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Forum File

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press

Alarms and diversions for the thinking person

Saturday, June 17, 2017 12:01 am

The reading list

“What's the purpose of philosophy? Alfred North Whitehead characterized it as a series of footnotes to Plato. You can see his point. On the surface, we don't seem to have progressed much in the two and a half millennia since Plato wrote his dialogues. Today's philosophers still struggle with many of the same issues that exercised the Greeks. What is the basis of morality? How can we define knowledge? Is there a deeper reality behind the world of appearances?

“Philosophy compares badly with science on this score. Since science took its modern form in the 17th century, it has been one long success story. It has uncovered the workings of nature and brought untold benefits to humanity. Mechanics and electromagnetism underpin the technological advances of the modern world, while chemistry and microbiology have done much to free us from the tyranny of disease.

“Not all philosophers are troubled by this contrast. For some, the worth of philosophy lies in the process, not the product. In line with Socrates' dictum – 'The unexamined life is not worth living' – they hold that reflection on the human predicament is valuable in itself, even if no definite answers are forthcoming.”

— From “Is philosophy simply harder than science?” at the-tls.co.uk

A quiz

Which animals, unlike others except humans, have a variety of distinctive facial expressions they use to communicate and maintain group unity?

 Wisdom of the ages

“Mountain tops inspire leaders but valleys mature them.” — J. Phillip Everson

Current wisdom

“We're united not as Republicans and Democrats but as United States representatives.” — Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, after the shooting of Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., and four others at an Alexandria, Va., baseball field by gunman James T. Hodgkinson.

Quiz answer

Wolves.

Snob words

humblebrag (HUHM-buhl-brag), n. — a statement intended as a boast or brag but disguised by a humble apology, complaint, etc., as in: “When the editorial writer stripped the humblebrags from the politician's speech, there was nothing left.”

Today in history

On this day in 1963, the Supreme Court ruled against Bible reading/prayer in public schools; boy, that was sure the start of something, huh?

Now you know

Even though more that 40 percent of the trips taken in the U.S. are less than 1 mile, fewer than 10 percent of all trips are made by walking or biking.

Comments

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