Apology Review

The second book of the Last Days of Socrates is the Apology, which refers to the early definition of that word as a defensive explanation, rather than an admission of guilt and request for forgiveness. With the exception of a brief discussion with his accuser, Meletus, the text is effectively a transcript of Socrates' own defense. Adopting a philosophical position from the outset, Socrates requests that the jury do not allow themselves to be swayed by his eloquence, but rather to concentrate on the truth; obviously he has high opinion of his own speaking ability! He also asks for complete impartiality - that they treat him as a stranger, rather than a well known public figure.

The Monadology

Gottfried Leibniz's The Monadology (1714) is a brief, numbered text, of some ninety paragraphs. The style is similar to to Nietzsche's aphorisms or Wittgenstein's Tracatus Logico Philosophicus. The latter is a more accurate description as the content is meant in strictly logical sequence whereas Nietzsche was far more poetic in style and sequencing (Leibniz and Wittgenstein had their poetic moments of course). The two core metaphysical arguments in The Monadology refer the principle behind "the monad", the fundamental building block of universe, and an argument concerning theodicy, divine justice.

Leonard Felder: The Ten Challenges (The Second Challenge) Review

The Talmadic Second Commandment, or First Commandment in the Philonic or Augustinian traditions, is phrased "Thou shalt have no other gods before me" (Exodus 20:3). Felder notes that this is usually, and incorrectly, interpreted as an edict against building and worshipping idols.

The New Seminary Buddhism Review

1. What are the Four Passing Sights that Siddhartha saw and what did they mean to him?

According to the traditional biography, Prince Siddh?rtha Gautama was shielded from religious teaching and knowledge of human suffering by his father King ?uddhodana, who desired his son to develop expertise on secular and royal affairs. According to the prediction of the shramana (ascetic) Asita, he too would become a ascetic if he came into contact with the existential conditions of life. Siddhartha thus spent 29 years as a prince in Kapilavastu [1], a region of the ancient Shakya kingdom, near the border of contemporary India and Nepal, in relative luxury.

Euthyphro

The Sacred Text archive lists Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, and Phaedo by Plato as separate dialogues, which they are, they are of the same narrative to be included as study in sequence, as has been done for some time (e.g., the Penguin edition of The Last Days of Socrates). Expressed in dialogue form, they provide some of the most insightful moments in philosophy on the issues of religious piety, virtue and the role of conscience, justice and the notion of a social contract, and the nature of the soul and mortality. "The use of God in the singular is a reflection of the interest of Greek philosophy to discern generic essences from particular cases e.g., Athena, Zeus, Hermes etc are Gods - what is their common "God-essence"?

The New Seminary Hinduism Assignment

The "four desires" of Hinduism is normally interpreted as the puru??rtha [1] (purusha; god, human., artha, object and objective), the objectives of human. These are normally considered within four types; Dharma, Artha, K?ma, and Mok?ha. Dharma suggests devotion to the natural and moral laws (rta) which has conceptual similarity to the Chinese notion of dao, or the European logos. In comparison Artha suggests properity, in the sense of both material well-being as well as reputation and social standing.

Review: To Be Or To Become

'To Be or To Become: The Emzine Dialogue' by Dr. Marc van der Erve is "a new and unifying theory of our world that goes beyond present-day science and religion." The author's academic background is in applied physics (bachelor's degree) and sociology (doctorate), with employment in various managerial roles in organisations such as Xerox, DEC and KPMG and more recently in leadership consulting.

The Soul of the Machines: From Artificial Intelligence to Artificial Consciousness

It is not uncommon for advocates to argue that the production of an sufficiently large expert rules based system will provide the sufficient and necessary requirements for 'strong' artificial intelligence. In recent days, attempts in this direction were made not by inorganic computational capacity, but rather with the development of a neural network using DNA.

Global Warming Mitigation: Spirit, Systems and Science

Nature is a gift of Providence and, as a result, one which we all have an equal right to. But this also means responsibility, that we must pay for whatever damage that is done to nature, and those who are responsible should carry that cost. Where that cost is not applied in accordance to responsibility a social cost arises, and indeed, is encouraged.

A Vaccine for HIV - and Beyond

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a disease which has been the subject of much commentary by religious-minded people since its discovery in 1981, many of whom sought to blame those infected. This was primarily due the discovery of the disease among gay men and injecting drug users, especially through the irregular increase of cases of pneumocystis carinii pneumonia and a previously-rare skin cancer called Kaposi's sarcoma. Tabloid media, displaying the usual sensitivity and accuracy, called this the "Gay Plague".

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