Tagged: Plato

The Problem of Evil

I received an e-mail the other day from a former student who continues to keep in touch due to a mentoring relationship we developed while she was in university. This most recent exchange, though personal in its focus, highlighted a human tendency that has universal implications, as it opens out on nothing less than a traditional ethico-theological quandary, the problem of evil. This...

Freud vs. Plato on Eros

In my recent piece, “On Freud,” I said of the “father of modern psychology”: He saw his theory as a more scientific version of Plato’s tripartite soul. He was in fact Plato for auto-mechanics. And for all his titillating and supposedly shocking nonsense about sex, he was oblivious to Eros, which is the specifically human manifestation of sexuality, and the key to mankind’s...

The Dangerous Idealization of Material Success

Modernity is, or was, the age of the triumph of practical reason, and the flourishing and harnessing of an emancipated desire for earthly wellbeing and individual self-determination. Its definitive political development was the limited republic, the premise of which was that normal human beings left to their own devices will sort themselves into a reasonable public shape beneficial to all, and the necessary...

Plato: Mythologist or Philosopher?

Apropos of a discussion of Plato’s intentions in his depiction of Socrates, and specifically the notable ways that Plato’s Socrates differs both from Xenophon’s contemporaneous depiction and from the historical figure later Socratic philosophers, such as the Stoics, had in mind, a friend who views Plato with some skepticism confronted me with this provocative question: Is Plato a philosopher or an artist? Is...

Was Plato a Trump Supporter?

I have died and gone to Tartarus. There is no other explanation for an article I just read at (gulp, blushing) American Thinker, “Was Plato a Trump-Supporter?” Author Jeffrey Folks manages, in a fairly brisk essay, to prove that (a) he has never read Plato, (b) he has never even watched a coherent YouTube video about Plato, and (c) civilization has ended. Folks...

Plato’s Philosopher-Kings Are Your Friends

All too often these days, conservatives and libertarians have taken to adopting synoptic views of the history of ideas aimed at dividing all philosophers neatly into two political camps: pro- vs. anti-liberty, or, more precisely, pro-liberty vs. pro-tyranny. And within this (in my view) misleading dichotomy, it is customary to prove one’s philosophical mettle by setting Plato atop the pro-tyranny list. Indeed, he...