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comment by user-inactivated
user-inactivated  ·  4040 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Nietzsche on Socrates and the universal greed for knowledge

It's interesting that Nietzsche uses the word 'universal' -- because I think the thirst for knowledge is just that. And one man's impact can be overstated (although, if you have to overstate the impact of one man, it certainly might as well be Socrates).

cW  ·  4040 days ago  ·  link  ·  

One of the things I love about this work is that Nietzsche expends little effort establishing exactly who precipitated which shifts, but instead attaches grand shifts (and poles of meaning) to figures who are iconic of them. (Though as you put it, Socrates is a solid candidate, and it's hard to think of anyone more significant to this shift). It's almost as if this work about the importance of mythos is itself written in a somewhat mythical style.

Regarding the idea that the thirst for knowledge is universal, I'm not positive I agree (or rather, that this type of thirst for knowledge, systematic, all-categorizing knowledge, is and always has been inherent to man, rather than conditionally, contextually developed), but it certainly has some strong proponents. You brought this quote from Aristotle to mind, which I received via Daniel N. Robinson's lecture on metaphysics:

"ALL men by nature desire to know. An indication of this is the delight we take in our senses; for even apart from their usefulness they are loved for themselves; and above all others the sense of sight. For not only with a view to action, but even when we are not going to do anything, we prefer seeing (one might say) to everything else. The reason is that this, most of all the senses, makes us know and brings to light many differences between things."

user-inactivated  ·  4040 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I really do think the desire to know is ingrained in us. It may have been effectively stamped out in some people (one of the greatest crimes), but it was there at birth. I know the Greeks agreed, and they were the living embodiment of that desire for many years.

Underwhelmed  ·  4031 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Man's thirst for knowledge is no mystery as his survival depends on his capacity for reasoning. All goal setting and planning depend on acquiring knowledge. Knowledge gathering is in man's nature and a requirement for survival, unless a man chooses to live as an animal.