PLATO: The Republic [Book V]

In Book V of Plato’s Republic, Socrates asserts that men and women ought to receive the same education and ought to fulfill the same roles within society. In the context of Ancient Greece, where women are prohibited from receiving an education and participating in business and politics, this is a radical notion. Socrates admits that men and women have different natures, and that different natures ought to have different pursuits. Nevertheless, he concludes that the difference between men and women – primarily physical strength – does not restrict women from participating in society as guardians, laborers, or even soldiers. Furthermore, it is in the best interest of the State for both the men and the women to be as good as possible; and therefore, both the men and the women must be educated. Continue reading PLATO: The Republic [Book V]

PLATO: The Republic [Book IV]

In Book IV of Plato’s Republic, Socrates and his interlocutors finally complete their creation of the ideal State. Because the perfect State possesses all virtues, Socrates resolves to identify the four primary virtues – wisdom, courage, temperance, and justice – within the State, and then draw an analogy between the just State and the just man. Continue reading PLATO: The Republic [Book IV]

DARWIN: The Origin of Species [Introduction—Ch. 6, Ch. 15]

In this video, we will explore Charles Darwin’s seminal work on evolution titled, On the Origin of Species, and hopefully dispel some of the confusion surrounding his ideas. For example, many people mistakenly regard Darwin’s theory of evolution as a declaration that life is progressing towards a perfect species. The phrase – ‘survival of the fittest’ – is responsible for this mistake. In common usage, the word – ‘fit’ – has positive connotations; being fit is better than being unfit. However, in the realm of Darwinian evolution, being the fittest simply means being the best adapted to a particular environment. If an environment favors weak, cowardly, and lazy organisms that know how to exploit the welfare system, then such organisms are considered the fittest. Indeed, in modern America, the lazy and the uneducated generally beget more children than the educated and the ambitious. In order to reverse this trend, the conditions of existence must change. Continue reading DARWIN: The Origin of Species [Introduction—Ch. 6, Ch. 15]

PLATO: The Republic [Book III]

In Book III of Plato’s Republic, Socrates continues his discussion of poetry. He asserts that poetry ought to dispel the fear of death, not encourage it. For example, he criticizes Homer’s portrayal of Achilles in the underworld. In Homer’s Odyssey, Odysseus meets Achilles in the underworld. Achilles tells Odysseus that he “would rather be a serf on the land of a poor man than rule over all the dead.” Socrates argues that this type of attitude will cultivate a fear of death in the minds of young men who read Homer’s Odyssey. This development of cowardice is contrary to Socrates’ goal of training men to “choose death in battle rather than defeat and slavery.” Continue reading PLATO: The Republic [Book III]

BERKELEY: The Principles of Human Knowledge

The Anglo-Irish philosopher George Berkeley once said “Esse est percipi,” which means “to be is to be perceived.” According to Berkeley, only minds and ideas exist; matter does not exist. He discusses this theory, which will later be referred to as subjective idealism, in his treatise titled, The Principles of Human Knowledge. In this video, we will explore Berkeley’s radical ontology, which, if accepted, resolves many philosophical paradoxes that have haunted mankind from time immemorial. Continue reading BERKELEY: The Principles of Human Knowledge

CERVANTES: Don Quixote [Part I]

Written by Miguel de Cervantes, Part One of Don Quixote was published in 1605. The character Don Quixote is obsessed with chivalric novels. He reads so many novels of this genre that he loses his senses and decides to become a knight-errant himself. To aid him in his adventures, he enlists the aid of a peasant named Sancho Panza, who becomes Don Quixote’s faithful squire. Continue reading CERVANTES: Don Quixote [Part I]

The unexamined life is not worth living.


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