According to Greek mythology, Procrustes offered hospitality to passers-by with the intent to kill them. He had only one bed for all comers. To make them fit the bed, he hammered the short men till they are stretched across the length of the bed, but sawed off the portions of the long men that projected beyond it. He was eventually subdued by the hero Theseus, … Continue reading Beware of Procrustes: Second Metaphor of the Scientific Method
I wish Hume had taken Philosophy 101, with an emphasis on Logic, from Aristotle. That thought crossed my mind many times when reading the Enquiry. Hume should have known that many ideas he had difficulty expressing had been defined by Aristotle long before him. He could have saved himself some trouble reinventing the wheel –and his reader some time clearing away the rubble of logical … Continue reading An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding II.
Hume and Moral Philosophy Hume speaks of “moral philosophy” in the very beginning of his treatise. I have a sneaking suspicion that one of the main purposes of his writing is to overthrow moral philosophy and religion up till his time, like what Nietzsche attempted a century later. Hume didn’t come right out and attack Christian philosophy, perhaps because blasphemy law was still in effect … Continue reading “An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding” by David Hume
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
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
The important thing in 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. Someone said that the Athenians were good at sophistry, not sound reasoning, whereas the judicial system in … Continue reading Antonin Scalia: The Socrates of the SCOTUS
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