Tuesday, May 22, 2007

What would Socrates buy?

Yesterday's Motley Fool featured a cool post, What Would Socrates Buy?, evangelizing the great thinker and hypothecating his investment portfolio. A quick excerpt:

Around 400 B.C., he would plant himself on a street corner in Athens, pose to passers-by a difficult question like "What is courage?" and then challenge anyone to provide an accurate answer.

If someone claimed that courage is the capacity to endure, Socrates might counter: "But what about obstinacy? An obstinate person has an incredible capacity to endure, but does that person have courage?" Socrates could invariably raise objections that would cause the other person to retract or at least qualify his or her answer.

There were no cut-and-dried answers to Socrates' questions. The point was to demonstrate that most people "think" they know things but haven't really thought them through carefully enough. He wanted to illustrate that everything must be open to question, and that the process of questioning, during which we would continuously refine our answers, is the path to discovering a form of the truth.
Reminds me of two recent posts: Problem solver, or problem finder? and, sarcastically, Water cooler chat with the geniuses.

Enough navel gazing; back to the Fool. What would the moral master look for?
I propose that Socrates would probably look for companies that provide products or services that are truly useful to society. He would seek out growth, as evidence of constant questioning and finding better ways to do things.
And, the author posits that Socrates' portfolio would include Apple. Smart guy.


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