Episode Ninety-Nine - The Epicurean View of Justice (Part Two)

  • I go back to babies, monkeys, chimps, etc al exhibiting displays of "fairness" (or however one describes it) as being manifestations of an innate sense or prolepseis of "justice." I don't think they can be acculturation in relation to babies. The utility of "fairness" might be learned, but the sense of fairness is innate.

  • Ex.

  • Cassius I agree with what you've written but I do question this quote. First, are you saying that we actually categorize something as part of a preconception? That seems to me to be done using reason: I understand a preconception as being more "primitive" than that, more akin to a sensation or feeling.

    Yes I agree with your point Godfrey. Whatever we are talking about has to be pre-rational. As I think about it further I think in the past I may have suggested an analogy with the way that the eyes and ears work -- they see and hear within a range of naturally determined "wavelenghs" and within those ranges they perceive in certain ways - colors for example.

    We can't be talking about rational categorization as for example Aristotle does with his logic. We have to be talking about something inherent in the mechanism of the human mind that is tuned to perceive relationships that we otherwise would not even perceive as significant.

    Do I recall that there are examples such as whether animals looking at a TV screen even perceive the images on them? I am thinking that this mechanism must be some kind of tendency to recognize something specific (like the eyes see light and the ears hear sound) but that it functions in the field of abstract relationships. I seem to recall that was DeWitt's suggestion, though I think when he talks about it he strays too far and seems to talk about ideas themselves.

    This is where I go back to that article from Jackson Barwis written in criticism of John Locke's (and others') Blank Slate theory. Barwis' point is that just because we aren't born with "ideas," that doesn't mean we aren't born with "principles of function" that precede and allow us to develop ideas from those principles:

    As those who have been here long enough know, I highly recommend the entire essay by Barwis - "Dialogue on Innate Principles." My view has been for a while, and continues to be, that working with Barwis' core point it's possible to reconstruct a very possible description of the path that Epicurus was taking on anticipations as a PRE-conceptual ("pre-ideas") faculty.