Reading Augustine’s City of God: The Two Cities

Augustine’s City of God is one of the great works of Western literature: philosophy, cultural criticism, theology, and development of Christian doctrines.  At 22 books, and over 1,000 pages (most translations), the City of God is not light reading but is generally considered one of the most masterful works ever produced in the Western philosophical … Continue reading Reading Augustine’s City of God: The Two Cities

Rousseau: The Second Discourse on Inequality

Rousseau’s second discourse on inequality builds from his first.  The second discourse contains his famous depiction of the noble savage, how man loses his freedom and equality through the establishment of property and society, and his ruminations about how reason corrupts human living and how knowledge is used as a tool of oppression and violence.  … Continue reading Rousseau: The Second Discourse on Inequality

Rousseau: The First Discourse on Inequality

Rousseau begins his Discourses on Inequality by stating he is examining the question of man – quid sit homo – that eternal question that is at the bedrock of philosophy.  Chronologically, Rousseau wrote the Discourses before the Social Contract, but the two works complement one another and should be read together.  Within the Discourses Rousseau’s … Continue reading Rousseau: The First Discourse on Inequality

Misunderstanding Plato

Plato is, arguably, the most important philosopher in the Western tradition.  This is not because everyone is a Platonist, or has been a Platonist.  Though many have.  This is because Plato started, at least in codification through writing, the discipline we remember – and still practice today – as philosophy.  But Plato is a deep … Continue reading Misunderstanding Plato

Al-Ghazali’s Alchemy of Happiness, Part II

Continuing our examination of Al-Ghazali’s Alchemy of Happiness, we turn to knowledge of the world and why knowledge of this world is important for coming to understand a knowledge of the next.  This builds on his previous chapters of knowledge of the self leading to a knowledge of God and understanding of judgment. One of … Continue reading Al-Ghazali’s Alchemy of Happiness, Part II