Ayn Rand & GOP vs. Jesus (via American Values Net)
I am a critic of Objectivism, and this video details one of my objections. I believe in a vigorous religious morality based on Christian principles. She doesn’t.
Elemental (via Achilles & Aristotle)
There is some really pretty writing here. Listen to this –
Describing the difference between following rules and developing virtue he draws on football. Learning the rules of football won’t make you a good player, practice alone makes perfect. Similarly our ‘friends’, in the Aristotelian sense, are our purpose, practice and team-mates.
Isn’t that wonderful. Please read the rest, it’s brief. Enjoy the thought = Rules are guidelines for practice in virtue as in sports.
The late Herbert McCabe wrote with almost scientific beauty on Aristotle and Aquinas. There is a tightness and precision which bespeaks a lifetime’s reflection and contemplation. The international physics community has just acknowledged two new superheavy elements – 114 and 116 – which can only be made by man. In his book ‘On Aquinas’, McCabe has fused together all the elements in philosophical symmetry from the two historic heavyweights: Aristot … Read More
Some interesting articles from the same web site –
‘Relevant complexity’ is my theory of everything: satisfaction and joy arise from the pursuit of complex, worthwhile and comparatively challenging pursuits.
Art history, particle physics, the raising of children, the preparation and enjoyment of good food etc etc – all relevantly complex.
You need to learn, improve, occasionally triumph – and sometimes feel you actually know almost nothing – to achieve the satisfaction of mastering relevant complexity with a good degree of skill.
Then there are hobbies. Same effect Csikszentmihalyi’s ‘flow’ – as one become adept or expert but some risks: becoming a bore or solitary obsessive. I have achieved ‘flow’ by hoovering well, even cleaning a fridge. But these are not monuments to my life’s work or relevantly complex pursuits I’d want defining who I am.
What’s in? An eclectic and erratic list: cooking, relevant; gardening, chore. Writing, relevant; drawing embarrassment. Cleaning the fish tank, chore (and only tolerable if I’m left to do it properly) odd jobs, drilling and hanging things source of great irritation and angst. Why?
Talking last night with friends about ‘pleasure’, we recognised it’s a complex beast. One of our party admitted she was happy with her life but generally not happy as she lived it. How could this be?
I listened again to Thomas Hurka on Philosophy Bites today to remind me. Hurka identifies four types of pleasure in two categories: ‘felt’ and ‘thought’.
The two ‘felt’ pleasures are: first, ‘simple pleasures’ i.e. specific immediate sensations: “mmm tasty” or “ahh comfortable.” And second, moods – which are a general and last for a duration.
The two ‘thought’ pleasures are specific: “I’m happy that… my daughter is in the school play” or “my football team won” and general: “overall I’m happy with how my life is going”, aka Aristotle’s flourishing.
Of course they are all intertwined. A life of physical pleasures – pure hedonism – might come up short on achievement. Or get cut short by a heart attack. But a life of too much ‘thought’ might lack passions and pleasures and the achievements of love and family.
Apparently, most parents say that the thing which has given them most pleasure in their lives has been the raising of children.
Here we are talking about Montaigne again! (I discussed another Montaigne blog post a week or so ago.) There is always an undercurrent of classicism in the United States. I have been a fan of Mortimer J. Adler and the Great Books project since I was 14 and read his masterpiece, How to Read a Book. Years later when the book was put in the discards, I bought it for a few cents and it is still a part of my library.
I like and appreciate this kind of talk, this kind of reading. Once these deep waters are explored, a person’s thoughts are never quite the same. I remember Adler talked about this and he said that after you have read great books you never need to fear boredom when you are alone. I think that’s true.
This fellow writes intelligent essays. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it as much as I do.
I’ve subscribed to Montaigne’s Essais on dailylit.com which breaks him up into comparatively bitesized chunks. Still the discovery that there are 426 daily episodes to look forward to sometimes feels a long haul. I’m up to episode 62. Some days I skim him, some days I ignore him completely. But sometimes he discusses something with himself, in his meandering way, which speaks to my own day. Whenever I’m close to cancelling my daily dose of Montai … Read More
I have mixed emotions about natural law. I try to be careful to explain the positives and negatives when I teach. I do think there is a lot to say in its favor and this article does so.
This is good writing. I really enjoyed the quote from the Dred Scott decision.
I believe that philosophy has a place in the mind of every educated human being. I am constantly surprised by the intensity and fervor on the online philisophical discussions. Sites dealing with religious philosophy are particularly combative with the atheistic sites not far behind. However, for the more academic, there a dozens of sites where the philosophies of Aristotle and Plato are discussed moving right up to modern (and often little known) philosophers.
I’ve give this one a read.
In the 20th century natural law became an embarrassment to many Reformed Christians (i.e. those in confessional Reformed churches). It isnt difficult to understand how that could happen. The antithesis between unbelievers and the redeemed, and the priority of special revelation would seem to leave little room for the “medieval” idea of natural law. But there have been voices within the Reformed community arguing that there is a rightful place fo … Read More
via Ex Libris
I find stoicism an attractive philosophy. I suspect that has to do with the slings and arrows of an implacable fate falling with such regularity. Hanging tough may be the only thing many Americans (and all Japanese) can do.
It’s a nice essay. I hope you enjoy it. Maybe you can buy the book when it’s finished.
My book on the history of moral thought, due to be published next year by Atlantic, is beginning to take shape (I should hopefully have finished writing it by late summer / early autumn). Every month I am posting small sections from the book. This excerpt is from the conclusion of Chapter 3, which begins in Aristotle’s moral thought and ends in Stoicism. THE PHILOSOPHER ZENO WAS ONCE FLOGGING A SLAVE WHO HAD STOLEN SOME goods. ‘But I was fated t … Read More
Plato falls between Socrates and Aristotle. These three philosophers lived during the Athenian decline. This caused a great deal of turmoil in their lives and deeply influenced their philosophical views. Here is a lecture on Plato I found very enjoyable.
An excellent, relatively brief and clearly ennuciated lecture on Aristotle. I enjoyed it. I continue my philosophical journey intent on mastering ethics and morality to add force and power to my writing.
Aristotle is good place to begin the study of ethics. This is a good ten minute introduction to the man. The philosophy will take a lot more time and a lot more thought. But get used to the gentleman and his ideas, and with that basis – with that preparation, you will be more likely to move forward.
Martha Nussbaum is an expert on Aristotle and I felt her comments were clear and easily understood.
One of the things I would like to convey to my reader is the tremendous utility of You Tube and similar sites. You have the opportunity to learn almost anything on line that is within the general idea of learning in this civilization (and some that is not). I don’t think the implications of this are fully realized. One of my online associates traveled all over the world teaching himself in the didactic manner (self education). While we would miss out on seeing the world, we can pursue such a didactic path without having to go anywhere at all. We can self educate very easily, more thoroughly and at a higher quality than any previous generation.
Warning! And this is a major concern. Not all videos or web sites are created equal. There is enough nonsense, lies and wickedness to destroy your reason and thinking ability many times over. This is very sad. What it means for the individual learner is that there is an additional task, separating the wheat from the chaff: discovering what is valuable in teaching and what is not.
Nevertheless, bearing that warning in mind, the opportunities for self education are available in abundance. I would plead with you to take advantage of that opportunity.