The Time to Go to School
August 9, 2017

“And the final outcome of education, I suppose we’d say, is a single newly finished person, who is either good or the opposite.” Plato, Republic Thinking about education is one of the most central and thorny of questions for parents. This time of year is usually a time of change and of […]

“One day it will please us to remember even this.” Virgil, The Aeneid Graduation is always poignant for me. It is especially so this year. This last weekend my eldest daughter graduated from Christendom College, where I am a professor of philosophy. I have taught her and her friends, among others, for […]

Bird-Watching and Philosophy
April 26, 2017

“Animals differ from one another in their modes of subsistence, in their actions, in their habits, and in their parts.” Aristotle, The History of Animals Sometimes I am asked what I recommend to prepare young people for doing philosophy. There are of course different ways to dispose young minds for pursuing wisdom. […]

Drama Like No Other
September 14, 2016

  It makes no small difference, then, whether we form habits of one kind or another from our very youth; it makes a very great difference, or rather all the difference.” Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics It is not unusual, especially when we’re studying ethics, to have dramatic moments in the classroom. Indeed, no story in […]

Wednesday Quotes
Making Brave Men
August 24, 2016

“Go, stranger, and to Lacedaemon tell That here, obeying her behests, we fell.” Spartan Monument at Thermopylae, as recorded by Herodotus in The Histories Few stories in our history so capture the imagination. One king with three hundred men, another king with three hundred thousand. Spartan King Leonidas, hand-picking those to go […]

Wednesday Quotes
The Opposite of the Most Disgraceful Thing
August 17, 2016

“Their sons are carefully instructed from their fifth to their twentieth year, in three things alone—to ride, to draw the bow, and to speak the truth.” “The most disgraceful thing in the world, they think, is to tell a lie.” Herodotus, The Histories, (writing about customs of the Persians) Though the ancient […]

Wednesday Quotes
Where Has All the Wonder Gone?
August 10, 2016

“It is owing to their wonder that men both now begin and at first began to philosophize.” Aristotle, Metaphysics Aristotle himself does not explicitly offer a definition of wonder. It is clear, however, that wonder has two essential elements: a seeing, and a feeling. To wonder one must first of all see […]

Telling the Stories of Your Ancestors
June 1, 2016

“If we want our children to grow up strong, secure, and upright…; if we want to show them paths out of moral chaos, we should scour our family histories and tell them stories of the heroes we find there.” William Raspberry* These words really struck a chord in me. There are few […]

Wednesday Quotes
Hearing the Right Stories
May 11, 2016

“Such, then, I said are the kinds of stories that I think future guardians should and should not hear…” Plato, Republic III Few moments are as precious, for parents or for children. As my older children are leaving home, my mind goes back to those days…when all of them were ranged around […]

Wednesday Quotes
Music: A Two Week Challenge
April 27, 2016

“Aren’t these the reasons, Glaucon, that education in music and poetry is most important? First, because rhythm and harmony permeate the inner part of the soul more than anything else, affecting it most strongly and bringing it grace, so that if someone is properly educated in music and poetry, it makes him […]