Category: Analects

Analects of the Core: Diamond on the Greenland Norse

From a book that sometimes plays a part in CC106, Jared Diamond’s Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, here is today’s analect: The Greenland Norse did succeed in creating a unique form of European society, and in surviving for 450 years as Europe’s most remote outpost. We modern Americans should not be too quick […]

Analects of the Core: Descartes on quality in the flame

Relating to the reading that the students of CC201 have done on Descartes’ work, here is today’s analect: Although in approaching the flame I feel heat, and even though in approaching it a little too closely I feel pain, there is still no reason that can convince me that there is some quality in the […]

Analects of the Core: Homer on ruling the dead

Yesterday’s analect from Paradise Lost can be contrasted with today’s choice: By god, I’d rather slave on earth for another man—
some dirt-poor tenant farmer who scrapes to keep alive—
than rule down here over all the breathless dead. (The Odyssey, 11.556-8)  

Analects of the Core: Milton on reigning in Hell

Professor Ricks lectured today on John Milton’s Paradise Lost. From this spawns today’s analect: “Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heav’n” (Paradise Lost, Book 1, 258-263).

Analects of the Core: Malinowski on exchange and reciprocity

In view of Professor Barfield’s lecture on 11/29 about Malinowski’s notions of exchange and reciprocity, here is today’s analect: Apart from any consideration as to whether the gifts are necessary or even useful, giving for the sake of giving is one of the most important features of Trobriand sociology, and, from its very general and […]

Analects of the Core: Engels on revolution

But the anti-authoritarians demand that the authoritarian political state be abolished at one stroke, even before the social conditions that gave birth to it have been destroyed. They demand that the first act of the social revolution shall be the abolition of authority. Have these gentlemen ever seen a revolution? A revolution is certainly the […]

Analects of the Core: Hobbes on the Good

From Thomas Hobbes’s Leviathan: Aristotle and other heathen philosophers define good and evil by the appetite of men; and well enough, as long as we consider them governed every one by his own law. For int eh condition of me that have no other law but their own appetites, there can be no general rule […]

Analects of the Core: Goethe on Faust’s studies

Well, that’s Philosophy I’ve read, / And Law and Medicine, and I fear / Theology, too, from A to Z; / Hard studies all, that have cost me dear. / And so I sit, poor silly man / No wiser now than when I began. [Habe nun, ach! Philosophie, / Juristerey und Medicin, / Und […]

Analects of the Core: Fry on Homer’s genius

Stephen Fry’s BBC mini-series “Fry’s Planet Word” discusses The Odyssey: “Homer’s genius was to create vivid, archetypal scenes that transcended time and place. The Sirens episode is only a few paragraphs long, yet has become embedded in our collective memory.” Check out the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6W4i6sWCbk0&t=8m22s

Analects of the Core: Thoreau on walls built of ruins

The walls that fence our fields, as well as modern Rome, and not less the Parthenon itself, are all built of ruins. – Henry David Thoreau