The conclusion of Plato’s Republic is the Myth of Er. What are we to make of the Myth of Er and why is it important? Why does it come at the very end of the work and not earlier? It is important to remember that – as I’ve said before in other explanatory summaries of … Continue reading Plato’s Myth of Er
What is Platonic irony? When reading Plato’s dialogues philosophers are often keen to highlight irony within his texts. Irony, however, is not necessarily what we think of it today. Rather, Platonic irony is carefully constructed and inserted into the text by Plato himself. Platonic irony is deeply dialectical in the Socratic sense, since Plato’s literary … Continue reading What is Platonic Irony?
In his Novum Organum Francis Bacon outlines the four most dangerous idols of the human mind: Tribe, Market, Den, and Theater. The emphasis on these idols are Bacon’s attempt to analyze current problems that humans suffer from and how to respond. The names can be somewhat misleading unless one has read Bacon and understood him; … Continue reading Francis Bacon: The Idol of the Tribe and Market
Johann Hamann is one of the most understudied and unknown philosophers, especially in the English-speaking world. A figure of tremendous importance to history, who was called the “Magus of the North” and the “brightest star” by Johann Wolfgang Goethe, Hamann came to be an influential father of the Sturm und Drang arts movement in Germany, … Continue reading Johann Hamann: Philosophy of Language
Plotinus is not the first philosopher to concern himself with dialectic but he is among the most famous. The Platonist tradition with Socrates and Plato already established two important dialectical conceptions: the conversational dialectic (Socratic dialectic) in which opposing parties (or individuals) discuss a matter and arrive at a conclusion from drawing the contrast between … Continue reading Plotinus: On Philosophical Dialectic (Ennead 1.3)
Plotinus’s second tractate of the first Ennead is a commentary over the division of virtues. This is commonplace in ancient philosophy and theology. For instance, Christianity divides the cardinal virtues (justice, prudence, fortitude, and temperance) and theological virtues (faith, hope, and love). Plotinus, in this section of his Enneads, separates the “civic virtues” with the … Continue reading Plotinus: The Virtues (Ennead 1.2)
Immanuel Kant is a philosopher with a divisive history. In the English speaking world, he is generally passed over as an inaugurator of the “irrationalist” tradition of Continental Philosophy. Bertrand Russell, for instance, regarded Kant as a second rate philosopher whose more important contributions to philosophy was ethics rather than what he is most remembered … Continue reading Immanuel Kant: Preface to Critique of Pure Reason