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Roots of Wisdom Chapter 6 & 7

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1. Think of something you are confident is true. On what basis do you believe it to be true? How would you prove or demonstrate its truth if called upon to do so? 7. What does it mean to be “true to yourself”? What is the standard against which your actions will be compared? Is this kind of truth different from the truth of propositions? How? 10. In traditional societies, everything must meet the test of lived experience. What has enabled our technological society to produce ideas that are “true in theory but not in practice”? Does the division between mind and matter expressed by Plato and Descartes define traditional societies as it does our own? 12. How much of what you believe to be true have you taken on “faith”—that is, how much rests on the authority of a textbook, a teacher, parents, or friends telling you something is true? Augustine thought most of what we believe to be true fell into this category, and he didn’t mean only religious truths. If he is right, is your confidence (in what you “know” to be true) shaken or fortified? Chapter 7 3. If we study only the written documents of a culture or only the visual arts, are we getting an incomplete and perhaps inaccurate picture of the culture? Explain. 5. What kind of culture would we have if artists played the role traditionally played by priests? What might our “religious rituals” look like if they were based in art rather than religion? 15. Are there conditions under which art could be used for purely instrumental purposes (as something to be used rather than admired)? Do we want our art to be useful as well as beautiful? As we move toward the useful and away from the beautiful, is there a point at which an object stops being art and starts being something else? 17. Some serious questions about censorship in art are being raised today. Under what circumstances would a work of art, in your judgment, be deserving of censorship?

1. Think of something you are confident is true. On what basis do you believe it to be true? How would you prove or demonstrate its truth if called upon to do so? 7. What does it mean to be “true to yourself”? What is the standard against
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