Plato and Living Philosophy (06:19)
Rebecca Goldstein recalls her early discovery and fascination with Plato. Though he has not been central in her contemporary philosophy career, his ideas about how philosophy shapes life and character inform her novel writing. She argues that philosophy is not just a profession; it is how you live your life—which is why Plato expresses concern about philosophy writing, because it should instead be lived as a dynamic dialogue.
Discord Between Philosophy and Science (07:44)
Antonio Damasio describes the unfortunate separation between neuroscience and philosophy, despite shared interests, the fields would benefit from cooperation and dialogue. Goldstein argues that scientists accuse philosophers of raising questions but not making progress in answering them, but philosophers bring new perspectives and range of ethical and metaphysical knowledge that creates coherence.
Promoting Conversation (03:58)
Damasio argues that scientists and philosophers need to have open minds to promote continuous dialogue. Goldstein describes how her modern Plato character interacts with technology and finds that rather than foster open dialogue, it limits it because people only converse with those who agree with them.
Collaboration Between Philosophy and Science (06:08)
Damasio distinguishes between the brain and the mind, arguing that the latter is a product of the brain, though the two are often confused—this is an area where science needs the help of philosophy. Goldstein asserts that philosophers need to know science as well, learning what it implies and when ideas or assumptions are not consistent with it. Between the two disciplines, misunderstandings and mistakes arise because of a lack of knowledge and communication.
Spinoza and Plato (08:00)
Goldstein and Damasio share an interest in Spinoza, who grew up in 17th century Amsterdam and was banished from the Jewish community during the Inquisition. Goldstein suggests that he has some similarity to Plato in his view that to live fully one must identify with the larger world and have gratitude for this unity. Damasio points out that Spinoza’s three different names reflect Plato’s three stages, and both thought that emotion and intellect are merged.
Spinoza on Ethics and Free Will (06:11)
In Spinoza’s lifetime and until the Enlightenment it was dangerous to be a Spinozist; he was the first since the Greeks to base ethics in secular reason rather than religion. Though he published some work under a pseudonym, his major writing was published after his death. Damasio explains Spinoza’s idea that one can only overcome a problem that brings a negative emotion by generating a stronger positive emotion.
Credits: The Philosopher (00:05)
Credits: The Philosopher
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