I am hesitant to do back-to-back critiques of Stefan Molyneux, because I don't want the blog to become the "Contra Molyneux" journal. However, in his Christmas podcast, Stefan made a number of titillating and curious assertions, that I just couldn't resist...
On it's surface, it is a pop-culture expression of Cold War anxiety. But Cold War anxiety is just a symptom of a much deeper problem, and in this movie, is used as a mere cover story to ask essential questions: What does it mean to be human? What makes us so special? How did the Enlightenment change our understanding of ourselves as creatures in the universe: unique, and deserving of special regard because of that uniqueness? What would it matter if we did in fact "blow it all to hell"? What is the significance of our capacity to learn and understand, to communicate, to experience love and loss, to create, and to destroy? Planet of the Apes asks all of these questions, and more...
Unlike the old testament god of "power and might", the Christian God is great, precisely because he can choose to refrain from exercising his power, for the sake of something greater. The defining example of this, of course, is Christ's last moments on the cross, in which the Romans are permitted to murder his Son, and in a brief moment of his human frailty, Christ begs to know why. Thus, the God of Christianity has free will, and Christ answers Socrates Euthyphro dilemma, by suggesting that yes, there is a moral order written into the universe itself, that even God himself looks to for guidance.
In a previous post, I outlined some significant differences between Mill and Plato on the question of Pleasure, that I think are grounded in a misreading of Plato. Here, I present a few differences between Mill and Aristotle on the summum bonum, right and wrong action, and pleasure. When considering the arguments in Utilitarianism, and … Continue reading Mill Versus Aristotle – The Summum Bonum That Wasn’t
A just and ordered polity requires a rational, well ordered soul. Not all souls will achieve the rational ideal. This leaves the political voluntarist with a dilemma. Plato solved this by just putting the most just and ordered souls "in charge". But, of course, this is no solution at all, for the voluntarist.
I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, 'My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.' ~Isaiah 46:10 In The Republic, Socrates repeatedly insists that truth will be the highest value of his utopian society. To accomplish this, he argues that … Continue reading Plato and Nietzsche – The End is Written In The Beginning
Jordan Peterson’s “12 Rules For Life” is an admixture of continental philosophy, eastern mysticism, Jungian psychology, Christian theology, clinical psychotherapy insights, personal biography, and folk wisdom. At 368 pages, it’s just large enough to keep a thoughtful layman engaged without the more intimidating academic burden of his first book, “Maps of Meaning”. Dr. Peterson is … Continue reading Book Review: 12 Rules For Life, Jordan Peterson
Hume infers from his insight that it is not reason but moral opinion that moves us to act, that reason is not the source of moral opinion. From this, he then further argues that moral opinion is a product of the passions - special emotions that arise out of the relations of ideas and impressions. … Continue reading Hume, Plato, and the Impotence of Reason
Is it better to be truly just, or merely to seem so? This is the question put to Socrates by Glaucon in The Republic. Jonathan Haidt, in his book, “The Righteous Mind”, counts Glaucon among the cynics for putting this challenge to Socrates. But Haidt is missing a subtle and very powerful nuance in Plato’s … Continue reading Book Review: The Righteous Mind, Jonathan Haidt
...When in exerting any passion in action, we chuse means insufficient for the designed end, and deceive ourselves in our judgment of causes and effects. Where a passion is neither founded on false suppositions, nor chuses means insufficient for the end, the understanding can neither justify nor condemn it. It is not contrary to reason … Continue reading Reason Versus the Passions – Initial thoughts on Hume’s Treatise