Tag Archives: Plato

Aristotle Changed the Way Europe Thought

In “Aristotle’s Children,” Richard Rubenstein gets us to rethink the Faith-Reason and Religion-Science splits. When Aristotle revolutionized the High Middle Ages, Church leaders and thinkers tried to reconcile the tensions. Knowing this has me rethinking Marlowe, Shakespeare, and Donne.

Posted in Aristotle, Donne (John), Marlowe (Christopher), Plato, Shakespeare (William) | Also tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Defending Homer against Plato

Plato’s attacks on Homer have to do with the bard’s focus earthly concerns rather than higher ones. Following Plato’s prescriptions, however, will not produce very interesting poetry.

Posted in Fielding (Henry), Homer | Also tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

To Strengthen Your Caring, Read Lit

When we become numb to the world’s horrors, the problem is not the numbness but the insufficient attention paid. Reading lit can help us overcome compassion fatigue

Posted in Dickinson (Emily), Murdoch (Iris), Plato | Also tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Can Lit Also Be a Force for Evil? A Debate

The classics are capable to doing great good but can they also do harm? Even as they powerfully open up the mind to new possibilities, can they also close it down? A debate.

Posted in Aristotle, Austen (Jane), Plato, Shelley (Percy), Sidney (Sir Philip) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Plato Anxious about Lit’s Pyschic Impact

Plato’s complaints about literature show up in censorship battles today. They testify to power of literature to invite imitation.

Posted in Aeschylus, Hesiod, Homer, Plato | Also tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Plato’s Warning: Beware of Poets

While Plato advocated banning poets from the ideal republic, his censure works as an indirect testimony to literature’s power.

Posted in Plato | Also tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Finding Hope in a Captured Fish

Elizabeth Bishop’s “The Fish” works as a powerful meditation on hope.

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Blow Out Your Candles, No Darkness

This Richard Wilbur poem has fun kidding the poet’s esoteric friend.

Posted in Wilbur (Richard) | Also tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Why Literary Suffering Made Plato Nervous

Plato worried that Greek tragedy causes us to act irrationally.

Posted in Hopkins (Gerard Manley), Plato | Also tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Answer the Door, Child–Truth is Knocking

We had our major awards ceremony this past Saturday. As is tradition, we began with a poem by Lucille Clifton that she allowed us to adapt slightly for the occasion.Our president then gave one of his patented speeches, this one centered on Plato’s Meno. It was exactly what I wanted our students to hear: a full-blown defense of the liberal arts.

Posted in Clifton (Lucille), Plato | Also tagged , , , , , , | Comments closed

Final Instructions from a Dying Teacher

Last Thursday we had our memorial service for my friend Alan Paskow, the philosophy colleague whom I have written about several times. In my own remarks I invoked Plato’s Crito. I said that, for the three-plus years that Alan lived with the diagnosis of a terminal illness, he was like Socrates after having drunk the hemlock He knew that he was dying but he used his illness as an opportunity to explore with others what it meant. Like Socrates, he was a teacher to the end.

Posted in Plato, Thomas (Dylan) | Also tagged , , , | 1 Comment

The Classics, Better than Business Guides

The Republic, The Art of War, The Social Contract, The Prince, and the Tao Te Ching gave me a way of understanding the broader implications of the business choices I was making. They helped me look beyond the immediate challenges to find a greater purpose. My individual efforts seemed part of a legacy of thinkers and doers who had come before.

Posted in Plato, Tao Te Ching | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Christopher Hitchens, Literary Bully

I confess to bristling when I hear the name Christopher Hitchens.The intellectual provocateur has been in the news recently, first for publishing his memoirs and second for contracting throat cancer.Although he is smart and well read, he has always struck me as a self-righteous intellectual bully, one who is more interested in toppling icons than […]

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