Posts Tagged ‘history’


In art on 10/10/2011 at 6:37 am

Problems worthy

of attack

prove their worth

by fighting back. (Piet Hein)


The Derveni Papyrus

In the ancient greeks on 15/07/2011 at 11:51 pm

The Derveni papyrus, found in 1962 among the remains of a funeral pyre at Derveni near Thessaloniki, may be perhaps Europe’s oldest surviving Greek manuscript, written some time in the fourth century B.C.E. The manner in which the author of the Deverni papyrus opposed competing Greek religions and mystery-cults on the one hand provides a glimpse into the understanding of magic during ancient Greece: the text offers a novel defense of a particular mystery-cult by simultaneously elucidating a cosmogony and theology eerily close to the cosmogony of several influential Presocratic sophist philosophers.

While Kouremenos notes that “attempting to identify the Derveni author in light of the available evidence seems to be an exercise of rather low epistemic value” (1), it is valuable in-itself to examine the attitudes of the author, the cosmological theories the author advances, and how the theories and attitudes relate to Presocratic sophists of the era. Thus, the Deverni papyrus may indicate that the sophists might have been heavily influenced by ancient Greek religion and magic. In departing in the conventional interpretation of the gods, the sophists may have instead offered a reinterpretation or re-imagination of Greek religion and mystery-cults, claiming to have discovered a deeper or hidden secret by means of allegory, rather than engaging in a full-scale rejection of the traditional Greek understanding of magic and religion.

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In critical rationalism, ethics, evolution on 23/06/2011 at 5:18 am

I don’t think we’re here for anything. We’re just products of evolution. You can say, “Gee, your life must be pretty bleak if you don’t think there’s a purpose,” but I’m anticipating a pretty good lunch. (Dr. James Watson, from Recurial)

… There was never a time in the pre-DNA era when a lot of us biologists sat around the table and said ‘Let us first clearly DEFINE life before we explore it.’ We just went out there, forged ahead and FOUND OUT what it was. It’s no doubt good to have a rough idea of what one is talking about but matters of terminology are best left to philosophers who spend most of their time on such things. Indeed clear definitions often EMERGE from empirical research. We now no longer quibble over questions like is a virus REALLY alive. (Dr. Francis Crick, The Astonishing Francis Crick)