Tagged: Plato

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...