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TED , Wisecrack , Addison Anderson , John R. Dilworth , Alex Gendler , Mathias Richard Horhager , Conor Neill , Pilar Newton , Alec Opperman , Jason Permenter , Asparuh Petrov , Massimo Pigliucci , Saschka Unseld , Rebecca Whipple Silverstein , Mia Wood

TED-Ed Lessons Worth Sharing, Series The Big Questions: What Aristotle and Joshua Bell Can Teach Us about Persuasion / Plato's Allegory of the Cave / Plato's Best (and Worst) Ideas /The Philosophy of Stoicism /

YEAR: 2013

COUNTRY: Online

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Title of the work

TED-Ed Lessons Worth Sharing, Series The Big Questions: What Aristotle and Joshua Bell Can Teach Us about Persuasion / Plato's Allegory of the Cave / Plato's Best (and Worst) Ideas /The Philosophy of Stoicism /

Country of the First Edition

Country/countries of popularity

Worldwide

Original Language

English

First Edition Date

2013

First Edition Details

What Aristotle and Joshua Bell Can Teach Us about Persuasion. Conor Neill, Educator, Jason Permenter, Rebecca Whipple Silverstein, Saschka Unseld, Artists. TED-Ed Lessons Worth Sharing, Series The Big Questions [1]. ed.ted.com, January 14, 2013, 4 :39 (accessed: August 20, 2018).

Plato's Allegory of the Cave. Alex Gendler, Educator, John R. Dilworth, Director, Pilar Newton, Animator, William Hohauser, Sound Designer, Addison Anderson, Script Editor, Ted-Ed Lessons Worth Sharing, Series The Big Questions [2]. ed.ted.com, March 17, 2015, 4:32 (accessed: August 20, 2018).

Plato's Best (and Worst) Ideas. Wisecrack, Educator, Alec Opperman, Mia Wood, Collaborators, M.R. Horhager, Director, Producer, Storyboard Artist, Aaron Hong, Designer, Senior Animator, Raymond Lefebvre, Animator, Sam Thomson, Editor, Weston Fonger, Sound Designer, TED-Ed Lessons Worth Sharing, Series The Big Questions [3]. ed.ted.com, October 25, 2016, 4 min 48 (accessed: August 20, 2018).

The Philosophy of Stoicism. Massimo Pigliucci, Educator, Asparuh Petrov, Director, Producer, Animator, Designer, Illustrator, Alex Gendler, Script Editor, Vessela Dantcheva, Producer, Ivasio Stefanov, Alexander Daniel, Alexander Evtimov (Big Banda Soundscapers), Composers, Sound Designers, TED-Ed Lessons Worth Sharing, Series The Big Questions [4]. ed.ted.com, June 19, 2017, 5 min 29 (accessed: August 20, 2018).

Running time

4 min 39 sec / 4 min 32 sec / 4 min 48 sec / 5 min 29 sec

Official Website

What Aristotle and Joshua Bell Can Teach Us About Persuasion? (accessed: August 20, 2018): 

Plato's Allegory of the Cave (accessed: August 20, 2018);

Plato's Best (and Worst) Ideas (accessed: August 20, 2018);

The Philosophy of Stoicism (accessed: August 20, 2018).

Available Onllne

What Aristotle and Joshua Bell Can Teach Us About Persuasion? (accessed: August 20, 2018): 

Plato's Allegory of the Cave (accessed: August 20, 2018);

Plato's Best (and Worst) Ideas (accessed: August 20, 2018);

The Philosophy of Stoicism (accessed: August 20, 2018).

Genre

Animated films
Instructional and educational work
Internet videos
Short films

Cover

Missing cover

We are still trying to obtain permission for posting the original cover.


Author of the Entry:

Joanna Kłos, University of Warsaw, joanna.klos@al.uw.edu.pl

Peer-reviewer of the Entry:

Elzbieta Olechowska, University of Warsaw elzbieta.olechowska@gmail.com

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TED (Company)

TED: Technology, Entertainment, Design (accessed: July 6, 2018) is a media organization focused on “ideas worth spreading”, which organizes conferences and creates online talks for free distribution. One of its initiatives is TED-Ed (ed.ted.com), an online platform hosting short interactive lessons. Each lesson consists of four sections: 

Watch – animated educational video (available also on YouTube);

Think – a short quiz about the video’s content;

Dig Deeper – a concise text on where to search for more information on the topic (providing mainly hyperlinks to educational websites rather than “traditional” bibliographical references);

Discuss – a forum with two types of discussions: Guided (i.e. created by the educators), and Free (i.e. created by the viewers). 


Prepared by Joanna Kłos, University of Warsaw, joanna.klos@student.uw.edu.pl


Male portrait

Wisecrack (Production Company)

Wisecrack (accessed: July 5, 2018) is a Los Angeles-based collective of academics, comedians and artists – they create YouTube shows where famous books, films, philosophical works and concepts are commented in an amusing way, with the use of narrative means that are untypical for “higher” knowledge, such as old computer games’ visual manner or hip-hop discourse. The main target of Wisecrack’s content are young adults and people interested in popular culture. The collective’s members often underline that their films are enthusiastically used by teachers and admired by students. This relates especially to Wisecrack’s oldest and most popular series – Thug Notes – where classical literary pieces are interpreted by a character called Sparky Sweets PhD. Played by the African American comedian Greg Edwards, Sparky uses non-academic language, largely inspired by African American Vernacular English, hip-hop culture, colloquial phrases and obscenities. 

Sparky speaks to the audience from a study room with elegant armchairs, a vintage lamp and shelves full of books. In contrast, his typical outfit consists of a hoodie/T-shirts, sneakers, and a golden chain. Occasionally, he adds some props relating to the literary piece under discussion (e.g. a golden wreath while speaking of Julius Caesar, and a T-shirt with the word MOM framed in heart while speaking of Oedipus). His words are illustrated with animations presenting the main characters of the discussed books. 


Twitter profile (accessed: July 5, 2018).


Prepared by Joanna Kłos, University of Warsaw, joanna.klos@student.uw.edu.pl


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Addison Anderson (Actor)

Addison Anderson is an actor, voice actor, and writer; he graduated in extensive comedy improvisation training at Columbia University. His filmography includes Scene In (2008), The Refrigerator (2014), and Trivia Night (2015); also, his voice is the voice of narrator of numerous TED-Ed lessons.


Twitter profile (accessed: July 4, 2018).

Profile at the voices.com (accessed: July 4, 2018).


Bio prepared by Joanna Kłos, University of Warsaw, joanna.klos@student.uw.edu.pl


Male portrait

John R. Dilworth , b. 1963
(Animator, Director, Producer)

John R. Dilworth (1963- ) is an animator, director and producer. He graduated in 1985 from the School of Visual Arts in New York, and worked for advertising. In 1991 he founded the animation studio Stretch Films. In 1999–2002 Courage the Cowardly Dog, the Cartoon Network show created by Dilworth gained nominations for Golden Reel Award and Annie Award. Among others shows that Dilworth worked are: Sesame Street, Nickelodeon & Disney's Doug, and Random! Cartoons series. He also creates independent animations, such as Life in Transition (2005), and gives lectures on animation.


Bio at the Stretch Films Studio website (accessed: July 3, 2018).


Bio prepared by Joanna Kłos, University of Warsaw, joanna.klos@student.uw.edu.pl


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Alex Gendler (Scriptwriter)

Alex Gendler born in Kharkiv, Ukraine emigrated to the US as a child. He holds a BA (2007) in English and Philosophy from Lafayette College and an MA (2009) in interdisciplinary humanities from New York University; he is also interested in the internet culture and animal videos. He worked as translator for PBS News Hour and since 2013, he has been a freelance script writer and editor for TED-Ed and Ted Conferences.


LinkedIn profile (accessed: July 2, 2018)

Twitter profile (accessed: July 2, 2018)


Bio prepared by Joanna Kłos, University of Warsaw, joanna.klos@student.uw.edu.pl


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Mathias Richard Horhager (Director)

M.R. Horhager is a director and filmmaker from Toronto. His CV includes working as a storyboard artist, director, and layout artist. Since 2015 he works for Industrial Brothers, a company producing computer games and television shows for children that won numerous film awards – Horhager is a director of “Dot”, a series created for preschool children.


LinkedIn profile (accessed: July 2, 2018).

Twitter profile (accessed: July 2, 2018).


Bio prepared by Joanna Kłos, University of Warsaw, joanna.klos@student.uw.edu.pl 


Male portrait

Conor Neill

Conor Neill born in Dublin, now living in Barcelona, is a highly successful businessman and manager – he founded four companies, and his greatest venture is an air taxi operator Taxijet. Neill is President of Vistage Spain, an advisory and coaching organization for CEOs and business owners. Apart from that, he is very actively involved in teaching. Neill graduated in Psychology and Artificial Intelligence (1994) in Nottingham and holds an MBA (2004) from IESE Business School in Spain – since 2005 he also works there as a Professor in Managerial Communication. Connor's main topic of teaching is Leadership Communication; he creates articles, online publications, videos and speeches about – as he calls it – Moving People to Action (many of them are accessible at his blog, accessed: June 26, 2018).


Official website (accessed: June 26, 2018).

LinkedIn profile (accessed: June 26, 2018).

Twitter profile (accessed: June 26, 2018).

 

Bio prepared by Joanna Kłos, University of Warsaw, joanna.klos@student.uw.edu.pl


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Pilar Newton (Animator)

Pilar Newton is animator artist and director of PilarToons LLC Studio. She graduated in 1995 from Rhode Island School of Design, and then worked for, among others, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network and MTV. Also, she directed more than 100 episodes of Kabbalatoons, animated series created for Chabad.org, the website of the Hasidic movement Chabad-Lubavitch. She also provides classes and workshops about animation for schools.


Sources:

LinkedIn profile (accessed: June 26, 2018).

Twitter profile (accessed: June 26, 2018).

PilarToons LLC Studio website (accessed: June 26, 2018).

Daniels, Norbert Jr. (Host), Katz Newton, Pilar (Interview Guest), Interview with Pillar Newton-Katz, Saturday Morning Block Party, December 11, 2014, available here (accessed: June 26, 2018).


Bio prepared by Joanna Kłos, University of Warsaw, joanna.klos@student.uw.edu.pl 


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Alec Opperman (Author)

Alec Opperman is a writer who lives in New York’s Brooklyn. Since 2013 he was freelancing as a digital strategist and writer, and since 2016 he works as a Senior Content Editor at Wisecrack (see in Creators), writing and editing company’s shows and books. All the videos that he prepared for Wisecrack can be watched at his website (accessed: May 24, 2018).


LinkedIn profile (accessed: May 24, 2018).


Bio prepared by Joanna Kłos, University of Warsaw, joanna.klos@student.uw.edu.pl


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Jason Permenter

Jason Permenter holds an MA in Geology (Indiana State University) and PhD in Volcanology (University of Cambridge); after working as Visiting Assistant Professor in Charleston he started a career in digital design. He was a designer and creative director for different agencies, such as, recently: Big Spaceship, Cake & Arrow, Carbone Smolan. As for now, since February 2017, he works for Fantasy in New York. His portfolio includes also logos, brand identities and animations.


Official website (accessed: June 26, 2018).

LinkedIn profile (accessed: June 26, 2018).

Twitter profile (accessed: June 26, 2018).


Bio prepared by Joanna Kłos, University of Warsaw, joanna.klos@student.uw.edu.pl 


Male portrait

Asparuh Petrov , b. 1981

Asparuh Petrov (1981- ), born in Pleven, Bulgaria, graduated from the High School of Applied Arts in Trojan, and worked for Bulgarian TV stations. Currently he is a freelancer cartoonist, with at least 7 titles in his filmography, and works for animation production company Compote based in Sofia. His Father (2012) was promoted at an internationally recognized Short of The Week platform.


Asparuh Petrov’s Father at Short of the Week (accessed: June 26, 2018).

Instagram profile (accessed: June 26, 2018).

Profile at Compote Collective (accessed: June 26, 2018).


Bio prepared by Joanna Kłos, University of Warsaw, joanna.klos@student.uw.edu.pl


Male portrait

Massimo Pigliucci , b. 1964

Massimo Pigliucci (1964- ) is an Italian scientist and philosopher, who considers philosophy of biology, evolution theory, and relationships between philosophy and science, as well as between philosophy and religion his main fields of study. His academic CV includes so far as much as 3 PhD titles (in genetics, botany, and philosophy of science), teaching at several universities both in Italy and USA, 10 awards, more than 10 books and 60 papers. Pigliucci publishes in such periodicals as, among others, Skeptical Inquirer, The Philosopher’s Magazine Online, and Philosophy Now, he is also extremely active as an online educator. In 2000–2014 he was engaged in a project Rationally Speaking, which at first included a monthly Internet column, later a blog and a podcast (cohosted with philosopher Julia Galef); currently, he runs a website Footnote to Plato and How to Be a Stoic blog. The last one is also the title of his recent book, published by Basic Books New York in 2017.


C.V. (accessed: January 4, 2018).

How to Be a Stoic blog (accessed: May 24, 2018).

Rationally Speaking blog (accessed: May 24, 2018).

Twitter profile (accessed: May 24, 2018).

Official website (accessed: May 24, 2018).


Bio prepared by Joanna Kłos, University of Warsaw, joanna.klos@student.uw.edu.pl


Male portrait

Saschka Unseld (Artist, Author, Director)

Saschka Unseld (1976- ), born in Germany, is a director, animation artist and layout writer. He directed numerous animated and feature shorts as well as music videos, some of them for world-famous studio Pixar which he joined in 2008. One of his best known productions is The Blue Umbrella (premiered on February 12, 2013), a short showing a city, its objects and inhabitants affected by a rainstorm – it presents the newest achievements of animation art. Unseld worked also on cinematic titles, such as Toy Story 3 (2010) or The Good Dinosaur (2015). He was the founder of a virtual reality film studio Oculus Story, closed in May 2017.


Sources:

Biography (accessed: May 30, 2018).

Official website (accessed: May 30, 2018).

Rosen, Christopher, “How Saschka Unseld Made 'The Blue Umbrella' For Pixar”, Huffington Post (October 10, 2013), accessed: May 30, 2018.


Bio prepared by Joanna Kłos, University of Warsaw, joanna.klos@student.uw.edu.pl 


Female portrait

Rebecca Whipple Silverstein (Artist)

Rebecca Whipple Silverstein is a young artist who graduated in Painting from the San Francisco Art Institute (2006). On her website one can find a notable portfolio of drawings, paintings and animations. She is also a sculptor and her works have been presented on international exhibitions. 


Instagram profile (accessed: May 29, 2018).

Official website (accessed: May 29, 2018).


Bio prepared by Joanna Kłos, University of Warsaw, joanna.klos@student.uw.edu.pl


Female portrait

Mia Wood

Mia Wood graduated and holds a PhD in Philosophy from University of South Carolina. Since 2007 she is an Associate Professor at Pierce College in Woodland Hills, CA, and since 2016 a Lecturer at the University of Rhode Island. Her main interests are those contemporary problems that can be specifically analyzed with the help of philosophy, such as death penalty or valuing higher education. What is more, she works as a ghostwriter of non-fiction literature; and as the Academic Advisor and author of Wisecrack’s YouTube show 8-Bit Philosophy.


LinkedIn profile (accessed: May 24, 2018).

Official website (accessed: May 24, 2018).


Bio prepared by Joanna Kłos, University of Warsaw, joanna.klos@student.uw.edu.pl


Summary

What Aristotle and Joshua Bell Can Teach Us about Persuasion?

The video's first scene presents a concert of a world famous violinist Joshua Bell at Boston Symphony Hall on January 9, 2007. We are told that Bell at this time was “at peak of his abilities”; then he is shown standing and playing at the top of a sky-reaching mountain among clouds, which can bring to mind Parnassus. But soon the mountain disappears, Bell falls down and suddenly we see him performing on a subway platform, where hardly any passengers show interest in his music. 

Afterwards, Bell confesses at a therapist's couch that it was strange to feel how people ignored him. This leads the narrator to a question: “What changed?”, i.e. how come equally good music could have been appreciated at one time, and ignored at another. It turns out that the therapist is “Dr. Aristotle”, a bearded man with an ancient philosopher's appearance, who is sitting by the desk wearing contemporary clothes. In the following scene, Aristotle's Rhetoric – called “the single most important work on persuasion” – and his 3 means of persuasion are introduced. Logos is described as the idea which has to make sense, be logical for the audience; ethos as the performer's characteristics that consist of reputation, credibility, trustworthiness, and authority; pathos as the emotional connection with the audience, which can be gained by telling stories and creating the right moment for expression. We find out what didn't work with Bell's subway performance: it was missing ethos and pathos. The concert hall's case as an institution guarantees that the musician is skillful, and as a location is designed to connect the performer and the audience; meanwhile the subway station does not create such environment. Next, comes the final conclusion: “Logos, ethos, pathos – the idea is nothing without the rest”.

The section “Think” contains 8 questions; “Dig Deeper” provides a short description of both main characters of the video: Aristotle and Joshua Bell, and links to websites about them, as well as to the Aristotle's Rhetoric edition available online; there is no section “Discuss”. 

Till September 17, 2017 the video has been viewed 316621 times; it gained more than 3000 “thumbs up” and 171 comments on Youtube. 


Plato's Allegory of the Cave

At first, the narrator presents a bunch of things that people tend to compare to the reality they live in: a journey, a war, a book, a game, and a few others. Next, we find out that Plato also used metaphor in expressing his most important statements. In his opinion life could be compared to the situation of prisoners locked in a cave and forced to watch the shadows of the objects moving outside. 

This thought comes from the 7th book of Plato's Republic, a treatise devoted to his concept of perfect society. In the following scenes the allegory is presented in details: prisoners are forced to live in a cavern since birth; they can't move their heads; they don't know the world beyond, but only perceive its shadows and echoes and think of those illusions as of reality. When one of them enters the world outside, at first he is shocked, but then adjusts to new conditions, and is even able too look at the sun. Yet, when he returns to the cave and suffers because of its darkness, others suppose that it was the external world that made him weak, hence they refuse to be released. In such way Plato perceived the situation of a philosopher in the society: the rejection of a wise individual by ignorant masses. This, we are told, is what happened to Socrates, condemned to death by Athenians, and it was one of the reasons why Plato despised democracy and developed a concept of the “philosopher-kings” for his perfect Republic. 

But the allegory is not only connected to politics – it also serves as a base to Platonic theory of forms, according to which objects in physical world are reflections of perfect forms. This theory is inspiring for theologians – as it deals with the concept of who created the world; for linguists – because it deals with the problem of assigning objects to terms; and in general, for people still pondering what in fact we can call 'real’. This leads the narrator to another question: “Can we be confident in what we think we know?” He encourages the audience to consider that one day some new information can turn their basic assumptions about the world upside down. The challenge of choice: “Truth or habit? Light or shadow?” may seem hard, yet lots of people have to face it.

The section “Think” contains 8 questions; “Dig Deeper” contains a text with links to the Plato's texts online, secondary literature on his philosophy, and visual representations of the Cave; the section “Discuss” contains 23 open discussions and 1 guided discussion: “What conclusions do you draw from the allegory? If people have developed a way of understanding the world that makes them comfortable, does it matter if it's false? Is there some higher moral duty to expose them to the truth regardless of their own preferences?” with 2 responses so far. 

Till September 17, 2017 the video has been viewed 1860290 times; it gained more than 23000 “thumbs up” and 1051 comments on YouTube. 


Plato's Best (and Worst) Ideas

The video starts with a statement that few men in the world were as influential as Plato; a famous bon-mot about whole Western philosophy being a series of footnotes to Plato is also cited*. According to the video's creators, Plato established the first university and his students were great philosophers, but he wasn't faultless. They present a scale with two plates – on one Plato's great ideas are enumerated, on the other – those that have become outdated. Next follow, what the narrator calls, “brief rundowns of a few of best and worst ideas” of Plato. 

We are informed about Plato's concept of the world of unchanging and ideal forms, and of our reality being a set of imperfect copies of those forms; also about his opinion that philosopher's task is to try to investigate those perfect forms in order to influence our reality. This issue is commented as one of the most “vexing problems” of philosophy, forcing people to choose between senses and reason. Plato preferred reason, but his reason wasn't inerrant – e.g., he was sure that people are “featherless bipeds”, creatures similar to birds, and this provoked Diogenes of Sinope to deride Plato, when he entered the Academy with a plucked chicken. 

Next, Plato is referred to as one of the founders of political science. In his opinion ruling was a craft, and people could become masters in it. In Republic he created a utopia focused on the concept of justice, governed by philosopher-kings. Women were also able to learn to rule – which the narrator presents as one of Plato's good ideas, but then he points out that elsewhere Plato compared women to children and believed in the “wandering womb” myth. Other concept worth criticizing is that Plato divided society in three groups: the producers, the military, the rulers; and in order to maintain that order he proposed a “noble lie” that people are born either with gold, silver, brass or iron in their souls, and this should determine their position in society. This concept can be perceived as an inspiration for totalitarian propaganda, “philosopher-king” could have inspired dictators. 

From summing up conclusions we find out that in spite of his bad ideas Plato still is one of the greatest thinkers, because he gave people from the following centuries “a place to start”. His concepts were and still are constantly reconsidered; and the modern world is founded on them. 

The section “Think” contains 8 questions; “Dig Deeper” contains a few paragraphs with links to educational resources, mostly videos on Plato, and online editions of his Republic and Phaedo; the section “Discuss” contains 2 open discussions and 1 guided discussion: “What connections do you see between Plato’s version of the ideal society and our own? If you don’t see any connections, what do you think accounts for this?” with 18 responses so far.     

Till September 17, 2017 the video has been viewed 1157395 times; it gained more than 18000 “thumbs up” and 1197 comments on YouTube. 


The Philosophy of Stoicism

The narrator presents an ancient Greek man who found himself far away from home with no money. We are told that in his situation many people would probably despair, but he didn't – as the man is Zeno of Cyprus, the founder of the Stoic philosophical school. The story is told of how Zeno lost his property and decided to stay in Athens, studied philosophy there, and established his own school; the name of Stoa Poikile is also mentioned. 

Next, the narrator explains that despite today “a stoic” is defined rather simply: as a calm, non-emotional person, originally stoicism was a very complex philosophical system. He enumerates some of main stoic tenets: logos as a structure of the universe, the importance of one's ability to control the reactions to events; 4 cardinal virtues: practical wisdom, temperance, justice, and courage – here Seneca's statement that sometimes to live is an act of courage is cited, as well as his opinion on how to treat slaves. After that the emperor Marcus Aurelius, who found stoicism helpful in the hardest times of his own political and private life, is presented. Then we find out that many centuries later Aurelius' stoic deliberations were of great help to another politician, Nelson Mandela, during his stay in jail – this serves as an example of how rich is reception of stoicism after antiquity. Another examples follow: Thomas Aquinus' thoughts on stoic virtues; the closeness of the concepts of atharaxia and Buddhist nirvana; Epictetus' thought that suffering is connected to our judgement of events and use of that belief in modern psychological therapies. 

The section “Think” contains 8 questions; “Dig Deeper” links mostly to some modern comments on stoicism, and to the historical sources' editions; “Discuss” contains 2 open discussion and one guided discussion: “The Stoics thought that what they called eudaimonia, the life worth living, doesn't have much to do with what many people today think is a feeling of happiness. Why would there be a difference? What does it mean to be happy?” with 10 answers so far.

Till September 17, 2017 the video has been viewed 1160741 times; it gained more than 48000 “thumbs up” and 987 comments on YouTube.



* Alfred North Whitehead, Process and Reality. An Essay in Cosmology. New York: Macmillan, Cambridge: CUP, 1929.

Analysis

The videos serve as a didactic tool, which make young people learn basic information about ancient culture and about Greek & Roman roots of modern concepts and philosophical inquiries, but also – reflect on the conclusions while interacting with the material's providers through discussions and YouTube comments. This helps to preserve the classical world as a vivid and important topic for contemporary educational discourse.

Undoubtedly the scope of all videos is to prove the relevance of ancient thought for our lives. This scope is realized in at least three ways: 

* with examples of people that we can admire in predicaments that we know from our daily experience (as Joshua Bell with his embarrassing public performance) and of people that encounter problems we can easily imagine (as Zeno of Cyprus and his loss of property);

* with the reference to frequent situations of antagonism between an individual and a group, reciprocal misunderstanding and inefficient persuasion, confusion between illusion and reality (which was the case of Plato's characters in his cave story);

* with indicating persons from all over the world whose output in global history wouldn't be the same without their use of ancient philosophers' legacy (such as Thomas Aquinas or Nelson Mandela, but also – dictators).

At the same time, the philosophers are presented as sources of inspiration, but by no means as unquestionable authorities or saints. They can be criticized when their concepts turn out to have harmful results, as in the case of the of Plato's reception by totalitarian ideologists; or laughed at when they seem to speak nonsense, as in the case of Diogenes provoking Plato with a plucked chicken. 

 It is worth underlining that philosophy is presented by TED-Ed educators as relevant and commonly achieveable, not prestigious. They encourage the audience to learn about ancient thought in order to work on their characters, develop their worldview, look at problems from a critical distance. But they never suggest that a person educated in philosophy is somehow 'morally superior' or 'more cultural' than others. Philosophy, even if helpful for famous people in their accomplishments, is not only for elites nor should it serve to identify the elites' members.


Further Reading

Miller, Bob. “The Triumphant Independent”. AWN.com, November 1, 1999 (accessed: August 20, 2018).

Pigliucci, Massimo. How to Be a Stoic. Using Ancient Philosophy to Live a Modern Life. New York: Basic Books, 2017.

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Title of the work

TED-Ed Lessons Worth Sharing, Series The Big Questions: What Aristotle and Joshua Bell Can Teach Us about Persuasion / Plato's Allegory of the Cave / Plato's Best (and Worst) Ideas /The Philosophy of Stoicism /

Country of the First Edition

Country/countries of popularity

Worldwide

Original Language

English

First Edition Date

2013

First Edition Details

What Aristotle and Joshua Bell Can Teach Us about Persuasion. Conor Neill, Educator, Jason Permenter, Rebecca Whipple Silverstein, Saschka Unseld, Artists. TED-Ed Lessons Worth Sharing, Series The Big Questions [1]. ed.ted.com, January 14, 2013, 4 :39 (accessed: August 20, 2018).

Plato's Allegory of the Cave. Alex Gendler, Educator, John R. Dilworth, Director, Pilar Newton, Animator, William Hohauser, Sound Designer, Addison Anderson, Script Editor, Ted-Ed Lessons Worth Sharing, Series The Big Questions [2]. ed.ted.com, March 17, 2015, 4:32 (accessed: August 20, 2018).

Plato's Best (and Worst) Ideas. Wisecrack, Educator, Alec Opperman, Mia Wood, Collaborators, M.R. Horhager, Director, Producer, Storyboard Artist, Aaron Hong, Designer, Senior Animator, Raymond Lefebvre, Animator, Sam Thomson, Editor, Weston Fonger, Sound Designer, TED-Ed Lessons Worth Sharing, Series The Big Questions [3]. ed.ted.com, October 25, 2016, 4 min 48 (accessed: August 20, 2018).

The Philosophy of Stoicism. Massimo Pigliucci, Educator, Asparuh Petrov, Director, Producer, Animator, Designer, Illustrator, Alex Gendler, Script Editor, Vessela Dantcheva, Producer, Ivasio Stefanov, Alexander Daniel, Alexander Evtimov (Big Banda Soundscapers), Composers, Sound Designers, TED-Ed Lessons Worth Sharing, Series The Big Questions [4]. ed.ted.com, June 19, 2017, 5 min 29 (accessed: August 20, 2018).

Running time

4 min 39 sec / 4 min 32 sec / 4 min 48 sec / 5 min 29 sec

Official Website

What Aristotle and Joshua Bell Can Teach Us About Persuasion? (accessed: August 20, 2018): 

Plato's Allegory of the Cave (accessed: August 20, 2018);

Plato's Best (and Worst) Ideas (accessed: August 20, 2018);

The Philosophy of Stoicism (accessed: August 20, 2018).

Available Onllne

What Aristotle and Joshua Bell Can Teach Us About Persuasion? (accessed: August 20, 2018): 

Plato's Allegory of the Cave (accessed: August 20, 2018);

Plato's Best (and Worst) Ideas (accessed: August 20, 2018);

The Philosophy of Stoicism (accessed: August 20, 2018).

Genre

Animated films
Instructional and educational work
Internet videos
Short films

Cover

Missing cover

We are still trying to obtain permission for posting the original cover.


Author of the Entry:

Joanna Kłos, University of Warsaw, joanna.klos@al.uw.edu.pl

Peer-reviewer of the Entry:

Elzbieta Olechowska, University of Warsaw elzbieta.olechowska@gmail.com

Male portrait

TED (Company)

TED: Technology, Entertainment, Design (accessed: July 6, 2018) is a media organization focused on “ideas worth spreading”, which organizes conferences and creates online talks for free distribution. One of its initiatives is TED-Ed (ed.ted.com), an online platform hosting short interactive lessons. Each lesson consists of four sections: 

Watch – animated educational video (available also on YouTube);

Think – a short quiz about the video’s content;

Dig Deeper – a concise text on where to search for more information on the topic (providing mainly hyperlinks to educational websites rather than “traditional” bibliographical references);

Discuss – a forum with two types of discussions: Guided (i.e. created by the educators), and Free (i.e. created by the viewers). 


Prepared by Joanna Kłos, University of Warsaw, joanna.klos@student.uw.edu.pl


Male portrait

Wisecrack (Production Company)

Wisecrack (accessed: July 5, 2018) is a Los Angeles-based collective of academics, comedians and artists – they create YouTube shows where famous books, films, philosophical works and concepts are commented in an amusing way, with the use of narrative means that are untypical for “higher” knowledge, such as old computer games’ visual manner or hip-hop discourse. The main target of Wisecrack’s content are young adults and people interested in popular culture. The collective’s members often underline that their films are enthusiastically used by teachers and admired by students. This relates especially to Wisecrack’s oldest and most popular series – Thug Notes – where classical literary pieces are interpreted by a character called Sparky Sweets PhD. Played by the African American comedian Greg Edwards, Sparky uses non-academic language, largely inspired by African American Vernacular English, hip-hop culture, colloquial phrases and obscenities. 

Sparky speaks to the audience from a study room with elegant armchairs, a vintage lamp and shelves full of books. In contrast, his typical outfit consists of a hoodie/T-shirts, sneakers, and a golden chain. Occasionally, he adds some props relating to the literary piece under discussion (e.g. a golden wreath while speaking of Julius Caesar, and a T-shirt with the word MOM framed in heart while speaking of Oedipus). His words are illustrated with animations presenting the main characters of the discussed books. 


Twitter profile (accessed: July 5, 2018).


Prepared by Joanna Kłos, University of Warsaw, joanna.klos@student.uw.edu.pl


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Addison Anderson (Actor)

Addison Anderson is an actor, voice actor, and writer; he graduated in extensive comedy improvisation training at Columbia University. His filmography includes Scene In (2008), The Refrigerator (2014), and Trivia Night (2015); also, his voice is the voice of narrator of numerous TED-Ed lessons.


Twitter profile (accessed: July 4, 2018).

Profile at the voices.com (accessed: July 4, 2018).


Bio prepared by Joanna Kłos, University of Warsaw, joanna.klos@student.uw.edu.pl


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John R. Dilworth (Animator, Director, Producer)

John R. Dilworth (1963- ) is an animator, director and producer. He graduated in 1985 from the School of Visual Arts in New York, and worked for advertising. In 1991 he founded the animation studio Stretch Films. In 1999–2002 Courage the Cowardly Dog, the Cartoon Network show created by Dilworth gained nominations for Golden Reel Award and Annie Award. Among others shows that Dilworth worked are: Sesame Street, Nickelodeon & Disney's Doug, and Random! Cartoons series. He also creates independent animations, such as Life in Transition (2005), and gives lectures on animation.


Bio at the Stretch Films Studio website (accessed: July 3, 2018).


Bio prepared by Joanna Kłos, University of Warsaw, joanna.klos@student.uw.edu.pl


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Alex Gendler (Scriptwriter)

Alex Gendler born in Kharkiv, Ukraine emigrated to the US as a child. He holds a BA (2007) in English and Philosophy from Lafayette College and an MA (2009) in interdisciplinary humanities from New York University; he is also interested in the internet culture and animal videos. He worked as translator for PBS News Hour and since 2013, he has been a freelance script writer and editor for TED-Ed and Ted Conferences.


LinkedIn profile (accessed: July 2, 2018)

Twitter profile (accessed: July 2, 2018)


Bio prepared by Joanna Kłos, University of Warsaw, joanna.klos@student.uw.edu.pl


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Mathias Richard Horhager (Director)

M.R. Horhager is a director and filmmaker from Toronto. His CV includes working as a storyboard artist, director, and layout artist. Since 2015 he works for Industrial Brothers, a company producing computer games and television shows for children that won numerous film awards – Horhager is a director of “Dot”, a series created for preschool children.


LinkedIn profile (accessed: July 2, 2018).

Twitter profile (accessed: July 2, 2018).


Bio prepared by Joanna Kłos, University of Warsaw, joanna.klos@student.uw.edu.pl 


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Conor Neill

Conor Neill born in Dublin, now living in Barcelona, is a highly successful businessman and manager – he founded four companies, and his greatest venture is an air taxi operator Taxijet. Neill is President of Vistage Spain, an advisory and coaching organization for CEOs and business owners. Apart from that, he is very actively involved in teaching. Neill graduated in Psychology and Artificial Intelligence (1994) in Nottingham and holds an MBA (2004) from IESE Business School in Spain – since 2005 he also works there as a Professor in Managerial Communication. Connor's main topic of teaching is Leadership Communication; he creates articles, online publications, videos and speeches about – as he calls it – Moving People to Action (many of them are accessible at his blog, accessed: June 26, 2018).


Official website (accessed: June 26, 2018).

LinkedIn profile (accessed: June 26, 2018).

Twitter profile (accessed: June 26, 2018).

 

Bio prepared by Joanna Kłos, University of Warsaw, joanna.klos@student.uw.edu.pl


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Pilar Newton (Animator)

Pilar Newton is animator artist and director of PilarToons LLC Studio. She graduated in 1995 from Rhode Island School of Design, and then worked for, among others, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network and MTV. Also, she directed more than 100 episodes of Kabbalatoons, animated series created for Chabad.org, the website of the Hasidic movement Chabad-Lubavitch. She also provides classes and workshops about animation for schools.


Sources:

LinkedIn profile (accessed: June 26, 2018).

Twitter profile (accessed: June 26, 2018).

PilarToons LLC Studio website (accessed: June 26, 2018).

Daniels, Norbert Jr. (Host), Katz Newton, Pilar (Interview Guest), Interview with Pillar Newton-Katz, Saturday Morning Block Party, December 11, 2014, available here (accessed: June 26, 2018).


Bio prepared by Joanna Kłos, University of Warsaw, joanna.klos@student.uw.edu.pl 


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Alec Opperman (Author)

Alec Opperman is a writer who lives in New York’s Brooklyn. Since 2013 he was freelancing as a digital strategist and writer, and since 2016 he works as a Senior Content Editor at Wisecrack (see in Creators), writing and editing company’s shows and books. All the videos that he prepared for Wisecrack can be watched at his website (accessed: May 24, 2018).


LinkedIn profile (accessed: May 24, 2018).


Bio prepared by Joanna Kłos, University of Warsaw, joanna.klos@student.uw.edu.pl


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Jason Permenter

Jason Permenter holds an MA in Geology (Indiana State University) and PhD in Volcanology (University of Cambridge); after working as Visiting Assistant Professor in Charleston he started a career in digital design. He was a designer and creative director for different agencies, such as, recently: Big Spaceship, Cake & Arrow, Carbone Smolan. As for now, since February 2017, he works for Fantasy in New York. His portfolio includes also logos, brand identities and animations.


Official website (accessed: June 26, 2018).

LinkedIn profile (accessed: June 26, 2018).

Twitter profile (accessed: June 26, 2018).


Bio prepared by Joanna Kłos, University of Warsaw, joanna.klos@student.uw.edu.pl 


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Asparuh Petrov

Asparuh Petrov (1981- ), born in Pleven, Bulgaria, graduated from the High School of Applied Arts in Trojan, and worked for Bulgarian TV stations. Currently he is a freelancer cartoonist, with at least 7 titles in his filmography, and works for animation production company Compote based in Sofia. His Father (2012) was promoted at an internationally recognized Short of The Week platform.


Asparuh Petrov’s Father at Short of the Week (accessed: June 26, 2018).

Instagram profile (accessed: June 26, 2018).

Profile at Compote Collective (accessed: June 26, 2018).


Bio prepared by Joanna Kłos, University of Warsaw, joanna.klos@student.uw.edu.pl


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Massimo Pigliucci

Massimo Pigliucci (1964- ) is an Italian scientist and philosopher, who considers philosophy of biology, evolution theory, and relationships between philosophy and science, as well as between philosophy and religion his main fields of study. His academic CV includes so far as much as 3 PhD titles (in genetics, botany, and philosophy of science), teaching at several universities both in Italy and USA, 10 awards, more than 10 books and 60 papers. Pigliucci publishes in such periodicals as, among others, Skeptical Inquirer, The Philosopher’s Magazine Online, and Philosophy Now, he is also extremely active as an online educator. In 2000–2014 he was engaged in a project Rationally Speaking, which at first included a monthly Internet column, later a blog and a podcast (cohosted with philosopher Julia Galef); currently, he runs a website Footnote to Plato and How to Be a Stoic blog. The last one is also the title of his recent book, published by Basic Books New York in 2017.


C.V. (accessed: January 4, 2018).

How to Be a Stoic blog (accessed: May 24, 2018).

Rationally Speaking blog (accessed: May 24, 2018).

Twitter profile (accessed: May 24, 2018).

Official website (accessed: May 24, 2018).


Bio prepared by Joanna Kłos, University of Warsaw, joanna.klos@student.uw.edu.pl


Male portrait

Saschka Unseld (Artist, Author, Director)

Saschka Unseld (1976- ), born in Germany, is a director, animation artist and layout writer. He directed numerous animated and feature shorts as well as music videos, some of them for world-famous studio Pixar which he joined in 2008. One of his best known productions is The Blue Umbrella (premiered on February 12, 2013), a short showing a city, its objects and inhabitants affected by a rainstorm – it presents the newest achievements of animation art. Unseld worked also on cinematic titles, such as Toy Story 3 (2010) or The Good Dinosaur (2015). He was the founder of a virtual reality film studio Oculus Story, closed in May 2017.


Sources:

Biography (accessed: May 30, 2018).

Official website (accessed: May 30, 2018).

Rosen, Christopher, “How Saschka Unseld Made 'The Blue Umbrella' For Pixar”, Huffington Post (October 10, 2013), accessed: May 30, 2018.


Bio prepared by Joanna Kłos, University of Warsaw, joanna.klos@student.uw.edu.pl 


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Rebecca Whipple Silverstein (Artist)

Rebecca Whipple Silverstein is a young artist who graduated in Painting from the San Francisco Art Institute (2006). On her website one can find a notable portfolio of drawings, paintings and animations. She is also a sculptor and her works have been presented on international exhibitions. 


Instagram profile (accessed: May 29, 2018).

Official website (accessed: May 29, 2018).


Bio prepared by Joanna Kłos, University of Warsaw, joanna.klos@student.uw.edu.pl


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Mia Wood

Mia Wood graduated and holds a PhD in Philosophy from University of South Carolina. Since 2007 she is an Associate Professor at Pierce College in Woodland Hills, CA, and since 2016 a Lecturer at the University of Rhode Island. Her main interests are those contemporary problems that can be specifically analyzed with the help of philosophy, such as death penalty or valuing higher education. What is more, she works as a ghostwriter of non-fiction literature; and as the Academic Advisor and author of Wisecrack’s YouTube show 8-Bit Philosophy.


LinkedIn profile (accessed: May 24, 2018).

Official website (accessed: May 24, 2018).


Bio prepared by Joanna Kłos, University of Warsaw, joanna.klos@student.uw.edu.pl


Summary

What Aristotle and Joshua Bell Can Teach Us about Persuasion?

The video's first scene presents a concert of a world famous violinist Joshua Bell at Boston Symphony Hall on January 9, 2007. We are told that Bell at this time was “at peak of his abilities”; then he is shown standing and playing at the top of a sky-reaching mountain among clouds, which can bring to mind Parnassus. But soon the mountain disappears, Bell falls down and suddenly we see him performing on a subway platform, where hardly any passengers show interest in his music. 

Afterwards, Bell confesses at a therapist's couch that it was strange to feel how people ignored him. This leads the narrator to a question: “What changed?”, i.e. how come equally good music could have been appreciated at one time, and ignored at another. It turns out that the therapist is “Dr. Aristotle”, a bearded man with an ancient philosopher's appearance, who is sitting by the desk wearing contemporary clothes. In the following scene, Aristotle's Rhetoric – called “the single most important work on persuasion” – and his 3 means of persuasion are introduced. Logos is described as the idea which has to make sense, be logical for the audience; ethos as the performer's characteristics that consist of reputation, credibility, trustworthiness, and authority; pathos as the emotional connection with the audience, which can be gained by telling stories and creating the right moment for expression. We find out what didn't work with Bell's subway performance: it was missing ethos and pathos. The concert hall's case as an institution guarantees that the musician is skillful, and as a location is designed to connect the performer and the audience; meanwhile the subway station does not create such environment. Next, comes the final conclusion: “Logos, ethos, pathos – the idea is nothing without the rest”.

The section “Think” contains 8 questions; “Dig Deeper” provides a short description of both main characters of the video: Aristotle and Joshua Bell, and links to websites about them, as well as to the Aristotle's Rhetoric edition available online; there is no section “Discuss”. 

Till September 17, 2017 the video has been viewed 316621 times; it gained more than 3000 “thumbs up” and 171 comments on Youtube. 


Plato's Allegory of the Cave

At first, the narrator presents a bunch of things that people tend to compare to the reality they live in: a journey, a war, a book, a game, and a few others. Next, we find out that Plato also used metaphor in expressing his most important statements. In his opinion life could be compared to the situation of prisoners locked in a cave and forced to watch the shadows of the objects moving outside. 

This thought comes from the 7th book of Plato's Republic, a treatise devoted to his concept of perfect society. In the following scenes the allegory is presented in details: prisoners are forced to live in a cavern since birth; they can't move their heads; they don't know the world beyond, but only perceive its shadows and echoes and think of those illusions as of reality. When one of them enters the world outside, at first he is shocked, but then adjusts to new conditions, and is even able too look at the sun. Yet, when he returns to the cave and suffers because of its darkness, others suppose that it was the external world that made him weak, hence they refuse to be released. In such way Plato perceived the situation of a philosopher in the society: the rejection of a wise individual by ignorant masses. This, we are told, is what happened to Socrates, condemned to death by Athenians, and it was one of the reasons why Plato despised democracy and developed a concept of the “philosopher-kings” for his perfect Republic. 

But the allegory is not only connected to politics – it also serves as a base to Platonic theory of forms, according to which objects in physical world are reflections of perfect forms. This theory is inspiring for theologians – as it deals with the concept of who created the world; for linguists – because it deals with the problem of assigning objects to terms; and in general, for people still pondering what in fact we can call 'real’. This leads the narrator to another question: “Can we be confident in what we think we know?” He encourages the audience to consider that one day some new information can turn their basic assumptions about the world upside down. The challenge of choice: “Truth or habit? Light or shadow?” may seem hard, yet lots of people have to face it.

The section “Think” contains 8 questions; “Dig Deeper” contains a text with links to the Plato's texts online, secondary literature on his philosophy, and visual representations of the Cave; the section “Discuss” contains 23 open discussions and 1 guided discussion: “What conclusions do you draw from the allegory? If people have developed a way of understanding the world that makes them comfortable, does it matter if it's false? Is there some higher moral duty to expose them to the truth regardless of their own preferences?” with 2 responses so far. 

Till September 17, 2017 the video has been viewed 1860290 times; it gained more than 23000 “thumbs up” and 1051 comments on YouTube. 


Plato's Best (and Worst) Ideas

The video starts with a statement that few men in the world were as influential as Plato; a famous bon-mot about whole Western philosophy being a series of footnotes to Plato is also cited*. According to the video's creators, Plato established the first university and his students were great philosophers, but he wasn't faultless. They present a scale with two plates – on one Plato's great ideas are enumerated, on the other – those that have become outdated. Next follow, what the narrator calls, “brief rundowns of a few of best and worst ideas” of Plato. 

We are informed about Plato's concept of the world of unchanging and ideal forms, and of our reality being a set of imperfect copies of those forms; also about his opinion that philosopher's task is to try to investigate those perfect forms in order to influence our reality. This issue is commented as one of the most “vexing problems” of philosophy, forcing people to choose between senses and reason. Plato preferred reason, but his reason wasn't inerrant – e.g., he was sure that people are “featherless bipeds”, creatures similar to birds, and this provoked Diogenes of Sinope to deride Plato, when he entered the Academy with a plucked chicken. 

Next, Plato is referred to as one of the founders of political science. In his opinion ruling was a craft, and people could become masters in it. In Republic he created a utopia focused on the concept of justice, governed by philosopher-kings. Women were also able to learn to rule – which the narrator presents as one of Plato's good ideas, but then he points out that elsewhere Plato compared women to children and believed in the “wandering womb” myth. Other concept worth criticizing is that Plato divided society in three groups: the producers, the military, the rulers; and in order to maintain that order he proposed a “noble lie” that people are born either with gold, silver, brass or iron in their souls, and this should determine their position in society. This concept can be perceived as an inspiration for totalitarian propaganda, “philosopher-king” could have inspired dictators. 

From summing up conclusions we find out that in spite of his bad ideas Plato still is one of the greatest thinkers, because he gave people from the following centuries “a place to start”. His concepts were and still are constantly reconsidered; and the modern world is founded on them. 

The section “Think” contains 8 questions; “Dig Deeper” contains a few paragraphs with links to educational resources, mostly videos on Plato, and online editions of his Republic and Phaedo; the section “Discuss” contains 2 open discussions and 1 guided discussion: “What connections do you see between Plato’s version of the ideal society and our own? If you don’t see any connections, what do you think accounts for this?” with 18 responses so far.     

Till September 17, 2017 the video has been viewed 1157395 times; it gained more than 18000 “thumbs up” and 1197 comments on YouTube. 


The Philosophy of Stoicism

The narrator presents an ancient Greek man who found himself far away from home with no money. We are told that in his situation many people would probably despair, but he didn't – as the man is Zeno of Cyprus, the founder of the Stoic philosophical school. The story is told of how Zeno lost his property and decided to stay in Athens, studied philosophy there, and established his own school; the name of Stoa Poikile is also mentioned. 

Next, the narrator explains that despite today “a stoic” is defined rather simply: as a calm, non-emotional person, originally stoicism was a very complex philosophical system. He enumerates some of main stoic tenets: logos as a structure of the universe, the importance of one's ability to control the reactions to events; 4 cardinal virtues: practical wisdom, temperance, justice, and courage – here Seneca's statement that sometimes to live is an act of courage is cited, as well as his opinion on how to treat slaves. After that the emperor Marcus Aurelius, who found stoicism helpful in the hardest times of his own political and private life, is presented. Then we find out that many centuries later Aurelius' stoic deliberations were of great help to another politician, Nelson Mandela, during his stay in jail – this serves as an example of how rich is reception of stoicism after antiquity. Another examples follow: Thomas Aquinus' thoughts on stoic virtues; the closeness of the concepts of atharaxia and Buddhist nirvana; Epictetus' thought that suffering is connected to our judgement of events and use of that belief in modern psychological therapies. 

The section “Think” contains 8 questions; “Dig Deeper” links mostly to some modern comments on stoicism, and to the historical sources' editions; “Discuss” contains 2 open discussion and one guided discussion: “The Stoics thought that what they called eudaimonia, the life worth living, doesn't have much to do with what many people today think is a feeling of happiness. Why would there be a difference? What does it mean to be happy?” with 10 answers so far.

Till September 17, 2017 the video has been viewed 1160741 times; it gained more than 48000 “thumbs up” and 987 comments on YouTube.



* Alfred North Whitehead, Process and Reality. An Essay in Cosmology. New York: Macmillan, Cambridge: CUP, 1929.

Analysis

The videos serve as a didactic tool, which make young people learn basic information about ancient culture and about Greek & Roman roots of modern concepts and philosophical inquiries, but also – reflect on the conclusions while interacting with the material's providers through discussions and YouTube comments. This helps to preserve the classical world as a vivid and important topic for contemporary educational discourse.

Undoubtedly the scope of all videos is to prove the relevance of ancient thought for our lives. This scope is realized in at least three ways: 

* with examples of people that we can admire in predicaments that we know from our daily experience (as Joshua Bell with his embarrassing public performance) and of people that encounter problems we can easily imagine (as Zeno of Cyprus and his loss of property);

* with the reference to frequent situations of antagonism between an individual and a group, reciprocal misunderstanding and inefficient persuasion, confusion between illusion and reality (which was the case of Plato's characters in his cave story);

* with indicating persons from all over the world whose output in global history wouldn't be the same without their use of ancient philosophers' legacy (such as Thomas Aquinas or Nelson Mandela, but also – dictators).

At the same time, the philosophers are presented as sources of inspiration, but by no means as unquestionable authorities or saints. They can be criticized when their concepts turn out to have harmful results, as in the case of the of Plato's reception by totalitarian ideologists; or laughed at when they seem to speak nonsense, as in the case of Diogenes provoking Plato with a plucked chicken. 

 It is worth underlining that philosophy is presented by TED-Ed educators as relevant and commonly achieveable, not prestigious. They encourage the audience to learn about ancient thought in order to work on their characters, develop their worldview, look at problems from a critical distance. But they never suggest that a person educated in philosophy is somehow 'morally superior' or 'more cultural' than others. Philosophy, even if helpful for famous people in their accomplishments, is not only for elites nor should it serve to identify the elites' members.


Further Reading

Miller, Bob. “The Triumphant Independent”. AWN.com, November 1, 1999 (accessed: August 20, 2018).

Pigliucci, Massimo. How to Be a Stoic. Using Ancient Philosophy to Live a Modern Life. New York: Basic Books, 2017.

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