Turning the Whole Soul: The Moral Journey of the Philosophic Nature in Plato’s “Republic”

By |2020-05-22T00:02:14-05:00May 21st, 2020|Categories: Andrew Seeley, Culture, Education, Philosophy, Plato, Socrates|

According to Socrates, to save Philosophy, to save young souls destined for greatness, to save human society itself, the true, philosophic nature must be freed from the corruptive influences that have formed him and receive the best education. The soul must be turned around. I forgot that we were playing and spoke rather intensely. [...]

Glaucon’s Fate: History, Myth, and Character in Plato’s “Republic”

By |2020-05-14T18:09:03-05:00May 14th, 2020|Categories: Books, Character, Culture, History, Myth, Philosophy, Plato, Socrates|

Glaucon’s story is part of a well-known political tragedy that swept up many of Plato’s friends and fellow citizens, including Socrates. The evidence for his personal tragedy, however, is deeply embedded in the text. Like a three-dimensional image hidden within a two-dimensional picture, it requires a special adjustment of the eyes to perceive. Perhaps [...]

Our Hero: Socrates in the Underworld

By |2020-05-13T15:58:07-05:00March 24th, 2020|Categories: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Books, Essential, Peter A. Lawler, Senior Contributors, Socrates, Timeless Essays, Truth|

Socrates in the Underworld: On Plato’s Gorgias, by Nalin Ranasinghe (192 pages, St. Augustine Press, 2009) Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords readers the opportunity to join Peter Augustine Lawler as he reflects on how Socrates models both rightly-ordered eros and logos, in contrast to the Stoics and Sophists. —W. Winston Elliott III, [...]

The Theology of Socratic Piety

By |2020-03-18T18:44:00-05:00March 18th, 2020|Categories: Apology, Crito, Greek Epic Poetry, Homer, Myth, Phaedo, Socrates, Timeless Essays|

We know that Socrates was accused of introducing new gods and of corrupting the youth. But what was Socrates’ true position concerning the gods? Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords our readers the opportunity to join the late Nalin Ranasinghe, as he analyzes the essence of piety as expressed in Plato’s Euthyphro. —W. [...]

Plato on Wealth, Poverty, and the Conditions of Happiness

By |2020-01-06T17:39:58-06:00December 29th, 2019|Categories: Community, Conservatism, Plato, Political Philosophy, Politics, Rights|

At least since the time of the ancient philosopher Plato, private property rights have posed challenges to those aspiring to craft a just political society. During the nascent years of American civilization, the Pilgrim settlers of the New Plymouth Plantation followed a partly Platonic model of a commonwealth. The survival of their settlement, they [...]

The Unexamined Life

By |2019-12-15T20:38:29-06:00December 15th, 2019|Categories: Civilization, Community, Compassion, Culture, George Stanciu, Philosophy, Senior Contributors, Socrates|

Twenty-four centuries after his death, the words of Socrates can still unsettle an attentive listener. However, before we can understand his most famous dictum, we must clear away who we are not to grasp who we are—something only done when we are grounded in the fundamental relationships that are universal to humankind. Probably, the [...]

Choosing a Patron Philosopher of Debate: A Fable

By |2019-12-03T13:59:51-06:00December 3rd, 2019|Categories: Education, Philosophy, Rhetoric, Socrates|

I’ve been coaching debate for five years now, and as I’ve taught students how to play the game, the benefits of debate become obvious. At the same time, a danger lurks. Could debate inherently be an activity devoted to sophistry? Back from summer break, the varsity debate team gathers to determine an important part [...]

Jacob Klein: European Scholar and American Teacher

By |2019-12-02T23:47:19-06:00December 2nd, 2019|Categories: E.B., Education, Eva Brann, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Jacob Klein, Meno, Plato, St. John's College|

Jacob Klein presents the model of teaching best fitting a stable community of liberal learning. He was a master of the somewhat mysterious art of leading from behind—by solicitous listening, by intimating questions, even by expectant silence. The subtitle of my talk might be “Liberal Education: Program and/or Pedagogy?” The reason is that I think of [...]

Pre-Socratics or First Philosophers?

By |2019-11-25T23:33:00-06:00November 25th, 2019|Categories: Classics, E.B., Eva Brann, Great Books, Heraclitus, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Philosophy, Socrates, St. John's College|

The Pre-Socratics may be thought of as deficient, lacking something, primitive in the derogatory sense. But there is also the opposite perspective: These men were not primitive, without sophistication, but primeval, deeper, more receptive to origins. Think how peculiar this appellation is: “Pre-Socratics.” A whole slew of thinkers, poetical, aphoristic, prosaic—condemned to be known as [...]

Soul, World, and Idea: Interpreting Plato

By |2020-05-09T21:54:12-05:00October 14th, 2019|Categories: Books, E.B., Eva Brann, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Phaedo, Philosophy, Plato, Senior Contributors, St. John's College|

“To save the phenomena” of heavenly motions by undergirding them with rational, that is, mathematical, hypotheses—that is said to be the problem Plato set for astronomers in a passage from the “Republic” frequently referenced by Daniel Sherman. His own project is, as I understand it, the inverse one: to save the Platonic ideas by [...]

Russell Kirk’s Unfinished Justice

By |2019-09-22T21:27:09-05:00September 22nd, 2019|Categories: Aristotle, Bradley J. Birzer, Conservatism, History, Plato, Russell Kirk, Senior Contributors, Timeless Essays|

Russell Kirk thought that because justice is rooted in nature and because in its perfection transcends all time and space, one can innately observe virtue in the actions of wise men. Such observation of those we admire might be the best teacher in our current day, serving as a reminder of what has always [...]

Image, Being, and Form in the Platonic Dialogues

By |2019-09-09T16:01:00-05:00September 9th, 2019|Categories: E.B., Eva Brann, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Jacob Klein, Plato, Socrates, St. John's College|

Modernity is best apprehended as being in a ruptured continuum with Greek antiquity—a continuum insofar as the terms persist, ruptured insofar as they take on new meanings and missions. That perspective makes those who hold it avid participants in the present. Jacob Klein was in the last year of his nine-year tenure as dean [...]

What Has Athens To Do With You?

By |2019-08-12T12:29:46-05:00September 2nd, 2019|Categories: Art, Classics, Culture, E.B., Eva Brann, Great Books, History, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Liberal Learning, Philosophy, Plato, Senior Contributors, St. John's College|

The humanly full life is concretely local and intellectually wide, to be lived in a face-to-face community whose members can talk to each other about anything, where nothing of human interest is interdicted; where no one owns a specialty so that others have to venture opinions with the disclaimer, “Of course, that’s not my [...]