living spaces and we stub our toes on them.  That hurts, and we know they’re real.

Then there are these other things, but they seem more like ideas than real things.  Our minds seem to perceive them, but our senses do not.  Justice is one such thing.  So is love.  And so on.

In antiquity they had a mental framework for all this that is odd for us, who are emerging from an era of dogmatic empiricism.  The mind was higher than the senses, the ancients thought; thus, they reasoned, what the mind perceives is more real than what is perceived by the senses alone.  If my mind perceives love, or truth, those things are more real than the table I stubbed my toe on this morning.

There’s no such thing as justice?  This is a strange claim, but an oft repeated one, coming from a blog that calls itself “Simple Justice”.

In the latest installment Scott Greenfield recounts one of those tragic cases we read about or hear about at the courthouse:  a drunk driver, a terrible crash, several people dead… Continue reading

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