What Can We Know? Knowledge vs. Belief vs. Reality

Questions like the nature of reality, perception and whether or not we can ever know what is real are many of the reasons why I often say that philosophy makes my head hurt. When I think about questions like these for an extended period of time, I not only have a headache, but I also … Continue reading What Can We Know? Knowledge vs. Belief vs. Reality

The Peloponnesian War and its Impact on Greek Society and Culture

The Peloponnesian War ravaged Greece from 431-404 BCE.  It was an epic and convoluted struggle that pitted Greek against Greek in a battle to the death over differing ideals about freedom and independence/autonomy.  While the Greek city states of Sparta and Athens had demonstrated that they could, in fact, work together to defeat the Persians … Continue reading The Peloponnesian War and its Impact on Greek Society and Culture

Ancient Greece – Pericles’ Funeral Oration

The source I chose for this week was Thucydides depiction of Pericles’ funeral oration.  I think this particular piece has a lot to say about Athenian life.  Even though the Athenians were in the midst of a long and costly war with Sparta that would ultimately mean their defeat, this beautiful oration sent a powerful … Continue reading Ancient Greece – Pericles’ Funeral Oration

Martin Luther and the Reformation

By the sixteenth century, the Catholic Church had endured amid controversy, schisms and corruption with little competition throughout much of Western Europe.  All that was about to change, however, with the reformer Martin Luther and his controversial (and heretical) opposition to Church doctrine and practices. Martin Luther’s primary disagreement with the church originated with the … Continue reading Martin Luther and the Reformation

Renaissance Humanism

Reading about Renaissance humanism emphasized the fact that there was no true “humanist movement” or “philosophy” that characterized the Renaissance, humanism did greatly impact culture, education, publication and art throughout Europe during the Renaissance.  While it can be said that humanism emphasized the dignity of the human being in relation to the divine and helped … Continue reading Renaissance Humanism

Renaissance Politics and Machiavelli

Writing at the turn of the 16th century, Nicolo Machiavelli was no stranger to conflict, upheaval and change rather than stability.  The Prince highlights the nature of that instability and offers guidelines, suggestions and examples for would-be rulers to emulate, as well as countless examples best avoided.  By divorcing ethics from politics[1], Machiavelli extoled virtues … Continue reading Renaissance Politics and Machiavelli

Crises of the 14th Century, part 1 – The Bubonic Plague

There’s nothing like cheering up your day with a little light reading on the bubonic plague – the scourge that swept through Eurasia, the Middle East and Europe and eliminated up to 1/3 of the population as it went. Although precise death counts will never be possible due to inflated numbers due to panic, 1/3 … Continue reading Crises of the 14th Century, part 1 – The Bubonic Plague