Tagged: Socrates

The Philosopher’s Crimes

The single most indispensable explanation of what a philosopher is comes in the context of the most famous trial in legal history. Socrates, who in Plato’s presentation of him was and remains the definitive philosopher, the embodied essence of the philosophic life, was tried, convicted, and executed on two charges: impiety and corrupting the youth. The philosopher is thus, by definition and essential...

The Question of the Body

As much as our modern temperament is inclined to demand simple reductions of everything — simple reductions being the wisdom of the common man, suitable for an egalitarian age that has elevated commonness to an ideal — there is in truth no single question that defines or epitomizes philosophical investigation. Rather, the essential questions of the philosophic pursuit may be represented as manifestations...

The Philosophic Life: A Questionnaire

Are you prepared to come to terms with the fact that they do not and will not want you, forever? Do you have the strength to accept that you will be hated, resented, or ridiculed by everyone who cannot understand what you do — while simultaneously knowing that almost no one alive will ever understand what you do? Have you overcome and dispensed...

Philosophy, Truth, and Esoteric Doctrines

For two centuries, the dominant scholarly view of the notion of esoteric or “secret” philosophic doctrines, particularly as regards the canonical thinkers, is that such a notion is simply out of the question. Though the history of philosophy is replete with direct and indirect references to public teachings which vary from private beliefs, and to the philosopher’s need for circumspection in speaking of...

Reflections On Not Being One of Them

It is standard among today’s professoriate to teach Plato’s Apology¬†with perplexity or mock-sophistication, agonizing over efforts to make sense of the charges against Socrates, seeking to persuade the students (and themselves) that those charges as recorded — impiety and corruption of youth — were “trumped up,” or perhaps merely a cover story for more immediate personal or political motives. For Athens was a...

Thoughts The Gods Would Hardly Deign to Contemplate

Finnish prime minister.– Late modern humanity is terminally boring, predictable, soulless, and finds its truest level of being in an imaginary world populated entirely by fifteen-year-olds raised by hookers and drug pushers. Jane Austen would not recognize this race. Wilde’s Dorian Gray, on his lowest night of drug-addicted slum prowling, would find the Finnish prime minister simply too gross and bland to be...

Democracy Without Reservations

The other day, I had a written exchange with a Korean student about the problems of modern education, and specifically the narrow agenda-driven nature of modern teaching content and methods. Along the way, as one example of the problem, my student noted the gulf between political theory as presented at school and the lessons in political philosophy that she and I had discussed...

Reflections on Belief, Intelligence, and Evil

A thing is no more likely to be true because its truth would be very convenient. Conversely, a thing is no more likely to be false because its truth would be inconvenient. In general, truth and falsity have no intrinsic relation whatsoever to what would make things feel easier or more accommodating to you, in your conditions, with your associations, subject to your...

Two Reflections On Knowledge and Ignorance

The honest answer.– If I knew the answer to all the world’s problems…would it make any difference? For in order for this answer to actually solve the world’s problems, the world would have to understand what the world’s problems were, and care about solving them. Furthermore, the world would have to pursue the answer to its problems in a relatively universal but also...

Two Thoughts on Death and Freedom

It is November 11th. So many thousands of men died in conflict in the last century, primarily in two cataclysmic world wars, in the name of keeping the free world free. The enemies of freedom would be long dead now regardless of the outcome of those wars, as, presumably, would be their self-devouring political dreams. Meanwhile…