Parmenides- Russell’s History of Western Philosophy, chapter by chapter- (5)

Life Parmenides was born, it is thought, around 515 BCE in Elea. It was believed that an old Parmenides actually taught a young Socrates, although this is debated. In this article, we will look at his attempt to explain permanence in nature, and be introduced to an early problem in the philosophy of language. Philosophy…… Continue reading Parmenides- Russell’s History of Western Philosophy, chapter by chapter- (5)

Heraclitus- Russell’s History of Western Philosophy, chapter by chapter (4)

Yesterday we looked at how Pythagoras sought to explain the world through numbers. Reducing things to numbers reduces them to unchanging facts, or at the very least, to unchanging patterns. Heraclitus believed that nothing ever stayed the same, and it is this which we shall look at today. Background Most of what we know of…… Continue reading Heraclitus- Russell’s History of Western Philosophy, chapter by chapter (4)

Pythagoras- Russell’s History of Western Philosophy, chapter by chapter- (3)

In this chapter Russell looks at Pythagoras. We all remember him from mathematics in school, but the influence he had was rather impressive. Background We have just looked at the intellectual climate of Miletus with Thales, Anaximenes and Anaximander. Pythagoras lived roughly during the same time. He was a citizen of Samos. Samos was a…… Continue reading Pythagoras- Russell’s History of Western Philosophy, chapter by chapter- (3)

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

Why literature is our most important cultural tool

Literature is a tool which shapes culture, and then edifies it. It creates vicarious experiences within the reader, therefore allowing us to live the lives of others. In this way, it is also a tool which crafts us into the individuals we become. Its twofold purpose of crafting culture and individuals is a contiguous, symbiotic…… Continue reading Why literature is our most important cultural tool

Does our self-image get in the way of us living our lives?

” ‘Know thyself’ is not just silly advice: it’s actively dangerous”, so reads the title of an essay from Aeon Magazine (Found here). The accusation is that you can not know yourself because you change over time, and therefore to know yourself is a mistaken notion. At most, you can only know who you were…… Continue reading Does our self-image get in the way of us living our lives?