Virtue and its Limits: from Prudence to Contemplation

A talk Given at New College Franklin, Prospective Weekend, Spring 2018 Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, the great Western text on virtue, concludes in a very strange way. After all his work discussing virtue, Aristotle unexpectedly relegates it to second rank. But if I am to make clear the remarkable nature of this move, I first need … Continue reading Virtue and its Limits: from Prudence to Contemplation

A Question of the Liberal Arts: Why is Song a Gift from the Gods?

from a talk given at New College Franklin in the Fall of 2013 Main Texts: Homer’s Odyssey, Book 8, lines 42-45, 62-94, 483-499, 521-534 Homer’s Iliad, Book VI, lines 440-465 My goal in giving this talk is to inspire wonder and excitement about the program of study here, to encourage intellectual enthusiasm. With this goal … Continue reading A Question of the Liberal Arts: Why is Song a Gift from the Gods?

Order in the General: On Aristotle’s Vision of the Unmoved Mover and Cosmic Order

Why is there motion? The stars move, birds move, people move, air moves, even rocks move (when dropped). Why? In the Physics, Aristotle inquires into natural or movable bodies. The source of their motion is explored. But this mode of inquiry leaves him on the threshold of metaphysics and theology. To look into the causes of motion leads … Continue reading Order in the General: On Aristotle’s Vision of the Unmoved Mover and Cosmic Order