Monday, 4 January 2021

The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury | Book Review


 I've been meaning to read this book for years, in 2020 I finally got round to reading it! I'm just catching up now with writing up book reviews on the books I read in 2020 including this one. 

I didn't know what to expect wit the book, I only had it on my to read list as people often refer to it and to the character the illustrated man so it had be intrigued. I was surprised to find that the layout of the book was actually a collection of short stories that sort of all linked to the original story itself of the illustrated man. It's hard to explain without giving away too much but essentially you are drawn into the story of the illustrated man which then takes you off into short stories of which I'm lead to believe are stories happening on the skin of the man himself, through his illustrations / tattoos. This is how I've interpreted the book anyway. 

I enjoyed the read and i would highly recommend it as something to put on your 'to read' list if you enjoy short stories. 

Saturday, 2 January 2021

My new reading room


My new reading room 

So toward the end of 2020, in December in fact, I decided to turn our unused 'spare room', which had a bed (which obviously through 2020 never got used as we were not allowed visitors!) and a desk in, into a reading room, a quiet space that I could surround myself with books, blankets and candles. It also has my desk in so I can study, write my essays and my blog posts in a calm and quiet space away from hustle and bustle of the family. 

The room quickly became a favorite of mine but also surprisingly of my sons. They love to join me in the room, to relax on the sofa of the chair and read, colour or write. They understand that the space is a calm space and is not for gaming or loud music. As a music loving family every other room has devices for playing upbeat music, this room however has only classical music and calming spa style music. The boys seem to enjoy it of an evening, its been nice to share in this with them. 



 As we are a family on a budget I had to look for budget furniture. I was able to find 3 tall thin bookcases which worked well on one side of the room, I had to leave a gap as the only electricity sockets in the room are in there so needed to be accessible. I also found a low cost sofa and chair for the room too. I upcycled an old stool, painting it and re-purposing it as a side table. 

I already have an area for books under the stairs in our house, the books there are mainly children's books and non-fiction about plants, cooking and the world. These bookcases will be for my interests. I have my favorite authors on one bookshelf, the one facing out here, then I have my fiction collection which has grown since i took this photo and I've now also used the last bookcase for my current study books, my previous study books and also my vintage books. We are a family of book overs, i have always wanted my boys to love books as much as i do so do my best to encourage reading of fiction and non-fiction as well as writing short stories and poems. 

I have been looking on Instagram nd Pinterest for inspiration on how to make the room more cosy, I've got lots of ideas so I expect I'll do an updated blog in the future. 

As you can see there is plenty of room for new books this year, I'm looking forward to visiting my local bookshops to stock up, i just hope i find enough time to read all the books on my wish list this year! 

If you'd like to follow my book journey you can link with me on Goodreads using this link. I over to chat with other book lovers so feel free to get in touch via Goodreads or my book themed insta account here. 



Thursday, 31 December 2020

Goodbye 2020

 



I'm pretty confident when I say I don't think there was anyone in the UK, if not the world who could have foreseen this time last year how 2020 would turn out. It has been one of the strangest years of my life. 

I could list all of the things that went wrong this year, all of the struggles our family has been through and all of the times i wondered if I would get through another day but instead I think I'm going to review my 2020 goals and focus on the positives of 2020 for this, my final post of 2020. 

The goals I set myself for 2020 were mainly focusing on spending more quality time with my family, looking at ways I could get more involved with my local community, working on the growth and success of my small business and improving my personal health. 

Well I certainly managed to make more time for my family, not necessarily the family outside of my household but for sure my young sons! I spent more quality time with them this year that I ever have. The forced closure of my little shop was scary but it was also eye opening to how much i miss every day of my sons lives. I loved spending time with them, teaching them, playing games with them, creating with them and working on house projects with them. 

I did my best to get more involved with my local community though i will admit at times my mental health got in the way stopping me from getting involved in some of the projects i would otherwise have liked too. I am enjoying working with a local team on some street art projects, i organised late night shopping for Seaton shops and i also towards the end of the year joined the town council to see if there are ways I can help so I'm happy that I've put in enough effort on this goal. 

It's been a seriously tough year for my small business, it's been a challenge to keep the shop afloat let alone work on growth or success. I am pleased though that I've been able to keep the business going despite the forced closures, I've worked 6 day weeks on my own with no staff as i can no longer afford staff members but I've also learnt that it is OK to limit opening hours to give my family more time. I used to think i needed to have the shop open all hours but life has been so much better since i set more manageable opening hours over 6 days a week so that i can still take my boys to school and pick them up every day then spend time with them afterschool rather than always being in the shop expecting them to occupy themselves. Customers have been supportive and i'm still open 5 hours a day 6 days a week for there is still plenty of time for people to shop. I've also added local delivery and click & collect services so all in all an OK year for my little business. 

My personal health goals have been up and down through the year, it started with a dip, a very big dip both mentally and physically but has ended much better. I've lost 3 stone this year and I hope to lose another 3 in 2021. 

So overall, I have a lot to be thankful for this year, it's been difficult for everyone due to the obvious global situation but as I look forward to 2021 I am full of hope and happiness. 


Sunday, 22 November 2020

Reopening and 'Late Night Shopping' Event for Seaton's Independent Shops

 



All being well Seaton's independent 'non-essential' shops will be allowed to re-open at the start of December. Confirmation on this and a date we hope will soon be announced by the government. 

Our little shops need your support now more than we ever have before so the majority of us are pulling together to offer you extra shopping hours in December. 

We hope to open in addition to our normal hours until 7pm on the following dates:

Friday 4th December 2020
Friday 11th December 2020
Friday 18th December 2020

Giving you additional time to enjoy browsing safely and to purchase festive gifts locally. 

I have been in contact with the majority of Seaton shop owners who will be taking part in this and I hope that you will show them all your support. Seaton has such a fantastic range of beautiful shops now, if you haven't looked around in the past year or so you'll be surprised at not only the variety of things you can now purchase locally but the quality too. 

Please try and make time to have a browse and if you can purchase some items from Seaton shops this festive Seaton. Every tiny amount spent in a local shop helps them to keep going, every penny really does count for small businesses. 

Thank you all for your on-going support, we hope to see you all soon. 

Kerri-Ann of Devon Art Supplies 
30 Queen Street, Seaton. 

*If you are a Seaton shop owner and have not heard about this please do get in touch with me and I will add you to our group page where we discuss these sorts of events. We are doing our best to pull together and support each other during these challenging times. 


Tuesday, 13 October 2020

Die storage ideas on a budget

 


Over the years I've built up quite a collection of dies, admittedly when i took a break from crafting i sold off quite a few of my collection so this is actually only a small amount in comparison to what i used to have! 

Since moving into my new craft room (take a look here at my new craft room set up!) i have come up with new ways of storing my dies. At first i thought i would keep them in a box, then i decided to put them onto magnetic sheets and into a folder but i realised the best way for me to storage them was out on display as that way i am more likely to be inspired to use them. Being on a budget as most of us crafters are i had to think up ways of using what i had available. 

For my nesting dies i decided to use the peg board already up on the wall in my studio. I is a fantastic way to store the nesting dies together in their sets. 



For the remainder of my dies i have opted for a  large board that is up on the opposit wall. This is actually an old dry wipe board that is slightly magnetic. I've used the magnetic sheets that the dies came with. Some attached magnetically to the board others were not strong enough so i used double sided tape. As you will see in the You Tube video about my die storage i haven't yet finished filling the board. There is space for me to add more magnetic sheets and dies when i need too. 


A simple and budget friendly way for me to store my dies in an accessible and inspirational space. I'm more likely to use them when i can see them like this. The great thing is i can use my nesting dies with fabic on my gemini too which means i can have a go at some quilting and fabric projects soon! 

Wednesday, 7 October 2020

Sensory Garden for Seaton?


Seaton Sensory Gardens Project 
I recently proposed the idea of creating one or more sensory garden spaces in Seaton. The idea is to help Seaton become as inclusive as possible. Sensory gardens are not only beautiful spaces for all but are especially important for those with additional needs. The location for this space is yet to be decided but a few places have been identified as being possible. 

What is a Sensory Garden?

Sensory gardens are carefully designed areas which are devoted to engaging the senses. This may involve interactive elements – for example, inviting visitors to engage with various sensory panels, or trigger the sounds themselves. 

The purpose of a sensory garden is to trigger various neurological experiences, some of which are new, some familiar and often in exciting combinations. These sensory experiences can be highly impactful – visitors become more receptive to the world around them in a positive manner. This allows children and adults to improve elements of their cognitive function, whilst remaining in a safe, relaxing environment.

Ideas of things to include in a sensory garden:

You could also enhance the interactive aspect of a sensory garden with outdoor musical instruments and drawing equipment. For example:

  • Chimes
  • Glockenspiels
  • Rain-wheels
  • Drums
  • Chalkboards

I would like to approach the project as a community project. Firstly though i need to know if you, our community feel this sort of space is needed or wanted?

Next i'm looking to hear from anyone who would like to get involved in the project? Are you able to volunteer your time, donate supplies or have ideas to share? 

I've already presented this idea to Seaton Town Council who will consider the project for funding in the next budget. However i would like to fund the project through donations and volunteers as much as possible to show what can be achieve if we work together and support each other here in Seaton. 

If you would like to be added to the contact list for updates and details of meetings etc please email me your name and contact details - kabriggs@hotmail.co.uk 

Friday, 2 October 2020

Art Studio for hire in Seaton, Devon

 


Are you a creative based in Seaton who would like the opportunity to rent a studio space? 

In 2021 i will be looking at the possibility of hiring out my beautiful conservatory studio space to someone who would like to use it to display and sell artwork as well as a space to create and demonstrate in. The space has served me well but due to my commitment to my Masters studies i will be unable to make use of the space to its full potential for the next year as i need to focus on my MA and dissertation. 

The space has shelves, a large art desk and some easels and it joins onto the art shop Devon Art Supplies with a courtyard garden which has a space that can be used to work in and some sculptural works on display too. 

The space will be available to book on a week by week basis so that a variety of different artists can take up the opportunity at a time span that suits them and so i can ensure there are gaps for me to deep clean between changeovers. 

The space will only be accessible during shop opening times which are currently 9.30am to 2.30pm Monday to Saturday though i hope these hours will be extended in the future. The space layout can be adapted to suit the needs of the artist. There is a tea/coffee making area on site and a toilet. 

Ideally i'm looking for people who will spend at least half of the time on site creating as i feel this will be great for visitors to see. Obviously i will support with social media advertising and there will be the opportunity to have a sample piece of work and blurb board about the 'artist in residence' at the time in the front window. 

If you are interested in finding out more about this opportunity for 2021 please contact me via kabriggs@hotmail.co.uk or pop in to see me at 30 Queen Street, Seaton, Devon, EX12 2RB 

Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Are beautiful towns better?

 



This year I'm studying for the final year of my Masters. I'm hoping to complete my MA in Philosophy after successfully completing year 1 in 2019/2020.  As this year I get to chose my subject focus I have chosen to look at aesthetics, in particular the affect a towns aesthetics has on the wellbeing of communities who live in them and other linked questions. My ultimate goal is to go on to complete a PhD related to similar research. 

'Are beautiful towns and cities better?' obviously this is a very broad question but this will lead to me researching firstly what we mean by 'better', what makes towns beautiful, whether beauty in terms of towns is subjective or objective, what effect being beautiful really has for the towns/cities and other linked questions. 

I'm looking for information and opinions on how people feel about the aesthetics of the towns and cities they live in. I'm talking about the architecture, layout and design but also the day to day look of the town. If it is well kept and tidy, if it is clean, has floral displays and freshly painted buildings etc 

Do you feel that the look of the town affects you? Does it make you feel proud of the town or feel frustrated with it? 

Do you feel that a towns aesthetics has an affect on its future development and investment potential? 

Do you feel that a towns aesthesis affects its ability to draw in tourism. 

Do the look or a town have no affect at all? Does it even matter? 

If you have any views on this or you have any advice for me on research already available. If you have studied this subject before and have any suggestions for me I would love to hear from you. You can comment here on my blog or you can email me at kabriggs@hotmail.co.uk 

Thank you in advance for any opinions or help you are able to offer. 

Tuesday, 22 September 2020

Is ‘the conceivability argument’ a proof of dualism

 

Is ‘the conceivability argument’ a proof of dualism

        In this paper I intend to discuss how the conceivability argument helps to prove dualism. Dualism over the years has been the subject of many papers and studies. One of the most well known names linked to dualism is Rene Descartes who was arguably the first to formulate the ‘mind-body’ problem as it is known today. However, I intend to look closely at the more modern form of the conceivability argument as put forward by David Chalmers.  I will look at his arguments premise and in this paper and consider is they are true.

        The Conceivability Argument, also known as the modal argument or the Zombie argument, uses a theory which using David Chalmers modern explanation can be explained as 1) A ‘philosophical zombie’ is someone who appears outwardly as a normal human but does not have conscious experience or sense experience. 2) This ‘zombie’ would have all physical states but none of the mental states that of a human would. David Chalmers states that “according to this argument it is conceivable that there be a system that is physically identical to a conscious being but that lacks at least some of that being’s conscious states” (2010)  If this is conceivable, then it is metaphysically possible there are zombies. Chalmers is not the only philosopher to support the conceivability argument, Descartes is a supporter as is Saul Kripke though that have their own ways of explaining the argument.

There are various forms of dualism. Mind-Body dualism suggests that mind and body are capable of being separated and are distinct. Substance Dualism suggests that the mind is a different substance from the brain which leads to the thought that the mind can exist apart from the brain. Property Dualism states that mental states are nor physical states. That Mind cannot exist apart from body because mind and body are two aspects of the same substance. Though there are different forms of dualism all agree on one core theory. That physicalism is false.

Looking further in depth at the ‘Zombie Argument’ as put forward by Chalmers in his many papers and books he offers a strong case. It is important though for such philosophical claims to be considered sound. To be sound, an argument must be both valid and the premises must be true. Chalmers’s argument I and many others consider to be valid, the next questioned I intent to look further into through this paper is whether his premises are true.

Chalmers (2010) sets out his argument are follows:

1)      It is conceivable that there are zombies.

2)     If it is conceivable that there are zombies, it is metaphysically possible that there are zombies.

3)     If it is metaphysically possible that there are zombies, then consciousness is non-physical.

4)     Consciousness is non-physical.


        So if we consider Chalmers first premises, is it conceivable that there are zombies? This subject has been a popular topic over many years. Daniel Dennett (1995) argues that we cannot ‘clearly and coherently’ conceive or ‘imagine’ normal human beings without conciseness while leaving their behaviour unaffected. His argument goes further in his paper  ‘The unimagined preposterousness of zombies’ Where he appears to take a very strong stance against Chalmers Zombie argument arguing what that the use of the zombie argument is ‘misleading’ and he goes on to argue that it is not possible for us to imagine such things as zombies. Further to this he suggests an alternative that he calls ‘zimboes’. His argument could be considered similar to that of Kripes which I will further discuss in a moment. Initially though I want to consider what is needed for something to be conceivable. For something to be considered conceivable it needs to be coherently imaginable and free from contradiction.

Joseph Almog in his paper ‘What am I?’ raises an argument brought forward by Kripe “When we say that we seem to imagine water without oxygen, we mean that we have really imagined another substance that is qualitatively indiscernible from real water. Thus, he who says, that for example, he seems to imagine that this wooden table is made of ice is really asserting that another object, looking like this table, is really imaginable (and indeed is really possibly) made of ice.” (2002) Here it is being suggested that when we imagine something we know as one way to be another we are in fact imagining a whole other ‘thing’. Lloyd Reinhardt in his article Metaphysical Possibility argues  “that all Kripke has given us is either an overdressing of natural necessity as metaphysical necessity or a misperception of something like rules for the use of natural-kind terms” Kripe’s argument does raise questions. hough I would argue that the ability of something to be imaginable depends very much on the individual.

Some may consider something is imaginable whereas others may consider it not to be. This can be different for a number of reasons such as different ages, those who have had different experiences, different educations and upbringings. Some may consider themselves closed minded whereas others are more open to considering things to be conceivable. Interestingly things through history that at first seem unimaginable and in no way conceivable have gone on to be not only conceivable or metaphysically possible but possible in our world. Flight could be considered an example of this, as could water. We did not always know that water was H2O, at one point in time scientists discovered it to be so. Scientific and technological advances open our eyes to new facts daily that at one point would be considered inconceivable. I would be lead to believe therefore that Chalmers first premises is true, it is conceivable that there are zombie.


         We can look now at Chalmers second premise, ‘if it is conceivable that there are zombies, it is metaphysically possible that there are zombies.’ This raises a question that asks ‘if something is conceivable does that always make it metaphysically possible?’ Swinburne (2016) states that “A proposition is metaphysically necessary, possible, or impossible if it becomes logically necessary, possible, or impossible when informative designators of substances or properties are substituted for uninformative ones.” So for something to be considered metaphysically possible is must be ‘capable of occurring’ this is not to say that it needs to be capable of happening in the world as we know it, it can be considered so if it is possible in a world where the laws of nature were different. Does this not mean then that anything is metaphysically possible?? How are we to know what could be possible in another world or on another planet without knowing for a fact all the details of said planet or world. Technological and scientific advances are made daily and this changes our view of our planet and others and leads us to new thoughts and new theories. I would argue then that we cannot truly say something is not metaphysically possible as we do not yet hold all the facts. Having considered this it would leave me to believe that Chalmers second premise is true, it is metaphysically possible that there are zombies and therefore his third premise is also true conciseness is non-physical.

          Lets first look further into Chalmers third premise, If it is metaphysically possible that there are zombies, then consciousness is non-physical. Physicalist would argue that everything is physical and that nothing can been seen as over and above the physical. Physicalism is thought to have grown from materialism with the terms often used interchangeably. Physicalists argue that phenomenal properties are not separate from physical properties, so the former could not change without a change in the latter. There are many arguments against physicalism, one of the core arguments being thought to concern the notion of qualia, the felt qualities of experience. Further to this well discussed argument though is a thought by Ted Honderich who states in his paper “Descartes believed not only that I think therefore I am but also that consciousness is not physical, unlike the brain. That makes consciousness different, which evidently it is”. So Honderich too believes that consciousness is not physical but he had a slightly different view to that of dualists as he refers to actualism. Christopher Menzel explains actualism in his article “Actualism is a widely-held view in the metaphysics of modality. To understand the thesis of actualism, consider the following example. Imagine a race of beings — call them ‘Aliens’ — that is very different from any life-form that exists anywhere in the universe; different enough, in fact, that no actually existing thing could have been an Alien, any more than a given gorilla could have been a fruitfly. Now, even though there are no Aliens, it seems intuitively the case that there could have been such things. After all, life might have evolved very differently than the way it did in fact. For example, if the fundamental physical constants or the laws of evolution had been slightly different, very different kinds of things might have existed. So in virtue of what is it true that there could have been Aliens when in fact there are none, and when, moreover, nothing that exists in fact could have been an Alien?” (2018) Though this trail of thought is different to dualism it further supports the view that physicalism is false. It also adds strength to the term of metaphysical possibility. This gives way then that Chalmers third premise is true.

Chalmers further argues that “the failure of logical supervenience directly implies that materialism is false: there are features of the world over and above physical features” (1996) a theory and thought also supported by Descartes who believes that the mind is non physical and non-spatial. This though is also shared by the building blocks of many religions. We could look deeper into how religion helps to prove how physicalism is false but that I will do in another paper.

Metaphysical possibility of zombies means that physical properties do not determine all mental properties. As Chalmers states “consciousness must be nonphysical. If there is a metaphysically possible universe that is physically identical to ours but that lacks consciousness, then consciousness must be a further nonphysical component of our universe” (2010) and Ted Honderich (who supports Actualism) states that consciousness is “something's being actual. What that comes to on further reflection is that it has characteristics that add up to its being subjectively physical – and partly outside a brain and partly inside.” (2015) So whether we consider Honderich or Chalmers to be correct both argue here against physicalism being correct, making it false. Which leads us then to consider that Chalmers final premise is true, Physicalism is false and if physicalism is false then a form of dualism must exist. This leads us then back to our original question, is the conceivability argument is proof of dualism? Yes. The conceivability argument is a proof of dualism as is helps to make clear that physicalism is false.


*Essay written by me in 2019/2020 for my MA studies 



Bibliography


Almog, J. (2002) What am I?
: Descartes and the mind-body problem. New York; Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Block, N. (1995) ‘On a confusion about a function of consciousness’, Behavioural and Brain Sciences, vol. 18, pp. 227–47.

Chalmers, D. (2010) The Character of Consciousness, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Chalmers, D. (1996) The Conscious Mind, Oxford, Oxford University Press.


Dualism in Descartes and classical Philosophy posted by
Dr. Jordan B Cooper  Available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VmNHLlQzdCw (Accessed 12/02/2020)

Descartes Argument posted by openyalecourseselect Available at
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0lwfYXvnHE (Accessed 12/02/2020)

Haugeland, J. (1982) ‘Weak supervenience’, American Philosophical Quarterly, vol. 19, no. 1, pp. 93–103.


Introduction to Cartesian Dualism posted by University of Oxford Available at
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7bIS3oRb6ag (Accessed 12/02/2020)

Jackson, F. (1982) ‘Epiphenomenal qualia’, The Philosophical Quarterly, vol. 32, no. 127, pp. 127–36.

Jackson, F. (1986) ‘What Mary didn’t know’, The Journal of Philosophy, vol. 83, pp. 291–5.

Lewis, D. (1990) ‘What experience teaches’, in Lycan, W. (ed) Mind and Cognition: A Reader, Oxford, Basil Blackwell, pp. 499–519.

Locke, J. (1689) An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Oxford, Oxford University Press (this edition 1924).

Lycan, W. (1996) Consciousness and Experience, Cambridge, Mass., MIT Press.

Mellor, D. H. (1993) ‘Nothing like experience’, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, vol. 93, pp. 1–16.

Menzel, Christopher, "Actualism", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2018 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2018/entries/actualism/>.

Nanay, B. (2009) ‘Imagining, recognizing and discriminating: reconsidering the ability hypothesis’, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, vol. 79, no. 3, pp. 699–717.

Nemirow, L. (1980) ‘Review of Mortal Questions by Thomas Nagel’, The Philosophical Review, vol. 89, no. 3, pp. 473–7.

Nordby, K. (1990) ‘Vision in a complete achromat: a personal account’, in Hess, R. F., Sharpe, L. T. and Nordby, K. (eds) Night Vision: Basic, Clinical and Applied Aspects, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, pp. 290–315.

Papineau, D. (2002) Thinking About Consciousness, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Reinhardt, Lloyd. “Metaphysical Possibility.” Mind, vol. 87, no. 346, 1978, pp. 210–229. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/2253419. Accessed 01 Mar. 2020.

Smith, A. (1985) The Mind, Harmondsworth, Penguin Books.

Swinburne, R. (2016) ‘Conditions for Coherence: Metaphysical Possibility’, in The Coherence of Theism. Oxford University Press. doi: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198779698.003.0003.

What is Dualism? posted by 60secondphilosophy Available at 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZY9F2EPtnU (Accessed 12/02/2020)

Tuesday, 15 September 2020

Explain the argument Socrates presents for the claim that virtue is knowledge. Is the argument successful? Answer with reference to Meno 86c – 100b.

 

Explain the argument Socrates presents for the claim that virtue is knowledge. Is the argument successful? Answer with reference to Meno 86c – 100b.

Socrates’ argument within the Meno for the claim that virtue is knowledge is put forward through dialogue between Socrates and Meno. The question arises after much discussion between them of whether virtue can be taught and is in some ways used to aid in answering this initial question, interlinking the two questions deeply.

Though elements of the discussion start much earlier in the dialogue the key points that aid in Socrates argument for virtue being knowledge begin when Meno and Socrates who both agree that virtue must be a good thing as in Chappell’s translation “
this hypothesis is immovable for us: virtue is a good thing” (p.36 87d) now that they agree that virtue is a good thing it is suggested that virtue will be knowledge, if in fact every sort of good thing is included within knowledge. (p.36 87d) Robin Waterfield puts forward in his notes of his translation that “while Plato may there be saying that excellence (virtue) is the only thing that is always good, other things are conditionally good, the condition being that they must be put to proper use by knowledge or intelligence” (2005, p.179) The dialogue leads on to the suggestion that “virtue is beneficial” (p.37 87e) Meno and Socrates begin to discuss and agree on what they consider to be benefits Socrates then listing the agreed items of health, wealth, good looks and strength. Thought accept that there may be more.

The discussion then turns to identify that those ‘good things’ or ‘benefits’ can also be harmful, possibly to not only the person who has them but to those around them. (see page 5 of this essay for expansion on this)
Socrates’ puts to Meno that the previously stated benefits only become ‘good’ or ‘bad’ when combined with intelligence, or a lack of it, ‘folly’ as he puts it (p.38 88d). The only real virtue is therefore really understanding and knowing how to positively make use of the given benefits. This reinforces the idea that virtue is knowledge or at least links to it in that knowledge or wisdom is required in order to make positive choices that in return result in positive benefits. Socrates talks of this in a prior dialogue Protagoras where he suggests that men only want to do what is good as if they didn’t in his opinion they would be ignorant “Well,” I said, “if the pleasant is good, no one knows or thinks [that] things other than what he is doing are better and possible [for him to do], when he does these things [that he is doing], though it is [in point of fact] 219 allowable for him to be doing things that are better; nor is being less than oneself [358c] anything other than ignorance, nor is being stronger than oneself anything other than wisdom.” (Arieti et al p.85 358b) in Meno though it appears that Socrates is even more confident in his argument that people do not desire to be bad or evil he says “Therefore, Meno, if there’s no one who wants to be miserable and live badly, then there is no one who wants bad things. For what is it to be miserable, if not to desire bad things and get them?” (p.17 78a) Whatever the soul tries to do or to put up with, if it is guided by wisdom, it leads to wellbeing. But if it is guided by folly, to the opposite. (p.37 88c) Socrates here appears to confidently believe that it is only ‘folly’ a lack of sense that can lead to someone desiring bad things. He fails to acknowledge that some may simply seek to be bad because this is what they want.

Socrates appears to then finalise his argument of virtue being knowledge with his statement “So by our argument, since virtue is beneficial, it has to be some kind of wisdom.” (p.38 88d) leading Meno to agree with him making it appear that they together came to this conclusion.

If this conclusion were true it would surely mean that all those who truthfully understood virtue would then be empowered to become virtuous. Meno and Socrates both agree that virtue is linked to ‘good’ which leads me to ask, what about those who do truely understand it yet choose to live in a less that virtuous life? Criminals for example. It is well known that some of the most dangerous criminals in the world are the most well educated intellectuals with high IQ’s and would be considered as knowledgeable yet have made what would be considered to most as ‘bad’ choices which have resulted in less than desirable.


Up to this point (88d) is appears the Socrates himself is convinced that virtue is knowledge (though he later appears to backtrack from this claim which I will investigate later) given that this is where reasoning has left him. As a reader I too can see that at first glance the argument Socrates puts forward appears to make sense though in my opinion it leaves some questions unanswered. 1) How is the knowledge gained? 2) How do we then know we have the relevant knowledge needed? 3) Just because someone understands does it mean they will choose to be virtuous. These questions begin to be investigated in the later sections of the Meno where Socrates further claims that knowledge is teachable (87c) but that there are no teachers of virtue (90c – 942) it appears Socrates is then beginning to doubt his own initial claim that virtue is knowledge.

In dialogue with Meno and Anytus Socrates goes over the possibility of whether there are in fact any teachers of virtue if it is agreeable that it is knowledge. It appears that he has drawn the conclusion already that there isn’t and looks like he is trying to convince Anytus and Meno of the same. After much back and forth Socrates makes the statement “So the sophists aren’t teachers of virtue; and the ‘best kind of people’ aren’t teachers of virtue either. And isn’t it obvious that there can hardly be any other teachers of virtue?” (p.49 96b) Though in Socrates suggesting that there are no teachers of virtue it may for some, including Socrates himself as he goes on to state “And if there are no teachers, there aren’t any learners either?” (p.49 96e) suggest then that virtue isn’t knowledge after all, I would argue that this very much depends on how an individual views knowledge and how exactly knowledge is gained.

Knowledge in my view can be gained in a variety of ways. 1) It can be directly taught e.g. in a formal situation a ‘teacher’ can teach a student. 2) It can be indirectly taught e.g. a parent taking part in activities with a child for fun, not specifically teaching them but they are gaining the knowledge as they do the activity, through participation. 3) Through observation e.g. watching others doing an activity but not taking part. There are likely other ways of acquiring knowledge these are just a few (in my opinion) obvious examples. This I would argue opposes Socrates view that without teachers there are no learners and therefore virtue cannot be knowledge. I also agree with a point that Dominic Scott raisies in “But this assumption is easily questioned: the fact that there happen to be no teachers of virtue does not rule out the possibility that it might in principle be taught.” (2006 p2) just because something is presently at the time not taught, by teachers, it does not mean that it could not be or that in the future it may not be. There were at one point no teachers of parkour (a well known outdoor sport / training discipline also known as free running) until it was recognised as a sport and in turn teachers of such were sought. Later in the dialogue Socrates and Meno appear to agree that knowledge is actually teachable as Scott (2006) states they “agreed that it is teachable if and only if it is knowledge” and they “reject the possibility that it comes by nature (89a–b), something suggested by Meno at the very beginning of the dialogue.” This would suggest then that virtue is knowledge and is it has to be taught as is not gained in any other way is much in Socrates and Meno’s opinion then be knowledge.

Scott puts forward “Socrates cannot conclude that virtue is knowledge: he ought to say that virtue is a composite consisting of knowledge and a number of other psychological qualities” I agree that virtue is far more complex and cannot simply be defined as knowledge. If it was I feel that the world would be a very different place. If all it took was to ‘teach’ virtue or for someone to ‘learn’ virtue and they would then be good and act in a way that would be good for fellow man and their country what a different place I feel the world would be. I say this because as Scott states “We should always have been wary of accepting this claim in the first place, especially when Socrates was thinking about the role of external assets. It is noteworthy that in the argument as a whole he is thinking of virtue as a quality that will benefit both the individual and the city that he leads”
the benefit as spoken of above would impact no only on the person who is virtuous but those around him.

After much consideration it leaves me at a point where I do not feel that Socrates’ original argument is successful because his argument does not convince me that his claim that ‘virtue is knowledge’ is correct. I would go so far as to say he hasn’t even fully convinced himself given he later says “So, Meno, it seems that the result of our reasoning is that virtue comes by the gift of the gods – if it comes at all. But we shall only know the clear truth about virtue when – before we ask in what way virtue comes to humans – we try to answer the question about virtue itself: what virtue actually is.” (p.56 100b). As I have already highlighted his argument has a number of flaws and I feel there are too many unanswered questions as well as some (in my opinion) illogical conclusions that have been drawn. My thoughts on this may well be due to societal changes and developments which lead me to see the world very differently now in 2020 to how it would have been at the time of this dialogue or it may be because I have had the opportunity to read and research so many other philosophers points of view and arguments that I feel have more strength. There are many contributing factors as to why I believe that Socrates is mistaken which I plan to further explore in future research and essays. At this point though I am confident that in the Meno Socrates argument is not successful.

*Essay written by me in 2019 for my MA studies 

Bibliography

Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Book 2, trans. T. H. Irwin (1999) Indianapolis, Hackett.

Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Book II [Online], trans. H. Rackham (1926) MA, Harvard University Press. Available at Loeb Classical Library Online (Accessed 27 July 2017.)

Hursthouse, R. (2001) On Virtue Ethics, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

McCabe, M. M. (2009) ‘Escaping one’s own notice knowing: Meno’s paradox again’, Proceedings Of The Aristotelian Society, vol. 109, no. 1pt3, pp. 233–56, Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 14 April 2017.

Plato, Meno, (trans. S.G. Chappell (2019)), Open University [Online], Available at https://learn2.open.ac.uk/pluginfile.php/2707015/mod_resource/content/2/Block%202%20Platos%20Meno_e2i1_web081286.pdf (accessed 30/11/2019)

Plato's Protagoras : Translation, Commentary, and Appendices, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2010. ProQuest Ebook Central, https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/open/detail.action?docID=500763.(Accessed 01/01/2020)

Plato, Protagoras [Online], trans. W.R.M. Lamb (1924) MA, Harvard University Press. Available at Loeb Classical Library Online (Accessed 27 July 2017.)

Plato, Protagoras, trans. C. C. W. Taylor (2006) Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Plato's Meno: The Geometry Lesson. You Tube video added by Geannikis, Erikk.
Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yqDoLdmcyZo (Accessed 19/01/2020)

Gettier, E. L. (1963) ‘Is justified true belief knowledge?’, Analysis, vol. 23, no. 6, pp. 121–3.

Scott, D. (2006) Plato’s Meno, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Swanton, C. (2005) Virtue Ethics: A Pluralistic View, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Summary of Meno You Tube video added by Gary Gramenz Available here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7o_OlOXBc8 (accessed 01/01/2020)

Waterfield, R (2005) Plato Meno and Other Dialogues, Oxford, Oxford University Press


Weiss, R. (2001) Virtue in the Cave: Moral Inquiry in Plato’s Meno, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Wittgenstein, L., Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, trans. C. K. Ogden with assistance from G. E. Moore, F. P. Ramsey and L. Wittgenstein (1922) London, Routledge & Kegan Paul.

Wittgenstein, L., Culture and Value, trans. P. Winch (1980) Oxford, Wiley-Blackwell.

Wittgenstein, L., Zettel, trans. G. E. M. Anscombe (1967) Berkeley, University of California Press.

 

 

Sunday, 13 September 2020

Taking a tour of artists studios | Devon Open Studios 2020

 

I've been an art lover all my life and have always been a supporter of local artists of all levels. I myself am exhibiting as part of the Devon Open Studios again this year but i wanted to give myself a couple of days to go out and about in Devon touring studios of fellow artists too. I took the decision to close on Sundays to give me the opportunity to get out and i am so pleased i did! 

I went out and saw some amazing studios by very talented artists, below you will be able to see some photos of the places i visited. I wish i could have fitted in more visits and hope to be able to find time to get to some more in the next two weeks. I found talking to the artists and seeing the spaces in which they work very inspiring.  


Liese Webley : Venue 18 
I had seen some of Liese's work online and was drawn to visit by her use of vibrant colours which she applys in a bold and striking way. I got to see some of Liese's older watercolour work too which i loved and i purchased a small print of one of her pieces that i fell in love with. I really love her way of working and her little studio at the bottom of her garden was brilliant! If you are looking for a vibrant colourful piece to brighten up your home or office then i highly recommend a visit! You won't be disappointed. 



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Rod Ashman : Venue 15 
Rods studio was a fantastic bright and light space full of his stunning work. I could have spent hours in his studio looking through his variety of sketch books. I love his use of mixed media, colour and texture. As someone who loves and lives by the sea Rod's main subject matter of coastlines meant i had to visit his studio. There were so many pieces i really wanted to bring home with me in fact i've made a note of a couple that i might have to go back and purchase as now i'm home i feel like they are calling me back. His work is beautiful and to me very calming so his work would suit anyone looking for something for their home or workspace. 



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Jo Voller : Venue 33 
WOW. Wow was my first response to walking into this studio. I honest don't think i've ever seen a more beautiful studio in my entire life. Jo works in a converted outhouse that overlooks rolling hills. Her use of the space is fantastic and letting us see her raw studio space with all her art materials out on show was just fantastic and so inspiring. Looking at Jo's artwork i felt like i was in a London art gallery, her work is truly breathtaking. I love her style, her use of colour and movement. I really wanted a particular piece which unfortunately was out of my budget but i will be sure to save up and go back as i have the perfect spot for it among the various artwork i have at home (my house is full of artwork by local artists, you can read more about that here). I would highly recommend visit Jo's studio if you can you will likely come away totally inspired like i was. If you are looking for a very special piece for your home, office or as a present for someone special then you really must visit. 




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Victoria Goodman : Venue 36
Victoria is actually next to me in the online brochure (i'm venue 37) and so i wanted to try and get to visit. Unfortunately she wasn't there to meet and it wasn't in her studio but in a set up space, however it was well worth a visit to see her beautiful work. Victoria's work to me is very soft and calm, i love her way of depicting views in a serene and thought provoking way. 



I did also visit a couple of other studios that i totally forgot to take photos of. They were all wonderful! I really hope that you will take my advice and get out to visit some of the venues showcasing talented local artists in Devon. 

You can find out more about Devon Artist Network and the Devon Open Studios here

Find out about my Devon Open Studios showcase and opening times here


*I would just like to mention that all were brilliantly COVID safe. We wore masks when visiting, there was sanitizer available and all were in open ventilated spaces. We felt very safe. 

Saturday, 12 September 2020

Sculpture Artist Wanted



 If you create sculptures suitable for outdoor display and live in the Seaton, Devon area we could be looking for you. 

At Devon Art Supplies in Seaton we showcase work by artists in our shop and studio. Adjoining the studio is a small courtyard garden which a number of visitors have mentioned would be great for displaying sculptures and garden ornaments for sale. We've taken on board the request and thought we would first reach out to you our community to see if there is anyone local that creates garden sculptures or ornaments that they would like to display / sell here at 30 Queen Street, Seaton. 

If you are interested please contact kabriggs@hotmail.co.uk, 01297 624246 or pop in and see us.