Philosophy

Waiting for God in Absurd Times

By |2019-10-20T00:07:43-05:00October 19th, 2019|Categories: Books, Culture, Modernity, Philosophy|

Whether one is an atheist or a believer, all of us can agree that there is certainly something missing in our society. By entering into a dialogue with a variety of texts, the authors of “The Terror of Existence” wrestle with the idea of meaninglessness and absurdity with the seriousness and it deserves. The [...]

Soul, World, and Idea: Interpreting Plato

By |2019-10-14T12:30:22-05:00October 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 [...]

The Witness and Wisdom of C.S. Lewis

By |2019-09-28T09:49:34-05:00September 4th, 2019|Categories: C.S. Lewis, Christian Humanism, Christianity, Fiction, Joseph Pearce, Literature, Philosophy, Senior Contributors, StAR|

The great fruit of C.S. Lewis’s clarity is that he shows his readers that the great truths are knowable through the application of pure and simple common sense. He makes the truth seem so obvious and so inescapable that we feel that we must always have known it, at least subconsciously. Some time ago, [...]

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 [...]

John Courtney Murray and the American Civic Psyche

By |2019-08-31T21:06:23-05:00August 31st, 2019|Categories: American Republic, Declaration of Independence, Natural Law|

John Courtney Murray’s “We Hold These Truths” is hardly a tumbleweed of early-twentieth-century Catholic social thought. Though it initially helped to reconcile Catholicism and the religious pluralism that our nation champions, it is also a work that deals deeply with that taboo concept of today: patriotism. Reading John Courtney Murray’s famous work, We Hold [...]

The Ecstasy of Love

By |2019-08-26T21:23:06-05:00August 26th, 2019|Categories: Aristotle, Books, E.B., Eva Brann, Great Books, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Philosophy, Plato, Senior Contributors, St. John's College|

Stewart Umphrey’s “Complexity and Analysis” presents a sober analysis of ways of going beyond oneself, especially in love; its conclusion presents the union of integrity with transcendence in the “sober madness of philosophy.” His careful descriptions and distinctions trace out incompleteness as a human condition. Those of our alumni who had really good Republic [...]

Burning Bushes, Smoking Mountains, and the Law

By |2019-08-19T22:16:59-05:00August 19th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Christianity, Civil Society, Education, History, Natural Law, Senior Contributors, Western Odyssey Series|

While much has been made of the “Ten Commandments” in recent history, men for centuries have accepted these commandments as deeply rooted in the order of the universe and of creation—as an overt expression of the Natural Law. They are one of the ways God has continued to maintain His love for His people. [...]

Socrates on Statesmanship: The Actual Intention

By |2019-07-18T13:46:22-05:00August 12th, 2019|Categories: Civil Society, E.B., Eva Brann, Great Books, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Liberal Learning, Philosophy, Plato, Politics, Senior Contributors, Socrates, St. John's College|

Statesmanship is the craft of setting up a civic framework, a loom upon which the citizens of various temperaments, here the warp and woof, are interwoven into a cloak-like texture, which represents at once the body politic and its protective cover, as if to say that a well-interlaced citizenry will wrap itself in its own [...]

“Reason, Faith, & the Struggle for Western Civilization”: Illuminating the Past & Present

By |2019-08-07T22:05:08-05:00August 7th, 2019|Categories: Christianity, Faith, History, Philosophy, Pope Benedict XVI, Reason, Western Civilization, Western Tradition|

It is a bright note of hope, set against the present daunting darkness, that shines throughout Samuel Gregg’s “Reason, Faith, and the Struggle for Western Civilization,” both illuminating the past and shedding much-needed light on the present situation. Reason, Faith, and the Struggle for Western Civilization, by Samuel Gregg (256 pages, Gateway Editions, 2019) [...]

Plato’s Theory of Ideas

By |2019-08-05T21:25:16-05:00August 5th, 2019|Categories: Beauty, E.B., Eva Brann, Great Books, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Philosophy, Plato, Reason, Senior Contributors, Socrates, Truth|

Socrates’ own chief word is ‘eidos.’ Like the word ‘idea,’ it is built on the simple past stem of the word ‘to see,’ which signifies the act of seeing once done and completed. The ‘eidos’ is knowable, but it is not knowledge. It confronts the soul and is not of it. To put it [...]

Reason in the Making: Artistic Vision in Albert Camus’ “The Guest”

By |2019-08-08T12:54:16-05:00August 1st, 2019|Categories: Culture, Literature, Morality, Philosophy|

Albert Camus was a gifted writer, and though he approaches the edge of beauty, he fails to make the leap. In doing so, he condemns his stories, ironically, to the role of featureless individuals, accidents of energies. Artistic vision, Flannery O’Connor insists, takes place in a space where, “The writer’s moral sense must coincide [...]

Mental Imagery

By |2019-07-29T10:53:04-05:00July 29th, 2019|Categories: E.B., Eva Brann, Imagination, Immanuel Kant, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Liberal Learning, Philosophy, Science, Senior Contributors, St. John's College|

As Immanuel Kant says, the imagination is “a hidden art in the depth of the human soul.” It is a faculty which presupposes that somehow or other two worlds of objects are present to us, one of which seems to us to be outside, the other inside ourselves. The imagination is a puzzle not [...]

Fr. Schall, “What Is,” and Book Clubs

By |2019-07-27T22:04:40-05:00July 27th, 2019|Categories: Books, Christianity, Culture, Philosophy, Western Civilization, Wisdom|

Christianity and the Western tradition insist that true unity is rooted in complimentarity, self-gift, and ordered relationship. Trinitarian love is creative, but not coercive; it is a mystery, but it is not irrational; it is personal, but it is not subjective. These are essential truths that James Schall returned to again and again in [...]

Plato’s “Symposium”: The Drama and Trial of Eros

By |2019-07-21T22:20:01-05:00July 21st, 2019|Categories: Great Books, Love, Myth, Paul Krause, Philosophy, Plato|

Plato was a moralist. An ethicist. He was concerned with the primacy of action, of engagement, in a world that was deeply iconoclastic, barbarous, and savage. Love of wisdom allows for the creation of that space where ethical and loving life is possible. Plato’s Symposium is one of the most iconic works of literature [...]