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”

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

Hegel’s Social and Political Theory

Hegel’s social and political philosophy was of profound importance in mid nineteenth century Germany, especially within the Kingdom of Prussia where he spent his latter days.  It is sometimes said that Hegel believed Prussia was the end of history, that Prussia was the fulfillment of the socio-political, constitutional, and ethical progression of the Spirit in … Continue reading Hegel’s Social and Political Theory

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 On Obligations (Di Officiis)

Cicero, perhaps the most famous of the Roman philosophers, wrote an influential treatise on duties and obligations published after his death.  De Officiis, along with his Republic/Commonwealth and Laws, serve as Cicero’s longstanding political legacy to the West.  In fact, On Obligations was widely influential in that it influenced St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas, becoming an integral part of the … Continue reading Cicero’s On Obligations (Di Officiis)

Geopolitics and the Melian Dialogue

In sticking with the theme of geopolitics which I have already discussed, I wish to segway into the Melian Dialogue by way of geopolitics. Alongside Pericles’ “Funeral Oration,” the Melian Dialogue is the most famous of dialogues (or orations) in Thucydides’ masterpiece. Most people who have never read the entirety of Thucydides have probably read … Continue reading Geopolitics and the Melian Dialogue

Cicero and the Foundations of Natural Law

Cicero is the most important of the Roman philosophers; a Roman Platonist and Stoic, he is responsible for attempting to synthesize strands of Platonic and Stoic thought into a coherent body of mostly political philosophy. It may not be farfetched to assert that Cicero is the first synthetic political philosopher and the second systematic political … Continue reading Cicero and the Foundations of Natural Law