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)

Plato’s Phaedo

Phaedo is one of the more famous of the Platonic dialogues not named Republic.  The dialogue concerns itself with the nature of the human soul and the afterlife, but also implies the contention of “world flight” within non-Christianized Platonic philosophy (e.g. the view that Plato’s philosophy ultimately regards the material world as a hindrance that … Continue reading Plato’s Phaedo

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

Anselm: On Truth

“Since we believe that God is truth…” is the famous opening of St. Anselm’s treatise on truth.  Anselm was an 11th century Catholic philosopher and cleric in England, and one of the cross pollinated Catholic thinkers whom Anglicans, at least historically, liked to claim as their own.  As such, he is a canonized saint in … Continue reading Anselm: On Truth

Plotinus: Animate Man and the “Fall” of the Soul (Ennead 1.1)

Plotinus is infinitely important and influential in philosophy despite his limited name recognition and readability.  Plotinus was a 3rd century Greek philosopher who is the founder of Late Platonism, or neo-Platonism.  Plotinus’s only published work is The Enneads, which read like a teacher lecturing his students.  And that’s what he was; Porphyry – one of … Continue reading Plotinus: Animate Man and the “Fall” of the Soul (Ennead 1.1)

Plato’s Allegory of the Cave

The Allegory of the Cave is probably Plato’s most famous metaphorical story in all of his works, and is certainly the most memorable moment in his Republic.  The Allegory of the Cave is doing many things for Plato, it is a commentary on humanity’s origo, it is a commentary on epistemology, it is a commentary … Continue reading Plato’s Allegory of the Cave