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'Clear Thinking' Is a Little Cloudy

August 24, 1990

Vlastos, in praising Socrates' clear thinking, does a most un-Socratic thing when he takes on the abortion issue as an example of fuzzy thinking. He asserts that personhood for the newly conceived human is "simply absurd," yet he offers no logical argument to support his claim. He does the same when calls Ronald Reagan a joker, as if name-calling were an argument. Socrates might well have challenged him, "Here's a new kind of refutation: when a statement is made, all one has to do is laugh it down without argument. (Gorgias, 473)."

It looks to me as if Vlastos is determined to condemn the modern age, and is trying to recruit Socrates to help him do it. Vlastos' reputation lends credibility to his claims, but this article about him offers no examples of clear thinking for us to evaluate before we accept his prescription for modern secular morality.

C. JORDAN VAUSE

Santa Barbara

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