“Manifesto of the Communist Party” by Karl Marx

Reading Marx and Engels for the first time, I’m amazed how accurate some of their predictions and descriptions of world history are, how incisive and witty their criticisms can be, while at the same time perplexed by their economic theory of property, capital and wage-labor. The Bourgeoisie The bourgeoisie has put an end to all feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relations…It has left remaining no other nexus … Continue reading “Manifesto of the Communist Party” by Karl Marx

“Provincial Letters” By Blaise Pascal

Do not answer a fool according to his folly, Lest you also be like him. Answer a fool according to his folly, Lest he be wise in his own eyes. –Proverbs 26:4,5 Blaise Pascal, a Catholic theologian, scientist and brilliant thinker, wrote these letters to defend his Jansenist friends against charges of heresy by the Jesuits. I tend to think that Pascal and Kierkegaard are … Continue reading “Provincial Letters” By Blaise Pascal

Antonin Scalia: The Socrates of the SCOTUS

The important thing in the Democracy is not to win, but to take part; the important thing in Life is not to have conquered but to have fought well. Socrates v. Scalia About four years ago, I had an interesting group discussion about the trial and death of Socrates, and how the democracy of Athens that put him to death differed from that of America. … Continue reading Antonin Scalia: The Socrates of the SCOTUS

“Two Treatises of Government” By John Locke

Locke criticizes, Sir Robert Filmer, a proponent of divine right of kings, for not defining terms clearly and building an edifice of political theory on a dubious foundation. I find it ironic that he makes the same mistake, and consequently, “there was never so much glib nonsense put together in well-sounding English”. In this review, I’ll first summarize Locke’s ideas in his own words, and … Continue reading “Two Treatises of Government” By John Locke

“The Pathway Of Life” by Leo Tolstoy

[Posted to commemorate the 106th anniversary of Tolstoy’s death] Who Am I? A man who has attained old age has passed through many vicissitudes : he was first an infant, then a child, an adult, an old man. But no matter how he has changed, he always calls himself “I.” This “I” was the same in his infancy, in his period of maturity, in his … Continue reading “The Pathway Of Life” by Leo Tolstoy

“The Invisible Collection” by Stefan Zweig

Conciseness has always seemed to me to be the most essential problem in art. To fit his destiny to a man so nicely as to leave no vacuum, to inclose him as radiantly as the ember does the fly and yet the while preserve every detail of his being has, of all tasks, ever been the dearest to me. –Stefan Zweig Stefan Zweig was an … Continue reading “The Invisible Collection” by Stefan Zweig

The Brothers Karamazov: III. The Foundation of Morality

In a previous post on Dostoevsky, I formulated his argument that belief in God is necessary for morality from an ontological perspective. In this post, I’ll formulate it from an epistemological perspective, following the method of René Descartes. Foundation of Knowledge In his Meditations, Descartes reasoned that ideas formed within our mind have their origin beyond our mind, that is, our ideas are caused by … Continue reading The Brothers Karamazov: III. The Foundation of Morality