“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

“Physics” by Aristotle

Contraries as Principles All philosophers identify their principles with the contraries. They differ, however, from one another in that some assume contraries which are more knowable in the order of explanation, i.e. universal, others those more familiar to sense, i.e., particular. ‘The great and the small’, for example, belong to the former class, ‘the dense and the rare’ to the latter. In any one genus … Continue reading “Physics” by Aristotle

“On the Sublime” By Longinus

Sublimity is the image of greatness of soul. The effect of elevated language upon an audience is not persuasion but transport. Skill in invention, and due order and arrangement of matter, emerging as the hard-won result not of one thing nor of two, but of the whole texture of the composition, whereas Sublimity flashing forth at the right moment scatters everything before it like a … Continue reading “On the Sublime” By Longinus

“The Code of Hammurabi” by Hammurabi

The Code of Hammurabi, one of the oldest surviving codes of law, was enacted by the sixth king of Babylon, Hammurabi. Like the Mosaic Law, a large portion of the code deals with property rights and family relations. The prominent feature of the code, however, is its emphasis on individual responsibility, imposing heavy penalties on neglect and sloth, from which even the judges and governors … Continue reading “The Code of Hammurabi” by Hammurabi

Moralia: Signs of Malice in a Writer

In one of his essays, Plutarch accuses Herodotus, another famed historian, of malice. Whether the specific charges are true is open to dispute, but the general outline he lays down is very insightful. First, use of severe words when gentle ones will serve, derogative generalities, rather than specifics regarding the facts. For example, when he might have called Nicias “too much addicted to pious practices,” he … Continue reading Moralia: Signs of Malice in a Writer

Moralia: Why Salt Was Regarded As Divine

In Iliad, Homer writes, “He sprinkled with salt divine”. Plato says in Timaeus that by the custom of mankind salt is regarded as of all substances the one most favoured by the gods. Egyptian priests, on the other hand, made it a point of religion to abstain completely from salt. Perhaps the Egyptians from motives of purity avoid salt on account of the aphrodisiac properties … Continue reading Moralia: Why Salt Was Regarded As Divine