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« : ۶ مهر ۱۳۸۹ - ۰۰:۱۴:۰۸ »

Water table management is recognized as an essential best management agricultural practice throughout North America. Due to its agronomic, environmental and economic benefits, water table management is a successful technique adopted by crop producers in eastern Canada. Data from field studies demonstrate the many advantages of water table management to producers.

There are three forms of water table management which farmers will recognize. These are represented by (1) common tile drainage where the water level in the field is reduced to permit earlier seeding, efficient use of fertilizer, and a substantial increase in a crop yield. Tile drainage pays for itself!

A variation on the above practice is termed (2) controlled drainage. With controlled drainage the existing, or modified, field tile drainage system is designed such that the water table can be lowered to permit planting operations. During the growing season, drain discharge is restricted from the tile outlet, resulting in a higher water table. The water table drops with time due to evaporation and deep seepage, and is only raised if there is rain.

The third system of water table management is termed (3) subirrigation. Here, water is pumped slowly, and continually, into the drainage system, to maintain a near constant water table during the growing season. When large rainfalls occur, and the water table rises above the desired level, the irrigation pump is stopped, and the excess water drained through an overflow pipe connected to the outlet.

These three water table management systems are depicted in Figure 1.

In short, a water table management system allows a crop producer greater flexibility with the management of the soil-water regime--lowering the water table during periods of high precipitation to remove excess water for better root aeration and optimum crop growth, and raising the water table with controlled drainage or subsurface irrigation when the crops need water during the summer months. This ability to adjust the water table level helps stabilize crop yield which is the biggest economic benefit of these practices. Yield increases come primarily from the increased moisture content of the soil. This available water is critical during the summer period when water-stress adversely affects grain yields. Water from the raised water table moves up to the plant roots by capillary rise.

A site near Bainsville, Eastern Ontario, was used to assess the effects of different water table levels on strip-cropped corn and soybeans. The farmer practiced a no-till ridge system and 140 kg per hectare of nitrogen fertilizer (28% UAN) were applied to the corn rows. No fertilizer was applied to the soybean rows. In 1995, corn yielded 12.6 tonnes per hectare with a 50-cm controlled water table.

For soybeans, a 75-cm controlled water table gave the maximum yield of 3.6 tonnes per hectare. In 1996, the highest corn yields, 7.3 tonnes per hectare, were found in both the 50 and 75-cm water table depths. For soybeans, the highest yield, 3.2 tonnes per hectare, was obtained from the 50-cm depth. Yields in 1996 were lower due to a wet spring and late planting.

A silt loam soil at St. Emmanuel, Quebec, produced the highest corn yields in 1993 and 1994 with a 50 cm controlled water table depth. Overall, corn yield increases by adopting subirrigation were in the range of 1.25 to 13.5% higher compared to conventional drainage. For soybeans, the yield increases were much higher, ranging from 13.5 to 32.7% over conventional drainage. Precipitation during the growing seasons of 1993-1996 were higher than normal, which reduced the beneficial effect of subirrigation. In drier years, however, much higher yield increases can be expected.

(To convert tonnes/hectare to bushels/acre -- multiply by 14.9 for soybeans and 15.9 for corn.)

Other economic benefits from water table management include savings in production costs. Subsurface irrigation reduces energy and maintenance costs since it is a very efficient irrigation method compared to other methods of irrigation. Water table management is very affordable. It can be easily integrated with existing subsurface drainage systems and be fully automated. Furthermore, grain and cereal crops which do not lend themselves easily to sprinkler and surface irrigation systems do very well under subirrigation. Since the nitrogen use efficiency of the plant is improved, less nitrogen inputs are required. These savings also translate positively for the environment in that nitrate (NO3-N) pollution of streams, rivers, lakes and ground water are significantly reduced.

In the Bainsville and St. Emmanuel studies, the plots which gave the highest yields also gave the least water pollution. Because water table management increases crop yields while improving drainage water quality, this technique will play a key role in the sustainability of subsurface drainage systems in the future.

Agricultural non-point source pollution is a serious problem. Land needs to be tile drained; however, when the land is tile drained the potential for leaching of agrochemicals is increased because the drains may serve as conduits for the transport of nitrates into ditches and surface waters.

Excessive use of N-fertilizer also increases nitrate leaching into these waters. In particular, nitrate-nitrogen (NO3-N) pollution may create serious environmental and health concerns which threaten the health of the receiving water bodies as well as the safety of human drinking water supplies, and accelerate eutrophication of lakes and rivers. Efficient methods of nutrient and water management must be adopted to preserve the quality of our water.

Water table management is effective in reducing (NO3-N) loading to drainage water. It keeps water and nitrates in the soil profile for plant use rather than being drained away. The higher water table enhances denitrification which reduces the amount of leachable nitrates. Water pollution can be significantly reduced by as much as 30 to 50% when compared to conventional drainage.

In the United States, it is estimated that about 8 million kg of nitrogen are no longer getting into surface waters because of the adoption of this practice. With full implementation of controlled drainage to areas which are physically suited to the practice, nitrogen loading to surface water could potentially be reduced by nearly 100 million kg annually. This environmental benefit can also lead to yield increases and significant N-fertilizer savings for producers.

Saving on N-fertilizer costs is the other economic benefit offered by water table management. Significant N-fertilizer savings were achieved through this practice in experimental fields in Quebec and Ontario.

Leaching predominantly occurs during the non-growing period and most of the data from Bainsville was collected during the growing season. NO3-N losses were thus lower in Bainsville than in St. Emmanuel where the losses were measured on an annual basis. The equivalent amounts of N-fertilizer saved (kg/ha) with water table management as compared to conventional drainage was calculated. Using current N-fertilizer prices for three fertilizer types (Ammonium nitrate, Urea and Anhydrous ammonia), savings in input costs in terms of dollars per hectare were calculated.

Overall, the research findings show that farmers can save significant amounts of fertilizer (16 to 42 kg per hectare, or, $10 to $16 per hectare) with water table management. Economic benefits not only include reduced fertilizer losses, but also increased crop yields. There is also an enormous positive environmental benefit, in that nitrate pollution of streams, rivers, lakes and groundwater is significantly reduced.

Where topography and soil conditions are suitable, and a water supply is available, subirrigation is preferable to controlled drainage. This is because subirrigation will have a greater effect on reducing drought stress, thereby providing an additional economic benefit of increased crop yields. Your LICO drainage contractor is capable of designing subirrigation and water control systems. Ask him for details about your project.

These variations in the amount of NO3-N lost demonstrate that leaching is highly dependent on rainfall, fertilizer application rates, cropping systems, soil type and other management practices. However, it is clear that water table management invariably reduced NO3-N leaching at both sites when compared to conventional free drainage. This efficient use of N and water translates into improved drainage water quality and considerable savings in N-fertilizer cost for the farmer, as well as higher crop yields.

The research presented in this Factsheet was carried out under the direction of Dr. Chandra Madramooto, Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Department, Macdonald Campus, McGill University. The work was financed by the Land Improvement Contractors of Ontario, Natural Sciences Engineering Research Council of Canada, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.


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SARS Research Paper
« پاسخ #1 : ۶ مهر ۱۳۸۹ - ۰۰:۲۹:۵۷ »
SARS Research Paper

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Many people in the United States are unaware of a new deadly disease, which is wreaking havoc throughout the world because of the intense coverage of the war in Iraq. However, SARS or severe acute respiratory syndrome has currently infected 2,601 people worldwide and has killed 98 people as of April 7, 2003. The United States has been lucky thus far because no deaths have been reported in America. However, there have been 115 suspected SARS cases that have occurred in 27 states including California and New York, which are two of the most populated states.

Currently, the World Health Organization has defined SARS as an “atypical pneumonia of unknown Etiology.” Although this disease is very new and not much is known about it, researchers still have made some significant progress. Scientists have been able to link this disease to an unrecognizable version of the corona virus. The corona virus is named after its crown-like appearance and commonly causes the infected patient to have upper-respiratory problems. The major difference between the corona virus and SARS is that people infected with the corona virus usually have weakened immune systems to begin with. On the contrary, most SARS victims have been adults who were healthy before being infected with this deadly virus. Also, the corona virus is very rare in humans, it is mostly found in animals like dogs and cats. This is why scientists are investigating the possibility that this unknown version of the corona virus called SARS has been passed on from animals to humans just like HIV did.

HIV is a very deadly disease, but it is preventable for the most part as long as you practice safe On the other hand, SARS is nearly unavoidable because it is much like other respiratory illnesses, which spread from close contact. For example, if one of your classmates became infected with SARS and they cough or sneeze while in the classroom they will release tiny droplets of infected matter into the air. If you breathe the air that is infected, then you can also become infected with the killer virus.

Once you have contracted SARS its takes anywhere from two to seven days for symptoms to be noticeable. The major symptoms for this disease is having a fever of a 100.4 or higher, chills, headache, muscle soreness, and a general feeling of discomfort is also common. Approximately three to seven days after being infected with the virus people have been experiencing a dry cough that can turn into hypoxemia, which is when there is a reduced concentration of oxygen in the blood. Also, about fifteen percent of infected patients have needed some type of assistance breathing either through intubation or mechanical ventilation. Doctors have begun to treat patients with antibiotics, antiviral agents, and a combination of steroids and antimicrobials. All these treatments have showed mild success this far.

Even though there is not much known about this deadly virus, hopefully this essay has made you more aware of the process of how the SARS virus is spread, contracted, and cured. Currently, there are two patients in Santa Barbara who have contracted SARS. This is why must be aware of this virus because it is so deadly, its so close to home, and the initial symptoms seem like you just have the common cold. However, if you believe you may have contracted SARS it is extremely important that you see a doctor immediately because if it is treated early you have a better chance of surviving.

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History of Iran
« پاسخ #2 : ۶ مهر ۱۳۸۹ - ۲۱:۵۰:۲۵ »
Iran before Iranians

The Elamite civilization in Iran, first developed in the Susian plain, under the influence of nearby Sumeria and Mesopotamia in the Tigris-Euphrates valley.

Around 3500 B.C., animal drawn wheeled carts were in use in Sumeria. They also used ploughs to till their land, and oars to propel their ships on the Euphrates river. The Sumerians were the most advanced and complex civilization in the world at that time, and by 3100 B.C. they had invented a system of writing which was the first of its kind in the world.

In 3000 B.C. a group of people called the Akkadians drifted into the northern Sumerian territory. The Akkadians adopted some aspects of Sumerian culture and for that reason, the region is sometimes referred to as Sumer - Akkad. Around 2340 B.C. Sargon, ruler of the Akkad defeated Sumer and went on to conquer Elam and the mountainous lands to the east. His empire spread from the Mediterranean Sea to the Caspian Sea in the north, and the Persian Gulf in the South.

The Guti, among other tribes living in the mountainous areas controlled many of the routes that crossed western Iran. They took advantage of periods of weakness in Babylonian power and, around 2200 B.C., even succeeded in invading Babylon, causing the fall of the empire of Akkad.

This fall allowed Elam to capture Susa, a city that was to become one of its capitals. Elam developed into a civilization that could be compared with that of Sumer, and during the 13th and 12th centuries B.C., at the height of its glory, it succeeded in defeating Assyria and Babylon.

Throughout the centuries that followed, the Assyrian Empire continued to fight for control of the region, at times succeeding with great force. They waged war with deliberate frightfulness, sacking cities, and killing their inhabitants indiscriminately. By 900 B.C. Assyria was busy restoring its control over Babylonia, and by 700 B.C. the Assyrian Empire included the entire Tigris-Euphrates region, and all the Eastern Shore of the Mediterranean. It was the most powerful empire the world had yet seen.

Map of the Cradle of Civilization 6000 to 4000 B.C.


The Indo-European Aryans or Iranians arrived on the plateau during the second millennium BC, and it is at Tappeh Sialk that the remains of their most ancient dwellings have been found. The rich had jewels made of silver, and the poor of bronze or iron. Vast finds of pottery at Tappeh Sialk give us an insight into their art.

The most representative type, a long spouted pitcher used in funeral rituals, was decorated with the head of an animal. The artist accentuated the resemblance of the animal by drawing around the spout. For example, if he wanted to increase the resemblance of a bird, the artist drew a series of triangles suggesting a collar of feathers or a pair of wings

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Einstein Biography
« پاسخ #3 : ۹ مهر ۱۳۸۹ - ۰۰:۳۱:۴۹ »
Albert Einstein Biography

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Albert Einstein was born at Ulm, in Württemberg, Germany, on March 14, 1879. Six weeks later the family moved to Munich, where he later on began his schooling at the Luitpold Gymnasium. Later, they moved to Italy and Albert continued his education at Aarau, Switzerland and in 1896 he entered the Swiss Federal Polytechnic School in Zurich to be trained as a teacher in physics and mathematics. In 1901, the year he gained his diploma, he acquired Swiss citizenship and, as he was unable to find a teaching post, he accepted a position as technical assistant in the Swiss Patent Office. In 1905 he obtained his doctor's degree.

During his stay at the Patent Office, and in his spare time, he produced much of his remarkable work and in 1908 he was appointed Privatdozent in Berne. In 1909 he became Professor Extraordinary at Zurich, in 1911 Professor of Theoretical Physics at Prague, returning to Zurich in the following year to fill a similar post. In 1914 he was appointed Director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Physical Institute and Professor in the University of Berlin. He became a German citizen in 1914 and remained in Berlin until 1933 when he renounced his citizenship for political reasons and emigrated to America to take the position of Professor of Theoretical Physics at Princeton*. He became a United States citizen in 1940 and retired from his post in 1945.

After World War II, Einstein was a leading figure in the World Government Movement, he was offered the Presidency of the State of Israel, which he declined, and he collaborated with Dr. Chaim Weizmann in establishing the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Einstein always appeared to have a clear view of the problems of physics and the determination to solve them. He had a strategy of his own and was able to visualize the main stages on the way to his goal. He regarded his major achievements as mere stepping-stones for the next advance.

At the start of his scientific work, Einstein realized the inadequacies of Newtonian mechanics and his special theory of relativity stemmed from an attempt to reconcile the laws of mechanics with the laws of the electromagnetic field. He dealt with classical problems of statistical mechanics and problems in which they were merged with quantum theory: this led to an explanation of the Brownian movement of molecules. He investigated the thermal properties of light with a low radiation density and his observations laid the foundation of the photon theory of light.

In his early days in Berlin, Einstein postulated that the correct interpretation of the special theory of relativity must also furnish a theory of gravitation and in 1916 he published his paper on the general theory of relativity. During this time he also contributed to the problems of the theory of radiation and statistical mechanics.

In the 1920's, Einstein embarked on the construction of unified field theories, although he continued to work on the probabilistic interpretation of quantum theory, and he persevered with this work in America. He contributed to statistical mechanics by his development of the quantum theory of a monatomic gas and he has also accomplished valuable work in connection with atomic transition probabilities and relativistic cosmology.

After his retirement he continued to work towards the unification of the basic concepts of physics, taking the opposite approach, geometrisation, to the majority of physicists.

Einstein's researches are, of course, well chronicled and his more important works include Special Theory of Relativity (1905), Relativity (English translations, 1920 and 1950), General Theory of Relativity (1916), Investigations on Theory of Brownian Movement (1926), and The Evolution of Physics (1938). Among his non-scientific works, About Zionism (1930), Why War? (1933), My Philosophy (1934), and Out of My Later Years (1950) are perhaps the most important.

Albert Einstein received honorary doctorate degrees in science, medicine and philosophy from many European and American universities. During the 1920's he lectured in Europe, America and the Far East and he was awarded Fellowships or Memberships of all the leading scientific academies throughout the world. He gained numerous awards in recognition of his work, including the Copley Medal of the Royal Society of London in 1925, and the Franklin Medal of the Franklin Institute in 1935.

Einstein's gifts inevitably resulted in his dwelling much in intellectual solitude and, for relaxation, music played an important part in his life. He married Mileva Maric in 1903 and they had a daughter and two sons; their marriage was dissolved in 1919 and in the same year he married his cousin, Elsa Löwenthal, who died in 1936. He died on April 18, 1955 at Princeton, New Jersey.

[spoiler]From Nobel Lectures, Physics 1901-1921, Elsevier Publishing Company, Amsterdam, 1967

This autobiography/biography was written at the time of the award and first published in the book series Les Prix Nobel. It was later edited and republished in Nobel Lectures. To cite this document, always state the source as shown above.

* Albert Einstein was formally associated with the Institute for Advanced Study located in Princeton, New Jersey.[/spoiler]

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Charlie Chaplin Biography
« پاسخ #4 : ۹ مهر ۱۳۸۹ - ۰۰:۴۶:۳۶ »
Charlie Chaplin Biography
byname of Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin
1889 – 1977

(born April 16, 1889, London, England—died December 25, 1977, Corsier-sur-Vevey, Switzerland) British comedian, producer, writer, director, and composer who is widely regarded as the greatest comic artist of the screen and one of the most important figures in motion-picture history.

Named after his father, a British music hall entertainer, Chaplin spent his early childhood with his mother, the singer Hannah Hall. He made his own stage debut at age five, filling in when his mother lost her voice in mid-song. The mentally unstable Hall was later confined to an asylum, whereupon Charlie and his half-brother Sydney were sent to a series of bleak workhouses and residential schools. Using his mother's show-business contacts, Charlie became a professional entertainer in 1897 when he joined the Eight Lancashire Lads, a clog-dancing act. His subsequent stage credits included a small role in William Gillette's Sherlock Holmes and a stint with the vaudeville act Casey's Court Circus. In 1908 he joined the Fred Karno pantomime troupe, quickly rising to star status as The Drunk in the ensemble sketch A Night in an English Music Hall.

While touring America with the Karno company in 1913, Chaplin was signed to appear in Mack Sennett's Keystone comedy films. Though his first Keystone one-reeler, Making a Living (1914), was not the failure that historians have claimed, Chaplin's initial screen character, a mercenary dandy, did not show him to best advantage. Ordered by Sennett to come up with a more workable screen image, Chaplin improvised an outfit consisting of a too-small coat, too-large pants, floppy shoes, and a battered derby. As a finishing touch, he pasted on a postage-stamp mustache and adopted a cane as an all-purpose prop. It was in his second Keystone film, Kid Auto Races at Venice (1914), that Chaplin's immortal screen alter ego, “the Little Tramp,” was born.

In truth, Chaplin did not always portray a tramp; in many of his films his character was employed as a waiter, store clerk, stagehand, fireman, and the like. His character might be better described as the quintessential misfit: shunned by polite society, unlucky in love, jack-of-all-trades but master of none. He was also a survivor, forever leaving past sorrows behind, jauntily shuffling off to new adventures. The Tramp's appeal was universal: audiences loved his cheekiness, his deflation of pomposity, his casual savagery, his unexpected gallantry, and his resilience in the face of adversity. Some historians have traced the Tramp's origins to Chaplin's Dickensian childhood, while others have suggested that the character had its roots in the motto of Chaplin's mentor, Fred Karno: “Keep it wistful, gentlemen, keep it wistful.” Whatever the case, within months after his movie debut, Chaplin was the screen's biggest star.

His 35 Keystone comedies can be regarded as the Tramp's gestation period, during which a caricature became a character. The films improved steadily once Chaplin became his own director. In 1915 he left Sennett to accept a $1,250-weekly contract at Essanay Studios. It was there that he began to inject elements of pathos in his comedy, notably in such shorts as The Tramp (1915) and Burlesque on Carmen (1916). He moved on to an even more lucrative job ($670,000 per year) at the Mutual Company Film Corporation. There, during an 18-month period, he made the 12 two-reelers that many regard as his finest films, among them such gems as One A.M. (1916), The Rink (1916), The Vagabond (1916), and Easy Street (1917).

While working for First National Pictures (1918–19), Chaplin made the three-reel Shoulder Arms (1918), the four-reel The Pilgrim (1923), and his first starring feature, The Kid (1921). Some have suggested that the increased dramatic content of these films is symptomatic of Chaplin's efforts to justify the praise lavished upon him by the critical intelligentsia. A painstaking perfectionist, he began spending more and more time on the preparation and production of each film. From 1923 through 1929 he issued only three features: A Woman of Paris (1923), which he directed but did not star in; The Gold Rush (1925), widely regarded as his masterpiece; and The Circus (1928), an underrated film that may rank as his funniest. All three were released by United Artists, the company cofounded in 1919 by Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, and D.W. Griffith.

As the Little Tramp, Chaplin had mastered the subtle art of pantomime, and the advent of sound gave him cause for alarm. After much hesitation, he released his 1931 feature City Lights as a silent, despite the ubiquity of talkies after 1928; his gamble paid off, and the film was a success. His next film, Modern Times (1936), was a hybrid, essentially a silent with music, sound effects, and brief passages of dialogue. In this film Chaplin gave his Little Tramp a voice, as he performed a gibberish song; perhaps significantly, it was the character's farewell to the screen. Chaplin's first full talkie was The Great Dictator (1940), a devastating lampoon of Adolf Hitler that proved to be the comedian's most profitable film.

Throughout his career, Chaplin's offscreen activities had stirred up controversy. In 1918 he married 16-year-old Mildred Harris, and in 1924 he wed another teenager, Lita Grey; both marriages ended in divorce. His third marriage, to actress Paulette Goddard, was clouded by rumours that their union, which lasted until 1942, had never been legalized; and in 1943 he was the target of a paternity suit. When he began lobbying for a Second Front in Russia during World War II, his detractors alleged that he was a communist sympathizer. His 1947 film Monsieur Verdoux, which argued that an individual murderer was an “amateur” compared with the warmongers of the world, further provoked his enemies.

En route to the London premiere of his last American film, Limelight (1952), Chaplin learned that he would be denied a reentry visa to the United States. The embittered filmmaker moved to Switzerland with his fourth wife, Oona (daughter of playwright Eugene O'Neill), and their children; his next film, made in England, was A King in New York (1957), in which an exiled monarch watches helplessly as his world crumbles. In 1964 Chaplin published My Autobiography, and two years later he directed his last film, the much-maligned A Countess from Hong Kong. Eventually the animosity between Chaplin and the U.S. government subsided, and in 1972 he returned to Hollywood to accept a special Academy Award. It was a bittersweet homecoming. Chaplin had come to deplore the United States, but he was visibly and deeply moved by the 12-minute standing ovation he received at the Oscar ceremonies. As Alistair Cooke described the events,

He was very old and trembly and groping through the thickening fog of memory for a few simple sentences. A senile, harmless doll, he was now—as the song says—“easy to love,” absolutely safe to admire

Chaplin made one of his final public appearances in 1975, when he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth. Several months after his death, his body was briefly kidnapped from a Swiss cemetery by a pair of bungling thieves—a macabre coda that Chaplin might have concocted for one of his own two-reelers.


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Isaac Newton
« پاسخ #5 : ۱۰ مهر ۱۳۸۹ - ۲۳:۴۱:۵۹ »
Born: 4 Jan 1643 in Woolsthorpe, Lincolnshire, England
Died: 31 March 1727 in London, England

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Isaac Newton's life can be divided into three quite distinct periods. The first is his boyhood days from 1643 up to
his appointment to a chair in 1669. The second period from 1669 to 1687 was the highly productive period in which he was Lucasian professor at Cambridge. The third period (nearly as long as the other two combined) saw Newton as a highly paid government official in London with little further interest in mathematical research.

Isaac Newton was born in the manor house of Woolsthorpe, near Grantham in Lincolnshire. Although by the calendar in use at the time of his birth he was born on Christmas Day 1642, we give the date of 4 January 1643 in this biography which is the "corrected" Gregorian calendar date bringing it into line with our present calendar. (The Gregorian calendar was not adopted in England until 1752.) Isaac Newton came from a family of farmers but never knew his father, also named Isaac Newton, who died in October 1642, three months before his son was born. Although Isaac's father owned property and animals which made him quite a wealthy man, he was completely uneducated and could not sign his own name.

You can see a picture of Woolsthorpe Manor as it is now.

Isaac's mother Hannah Ayscough remarried Barnabas Smith the minister of the church at North Witham, a nearby village, when Isaac was two years old. The young child was then left in the care of his grandmother Margery Ayscough at Woolsthorpe. Basically treated as an orphan, Isaac did not have a happy childhood. His grandfather James Ayscough was never mentioned by Isaac in later life and the fact that James left nothing to Isaac in his will, made when the boy was ten years old, suggests that there was no love lost between the two. There is no doubt that Isaac felt very bitter towards his mother and his step-father Barnabas Smith. When examining his sins at age nineteen, Isaac listed:-

Threatening my father and mother Smith to burn them and the house over them.

Upon the death of his stepfather in 1653, Newton lived in an extended family consisting of his mother, his grandmother, one half-brother, and two half-sisters. From shortly after this time Isaac began attending the Free Grammar School in Grantham. Although this was only five miles from his home, Isaac lodged with the Clark family at Grantham. However he seems to have shown little promise in academic work. His school reports described him as 'idle' and 'inattentive'. His mother, by now a lady of reasonable wealth and property, thought that her eldest son was the right person to manage her affairs and her estate. Isaac was taken away from school but soon showed that he had no talent, or interest, in managing an estate.

An uncle, William Ayscough, decided that Isaac should prepare for entering university and, having persuaded his mother that this was the right thing to do, Isaac was allowed to return to the Free Grammar School in Grantham in 1660 to complete his school education. This time he lodged with Stokes, who was the headmaster of the school, and it would appear that, despite suggestions that he had previously shown no academic promise, Isaac must have convinced some of those around him that he had academic promise. Some evidence points to Stokes also persuading Isaac's mother to let him enter university, so it is likely that Isaac had shown more promise in his first spell at the school than the school reports suggest. Another piece of evidence comes from Isaac's list of sins referred to above. He lists one of his sins as:-

... setting my heart on money, learning, and pleasure more than Thee ...

which tells us that Isaac must have had a passion for learning.

We know nothing about what Isaac learnt in preparation for university, but Stokes was an able man and almost certainly gave Isaac private coaching and a good grounding. There is no evidence that he learnt any mathematics, but we cannot rule out Stokes introducing him to Euclid's Elements which he was well capable of teaching (although there is evidence mentioned below that Newton did not read Euclid before 1663). Anecdotes abound about a mechanical ability which Isaac displayed at the school and stories are told of his skill in making models of machines, in particular of clocks and windmills. However, when biographers seek information about famous people there is always a tendency for people to report what they think is expected of them, and these anecdotes may simply be made up later by those who felt that the most famous scientist in the world ought to have had these skills at school.

Newton entered his uncle's old College, Trinity College Cambridge, on 5 June 1661. He was older than most of his fellow students but, despite the fact that his mother was financially well off, he entered as a sizar. A sizar at Cambridge was a student who received an allowance toward college expenses in exchange for acting as a servant to other students. There is certainly some ambiguity in his position as a sizar, for he seems to have associated with "better class" students rather than other sizars. Westfall (see [23] or [24]) has suggested that Newton may have had Humphrey Babington, a distant relative who was a Fellow of Trinity, as his patron. This reasonable explanation would fit well with what is known and mean that his mother did not subject him unnecessarily to hardship as some of his biographers claim.

Newton's aim at Cambridge was a law degree. Instruction at Cambridge was dominated by the philosophy of Aristotle but some freedom of study was allowed in the third year of the course. Newton studied the philosophy of Descartes, Gassendi, Hobbes, and in particular Boyle. The mechanics of the Copernican astronomy of Galileo attracted him and he also studied Kepler's Optics. He recorded his thoughts in a book which he entitled Quaestiones Quaedam Philosophicae (Certain Philosophical Questions). It is a fascinating account of how Newton's ideas were already forming around 1664. He headed the text with a Latin statement meaning "Plato is my friend, Aristotle is my friend, but my best friend is truth" showing himself a free thinker from an early stage.

How Newton was introduced to the most advanced mathematical texts of his day is slightly less clear. According to de Moivre, Newton's interest in mathematics began in the autumn of 1663 when he bought an astrology book at a fair in Cambridge and found that he could not understand the mathematics in it. Attempting to read a trigonometry book, he found that he lacked knowledge of geometry and so decided to read Barrow's edition of Euclid's Elements. The first few results were so easy that he almost gave up but he:-

... changed his mind when he read that parallelograms upon the same base and between the same parallels are equal.

Returning to the beginning, Newton read the whole book with a new respect. He then turned to Oughtred's Clavis Mathematica and Descartes' La Géométrie. The new algebra and analytical geometry of Viète was read by Newton from Frans van Schooten's edition of Viète's collected works published in 1646. Other major works of mathematics which he studied around this time was the newly published major work by van Schooten Geometria a Renato Des Cartes which appeared in two volumes in 1659-1661. The book contained important appendices by three of van Schooten's disciples, Jan de Witt, Johan Hudde, and Hendrick van Heuraet. Newton also studied Wallis's Algebra and it appears that his first original mathematical work came from his study of this text. He read Wallis's method for finding a square of equal area to a parabola and a hyperbola which used indivisibles. Newton made notes on Wallis's treatment of series but also devised his own proofs of the theorems writing:-

Thus Wallis doth it, but it may be done thus ...

It would be easy to think that Newton's talent began to emerge on the arrival of Barrow to the Lucasian chair at Cambridge in 1663 when he became a Fellow at Trinity College. Certainly the date matches the beginnings of Newton's deep mathematical studies. However, it would appear that the 1663 date is merely a coincidence and that it was only some years later that Barrow recognised the mathematical genius among his students.

Despite some evidence that his progress had not been particularly good, Newton was elected a scholar on 28 April 1664 and received his bachelor's degree in April 1665. It would appear that his scientific genius had still not emerged, but it did so suddenly when the plague closed the University in the summer of 1665 and he had to return to Lincolnshire. There, in a period of less than two years, while Newton was still under 25 years old, he began revolutionary advances in mathematics, optics, physics, and astronomy.

While Newton remained at home he laid the foundations for differential and integral calculus, several years before its independent discovery by Leibniz. The 'method of fluxions', as he termed it, was based on his crucial insight that the integration of a function is merely the inverse procedure to differentiating it. Taking differentiation as the basic operation, Newton produced simple analytical methods that unified many separate techniques previously developed to solve apparently unrelated problems such as finding areas, tangents, the lengths of curves and the maxima and minima of functions. Newton's De Methodis Serierum et Fluxionum was written in 1671 but Newton failed to get it published and it did not appear in print until John Colson produced an English translation in 1736.

When the University of Cambridge reopened after the plague in 1667, Newton put himself forward as a candidate for a fellowship. In October he was elected to a minor fellowship at Trinity College but, after being awarded his Master's Degree, he was elected to a major fellowship in July 1668 which allowed him to dine at the Fellows' Table. In July 1669 Barrow tried to ensure that Newton's mathematical achievements became known to the world. He sent Newton's text De Analysi to Collins in London writing:-

[Newton] brought me the other day some papers, wherein he set down methods of calculating the dimensions of magnitudes like that of Mr Mercator concerning the hyperbola, but very general; as also of resolving equations; which I suppose will please you; and I shall send you them by the next.

Collins corresponded with all the leading mathematicians of the day so Barrow's action should have led to quick recognition. Collins showed Brouncker, the President of the Royal Society, Newton's results (with the author's permission) but after this Newton requested that his manuscript be returned. Collins could not give a detailed account but de Sluze and Gregory learnt something of Newton's work through Collins. Barrow resigned the Lucasian chair in 1669 to devote himself to divinity, recommending that Newton (still only 27 years old) be appointed in his place. Shortly after this Newton visited London and twice met with Collins but, as he wrote to Gregory:-

... having no more acquaintance with him I did not think it becoming to urge him to communicate anything.

Newton's first work as Lucasian Professor was on optics and this was the topic of his first lecture course begun in January 1670. He had reached the conclusion during the two plague years that white light is not a simple entity. Every scientist since Aristotle had believed that white light was a basic single entity, but the chromatic aberration in a telescope lens convinced Newton otherwise. When he passed a thin beam of sunlight through a glass prism Newton noted the spectrum of colours that was formed.

He argued that white light is really a mixture of many different types of rays which are refracted at slightly different angles, and that each different type of ray produces a different spectral colour. Newton was led by this reasoning to the erroneous conclusion that telescopes using refracting lenses would always suffer chromatic aberration. He therefore proposed and constructed a reflecting telescope.

In 1672 Newton was elected a fellow of the Royal Society after donating a reflecting telescope. Also in 1672 Newton published his first scientific paper on light and colour in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. The paper was generally well received but Hooke and Huygens objected to Newton's attempt to prove, by experiment alone, that light consists of the motion of small particles rather than waves. The reception that his publication received did nothing to improve Newton's attitude to making his results known to the world. He was always pulled in two directions, there was something in his nature which wanted fame and recognition yet another side of him feared criticism and the easiest way to avoid being criticised was to publish nothing. Certainly one could say that his reaction to criticism was irrational, and certainly his aim to humiliate Hooke in public because of his opinions was abnormal. However, perhaps because of Newton's already high reputation, his corpuscular theory reigned until the wave theory was revived in the 19th century.

Newton's relations with Hooke deteriorated further when, in 1675, Hooke claimed that Newton had stolen some of his optical results. Although the two men made their peace with an exchange of polite letters, Newton turned in on himself and away from the Royal Society which he associated with Hooke as one of its leaders. He delayed the publication of a full account of his optical researches until after the death of Hooke in 1703. Newton's Opticks appeared in 1704. It dealt with the theory of light and colour and with
investigations of the colours of thin sheets
'Newton's rings' and
diffraction of light.
To explain some of his observations he had to use a wave theory of light in conjunction with his corpuscular theory.

Another argument, this time with the English Jesuits in Liège over his theory of colour, led to a violent exchange of letters, then in 1678 Newton appears to have suffered a nervous breakdown. His mother died in the following year and he withdrew further into his shell, mixing as little as possible with people for a number of years.

Newton's greatest achievement was his work in physics and celestial mechanics, which culminated in the theory of universal gravitation. By 1666 Newton had early versions of his three laws of motion. He had also discovered the law giving the centrifugal force on a body moving uniformly in a circular path. However he did not have a correct understanding of the mechanics of circular motion.

Newton's novel idea of 1666 was to imagine that the Earth's gravity influenced the Moon, counter- balancing its centrifugal force. From his law of centrifugal force and Kepler's third law of planetary motion, Newton deduced the inverse-square law.

In 1679 Newton corresponded with Hooke who had written to Newton claiming:-

... that the Attraction always is in a duplicate proportion to the Distance from the Center Reciprocall ...

M Nauenberg writes an account of the next events:-

After his 1679 correspondence with Hooke, Newton, by his own account, found a proof that Kepler's areal law was a consequence of centripetal forces, and he also showed that if the orbital curve is an ellipse under the action of central forces then the radial dependence of the force is inverse square with the distance from the centre.

This discovery showed the physical significance of Kepler's second law.

In 1684 Halley, tired of Hooke's boasting [M Nauenberg]:-

... asked Newton what orbit a body followed under an inverse square force, and Newton replied immediately that it would be an ellipse. However in 'De Motu..' he only gave a proof of the converse theorem that if the orbit is an ellipse the force is inverse square. The proof that inverse square forces imply conic section orbits is sketched in Cor. 1 to Prop. 13 in Book 1 of the second and third editions of the 'Principia', but not in the first edition.

Halley persuaded Newton to write a full treatment of his new physics and its application to astronomy. Over a year later (1687) Newton published the Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica or Principia as it is always known.

The Principia is recognised as the greatest scientific book ever written. Newton analysed the motion of bodies in resisting and non-resisting media under the action of centripetal forces. The results were applied to orbiting bodies, projectiles, pendulums, and free-fall near the Earth. He further demonstrated that the planets were attracted toward the Sun by a force varying as the inverse square of the distance and generalised that all heavenly bodies mutually attract one another.

Further generalisation led Newton to the law of universal gravitation:-

... all matter attracts all other matter with a force proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them.

Newton explained a wide range of previously unrelated phenomena: the eccentric orbits of comets, the tides and their variations, the precession of the Earth's axis, and motion of the Moon as perturbed by the gravity of the Sun. This work made Newton an international leader in scientific research. The Continental scientists certainly did not accept the idea of action at a distance and continued to believe in Descartes' vortex theory where forces work through contact. However this did not stop the universal admiration for Newton's technical expertise.

James II became king of Great Britain on 6 February 1685. He had become a convert to the Roman Catholic church in 1669 but when he came to the throne he had strong support from Anglicans as well as Catholics. However rebellions arose, which James put down but he began to distrust Protestants and began to appoint Roman Catholic officers to the army. He then went further, appointing only Catholics as judges and officers of state. Whenever a position at Oxford or Cambridge became vacant, the king appointed a Roman Catholic to fill it. Newton was a staunch Protestant and strongly opposed to what he saw as an attack on the University of Cambridge.

When the King tried to insist that a Benedictine monk be given a degree without taking any examinations or swearing the required oaths, Newton wrote to the Vice-Chancellor:-

Be courageous and steady to the Laws and you cannot fail.

The Vice-Chancellor took Newton's advice and was dismissed from his post. However Newton continued to argue the case strongly preparing documents to be used by the University in its defence. However William of Orange had been invited by many leaders to bring an army to England to defeat James. William landed in November 1688 and James, finding that Protestants had left his army, fled to France. The University of Cambridge elected Newton, now famous for his strong defence of the university, as one of their two members to the Convention Parliament on 15 January 1689. This Parliament declared that James had abdicated and in February 1689 offered the crown to William and Mary. Newton was at the height of his standing - seen as a leader of the university and one of the most eminent mathematicians in the world. However, his election to Parliament may have been the event which let him see that there was a life in London which might appeal to him more than the academic world in Cambridge.

After suffering a second nervous breakdown in 1693, Newton retired from research. The reasons for this breakdown have been discussed by his biographers and many theories have been proposed: chemical poisoning as a result of his alchemy experiments; frustration with his researches; the ending of a personal friendship with Fatio de Duillier, a Swiss-born mathematician resident in London; and problems resulting from his religious beliefs. Newton himself blamed lack of sleep but this was almost certainly a symptom of the illness rather than the cause of it. There seems little reason to suppose that the illness was anything other than depression, a mental illness he must have suffered from throughout most of his life, perhaps made worse by some of the events we have just listed.

Newton decided to leave Cambridge to take up a government position in London becoming Warden of the Royal Mint in 1696 and Master in 1699. However, he did not resign his positions at Cambridge until 1701. As Master of the Mint, adding the income from his estates, we see that Newton became a very rich man. For many people a position such as Master of the Mint would have been treated as simply a reward for their scientific achievements. Newton did not treat it as such and he made a strong contribution to the work of the Mint. He led it through the difficult period of recoinage and he was particularly active in measures to prevent counterfeiting of the coinage.

In 1703 he was elected president of the Royal Society and was re-elected each year until his death. He was knighted in 1705 by Queen Anne, the first scientist to be so honoured for his work. However the last portion of his life was not an easy one, dominated in many ways with the controversy with Leibniz over which of them had invented the calculus.

Given the rage that Newton had shown throughout his life when criticised, it is not surprising that he flew into an irrational temper directed against Leibniz. We have given details of this controversy in Leibniz's biography and refer the reader to that article for details. Perhaps all that is worth relating here is how Newton used his position as President of the Royal Society. In this capacity he appointed an "impartial" committee to decide whether he or Leibniz was the inventor of the calculus. He wrote the official report of the committee (although of course it did not appear under his name) which was published by the Royal Society, and he then wrote a review (again anonymously) which appeared in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society.

Newton's assistant Whiston had seen his rage at first hand. He wrote:-

Newton was of the most fearful, cautious and suspicious temper that I ever knew

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Barack Obama
« پاسخ #6 : ۱۰ مهر ۱۳۸۹ - ۲۳:۵۴:۰۵ »
Barack Obama Biography

Born to a Kenyan father and an American mother, Barack Obama has a multiracial heritage. He made history when he was elected as the 44th President of the United States of America, as he is the first African American to hold this post. Though, young and inexperienced as he has not spent much time in Washington, Barack Obama has worked for the last twenty years as a community organizer, a civil rights attorney, a constitutional law professor, a Sate Senator and then U.S. Senator.

Commonly called �Barry� throughout his childhood, he was born, Barack Hussein Obama II on August 4th 1961 in Honolulu, Hawaii. His father, Barack Obama Sr. was of Luo ethnicity of Kenya. Hussein was their middle name as Barack Obama Sr.�s father had adopted Islam but originally they were Christians. Barack�s mother, Ann Dunham was an American brought up in Kansas State. His parents met during college at University of Hawaii at Manoa, where his father had come as a foreign student. They got married and Obama was born soon. When Barack Obama was two years old, his parents separated and later divorced in 1964. Obama and his mother then came to stay with his maternal grandparents in Manoa district.

Meanwhile his father received masters in Economics degree from Harvard after which he moved back to Kenya. Form his father�s other marriage, Barack has two half-sisters and five half brothers, all of them in Kenya. His father became Finance Minister in Kenya and eventually died in a road accident in the year 1982. Before his death, his father met Obama only once in 1971 when he visited Hawaii. So all he knows about his father is through his stories and photographs. Obama�s mother married an Indonesian student Lolo Soetoro while they were in Manoa. In 1967, Obama with his mother and step father moved to Jakarta, Indonesia. It was the time when, Suharto came to the power in Indonesia and all residents and students studying abroad were called back to their home land. Obama�s only half sister from his mother�s side, Maya Soetoro-Ng, was born in Jakarta. In Indonesia, Barack attended all local schools where the medium of language was Indonesian. Till his fourth grade he stayed in Indonesia; after which he moved with his grandparents in Honolulu, Hawaii. He stayed with him till his graduation.
Barack Obama has admitted that he struggled through his initial childhood years to find answers about his multicultural, multi racial heritage. As a very small child he found difficult to accept such vast differences between his mother and father�s skin color. In his own words he says that he had a middle class upbringing. During his teenage years, he even used cocaine, marijuana and alcohol to deal with his internal conflicts, something which he regretted later. Now, he thinks it was a big mistake and he was morally wrong. He never touched illegal drugs again after those years.

After high school, Barack moved to Los Angeles and studied at the Occidental College for two years; from there to Columbia College in New York. He majored in Political Science with specialization in International relations in 1983. In the meantime his father had died in Kenya in 1982. Barack Obama moved to Chicago after spending four years in New York and working at Business International Corporation and New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG). He was hired as Community organizer by Developing Communities Project, a church based community organization. The organization wanted a young black man to help them collaborate with black churches in the south side. From 1985 to 1988, Obama worked there as Director of the organization. He helped blacks fight for their rights from the city government. He worked to improve the living conditions of poor neighborhoods which faced crimes unemployment. Working in a small organization taught him organizational skills. He was always good with words and was known for making speeches which people could emotionally connect to. He worked with Saul Alinsky whose method was �agitation� which meant getting people angry enough about their current state of things that they are compelled to take some step and do something. During his tenure at Developing Communities Project, the staff at this organization grew from 1 to 13 and so did their budget. Then, he worked as consultant and instructor for Gamaliel Foundation, a community organizing institute. It was 1988 when we first traveled to Europe and then to Kenya for few weeks, where he met his fathers family for the first time.

Barack Obama felt that law was a medium which could facilitate activism and community organization. So in late 1988, he entered Harvard Law School. In his second year at college, in 1990, he was elected as the president of law review. This role required him to be editor- in-chief and supervisor of law review staff of about 80 editors. As he was the first black to be elected for this position, it was a widely reported and much publicized event. It had taken Obama long sessions of discussion with conservatives to support him. While still in law school in 1989, he worked as an associate at Sidley and Austin law firms. He met his future wife Michelle, also a lawyer, here. Newton Minnow was a managing partner here. Minnow, later introduced him to many of the Chicago�s top leaders. In the summer of 1990, he worked at Hopkins and Sutter and finally graduated from Harvard in 1991; after which he again moved back to Chicago where he practiced as a civil rights lawyer. His could have easily taken up a god job after Harvard but his values and mother�s teachings had taught him to do something for the society and the less privileged ones. The publicity that he garnered at Harvard, because of his election as first black president of Harvard law review, led him to an offer by University of Chicago law school to write book on racial relations. He was offered a fellowship from the university and an office from where he could write the book. In the meantime, after dating for few years and being engaged for a year, Barack married Michelle Robinson in 1992. Obama initially thought he would complete the book in one year but it took much longer as it was a memoir and he included bits about his personal life also. He traveled to Bali with his wife and wrote most of the part of the book there. In mid 1995, the manuscript was published. Book was named Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance. Few months after this publication his mother Ann, who had moved to Hawaii from Indonesia in 1994, died of ovarian and uterine cancer. He won the Grammy award for the audio version of this book

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Meanwhile, Barack Obama also taught Constitutional Law at University of Chicago Law School from 1992- 2004; first as a Lecturer from 1992 to 1996 and then as Senior Lecturer from 1996 to 2004. Barack had also joined Davis, Miner, Barnhill and Galland law firm as civil rights attorney. He was an Associate in this law firm from 1993 to 1996 and then counsel from 1996 to 2004. Barack served on the board of Directors Woods Fund of Chicago, Joyce foundation form 1994 to 2002. In 1992, he became the founding member of board of director of Public Allies but resigned in 1993 and his wife joined it. All these years in Chicago, he served on board of directors of Chicago Annenberg Challenge, Chicago lawyer�s Committee for Civil Right under Law, the Centre for Neighborhood Technology and Lugenia Burns Hope Center.

In 1992 election he had organized largest voter registration drives, Project Vote, in history of Chicago from April to October 1992. He had with him a staff of ten and around seven hundred volunteers. They had the goal of registering around 150,000 African Americans in the state who were unregistered. It was one of the most successful voter registration drives one had ever seen. Barack�s work led him to run for Illinois State Senate. Eventually, he was elected in 1996 November, succeeding State Senator Alice Palmer, as Barack Obama was the only candidate left, after rest of the petitions were invalidated. He strongly worked for ethics reforms and criminal justice reform. In 1998, Barack with U.S. senator Paul Simon passed the toughest campaign finance law. It called for banning any personal use of the campaign money and any gifts received from the lobbyists. Before the law was passed, Illinois was among the worst states for campaign finance regulations.

He went on to serve three terms in the Illinois State Senate, from the year 1997 to 2004. Barack lost a primary run for U.S. House of Representatives to Bobby Rush in a very close fight in the year 2000. In the year 2003, he passed legislation to expand healthcare coverage to 70,000 children making Kidcare, state Children�s Health insurance program, permanent. The legislation also extended health insurance to uninsured parents, which added up to additional 84,000 parents. After he found there were 13 innocent death row inmates, Barrack saw to it that death penalty reforms were changed. Also, Illinois became the first state where videotaping an interrogation became mandatory. Even Law enforcement agreed that recording questioning would help the prosecution�s chances. As the Chairman of Illinois Senate�s Health and Human Services Committee, Barack Obama unanimously led a legislation to be passed on racial profiling by the police, which means maintaining records of the race, age and gender of the drivers detained. For low income families, Obama created Illinois Earned Income tax credit which offered tax relief.

Barack Obama came into national limelight with an inspiring speech at July 2004 Democratic National Convention where he spoke against the Bush administration�s policies on Iraq war. His speech was the highlight of the convention and people who saw it knew that he was an emerging star. Barrack is a great orator, at par with Martin Luther King Jr. and often compared with John F Kennedy. People wait for hours to hear him speak. During his presidential campaign he drew huge crowd. He has a flair for consensus building and he loves addressing crowds. His wife Michelle Robinson is a Harvard Law School graduate. Michelle and Barack had their first daughter, Malia Ann in 1998 and second daughter Natasha, known as Sasha in 2001. His second book, Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream was out in October 2006 and he won the Grammy for Best Spoken Word Album for audio version of this book too. As a writer, Barack is very talented and is an introspective writer. Barack is a devoted basketball player and a Chicago White Sox and Chicago Bears fan. Though his father was brought up with Islamic faith, he was an atheist by choice, however, Barack follows Christianity.

By middle of 2002, he started thinking about running for U.S. Senate and formally, announced his candidacy in 2003 for U.S. Senate. On 2nd November 2004, he won the election by a great victory margin and was finally, elected to the US Senate, following which he resigned from Illinois State Senate. Barack Obama became the fifth African American senator in the history to do so. Till 2006, Obama held minority appointments like Foreign relations, Environment and Public Works, Veteran�s Affairs on Senate committees. He took additional major assignments of Committee of Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs at the start of 2007. While in U.S. Senate Foreign relations Committee, Barack visited Iraq to witness the war. In January he even introduced a legislation to end the Iraq war. He went against the conventional thinking of U.S. and had the courage to oppose the war. He also traveled to Russia and Africa. Right through his career he has spoken about his opposition to the Iraq war and to providing universal health care, which he focused on even in the presidential campaign. Obama made efforts to correct the disparity that existed in the state of Illinois where veterans were receiving less disability benefits as compared to other states. As a result more disability claims specialists were hired for the regional office in Chicago and claims of veterans were re-examined. Education was his top priority during his Senate years. He passed a legislation to carry summer education programs which emphasize mathematics and problem solving skills. He worked on to get black colleges eligible for grant money

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As a member of minority party in 109th congress, Barack created legislation to control conventional weapon and nuclear material smuggling. It became a law in 2007. Along with Senator Tom Coburn, Barack Obama passed a law to bring more transparency in the system. According to him, every American citizen has the right to know where his tax money goes and that information should be made available to them. He has worked on accessibility of renewable fuels. In 2007, Barack confronted both the parties and proposed ethics legislation which imposed subsidized corporate jet travel, restrictions on sponsored trips by lobbyists and disclosing lobbyist�s contributions became mandatory. All these became part of the final bill which became a law. He passed legislation where he demanded that gas stations be given tax credits who have installed E85 ethanol refueling pumps. He also sponsored a law for providing 40 million $ for commercialization of a hybrid car. In the 110th congress, he helped in creating legislation regarding lobbying and electoral fraud, nuclear terrorism and care for US military personnel returning from Afghanistan and Iraq. He passed a bill to help the families of servicemen who return injured from these countries and demanded that the families should get a job protection of 12 months for taking care of their loved ones. Obama sponsored a number of bills in U.S. Senate, 136 in total, of which two of them have become law. Additionally, he also co sponsored 619 bills in his tenure at U.S. Senate.

Obama declared his candidacy for the 2008 Democratic Presidential nomination in February 2007 at Old State Capitol building in Springfield, Illinois. Of the large number of candidates who filed for nominations as presidential candidates, only two remained in the contest; Senator Hillary Clinton and Obama. On the 3rd of June 2008, Obama became the presumptive nominee, one who is assured of his nomination but not officially announced by the party. In August 2008, Barack Obama accepted the nomination and he was in race against the republican nominee, John McCain. On November 4, 2008, Obama won the presidential election by a big margin. He delivered his victory speech at Chicago�s Grant Park in front of thousands of supporters. There were, not only nationwide but, worldwide celebrations on his victory; even in his father�s home country, Kenya.

His stance on ethics, stressing on government transparency, education as his priority with his reform �No Child left behind� and providing affordable and accessible health care to all, has made him a favorite of many Americans and people have very high hopes from him

[spoiler]Barack Obama Biography
Posted by admin on December 11, 2008[/spoiler]

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Jalaludin Rumi مولانا
« پاسخ #7 : ۱۱ مهر ۱۳۸۹ - ۰۰:۰۸:۱۶ »
Life of Jalaludin Rumimulana

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JALALUD'DIN RUMI, THE THIRTEENTH-CENTURY Persian lawyer-divine and Sufi, widely considered literature's greatest mystical poets, understood very well the uncontrollable and idiosyncratic impact of poetry. Yet one wonders if even he, for all his intuitive grasp of language, humanity and the cosmos foresaw the deep and diverse influence his own work would have on readers throughout the world seven centuries after his death-or the myriad meanings enthusiasts would draw from his sprawling and contradictory poems. In the Islamic world today, Rumi is read for much the same reasons he was revered during his life: for his excellence as a poet; for his rare ability to empathize with humans, animals and plants; for his personal refinement; and, above all else, for his flawless moral center and ability to direct others towards good conduct and union with Allah.

Rumi’s poetry also has been read in the West for centuries and there have been informed references to him in the work of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and many other eminent writers. But in recent years the popularity of his work in the West has increased to a surprising extent: according to the Christian Science Monitor, Rumi ranked as America's best-selling poet in 1997. His biography, or at least the highlights of his difficult but victorious life, should prove as inspiring as his poetry to his diverse and growing readership.

The key events of Rumi's life-or those that appear to have shaped his poetry to a great extent-seem to have been his insecure childhood spent with his family roaming between countries at the time of the Mongol invasion; his close relationship with his father, the mystic Baha al-Din; his great popularity as an Islamic professor; and his unusually intense spiritual and emotional love for the dervish Shams al-Din of Tabriz.

Many Western readers prize his work less as a moral lodestar and resource for merging with the Absolute, and more as a vehicle for illuminating our own highly secular age. Although, to be sure, these readers also are drawn to the ecstatic and transcendental qualities of the great mystic's work. Western admirers tend to extract Rumi from his historical context and embrace him as one of their own. Not a few have seized on his poetry as a springboard for their own creative expressions, including New York clothes designer Donna Karan, who in 1998 unveiled her spring line of fashions while musical interpretations of Rumi's work by the health writer Deepak Chopra played in the background. Composers Philip Glass and Robert Wilson have written "Monsters of Grace," an operatic extravaganza that can be enjoyed with three-dimensional viewing glasses and a libretto of one hundred and fourteen Rumi poems interpreted by American poet Coleman Barks.

Quick-thinking American entrepreneurs seem to devise new means to capitalize on Rumi's soaring popularity nearly every month. Recently, several versions of "Rumi cards," a new method of fortune-telling, combining snippets of the poet's work and aspects of the Tarot, have appeared in U.S. bookstores. And, for those who peruse the World Wide Web, it is possible to dial up "" and be informed that, "In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful, Jalalu'ddin is coming soon."

Commercialism aside, the differences between the Islamic and Western view of Rumi probably become most apparent when exploring the subject of love, a central preoccupation of the poet's work. Western readers have been captivated by Rumi's frequent and masterful use of romantic imagery, which, coupled with the medieval lack of prudery have caused some to regard him chiefly as a love poet. Many are fascinated with Rumi's mystic identification and all-encompassing spiritual love for his mentor Shams al-Din of Tabriz. Some construe this relationship as a conventional love affair, given Rumi's frequent declarations of his overwhelming longing for Shams after Shams' mysterious departure. Indeed, in 1998, the gay magazine The Advocate published a piece in which it was argued that Islamic scholars have obscured a likely gay relationship between the poet and Shams. Other Western readers are charmed by the lack of priggishness and the nearly Chaucerian quality contained in some of Rumi's depictions of heterosexual couplings.

Yet Islamic scholars consistently have interpreted the relationship between Rumi and Shams as an example of the Sufi call to open one's heart to another human, in order to open one's heart to God. At the same time, Rumi's frequent use of ardent, earthy imagery to describe his affinity with his beloved Shams also is in keeping with the conventions of Persian love poetry, which sometimes used sexual imagery to depict platonic love between men.

Similarly, anecdotes of sexual love are not necessarily viewed as mindless endorsements of licentiousness by Islamic readers, but sometimes as ironic and cautionary commentaries on human nature. And in other ways, Islamic readers enjoy a very different Rumi. To the Islamic mind, there are no necessary divisions between the secular and spiritual realms, or between man and God. Rumi's bawdiest jokes, his most erotically-charged images, his cosmopolitan grasp of cultures and religions outside his own, and his fluent knowledge of law, history, literature and nature are not viewed as ends in themselves: they are only devices for expediting readers' connection with Allah and the unseen world. For all the dazzling breadth and variety of the Mathnawi, Rumi's six-volume masterpiece, the work also may be said to have had only a single purpose: communion with the Absolute.

For Islamic readers, Rumi remains an important commentator on the Koran and a brilliant exponent of Sufi philosophy, the strain of Islam that stresses direct and ecstatic communion with Allah over Aristotelian questioning. Rumi, who was strictly educated in religious law and philosophy, is viewed in the Islamic world as a spiritual descendant of two other great Sufi writers, Sana'i and Attar. He shared with those two writers the goal of eliminating corruption from religious practice and institutions. He also is widely seen as the vindicator of his father, Baha al-Din, an Islamic preacher whose metaphysical and mystical leanings often were greeted with skepticism because of a prevailing bias towards Aristotelian inquiry in his native Khorosan, today known as Afghanistan.

In Turkey today, Rumi is revered by many as the founder of the Mevlevi Order, which is associated with the colorful "whirling dervishes," the Sufis who twirl themselves into joyful merger with the Absolute. Indeed, Rumi himself helped make popular the once questionable practice of this mystic dance by twirling, first in the marketplace, and later, to the astonishment of many, at a funeral for a beloved friend. Iran, which has assumed the role of the preserver of Persian culture, has in recent years offered its respects to the poet through an abundant outpouring of new scholarly essays.

So, why are there so many views of Rumi, and so many ways to read him? How can so many types of contemporary readers connect so intimately, and apparently quite sincerely, with this long-dead medieval writer?

In his work, Rumi tells us over and over that he is attempting to put into language the nature and significance of the invisible universe, a task he freely admits can only be achieved in part. In "The Story of Solomon and the Hoopoe," Rumi writes: "Do thou hear the name of every thing from the knower? Hear the inmost meaning of the mystery of He That Taught the Names. With us, the name of every thing is its outward appearance, with the Creator, the name of every thing is its inward reality."1

The best explanation for Rumi's popularity may simply be that he was a very wonderful poet-uniquely capable of transcending "outward appearances" and conjuring up the mystical "inward reality," yet entirely realistic and modest about the limitations of his words-and there are very few such writers in the world. It also must be remembered that the Mathnawi, Rumi's longest work, is a Persian classic and by itself would ensure his literary immortality.

Another part of Rumi's very broad appeal may derive from his genuinely cosmopolitan character; if many types of people today feel linked to Rumi, it may be because in his lifetime he enjoyed unusually good relations with diverse groups. Born in or near Balkh in the province of Khorosan, in what is now Afghanistan-an area with Buddhist, Islamic, Christian, Zoroastrian and Jewish traditions-Rumi apparently was familiar with all those religions and often friendly with their practitioners. After the death of his first wife, an Islamic woman, Rumi chose as his second wife a woman many people believed to be of Christian origin. This second marriage took place, somewhat remarkably, at the time of the Crusades, when large portions of the Christian and Islamic worlds were preoccupied with conquering each other. The hagiographers tell us that there was no more beautiful tribute to Rumi's universality than his funeral, a forty-day marathon of grieving attended by distraught, weeping Muslims, Christians, Jews, Greeks, Arabs and Persians.
Then again, the loose, rambling structure of Rumi's work-especially the Mathnawi, which is full of free associations and abrupt changes of topic-makes for a grab-bag style of poetry, capable of engaging many different people because it contains a wealth of topics. Some of the slightly chaotic quality of Rumi's works may be attributed partly to the fact that he did not write it down himself. Rather, he dictated his poems and musings to scribes who followed him about, attempting to keep up with his fast-paced mind. The scholar Annemarie Schimmel in the Triumphal Sun tells us something about the conditions under which Rumi's mysterious changeable poetry was produced:

The looseness of the Mathnawi, which most readers find difficult to appreciate, is reminiscent of the form of mystical sessions [which Rumi held with his disciples]; the master gives some advice or expresses an opinion; some visitor or disciple may utter a word; he takes it up, spins a new tale out of it, is caught by some verbal association- very common in the Islamic languages with their almost infinite possibilities of developing different meanings from one Arabic root-then, he may become enraptured and recite some verses, and thus the evening passes in an enchanted atmosphere; but it would be difficult to remember the wonderful stories and points the next day in any logical sequence.2

As for Western readers, there is another important reason for Rumi's surprisingly strong appeal today: his ability to evoke ecstasy from the plain facts of nature and everyday life. One often gets the sense that merely to draw breath, or catch sight of another creature, are immensely pleasurable events. Many of Rumi's poems convey feelings of great joy in being able to play any sort of role at all in the natural order. And such confident expressions of belonging and pleasure are too rare in the technologically sophisticated, but socially fragmented modern world. Consider this translation of a section of the Mathnawi, by Jonathan Star:

My soul wants to fly away when your presence calls it so sweetly.
My soul wants to take flight, when you whisper, "Arise."
A fish wants to dive from dry land into the ocean, when it hears the drum beating "Return."
A Sufi, shimmering with light, wants to dance like a sunbeam when darkness summons him.3

In short, Rumi's work responds to an increasing need many of us have for an instinctive and mystical response to the ordinary events of life, and for a more joyful daily existence. For, although Rumi's work is peppered throughout with biting social commentary, cynicism and a mordant wit, the overall effect of reading his poetry is very encouraging, as if some small portion of his vast inner state has been transferred to the reader. Moreover, Rumi was indeed a very great love poet-whether his work is interpreted in an earthy, secular context, or within a strictly spiritual framework. His aching longing for Shams and his poetical dissections of the many states of love provide readers with a vocabulary for exploring the wide array of their own emotional and spiritual states. The love documented by Rumi is very complex, a privilege and a torment, laced with many shades of sadness and joy and bewilderment. There is little sentimentality for its own sake in Rumi's work; his meditations on love often shed light upon its turbulent and unsettling aspects, while also illuminating its transformational potential. In the Divan-e, Rumi writes:

You are in love with me, I shall make you perplexed.
Do not build much, for I intend to have you in ruins.
If you build two hundred houses in a manner that the bees do;
I shall make you as homeless as a fly.
If you are the mount Qaf in stability.
I shall make you whirl like a millstone.

These sorts of meditations on love probably are eagerly read today by many in the West, not just for their superb imagery, but because readers today desperately want to probe love more fully and participate in its most mysterious and inchoate aspects. Yet we find ourselves in a culture that sometimes approaches love as a dull series of kitschy moments, the better to patronize it.

Rumi's contemporary relevance can also be found in the frequently severe and unsettling circumstances of his life. Like many people in both the Islamic and Western worlds today, Rumi lived through extraordinary social and political tumult. It appears that the poet was able to convey the chaotic nature of poetry and life very convincingly because his own life was placed in uncertainty and danger on many occasions, during both his childhood and his adult years, sometimes due to political instability, and other times due to profound inner change. Many modern readers, finding themselves in tumultuous conditions, take comfort in the way the poet transcended and triumphed over harrowing circumstances.

The area in which Rumi's family lived during his early childhood was under threat of the Mongol invasion. There are many indications that the terror unleashed in the Islamic world by the Mongols was the principal reason his family left its native Khorosan while Rumi was still a young child. However, a few texts suggest that Rumi's father decided to leave because he did not enjoy the level of influence he felt he deserved as a distinguished Islamic thinker.

In either case, Rumi , perhaps at the tender age of ten or twelve, along with many of his relatives, fled Khorosan, an area in which the family had lived for generations. They began an approximately ten-year, fifteen hundred-mile trek and eventually reestablished themselves in Konya in Asiatic Anatolia, or modern Turkey. Along the way, young Rumi lost his mother, one of his father's four wives, and most probably experienced numerous other sorrows and deprivations. Scholars have suggested that Rumi's imperturbable inner state and his mystic sensibility were cultivated in large part as a defense against the transience, loss and terror he endured during his childhood.

After settling in Konya, Rumi apparently had a fairly stable early adulthood, becoming his father's intellectual successor and traveling to meet other scholars. Initially, he settled into the fairly conventional life of an Islamic lawyer-divine and scholar and enjoyed great prestige in Konya. Yet he was to purposefully rattle his own secure existence at the age of thirty-seven when he suddenly formed his extraordinary mystical friendship with the eccentric dervish Shams al-Din of Tabriz. After encountering Shams, Rumi's life changed as much as it had when he had left Khorosan as a child. As the literary critic Fatemeh Keshavarz so aptly puts it: "Shams awakened in Rumi the wayfarer who had to free himself of rational and speculative knowledge to seek new horizons." If encountering Shams was an experience of freedom and enlightenment for Rumi, losing the dervish was one of great loss and heartbreak, intensified by the possibility that Shams was murdered by one of Rumi's own sons.

Rumi's fascinating and itinerant, if sometimes harrowing childhood, as well as his watershed encounter with his mystical Beloved Shams, and his subsequent creation of brilliant lyrics, are stories which can be grasped by both medieval and modern people. These stories, as much as Rumi's poetry, resound with people today caught up in social upheaval beyond their control, as well as those who deliberately unravel their own conventional security in search of more meaningful lives
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Rumi, A Spiritual Biography (Lives & Legacies) by Leslie Wines[/spoiler]

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Friedrich Nietzsche
« پاسخ #8 : ۱۶ مهر ۱۳۸۹ - ۲۱:۵۴:۰۸ »
Friedrich Nietzsche Biography
in full Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche
1844 – 1900

(born Oct. 15, 1844, Röcken, Saxony, Prussia [now in Germany]—died Aug. 25, 1900, Weimar, Thuringian States) German classical scholar, philosopher, and critic of culture, who became one of the most influential of all modern thinkers. His attempts to unmask the motives that underlie traditional Western religion, morality, and philosophy deeply affected generations of theologians, philosophers, psychologists, poets, novelists, and playwrights. He thought through the consequences of the triumph of the Enlightenment's secularism, expressed in his observation that “God is dead,” in a way that determined the agenda for many of Europe's most celebrated intellectuals after his death. Although he was an ardent foe of nationalism, anti-Semitism, and power politics, his name was later invoked by Fascists to advance the very things he loathed.
The early years

Nietzsche's home was a stronghold of Lutheran piety. His paternal grandfather had published books defending Protestantism and had achieved the ecclesiastical position of superintendent; his maternal grandfather was a country parson; his father, Carl Ludwig Nietzsche, was appointed pastor at Röcken by order of King Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia, after whom Friedrich Nietzsche was named. His father died in 1849, before Nietzsche's fifth birthday, and he spent most of his early life in a household consisting of five women: his mother Franziska, his younger sister Elisabeth, his maternal grandmother, and two maiden aunts.

In 1850 the family moved to Naumburg on the Saale River, where Nietzsche attended a private preparatory school, the Domgymnasium. In 1858 he earned a scholarship to Schulpforta, Germany's leading Protestant boarding school. He excelled academically at Pforta, received an outstanding classical education there, and, having graduated in 1864, went to the University of Bonn to study theology and classical philology. Despite efforts to take part in the university's social life, the two semesters at Bonn were a failure, owing chiefly to acrimonious quarrels between his two leading classics professors, Otto Jahn and Friedrich Wilhelm Ritschl. Nietzsche sought refuge in music, writing a number of compositions strongly influenced by Robert Schumann, the German Romantic composer. In 1865 he transferred to the University of Leipzig, joining Ritschl, who had accepted an appointment there.

Nietzsche prospered under Ritschl's tutelage in Leipzig. He became the only student ever to publish in Ritschl's journal, Rheinisches Museum (“Rhenish Museum”). He began military service in October 1867 in the cavalry company of an artillery regiment, sustained a serious chest injury while mounting a horse in March 1868, and resumed his studies in Leipzig in October 1868 while on extended sick leave from the military. During the years in Leipzig, Nietzsche discovered Arthur Schopenhauer's philosophy, met the great operatic composer Richard Wagner, and began his lifelong friendship with fellow classicist Erwin Rohde (author of Psyche).
The Basel years (1869–79)

When a professorship in classical philology fell vacant in 1869 in Basel, Switz., Ritschl recommended Nietzsche with unparalleled praise. He had completed neither his doctoral thesis nor the additional dissertation required for a German degree; yet Ritschl assured the University of Basel that he had never seen anyone like Nietzsche in 40 years of teaching and that his talents were limitless. In 1869 the University of Leipzig conferred the doctorate without examination or dissertation on the strength of his published writings, and the University of Basel appointed him extraordinary professor of classical philology. The following year Nietzsche became a Swiss citizen and was promoted to ordinary professor.

Nietzsche obtained a leave to serve as a volunteer medical orderly in August 1870, after the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War. Within a month, while accompanying a transport of wounded, he contracted dysentery and diphtheria, which ruined his health permanently. He returned to Basel in October to resume a heavy teaching load, but as early as 1871 ill health prompted him to seek relief from the stultifying chores of a professor of classical philology; he applied for the vacant chair of philosophy and proposed Rohde as his successor, all to no avail.

During these early Basel years Nietzsche's ambivalent friendship with Wagner ripened, and he seized every opportunity to visit Richard and his wife, Cosima. Wagner appreciated Nietzsche as a brilliant professorial apostle, but Wagner's increasing exploitation of Christian motifs, as in Parsifal, coupled with his chauvinism and anti-Semitism proved to be more than Nietzsche could bear. By 1878 the breach between the two men had become final.

Nietzsche's first book, Die Geburt der Tragödie aus dem Geiste der Musik (1872; The Birth of Tragedy from the Spirit of Music), marked his emancipation from the trappings of classical scholarship. A speculative rather than exegetical work, it argued that Greek tragedy arose out of the fusion of what he termed Apollonian and Dionysian elements—the former representing measure, restraint, harmony, and the latter representing unbridled passion—and that Socratic rationalism and optimism spelled the death of Greek tragedy. The final 10 sections of the book are a rhapsody about the rebirth of tragedy from the spirit of Wagner's music. Greeted by stony silence at first, it became the object of heated controversy on the part of those who mistook it for a conventional work of classical scholarship. It was undoubtedly “a work of profound imaginative insight, which left the scholarship of a generation toiling in the rear,” as the British classicist F.M. Cornford wrote in 1912. It remains a classic in the history of aesthetics to this day.

By October 1876 Nietzsche requested and received a year's sick leave. In 1877 he set up house with his sister and Peter Gast, and in 1878 his aphoristic Menschliches, Allzumenschliches ( Human, All-Too-Human) appeared. Because his health deteriorated steadily he resigned his professorial chair on June 14, 1879, and was granted a pension of 3,000 Swiss francs per year for six years.
Decade of isolation and creativity (1879–89)

Apart from the books Nietzsche wrote between 1879 and 1889, it is doubtful that his life held any intrinsic interest. Seriously ill, half-blind, in virtually unrelenting pain, he lived in boarding houses in Switzerland, the French Riviera, and Italy, with only limited human contact. His friendship with Paul Rée was undermined by 1882 by their mutual if unacknowledged affection for Lou Salomé (author, later the wife of the Orientalist F.C. Andreas, mistress of the poet Rainer Maria Rilke, and confidant of Sigmund Freud) as well as by Elisabeth Nietzsche's jealous meddling.

Nietzsche's acknowledged literary and philosophical masterpiece in biblical narrative form, Also sprach Zarathustra ( Thus Spoke Zarathustra), was published between 1883 and 1885 in four parts, the last part a private printing at his own expense. As with most of his works it received little attention. His attempts to set forth his philosophy in more direct prose, in the publications in 1886 of Jenseits von Gut und Böse ( Beyond Good and Evil) and in 1887 of Zur Genealogie der Moral ( On the Genealogy of Morals), also failed to win a proper audience.

Nietzsche's final lucid year, 1888, was a period of supreme productivity. He wrote and published Der Fall Wagner ( The Case of Wagner) and wrote a synopsis of his philosophy, Die Götzen-Dämmerung ( Twilight of the Idols), Der Antichrist ( The Antichrist), Nietzsche contra Wagner (Eng. trans., Nietzsche contra Wagner), and Ecce Homo (Eng. trans., Ecce Homo), a reflection on his own works and significance. Twilight of the Idols appeared in 1889, Der Antichrist and Nietzsche contra Wagner were not published until 1895, the former mistakenly as book one of The Will to Power, and Ecce Homo was withheld from publication until 1908, 20 years after its composition.
Collapse and misuse

Nietzsche collapsed in the streets of Turin, Italy, in January 1889, having lost control of his mental faculties completely. Bizarre but meaningful notes he sent immediately after his collapse brought Franz Overbeck to Italy to return Nietzsche to Basel. Nietzsche spent the last 11 years of his life in total mental darkness, first in a Basel asylum, then in Naumburg under his mother's care and, after her death in 1897, in Weimar in his sister's care. He died in 1900. Informed opinion favours a diagnosis of atypical general paralysis caused by dormant tertiary syphilis.

The association of Nietzsche's name with Adolf Hitler and Fascism owes much to the use made of his works by his sister Elisabeth. She had married a leading chauvinist and anti-Semite, Bernhard Förster, and after his suicide in 1889 she worked diligently to refashion Nietzsche in Förster's image. Elisabeth maintained ruthless control over Nietzsche's literary estate and, dominated by greed, produced collections of his “works” consisting of discarded notes, such as Der Wille zur Macht (1901; The Will to Power). She also committed petty forgeries. Generations of commentators were misled. Equally important, her enthusiasm for Hitler linked Nietzsche's name with that of the dictator in the public mind.
Nietzsche's mature philosophy

Nietzsche's writings fall into three well-defined periods. The early works, The Birth of Tragedy and the four Unzeitgemässe Betrachtungen (1873; Untimely Meditations), are dominated by a Romantic perspective influenced by Schopenhauer and Wagner. The middle period, from Human, All-Too-Human up to The Gay Science, reflects the tradition of French aphorists. It extols reason and science, experiments with literary genres, and expresses Nietzsche's emancipation from his earlier Romanticism and from Schopenhauer and Wagner. Nietzsche's mature philosophy emerged after The Gay Science.

In his mature writings Nietzsche was preoccupied by the origin and function of values in human life. If, as he believed, life neither possesses nor lacks intrinsic value and yet is always being evaluated, then such evaluations can usefully be read as symptoms of the condition of the evaluator. He was especially interested, therefore, in a probing analysis and evaluation of the fundamental cultural values of Western philosophy, religion, and morality, which he characterized as expressions of the ascetic ideal.

The ascetic ideal is born when suffering becomes endowed with ultimate significance. According to Nietzsche the Judeo-Christian tradition, for example, made suffering tolerable by interpreting it as God's intention and as an occasion for atonement. Christianity, accordingly, owed its triumph to the flattering doctrine of personal immortality, that is, to the conceit that each individual's life and death have cosmic significance. Similarly, traditional philosophy expressed the ascetic ideal when it privileged soul over body, mind over senses, duty over desire, reality over appearance, the timeless over the temporal. While Christianity promised salvation for the sinner who repents, philosophy held out hope for salvation, albeit secular, for its sages. Common to traditional religion and philosophy was the unstated but powerful motivating assumption that existence requires explanation, justification, or expiation. Both denigrated experience in favour of some other, “true” world. Both may be read as symptoms of a declining life, or life in distress.

Nietzsche's critique of traditional morality centred on the typology of “master” and “slave” morality. By examining the etymology of the German words gut (“good”), schlecht (“bad”), and böse (“evil”), Nietzsche maintained that the distinction between good and bad was originally descriptive, that is, a nonmoral reference to those who were privileged, the masters, as opposed to those who were base, the slaves. The good/evil contrast arose when slaves avenged themselves by converting attributes of mastery into vices. If the favoured, the “good,” were powerful, it was said that the meek would inherit the earth. Pride became sin. Charity, humility, and obedience replaced competition, pride, and autonomy. Crucial to the triumph of slave morality was its claim to being the only true morality. This insistence on absoluteness is as essential to philosophical as to religious ethics. Although Nietzsche gave a historical genealogy of master and slave morality, he maintained that it was an ahistorical typology of traits present in everyone

“Nihilism” was the term Nietzsche used to describe the devaluation of the highest values posited by the ascetic ideal. He thought of the age in which he lived as one of passive nihilism, that is, as an age that was not yet aware that religious and philosophical absolutes had dissolved in the emergence of 19th-century Positivism. With the collapse of metaphysical and theological foundations and sanctions for traditional morality only a pervasive sense of purposelessness and meaninglessness would remain. And the triumph of meaninglessness is the triumph of nihilism: “God is dead.” Nietzsche thought, however, that most men could not accept the eclipse of the ascetic ideal and the intrinsic meaninglessness of existence but would seek supplanting absolutes to invest life with meaning. He thought the emerging nationalism of his day represented one such ominous surrogate god, in which the nation-state would be invested with transcendent value and purpose. And just as absoluteness of doctrine had found expression in philosophy and religion, absoluteness would become attached to the nation-state with missionary fervour. The slaughter of rivals and the conquest of the earth would proceed under banners of universal brotherhood, democracy, and socialism. Nietzsche's prescience here was particularly poignant, and the use later made of him especially repellent. For example, two books were standard issue for the rucksacks of German soldiers during World War I, Thus Spoke Zarathustra and The Gospel According to St. John. It is difficult to say which author was more compromised by this gesture.

Nietzsche often thought of his writings as struggles with nihilism, and apart from his critiques of religion, philosophy, and morality he developed original theses that have commanded attention, especially perspectivism, will to power, eternal recurrence, and the superman.

Perspectivism is a concept which holds that knowledge is always perspectival, that there are no immaculate perceptions, and that knowledge from no point of view is as incoherent a notion as seeing from no particular vantage point. Perspectivism also denies the possibility of an all-inclusive perspective, which could contain all others and, hence, make reality available as it is in itself. The concept of such an all-inclusive perspective is as incoherent as the concept of seeing an object from every possible vantage point simultaneously.

Nietzsche's perspectivism has sometimes been mistakenly identified with relativism and skepticism. Nonetheless, it raises the question of how one is to understand Nietzsche's own theses, for example, that the dominant values of the common heritage have been underwritten by an ascetic ideal. Is this thesis true absolutely or only from a certain perspective? It may also be asked whether perspectivism can be asserted consistently without self-contradiction, since perspectivism must presumably be true in an absolute, that is a nonperspectival sense. Concerns such as these have generated much fruitful Nietzsche commentary as well as useful work in the theory of knowledge.

Nietzsche often identified life itself with “will to power,” that is, with an instinct for growth and durability. This concept provides yet another way of interpreting the ascetic ideal, since it is Nietzsche's contention “that all the supreme values of mankind lack this will—that values which are symptomatic of decline, nihilistic values, are lording it under the holiest names.” Thus, traditional philosophy, religion, and morality have been so many masks a deficient will to power wears. The sustaining values of Western civilization have been sublimated products of decadence in that the ascetic ideal endorses existence as pain and suffering. Some commentators have attempted to extend Nietzsche's concept of the will to power from human life to the organic and inorganic realms, ascribing a metaphysics of will to power to him. Such interpretations, however, cannot be sustained by reference to his published works.

The doctrine of eternal recurrence, the basic conception of Thus Spoke Zarathustra, asks the question “How well disposed would a person have to become to himself and to life to crave nothing more fervently than the infinite repetition, without alteration, of each and every moment?” Presumably most men would, or should, find such a thought shattering because they should always find it possible to prefer the eternal repetition of their lives in an edited version rather than to crave nothing more fervently than the eternal recurrence of each of its horrors. The person who could accept recurrence without self-deception or evasion would be a superhuman being ( Übermensch), a superman whose distance from the ordinary man is greater than the distance between man and ape, Nietzsche says. Commentators still disagree whether there are specific character traits that define the person who embraces eternal recurrence.
Nietzsche's influence

Nietzsche once wrote that some men are born posthumously, and this is certainly true in his case. The history of 20th-century philosophy, theology, and psychology are unintelligible without him. The German philosophers Max Scheler, Karl Jaspers, and Martin Heidegger laboured in his debt, for example, as did the French philosophers Albert Camus, Jacques Derrida, and Michel Foucault. Existentialism and deconstructionism, a movement in philosophy and literary criticism, owe much to him. The theologians Paul Tillich and Lev Shestov acknowledged their debt as did the “God is dead” theologian Thomas J.J. Altizer; Martin Buber, Judaism's greatest 20th-century thinker, counted Nietzsche among the three most important influences in his life and translated the first part of Zarathustra into Polish. The psychologists Alfred Adler and Carl Jung were deeply influenced, as was Sigmund Freud, who said of Nietzsche that he had a more penetrating understanding of himself than any man who ever lived or was ever likely to live. Novelists like Thomas Mann, Hermann Hesse, André Malraux, André Gide, and John Gardner were inspired by him and wrote about him, as did the poets and playwrights George Bernard Shaw, Rainer Maria Rilke, Stefan George, and William Butler Yeats, among others. Nietzsche is certainly one of the most influential philosophers who ever lived; and this is due not only to his originality but also to the fact that he was the German language's most brilliant prose writer

[spoiler]- Bernd Magnus
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مقاله بزرگان به زبان انگلیسی(Alexandre Dumas Biography)
« پاسخ #9 : ۱۸ مهر ۱۳۸۹ - ۲۲:۰۰:۵۰ »
Alexandre Dumas Biography
known as Dumas père (‘father’)
1802 – 1870

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born July 24, 1802, Villers-Cotterêts, Aisne, Fr.—died Dec. 5, 1870, Puys, near Dieppe) one of the most prolific and most popular French authors of the 19th century. Without ever attaining indisputable literary merit, Dumas succeeded in gaining a great reputation first as a dramatist and then as a historical novelist, especially for such works as The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers. His memoirs, which, with a mixture of candour, mendacity, and boastfulness, recount the events of his extraordinary life, also provide a unique insight into French literary life during the Romantic period. He was the father ( père) of the dramatist and novelist Alexandre Dumas, called Dumas fils.

Dumas's father, Thomas-Alexandre Davy de La Pailleterie—born out of wedlock to the marquis de La Pailleterie and Marie Cessette Dumas, a black slave of Santo Domingo—was a common soldier under the ancien régime who assumed the name Dumas in 1786. He later became a general in Napoleon's army. The family fell on hard times, however, especially after General Dumas's death in 1806, and the young Alexandre went to Paris to attempt to make a living as a lawyer. He managed to obtain a post in the household of the Duke d'Orléans, the future King Louis-Philippe, but tried his fortune in the theatre. He made contact with the actor François-Joseph Talma and with the young poets who were to lead the Romantic movement.

Dumas's plays, when judged from a modern viewpoint, are crude, brash, and melodramatic, but they were received with rapture in the late 1820s and early 1830s. Henri III et sa cour (1829) portrayed the French Renaissance in garish colours; Napoléon Bonaparte (1831) played its part in making a legend of the recently dead emperor; and in Antony (1831) Dumas brought a contemporary drama of adultery and honour to the stage.

Though he continued to write plays, Dumas next turned his attention to the historical novel, often working with collaborators (especially Auguste Maquet). Considerations of probability or historical accuracy generally were ignored, and the psychology of the characters was rudimentary. Dumas's main interest was the creation of an exciting story set against a colourful background of history, usually the 16th or 17th century.

The best known of his works are Les Trois Mousquetaires (published 1844, performed 1845; The Three Musketeers), a romance about four swashbuckling heroes in the age of Cardinal Richelieu; Vingt ans après (1845; “Twenty Years After”); Le Comte de Monte Cristo (1844–45; The Count of Monte Cristo); Dix ans plus tard ou le Vicomte de Bragelonne (1848–50; “Ten Years Later; or, The Vicomte de Bragelonne”); and La Tulipe noire (1850; “The Black Tulip”).

When success came, Dumas indulged his extravagant tastes and consequently was forced to write more and more rapidly in order to pay his creditors. He tried to make money by journalism and with travel books but with little success.

The unfinished manuscript of a long-lost novel, Le Chevalier de Sainte-Hermine ( The Last Cavalier), was discovered in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris in the late 1980s and first published in 2005

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Graham Greene
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Graham Greene

children, Greene was a shy and sensitive youth. He disliked sports and was often truant from school in order to read adventure stories by authors such as Rider Haggard and R. M. Ballantyne. These novels had a deep influence on him and helped shape his writing style.

The recurring themes of treachery and betrayal in Greene's writing stem from his troubled school years where he was often tormented for being the headmaster's son. After several suicide attempts, Greene left school one day and wrote to his parents that he did not wish to return. This culminated in his being sent to a therapist in London at age fifteen. His analyst, Kenneth Richmond, encouraged him to write and introduced him to his circle of literary friends which included the poet Walter de la Mare.
In 1978 Greene gave Professor Norman Sherry a map that marked the spots he traveled to. Sherry spent 20 years retracing Greene's journeys, not without suffering. He contracted diseases from tropical diabetes in Liberia, gangrene of the intestine, to temporary blindness. He won the Edgar Allan Poe award for Best Critical/Biographical Study in 1990 for Volume I of The World of Graham Greene.   Balliol College was Greene's next stop, where he studied modern history. He writes in his autobiography that he spent his university years drunk and debt-ridden. However, it was here that Greene gained experience as an editor at The Oxford Outlook;
developed an interest in politics after joining the Communist Party (more for amusement than for for principle); and honed his skills at writing, with one novel Anthony Sant complete before he graduated.

After graduating with a B.A. in 1925, Greene was employed as a subeditor at the Nottingham Journal after two abortive positions at other companies. His dislike of Nottingham's seediness manifested in his later novel Brighton Rock. Here he met his future wife Vivien Dayrell-Browning when she wrote to point out some errors regarding Catholicism in his writings. Upon her urging, Greene took instructions in the faith and was received by the Church in 1926.
Greene moved on to a job as a subeditor at The Times in London. He married Vivien in October 1927 and with her had a daughter, Lucy Caroline, and a son Francis. During this time, he wrote a political novel, The Episode, which was rejected by publishers. He finally succeeded in getting published with The Man Within. The success of the book led Greene to make a difficult decision: leave his much-loved job at The Times and become a self-employed writer.   Michael Shelden's biography of Greene, The Man Within, angered many supporters of the novelist. The book portrayed Greene as a pathological liar, an anti-Semite, a callous womanizer, and a bumbling political rabble-rouser, among other things. It even hinted that Greene may have something to do with the murders in Brighton, which inspired a few plotlines in Greene's writings.
He came near to reneging this decision with the failure of his next two novels (The Name of the Action and Rumour at Nightfall). Living on his publisher's advances, he moonlighted as a book reviewer for The Spectator. The financial strain made Greene write Stamboul Train, an escapist novel that was deliberately intended to please the public.

From then on, he never shied away from writing both "entertainments" and "serious novels".Besides reviewing books, Greene also took on film for The Spectator, and was co-editor of the short-lived Night and Day. He became involved in screenwriting despite being sued by Twentieth Century-Fox for his criticism of Shirley Temple. He wrote adaptations for the cinema as well as original screenplays, the most famous being The Third Man.

Greene began his world-renowned traveling in part to satisfy his lust for adventure, and in part to seek out material for his writing. A trip to Sweden resulted in England Made Me. A exhausting 400-mile trek through the jungles of Liberia not only gave Greene a near brush with death, but provided fodder for Journey Without Maps. During World War II, he worked for the Secret Intelligence Service in Sierra Leone, which became the setting for The Heart of the Matter. His journey to Mexico to witness the religious purges in 1938 was described in The Lawless Roads. Greene's horror of the Catholic persecution in Mexico led him to write The Power and the Glory, arguably the best novel of his career. It was both acclaimed (being the Hawthornden Prize winner in 1941) and condemned (by the Vatican).

The frenetic globetrotting continued until Greene was physically unable to do so in his later years. He sought out the world's "trouble spots": Vietnam during the Indochina War, Kenya during the Mau Mau outbreak, Stalinist Poland, Castro's Cuba, and Duvalier's Haiti among others.
The differences between Norman Sherry's biography and Michael Shelden's version of it led to a debate between the two in Waterstone's bookshop in Hampstead. Sherry called Shelden a "literary terrorist" and accused his biography of containing over 1000 errors. Shelden tried his best to defend his stance, despite being drowned out by the shouts of many supporters and friends of Greene.   Although Greene always declared himself to be apolitical as a writer, he nonetheless enjoyed being politically connected and appearing to be a supporter for the oppressed. The extent of his involvement in the British Secret Service has become a matter of intense speculation. He
has publicly declared himself a lifelong friend of Kim Philby, after working under him in the MI6. After the publication of The Quiet American, Greene was accused of being anti-American and consequently developed a strong dislike of Americans, particularly Ronald Reagan. He began to delve into Central American politics, associating with people such as Fidel Castro and Manuel Noriega. His friendship with Panamanian dictator General Omar Torrijos led him to write Getting to Know the General.

Aside from his exotic trips, Greene also achieved notoriety in his personal life. Greene's financial success as an author enabled him to live very comfortably in London, Antibes, and Capri. He associated with many famous figures of his time: T.S. Eliot, Herbert Read, Evelyn Waugh, Alexander Korda, Ian Fleming, Noel Coward, among others. He had many extra-marital affairs, and confessed he was "a bad husband and a fickle lover", although he never revealed his affairs in his two autobiographies. He separated from his wife in 1948 but they never divorced. Towards the end of his life, Greene lived in Vevey, Switzerland with his companion Yvonne Cloetta. He died there peacefully on April 3, 1991

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Alexander Graham Bell Biography *مقاله به زبان انگلیسی*
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Alexander Graham Bell Biography
 1847 – 1922

born March 3, 1847, Edinburgh, Scot.—died Aug. 2, 1922, Beinn Bhreagh, Cape Breton Island, N.S., Can.) Scottish-born American audiologist best known as the inventor of the telephone (1876). For two generations his family had been recognized as leading authorities in elocution and speech correction, with Alexander Melville Bell's Standard Elocutionist passing through nearly 200 editions in English. Young Bell and his two brothers were trained to continue the family profession. His early achievements on behalf of the deaf and his invention of the telephone before his 30th birthday bear testimony to the thoroughness of his training.

Alexander (“Graham” was not added until he was 11) was the second of the three sons of Alexander Melville Bell and Eliza Grace Symonds Bell. Apart from one year at a private school, two years at Edinburgh's Royal High School (from which he was graduated at 14), and attendance at a few lectures at Edinburgh University and at University College in London, Bell was largely family trained and self-taught. His first professional post was at Mr. Skinner's school in Elgin, County Moray, where he instructed the children in both music and elocution. In 1864 he became a resident master in Elgin's Weston House Academy, where he conducted his first studies in sound. Appropriately, Bell had begun professionally as he would continue through life—as a teacher-scientist.

In 1868 he became his father's assistant in London and assumed full charge while the senior Bell lectured in America. The shock of the sudden death of his older brother from tuberculosis, which had also struck down his younger brother, and the strain of his professional duties soon took their toll on young Bell. Concern for their only surviving son prompted the family's move to Canada in August 1870, where, after settling near Brantford, Ont., Bell's health rapidly improved.

In 1871 Bell spent several weeks in Boston, lecturing and demonstrating the system of his father's Visible Speech, published in 1866, as a means of teaching speech to the deaf. Each phonetic symbol indicated a definite position of the organs of speech such as lips, tongue, and soft palate and could be used by the deaf to imitate the sounds of speech in the usual way. Young A. Graham Bell, as he now preferred to be known, showed, using his father's system, that speech could be taught to the deaf. His astounding results soon led to further invitations to lecture.

Even while vacationing at his parents' home Bell continued his experiments with sound. In 1872 he opened his own school in Boston for training teachers of the deaf, edited his pamphlet Visible Speech Pioneer, and continued to study and tutor; in 1873 he became professor of vocal physiology at Boston University.

Never adept with his hands, Bell had the good fortune to discover and inspire Thomas Watson, a young repair mechanic and model maker, who assisted him enthusiastically in devising an apparatus for transmitting sound by electricity. Their long nightly sessions began to produce tangible results. The fathers of George Sanders and Mabel Hubbard, two deaf students whom he helped, were sufficiently impressed with the young teacher to assist him financially in his scientific pursuits. Nevertheless, during normal working hours Bell and Watson were still obliged to fulfill a busy schedule of professional demands. It is scarcely surprising that Bell's health again suffered. On April 6, 1875, he was granted the patent for his multiple telegraph; but after another exhausting six months of long nightly sessions in the workshop, while maintaining his daily professional schedule, Bell had to return to his parents' home in Canada to recuperate. In September 1875 he began to write the specifications for the telephone. On March 7, 1876, the United States Patent Office granted to Bell Patent Number 174,465 covering “The method of, and apparatus for, transmitting vocal or other sounds telegraphically . . . by causing electrical undulations, similar in form to the vibrations of the air accompanying the said vocal or other sounds

Within a year followed the commercial application and, a few months later, the first of hundreds of legal suits. Ironically, the telephone—until then all too often regarded as a joke and its creator-prophet as, at best, an eccentric—was the subject of the most involved patent litigation in history. The most noteworthy contemporaries of Bell were Antonio Meucci, who filed a caveat (rather than a full patent) in 1871 and let it lapse through lack of funds, and Elisha Gray, who filed a caveat on February 14, 1876, just a few hours after Bell submitted a patent claim. In recognition of Meucci's earlier work, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution on June 11, 2002, honouring his work. The two most celebrated of the early actions were the Dowd and Drawbaugh cases wherein the fledgling Bell Telephone Company successfully challenged two subsidiaries of the giant Western Union Telegraph Company for patent infringement. The charges and accusations were especially painful to Bell's Scottish integrity, but the outcome of all the litigation, which persisted throughout the life of his patents, was that Bell's claims were upheld as the first to conceive and apply the undulatory current. In 1877 Bell married Mabel Hubbard, 10 years his junior.

The Bell story does not end with the invention of the telephone; indeed, in many ways it was a beginning. A resident of Washington, D.C., Bell continued his experiments in communication, which culminated in the invention of the photophone—transmission of sound on a beam of light; in medical research; and in techniques for teaching speech to the deaf.

In 1880 France honoured Bell with the Volta Prize; and the 50,000 francs (roughly equivalent to U.S. $10,000) financed the Volta Laboratory, where, in association with Charles Sumner Tainter and his cousin, Chichester A. Bell, Bell invented the Graphophone. Employing an engraving stylus, controllable speeds, and wax cylinders and disks, the Graphophone presented a practical approach to sound recording. Bell's share of the royalties financed the Volta Bureau and the American Association to Promote the Teaching of Speech to the Deaf (since 1956 the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf). May 8, 1893, was one of Bell's happiest days; his 13-year-old prodigy, Helen Keller, participated in the ground-breaking ceremonies for the new Volta Bureau building—today an international information centre relating to the oral education of the deaf.

In 1885 Bell acquired land on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia. There, in surroundings reminiscent of his early years in Scotland, he established a summer home, Beinn Bhreagh, complete with research laboratories.

In 1898 Bell succeeded his father-in-law as president of the National Geographic Society. Convinced that geography could be taught through pictures, he sought to promote an understanding of life in distant lands in an age when travel was limited to a privileged few. Again he found the proper hands, Gilbert Grosvenor, his future son-in-law, who transformed a modest pamphlet into a unique educational journal reaching millions throughout the world
As interest in the possibility of flight increased after the turn of the century, he experimented with giant man-carrying kites. Characteristically, Bell again found a group of four willing young enthusiasts to execute his theories. Always an inspiration, Mabel Hubbard Bell, wishing to maintain the stimulating influence of the group, soon founded the Aerial Experiment Association, the first research organization established and endowed by a woman. Deafness was no handicap to the wife of Professor Bell. At Beinn Bhreagh, Bell entered new subjects of investigation, such as sonar detection, solar distillation, the tetrahedron as a structural unit, and hydrofoil craft, one of which weighed more than 10,000 pounds and attained a speed record of 70 miles per hour in 1919.

Apart from his lifelong association with the cause of the deaf, Bell never lingered on one project. His research interests centred on basic principles rather than on refinements. The most cursory examination of his many notebooks shows marginal memos and jottings, often totally unrelated to the subject at hand—reminders of questions and ideas he wanted to investigate. It was impossible for him to carry each of his creative ideas through to a practical end. Many of his conceptions are only today seeing fruition; indeed, some undoubtedly have yet to be developed. The range of his inventive genius is represented only in part by the 18 patents granted in his name alone and the 12 he shared with his collaborators. These included 14 for the telephone and telegraph, 4 for the photophone, 1 for the phonograph, 5 for aerial vehicles, 4 for hydroairplanes, and 2 for a selenium cell.

Until a few days before his death Bell continued to make entries in his journal. During his last dictation he was reassured with “Don't hurry,” to which he replied, “I have to

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*افلاطون1*Plato Biography
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Plato Biography
  347 – 348

(born 428/427 , Athens, Greece—died 348/347, Athens) ancient Greek philosopher, student of Socrates ( 470–399 ), teacher of Aristotle (384–322 ), and founder of the Academy, best known as the author of philosophical works of unparalleled influence.

Building on the demonstration by Socrates that those regarded as experts in ethical matters did not have the understanding necessary for a good human life, Plato introduced the idea that their mistakes were due to their not engaging properly with a class of entities he called forms, chief examples of which were Justice, Beauty, and Equality. Whereas other thinkers—and Plato himself in certain passages—used the term without any precise technical force, Plato in the course of his career came to devote specialized attention to these entities. As he conceived them, they were accessible not to the senses but to the mind alone, and they were the most important constituents of reality, underlying the existence of the sensible world and giving it what intelligibility it has. In metaphysics Plato envisioned a systematic, rational treatment of the forms and their interrelations, starting with the most fundamental among them (the Good, or the One); in ethics and moral psychology he developed the view that the good life requires not just a certain kind of knowledge (as Socrates had suggested) but also habituation to healthy emotional responses and therefore harmony between the three parts of the soul (according to Plato, reason, spirit, and appetite). His works also contain discussions in aesthetics, political philosophy, theology, cosmology, epistemology, and the philosophy of language. His school fostered research not just in philosophy narrowly conceived but in a wide range of endeavours that today would be called mathematical or scientific.

The son of Ariston (his father) and Perictione (his mother), Plato was born in the year after the death of the great Athenian statesman Pericles. His brothers Glaucon and Adeimantus are portrayed as interlocutors in Plato's masterpiece the Republic, and his half brother Antiphon figures in the Parmenides. Plato's family was aristocratic and distinguished: his father's side claimed descent from the god Poseidon, and his mother's side was related to the lawgiver Solon ( 630–560 ). Less creditably, his mother's close relatives Critias and Charmides were among the Thirty Tyrants who seized power in Athens and ruled briefly until the restoration of democracy in 403.

Plato as a young man was a member of the circle around Socrates. Since the latter wrote nothing, what is known of his characteristic activity of engaging his fellow citizens (and the occasional itinerant celebrity) in conversation derives wholly from the writings of others, most notably Plato himself. The works of Plato commonly referred to as “Socratic” represent the sort of thing the historical Socrates was doing. He would challenge men who supposedly had expertise about some facet of human excellence to give accounts of these matters—variously of courage, piety, and so on, or at times of the whole of “virtue”—and they typically failed to maintain their position. Resentment against Socrates grew, leading ultimately to his trial and execution on charges of impiety and corrupting the youth in 399. Plato was profoundly affected by both the life and the death of Socrates. The activity of the older man provided the starting point of Plato's philosophizing. Moreover, if Plato's Seventh Letter is to be believed (its authorship is disputed), the treatment of Socrates by both the oligarchy and the democracy made Plato wary of entering public life, as someone of his background would normally have done
After the death of Socrates, Plato may have traveled extensively in Greece, Italy, and Egypt, though on such particulars the evidence is uncertain. The followers of Pythagoras ( 580– 500 ) seem to have influenced his philosophical program (they are criticized in the Phaedo and the Republic but receive respectful mention in the Philebus). It is thought that his three trips to Syracuse in Sicily (many of the Letters concern these, though their authenticity is controversial) led to a deep personal attachment to Dion (408–354 ), brother-in-law of Dionysius the Elder (430–367 ), the tyrant of Syracuse. Plato, at Dion's urging, apparently undertook to put into practice the ideal of the “philosopher-king” (described in the Republic) by educating Dionysius the Younger; the project was not a success, and in the ensuing instability Dion was murdered.

Plato's Academy, founded in the 380s, was the ultimate ancestor of the modern university (hence the English term academic); an influential centre of research and learning, it attracted many men of outstanding ability. The great mathematicians Theaetetus (417–369 ) and Eudoxus of Cnidus ( 395– 342 ) were associated with it. Although Plato was not a research mathematician, he was aware of the results of those who were, and he made use of them in his own work. For 20 years Aristotle was also a member of the Academy. He started his own school, the Lyceum, only after Plato's death, when he was passed over as Plato's successor at the Academy, probably because of his connections to the court of Macedonia.

Because Aristotle often discusses issues by contrasting his views with those of his teacher, it is easy to be impressed by the ways in which they diverge. Thus, whereas for Plato the crown of ethics is the good in general, or Goodness itself (the Good), for Aristotle it is the good for human beings; and whereas for Plato the genus to which a thing belongs possesses a greater reality than the thing itself, for Aristotle the opposite is true. Plato's emphasis on the ideal, and Aristotle's on the worldly, informs Raphael's depiction of the two philosophers in the School of Athens (1508–11). But if one considers the two philosophers not just in relation to each other but in the context of the whole of Western philosophy, it is clear how much Aristotle's program is continuous with that of his teacher. (Indeed, the painting may be said to represent this continuity by showing the two men conversing amicably.) In any case, the Academy did not impose a dogmatic orthodoxy and in fact seems to have fostered a spirit of independent inquiry; at a later time it took on a skeptical orientation.

Plato once delivered a public lecture, On the Good, in which he mystified his audience by announcing, “the Good is one.” He better gauged his readers in his dialogues, many of which are accessible, entertaining, and inviting. Although Plato is well known for his negative remarks about much great literature, in the Symposium he depicts literature and philosophy as the offspring of lovers, who gain a more lasting posterity than do parents of mortal children. His own literary and philosophical gifts ensure that something of Plato will live on for as long as readers engage with his works
Plato's works are traditionally arranged in a manner deriving from Thrasyllus of Alexandria (flourished 1st century ): 36 works (counting the Letters as one) are divided into nine groups of four. But the ordering of Thrasyllus makes no sense for a reader today. Unfortunately, the order of composition of Plato's works cannot be known. Conjecture regarding chronology has been based on two kinds of consideration: perceived development in content and “stylometry,” or the study of special features of prose style, now executed with the aid of computers. By combining the two kinds of consideration, scholars have arrived at a widely used rough grouping of works, labeled with the traditional designations of early, middle, and late dialogues. These groups can also be thought of as the Socratic works (based on the activities of the historical Socrates), the literary masterpieces, and the technical studies ( Works individually described).

Each of Plato's dialogues has been transmitted substantially as he left it. However, it is important to be aware of the causal chain that connects modern readers to Greek authors of Plato's time. To survive until the era of printing, an ancient author's words had to be copied by hand, and the copies had to be copied, and so on over the course of centuries—by which time the original would have long perished. The copying process inevitably resulted in some corruption, which is often shown by disagreement between rival manuscript traditions.

Even if some Platonic “urtext” had survived, however, it would not be anything like what is published in a modern edition of Plato's works. Writing in Plato's time did not employ word divisions and punctuation or the present-day distinction between capital and lowercase letters. These features represent the contributions of scholars of many generations and countries, as does the ongoing attempt to correct for corruption. (Important variant readings and suggestions are commonly printed at the bottom of each page of text, forming the apparatus criticus.) In the great majority of cases only one decision is possible, but there are instances—some of crucial importance—where several courses can be adopted and where the resulting readings have widely differing import. Thus, the preparation of an edition of Plato's works involves an enormous interpretive component. The work of the translator imports another layer of similar judgments. Some Greek sentences admit of several fundamentally different grammatical construals with widely differing senses, and many ancient Greek words have no neat English equivalents.

A notable artifact of the work of translators and scholars is a device of selective capitalization sometimes employed in English. To mark the objects of Plato's special interest, the forms, some follow a convention in which one capitalizes the term Form (or Idea) as well as the names of particular forms, such as Justice, the Good, and so on. Others have employed a variant of this convention in which capitalization is used to indicate a special way in which Plato is supposed to have thought of the forms during a certain period (i.e., as “separate” from sensible particulars, the nature of this separation then being the subject of interpretative controversy). Still others do not use capital letters for any such purpose. Readers will do best to keep in mind that such devices are in any case only suggestions
In recent centuries there have been some changes in the purpose and style of English translations of ancient philosophy. The great Plato translation by Benjamin Jowett (1817–93), for example, was not intended as a tool of scholarship; anyone who would undertake such a study already knew ancient Greek. Instead, it made Plato's corpus generally accessible in English prose of considerable merit. At the other extreme was a type of translation that aimed to be useful to serious students and professional philosophers who did not know Greek; its goal was to indicate as clearly as possible the philosophical potentialities of the text, however much readability suffered in consequence. Exemplars of this style, which was much in vogue in the second half of the 20th century, are the series published by the Clarendon Press and also, in a different tradition, the translations undertaken by followers of Leo Strauss (1899–1973). Except in a few cases, however, the gains envisioned by this notion of fidelity proved to be elusive.

Despite, but also because of, the many factors that mediate the contemporary reader's access to Plato's works, many dialogues are conveyed quite well in translation. This is particularly true of the short, Socratic dialogues. In the case of works that are large-scale literary masterpieces, such as the Phaedrus, a translation of course cannot match the artistry of the original. Finally, because translators of difficult technical studies such as the Parmenides and the Sophist must make basic interpretive decisions in order to render any English at all, reading their work is very far from reading Plato. In the case of these dialogues, familiarity with commentaries and other secondary literature and a knowledge of ancient Greek are highly desirable.
Dialogue form

Glimpsed darkly even through translation's glass, Plato is a great literary artist. Yet he also made notoriously negative remarks about the value of writing. Similarly, although he believed that at least one of the purposes—if not the main purpose—of philosophy is to enable one to live a good life, by composing dialogues rather than treatises or hortatory letters he omitted to tell his readers directly any useful truths to live by.

One way of resolving these apparent tensions is to reflect on Plato's conception of philosophy. An important aspect of this conception, one that has been shared by many philosophers since Plato's time, is that philosophy aims not so much at discovering facts or establishing dogmas as at achieving wisdom or understanding (the Greek term philosophia means “love of wisdom”). This wisdom or understanding is an extremely hard-won possession; it is no exaggeration to say that it is the result of a lifetime's effort, if it is achieved at all. Moreover, it is a possession that each person must win for himself. The writing or conversation of others may aid philosophical progress but cannot guarantee it. Contact with a living person, however, has certain advantages over an encounter with a piece of writing. As Plato pointed out, writing is limited by its fixity: it cannot modify itself to suit the individual reader or add anything new in response to queries. So it is only natural that Plato had limited expectations about what written works could achieve. On the other hand, he clearly did not believe that writing has no philosophical value. Written works still serve a purpose, as ways of interacting with inhabitants of times and places beyond the author's own and as a medium in which ideas can be explored and tested
Dialogue form suits a philosopher of Plato's type. His use of dramatic elements, including humour, draws the reader in. Plato is unmatched in his ability to re-create the experience of conversation. The dialogues contain, in addition to Socrates and other authority figures, huge numbers of additional characters, some of whom act as representatives of certain classes of reader (as Glaucon may be a representative of talented and politically ambitious youth). These characters function not only to carry forward particular lines of thought but also to inspire readers to do the same—to join imaginatively in the discussion by constructing arguments and objections of their own. Spurring readers to philosophical activity is the primary purpose of the dialogues.

Because Plato himself never appears in any of these works and because many of them end with the interlocutors in aporia, or at a loss, some scholars have concluded that Plato was not recommending any particular views or even that he believed that there was nothing to choose between the views he presented. But the circumstance that he never says anything in his own person is also compatible with the more common impression that some of the suggestions he so compellingly puts forward are his own. Further, there are cases where one may suppose that Plato sets an exercise that the reader must work through so as to gain the benefit of philosophical progress that cannot be obtained merely by being told “the answer.” Although attributing views to Plato on the basis of such reconstructions must be conjectural, it is clear that the process of engaging in such activity so as to arrive at adequate views is one that he wanted his readers to pursue.
Happiness and virtue

The characteristic question of ancient ethics is “How can I be happy?” and the basic answer to it is “by means of virtue.” But in the relevant sense of the word, happiness—the conventional English translation of the ancient Greek eudaimonia—is not a matter of occurrent mood or affective state. Rather, as in a slightly archaic English usage, it is a matter of having things go well. Being happy in this sense is living a life of what some scholars call “human flourishing.” Thus, the question “How can I be happy?” is equivalent to “How can I live a good life?”

Whereas the notion of happiness in Greek philosophy applies at most to living things, that of arete—“virtue” or “excellence”—applies much more widely. Anything that has a characteristic use, function, or activity has a virtue or excellence, which is whatever disposition enables things of that kind to perform well. The excellence of a race horse is whatever enables it to run well; the excellence of a knife is whatever enables it to cut well; and the excellence of an eye is whatever enables it to see well. Human virtue, accordingly, is whatever enables human beings to live good lives. Thus the notions of happiness and virtue are linked

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*افلاطون2*Plato Biography
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In the case of a bodily organ such as the eye, it is fairly clear wherein good functioning consists. But it is far from obvious what a good life consists of, and so it is difficult to say what virtue, the condition that makes it possible, might be. Traditional Greek conceptions of the good life included the life of prosperity and the life of social position, in which case virtue would be the possession of wealth or nobility (and perhaps physical beauty). The overwhelming tendency of ancient philosophy, however, was to conceive of the good life as something that is the achievement of an individual and that, once won, is hard to take away.

Already by Plato's time a conventional set of virtues had come to be recognized by the larger culture; they included courage, justice, piety, modesty or temperance, and wisdom. Socrates and Plato undertook to discover what these virtues really amount to. A truly satisfactory account of any virtue would identify what it is, show how possessing it enables one to live well, and indicate how it is best acquired.

In Plato's representation of the activity of the historical Socrates, the interlocutors are examined in a search for definitions of the virtues. It is important to understand, however, that the definition sought for is not lexical, merely specifying what a speaker of the language would understand the term to mean as a matter of linguistic competence. Rather, the definition is one that gives an account of the real nature of the thing named by the term; accordingly, it is sometimes called a “real” definition. The real definition of water, for example, is H2O, though speakers in most historical eras did not know this.

In the encounters Plato portrays, the interlocutors typically offer an example of the virtue they are asked to define (not the right kind of answer) or give a general account (the right kind of answer) that fails to accord with their intuitions on related matters. Socrates tends to suggest that virtue is not a matter of outward behaviour but is or involves a special kind of knowledge (knowledge of good and evil or knowledge of the use of other things).

The Protagoras addresses the question of whether the various commonly recognized virtues are different or really one. Proceeding from the interlocutor's assertion that the many have nothing to offer as their notion of the good besides pleasure, Socrates develops a picture of the agent according to which the great art necessary for a good human life is measuring and calculation; knowledge of the magnitudes of future pleasures and pains is all that is needed. If pleasure is the only object of desire, it seems unintelligible what, besides simple miscalculation, could cause anyone to behave badly. Thus the whole of virtue would consist of a certain kind of wisdom. The idea that knowledge is all that one needs for a good life, and that there is no aspect of character that is not reducible to cognition (and so no moral or emotional failure that is not a cognitive failure), is the characteristically Socratic position
In the Republic, however, Plato develops a view of happiness and virtue that departs from that of Socrates. According to Plato, there are three parts of the soul, each with its own object of desire. Reason desires truth and the good of the whole individual, spirit is preoccupied with honour and competitive values, and appetite has the traditional low tastes for food, drink, and sex. Because the soul is complex, erroneous calculation is not the only way it can go wrong. The three parts can pull in different directions, and the low element, in a soul in which it is overdeveloped, can win out. Correspondingly, the good condition of the soul involves more than just cognitive excellence. In the terms of the Republic, the healthy or just soul has psychic harmony—the condition in which each of the three parts does its job properly. Thus, reason understands the Good in general and desires the actual good of the individual, and the other two parts of the soul desire what it is good for them to desire, so that spirit and appetite are activated by things that are healthy and proper.

Although the dialogue starts from the question “Why should I be just?,” Socrates proposes that this inquiry can be advanced by examining justice “writ large” in an ideal city. Thus, the political discussion is undertaken to aid the ethical one. One early hint of the existence of the three parts of the soul in the individual is the existence of three classes in the well-functioning state: rulers, guardians, and producers. The wise state is the one in which the rulers understand the good; the courageous state is that in which the guardians can retain in the heat of battle the judgments handed down by the rulers about what is to be feared; the temperate state is that in which all citizens agree about who is to rule; and the just state is that in which each of the three classes does its own work properly. Thus, for the city to be fully virtuous, each citizen must contribute appropriately.

Justice as conceived in the Republic is so comprehensive that a person who possessed it would also possess all the other virtues, thereby achieving “the health of that whereby we live [the soul].” Yet, lest it be thought that habituation and correct instruction in human affairs alone can lead to this condition, one must keep in view that the Republic also develops the famous doctrine according to which reason cannot properly understand the human good or anything else without grasping the form of the Good itself. Thus the original inquiry, whose starting point was a motivation each individual is presumed to have (to learn how to live well), leads to a highly ambitious educational program. Starting with exposure only to salutary stories, poetry, and music from childhood and continuing with supervised habituation to good action and years of training in a series of mathematical disciplines, this program—and so virtue—would be complete only in the person who was able to grasp the first principle, the Good, and to proceed on that basis to secure accounts of the other realities. There are hints in the Republic, as well as in the tradition concerning Plato's lecture On the Good and in several of the more technical dialogues that this first principle is identical with Unity, or the One

Plato uses the term dialectic throughout his works to refer to whatever method he happens to be recommending as the vehicle of philosophy. The term, from dialegesthai, meaning to converse or talk through, gives insight into his core conception of the project. Yet it is also evident that he stresses different aspects of the conversational method in different dialogues.

The form of dialectic featured in the Socratic works became the basis of subsequent practice in the Academy—where it was taught by Aristotle—and in the teachings of the Skeptics during the Hellenistic Age. While the conversation in a Socratic dialogue unfolds naturally, it features a process by which even someone who lacks knowledge of a given subject (as Socrates in these works claims to do) may test the understanding of a putative expert. The testing consists of a series of questions posed in connection with a position the interlocutor is trying to uphold. The method presupposes that one cannot have knowledge of any fact in isolation; what is known must be embedded in a larger explanatory structure. Thus, in order to know if a certain act is pious, one must know what piety is. This requirement licenses the questioner to ask the respondent about issues suitably related to his original claim. If, in the course of this process, a contradiction emerges, the supposed expert is revealed not to command knowledge after all: if he did, his grasp of the truth would have enabled him to avoid contradiction. While both Socrates and the Skeptics hoped to find the truth (a skeptikos is after all a “seeker”), the method all too often reveals only the inadequacy of the respondent. Since he has fallen into contradiction, it follows that he is not an expert, but this does not automatically reveal what the truth is.

By the time of the composition of the Republic, Plato's focus had shifted to developing positive views, and thus “dialectic” was now thought of not as a technique of testing but as a means of “saying of each thing what it is.” The Republic stresses that true dialectic is performed by thinking solely of the abstract and nonsensible realm of forms; it requires that reason secure an unhypothetical first principle (the Good) and then derive other results in light of it. Since this part of the dialogue is merely a programmatic sketch, however, no actual examples of the activity are provided, and indeed some readers have wondered whether it is really possible.

In the later dialogue Parmenides, dialectic is introduced as an exercise that the young Socrates must undertake if he is to understand the forms properly. The exercise, which Parmenides demonstrates in the second part of the work, is extremely laborious: a single instance involves the construction of eight sections of argument; the demonstration then takes up some three-quarters of the dialogue. The exercise challenges the reader to make a distinction associated with a sophisticated development of the theory of Platonic forms ( The theory of forms). Even after a general understanding has been achieved, repeating the exercise with different subjects allows one to grasp each subject's role in the world
This understanding of dialectic gives a central place to specifying each subject's account in terms of genus and differentiae (and so, relatedly, to mapping its position in a genus-species tree). The Phaedrus calls the dialectician the person who can specify these relations—and thereby “carve reality at the joints.” Continuity among all the kinds of dialectic in Plato comes from the fact that the genus-species divisions of the late works are a way of providing the accounts that dialectic sought in all the previous works.
The theory of forms

Plato is both famous and infamous for his theory of forms. Just what the theory is, and whether it was ever viable, are matters of extreme controversy. To readers who approach Plato in English, the relationship between forms and sensible particulars, called in translation “participation,” seems purposely mysterious. Moreover, the claim that the sensible realm is not fully real, and that it contrasts in this respect with the “pure being” of the forms, is perplexing. A satisfactory interpretation of the theory must rely on both historical knowledge and philosophical imagination.
Linguistic and philosophical background

The terms that Plato uses to refer to forms, idea and eidos, ultimately derive from the verb eidô, “to look.” Thus, an idea or eidos would be the look a thing presents, as when one speaks of a vase as having a lovely form. (Because the mentalistic connotation of idea in English is misleading—the Parmenides shows that forms cannot be ideas in a mind—this translation has fallen from favour.) Both terms can also be used in a more general sense to refer to any feature that two or more things have in common or to a kind of thing based on that feature. The English word form is similar. The sentence “The pottery comes in two forms” can be glossed as meaning either that the pottery is made in two shapes or that there are two kinds of pottery. When Plato wants to contrast genus with species, he tends to use the terms genos and eidos, translated as “genus” and “species,” respectively. Although it is appropriate in the context to translate these as “genus” and “species,” respectively, it is important not to lose sight of the continuity provided by the word eidos: even in these passages Plato is referring to the same kind of entities as always, the forms.

Another linguistic consideration that should be taken into account is the ambiguity of ancient Greek terms of the sort that would be rendered into unidiomatic English as “the dark” or “the beautiful.” Such terms may refer to a particular individual that exhibits the feature in question, as when “the beautiful [one]” is used to refer to Achilles, but they may also refer to the features themselves, as when “the beautiful” is used to refer to something Achilles has. “The beautiful” in the latter usage may then be thought of as something general that all beautiful particulars have in common. In Plato's time, unambiguously abstract terms—corresponding to the English words “darkness” and “beauty”—came to be used as a way of avoiding the ambiguity inherent in the original terminology. Plato uses both kinds of terms
By Plato's time there was also important philosophical precedent for using terms such as “the dark” and “the beautiful” to refer to metaphysically fundamental entities. Anaxagoras ( 500– 428 ), the great pre-Socratic natural scientist, posited a long list of fundamental stuffs, holding that what are ordinarily understood as individuals are actually composites made up of shares or portions of these stuffs. The properties of sensible composites depend on which of their ingredients are predominant. Change, generation, and destruction in sensible particulars are conceived in terms of shifting combinations of portions of fundamental stuffs, which themselves are eternal and unchanging and accessible to the mind but not to the senses.

For Anaxagoras, having a share of something is straightforward: a particular composite possesses as a physical ingredient a material portion of the fundamental stuff in question. For example, a thing is observably hot because it possesses a sufficiently large portion of “the hot,” which is thought of as the totality of heat in the world. The hot is itself hot, and this is why portions of it account for the warmth of composites. (In general, the fundamental stuffs posited by Anaxagoras themselves possessed the qualities they were supposed to account for in sensible particulars.) These portions are qualitatively identical to each other and to portions of the hot that are lost by whatever becomes less warm; they can move around the cosmos, being transferred from one composite to another, as heat may move from hot bathwater to Hector as it warms him up.

Plato's theory can be seen as a successor to that of Anaxagoras. Like Anaxagoras, Plato posits fundamental entities that are eternal and unchanging and accessible to the mind but not to the senses. And, as in Anaxagoras's theory, in Plato's theory sensible particulars display a given feature because they have a portion of the underlying thing itself. The Greek term used by both authors, metechei, is traditionally rendered as “participates in” in translations of Plato but as “has a portion of” in translations of Anaxagoras. This divergence has had the unfortunate effect of tending to hide from English-speaking readers that Plato is taking over a straightforward notion from his predecessor.

It is also possible to understand sympathetically the claim that forms have a greater reality than sensible particulars. The claim is certainly not that the sensible realm fails to exist or that it exists only partially or incompletely. Rather, sensibles are simply not ontologically or explanatorily basic: they are constituted of and explained by more fundamental entities, in Plato as in Anaxagoras (and indeed in most scientific theories). It is easy to multiply examples in the spirit of Plato to illustrate that adequate accounts of many of the fundamental entities he is interested in cannot be given in terms of sensible particulars or sensible properties. If someone who wishes to define beauty points at Helen, he points at a thing both beautiful (physically) and not beautiful (perhaps morally). Equally, if he specifies a sensible property like the gilded, he captures together things that are beautiful and things that are not. Sensible particulars and properties thus exhibit the phenomenon that Plato calls “rolling around between being and not-being”: they are and are not x for values of x he is interested in (beautiful, just, equal, and so on). To understand beauty properly, one needs to capture something that is simply beautiful, however that is to be construed. The middle dialogues do not undertake to help the reader with this task
Notice finally that because Plato was concerned with moral and aesthetic properties such as justice, beauty, and goodness, the Anaxagorean interpretation of participation—the idea that sensible composites are made up of physical portions of the fundamental entities—was not available to him. There is no qualitatively identical material constituent that a lyre gains as its sound becomes more beautiful and that Achilles loses as he ages. Plato's theory of forms would need a new interpretation of participation if it was to be carried out.
Forms as perfect exemplars

According to a view that some scholars have attributed to Plato's middle dialogues, participation is imitation or resemblance. Each form is approximated by the sensible particulars that display the property in question. Thus, Achilles and Helen are imperfect imitations of the Beautiful, which itself is maximally beautiful. On this interpretation, the “pure being” of the forms consists of their being perfect exemplars of themselves and not exemplars of anything else. Unlike Helen, the form of the Beautiful cannot be said to be both beautiful and not beautiful—similarly for Justice, Equality, and all the other forms.

This “super-exemplification” interpretation of participation provides a natural way of understanding the notion of the pure being of the forms and such self-predication sentences as “the Beautiful is beautiful.” Yet it is absurd. In Plato's theory, forms play the functional role of universals, and most universals, such as greenness, generosity, and largeness, are not exemplars of themselves. (Greenness does not exhibit hue; generosity has no one to whom to give; largeness is not a gigantic object.) Moreover, it is problematic to require forms to exemplify only themselves, because there are properties, such as being and unity, that all things, including all forms, must exhibit. (So Largeness must have a share of Being to be anything at all, and it must have a share of Unity to be a single form.) Plato was not unaware of the severe difficulties inherent in the super-exemplification view; indeed, in the Parmenides and the Sophist he became the first philosopher to demonstrate these problems.

The first part of the Parmenides depicts the failure of the young Socrates to maintain the super-exemplification view of the forms against the critical examination of the older philosopher Parmenides. Since what Socrates there says about forms is reminiscent of the assertions of the character Socrates in the middle dialogues Symposium, Phaedo, and Republic, the exchange is usually interpreted as a negative assessment by Plato of the adequacy of his earlier presentation. Those who consider the first part of the Parmenides in isolation tend to suppose that Plato had heroically come to grips with the unviability of his theory, so that by his late period he was left with only dry and uninspiring exercises, divorced from the exciting program of the great masterpieces. Those who consider the dialogue as a whole, however, are encouraged by Parmenides' praise for the young Socrates and by his assertion that the exercise constituting the second part of the dialogue will help Socrates to get things right in the future. This suggests that Plato believed that the theory of forms could be developed in a way that would make it immune to the objections raised against the super-exemplification view
Forms as genera and species

Successful development of the theory of forms depended upon the development of a distinction between two kinds of predication. Plato held that a sentence making a predication about a sensible particular, “A is B,” must be understood as stating that the particular in question, A, displays a certain property, B. There are ordinary predications about the forms, which also state that the forms in question display properties. Crucially, however, there is also a special kind of predication that can be used to express a form's nature. Since Plato envisaged that these natures could be given in terms of genus-species trees, a special predication about a form, “A is B,” is true if B appears above A in its correct tree as a differentia or genus. Equivalently, “A is B” has the force that being a B is (part of) what it is to be an A. This special predication is closely approximated in modern classifications of animals and plants according to a biological taxonomy. “The wolf is a canis,” for example, states that “wolf” appears below “canis” in a genus-species classification of the animals, or equivalently that being a canis is part of what it is to be a wolf ( Canis lupus).

Plato's distinction can be illustrated by examples such as the following. The ordinary predication “Socrates is just” is true, because the individual in question displays the property of being just. Understood as a special predication, however, the assertion is false, because it is false that being just is part of what it is to be Socrates (there is no such thing as what it is to be Socrates). “Man is a vertebrate,” understood as an ordinary predication, is false, since the form Man does not have a backbone. But when treated as a special predication it is true, since part of what it is to be a human is to be a vertebrate. Self-predication sentences are now revealed as trivial but true: “the Beautiful is beautiful” asserts only that being beautiful is (part of) what it is to be beautiful. In general one must be careful not to assume that Plato's self-predication sentences involve ordinary predication, which would in many cases involve problematic self-exemplification issues.

Plato was interested in special predication as a vehicle for providing the real definitions that he had been seeking in earlier dialogues. When one knows in this way what Justice itself really is, one can appreciate its relation to other entities of the same kind, including how it differs from the other virtues, such as Bravery, and whether it is really the whole of Virtue or only a part of it.

By means of special predication it is possible to provide an account of each fundamental nature. Such accounts, moreover, provide a way of understanding the “pure being” of the forms: it consists of the fact that there cannot be a true special predication of the form “A is both B and not-B.” In other words, special predication sentences do not exhibit the phenomenon of rolling around between being and not being. This is because it must be the case that either B appears above A in a correct genus-species classification or it does not. Moreover, since forms do not function by being exemplars of themselves only, there is nothing to prevent their having other properties, such as being and unity, as appropriate. As Plato expresses it, all forms must participate in Being and Unity

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Because the special predications serve to give (in whole or in part) the real definitions that Socrates had been searching for, this interpretation of the forms connects Plato's most technical dialogues to the literary masterpieces and to the earlier Socratic dialogues. The technical works stress and develop the idea (which is hinted at in the early Euthyphro) that forms should be understood in terms of a genus-species classification. They develop a schema that, with modifications of course, went on to be productive in the work of Aristotle and many later researchers. In this way, Plato's late theory of the forms grows out of the program of his teacher and leads forward to the research of his students and well beyond.
Works individually described

As noted above, studies of both content and style have resulted in the division of Plato's works into three groups. Thus, (1) the early, or Socratic, dialogues represent conversations in which Socrates tests others on issues of human importance without discussing metaphysics; (2) the middle dialogues, or literary masterpieces, typically contain views originating with Plato on human issues, together with a sketch of a metaphysical position presented as foundational; and (3) the late dialogues, or technical studies, treat this metaphysical position in a fuller and more direct way. There are also some miscellaneous works, including letters, verses attributed to Plato, and dialogues of contested authenticity.
Early dialogues

The works in this group (to be discussed in alphabetical order below) represent Plato's reception of the legacy of the historical Socrates; many feature his characteristic activity, elenchos, or testing of putative experts. The early dialogues serve well as an introduction to the corpus. They are short and entertaining and fairly accessible, even to readers with no background in philosophy. Indeed, they were probably intended by Plato to draw such readers into the subject. In them, Socrates typically engages a prominent contemporary about some facet of human excellence (virtue) that he is presumed to understand, but by the end of the conversation the participants are reduced to aporia. The discussion often includes as a core component a search for the real definition of a key term.

One way of reading the early dialogues is as having the primarily negative purpose of showing that authority figures in society do not have the understanding needed for a good human life (the reading of the Skeptics in the Hellenistic Age). Yet there are other readings according to which the primary purpose is to recommend certain views. In Hellenistic times the Stoics regarded emphasis on the paramount importance of virtue, understood as a certain kind of knowledge, as the true heritage of Socrates, and it became foundational for their school. Whether one prefers the skeptical or a more dogmatic interpretation of these dialogues, they function to introduce Plato's other works by clearing the ground; indeed, for this reason Plato's longer works sometimes include elenctic episodes as portions of themselves. Such episodes are intended to disabuse the naive, immature, or complacent reader of the comfortable conviction that he—or some authority figure in his community—already understands the deep issues in question and to convince him of the need for philosophical reflection on these matters
The Apology represents the speech that Socrates gave in his defense at his trial, and it gives an interpretation of Socrates' career: he has been a “gadfly,” trying to awaken the noble horse of Athens to an awareness of virtue, and he is wisest in the sense that he is aware that he knows nothing. Each of the other works in this group represents a particular Socratic encounter. In the Charmides, Socrates discusses temperance and self-knowledge with Critias and Charmides; at the fictional early date of the dialogue, Charmides is still a promising youth. The dialogue moves from an account in terms of behaviour (“temperance is a kind of quietness”) to an attempt to specify the underlying state that accounts for it; the latter effort breaks down in puzzles over the reflexive application of knowledge.

The Cratylus (which some do not place in this group of works) discusses the question of whether names are correct by virtue of convention or nature. The Crito shows Socrates in prison, discussing why he chooses not to escape before the death sentence is carried out. The dialogue considers the source and nature of political obligation. The Euthydemus shows Socrates among the eristics (those who engage in showy logical disputation). The Euthyphro asks, “What is piety?” Euthyphro fails to maintain the successive positions that piety is “what the gods love,” “what the gods all love,” or some sort of service to the gods. Socrates and Euthyphro agree that what they seek is a single form, present in all things that are pious, that makes them so. Socrates suggests that if Euthyphro could specify what part of justice piety is, he would have an account.

The more elaborate Gorgias considers, while its Sophist namesake is at Athens, whether orators command a genuine art or merely have a knack of flattery. Socrates holds that the arts of the legislator and the judge address the health of the soul, which orators counterfeit by taking the pleasant instead of the good as their standard. Discussion of whether one should envy the man who can bring about any result he likes leads to a Socratic paradox: it is better to suffer wrong than to do it. Callicles praises the man of natural ability who ignores conventional justice; true justice, according to Callicles, is this person's triumph. In the Hippias Minor, discussion of Homer by a visiting Sophist leads to an examination by Socrates, which the Sophist fails, on such questions as whether a just person who does wrong on purpose is better than other wrongdoers. The Ion considers professional reciters of poetry and develops the suggestion that neither such performers nor poets have any knowledge.

The interlocutors in the Laches are generals. One of them, the historical Laches, displayed less courage in the retreat from Delium (during the Peloponnesian War) than the humble foot soldier Socrates. Likewise, after the fictional date of the dialogue, another of the generals, Nicias, was responsible for the disastrous defeat of the Sicilian expedition because of his dependence on seers. Here the observation that the sons of great men often do not turn out well leads to an examination of what courage is. The trend again is from an account in terms of behaviour (“standing fast in battle”) to an attempt to specify the inner state that underlies it (“knowledge of the grounds of hope and fear”), but none of the participants displays adequate understanding of these suggestions
The Lysis is an examination of the nature of friendship; the work introduces the notion of a primary object of love, for whose sake one loves other things. The Menexenus purports to be a funeral oration that Socrates learned from Aspasia, the mistress of Pericles (himself celebrated for the funeral oration assigned to him by Thucydides, one of the most famous set pieces of Greek antiquity). This work may be a satire on the patriotic distortion of history.

The Meno takes up the familiar question of whether virtue can be taught, and, if so, why eminent men have not been able to bring up their sons to be virtuous. Concerned with method, the dialogue develops Meno's problem: How is it possible to search either for what one knows (for one already knows it) or for what one does not know (and so could not look for)? This is answered by the recollection theory of learning. What is called learning is really prompted recollection; one possesses all theoretical knowledge latently at birth, as demonstrated by the slave boy's ability to solve geometry problems when properly prompted. (This theory will reappear in the Phaedo and in the Phaedrus.) The dialogue is also famous as an early discussion of the distinction between knowledge and true belief.

The Protagoras, another discussion with a visiting Sophist, concerns whether virtue can be taught and whether the different virtues are really one. The dialogue contains yet another discussion of the phenomenon that the sons of the great are often undistinguished. This elaborate work showcases the competing approaches of the Sophists (speechmaking, word analysis, discussion of great poetry) and Socrates. Under the guise of an interpretation of a poem of Simonides of Ceos ( 556– 468 ), a distinction (which will become thematic for Plato) is made between being and becoming. Most famously, this dialogue develops the characteristic Socratic suggestion that virtue is identical with wisdom and discusses the Socratic position that akrasia (moral weakness) is impossible. Socrates suggests that, in cases of apparent akrasia, what is really going on is an error of calculation: pursuing pleasure as the good, one incorrectly estimates the magnitude of the overall amount of pleasure that will result from one's action ( Happiness and virtue).
Middle dialogues

These longer, elaborate works are grouped together because of the similarity in their agendas: although they are primarily concerned with human issues, they also proclaim the importance of metaphysical inquiry and sketch Plato's proprietary views on the forms. This group represents the high point of Plato's literary artistry. Of course, each of Plato's finished works is an artistic success in the sense of being effectively composed in a way appropriate to its topic and its audience; yet this group possesses as well the more patent literary virtues. Typically much longer than the Socratic dialogues, these works contain sensitive portrayals of characters and their interactions, dazzling displays of rhetoric and attendant suggestions about its limitations, and striking and memorable tropes and myths, all designed to set off their leisurely explorations of philosophy
In the middle dialogues, the character Socrates gives positive accounts, thought to originate with Plato himself, of the sorts of human issues that interlocutors in the earlier works had failed to grasp: the nature of Justice and the other virtues, Platonic love, and the soul ( psyche). The works typically suggest that the desired understanding, to be properly grounded, requires more-fundamental inquiries, and so Socrates includes in his presentation a sketch of the forms. “Seeking the universal” by taking forms to be the proper objects of definition was already a hallmark of the early dialogues, though without attention to the status and character of these entities. Even the middle works, however, do not fully specify how the forms are to be understood ( The theory of forms).

At the party depicted in the Symposium, each of the guests (including the poets Aristophanes and Agathon) gives an encomium in praise of love. Socrates recalls the teaching of Diotima (a fictional prophetess), according to whom all mortal creatures have an impulse to achieve immortality. This leads to biological offspring with ordinary partners, but Diotima considers such offspring as poetry, scientific discoveries, and philosophy to be better. Ideally, one's eros (erotic love) should progress from ordinary love objects to Beauty itself. Alcibiades concludes the dialogue by bursting in and giving a drunken encomium of Socrates.

The Phaedo culminates in the affecting death of Socrates, before which he discusses a theme apposite to the occasion: the immortality of the soul (treated to some extent following Pythagorean and Orphic precedent). The dialogue features characteristically Platonic elements: the recollection theory of knowledge and the claim that understanding the forms is foundational to all else. The length of this work also accommodates a myth concerning the soul's career after death.

In the very long Republic, Socrates undertakes to show what Justice is and why it is in each person's best interest to be just. Initial concern for justice in the individual leads to a search for justice on a larger scale, as represented in an imaginary ideal city (hence the traditional title of the work). In the Republic the rulers and guardians are forbidden to have private families or property, women perform the same tasks as men, and the rulers are philosophers—those who have knowledge of the Good and the Just. The dialogue contains two discussions—one with each of Plato's brothers—of the impact of art on moral development. Socrates develops the proposal that Justice in a city or an individual is the condition in which each part performs the task that is proper to it; such an entity will have no motivation to do unjust acts and will be free of internal conflict. The soul consists of reason, spirit, and appetite, just as the city consists of rulers, guardians, and craftsmen or producers

The middle books of the Republic contain a sketch of Plato's views on knowledge and reality and feature the famous figures of the Sun and the Cave, among others. The position occupied by the form of the Good in the intelligible world is the same as that occupied by the Sun in the visible world: thus the Good is responsible for the being and intelligibility of the objects of thought. The usual cognitive condition of human beings is likened to that of prisoners chained in an underground cave, with a great fire behind them and a raised wall in between. The prisoners are chained in position and so are able to see only shadows cast on the facing wall by statues moved along the wall behind them. They take these shadows to be reality. The account of the progress that they would achieve if they were to go above ground and see the real world in the light of the Sun features the notion of knowledge as enlightenment. Plato proposes a concrete sequence of mathematical studies, ending with harmonics, that would prepare future rulers to engage in dialectic, whose task is to say of each thing what it is—i.e., to specify its nature by giving a real definition. Contrasting with the portrait of the just man and the city are those of decadent types of personality and regime. The dialogue concludes with a myth concerning the fate of souls after death.

The first half of the Phaedrus consists of competitive speeches of seduction. Socrates repents of his first attempt and gives a treatment of love as the impulse to philosophy: Platonic love, as in the Symposium, is eros, here graphically described. The soul is portrayed as made of a white horse (noble), a black horse (base), and a charioteer; Socrates provides an elaborate description of the soul's discarnate career as a spectator of the vision of the forms, which it may recall in this life. Later in the dialogue, Socrates maintains that philosophical knowledge is necessary to an effective rhetorician, who produces likenesses of truth adapted to his audience (and so must know both the truth concerning the subject matter and the receptivities of different characters to different kinds of presentation). This part of the dialogue, with its developed interest in genera and species, looks forward to the group of technical studies. It is also notable for its discussion of the limited value of writing.
Late dialogues

The Parmenides demonstrates that the sketches of forms presented in the middle dialogues were not adequate; this dialogue and the ones that follow spur readers to develop a more viable understanding of these entities. Thus, the approach to genera and species recommended in the Sophist, the Statesman, and the Philebus (and already discussed in the Phaedrus) represents the late version of Plato's theory of forms. The Philebus proposes a mathematized version, inspired by Pythagoreanism and corresponding to the cosmology of the Timaeus
But Plato did not neglect human issues in these dialogues. The Phaedrus already combined the new apparatus with a compelling treatment of love; the title topics of the Sophist and the Statesman, to be treated by genus-species division, are important roles in the Greek city; and the Philebus is a consideration of the competing claims of pleasure and knowledge to be the basis of the good life. (The Laws, left unfinished at Plato's death, seems to represent a practical approach to the planning of a city.) If one combines the hints (in the Republic) associating the Good with the One, or Unity; the treatment (in the Parmenides) of the One as the first principle of everything; and the possibility that the good proportion and harmony featured in the Timaeus and the Philebus are aspects of the One, it is possible to trace the aesthetic and ethical interests of the middle dialogues through even the most difficult technical studies.

The Theaetetus considers the question “What is knowledge?” Is it perception, true belief, or true belief with an “account”? The dialogue contains a famous “digression” on the difference between the philosophical and worldly mentalities. The work ends inconclusively and may indeed be intended to show the limits of the methods of the historical Socrates with this subject matter, further progress requiring Plato's distinctive additions.

The Parmenides is the key episode in Plato's treatment of forms. It presents a critique of the super-exemplification view of forms that results from a natural reading of the Symposium, the Phaedo, and the Republic and moves on to a suggestive logical exercise based on a distinction between two kinds of predication and a model of the forms in terms of genera and species. Designed to lead the reader to a more sophisticated and viable theory, the exercise also depicts the One as a principle of everything ( The theory of forms).

The leader of the discussion in the Sophist is an “Eleatic stranger.” Sophistry seems to involve trafficking in falsity, illusion, and not-being. Yet these are puzzling in light of the brilliant use by the historical Parmenides (also an Eleatic) of the slogan that one cannot think or speak of what is not. Plato introduces the idea that a negative assertion of the form “A is not B” should be understood not as invoking any absolute not-being but as having the force that A is other than B. The other crucial content of the dialogue is its distinction between two uses of “is,” which correspond to the two kinds of predication introduced in the Parmenides. Both are connected with the genus-species model of definition that is pervasive in the late dialogues, since the theoretically central use of “is” appears in statements that are true in virtue of the relations represented in genus-species classifications. The dialogue treats the intermingling of the five “greatest kinds”: Being, Sameness, Difference, Motion, and Rest. Although these kinds are of course not species of each other, they do partake of each other in the ordinary way. The Statesman discusses genus-species definition in connection with understanding its title notion
The Timaeus concerns the creation of the world by a Demiurge, initially operating on forms and space and assisted after he has created them by lesser gods. Earth, air, fire, and water are analyzed as ultimately consisting of two kinds of triangles, which combine into different characteristic solids. Plato in this work applies mathematical harmonics to produce a cosmology. The Critias is a barely started sequel to the Timaeus; its projected content is the story of the war of ancient Athens and Atlantis.

The Philebus develops major apparatuses in methodology and metaphysics. The genus-species treatment of forms is recommended, but now foundational to it is a new fourfold division: limit, the unlimited, the mixed class, and the cause. Forms (members of the mixed class) are analyzed in Pythagorean style as made up of limit and the unlimited. This occurs when desirable ratios govern the balance between members of underlying pairs of opposites—as, for example, Health results when there is a proper balance between the Wet and the Dry.

The very lengthy Laws is thought to be Plato's last composition, since there is generally accepted evidence that it was unrevised at his death. It develops laws to govern a projected state and is apparently meant to be practical in a way that the Republic was not; thus the demands made on human nature are less exacting. This work appears, indirectly, to have left its mark on the great system of Roman jurisprudence.

The Epigrams are elegiac couplets attributed to Plato. Epigrams 1–3 are especially interesting: they may well be authentic, and if so they would give a glimpse into Plato's personal affections. Correspondence purporting to be from Plato is collected as the Letters or Epistles; their authorship is controversial, and each must be evaluated separately. The Seventh Letter contains much that is relevant to Plato's biography and to his joint project with Dion of Syracuse, as well as a criticism of putting philosophy into writing.

Three dialogues of uncertain authorship in the Socratic genre are the following. The Alcibiades depicts Socrates with the brilliant title character, whose meteoric career (before the date of composition but after the fictional date of the dialogue) contributed to the resentment against the older man. In the Clitophon, the title character objects that Socrates has awakened his wish for knowledge of virtue but has failed to help him reach his goal. The Hippias Major takes up the question “What is the beautiful (the fine)?” Widely agreed to be spurious are Axiochus, Definitions, Demodocus, Epinomis, Eryxias, Halcyon, Hipparchus, Minos, On Justice, On Virtue, Rival Lovers, Second Alcibiades, Sisyphus, and Theages

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