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Saturday, May 2, 2015

Immanuel Kant's scary views on education

In his On Education (1803) Immanuel Kant makes the following points on imagination and fiction:

“Children generally have a very lively imagination, which does not need to be expanded or made more intense by the reading of fairy tales. It needs rather to be curbed and brought under rule.” (Section 73)

“Novel-reading is the worst thing for children, since they can make no further use of it, and it merely affords them entertainment for the moment. Novel-reading weakens the memory. For it would be ridiculous to remember novels in order to relate them to others. Therefore all novels should be taken away from children. Whilst reading them they weave, as it were, an inner romance of their own, rearranging the circumstances for themselves; their fancy is thus imprisoned, but there is no exercise of thought.” (Section 69)

Quotes via Stephen Hicks

Friday, May 1, 2015

What happiness is ~ Aristotle

Aristotle thinks we can all agree what to call the highest human good: it is eudaimonia, happiness. But as for what happiness is, people disagree vehemently and sometimes even contradict themselves at different times of life.

The many think it is something palpable and obvious, for example pleasure or wealth or honor. Some think it’s one thing and others think its another – and often the same person thinks it’s different things. When he is sick he thinks eudaimonia is health, but when he is poor he thinks it is wealth. (Aristotle in Nicomachean Ethics)

It is well-known that “happiness” can be a misleading translation of eudaimonia and this passage shows why. The goods mentioned here may cause us, as we say, to feel happy, but it is hard to see how they could be what happiness itself is.