The other day, Richard Dawkins had a go at Plato:
It’s not the first time. Dawkins has a thing for picking on Plato. He said this back in March:
One of the most common assumptions around is the notion that the only way to truly understand something is to be part of it. It is said that the best way to learn about life is to live it. This idea has tremendous influence–it causes method actors to attempt to directly experience what their characters experience, it causes people to go on trips or to do things purely for “the experience”, and most importantly, it has tremendous influence over how people think about politics, both for the left and for the right. The left scolds well-off politicians, who are assumed to have no conception of what it means to be poor and to suffer. The right scolds young people and ivory tower academics for not directly experiencing the welfare systems they praise, or the private systems they denigrate. There is a kernel of truth in both criticisms, but that’s about it.
Today I seek to come to grips with Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, the late 18th and early 19th century German philosopher. Why Hegel? Because of Hegel’s influence on a broad range of philosophical movements and traditions that have sprung up over the last 200 years, and because there are elements within his system of belief that strike me as manifestly false (and, consequently, serve as a false foundation for spin-off theories), and I seek to articulate why.