Philosophical Virtues – Humility

Philosophical Virtues – Humility

Philosophical Virtues – Humility

Socrates was by nature a very humble man, he was always the first to admit that he didn’t know anything and spent his entire adult life trying his best to prove that he was not wise. Some years before the Oracle at Delphi had told his friend Chaerephon that none were wiser than Socrates. It seems that this revelation disturbed Socrates who convinced that he was not wise, made it life’s work to prove the oracle wrong. Socrates didn’t feel like a wise man and as a result made it his habit to meet and converse with the acknowledged experts

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Hierocles and The Cosmopolitan Ideal in the Ancient World.

Hierocles and The Cosmopolitan Ideal in the Ancient World.

The origins of cosmopolitanism can be traced all of the way back to the 4th Century BC, to the then much loved (as indeed he still is today) Diogenes of Sinope, who having been forced into exile from his home city of Sinope moved to Athens to live the simple lifestyle of an ascetic, sleeping in a cracked pot in the marketplace and begging for food. The exploits of Diogenes are manifold and legendarily famous, he turned philosophy into a performance-art, demonstrating his values through deeds not just words, becoming a hugely popular and much-loved figure in and around Athens.

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The Legislative State

The Legislative State

In the developed world with western economies such as the USA, Europe and the UK there are a never-ending plethora of new laws being passed by government day in day out. Some like the now infamous European Union approved Article 11 and Article 13 both of which are clearly designed to benefit some people or entities (such as corporations) at the expense of all others. I found a real Gem the other day when reading the Ethical Fragments of Hierocles, (a 2nd century AD stoic philosopher) who said: “I therefore commend Zaleucus, the Locrian legislator who ordained, that he who

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Buddhist philosophy on the self – What is it that makes you, you?

Buddhist philosophy on the self – What is it that makes you, you?

(Note: Sanskrit or Pali words are highlighted in italics) Buddhist philosophy offers us a conceptual model to deconstruct the individual into the constituents or components that make up his being. Outside these five components there can be no individual and to remove them would be to demolish the individual being. Since this model deals with the nature of being, then it is a concept that comes under the category of ontology, the philosophical study of being. So now enter the Skandhas, of which are a core concept in Buddhism. The concept is also known as the five aggregates that make

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A Pattern in the Cosmos.

A Pattern in the Cosmos.

I often like to look at the night sky, to see the heavens ablaze with the light of distant suns. It provokes a feeling of awe and makes me think of the bigger questions in life, drawing me into the mystery of existence as I stare out into eternity. The universe and I and you are all undoubtedly one thing. How that thing got started is an enigma, it’s the primordial mystery. If we zoom out to the very largest of cosmic scales we can see that the universe has a structure and is made up of increasingly smaller things

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Marcus Aurelius on time, entropy, history and the love of life…

Marcus Aurelius on time, entropy, history and the love of life…

I absolutely love Marcus Aurelius, I’ve never met him of course (I’m much too young for that), but I’ve read his works and in a sense, the spirit of the man lives on. His spirit is noble, simple, lonely and kind. Marcus is my favourite stoic, I admire him because he put his duty to the people and senate of Rome before all other things. His devotion to his office is why we remember him as one of the Four Great Emperors of Rome. What’s also evident in his notes to himself (the Meditations), is that Marcus was full of

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The Internet and Free Speech

The Internet and Free Speech

We live in a polarized age, mainly thanks to the internet. It’s a double-edged sword and like all gifts of the gods, it can cut both ways. It can bring good things and also bad things, just like the original and first gift of the gods, namely fire. Fire can warm you, and be used to cook your food, burn your enemies and be nice to look at, but it can burn your crops too, destroy your household and consume all in its path, badly handled fire is a terrible thing, and so it is with the internet which is

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What is Philosophy For? (According to the Stoics)

What is Philosophy For? (According to the Stoics)

It’s amazing, that one of the things that I treasure about getting older (for me at least,) is that I have an increased sense of gratitude for the life that I have. I really value the experience of living. Every moment is precious. “When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love …” Marcus Aurelius. It’s not that the clock is running down, although it certainly is for me, compared to someone born yesterday or even twenty or thirty years ago. It’s simply that I am grateful

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10 Ways to deal with your enemies like a Roman Emperor

10 Ways to deal with your enemies like a Roman Emperor

I’ve always been the type of guy who thought that he didn’t have enemies in life. I was the nice guy, I did nice things, I was kind to everyone, cheerful, polite, a bit of a loner, self-reliant, solitary, with a few good friends and determined to do good. Why would anyone be an enemy to me? The argument from determinism. I’ve turned the other cheek, tried to see the best in people and whilst I haven’t always agreed or supported their actions, I’ve taken the view that if I had lived completely in their shoes and experienced what they

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The Chief Good

The Chief Good

  Introduction In this article we will explore the epicurean notions of wellbeing my primary source is book one of Cicero’s De Finibus in which Lucius Torquatus delivers a broad outline of epicurean ethics. (Lucius Manlius Torquatus was an ancient Roman statesman and military general during the later Roman Republic. Torquatus was an epicurean as revealed in Cicero’s De Finibus written in 45BC which accounted philosophical discourses of Cicero’s younger days. He was friends with Marcus Junius Brutus and the esteemed Roman polymath Marcus Tullius Cicero.)   The epicurean pleasure ‘The chief good, the chief good!’ This phrase was all the

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