Great Philosophers

In this page we will have a list of all the short posts concerned with the various great philosophers and thinkers of the philosophical tradition, providing brief explanations of their thoughts and importance to philosophy, from the classical age to modern philosophy.

CLASSICAL UNIT

PLATO

Basics of Reading Plato

  1. Avoiding Common Misreadings of Plato
  2. Plato’s Political Philosophy (takes you to my commentary over the Republic)
  3. Platonic Irony
  4. Metaphysical Necessity
  5. The Forms

The Dialogues

  1. On Epistemology (or Knowledge)
  2. On Justice (Book I of Republic)
  3. Plato vs. Glaucon: The Social Contract (Book II of Republic)
  4. The Noble Lie (Book III of Republic)
  5. Basics of Platonic Political Philosophy (Books V and VI of Republic)
  6. The Allegory of the Cave (Book VII of Republic)
  7. The Myth of Er (Book X of Republic)
  8. The Metaphysics of Laws (Laws, Book I)
  9. Euthyphro (Overview)
  10. Phaedo (Overview)
  11. Crito (Overview)
  12. Gorgias (Overview)
  13. Comic Equivalence (Aristophanes’s Speech in Symposium)
  14. Eros, Erotica, and the Philosophy of Desire (Symposium)

ARISTOTLE

  1. Political Animal (Politics)
  2. Metaphysics and Epistemology (Metaphysics and Physics)
  3. Epistemological Legacy (Additive Logic vs. Reductionist Logic vs. Deductive Logic)
  4. Virtue Ethics and Happiness (Nicomachean Ethics, Books I and II)
  5. Political Philosophy: The Rational Polis and Forms of Government (Politics, Books I, II, and IV)
  6. On Political Dialectic (Politics)
  7. Aristotle’s Physics (Nature vs. Natural Distinction)

THUCYDIDES

  1. On Exceptionalism (in general)
  2. The Greatness of Athens (Pericles’s Funeral Oration)
  3. Realism (The Melian Dialogue)
  4. Morality and Language in Times of Crisis (Corcyrean Civil War)

CICERO

  1. Patriotism as Social Animus (The Republic, Book I)
  2. Political Philosophy, the Three Forms, and Cycles of Constitutions (The Republic, Book I)
  3. Education as Humanism (Republic, Books II-VI and Tusculan Disputations)
  4. The Natural Law, Humanism, and Human Nature (The Laws I)
  5. On Duties and Obligations (On Obligations/Di Officiis)
  6. Natural Law continued, the Purpose of Religion and Legislation (The Laws II-III)
  7. On the Good Life

CATO the YOUNGER

  1. Roman Stoicism and Political Philosophy

SENECA the YOUNGER

  1. Roman Stoicism and Cosmopolitanism

PHILO OF ALEXANDRIA

  1. Philo and the Rise of “Middle Platonism”
  2. Philo and the Logos

Reading LEGUM ALLEGORIAE

  1. TBD

PLOTINUS

  1. Neo-Platonism (General Overview)
  2. Anthropology and the Soul (Ennead 1.1)
  3. On Virtues (Ennead 1.2)
  4. The Dialectic (Ennead 1.3)
  5. On Happiness (Ennead 1.4)
  6. On Beauty and Primal Goodness (Ennead 1.6 and 1.7)
  7. On the Source of Evil (Ennead 1.8)
  8. On Matter (Ennead 2.4)
  9. Against Gnosticism (Ennead 2.9)

ST. AUGUSTINE

  1. Anthropology (Imago Dei)
  2. The Logos
  3. On Creation and Evil (Book VII of Confessions)
  4. Cosmology, Anthropology, and Participation with Beauty (Conf. XIII)
  5. Dialectic of Love
  6. The Fall of Man, Part I
  7. The Fall of Man, Part II
  8. Original Sin
  9. Theology of Love & Justice (takes you to my commentary on the subject)

Reading Augustine’s CONFESSIONS (Book XIII)

  1. Genesis 1 as Preface and Prefiguration of History

Reading Augustine’s CITY OF GOD

  1. Book I (Humanism and the Sanctity of Life)
  2. The Two Cities and Their Ends (Books I-III, XV-XVI, XIX)
  3. Book XIX (Political Theory)

ST. ANSELM

  1. On Truth (Medieval Christian Epistemology)
  2. Why God Became Man (Cur Deus Homo)
  3. Ontological Argument for God’s Existence

DANTE

  1. La Vita Nuova

Reading THE DIVINE COMEDY

INFERNO

  1. Inferno, I: Understanding Hell
  2. Inferno, II: Dante and Virgil’s Relationship
  3. Inferno, III: Political Philosophy and Catholic allegory

PURGATORY 

  1. TBD

PARADISE

  1. TBD

ST. THOMAS AQUINAS

  1. What is “Thomism”?
  2. Unity of Faith and Reason in Aquinas
  3. Intellectualism vs. Voluntarism

Selections of SUMMA THEOLOGICA

  1. TBD

MARSILIUS OF PADUA

  1. Defensor Pacis (Summary)

AL-GHAZALI

Reading THE ALCHEMY OF HAPPINESS

  1. Chapters 1-2 (Knowledge of Self and Knowledge of God)
  2. Chapters 3-4 (Knowledge of the World and World Hereafter)
  3. Chapters 5-7 (Religious Life in the World)
  4. Chapter 8 (Love of God)

AVICENNA (IBN SINA)

  1. Treatise on Love
  2. Contingent and Necessary Being

AL-FARABI

  1. Love and Happiness in Greek Philosophy
  2. On Plato’s Republic
  3. On Plato’s Laws

AVERROES (IBN RUSHD)

  1. On Plato’s Republic
  2. On the Harmony of Religion and Philosophy

IBN KHALDUN

  1. Geopolitical Philosophy in Muqaddimah
  2. Group Feeling and Intimacy

Reading THE MUQADDIMAH (Franz Rosenthal translation)

  1. Chapter I (Man is Political Animal and Role of Environment upon Civilization)
  2. Chapter II (Part I: Urban vs. Rural Savagery, Origins of Group Feelings)
  3. Chapter II (Part II: Group Feeling and the Family-Nonfamily Distinction in Politics)
  4. Chapter II (Part III: Group Feeling and Royal Authority)
  5. Chapter III (Part I: Royal Authority, Religion, and Territoriality)
  6. Chapter III (Part II: Royal Authority and Dynastic Lifespans)
  7. Chapter III (Part III: Royal Authority Continued)
  8. Chapter III (Part IV: History, Economics, and Collapse)

MODERN UNIT

MACHIAVELLI

  1. Modern Politics and Modern Realism
  2. Thoughts on Machievelli’s Republicanism
  3. Reading The Prince
    1. Part I (Chapters 1-9)
    2. Part II (Chapters 10-19)
    3. Part III (Chapters 20-End)
  4. The Discourses on Livy (Highlights)
  5. Reading the Discourses
    1. TBD
    2. TBD

JEAN BODIN

  1. On Sovereignty (from Six Books of the Commonwealth)
  2. Separation of State and Church

FRANCIS BACON

  1. Novum Organum (Summary)
  2. The Separation of Man from Nature
  3. The Idols of the Tribe and the Market
  4. The Idols of the Theater and Den/Cave
  5. “The New Science” (Bacon’s Legacy)

DESCARTES

  1. Basics of Cartesian Philosophy (Modern Rationalism)
  2. Meditations on First Philosophy
  3. The Cartesian Legacy

THOMAS HOBBES

  1. Introduction to Hobbesian Philosophy

Reading LEVIATHAN

  1. Part I: Chapters 1-5 (Man as Matter in Motion)
  2. Part I: Chapters 6-7, 9 (Hobbes’s epistemology)
  3. Part I: Chapter 8 (More epistemology, Desire and Freedom)
  4. Part I: Chapters 10-13 (The State of Nature)
  5. Part I: Chapters 14-16 (On the Laws of Nature and Covenants)

JOHN LOCKE

  1. Self-Preservation, Property, and the End of Government
  2. Law of Nature: Is Self-Preservation Moral, Amoral, or Immoral?
  3. Empiricism and the Tabula Rasa (Essay on Human Understanding)
  4. Letter Concerning Toleration

Reading Locke’s SECOND TREATISE

  1. Second Treatise, Chapters 1-4: State of Nature and “Law of Nature”
  2. Second Treatise, Chapter 5: Locke’s Anthropology and Philosophy of Property
  3. Second Treatise, Chapters 6-8: Toward Political Societies
  4. Second Treatise, Chapters 9-13: Locke’s Concept of the Political
  5. Second Treatise, Chapters 14-19: The Abuse of Political Power and the Crisis of Revolution

SPINOZA

  1. Basics of “Spinozistic philosophy”
  2. Finite in Infinity (On Human Freedom)

Reading TRACTATUS THEOLOGICO-POLITICUS

  1. TBD

LEIBNIZ

  1. The Monadology (Overview)

JONATHAN EDWARDS

  1. The End for which God Made the World
  2. The Theology behind “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”

JEAN-JACQUES ROUSSEAU

  1. The “General Will”
  2. Understanding of the Social Contract (Rousseauian View)

Reading THE SOCIAL CONTRACT

  1. Book I
  2. Book II
  3. Book III
  4. Book IV

Reading THE DISCOURSES ON INEQUALITY

  1. First Discourse
  2. Second Discourse

DAVID HUME

  1. Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding
  2. Treatise on Humane Nature
  3. Criticism of “Ideology”

EDMUND BURKE

  1. Reflections on the Revolution in France
  2. Constitutional Historicity (takes you to my essay on the subject)

DE MAISTRE

  1. History of Progress of History of Violence?
  2. The Social Order and Labor
  3. Considerations on France (on the Metaphysics of Evil)

Reading the SAINT PETERSBURG DIALOGUES

  1. TBD

JOHANN HAMANN

  1. The “Higher Reason”
  2. Language and Nationalism

IMMANUEL KANT

  1. Metaphysics (Transcendental Realism)
  2. Metaphysics (Synthetic A Priori)
  3. Metaphysics (Noumenon)
  4. “Idea of Universal History with Cosmopolitan Intent”
  5. “On Perpetual Peace”
  6. Preface to the Critique of Pure Reason
  7. On Space and Time (Critique of Pure Reason)
  8. Ethics (Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals)
  9. “What is Enlightenment?”

JOHANN FICHTE

  1. Political Economy and the Dialectic
  2. Fichte’s Philosophy of Consciousness 
  3. Address to the German Nation
  4. On Land, Labor, and Land Power (Ficthe’s Geopolitcs)

GEORG W.F. HEGEL

  1. The Owl of Minerva (Preface of Philosophy of Right)
  2. “Death of God” Theology
  3. On Individuals
  4. The “Master-Slave Dialectic” (or “Lordship Dialectic”), Part I
  5. The “Master-Slave Dialectic”, Part II
  6. On History, Part I (Lectures on Philosophy of History and Phenomenology of Spirit)
  7. On History, Part II (The Role of Religion in History and Culture)
  8. On History, Part III (From Hero and Orient to Aristocracy)
  9. On History, Part IV (The Age of Freedom and End of History)

Reading Hegel’s PHENOMENOLOGY OF SPIRIT

  1. Sections 1-23
  2. Sections 24-37
  3. TBD
  4. Self-Consciousness, Secs. 178-196 (“Lordship Bondage”)

Reading Hegel’s PHILOSOPHY OF RIGHT

  1. Preface
  2. Abstract Right
  3. Morality
  4. Ethical Life (Hegel’s Social and Political Philosophy)

VON CLAUSEWITZ 

  1. “Trinity of War” (from On War)

FRIEDRICH SCHELLING

  1. Philosophy of Mythology
  2. Naturphilosophie, Part I (History, Context, Brief Summary)
  3. Naturephilosophie, Part II (The Dialectic of Natural Evolution and Self-Consciousness)
  4. Essence of Human Freedom

KARL MARX

  1. Marx’s Dialectical Historicism
  2. Alienation, Capitalism, and Labor
  3. “On the Jewish Question”
  4. Communist Manifesto

Reading the PARISIAN (OR ECONOMIC) MANUSCRIPTS

  1. TBD

Reading DAS KAPITAL

  1. TBD

Marx’s POETRY

  1. Song of Sailor at Sea
  2. Song to the Stars

FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE

  1. “Death of God”
  2. On “Self-Overcoming”
  3. Life and Nihilism
  4. Beyond Good and Evil (Overview)

Reading THUS SPOKE ZARATHUSTRA

  1. TBD

Reading ECCE HOMO

  1. TBD

MAX WEBER

  1. General Overview (Sociological Philosophy)
  2. Politics as Vocation
  3. Protestant Work Ethic and Spirit of Capitalism
  4. Fact-Value Distinction

MARTIN HEIDEGGER

  1. Context to Heidegger’s Being and Time
  2. Being-in-the-World as Being-With
  3. Thrownness of Life (Geworfenheit)
  4. Rootedness (Bodenständigkeit)

CARL SCHMITT

  1. “Political Theology” (from Political Theology)
  2. What is Sovereignty? (from Political Theology)
  3. The Problem of Sovereignty (from Political Theology)
  4. The Friend-Enemy Distinction (from Concept of the Political)
  5. Criticism of Liberalism and Capitalism (from Concept of the Political)
  6. Metaphysics of Human Nature (from Concept of the Political)

JEAN PAUL SARTRE

  1. Sartre’s Existentialism and the Dilemma of Dualism(s)
  2. The Origin of Nothingness (Being and Nothingness)
  3. Bad Faith (Being and Nothingness)
  4. Vertigo, the Fragility of Freedom (Being and Nothingness)
  5. The Look (Being and Nothingness)
  6. Concrete Relations with Others (Being and Nothingness)

SIMONE DE BEAUVOIR

  1. The Second Sex (Introduction)
  2. The Woman in Love (from Second Sex)
  3. The Woman Destroyed
  4. The Ethics of Ambiguity

ALBERT CAMUS

  1. What is Absurdism and the Myth of Sisyphus
  2. The Rebel (on “Metaphysical Rebellion”)

HANNAH ARENDT

  1. Arendt’s Philosophy of the Human Condition
  2. The “Banality” of Evil

Reading THE ORIGINS OF TOTALITARIANISM

  1. TBD

LEO STRAUSS

  1. The Three Waves of Modernity
  2. Natural Right and History (Summary)
  3. Dialectic of Athens and Jerusalem
  4. What is “Straussianism”?

SHULAMITH FIRESTONE

  1. The Dialectic of Sex

GIORGIO AGAMBEN

  1. The Problem of Sovereignty (Homo Sacer; paired with Schmitt’s Political Theology)
  2. Homo Sacer (On Sovereign Power and Bare Life)
  3. Use of Bodies (the Master-Slave Relationship)