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

“Rules for the Direction of the Mind” by René Descartes

Rule I. All sciences are nothing but human wisdom, which always remains one and same, and is no more altered by the different subjects it is applied to, than is the light of the sun by the variety of the objects it illuminates. All sciences are interconnected and interdependent, therefore it is not necessary for the mind to be confined within any limits. Before delving … Continue reading “Rules for the Direction of the Mind” by René Descartes

“Critique of Practical Reason” by Immanuel Kant

I’ve enjoyed reading Kant so far, not because of any originality of his idea, but because of the clarity and architecture of his logic. To me it’s like listening to the music of Bach in a way. Freedom Freedom is the ratio essendi of the moral law, while the moral law is the ratio cognoscendi of freedom. For had not the moral law been previously … Continue reading “Critique of Practical Reason” by Immanuel Kant

“Philosophical Fragments” by Søren Kierkegaard

How Far Can We Know the Truth? In Plato’s Meno, an argument is raised that there is no such thing as a “truth seeker”, because if a man knows the truth already, there is no need to seek, and if he doesn’t, he can’t seek, since he wouldn’t recognize it even if he stumbles upon it. Socrates’ solution to Meno’s paradox is Recollection, i.e., the … Continue reading “Philosophical Fragments” by Søren Kierkegaard

“Posterior Analytics” by Aristotle

The Cause of Its Own Essence Demonstration is syllogism that proves the cause, i.e. the reasoned fact, and it is rather the commensurate universal than the particular which is causative (as may be shown thus: that which possesses an attribute through its own essential nature is itself the cause of the inherence, and the commensurate universal is primary; hence the commensurate universal is the cause). … Continue reading “Posterior Analytics” by Aristotle

“Epistles” by Plato

“My greatness consists in making myself follow my own instructions.” (Letter II) Wisdom and Power “It is natural for wisdom and great power to come together, and they are for ever pursuing and seeking each other and consorting together. … When men talk about Hiero or about Pausanias the Lacedaemonian they delight to bring in their meeting with Simonides and what he did and said … Continue reading “Epistles” by Plato

“Alcibiades I and II” by Plato

Alcibiades, son of Cleinias, nephew of Pericles, was an ambitious statesman of noble birth. Socrates counseled him to seek wisdom and virtue first, so that he may know, firstly, what is good and fitting for himself and for the nation, and secondly, whether he is qualified to rule. Know Thyself “Consider: if some one were to say to the eye, ‘See thyself,’ as you might … Continue reading “Alcibiades I and II” by Plato