The most dangerous form of hatred of philosophy can develop: misology
. Let us now turn to this threat, introduced by Socrates in a famous passage of the Phaedo.
Among all the arguments for immortality in the Phaedo, it is the interlude against misology
(aversion to reason) that claims the pedimental spotlight of the dialogue (89d-91c), thus elevating rational discourse above personal immortality, and declaring the resentment of reason a greater threat (or "folly") than the resentment of death.
Socrates condemned "misology
," (12) the hatred of reason that often results when one has failed at the rational inquiry central to philosophical argument.
Socrates dubs the former mode of escape "misology
," the hatred of rational discourse, a condition that occurs "when one who lacks skill in arguments puts his trust in an argument as being true, then shortly afterwards believes it to be false [.] and so with another argument and then another." (35) He dubs the second mode of escape misanthropy, hatred of people, which arises in a similar way to misology
: "when a man without knowledge or skill has placed great trust in someone and believes him to be altogether truthful, sound and trustworthy; then, a short time afterwards he finds him to be wicked an unreliable." (36)
Although the author is right that each chapter is "un essai qui peut etre lu independamment" (20), one of this book's merits definitely lies in the way it juxtaposes authors and works rarely discussed together in this productive back-and-forth between philology and misology
. This beautifully written book is to be recommended to anyone interested in the questions it raises.
Fontaine stressed that moral and intellectual truth demand an end to segregation advocated by segregationist whites and black radicals alike, since "segregation as a way of life commits its followers to misology
, the hatred of reason, and to misanthropy, the hatred of man." He was persuaded that the material betterment of urban African Americans required the use of moral suasion and market incentives to prompt people of different races to choose voluntarily to live among one another.
Benedict's reference indirectly but unmistakably points to a further claim at the same place in the dialogue: "Hatred of arguments and hatred of human beings come about in the same way." (13) Misology
leads to misanthropy.
Remember that in Plato's Phaedo, Socrates compares misanthropy to misology
, the hatred of speech and logic.
As he writes, The search for either a general ontology (ontologia generalis), which advertises the unity and coherence of the world by expressing the Being of beings, or a science of first principles (scientia universalis), which characterizes things by appeal to general principles ordering the whole and underwriting our knowledge of it, has collapsed into a resigned anarchy embarrassed by any invocation of "essences" or "objective principles." The beginnings of misology
are to be found in the frustration of any attempts to find a sense of the whole through either an ontological or a cosmological route.
Like Plato who speaks of misology
(Republic 411d), ideology for
thought is the native air of the mind, yet pure it is a poison to our mixed constitution, and soon burns up the bone-house of man, unless tempered with affection and coarse practice in the material world." (93) Like Socrates, he fully understood that an excess of intellectual activity can lead to misology
Whether the postmodern pragmatist misology
that lies behind this prospect grows inevitably out of modern political philosophy is, however, a serious question, and it is to be hoped that Brugger will bring his considerable talents to bear on it in future work.