Sparta- Russell’s History of Western Philosophy, chapter by chapter- (12)

Sparta had a profound influence on the subsequent philosophy of Greece through Plato and Aristotle, so Russell takes a chapter to explain their fascinating culture. We will see the politics of Sparta replicated in the Politics of Plato, and even as far in the future as Nietzsche’s thoughts on culture. Helots Sparta had no interest…… Continue reading Sparta- Russell’s History of Western Philosophy, chapter by chapter- (12)

Socrates- Russell’s History of Western Philosophy, chapter by chapter- (11)

Today we move on to a discussion of Socrates. Russell only focuses on him briefly because of the fact that we have so much historical uncertainty regarding him. This article will mostly focus on what we know of him through Plato and Xenophon. One interesting thing about the historicity of Socrates is that we can…… Continue reading Socrates- Russell’s History of Western Philosophy, chapter by chapter- (11)

Protagoras- Russell’s History of Western Philosophy, chapter by chapter- (10)

This is the final chapter in the section on philosophers preceding Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. Tomorrow we will begin with Socrates. In it is discussed Protagoras and the Sophists. The Sophists were a group of philosophers who taught their ideas and knowledge to people for a price. Protagoras was himself a Sophist. He was very…… Continue reading Protagoras- Russell’s History of Western Philosophy, chapter by chapter- (10)

Athens in relation to culture- Russell’s History of Western Philosophy, chapter by chapter- (7)

This is a short chapter which discusses the reasons Athens became a more dominant force on the world stage. In the following chapters, we will see discussion shift almost entirely to the intellectual circle of Athenian culture. Athens took over as the ‘producer of great men’ after defeating the Persians in conflict. They toppled Darius…… Continue reading Athens in relation to culture- Russell’s History of Western Philosophy, chapter by chapter- (7)

Empedocles- Russell’s History of Western Philosophy, chapter by chapter (6)

Empedocles represents the cusp of Greek scientific endeavour. He was a brilliant thinker in regards of his science, but his religious life was rather different. It is worth separating the two because of how at odds with each other they are. He flourished around the date of 440BCE in Akragas. He was originally a successful…… Continue reading Empedocles- Russell’s History of Western Philosophy, chapter by chapter (6)

The Milesian School- Russell’s History of Western Philosophy, chapter by chapter- (2)

In this chapter, Russell looks at the Milesian school. Miletus was important because it was a very successful commercial city and consequently helped migrate the ideas of Egypt and Babylon to Greece. Miletus was also trading with Lydia, with whom the Greeks made their wealth in silver and gold. Russell focuses on three thinkers; Thales,…… Continue reading The Milesian School- Russell’s History of Western Philosophy, chapter by chapter- (2)

The Pre-Socratics- Russell’s History of Western Philosophy, chapter by chapter- (1)

In this series I will explain Bertrand Russell’s A History of Western Philosophy, chapter by chapter, in digestible pieces. In this first chapter, Russell concerns himself with laying the foundations of Greek culture. This is integral to further discussion because many of the foundational aspects of early Greek culture persisted in, and influenced, the philosophy…… Continue reading The Pre-Socratics- Russell’s History of Western Philosophy, chapter by chapter- (1)

Society- the conscious mind’s attempt to develop the subconscious?

Our unconscious urges and imagination are the driving forces of our overall nature, but when we confront them, they can seem completely strange to us. The unmitigated primal quality behind the social self seems uncivilised and uncultivated. Our higher self must indeed have a profound part to play in channelling our raw nature into the…… Continue reading Society- the conscious mind’s attempt to develop the subconscious?

Mythologies- Barthes on… Ornamental Cookery

Modern depictions of food are concerned more with artifice and ideology than with genuine potential as food to be eaten. Food in our magazines and on television isn’t ‘real’ food. This is what Barthes concerns himself with in Ornamental Cookery. He explains how food in contemporary culture as been given an artificial reality to repackage…… Continue reading Mythologies- Barthes on… Ornamental Cookery

How we reduce our lives to symbols and narratives

A picture is about what is included in it. There is an argument to be made that the meaning of a picture is also to be found in what is omitted from the frame, but what is included needs to be seen first in order to establish what is missing. In this way, the totality…… Continue reading How we reduce our lives to symbols and narratives