Category Philosophy

Book Review: The Drama of Atheist Humanism

The Drama of Atheist Humanism brings together into book form several long articles by Henri de Lubac. The articles and subsequent book were published during the Second World War under the Vichy regime in France when it was not possible to mention the Nazis by name, but when people were naturally thinking about the causes and nature of the […]

The Sorrow of Odysseus

Last week I mentioned that The Iliad  is a boy’s book, and The Odyssey is a book for men. The only way to identify with Odysseus is by getting older. I once spent a brief but memorable vacation on a beach in Southern Italy rumored to have inspired some of the scenes from The Odyssey. I was 32 years old, […]

The American Aristotle?

For Aristotle, the goal of all human activity is happiness. Everything people pursue (money, honor, pleasure), they pursue because they think it will make them happy. The art of living well is knowing what sort of activities will make you happy, and which will not. For Aristotle, the life of virtue (or excellence, an alternate […]

Truth and Beauty

This morning I attended the funeral Mass of my high-school music teacher, Jerry Phillips. He could be gruff, but now that I’m an adult looking back, I’m amazed at his kindness, tolerance and good humor. We pulled pranks on him that, in my teaching days, would have driven me to red-faced profanity. We  laughed at […]

Book Review: Walker Percy’s Love In the Ruins

Love in the Ruins, an apocalyptic comedy, was published in 1971 and takes place in what then would have been the “near future” of the early 1990’s. The place is Louisiana. The good old USA finds itself in a state of decline as liberals fight it out with conservatives, black guerrillas fight against whites, hippies living […]

Truth and Tolerance (Part 3 of 3)

Today I hope to wrap up my review of Joseph Ratzinger’s Truth and Tolerance. The book is ultimately about faith and culture. He basically defines them like this: Culture, for Ratzinger, is the social expression of the perceptions and values that shape the community. Culture shapes how the individual looks at the world, man, and god. But individual experiences also feed back into […]

Truth and Tolerance (Part 2)

Monotheism and History. I said that today I would talk about Ratzinger’s view faith and culture, but looking at yesterday’s post I see an area of Ratzinger’s thought that needs more fleshing out. In the first essay it is clear that his main concern is to contrast mysticism, a religious attitude which sees all the world’s […]

Book 10: Truth and Tolerance

I was planning on finishing my series on the ten books that most influenced my thought with Joseph Ratzinger’s Truth and Tolerance, not because it is the greatest, most influential book I’ve ever read, but for the more mundane reason that I stole the title as the name of my blog and figured it would be a fitting […]

Another Book: After Virtue

OK, I admit that when you set out to write a list of ten books that have most influenced your thought processes, you end up having to dig pretty deep and start scraping the bottom somewhere around number six. But rather than admit defeat, I’ll mention part of a book that I never had the […]

Book Review: Selected Writings of Karl Popper

Karl Popper wrote mostly about the history and method of science. He is generally credited with coining the term “falsification”, arguing that the point of scientific experiments is not to prove or “verify” a theory, but to disprove or “falsify” it. For example, Einstein’s theories of relativity had great explanatory power: his theories accounted for not only the movements of […]