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

The Brothers Karamazov: II. The Nature of Freedom

Choice vs. Freedom There is an important distinction, which most people overlook, between free choice of the will, commonly known as free will, and freedom. Choice is consequent of multiplicity, but freedom is consequent of power of being or becoming. For example, when a person is present at a crossroad, he has a choice between one way or the other, but he does not necessarily … Continue reading The Brothers Karamazov: II. The Nature of Freedom

The Brothers Karamazov: I. The Nature of Morality

The Natural Law The word morality comes from the Latin root mos (meaning “custom or law”), which in turn is a translation of the Greek word ἠθικός (“character or moral nature”). The idea of natural law originated with Plato and the Stoics, and found its full expression in Cicero: The universe is governed by God, who has implanted the immortal soul in man from His … Continue reading The Brothers Karamazov: I. The Nature of Morality

“A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge” by George Berkeley

The Meaning of Reality I was taught from a very young age that reality is what exists independently of human perception and knowledge, and we gain knowledge of reality if and only if our ideas correspond to it. Fantasy is that which has no correspondence in reality, and exists only in the mind of an individual — unless he communicates his fantasy, others have no … Continue reading “A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge” by George Berkeley

“The Transcendentalist” by Ralph Waldo Emerson

As thinkers, mankind have ever divided into three sects: 1. The Materialist: “Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.” 2. The Transcendentalist: “Though we should soar into the heavens, though we should sink into the … Continue reading “The Transcendentalist” by Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Enchiridion and Fragments” by Epictetus

A life at odds with Fortune resembles a wintry torrent, for it is turbulent, muddy, difficult to pass, violent, noisy and brief; A soul conversant with virtue resembles a perpetual fountain; for it is clear, gentle, agreeable, sweet, serviceable, rich, harmless and innocent. They who have a good constitution of body can bear heat and cold; and so they who have a right constitution of … Continue reading “Enchiridion and Fragments” by Epictetus

“Monarchia” by Dante Alighieri

Dante inquires into three questions concerning monarchy: 1. Whether universal monarchy is necessary to the well-being of the world 2. Whether the Roman people took on Empire by right 3. Whether imperial authority comes from God directly or the Pope Papal vs. Imperial Authority 1. The Priest and King Argument Argument for Papal Authority: From the text of the first book of Kings, they take … Continue reading “Monarchia” by Dante Alighieri