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

John Locke: From Self-Preservation to Property

John Locke is one of the most important modern philosophers.  He contributed, most famously – though often misunderstood by people who name-drop him – to political philosophy. But Locke also made important contributions to philosophy more broadly: including epistemology, theology, and labor theory in economics.  In this post I would like to examine the internal … Continue reading John Locke: From Self-Preservation to Property

John Locke and the “Law of Nature”

One of the great debates of scholarship surrounding Locke is his “natural law” or law of nature theory. There are those that argue he stands squarely within the Ciceronian-Augustinian-Thomistic tradition wherein the natural law is not only moral, but it will, at end, produce happiness for us. There are others who claim otherwise – that the law … Continue reading John Locke and the “Law of Nature”

The Leviathan of Thomas Hobbes, Part V: Political Life and Society

In finishing the first part of Thomas Hobbes’s magisterial and path breaking work Leviathan, we are transitioning out of Hobbes’s anthropology and state of nature and toward the artificial construction that is the political.  The rise of covenant political theory is foundational to political liberalism, and Chapters 14-16 deal with what Hobbes means by covenant politics.  … Continue reading The Leviathan of Thomas Hobbes, Part V: Political Life and Society

The Leviathan of Thomas Hobbes, Part III: On Freedom

The eighth chapter of Leviathan is one of the most important of the entire book, and it is one with profound implications concerning the political, even if the exoteric discussion is about intellectual virtues arising from passions and the motions of the passions.  If we recall back to Chapter 3, Hobbes defined “rational” as the regulations on … Continue reading The Leviathan of Thomas Hobbes, Part III: On Freedom

John Locke: From Self-Preservation to Private Property

John Locke is one of the most important modern philosophers.  He contributed, most famously – though often misunderstood by people who name-drop him – to political philosophy; but Locke also made important contributions to philosophy more broadly (including epistemology, theology, and labor theory in economics).  I have a comprehensive summary of Locke’s Second Treatise which you can … Continue reading John Locke: From Self-Preservation to Private Property

John Locke’s “Second Treatise,” Part III: The Origins of Political Society

The sixth Chapter of the Second Treatise is one of Locke’s more self-explanatory chapters.  The exoteric reading is very straightforward: the naturality of parental authority is a precursor to civil authority.  As Locke writes at the end of the chapter, “it be a sufficient proof of the natural right of fathers to political authority, because … Continue reading John Locke’s “Second Treatise,” Part III: The Origins of Political Society

John Locke’s “Second Treatise,” Part II: Anthropology & Theory of Labor

The fifth chapter of the Second Treatise is arguably the most influential writing ever penned by John Locke.  Chapter 5 deals with his anthropology, along with his defense of property and labor – and how “divine workmanship” led to property and how property and labor is leading us out of the state of nature and toward civil … Continue reading John Locke’s “Second Treatise,” Part II: Anthropology & Theory of Labor

Hegel’s Philosophy of History (4/4): The Age of Liberty and Moral Love

We last left off with Hegel’s philosophy of history with the failure of the Aristocratic Age to produce universal freedom.  If we recall, the Aristocratic Age, that age of great movement, creativity, and the arts, and the dialectic between the aristocrats and plebeians, failed because there was no notion that all men were equal.  This … Continue reading Hegel’s Philosophy of History (4/4): The Age of Liberty and Moral Love

Hegel’s Philosophy of History (3/4): The Age of Aristocracy and the Struggle for Freedom

We last left off examining Hegel’s philosophy of history with the Hero, Orient, and religion.  Now we move into the heart of Hegel’s Historicism: the movement from the orient to aristocracy.  The movement to aristocratic governance is the next great moment in historical unfolding, but also posed many problems as Hegel makes clear in his … Continue reading Hegel’s Philosophy of History (3/4): The Age of Aristocracy and the Struggle for Freedom