Philosophy

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 [...]

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 [...]

Human Kindness, Rights, and Feelings

By |2019-11-22T11:04:28-06:00November 22nd, 2019|Categories: Conservatism, Joseph Pearce, Liberal, Libertarians, Natural Law, Politics, Rights, Senior Contributors|

It strikes me that all those who talk incessantly of “my rights” are acting pridefully, in the sense that they are making themselves the centre of their own microcosmos at the expense of their neighbours. If we want freedom, however, we must be prepared to pay the price for it. One way of gauging [...]

Understanding Hegel’s Theory on Time

By |2019-11-05T00:36:59-06:00November 4th, 2019|Categories: E.B., Eva Brann, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Liberal Learning, Nature, Order, Philosophy, St. John's College, Time|

Time, it will turn out, is a kind of intuiting, indeed the matrix of all intuiting, but it is not therefore to be intuited, that is, looked at, rather than thought out. The moving pictures that Hegel himself suggests to illustrate the emerging determinations of thought are only concessions to our ordinarily representational minds. This [...]

Was Thomas Jefferson a Philosopher?

By |2019-10-25T10:03:24-06:00October 22nd, 2019|Categories: American Founding, Declaration of Independence, E.B., Eva Brann, Great Books, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Philosophy, St. John's College, Thomas Jefferson|

Thomas Jefferson is a kind of incarnate compendium of the Enlightenment. His remarkable openness to its spirit is the philosophical counterpart to his political sensitivity in making himself “a passive auditor of the opinions of others,” so as to catch the “harmonizing sentiments of the day” and to incorporate them into a document that [...]

Waiting for God in Absurd Times

By |2019-10-20T00:07:43-06:00October 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 |2019-10-14T12:30:22-06:00October 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 |2019-09-28T09:49:34-06:00September 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 |2019-08-12T12:29:46-06:00September 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 |2019-08-31T21:06:23-06:00August 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 |2019-08-26T21:23:06-06:00August 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 |2019-08-19T22:16:59-06:00August 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 |2019-07-18T13:46:22-06:00August 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 |2019-08-07T22:05:08-06:00August 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) [...]