Video: The Invention of the Written Word and Plato’s “The Myth of Theuth”

Perhaps some readers will be interested in this lecture on Plato’s delightfully memorable telling of The Myth of Theuth” from the Phaedrus dialogue. It was recorded for the sake of my students in a Critical Thinking course at Alaska Pacific University. I welcome any comments or thoughts on the subject. Warmly, Max

Miscellany: roses and “roses,” Aristotle, coronavirus

I appreciated your portrayal of the manner in which we may be inclined to employ our intellects to slice a concrete being up into conceptual abstractions. As an example: it is an abstraction to imagine the rose irrespective of the thorny stem from which it grows. So “abstraction” means that we represent one aspect or…

Miscellany: On Love

Love seeks to understand, but in a way that is different from the analytical or scientific connotations we might associate with that term. Analysis attempt to arrive at understanding through breaking something into its components parts, and thus everywhere we “murder to dissect,” to quote the poet Wordsworth, or “unweave the rainbow,” as Keats so…

Video Lecture: Love and Wisdom in Plato’s Symposium Dialogue

Some readers may be interested in a lecture on the relation of love and wisdom in the Symposium dialogue. It was recorded for the sake of my students in a Critical Thinking course at Alaska Pacific University. I welcome any comments or thoughts on the subject.

Miscellany: “Happy is he who knows the causes of things”

Felix qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas… fortunatus et ille deos qui novit agrestes.   “Happy is he who can learn the causes of things… also fortunate is he who knows the gods.” —Virgil, Georgics One way to think about the two forms of understanding is that human understanding begins from effects and attempts, piecemeal and…

Video Lecture: On Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave”

Perhaps some readers will be interested in this lecture on Plato’s iconic parable from Book VII of Republic. It was recorded for the sake of my students in a Critical Thinking course at Alaska Pacific University. I welcome any comments or thoughts on the subject. Warmly, Max

Miscellany: infants, pigeons, “critical thinking”

I appreciated your example of an infant in connection with naïve thinking. The connection is felicitous and very intuitive on your part since the word “naïve” is a French loan-word into English that originally stems from the Latin word for “birth.” We have other words in English that we have imported directly from Latin (not…

Elements of an Ethics Textbook (5): Virtue Ethics

Together with utilitarianism and deontology, virtue ethics presents the final category in the triumvirate of the most common classifications of ethical theories. Having fallen into the shadow cast by the novel Enlightenment theories of Kant, Bentham, and Mill for several centuries, virtue ethics has nevertheless experienced something of a revival in the latter part of…