We know very little about Straton’s commentaries on Aristotle, but the few fragments we have, mostly via quotations by later authors, suggest Straton was both highly critical of and highly respectful towards Aristotle’s work. That’s something the internet could really learn something from. Debates don’t need to be about anger or personal offence. We can disagree with one another as thinkers while respecting each other as people.

Of course, it is well-established that many philosophers disliked Straton intensely, so the ancients weren’t really any better than we are. If they’d had the internet, they’d probably spend all their time flaming each other and posting goat pictures.

Conclusion: my goat is better than yours, barbarian!


Straton and Facts


Writing about Straton is a tricky thing these days, as it turns out. The one thing that I most admire about Straton is that he thinks like a scientist – he’s trying to find proof, to make statements that can be backed up by facts, or at least logically derived from facts.

But so many other philosophers – and the amount becomes really staggering once you’re actually trying to properly study philosophy – rely almost purely on elaborate sentence constructs that don’t actually make any sense. They pile definition upon definition, connecting things verbally but not logically, until they’ve created something so complex that it seems like it must be true somehow. There’s just too much of it for someone to just say “well, this is all nonsense.” But it so very often is just that.

The reason this is particularly frustrating is that we live in this wonderful postmodern era, in which we’re actually more suspicious of the concept of evidence (COULD IT REALLY EXIST? DOES SCIENCE REALLY WORK? the academic writes on a computer created by scientists) than of academics who say things like “theory is a form of art” or of philosophers who build entire unreadable books on these calcified ideas, this canon of stuff that is respectable just because it’s old, without ever questioning whether half of it makes any sense anymore, especially given all the advances in science and technology. So the Talos Principle is precisely the kind of thing that will make professors raise an eyebrow and tell you about “grand narratives.”

Note to self: only talk to the professors you know to be sane. Avoid literary studies.