Chaucer’s Silence: On the General Prologue to the Canterbury Tales

In the "General Prologue" to Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, Chaucer holds up a mirror to the standards for classical poetics as described by Plato, Aristotle, and Horace. While in the Divina Commedia, Dante is led by the great Latin poet, Virgil, reporting on his celestial journey, in The Canterbury Tales¬†Chaucer is led by a mix … Continue reading Chaucer’s Silence: On the General Prologue to the Canterbury Tales

Ethos, Pathos, Logos: On Aristotle’s Rhetoric

Is there a type of rhetoric whose goal is not the mere winning of arguments? Aristotle's Rhetorike brings to light the nature of persuasive opinions ("rhetorike" is an odd word that appears in Plato's Gorgias as Gorgias understands public speeches to be intoxicating, though false claims that are compelling to the masses, while Socrates believes … Continue reading Ethos, Pathos, Logos: On Aristotle’s Rhetoric

On The Idea of Prayer in The Second Alcibiades

The two Alcibiades dialogues that have come down to us as Platonic are not cited by any authority, such as Aristotle. Instead, they have been ascribed to likely several generations after Plato, and attributed to his Platonic corpus, perhaps either by pupils or librarians at either Athens or Alexandria. Due to the impossibility of determining … Continue reading On The Idea of Prayer in The Second Alcibiades

The Teaching of Aristotle’s Politics

It was once said, in an uncommon fashion, that Aristotle's Politics contains the "coherent and comprehensive understanding of political things;" or the pre-scientific (i.e. modern natural and social science) understanding of political things. Yet it is also the text upon which modern natural and social science is dependent (and also in reaction against). Therefore, any … Continue reading The Teaching of Aristotle’s Politics

Aristotle’s Politics Books VII-VIII: The Best City and the Education of its Citizens

Before embarking on the question of the best form of government, we must first decide on the best on "way of life" that is most worthy of choice. And the most choice-worthy (disputed by no one) is the blessed and happy life based on external, bodily, and soulful goods. Aristotle calls upon the god as … Continue reading Aristotle’s Politics Books VII-VIII: The Best City and the Education of its Citizens

The Un-Wholesome Character of Main Street

Main Street is the novel that was supposed to win Sinclair Lewis the Pulitzer Prize in 1921. Widely popular in its day, the selection committee (the "novel jury") recommended the novel to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize, however it was overturned due to a controversial change to Mr. Pulitzer's estate gift to Columbia University - … Continue reading The Un-Wholesome Character of Main Street

Aristotle’s Politics Book VI: On The Endurance of Democracies and Oligarchies

Book VI continues with Aristotle's focus on the political associations of democracy and oligarchy, the most common regimes of his day. Aristotle seeks, for the purposes of rulers and legislators, things that are proper to the underlying principles of these forms of government. He looks to discuss their: guiding beliefs, character, and their aims. According … Continue reading Aristotle’s Politics Book VI: On The Endurance of Democracies and Oligarchies