Blog of Obscurity

A Very Munchkinly Blog

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Another Fun Site: Squashed Philosophers

Here's a site that will give you the quick and dirty summary of many philosophers. It offers versions that are "condensed and abridged to keep the substance, the style and the quotes, but ditching all that irritating verbiage".

Want to study Thomas Paine? They give you a 7200 word breakdown (est. 30 minutes).

Aristotelean Ethics? Well, you can read the 10,000 word summary, or get even more brief with the "Very Squashed Version":

ONE: Every art or enquiry aims at achieving some good, but what 'good' is we cannot know with precision. Happiness is an activity of the soul according to virtue.
TWO: For every virtue there is a vice, so we can say that virtue is a state of character, gained by rational choice, lying in a middle way relative to the man. Confidence is the mean between rashness and cowardice. Liberality lies between prodigality and meanness, honour between vanity and undue humility.
THREE: Only voluntary actions are praised or blamed, involuntary actions receive pardon or pity. Decision making relates to the ends, choice to the means.
FOUR: Proper pride is praiseworthy, but he who claims greatness, being unworthy, is vain. Good temper is the mean with respect to anger. The man who is angry at the right things, is praiseworthy.
FIVE: Justice is largely concerned with goods. Justice is either proportionate, or rectificatory, where something is taken from the greater to give to the less.
SIX: Prudence, or practical wisdom, is a virtue of the calculative, reasoning part of the soul. Science depends on first principles, which are found from intuition. Wisdom is knowledge of what is by nature most precious.
SEVEN: Vice, incontinence and brutishness should be avoided. Anger is a natural appetite all creatures share. The man who pursues excessive pleasures is licentious. Amusement is excessive indulgence in relaxation. Simply knowing what is right does not make a man prudent, he must be inclined to actually do it.
EIGHT: Friendship is a form of virtue, and is of three kinds. Some love from utility, to obtain what they wish, others from pleasure. True friendship is rare, as good men are rare.
NINE: In friendships, there is equitable exchange. But if friends want different things, all fails. Concord is more a political feeling, where citizens put their common resolves into effect. It is not possible to find many worthy friends, so we must be content with a few.
TEN: If true happiness is an activity in accordance with virtue, it must be in accordance with the highest virtue, which is philosophical contemplation.

The "Very Squashed" is almost like a book jacket - it lets you know if you want to even bother with the author. However, I'm still not totally sold on the concept. The "annoying verbage" gives an awful lot of flavor. However, considering I'll almost certainly never read (and adequately comprehend) all of the original works, this is an interesting alternative.