Note again the central thesis about the importance of sustained, self-conscious rational criticism

  1. Chapter 5 -- politics
    1. this chapter deals with the relationship between law and consenual government, on one hand, and the nature of tyranny, on the other. How do the latter come to power? How do they sustain themselves? Why do tyrants fail?
    2. Consider carefully what citizenship means. How does one cope with the paradox that all are "equal" yet clearly not all equally adept? Why should the "worst" people decide?
    3. What is the role of education in politics?
    4. Dynamics
      1. the polis is the logical end of social development from family and village, 'polis comes into existence for the sake of mere life; but it exists for the sake of the good life', Aristotle [also Thornton, p 124].
      2. The Great Rhetra When thou has built a temple to Zeus and Athena, divided the demos [citizen-soldiers] into phylai (larger voting groups), and divided them into obai (smaller voting units), and established a Gerousia (a council of elders) including the Archagetai (magistrates), then from time to time 'appellazein' (summon the citizens) between Babyka and Knakion (months of the year), and there introduce and repeal measures; and the Demos (the 'citizens') must have the decision and the power.
      3. Aristotle writes: The first form of constitution which succeeded to monarchy in ancient Greece was one in which the soldiery formed the citizen body [demos]. At first it consisted only of cavalry....When, however, states began to increase in size, and infantry forces acquired a greater degree of strength, more persons were admitted to the enjoyment of political rights. For this reason the name 'democracy' was given at that time to constitutions which we now call "city states". Politics.
  2. Chapter 6 -- rational man
    1. Consider the process by which we cope with calamaties? the role of public discussion of the options, systematic inquiry. What is a "teach-in"?
    2. Does the exitence of evil in the world prove that the gods do not exist?
    3. How do we know that we know anything? Why do we not always do the right thing?
  3. To Consider: The stability of the state, so Thornton, is based on the 'middle' and on 'moderation', but how does the middle contribute to stability? how then do tyrants and / or the mobs gain control [extremes]? and what devises can be employed to limit that danger?