Thursday, May 14, 2015

What Thucydides Can Teach Us About Imperial Overreach

My latest article, co-authored with John Kaag.  Here's a sample:
"As we dwell in our golden, Athenian age of military and economic might, perhaps we should learn another lesson from the ancients as well. Aristotle tells us that a virtuous soul is not a soul without fear, but one that fears only the right things; and it is not moved by fear, because it tempers it with wisdom. In the end, the loss of virtue may be more dire than the loss of geopolitical prominence."
You can read it all here.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Is Thinking Real? Peirce On Neuro-Determinism

"Tell me, upon sufficient authority, that all cerebration depends upon movements of neurites that strictly obey certain physical laws, and that thus all expressions of thought, both external and internal, receive a physical explanation, and I shall be ready to believe you. But if you go on to say that this explodes the theory that my neighbour and myself are governed by reason, and are thinking beings, I must frankly say that it will not give me a high opinion of your intelligence."

Charles Sanders Peirce, "A Neglected Argument For The Reality Of God."

A Commercial Company Becomes A Church...And Then A Nation

“When the king and High Church party under Archbishop Laud became masters of the Church of England, many Puritan leaders wished to emigrate. They had property, social position, and an independent spirit. They did not wish to go out to Massachusetts Bay as mere vassals of a company in London. Moreover, they hoped to set up the kind of Church government they liked. Therefore, the principal Puritans of the company simply bought up all its stock, took the charter, and sailed with it to America. A commercial company was thus converted into a self-governing colony—the colony of Massachusetts Bay.”
Allan Nevins and Henry Steele Commager, A Short History of the United States. (New York: The Modern Library, 1956) p.11