ethos anthropoi daimon

Bernat_Martorell_-_Saint_George_Killing_the_Dragon_-_Google_Art_Project I seem to be having a proverb-heavy start to the new year. ethos anthropoi daimon or, for those of you with Greek no better than mine "character is fate", comes via Why the Trump presidency will end poorly in the LA Times, which comes via CafeHayek. That character is destiny is related to Aristotle's3 excellence is a habit, not a virtue1. In Trump's case the theory seems to apply. And perhaps, as the LA Times notes, it explains some of the passion of his supporters: they have bought into him; they don't greatly care about the policies in any detail what matters is the idea, or the man; and so they are obliged to buy into his character; so the attacks on Trump look like an attack on their own character?

See-also: keep your identity small, by Paul Graham.


1. Note that "quote" isn't in quotes because it isn't a quote. See-also wiki or this blog post. When I say it, I mean that it is no good relying on your excellence alone. If you try to do things - solve puzzles, do real work, athletics - and repeatedly fall short of what you were aiming for, but tell yourself each time that was only a trial, you could do better but didn't actually try your best that time, then when it comes to the "real thing" you will fail as well. The converse, of course, is that you can observe people's "excellence" from their everyday lives, you don't need to wait until they try some difficult test.

2. That wiki page also contains the nice "Those who can, do. Those who understand, teach" which is a paraphrase of A's "We regard master-craftsmen as superior not merely because they have a grasp of theory and know the reasons for acting as they do. Broadly speaking, what distinguishes the man who knows from the ignorant man is an ability to teach, and this is why we hold that art and not experience has the character of genuine knowledge (episteme)--namely, that artists can teach and others (i.e., those who have not acquired an art by study but have merely picked up some skill empirically) cannot."

3. That his physics was crap doesn't mean I have to diss all his stuff.

4. The picture is irrelevant. I'm not slaying any great dragon here. I just liked it. See Bernat Martorell for the full image. h/t Bibliothèque Infernale.


Climate change: LED lights making dent in UK energy demand
Rationality and Knavery - David Hume
* No man can climb out beyond the limitations of his own character - John Morley
* More evidence that Elizabeth Warren is a shithead: Here’s how we can break up Big Tech.


CapitalistImperialistPig said...

I don't doubt that the Trump presidency will end badly, but for whom? For Trump? For the Republican Party? For the US? For the World?

William M. Connolley said...

If the Dems put up Warren or Pelosi, then it will end badly for the Dems...

A year ago I wrote WATN: Trump and don't feel strongly enough to rework it (e.g. Trump and science: malice or indifference?), in a spirit of hopefulness.

Everett F Sargent said...

It's called intellectual ownership. Although, for at least half the population, not too much intellect is involved. :/

Peloci ain't ever going to run for POTUS (2020 effigy for Trunpkin though).

Warren? Not holding my breath on that one either. Ask me again exactly one year from today though.

Mon, Feb 3 2020 Iowa Caucuses

David B. Benson said...

Did 12 drummers drum in Cambridgeshire?


Two cheers for Theophrastus, whom Aristotle may have had in mind .

William M. Connolley said...

Well, he got close with in the heavens too, and in the heavenly bodies, movement does not need explanation, it's a shame he didn't really understand what he was saying.


'Some things are too simple to be readily understood'

Tip o'the propeller beanie to Pat Gunkel

David B. Benson said...

Is it possible that the Brits will do the sensible thing and Remain?

William M. Connolley said...

James seems to think it possible. and indeed it is - we (or rather our MPs) just revoke A50. There is very little public sign of them deciding to do that, yet. The upcoming debate of Mays crap deal would be the obvious place for this to become more obvious.

Andy Mitchell said...

Atm. by law we are obliged to leave the EU regardless of whether we have a deal or not. That's because our MPs nearly two years voted to put that singularly stupid law in place without thinking of the consequences.

William M. Connolley said...

An interesting point, which I'd forgotten. However, if we had a majority to vote revoke, I'm sure the same bill could revoke our own legislation.

David B. Benson said...

I do hope that you can encourage this to happen.