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  • The Witches of Macbeth: A Weyward Translation

    February 22, 2018

    Imagine a smoking cauldron rising from the trapdoor of the Globe’s center stage as you hear echoes of thunder from the attics. Three bearded men cloaked in black rags and tattered capes slink onto the stage as they chant. It might be the middle of the afternoon, but Shakespeare…

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  • Sources, Scholarship, and Sense: Shakespeare’s Use of Holinshed in Macbeth

    February 21, 2018

    1 The study of sources and influences suffers a bad reputation in Shakespearean scholarship, for the most part, deservedly so.  Earlier generations of scholars too much entangled themselves in the literary genetics of Shakespeare’s plays or enraptured themselves in contemplating the creative impulses of the great bard’s mind.  They…

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  • Shakespeare after Theory

    February 20, 2018

    Shakespeare after Theory. David Scott Kastan. New York: Routledge, 1999.   Theory is dead—if the title is the message of David Scott Kastan, English professor at Columbia University, distinguished critic and editor, anthologizer of contemporary criticism, and prominent proponent and practitioner of New Historicism. If so, this twenty-odd-year-old orthodoxy, which…

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  • Shakespeare’s Unorthodox Biography: The Epitome of Anti-Stratfordian Scholarship

    February 19, 2018

    Shakespeare’s Unorthodox Biography: The Epitome of Anti-Stratfordian Scholarship. Diana Price. Santa Barbara: Praeger, 2000.   1: Overview I do not care who wrote the plays conventionally attributed, in part or in whole, to William Shakespeare of Stratford and of London.  For me, the play’s the thing.  Yet I have…

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  • The Shakespeare Authorship Question: E Pluribus Unum

    February 19, 2018

    Questions about the Question 1 To my students who asked me whether Shakespeare wrote the plays attributed to him, I answered, no: they were written by another man with the same name.  To the public who ask this question, anti-Stratfordians answer, no: they were written by another man who…

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  • Ukrainians Don’t Get Enough Credit

    February 18, 2018

    This week, the Trump Administration proposed a $14-billion cut in funding to USAID and other State Department programs designed to help struggling economies around the world. In response to a similar proposal last year, Secretary of Defense James Mattis told members of Congress at a National Security Advisory council…

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  • Spoiling One’s Story: The Case of Hannah Arendt

    February 17, 2018

    In 1925, Hannah Arendt was a nineteen-year-old philosophy student at the University of Marburg.  She kept a journal, one fragment of which is titled “Shadows.”  It traces two paths within her psyche, each productive of a different future, with the option to choose between them.  On the first path…

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  • The Denial of Being: Ideology as False Metaphysics

    February 16, 2018

    Ideology is a highly misunderstood concept.  People use it all the time to describe what, or more precisely, how they think despite the fact that they may not actually be engaged in the theoretical or practical application of ideology.  By doing this, they are unwittingly giving ideology power that…

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  • Existential Roots of Apocalyptic Violence

    February 15, 2018

    I should have put a question mark behind the title of my essay in order to signify that the intention to investigate existential roots of apocalyptic violence implies several questions and that these questions perhaps do not find satisfying answers. The questions are: (1) Can one single out a…

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  • Voegelin, Freud and Totem and Taboo

    February 14, 2018

    In his writings Voegelin makes several references to Sigmund Freud, but he never engaged in the type of sustained philosophical analysis that he carried out with figures like Hegel, Marx, or Nietzsche. However, he did make enough comments to make it clear that he regarded Freud as falling within…

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  • Eric Voegelin and the German Left

    February 13, 2018

    The memory of Eric Voegelin as a political philosopher is overshadowed in the USA and Germany by his reputation of having been a proponent of conservatism.  In both countries the conservative label sealed his intellectual image.  The ideological label is somewhat curious since neither the American nor the German…

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  • Philosophy and the Crisis of the Modern World

    February 12, 2018

    To find a way out of the current confusions and rifts in modern Western societies, and for its various countries to regain workable cultural identities, a necessary, but not sufficient condition would be to have an allegiance to a divine conception of reality. This allegiance is not sufficient because…

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The memory of Eric Voegelin as a political philosopher is overshadowed in the USA and Germany by his reputation of having been a proponent of conservatism.  In both countries the conservative label sealed his intellectual image.  The ideological label is somewhat curious since neither the American nor the German conservatives had any success in recruiting him for their respective causes. …

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To find a way out of the current confusions and rifts in modern Western societies, and for its various countries to regain workable cultural identities, a necessary, but not sufficient condition would be to have an allegiance to a divine conception of reality. This allegiance is not sufficient because cultures need to foster traditions and modes of living peculiar to…

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Perhaps the definition for freedom most commonly held in the West is some variation of the liberal ideal: “the ability to do what you want, so long as you do not encroach upon what belongs to another.”  This definition, however, leaves us with a difficulty: what about those circumstances when two conflicting interests clash?  Is it always possible to judge…

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Another way to teach students to think critically is to have them do a lot of writing. Three professors from BYU, who have team­-taught a writing and reasoning course for several years, have concluded that writing and thinking skills should be taught together. "For us, reasoning and writing should be taught together because, at their fullest, they amount to the…

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Towards a Science of States: Their Evolution and Properties. Erik Moberg. Moberg Publications, 2014.
 
The discipline of political science is in crisis.  Since the end of the Second World War, empiricists and political philosophers have battled for the soul of the discipline. The former group has clearly won most of the battles through force of arms, though political philosophy defiantly remains…

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Public Intellectuals in the Global Arena: Professors or Pundits? Michael C. Desch. Notre Dame, Indiana, University of Notre Dame Press, 2016.
 
The present volume on public intellectuals is based on a conference held at the university of Notre Dame in 2013 and includes good scholarly works. The volume begins by an introduction in which some of the basic questions on public…

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Alasdair Macintyre, Charles Taylor, and the Demise of Naturalism. Review of Jason Blakely. Notre Dame University Press, 2016.
 
Jason Blakely’s Alasdair Macintyre, Charles Taylor, and the Demise of Naturalism has as its topic the negative impact the natural sciences have had on both political theory and the social sciences. Its purpose is to give us a way out of this “scientism,”…

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The Law Most Beautiful and Best: Medical Arguments and Magical Rhetoric in Plato's Laws. Randall Baldwin Clark. Lexington Books, 2003.
The analogy of politics and medicine guides Randall Baldwin Clark’s book The Law Most Beautiful and Best: Medical Arguments and Magical Rhetoric in Plato’s Laws. In addressing the question of how citizens can be best persuaded to obey the laws, Clark…

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Knowing Persons: A Study in Plato. Lloyd P. Gerson, Oxford:  Oxford University Press, 2003.
On the debate whether in antiquity the concept of the person is distinct from the concept of the human being, Lloyd P. Gerson falls into the camp that they are. In his Knowing Persons: A Study in Plato, Gerson presents a Plato who wants to distinguish persons…

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Plato, Metaphysics and the Forms. Francis A. Grabowski III. New York/London: Continuum, 2008.
Grabowski approaches the Platonic theory of the Forms as an epistemological problem where he rejects the Forms as abstract universals and instead tentatively concludes that they are perfect particulars. For Grabowski, the Forms are a combination of the universals and particulars. However, as the author admits, Plato never…

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