Philosophy

Ancient Greek wisdom for today’s leadership crisis

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What makes a good leader? This question confronts us at every election and with every domestic and international policy decision. Emily Anhalt As a professor of classical languages and literature for more than 30 years, I marvel at our insistence on addressing this question as if it were brand new. The Conversation Centuries ago, myths helped the Greeks learn to reject tyrannical authority and identify the qualities of good leadership. As I write in my book “Enraged,” the same myths ... Read More »

Finding Heraclitus

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The great thinkers of ancient Greece were all poets So, why do philosophers today, most of whom are not, believe they can understand the thoughts and, therefore, truths of philosophers back then? David Allen Farrell Medium I say they can’t. Only another poet-philosopher can do that. Roughly twenty-five hundred years ago, something very interesting happened on the planet. A people not at all unlike ourselves today started to put their heads together in such a way that they began to ... Read More »

Why the US doesn’t understand Chinese thought – and must

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The need for the U.S. to understand China is obvious. The Chinese economy is on track to become the largest in the world by 2030, Chinese leadership may be the key to resolving the nuclear crisis with North Korea and China has military and economic ambitions in the South China Sea and… Bryan W. Van Norden The Conversation Meanwhile, the Trump administration has shown (repeatedly) that it’s not even clear on the difference between the People’s Republic of China (the ... Read More »

Donald Trump and Thucydides’ Trap – a lesson or a lure?

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Right now the single most influential historian in the world is probably Thucydides, an ancient Greek who wrote the definitive account of the Peloponnesian War between the city-states of Sparta and… Simon Caterson Daily Review But while a knowledge of the classical world is handy in discerning historical patterns and analogising international relations, how useful is it really in understanding the true nature of the… As we seek to learn all we can from the lessons of history, it is ... Read More »

What does the Anna Stubblefield case teach us about sentencing and sexual assault?

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Analysis A former chair of philosophy at Rutgers University had sex with a man who can’t speak. RN By Eleanor Gordon-Smith for The Philosopher’s Zone ABC The resulting court battle raised questions about when and why suffering matters in sentencing — and Anna Stubblefield went to jail. You might remember reading about it in the New York Times. For a minute it looked like the story would end there: Stubblefield looking open-mouthed over her shoulder in the black and… What ... Read More »

Should you get a vote if you don’t understand politics? Academics offer democracy rethink

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Democracy has always been a messy form of government and is often unpredictable. RN By Antony Funnell for Future Tense ABC Both qualities can be a strength, but as we know from recent international experience, they can also be a liability. The election of Donald Trump, for instance, produced a result at odds with the wishes of the majority of voters. Elsewhere in the world, in democracies like Turkey, Hungary, Poland and the… Should you get… Read More »

Making Athens Great Again

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How does a citizen respond when a democracy that prides itself on being exceptional betrays its highest principles? REBECCA NEWBERGER GOLDSTEIN The Atlantic Plato despaired, but he also pointed the way to renewal. What happens when a society, once a model for enlightened progress, threatens to… Making Athens Great… Read More »

Are Soas students right to ‘decolonise’ their minds from western philosophers?

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Outraged headlines erupted when students launched a campaign to challenge the great western philosophers. We went to the source of dissent – London’s School of Oriental and African Studies – to investigate Kenan Malik The Guardian “They Kant be serious!”, spluttered the Daily Mail headline in its most McEnroe-ish tone. “PC students demand white… Are Soas students… Read More »

Is Humanism Really Humane?

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This is the tenth in a series of dialogues with philosophers and critical theorists on the question of violence. Natasha Lennard and Cary Wolfe The New York Times This conversation is with Cary Wolfe, who is the director of the Center for Critical and Cultural Theory at Rice University and the founding editor of the Posthumanities book series at the University of Minnesota Press. Natasha Lennard: “Posthumanism”… Is Humanism Really… Read More »

Hatful of Hollow: Christian Philosophy’s Dogmatic Slumber

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In the mid-1980s The Smiths released their first compilation album, Hatful of Hollow. Although it was not a traditional studio work but a compilation of BBC radio sessions, non-album singles and B-sides, the album is highly regarded by fans and critics alike – indeed, I rate it as their finest. I bring it up here as a necessary antidote to some of the remarks, as well as the general tenor, of the article written by Father Isidoros Katsos in response ... Read More »

Is this Greek hilltop the 2,400-year-old burial place of Aristotle?

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Greek archaeologist ‘almost certain’ he has discovered the long-sought tomb of world’s greatest philosopher.. Greek archaeologists believe they have discovered the lost tomb of Aristotle, the greatest philosopher in history. Kostas Sismanidis said he was almost sure that a 2,400 year-old domed vault he unearthed in ancient Stagira was the burial place of the man credited with formalising logic… Source: Is this Greek hilltop the 2,400-year-old burial place of Aristotle? | World news | The Guardian Read More »

America Has Never Been So Ripe for Tyranny

As this dystopian election campaign has unfolded, my mind keeps being tugged by a passage in Plato’s Republic. It has unsettled — even surprised — me from the moment I first read it in graduate school. The passage is from the part of the dialogue where Socrates and his friends are talking about the nature of different political systems, how they change over time, and how one can slowly evolve into another. And Socrates seemed pretty… Source: America Has Never Been ... Read More »

Martin Luther King Jr. in dialogue with the ancient Greeks

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­ In “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop,” the soaring and chilling speech he delivered the day before his assassination, Martin Luther King Jr. ponders the thought of life in other places and… Timothy Joseph  The Conversation Among other eras in history, he considers the prime of classical Athens, when he could have enjoyed the… Martin Luther King Jr. in… Read More »