Software Needs Philosophers

Dan Mercer dmercer at
Tue May 23 02:03:25 CEST 2006

"nikie" <n.estner at> wrote in message news:1148254714.668727.298420 at
: Xah Lee wrote:
: I wonder where you get your historical "facts" form? (Monty Python
: movies?) Let's just add a few fun facts: Yes, philosophy did flourish
: in ancient greece, but liberty certainly didn't. Yes, Athens was (at
: least most of the time) a democracy - which by the way, most
: philosophers thought was a very bad thing. But still, about 90% of the
: population of Athens were slaves at that time. Not just "mentally
: enslaved", no, real, physical slaves.

Small quibble - while only 10% of the population were citizens,
by no means were the rest all slaves.  The other 90% were children,
women,  metoikoi (a commercial class of free men of foreign birth
who paid for the right to live in Athens) and house slaves.
Most Athenian slaves lived in the country.
: Also, it was dangerous to have oppinions that authorities didn't like
: (Socrates for example was sentenced to death because of impiety,
: Anaxagoras and Aristoteles had to flee because of similar charges,
: Hipposus, who _proved_ a flaw in Pythagoras' number theory was
: drowned).

Which should act as a warning to all who employ the Socratic Method.  Sadly,
it doesn't.

Dan Mercer

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