Category Archives: Philosophy

Kant’s Categorical Imperative to the Rescue?

At the top of my reading pile is a Wall Street Journal op-ed in which Prof. Paula Marantz Cohen argues for Kant’s Categorical Imperative in “easing the civility crisis.” The first imperative of the German Enlightenment philosopher “suggests that how … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy

A Liberal Confession

The self-examination in question is that of historian David Wooten, an avowed liberal, writing in History Today. The article, “What’s Wrong with Liberalism,” offers what I think is a fair assessment of the ambitions, and pitfalls, of modern liberalism going … Continue reading

Posted in History, Philosophy, Politics

Old Resolutions are Best

“Lay down from this moment a certain character and pattern of behaviour for yourself, which you are to preserve both when you’re alone and when you’re with others.”—Epictetus (Handbook, 33) The famous Stoic writer sets forth the traditional program of … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy, Stoicism

Imlac’s Political Advice

The advice in question comes not from my blogging alter-ego, but from the original Imlac of Samuel Johnson’s novel Rasselas. As the elderly sage says to the young prince in the story: “no form of government has been yet discovered, … Continue reading

Posted in Literature, Philosophy, Politics, Samuel Johnson

A Meditation on Idleness

While indulging in some much needed holiday down time I felt as though I were reliving an epoch when being offline was the norm. There has been at least some push-back against the incessantly plugged-in lifestyle, mainly as it pertains … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy, Samuel Johnson

Euthyphro’s Dilemma

Continuing my commentary on Greek philosophy is a look at Plato’s dialogue Euthyphro, which explores the ideas of piety and justice. They are concepts central to many of Plato’s works, including the Republic. The narrative commences with Socrates waiting outside the … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy

The Paradoxes of Heraclitus

In this post I want to venture briefly into the tantalizing origins of critical thought as presented in the class Ancient Philosophy: Plato & His Predecessors, offered by the University of Pennsylvania through Coursera. Of the earliest Greek philosophers, referred … Continue reading

Posted in History, Philosophy

Reformers, Revolutionaries, and the Idea of Progress

“Every advance in liberation carries the seed of a new form of enslavement.”—Raymond Aron During the Enlightenment the concept of “unilineal evolution” became prominent. It conceived of society as developing from backward to more advanced stages in more or less … Continue reading

Posted in History, Philosophy, Politics

A Lewisian Psychology

C. S. Lewis’ memoir, Surprised by Joy, is a work oddly unsettling yet reassuring. In reading it for the second time I find definite areas of commonality with the author: the horror, as a youth, of being forced to play … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy, Religion

Perennial Christianity

While perusing The Joyful Christian, a C. S. Lewis anthology, there is a passage where the British spiritual writer criticizes the tendency to “talk about moral ‘ideals’ rather than moral rules and about moral ‘idealism’ rather than moral obedience.” There … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy, Religion