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Philosophy and Literature For Your Life

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philosophy

Of Love and Justice: Plato’s Republic

At the beginning of the Republic, Socrates piques the interest of  the group of young men he is speaking with, suggesting that to know justice is to know the only way of living that is worthwhile.  However, as he begins... Continue Reading →

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The Wisdom of Humility: Plato’s Gadfly

At the beginning of Plato’s Republic, Socrates encounters Thrasymachus, a sophist or wise guy, who argues that “justice” is whatever the person or people with the most power want, and they always want what is to their advantage.  Plato heightens... 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 →

Plato’s Symposium: Love as Reconciliation

Diotima, in Plato's Symposium, says that love is our way of participating in immortality, for those in love give birth in beauty. Explaining herself to Socrates, Diotima says, "And in that way everything mortal is preserved, not, like the divine,... Continue Reading →

The Poetry of Love: Plato’s Symposium Part II

At the end of the Symposium, Alcibiades bursts in and drunkenly declares his love for Socrates. To him, Socrates is both the beautiful and the good. Alcibiades, however, doesn't understand the poetry of love. He seeks the good for his... Continue Reading →

The Poetry of Love: Plato’s Symposium

In the Symposium, Socrates recounts what his teacher, Diotima, taught him about love. In her speech she indicates a relationship between the act of loving and the act of creation, or, as she says, of poetry. We all, she says, love... Continue Reading →

Piety, Justice and Love: Plato’s Euthyphro

A servant gets drunk and angry and kills a slave. Your father, wanting to bring the man to justice, sends someone to a prophet to ask about the proper course of action. In the meantime, he ties the servant up... Continue Reading →

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