Philosophy

Humanism as Realism

By |2020-01-17T15:33:35-06:00January 17th, 2020|Categories: Christian Humanism, Conservatism, Irving Babbitt, Modernity, Paul Elmer More, Philosophy, Political Philosophy, Religion|

We live in a world completely mastered and permeated by economic ideals, yet expecting better government within societies brought up on humanitarian thinking strikes us as yet another fantasy. Much has changed since the solutions posited by humanist thinkers of the last century, so what can we do in this world? What can we [...]

Rousseau’s Collectivism

By |2020-01-04T14:06:31-06:00January 3rd, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Conservatism, History, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Philosophy, Politics, Senior Contributors|

“It would be difficult to find anywhere in the history of politics a more powerful and potentially revolutionary doctrine than Rousseau’s theory of the General Will. Power is freedom and freedom is power,” Robert Nisbet argued in his magnum opus, 1953’s Quest for Community. […]

Kant’s Imperative

By |2019-12-29T14:20:10-06:00December 29th, 2019|Categories: Culture, E.B., Ethics, Eva Brann, Immanuel Kant, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Philosophy, Reason, Senior Contributors, St. John's College, Virtue|

What makes freedom possible is beyond all knowing, but what makes the moral law possible is freedom itself. The fact that we have a faculty of freedom is the critical ground of the possibility of morality. I have called this lecture “Kant’s Imperative” so that I might begin by pointing up an ever-intriguing circumstance. [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]