Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Hot Weather

MelbournePhilosopher

It's hot. Damn hot. It's so hot, I saw a little man in a red suit burst into flames. Thus, the sticky inspiration for this posting. What, if anything, could philosophy possibly have to say about hot weather? The closest thing I could find was a quote by Billy Connoly regarding bad weather.

"There's no such thing as bad weather....only the wrong clothes. Get yourself a sexy raincoat and live a little!"

Unfortunately, a sexy raincoat is not of much use in the sweltering heat, unless it is to keep everything else from getting wet while you drip.

The closest thing to a philosophical standpoint on the issue comes from the ancient greeks, who look to nature for their definition of the good. This, in modern parlance, is called ethical naturalism. However in their day, the definition of the good included not only ethics, but well-being. As a natural occurrence, they might consider hot weather to be a good thing. However, weather in general is natural, and so hot weather has nothing to distinguish itself on this count. We must look further into there ideas before we find that both hot and cold weather are considered to be less than temperate climates. The concept of temperance was dear to Plato, who held that everything should exist in relation to the rest of the world in harmony, justly submitting to the rule of the better and the control of reason. Aristotle, his student, later used this when talking of his doctrine of the mean. Like me, he clearly preferred to enjoy life in a state of happy moderation.

-MP

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