Francis Bacon’s Philosophy of Scientific Conquest

Sir Francis Bacon is the father of modern philosophy. He has been described as the “greatest philosopher” by John Dewey and was considered one of the three greatest men by Thomas Jefferson (alongside Newton and Locke). Bacon’s Novum Organum (or Instrument of the New Science, or just New Science) was a momentous change in the history of philosophy of the philosophy … Continue reading Francis Bacon’s Philosophy of Scientific Conquest

Hegel and Napoleon: On Heroes and the Sublime in History

There are two great stories concerning Hegel and Napoleon. The first, undeniably fantastical and romantic, is that Hegel was finishing up his draft manuscript of the Phenomenology of Spirit as the Battle of Jena roared behind him as he escaped the hellfire of the morning; the second, true, relates to Hegel’s encounter with Napoleon which … Continue reading Hegel and Napoleon: On Heroes and the Sublime in History

Our Brave New Century

Michel Foucault famously wrote in Madness and Civilization, “The ultimate language of madness is that of reason.”[1]  Foucault was referring to liberal civilization—born of the Enlightenment—a civilization that extolled the virtues of materialistic rationalism, individualism, market economics, private property, which ends in the slow erosion of the communitarian bonds that had shaped human society since pre-modernity.  … Continue reading Our Brave New Century

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 IV: War and the State of Nature

Proceeding to reading Chapters 10-13 we hit the meat of Hobbes’s Leviathan.  We approach his famous commentary on the state of nature, wherein we are burdened by the “war of every man against everyman” or “war of all against all” (from the Latin edition: Bellum omnium contra omnes) and his bleak assessment that life in this state … Continue reading The Leviathan of Thomas Hobbes, Part IV: War and the State of Nature

Freedom from Harm: Andrew Jason Cohen’s “Liberalism Reconceived”

Andrew Jason Cohen has written and important book. While I will not quibble over issues of toleration and the metaphysical dilemma of universalism or monism vs. pluralism—wherein the liberal philosophical tradition while advocating “toleration” endorses metaphysical monism—Cohen’s “reappraisal” of liberalism as a philosophy promoting freedom from harm is not so much new as it is … Continue reading Freedom from Harm: Andrew Jason Cohen’s “Liberalism Reconceived”