Philosophy

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 [...]

All Is Not Lost: Reason, Faith, & Western Civilization

By |2019-07-22T09:32:26-05:00July 20th, 2019|Categories: Catholicism, Christendom, Christianity, Dwight Longenecker, Philosophy, Senior Contributors, Western Civilization|

Samuel Gregg’s “Reason, Faith, and the Struggle for Western Civilization” is a brilliant meditation on the reasons for the rise of the West, more triumphantly known as “Christendom.” He argues that for the West to survive, we must first acknowledge and then return to valuing its Christian foundation. But does history indicate that going [...]

The Intellectual Revolution That Made the Modern World

By |2019-07-19T17:20:55-05:00July 19th, 2019|Categories: Adam Smith, Books, Economics, History, Morality, Philosophy|

The Enlightenment may well be the end of an old story rather than the beginning of a new one. The philosophy of insatiable appetites changed the Christian-Aristotelian moral order into the modern world, but now that the change is just about complete, what purpose does its catalyst serve? Power, Pleasure, and Profit: Insatiable Appetites [...]

Boethius on Allegory

By |2019-07-03T09:05:25-05:00July 2nd, 2019|Categories: Great Books, Imagination, Letters From Dante Series, Louis Markos, Philosophy, Senior Contributors|

Though myths lack literal truth, I am convinced that they contain true wisdom that must be attended to by those who desire to grow intellectually, morally, and spiritually. How, you may ask, can I both reject and embrace the message of the myths? Author’s Introduction: Imagine if Homer, Virgil, Dante, Chaucer, and the other [...]

The Moral Project of Nietzsche’s “Beyond Good and Evil”

By |2019-06-26T17:21:21-05:00June 26th, 2019|Categories: Education, Friedrich Nietzsche, Great Books, Morality, Philosophy|

Friedrich Nietzsche has long been smeared as a ghastly nihilist who repudiated all conceptions of morality. Critics point to the title of his famous work, Beyond Good and Evil, which appears to call for the repudiation of morality, as well as contain his vociferous condemnations of eternal moral standards. With his proclamation that “God [...]

Boethius on Fortune’s Wheel

By |2019-06-27T11:37:55-05:00June 25th, 2019|Categories: Great Books, Imagination, Letters From Dante Series, Louis Markos, Philosophy, Senior Contributors|

Oh, pay heed, citizens of the twenty-first century, to Philosophy’s warning. There are many in your day who think they can control Fortune’s Wheel. They cannot. Those who reach the top of her Wheel may rejoice for a day, but sooner than they think, the Wheel shall spin and they shall accompany it in [...]

The Dispassionate Study of the Passions

By |2019-06-14T17:02:37-05:00June 10th, 2019|Categories: Apology, E.B., Eva Brann, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Philosophy, Plato, Socrates, St. John's College|

Ancient pathos, passion, was an affect emanating from an object; the object elicited the responsive affect, from the outside in. Modern emotion comes from inside out; it emphasizes expression; subject prevails over object. It is the Romantic worm eating its way out of the Enlightened apple... Plato’s dialogue Gorgias ends with a long speech culminating [...]