HERE SOME EXCERPTS FROM PLATO AND A PLATYPUS
(On Argument from Analogy, p.3)
Here's... a riff on the Argument From Analogy, which says that if two outcomes are similar, they must have a similar cause:
A ninety-year-old man went to the doctor and said, "Doctor, my eighteen-year old wife is expecting a baby."
The doctor said, " Let me tell you a story. A men went hunting, but instead of a gun, he picked up an umbrella by mistake. When a bear suddenly charged at the man, he picked up the umbrella, shot the bear, and killed it."
The man said, "Impossible. SOmeone else must have shot that bear."
The doctor said, "My point exactly!"
You couldn't ask for a better illustration for the Argument from Analogy, a philosophical ploy currently (and erroneously) being used in the argument for Intelligent Design (i.e., if there's an eyeball, there must be an Eyeball-Designer-in-the-Sky.)
The optimist says."The glass is half full."
The pessimist says, "The glass is half empty."
The rationalist says, "This glass is twice as big as it needs to be."
...the joke clarifies the obvious truth that optimism and pessimism are personal attitudes that have nothing to do with Leibniz's neutral, rational description of the world.
(On Teleology, pp. 8-9)
A seeker has heard that the wisest guru in all of India lives atop India's highest mountain. So the seeker treks over hill and Delhi until he reaches the fabled mountain. It's incredibly steep, and more than once he slips and falls. By the time he reaches the top, he is full of cuts and bruises, but there is the guru, sitting cross-legged in front of his cave.
"O, wise guru," the seeker says, "I have come to you to ask what the secret of life is."
"Ah, yes, the secret of life," the guru says. "The secret of life is a teacup."
"A teacup? I came all the way up here to find the meaning of life, and you tell me it's a teacup!"
The guru shrugs. "So maybe it isn't a teacup."
This guru is acknowledging that formulating the telos of life is a slippery business. Furthermore, it's not everybody's cup of tea.
“Some have argued that because the universe is like a clock, there must be a Clockmaker. As the eighteenth-century British empiricist David Hume pointed out, this is a slippery argument, because there is nothing that is really perfectly analogous to the universe as a whole, unless it's another universe, so we shouldn't try to pass off anything that is just a part of this universe. Why a clock anyhow? Hume asks. Why not say the universe is analogous to a kangaroo? After all, both are organically interconnected systems. But the kangaroo analogy would lead to a very different conclusion about the origin of the universe: namely, that it was born of another universe after that universe had sex with a third universe.”
(On the Variations of the Golden Rule, p.85)
Hinduism—Do not to others what ye do not wish done to yourself…this is the whole Dharma. Heed it well.
Judaism—What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor; that is the entire Torah; the rest is commentary; go learn it.
Zoroastrianism—Human nature is good only when it does not do unto another whatever is not good for its own self.
Buddhism—Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.
Confucianism—Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself.
Islam—No one of you is a believer until you desire for another that which you desire for yourself.
Bahai’I—Ascribe not to any soul that which thou wouldst not have ascribed to thee, and say not that which thou doest not. This is my command unto thee, do thou observe it.
(On Machiavellianism, p.150)
Unsurprisingly, Machiavelli was a proponent of the death penalty, because it was in the best interest of the prince to be seen as severe rather than merciful. In other words, he agreed with the cynic who said, “Capital punishment means never having to say, ‘You again?’”