Seeing Hera in the Iliad

Restored ruins of the Temple of Hera, ancient Doric Greek temple at Olympia, Greece / Photo by Carole Raddato, Wikimedia Commons By Dr. Seemee Ali Associate Professor of English Carthage College Hera is the most under-appreciated deity in the pantheon of Homer’s Iliad. Inseminating mortals with thoughts and understanding the secret plans of Zeus, Hera[…]

Political Ideologies and Isms

The SLECO (Socialism, Liberalism, Conservatism and Ecology) chart is a proposed alternative to the Nolan Chart and the Hans Slomp projection of the European political spectrum. It should be able to capture more political schools. / Ben Burgers, Wikimedia Commons By Dr. T.M. Sell / 11.30.2014 Pacific Northwest Political Science Association Introduction People sometimes develop[…]

A Brief Introduction to Epistemology

Photo by Tim Green, Creative Commons By Dr. Tom Kerns / 01.18.2012 Professor of Philosophy North Seattle College The history of western thought is usually divided into four main periods, the ancient, mediaeval, modern, and contemporary periods. We’ve been studying the ancient period and now we’re going to move past the mediaeval period and into[…]

Aristotle’s Ideal Regime as Utopia

By Dr. Steven Thomason Assistant Professor of Political Science Ouachita Baptist University Presentations and Lectures 6 (3-2016) Presented at the Southwest Political Science Conference, Las Vegas, March 2016 Although Aristotle’s ideal regime discussed in books seven and eight of his Politics seems much more feasible and less utopian than the regime outlined in Plato’s Republic,[…]

An Overview of Classical Eastern Philosophy

Taoist Temple / Photo by dbgg1979 of, Creative Commons By Dr. James Fieser / 02.19.2014 Professor of Philosophy University of Tennessee at Martin Introduction At the time that ancient Greek philosophy was blossoming, on the other side of the world a different set of philosophical traditions emerged within the Eastern Asian regions of India[…]

Is Humanity Naturally Good? Exploring Richard Dawkins’s ‘Selfish Gene’

Lecture by Dr. Alistair McGrath at the Museum of London / 04.04.2017 Andreas Idreos Professor of Science and Religion University of Oxford What is the future of humanity? Nobody knows. For a start, we might suffer the same fate that is thought to have wiped out the dinosaurs – an ‘extinction event’ caused by collision[…]

Anaxagoras, Socrates, and the History of “Philosophy”

Plato, Anaxagoras, and Democritus / External Reference Dresden, Schisische landesbibliothek, MS Db 92-92, Wellcome Library By Dr. Christopher Moore / 11.01.2016 Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Classics The Pennsylvania State University The Tenuous Grip of a Name In all of extant fifth-century Greek literature, authors use the terms philosophos, philosopheô, and philosophia half a dozen[…]

Ralph Waldo Emerson: Pragmatic Idealist in Action as a Reformer, 1850-1865

Photograph of Emerson in later life / Wikimedia Commons By Dr. Leonard Gougeon / 09.15.2015 Distinguished Professor of American Literature University of Scranton Introduction When Emerson entered the national scene in 1850 as a full-fledged reformer, he knew that America faced a dire moral threat. In September, the U. S. Congress passed a series of[…]

Scientific Theories aren’t Mere Conjecture – To Survive, they Must Work

There wouldn’t be statues acclaiming Darwin and his theory if it couldn’t stand up to decades of testing. CGP Grey By Dr. Tom Solomon / 03.07.2017 Professor of Physics and Astronomy Bucknell University “The evidence is incontrovertible. Global warming is occurring.” “Climate change is real, is serious and has been influenced by anthropogenic activity.” “The[…]

Voltaire and the One-Liner

Voltaire.. After a painting, by Bouchot No. 539 / Louvre Museum, Paris By Dr. Nicholas Cronk / 03.10.2017 Professor of French Literature Director, Voltaire Foundation Oxford University As we mark Voltaire’s 323rd birthday – though the date of 20 February is problematic, – what significance does the great Enlightenment writer have for us now? If I[…]

Eugenics in the Ancient World

As patients came for treatment at the Asclepieion at Epidaurus, they took their offerings to the temple of Asclepius. / British Museum, London By Mary Harrsch / 02.17.2017 Historian Ancient Times Recently, I received a review copy of a new release from Oxford University Press entitled “A Cabinet of Ancient Medical Curiosities: Strange Tales and[…]

Voltaire and the Buddha

Bronze statue depicting the “Ayuthia Crowned Buddha”, ca. 16th century, featured in The Antiques of Siam (1909) by J. W. Margrett / Voltaire’s early reflections on Buddhism and how, in his desire to separate the Buddha’s teachings from the trappings of religion, the French Enlightenment thinker prefigured an approach now familiar in the West.[…]

Stoic Advice on Happiness

Marble bust of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, a Stoic philosopher / Louvre Museum, Paris By Jennifer Delgado Suárez / 02.24.2017 Psychologist Imagine for a moment of losing your job. If it’s a job poorly paid where you don’t feel at ease and trust that you will find a better employment, it is likely that this[…]

The Curious Case of the Decapitated Frog

Frog skeleton sketch by Pflüger Lecture by Dr. Alexander Klein / 12.01.2016 Associate Professor of Philosophy California State University, Long Beach Lecture at Barnard’s Inn Hall, Gresham College Introduction “Ever heard of a pithed frog? … It’s a thing these here vivisectionists do. They takes a frog and they cuts out his brains and they[…]

Sociological Theories of Karl Marx

Photograph of Karl Marx, by John Jabez Edwin Mayall, 1875 / International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam, Netherlands Lecture by Dr. Iván Szelényi / 10.01.2009 Professor Emeritus of Sociology Yale University Theory of Alienation Marx’s Early Life Karl Marx’s house in Trier, Germany / Atlas Obscura So now we move into the nineteenth century. It’s[…]

Adam Smith: The Invisible Hand

Portrait of Adam Smith (the Muir Portrait, after the family who once owned it, probably painted posthumously, based on a medallion by James Tassie), c.1800 / Scottish National Gallery, The Mount, Edinburgh Lecture by Dr. Iván Szelényi / 09.24.2008 Professor Emeritus of Sociology Yale University Smith in a Historical Context Balliol College, Oxford University We[…]

Origins of Classical Utilitarianism: Jeremy Bentham

Portrait of Jeremy Bentham, by Henry William Pickersgill / National Portrait Gallery, London Lecture by Dr. Ian Shapiro / 01.20.2000 Sterling Professor of Political Science Adjunct Law School Professor Director, MacMillan Center Yale University Enlightenment Tradition I: Classical Utilitarianism We’re going to start talking about classical utilitarianism, and we’re going to use as our point[…]

The Ring of Gyges: Morality and Hypocrisy

J.R.R. Tolkien, professor of Anglo-Saxon studies at Oxford University, was asked to do etymology research on an ancient Roman ring found in English the countryside—where the Roman Empire once extended—which was found in the 16th century. Lecture by Dr. Tamar Szabó Gendler / 01.14.2011 Vincent J. Scully Professor of Philosophy; Professor of Psychology and Cognitive[…]

Jean Jacques Rousseau: Popular Sovereignty, General Will, State of Nature, and Education

Portrait of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, by Maurice Quentin de La Tour, late-18th century, pastel on paper / Musée Antoine-Lécuyer By Dr. Iván Szelényi / 09.17.2008 Professor Emeritus of Sociology Yale University Popular Sovereignty and the General Will Rousseau in a Historical Context 1714 View of Basel, Bale, Geneva / Village Antiques, Creative Commons Jean Jacques Rousseau[…]