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136. Ingmar Bergman’s Metaphysical Reduction, Part 1: “Through a Glass Darkly”

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  In May 1963, the Swedish film director Ingmar Bergman (1918-2007) retrospectively described his films “Through a Glass Darkly”, “Winter Light”, and “The Silence” as a trilogy with a theme: “The theme of these three films is a ‘reduction’ – Read more ›

107. St. Gregory of Nyssa on the origins and nature of the soul

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St. Gregory of Nyssa (335-394), in his work On the Soul and Resurrection (St. Vladmir’s Seminary Press, 1993), presents a very stimulating dialogue between two characters: Gregory and his sister Macrina. Through Macrina he argues that the existence of virtue Read more ›

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101. Mill’s Worst Polemical Offense and the 2016 Election

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In his classic work On Liberty (1859), John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) claimed that the freedom of thought and discussion was indispensable to a free society. Mill’s argument in defense of this freedom revolves around fallibilism or the view that no Read more ›

85. Thoughts on Richard III, Part 2: Forms of Evil

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In the last post, I considered how Shakespeare’s Richard III can be used to illustrate five stages of tyranny in politics. Now let’s look at how the play, on the one hand, illustrates four forms of evil, namely, demonic, instrumental, Read more ›

82. Plato on the Immortality of the Soul: Republic Book X, Part 4: Kierkegaard’s Development

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In the last three posts I have considered Plato’s argument for the immortality of the soul in book X of his dialogue the Republic. I would like to finish this series with a look at one attempt to present a Read more ›

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66. Dracula, Part 3

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‘Existentialism’ is a term that usually refers to philosophies that revolve around general and fundamental notions like authentic selfhood (or lack thereof), responsibility, choice, anxiety, death, commitment, and passion.  Existential philosophers usually avoid discussing impersonal issues and issues in an Read more ›

50. Why Do People Want to Assassinate Beauty?, Part 2

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Tristan Tzara, in his Dadaist Manifesto of 1918, argued that Dadaists were out to “assassinate beauty”. But why would anyone want to assassinate beauty? In the previous post I discussed, with reference to Plato’s Symposium, Roger Scruton’s account of this Read more ›

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22. The Demonic, Part 2: Demonic Music

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The Danish proto-existentialist philosopher Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) put forth an intriguing account of the demonic in chapter 4 of his eccentric work The Concept of Anxiety (see the Princeton edition translated by the Hongs). Kierkegaard claims the demonic person has “anxiety about the Read more ›

5. The Demonic, Part 1: Kierkegaard’s Demonic Fashion Designer

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The Danish proto-existentialist philosopher Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) put forth an intriguing account of the demonic in chapter 4 of his eccentric work The Concept of Anxiety (see the Princeton edition translated by the Hongs). Kierkegaard claims the demonic person has “anxiety about the Read more ›