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Philosophy Now

Philosophy Now October/November 2017

Philosophy Now is a magazine for everyone interested in ideas. It isn't afraid to tackle all the major questions of life, the universe and everything. It tries to corrupt innocent citizens by convincing them that philosophy can be exciting, worthwhile and comprehensible, and also to provide some light and enjoyable reading matter for those already ensnared by the muse, such as philosophy students and academics. It contains articles on all aspects of philosophy, plus book reviews, film reviews, news, cartoons, and the occasional short story.

Country:
United Kingdom
Language:
English
Publisher:
Anja Publications Ltd
Frequency:
Bimonthly
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6 Issues

in this issue

4 min.
socrates & plato now & then

Socrates (470-399 BC) was an Athenian soldier turned stonemason who was inspired to do philosophy. Socrates taught the young aristocrat Plato (428-348 BC). Plato taught the doctor’s son Aristotle (384-322 BC). And Aristotle taught Alexander (356-323 BC), son of Philip, King of Macedon, just north of the Greek heartland. One thing that Aristotle taught Alexander was the superiority of Greek rationalism and culture. This belief inspired Alexander to go forth and conquer most of the known, and some of the unknown, world, in the name of its Hellenisation (the Ancient Greeks didn’t call themselves ‘the Ancient Greeks’: they knew themselves as ‘Hellenes’). In conquering a swathe of the world, Alexander became known as ‘the Great’. So we can see the sort of influence doing philosophy can occasionally have. What’s the background…

4 min.
news

Philosophic Park How pleasant it is to take the occasional intellectual stroll through the history of philosophy. Now you can do the same physically: at Sophi-Park in the German town of Bad Liebenzell in the Black Forest. Ten artists and a team of gardeners have created a wonder world of sculptures and horticultural art that invite you to think, marvel and disagree, stimulating its visitors to talk and debate. EU, local political and private sponsorship made the three year construction project possible, with the park opening in June, and a charity will pay the running costs of two permanent gardeners. The park is structured into ten areas, each representing a different philosophical era or approach and each with its own distinct works of art, quotations, planting and seating. In one of…

14 min.
rediscovering plato’s vision

It’s a frustrating time to be a fan of Plato. Public intellectuals routinely misrepresent him, and it’s hard to find courses that can unveil the richness of insight and meaning which the best thinkers of twenty-three centuries, from Plotinus to Iris Murdoch, have discerned in his dialogues. Take one common misapprehension – that Plato was a bodysoul dualist, loathing the body and loving the soul. Yet Plato clearly tells us in The Republic that it’s an error to relate body and soul as if in a hierarchy. Take another: it’s regularly said that Plato is the godfather of secular philosophy because he trusted the powers of human reason. What’s overlooked is that Plato often remarks on the failure of human rationality, arguing that it’s not human minds that are reliably rational,…

10 min.
socrates, memory & the internet

“This invention, O king [writing],” said Theuth, “will make the Egyptians wiser and will improve their memories; for it is an elixir of memory and wisdom that I have discovered.” But Thamus replied, “Most ingenious Theuth, one man has the ability to beget arts, but the ability to judge of their usefulness or harmfulness to their users belongs to another; and now you, who are the father of letters, have been led by your affection to ascribe to them a power the opposite of that which they really possess. For this invention will produce forgetfulness in the minds of those who learn to use it, because they will not practice their memory.” Plato, Phaedrus It’s funny, isn’t it, how a text written over two thousand years ago can be so relevant…

2 min.
philosophical haiku

MARY WOLLSTONECRAFT (1759–1797) Liberty still-born Chill phrases cast out by men Ourselves yet in chains Mary Wollstonecraft, like her contemporary Thomas Paine, was one of those ‘whining liberals’ who made the conservative philosopher Edmund Burke’s stomach churn. But in one respect at least, she was even worse than Paine: she actually thought women should have the same rights as men! What madness! After Burke published his Reflections on the Revolution in France, in which he patiently explained why poor people and women shouldn’t go around upsetting apple carts, Wollstonecraft responded withVindication of the Rights of Men (1790). Good title for a feminist? Not really. So Mary quickly banged out another work, Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792). It’s all very well and good, she said in that work, to go on about…

12 min.
embracing imperfection plato vs nussbaum on love

Plato’s dialogues, most notably the Phaedrus and the Symposium, mark the beginning of 2,400 years of written philosophical contemplations on love. Many lovers have loved since, and many thinkers have thought and struggled to understand. Who has never asked themselves the question: What is love? The various discussions since range from Aristotle to an abundance of contemporary philosophy and fiction on the topic. Alain Badiou’s In Praise of Love, Alain de Botton’s Essays in Love, and Byung Chul Han’s Die Agonie des Eros, all published in the past ten years, refer to Plato’s account, so it is clear that Plato’s treatment of love remains relevant. Naturally, the conception has also dramatically changed over this long period of time. The non-sexual, purely intellectual relationship that the modern English speaker understands as…