Tag «philosophy»

PLATO ON: The Allegory of the Cave

PLATO ON: The Allegory of the Cave

The ancient Greeks were emphatic that philosophy was not just an elaborate abstract exercise. It was, they felt, a deeply useful skill that should be learned and practiced by all, in order to help us to live and die well. No one believed this more than Plato. Who was passionate in his defense of philosophy …

The Origins of Suicide

The Origins of Suicide

One of the most surprising aspects about one of the saddest of all human possibilities, suicide, is that the suicide rate goes up markedly the richer and more developed a society becomes. We might expect suicide rates to vary across time and place, but not to increase alongside developments in wealth, comfort and security. That …

Thoreau and Civil Disobedience

Thoreau and Civil Disobedience

POLITICAL THEORY THOREAU AND CVIL DISCOBEDIENCE In March 1845, the United States acquired a new president – James K. Polk – a forceful, aggressive political outsider intent on strengthening his country and asserting its pre-eminence in front of other world powers, especially Mexico and Great Britain. Within a year of his inauguration, he had declared …

PHILOSOPHY – La Rochefoucauld

PHILOSOPHY – La Rochefoucauld

There’s a belief that philosophy, when properly done, should sound dense, forbidding, a little confusing, as if it might have been awkwardly translated from the German. But at the dawn of the Modern age, lived a French philosopher who trusted in a very different way of presenting his thoughts; a man who wrote a very …

How to Narrate Your Life Story

How to Narrate Your Life Story

At moments of sorrow and exhaustion, it is only too easy to look back over the years and feel that our lives have, in essence, been meaningless. We take stock of just how much has gone wrong: how many errors there have been; how many unfulfilled plans and frustrated dreams we’ve had. We may feel …

History’s “worst” nun – Theresa A. Yugar

Juana Ramírez de Asbaje sat before a panel of prestigious theologians, jurists, and mathematicians. The viceroy of New Spain had invited them to test the young woman’s knowledge by posing the most difficult questions they could muster. But Juana successfully answered every challenge, from complicated equations to philosophical queries. Observers would later liken the scene …

PHILOSOPHY – René Descartes

PHILOSOPHY – René Descartes

René Descartes was a French 17th century philosopher, famous above all for saying ‘I think therefore I am’, but worthy of our attention for many reasons beyond this. What makes him stand out is that he was a fierce rationalist. In an age when many philosophers still backed up their arguments with appeals to God, …

PHILOSOPHY – Nietzsche

PHILOSOPHY – Nietzsche

The challenge begins with how to pronounce his name. The first bit should sound like ‘Knee’, the second like ‘cha’ Knee – cha. Then we need to get past some of his extraordinary and provocative statements: ‘What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger’ ‘God is dead! And we have killed him.’ And his large moustache. …