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A Great Book Can Change Your Life

Philosophy and Literature For Your Life

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Books

Knowing Me Knowing You: Love and Self-Knowledge in the Phaedrus.

At the beginning of one of Plato’s dialogues, its namesake, Phaedrus, lures Socrates outside of the city with the claim that he will try to recount, in his own words, a speech he has just heard from Lysias – a... Continue Reading →

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Democracy and Civic Education: A Question of Justice

The story of The Nicomachean Ethics appears too good to be true. Aristotle has discovered, it seems, the path to happiness.  The only catch: attaining the prize requires a great deal of hard work. Happiness, he tells us, depends on achieving a fair... Continue Reading →

The Beauty of Justice: Plato’s Euthyphro

In the Euthyphro we might take Socrates’s great delight in meeting Euthyphro at the courthouse with a grain of salt. Euthyphro is a professed expert in piety who came to the court house to prosecute his father for murder - an... Continue Reading →

Sentenced to Love: Socrates and Athens

In Plato’s Alcibiades Socrates implies that knowledge of the good and the true depends on knowing yourself, Knowledge of yourself, however, depend on the friendship of another. We only know ourselves, Plato suggests, by knowing and understanding those who we love and... Continue Reading →

What are Words Worth: Plato’s Crito

Imagine a friend you have had since childhood has been tried, convicted, and now will be executed for a crime he did not commit. Now imagine that you have the means for him to escape and can provide a safe... Continue Reading →

Palm Trees and Being Just

In the “Symposium,” Diotima, who is described by Socrates as the women who taught him all he knows about love, but also as a sophist, describes a ladder of love. Desirous of beauty, she says that individuals ascend from limited... Continue Reading →

Dionysus: A Libation for Wisdom

Dionysus is a strange god - one whose powers we recall in that moment when we realize that we have drank exactly too much, and who we recollect again the next day when we think in horror about what happened... Continue Reading →

Turn Around Bright Eyes: The Dante Version

The Divine Comedy, Dante wakes up lost in a dark woods. He has to take a terrifying and arduous journey - first through Inferno, then up Mount Purgatory and finally through the dizzying spheres of Paradise before he can finally... Continue Reading →

Plato, Hegel and Drawings on a Wall

In the Republic, a dialogue about justice, Socrates and a group of young men put poetry or artwork on trial. One of the primary pieces of evidence against art is that it is deceptive. For instance, one can paint a... Continue Reading →

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