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]

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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]