Francis Bacon’s Conquest of Nature

Sir Francis is the father of modern philosophy.  He has been described as the “greatest philosopher” by John Dewey, and considered one of the three greatest men by Thomas Jefferson (alongside Newton and Locke).  Bacon’s Novum Organum (or Instrument of the New Science, or just New Science) was a momentous change in the history of … Continue reading Francis Bacon’s Conquest of Nature

Plotinus: On Philosophical Dialectic (Ennead 1.3)

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: The Virtues (Ennead 1.2)

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: Preface to Critique of Pure Reason

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

Hegel’s Phenomenology: Preface, II (24-37)

Sections 24-37 of Hegel’s Phenomenology contain the his system of science (knowledge) or philosophy.  Having laid out the groundworks of what he is dealing with, namely how do we avoid nihilism and come to actual knowing which is the embodiment of objective substance within the subjective self (a form of transcendental phenomenology), Hegel moves into … Continue reading Hegel’s Phenomenology: Preface, II (24-37)

Hegel’s Dialectic and Sublation

Hegel’s philosophy is generally considered to be underpinned by the dialectic.  Hegel is not the first philosopher to present the dialectic; dialectic is found in Greek and Christian philosophy – and since Hegel is largely drawing from Greek and Christian philosophy it shouldn’t be a surprise he’s in the dialectical camp.  What Hegel did do … Continue reading Hegel’s Dialectic and Sublation

The Great Divide: Political Philosophy, Ancient vs. Modern

The history of political philosophy is often divided between the classics (or ancients) in contradistinction to the moderns.  Political philosophy, from the time of Socrates and Plato, has always been regarded as the queen of the philosophical enterprises because it most pertains to the question of being human.  Hence, political philosophy is necessarily tied to … Continue reading The Great Divide: Political Philosophy, Ancient vs. Modern