80. Phaedo on the Soul and the Afterlife, Part 3

Despite all of our technology, the Greeks were, in many ways, wiser than we are. We should not mistake knowledge for wisdom, for we have much more knowledge. They were wiser for many reasons, but especially because they recognized that human beings have immortal souls, something that we have lost today. This is the subject […]

79. Phaedo on the Soul and the Afterlife, Part 2

Many people think about the afterlife on a regular basis, while others avoid the subject. But coming to grips with our mortality is essential if we are going to have any sort of meaningful life. This is what Plato’s Phaedo is all about. After all, as the saying goes, if you don’t know how to die, […]

78. Phaedo on the Soul and the Afterlife, Part 1

Phaedo deals with the remaining hours of Socrates’ life. As such, there is much we can learn from it. The contrast above is stark and represents what Socrates accomplished in his death: turning the West from a violence-based culture to one of reason. On the right, we have the famous Greek hero Achilles, whose death […]

76. Plato’s ‘Meno’ Part 2; A Common Uneducated Slave

Can a common, uneducated slave do complex geometry without ever learning it? This is one of the questions in Plato’s Meno. Plato was hoping that the answer to this question was yes, for that would give hope to slaves everywhere. This and other unusual aspects of the dialogue make it one of Plato’s most interesting […]

75. The Essence of Virtue – Plato’s ‘Meno’ Part 1

The Essence of Virtue – Plato’s ‘Meno’ Part 1

74. Faith and Reason -The Regensburg Address of Pope Benedict XVI, Part 3

This is the third and final part of a series on Pope Benedict’s Regensburg Address on “Faith and Reason”. If you wish, you can start at post 72 if you have not read it yet, and then proceed post 73, but that is not necessary. You can also read this as a standalone. Benedict gave […]

73. The Regensburg Address of Pope Benedict XVI, Part 2

In the above photo, Pope Benedict prepares to give his Regensburg Address, which resulted in a firestorm of controversy throughout the world. Please read post 72 to get the essential background of this address. In that post, I discussed Pope Benedict’s idea that it was the relationship between Greek philosophy and Christian revelation that built […]

72. The Regensburg Address of Pope Benedict XVI, Part 1

On Tuesday, September 12, 2006, Pope Benedict XVI gave an address to representatives of science from Bavaria at the University of Regensburg, Germany entitled Faith, Reason and the University Memories and Reflections. His 4,000-word address dealt with the very theme of this blog – the relationship between faith and reason, particularly from the perspective of […]

71. Plato’s ‘Crito’: Crito’s Attempt to Rescue Socrates from Death, Part 2

In part I of this story, I explained how Crito tried unsuccessfully to convince Socrates to abandon his noble stance of proceeding with his execution and implored him to take the escape route planned out by Crito and others. I discussed how Crito approached the situation from a totally self-centered perspective: What would Crito’s friends […]

69. Plato’s ‘Crito’: Crito’s Attempt to Rescue Socrates from Death, Part 1

In Plato’s dialogue Crito, we have an account of an attempt by Crito to rescue Socrates from death. Crito had devised a way of escape, but Socrates refused. Socrates’ adamant refusal to save his own life gives us yet another glimpse into the life of this humble philosopher who changed the course of Western civilization.