Augustine on the Nature of Evil

Although Confessions is long-winded prayer and an autobiography, Confessions is also a work of profound philosophical and psychological importance.  The first half of Confessions roughly deals with anthropology, the tension between desire and reason, and the need for reason to order desire to achieve what desire seeks.  The second half of Confessions shifts to a more philosophical and theological commentary, which includes Augustine’s … Continue reading Augustine on the Nature of Evil

Jean Paul Sartre: Being and Nothingness

Jean Paul Sartre was among the most famous of the modern existentialists and phenomenologists, perhaps second only to Martin Heidegger.  Sartre’s great text of fame was his “essay on ontology,” Being and Nothingness.  In typical French fashion, the text is weighty, dense, and draws heavily from the history of philosophy, especially Christianity, Bacon, Descartes, Hegel, Husserl, … Continue reading Jean Paul Sartre: Being and Nothingness

Aristotle’s Dialectical Politics: The Struggle for Virtue

Aristotle’s political theory is grounded in two principal cornerstones: that man is a political (or social) animal, and that the end of human existence is happiness.   Thus, humanity’s essential social character cannot be separated from his existential character.  The separation of humanity from society will not produce the happiness he seeks.  Likewise, a politics that … Continue reading Aristotle’s Dialectical Politics: The Struggle for Virtue

Aristotle’s “Political Animal”

Aristotle famously said in Politics that “man is, by nature, a political animal.”  What did he mean by that?  Why is it important?  Aristotle’s political philosophy is dependent upon his understanding of human anthropology and ontology, as well as teleology.  Unlike today, Aristotle’s statement is not meant to signify that humans should be “politically active” … Continue reading Aristotle’s “Political Animal”

Aristotle’s Political Theory (The Politics)

Aristotle is remembered as one of the greatest of the classical philosophers, metaphysicians, and epistemologists, but he was equally the most important political philosopher of the ancient world.  Aristotle’s Politics and Ethics are fundamental in political philosophy studies, and his ideas were largely incorporated into Christian political theory through the rise of Catholicism. Many of the ideas of Aristotle’s … Continue reading Aristotle’s Political Theory (The Politics)

Aristotle’s Virtue Ethics (Nicomachean Ethics)

In his famous Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle argues that ethics aims at the achievement of excellent because this excellence produces happiness to the human soul and this is fundamentally good because happiness is our end and the goal that all human actions attempt to embody through the action itself (however flawed or whether it achieves an enduring … Continue reading Aristotle’s Virtue Ethics (Nicomachean Ethics)

Cicero’s Republic: Patriotism and the Common Good

Cicero is perhaps the most famous of the Roman Stoic philosophers.  He wrote many philosophical works, the two most famous being On the Republic/Commonwealth and The Laws.  We will begin to look at Cicero’s anthropology, and how it influences his views of political philosophy beginning in The Republic.  (It should be noted that the work is in poor condition, … Continue reading Cicero’s Republic: Patriotism and the Common Good