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

Simone de Beauvoir: The Woman in Love

“The word ‘love’ has not at all the same meaning for both sexes, and this is a source of the grave misunderstandings that separate them. Byron rightly said that love is merely an occupation in the life of the man, while it is life itself for the woman.”  This are the opening sentences to Beauvoir’s … Continue reading Simone de Beauvoir: The Woman in Love

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

Rousseau: The Social Contract, II

The first two books of the Social Contract are the most important and enduring within Rousseau’s tract, though the fourth book is also important for understanding the establishment of civil religion and the French Revolution’s anti-Catholic militancy.  Nevertheless, the second book of the Social Contract continues to examine the relationship of sovereignty and general will … Continue reading Rousseau: The Social Contract, II

Hobbes’s Leviathan, Part V

In finishing the first part of Thomas Hobbes’s magisterial and path breaking work Leviathan, we are transitioning out of Hobbes’s anthropology and state of nature and toward the artificial construction that is the political.  The rise of covenant political theory is foundational to political liberalism, and Chapters 14-16 deal with what Hobbes means by covenant … Continue reading Hobbes’s Leviathan, Part V

Hobbes’s Leviathan: Part I

Thomas Hobbes is one of the most consequential and important modern philosophers.  In many ways he helped to shift Western consciousness in philosophy from God, the Transcendentals (the Good, True, and Beautiful), and the soul to materialism, physicalism, and mechanicalism.  This shift is what historian and philosopher Mark Lilla calls “the great separation” in his … Continue reading Hobbes’s Leviathan: Part I

The Real Meaning of Plato’s Crito

The Crito is probably the most famous Platonic dialogue after Republic, or it certainly is one of the more memorable dialogues and rivals Phaedo, Symposium, and Laws as the most famous dialogue after the Republic.  Part of the charm of Crito is its relatively short length and seemingly straightforward dialogue.  But what is the true … Continue reading The Real Meaning of Plato’s Crito