Ingersoll: Free Will

Commenting on the notion of free will, 19th century American thinker Robert G. Ingersoll writes, “People are under the necessity of feeding, clothing, and sheltering themselves. To the extent of their actual wants, they are not free. Every limitation is a master. Every finite being is a prisoner, and no man has ever yet looked above or beyond the prison walls.” In this video, we will discuss Ingersoll’s argument that free will does not exist. Continue reading

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SENECA: On Providence

If an all-good, all-knowing, and all-powerful God exists, why does evil and suffering befall good men? This question has perplexed theologians and philosophers for centuries. Many have tried to solve this problem. Of the numerous proposed solutions, the Latin philosopher, Seneca, provides one of the best. He simply asserts that no evil ever befalls good men. In this video, we will discuss Seneca’s short essay titled, On Providence, in which he explains his unique solution to the problem of evil. Continue reading

PLATO: The Republic [Book III]

In Book III of Plato’s Republic, Socrates continues his discussion of poetry. He asserts that poetry ought to dispel the fear of death, not encourage it. For example, he criticizes Homer’s portrayal of Achilles in the underworld. In Homer’s Odyssey, Odysseus meets Achilles in the underworld. Achilles tells Odysseus that he “would rather be a serf on the land of a poor man than rule over all the dead.” Socrates argues that this type of attitude will cultivate a fear of death in the minds of young men who read Homer’s Odyssey. This development of cowardice is contrary to Socrates’ goal of training men to “choose death in battle rather than defeat and slavery.” Continue reading

George Berkeley: Subjective Idealism

The Anglo-Irish philosopher George Berkeley once said “Esse est percipi,” which means “to be is to be perceived.” According to Berkeley, only minds and ideas exist; matter does not exist. He discusses this theory, which will later be referred to as subjective idealism, in his treatise titled, The Principles of Human Knowledge. In this video, we will explore Berkeley’s radical ontology, which, if accepted, resolves many philosophical paradoxes that have haunted mankind from time immemorial. Continue reading

NIETZSCHE: Guilty Conscience

In Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the pangs of a guilty conscience drive Lady Macbeth to madness. Her doctor remarks that medicine cannot cure a sense of guilt. “More needs she the divine than the physician.” Guilt overwhelms Lady Macbeth until she finally commits suicide at the end of the play. Continue reading

NIETZSCHE: On Suffering – Analysis

Many of the wisest men have regarded pain and suffering as objections to life itself. Socrates, for example, railed against life, and he urged his followers to practice death. Many religious leaders promise to the faithful an eternal afterlife free from pain – rendering this earthly existence as an evil that must be endured. But Nietzsche is different. “I do not point to the evil and pain of existence with the finger of reproach, but rather entertain the hope that life may one day become more evil and more full of suffering than it has ever been.” In this video we will explain why Nietzsche valued suffering and why he desired more of it. Continue reading