Why Socrates Was Wrong About Democracy

Many great minds have plenty of bad things to say about democracy, but what about the people who think it is great?

Pericles, the great Athenian leader, speaks of the greatness of liberty to the people of Athens.

We have explained before that some of the greatest thinkers in history found reasons to reject democracy. Their critiques were many, and often very well thought out. Even for the most ardent supporter of democratic ideals, their arguments must give us pause and lead us to reflect on our notions of government and society.

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Why Panpsychism Is the Jedi Philosophy

One of the stranger philosophies currently enjoying a renewal of interest is also that of your favorite group of magical space wizard monks. 

One of the most iconic elements of the Star Wars universe is the Force. That mysterious energy field that permeates the galaxy, which all lifeforms interact with but only a rare few can harness. It gives the science fiction series a mystical punch and serves to make our heroes a little more compelling. Not merely action heroes, they have a deeper connection to the cosmos they protect.

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Why People Want to Get Rid of Confederate Statues, as Explained by Plato

There is a philosophical way of looking at the current arguments to remove Confederate statues, and it's one that dates back to Ancient Greece. 

A statue of Confederate general Thomas Jonathan 'Stonewall' Jackson, and a statue of the philosopher Plato.

A great deal of trouble and debate has recently taken place around monuments to Confederate leaders and soldiers in the United States. Both sides have a well-explained position. Supporters of the monuments offer defenses ranging from “Heritage not Hate” down to a frank acceptance, and appreciation, of the avowed white supremacy of the Confederate States of America. Opponents of the monuments cite that exact white supremacy and history of oppression as a reason to demolish the statues.

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It’s Possible to Live without Philosophy—but It Wouldn’t Be Wise

Can philosophy give you true understanding about life, the universe, and everything? Sometimes it Kant.

Philosophy provides a new way of looking at the world and exploring ideas that otherwise might be too heavy, or too big, to comprehend. It's a lot better than the alternative—which is willful ignorance and throwing your hands up in the air and saying "I guess it's all part of a masterplan!". And while this incongruity between the philosophically minded and the more deity-inclined can create some major cultural hiccups, there's at least some semblance of both sides searching for the same thing. Philosophy, Kitcher argues, may not ever give us the ultimate solutions to all the big questions in life. But it does put us in the driver's seat and give us control.

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Plato Would Have Laughed at Our Era's Faith In Rationalism

How did our world come to be ruled by a view of human nature that contradicts the testimony of much of history, and the bulk of the arts, and your daily experience? Mathoholics are to blame. 

Illustration by Julia Suits, The New Yorker cartoonist & author of The Extraordinary Catalog of Peculiar Inventions

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