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By: Plato (427BC - 347BC)

Euthyphro by Plato Euthyphro

Awaiting his trial on charges of impiety and heresy, Socrates encounters Euthyphro, a self-proclaimed authority on matters of piety and the will of the gods. Socrates, desiring instruction in these matters, converses with Euthyphro, but as usual, the man who professes to know nothing fares better than the man who claims to be an expert. One of Plato’s well-known Socratic Dialogues, Euthyphro probes the nature of piety, and notably poses the so-called Euthyphro Dilemma: Do the gods love a thing because it is holy, or is a thing holy because it is loved by the gods?

The Symposium by Plato The Symposium

The Symposium (Ancient Greek: Συμπόσιον) is a philosophical book written by Plato sometime after 385 BCE. On one level the book deals with the genealogy, nature and purpose of love, on another level the book deals with the topic of knowledge, specifically how does one know what one knows. The topic of love is taken up in the form of a group of speeches, given by a group of men at a symposium or a wine drinking party at the house of the tragedian Agathon at Athens. Plato constructed the Symposium as a story within a story within a story...

Ion by Plato Ion

In Plato’s Ion, Socrates questions Ion on whether he should really claim laud and glory for his ‘rhapsodic’ recitals of Homer’s poetry.

Timaeus by Plato Timaeus

“Our intention is, that Timaeus, who is the most of an astronomer amongst us, and has made the nature of the universe his special study, should speak first, beginning with the generation of the world and going down to the creation of man…” ‘Timaeus’ is usually regarded as one of Plato’s later dialogues, and provides an account of the creation of the universe, with physical, metaphysical and ethical dimensions, which had great influence over philosophers for centuries following. It attributes the order and beauty of the universe to a benevolent demiurge – a ‘craftsman’ or god – fashioning the physical world after the pattern of an ideal, eternal one...

Phaedo by Plato Phaedo

Plato's Phaedo is one of the great dialogues of his middle period, along with the Republic and the Symposium. The Phaedo, which depicts the death of Socrates, is also Plato's seventh and last dialogue to detail the philosopher's final days (the first six being Theaetetus, Euthyphro, Sophist, Statesman, Apology, and Crito).In the dialogue, Socrates discusses the nature of the afterlife on his last day before being executed by drinking hemlock. Socrates has been imprisoned and sentenced to death by an Athenian jury for not believing in the gods of the state and for corrupting the youth of the city...

Phaedrus by Plato Phaedrus

“For there is no light of justice or temperance, or any of the higher ideas which are precious to souls, in the earthly copies of them: they are seen through a glass, dimly…”Socrates and his earnest friend Phaedrus, enjoying the Athenian equivalent of a lunchtime stroll in the park, exchange views on love and on the power of words, spoken and written.Phaedrus is the most enchanting of Plato’s Erotic dialogues (capitalised in honour of the god). The barefoot philosopher urges an eager young...

Book cover Apology

The Apology of Socrates is Plato's version of the speech given by Socrates as he unsuccessfully defended himself in 399 BC against the charges of "corrupting the young, and by not believing in the gods in whom the city believes, but in other daimonia that are novel" (24b). "Apology" here has its earlier meaning (now usually expressed by the word "apologia") of speaking in defense of a cause or of one's beliefs or actions (from the Ancient Greek ἀπολογία).

Book cover Meno

Meno (Ancient Greek: Μένων) is a Socratic dialogue written by Plato. Written in the Socratic dialectic style, it attempts to determine the definition of virtue, or arete, meaning in this case virtue in general, rather than particular virtues, such as justice or temperance. The goal is a common definition that applies equally to all particular virtues. Socrates moves the discussion past the philosophical confusion, or aporia, created by Meno's paradox (aka the learner's paradox) with the introduction of new Platonic ideas: the theory of knowledge as recollection, anamnesis, and in the final lines a movement towards Platonic idealism.. (Introduction by Wikipedia)

Book cover Laws

Νόμοι (Laws) is Plato's final dialogue written after his attempt to advise the tyrant Dionysius II of Syracuse. The dialogue takes place between: an Athenian Stranger (Socrates? A god in human form?); the quiet Lacedaemonian Megillus; and the Cretan Cleinias. The Stranger asks whether humans live to be more effective at waging war or if there is something more important a legislator should seek to achieve. During their pilgrimage Cleinias discloses his role in the establishment of a new colony...

By: Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941)

The Sadhana: Realisation of Life by Rabindranath Tagore The Sadhana: Realisation of Life

Rabindranath Tagore was a Bengali poet, philosopher, visual artist, playwright, composer, and novelist whose work reshaped Bengali literature and music in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He became Asia’s first Nobel laureate when he won the 1913 Nobel Prize in Literature. Sadhana is a collection of essays, most of which he gave before the Harvard University, describing Indian beliefs, philosophy and culture from different viewpoints, often making comparison with Western thought and culture.

Creative Unity by Rabindranath Tagore Creative Unity

Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore talks of the many things he feels is necessary for creativity through joy of unity, he covers many topics like the creative ideal, makes comparisons of creativity between the east and the west, the spirit of freedom and about his idea of an University.

By: Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

Essays, First Series by Ralph Waldo Emerson Essays, First Series

“I do not wish to treat friendships daintily but with roughest courage. When they are real, they are not glass beads or frost-work but the solidest thing we know....” is how Ralph Waldo Emerson saw the ties of friendship in one of his essays titled Friendship, more than a hundred years ago. This and other interesting essays are included in Essays First Series by Ralph Waldo Emerson, the distinguished American philosopher and writer. Apart from writing, he was also a very gifted and popular public speaker who toured the length and breadth of the country sharing his ideas with the larger public...

Nature by Ralph Waldo Emerson Nature

“Nature” is a short essay by Ralph Waldo Emerson published anonymously in 1836. It is in this essay that the foundation of transcendentalism is put forth, a belief system that espouses a non-traditional appreciation of nature. Recent advances in zoology, botany, and geology confirmed Emerson’s intuitions about the intricate relationships of nature at large. The publication of “Nature” is usually taken to be the watershed moment at which transcendentalism became a major cultural movement...

Representative Men by Ralph Waldo Emerson Representative Men

A series of biographical lectures originally published in 1850. Each chapter is a philosophical treatment of the life of an intellectual. The six representatives are Plato, Swedenborg, Shakespeare, Montaigne, Napolean and Goethe. (Introduction by S. Kovalchik)

By: René Descartes (1596-1650)

Meditations on First Philosophy by René Descartes Meditations on First Philosophy

The foundations of modern skepticism and objective thinking are thought to be rooted in the philosophy of Rene Descartes, the French mathematician, philosopher and writer. This great sixteenth century thinker also gave us theories on mind-body dualism and the concept of ethics as the highest form of science. He is considered the Father of Modern Western Philosophy. His theories also led to the emancipation of humanity from the doctrine that the Church is the sole authority over Man and led to a more autonomous idea of the human condition...

Discourse on the Method of Rightly Conducting One's Reason and of Seeking Truth in the Sciences by René Descartes Discourse on the Method of Rightly Conducting One's Reason and of Seeking Truth in the Sciences

The Discourse on Method is best known as the source of the famous quotation “cogito ergo sum”, “I think, therefore I am.” …. It is a method which gives a solid platform from which all modern natural sciences could evolve. With this work, the idea of skepticism was revived from the ancients such as Sextus Empiricus and modified to account for a truth that Descartes found to be incontrovertible. Descartes started his line of reasoning by doubting everything, so as to assess the world from a fresh perspective, clear of any preconceived notions.

By: Richard W. Church (1815-1890)

Bacon by Richard W. Church Bacon

This investigation of Bacon the scholar and man of letters begins with a look at the early days ang progresses to his relationships with Queen Elizabeth and James I. It includes accounts of his positions as solicitor general, attorney-general, and chancellor. The book concludes with Bacon's failure, his overall philosophy, and summaries of his writings.

By: Robert W. Service (1874-1958)

Selections from Ballads of a Cheechako by Robert W. Service Selections from Ballads of a Cheechako

These twelve poems are from Ballads of a Cheechako which was Robert W. Service’s third book of Yukon poems, published in 1909. The word Cheechako, from Chinook Jargon, originated in the United States (Alaska) and Canada (Yukon) and was imported into local English during the Yukon gold rush that began in 1896. Cheechako, is a non derogatory word meaning “newcomer” or “tenderfoot.” The derivation looks something like this: chee new cha come ko home.

By: Rupert Brooke

Collected Poems of Rupert Brooke by Rupert Brooke Collected Poems of Rupert Brooke

Rupert Chawner Brooke (August 3, 1887 – April 23, 1915) was an English poet known for his idealistic War Sonnets written during the First World War (especially The Soldier), as well as for his poetry written outside of war, especially The Old Vicarage, Grantchester and The Great Lover. He was also known for his boyish good looks, which prompted the Irish poet William Butler Yeats to describe him as “the handsomest young man in England”.

By: Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-420)

The City of God by Saint Augustine of Hippo The City of God

Rome having been stormed and sacked by the Goths under Alaric their king, the worshipers of false gods, or pagans, as we commonly call them, made an attempt to attribute this calamity to the Christian religion, and began to blaspheme the true God with even more than their wonted bitterness and acerbity. It was this which kindled my zeal for the house of God, and prompted me to undertake the defense of the city of God against the charges and misrepresentations of its assailants. This work was in my hands for several years, owing to the interruptions occasioned by many other affairs which had a prior claim on my attention, and which I could not defer...

Confessions by Saint Augustine of Hippo Confessions

Confessions (Latin: Confessiones) is the name of an autobiographical work, consisting of 13 books, by St. Augustine of Hippo, written between AD 397 and AD 398. Modern English translations of it are sometimes published under the title The Confessions of St. Augustine in order to distinguish the book from other books with similar titles, such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Confessions.

By: Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274)

Summa Theologica, Pars Prima by Saint Thomas Aquinas Summa Theologica, Pars Prima

More than nine hundred years after it was first written, this unfinished work of a scholar saint still has the power to move our minds and hearts and set us thinking on the really important questions of life. Summa Theologica or simply the Summa as it is known, was written some time between 1265-74. It is a work that has had a profound and enduring influence on Western thought and literature. Designed to provide answers to Catholic theologians about the teachings of the Church, Thomas Aquinas' book instead goes far beyond its stated purpose...

By: Samuel Butler (1835-1902)

Erewhon by Samuel Butler Erewhon

Erewhon, or Over the Range is a novel by Samuel Butler, published anonymously in 1872. The title is also the name of a country, supposedly discovered by the protagonist. In the novel, it is not revealed in which part of the world Erewhon is, but it is clear that it is a fictional country. Butler meant the title to be read as the word Nowhere backwards, even though the letters “h” and “w” are transposed. It is likely that he did this to protect himself from accusations of being unpatriotic, although Erewhon is obviously a satire of Victorian society.

By: Samuel D. Gordon (1859-1936)

Book cover Quiet Talks about Jesus

So far as I can find out, I have no theory about Jesus to make these talks fit into. I have tried to find out for myself what the old Book of God tells about Him. And here I am trying to tell to others, as simply as I can, what I found. It was by the tedious, twisting path of doubt that I climbed the hill of truth up to some of its summits of certainty. I am free to confess that I am ignorant of the subject treated here save for the statements of that Book, and for the assent within my own spirit to these statements, which has greatly deepened the impression they made, and make...

By: Sigmund Freud

Reflections on War and Death by Sigmund Freud Reflections on War and Death

Anyone, as Freud tells us in Reflections on War and Death, forced to react against his own impulses may be described as a hypocrite, whether he is conscious of it or not. One might even venture to assert—it is still Freud’s argument—that our contemporary civilisation favours this sort of hypocrisy and that there are more civilised hypocrites than truly cultured persons, and it is even a question whether a certain amount of hypocrisy is not indispensable to maintain civilisation. When this...

Totem and Taboo by Sigmund Freud Totem and Taboo

Totem and Taboo: Resemblances Between the Mental Lives of Savages and Neurotics is a book by Sigmund Freud, published in German in 1913. It is a collection of four essays first published in the journal Imago (1912–13), employing the application of psychoanalysis to the fields of archaeology, anthropology, and the study of religion. The four essays are entitled: The Horror of Incest; Taboo and Emotional Ambivalence; Animism, Magic and the Omnipotence of Thoughts; and The Return of Totemism in Childhood.

By: Sir Edwin Arnold (Translator) (1832-1904)

Bhagavad Gita by Sir Edwin Arnold (Translator) Bhagavad Gita

One of the world’s most valued scriptures, the Bhagavad Gita is a Hindu scripture which is a part of the Indian epic Mahabharata. Undeniably, it is also one of the most important texts in the history of literature and philosophy. The scripture offers a guide on how to achieve a self-sufficient life and clarification of Indian theology. Written in the form of a poetic dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna, the piece is comprised of 700 verses. It depicts the relationship between man and God, a divine purpose, and the omnipresence of God that serves to reward good...

By: Sir Thomas More (1478-1535)

Utopia by Sir Thomas More Utopia

He was a trusted aide of Henry VIII, but when he supposedly opposed the monarch's second marriage, he was thrown into prison and executed for treason. More than two hundred years later, he was canonized as the patron saint of statesmen and politicians by the Catholic Church. Philosopher, writer, diplomat, lawyer, Renaissance man, avid gardener, humanist thinker and statesman are only some of the words used to describe him. A lifelong opponent of Protestantism who was rumored to have had heretics imprisoned, murdered and burned at the stake, Thomas More is even today an enigmatic figure...

By: St. George Stock (b. 1850)

Stoicism by St. George Stock Stoicism

This short book is part of the Philosophies Ancient and Modern series, which attempts to make Western philosophy more accessible to the general public. In this volume, George Stock provides a concise primer on Stoicism, the ancient philosophy that maintained that the universe is governed entirely by fate, and that humans can achieve happiness only by cultivating a calm acceptance of the vicissitudes of life. Among the Stoics of the Greek and Roman world were its founder, Zeno, the former slave Epictetus, and the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius...

By: St. George William Joseph Stock (1850-?)

Book cover Guide to Stoicism

This book is a primer on the philosophy of stoicism, resurrected from its origins in Greek and Roman philosophy. The original philosophy was based on a reasoning process which it was assumed would lead to a virtuous life. Zeno, the founder of stoicism, did not begin expounding on its teachings until he was in his forties. He believed that the purpose of life was "to live consistently." Cleanthes, his disciple, added "with nature," so that the purpose of life became "to live consistently with nature."

By: St. John Chrysostom (349-407)

Book cover Commentary on Galatians

St. Chrysostom’s Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians is continuous, according to chapter and verse, instead of being arranged in Homilies, with a moral or practical application at their close, as in his exposition of other Epistles. It was written in Antioch, as Montfaucon infers from a reference which the Author, makes upon Chap. i., ver. 16 to other of his writings, which certainly were written about the same time in that city. (Introduction from the preface by John Henry Newman)

By: St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582)

Book cover Book of the Foundations

Essentially the sequel to The Life of St. Teresa, Teresa recounts the foundations of the Discalced Carmelite monasteries in Spain, both for men and women. This book tells of all the triumphs and troubles, and about the many people who helped her.(Introduction by Ann Boulais)


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