Category Archives: History of Philosophy

St. Augustine on “Righteous Persecution”

Some quotations and brief glosses on Augustine’s views on the use of persecution and torture in order to save souls. “No salvation outside the church.” (418 CE) “[M]any must first be recalled to their Lord by the stripes of temporal … Continue reading

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Heidegger’s “Reunion Speech” of 1934

[Courtesy of the translator, W. H. F. Altman, here is the text of Martin Heidegger’s speech, delivered on the occasion of a 25th anniversary reunion in Konstanz, May 26-27, 1934.] Martin Heidegger, The Reunion Speech Twenty-five Years after Our Graduation, … Continue reading

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Kant and socialism, according to Cassirer

Ernst Cassirer (1874-1945) was a leading neo-Kantian philosopher. He trained under Hermann Cohen (1842–1918), a founder and leader of the Marburg school of neo-Kantianism, which was perhaps the most dominant school of philosophy in the German academic world in the … Continue reading

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Descartes’ reaction to Galileo’s conviction

The philosopher René Descartes in 1633: “I inquired in Leiden and Amsterdam whether Galileo’s World System was available, for I thought I’d heard that it was published in Italy last year. I was told that it had indeed been published … Continue reading

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Why Philosophy Begins with Thales

The standard claim is that philosophy begins with Thales. When I teach this to my students, it’s a hard sell, for here are the founding texts in philosophy — ascribed to Thales by Aristotle: “The first principle and basic nature … Continue reading

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Farsi translation of Nietzsche and the Nazis — cover image

The Farsi translation was published this month in Tehran, Iran. Much thanks to the translator, Mohsen Mahmoudi, to the publisher, Bourgeois Publishing in Teheran — and to everyone else involved in making this project happen. Here is information about all … Continue reading

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Heine versus Nietzsche on obscurantism in philosophy

To what extent is bad writing style, particularly bad academic style, a result of (a) poor skill, (b) affectation, (c) imitation, or (d) a tool to conceal the meaning and implications of one’s ideas? Heinrich Heine here lambasts many of … Continue reading

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Double insult — Rousseau and the French

Hugh Trevor-Roper was known for his biting polemical style. In a youthful fellowship essay he described Rousseau’s Confessions this way: “a lucid journal of a life so utterly degraded that it has been a bestseller in France ever since.”[1] Of … Continue reading

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