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A Great Book Can Change Your Life

Philosophy and Literature For Your Life

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poetry

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 →

Plato’s Symposium: My Wisdom is … a Shadow in a Dream

In the middle of Plato's dialogue the Symposium, Aristophanes follows several others, all of whom have been tasked with giving speeches on love or eros.  Aristophanes prefaces his speech, once his hiccups have subsided, by saying that he will speak in... Continue Reading →

Plato’s Timeaus: Where the Heavens Meet the Earth

At the beginning of the Timeaus, Socrates indicates that what we are about to witness is a work of a political philosophy. Having presented an image of the most just city the day before, he now asks the men gathered... Continue Reading →

In Awe of Art: Plato and Poetry

In the Republic, Plato argues that an education in poetry or art more broadly understood is essential to the education of children. In one of my favourite passages, he says that we must "seek out craftsmen who are by nature... Continue Reading →

On Forgiveness and Letting Go: T.S. Eliot’s “Little Gidding”

I have a terrible memory for some things.  I can watch whole movies without remembering that I have already seen them. I don't remember the names of causal acquaintances, and lots of times I can't remember the names of my immediate... Continue Reading →

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