The Case for the Liberal Arts: Stronger Than Ever?

By |2021-05-05T16:49:37-05:00May 5th, 2021|Categories: Classics, Education, Featured, Liberal Arts, Liberal Learning, Plato, St. John's College, Timeless Essays, Wilfred McClay|

The chief public benefit of liberal education is the formation of a particular kind of person, a particular kind of citizen, who robustly embodies the virtues of both inquiry and membership, and therefore is equipped for the truth-seeking deliberation and responsible action that a republican form of government requires. If we are to make any [...]

Approaching Thanks

By |2020-12-21T13:40:31-06:00November 25th, 2020|Categories: Glenn Arbery, Great Books, Plato, Senior Contributors, Thanksgiving, Wyoming Catholic College|

The word for truth in Greek means the absence of forgetting—the sudden recollection, the vivid recovery. In the great tradition of the West, when those who study it retrieve immense and priceless knowledge from forgetfulness, we find the hope of renewal. As we approach Thanksgiving this year, the coronavirus phenomenon helps us value rightly what [...]

Christian Platonism in Boethius’ “Consolation of Philosophy”

By |2020-10-24T15:24:21-05:00October 24th, 2020|Categories: Christianity, Great Books, Philosophy, Plato, Wisdom|

As a robust Christian Platonist, Boethius saw a profound resonance between the truths of Platonic philosophy and Christian faith. The articulation of Platonic thought furnished an occasion for Boethius to tacitly meditate upon and be nourished by his own Christian faith, without having to draw explicit parallels in “The Consolation of Philosophy.” The Consolation of [...]

Conserving in A.D. 2020 or 499 B.C.

By |2020-07-21T17:58:07-05:00July 21st, 2020|Categories: Aristotle, Bradley J. Birzer, Cicero, Conservatism, Culture, Edmund Burke, Politics, Russell Kirk, Senior Contributors, Socrates, Thomas More|

In times of chaos, it’s profoundly necessary to remember those who have come before us and the innumerable sacrifices they made. Each of these great men, whatever his individual faults, sought to live according to the Good, the True, and the Beautiful. They preserved, and they conserved. As a way of perceiving and a habit [...]

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. For, [...]

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

By |2021-04-22T17:37:25-05:00May 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 the [...]

Our Hero: Socrates in the Underworld

By |2021-04-27T20:15:35-05:00March 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, Publisher [...]

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. Winston [...]

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 initially [...]

The Unexamined Life

By |2021-04-22T17:41:41-05:00December 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 most [...]

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 of [...]

Jacob Klein: European Scholar and American Teacher

By |2021-04-24T22:29:18-05:00December 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 Jacob [...]

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 [...]

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