Karl Marx: On the Jewish Question

Karl Marx’s essay “On the Jewish Question,” at the face of it, seems like a typical anti-Semitic piece of writing where Marx decried the god of the Jews as the idol of mammon.  However, the essay is of political importance as it details several noticeable things about Marx’s political thought.  First is his assertion that … Continue reading Karl Marx: On the Jewish Question

The Two Sides of Liberalism

One of the most nauseating perennial questions is “what is liberalism”?  Ask a dozen people and you’ll probably get a dozen different responses.  But as Aristotle said, “To say of something which is that it is not, or to say of something which is not that it is, is false. However, to say of something … Continue reading The Two Sides of Liberalism

Hegel on History, IV: The Age of Freedom and End of History

We last left off with Hegel’s philosophy of history with the failure of the Aristocratic Age to produce universal freedom.  If we recall, the Aristocratic Age, that age of great movement, creativity, and the arts, and the dialectic between the aristocrats and plebeians, failed because there was no notion that all men were equal.  This … Continue reading Hegel on History, IV: The Age of Freedom and End of History

Plato’s Myth of Er

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

Jean Paul Sartre: On Nothingness

Jean Paul Sartre was among the most famous of the modern existentialists and phenomenologists, perhaps second only to Martin Heidegger.  Sartre’s great text of fame was his “essay on ontology,” Being and Nothingness.  In typical French fashion, the text is weighty, dense, and draws heavily from the history of philosophy, especially Christianity, Bacon, Descartes, Hegel, … Continue reading Jean Paul Sartre: On Nothingness

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