The Measure of All Things

Socrates is one of the most common and celebrated names in philosophy circles, and his material is often covered in any philosophy 101 course.  What made his ideas so special?

The height of Socratic wisdom is something many may argue was not wisdom at all – devoid of philosophical value.  Despite all of Socrates’ reason and original thinking, his contention that the only certainty he could obtain is that he could not be certain of anything challenged the value of his philosophy.  How is this useful thinking?  Some may contest that the idea finds no application in our world today.  They may suggest that this apparent lack of knowledge is no wisdom at all.

The Greek roots of the word “philosophy” summarize it in its entirety.   The Greek translation is “love of wisdom.”  This leads us to explore the wisdom itself.  Wisdom might be summarized as the optimization of knowledge itself.  If Socrates was so wise, so aware, then why resort to such humility?

Life should be a very humbling journey.  Just as wisdom, it is not a destination.  Socrates dedicated his life to the vigorous pursuit of obtaining a deeper realization in relation to the world around him and his self.  He developed many ideas and synthesized bytes of information into industrious tunes of understanding.  Yet, he remained humble in his findings.  Certainty, or, truth, is the holy grail of the philosopher.  I would compare absolute certainty to knowing the mind and form of what we commonly refer to as “god.”

This humbling conclusion is the very reason people continue to seek answers, knowledge, and truth today.  Everything is not known, and this fact compromises everything that can be known.  Philosophers that arrived on the scene after Socrates demise have been expanding on Socratic wisdom by drawing up schematics for human understanding.  Immanuel Kant, pioneered metaphysics by attempting to define what he termed “noumenal” reality.   Though Kant’s hopes were misguided, they still caused him to drive out new and fascinating conceptual identities that continue to broaden the contemplation of the modern thinker.

Noumena” defines phenomena in the sense that it is the root of perception as it exists, and is extended from, within the individual.  Kant went so far as to argue that noumena creates phenomena.  In this sense, the observer (or, subject) would be the measure of all things.  You may ask yourself at this point – if reality is purely subjective, would it be important to think about it?  I would argue, yes in all cases.  I  would also argue that Socrates and Kant make a powerful duo when they are both considered right.  Subjectively, we are the measure of all things, but wisdom lights the path upon realizing the limits of our measure.



Filed under Philosophy, Religion and Modern Politics

9 responses to “The Measure of All Things

  1. Magdalin

    This was very well done! I liked your thoughts on this…

    (My only suggestion, if this to be more than just a blog piece, would be to tie your final point about knowledge and wisdom with the beginning of your article a little more…)

    Btw! I never know when there is a reply or, comment made here, since I guess one must be a member to get notifications….?? Anyway, just letting you know!

    • Thanks for the tips, Mag!

      You can subscribe via e-mail notification on the right – just above Einstein’s quote.

      There are feed buttons on the right at the top as well.

      Also, there is a current activity widget underneath Einstein’s quote that allows you to see current comments.

      Hope this helps!


  2. If this isn’t humbling enough – I don’t know what is:

    • Almost as scalp-peeling as the movie “Inception” …lol.

      On a serious note, it makes one contemplate the depths of physical reality as well. I think that rabbit hole, …well, f*ck, I don’t think anything. lol.

      The small scale dips through the very fabric of current human comprehension. There could be folds in space that we may be able to travel through one day…

  3. Susie

    I now have a mental boner. Thanks. ;)

  4. “Everything is not known, and this fact compromises everything that can be known. ”

    if everything was know… there would be no science…
    because everything is not known…science continues

    it is impossible to measure anything objectively.

    all measurements are subjective by definition of measurement.

    since it is impossible to measure anything with out a subject and since measurement is dependent on our senses (dependent on the subject)

    “The concept of measurement is often misunderstood as merely the assignment of a value, but it is possible to assign a value in a way that is not a measurement . One may assign a value to a person’s height, but unless it can be established that there is a correlation between measurements of height and empirical relations, it is not a measurement… Likewise, computing and assigning arbitrary values, like the “book value” of an asset in accounting, is not a measurement because it does not satisfy the necessary criteria.”

    -unless it can be established that there is a correlation between measurements of height and empirical relations, it is not a measurement… ”

    A central concept in modern science and the scientific method is that all evidence must be empirical, or empirically based, that is, dependent on evidence or consequences that are observable by the measurement .

    and in order to me measurable
    there must be a suspect(the measurer) and an object (evidence) to be measured

    if we never measured the strength of gravity would the
    value not exist??
    if we never measured the earths distance from the sun… would it still be the same …
    i believe that it would …

    that i guess is my case for an objective reality.

  5. Great response, Josh! I believe in all three models (realism, relativism, and absolutism), though I am not a purist in any of them.

    Relativism is the bridge I use to connect absolutism with realism.

    That is my case for something I like to call “reality.”

    Progress halts when we start disconnect the subject from the object. That is not my aim here. I want to go further…

    I may have to work from pure induction at first – but that is the birthplace, the holy garden, of ideas.

    To answer your question (excellent, btw!):

    “if we never measured the strength of gravity would the
    value not exist?”

    Naturally, but human evaluation compromises it. This is my point. The value may be much simpler, and attainable, to another species, or, another perception.


  6. Mary Kripke

    It is certainly interesting for me to read that blog. Thanx for it. I like such themes and everything that is connected to this matter. I would like to read more on that site soon.

    Mary Kripke
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