Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Consulations of Philosophy

My friend Kyoung Sook, who's working on a philosophy doctorate, read this book a few summers ago and I planned to read it.

Since modern philosophy I've encountered is so dense and esoteric, I'd forgotten that I like philosophy and that originally it was written by Greeks, Romans, Medieval Europeans, in an accessible, dramatic prose for all educated people to enjoy. In 2005 and 2006 a few of my colleagues had formed a discussion group to read and talk about Plato's The Republic, Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, and Marcus Aurelius' Meditations. I've enjoyed all of them and intend to read more Greek philosophy. Still I wanted to move ahead in time. Boethius, who lived in the 6th century, is a bridge from the ancients to the Europeans.

Like Socrates, Boethius was imprisoned for causing trouble. In this book Lady Philosophy visits him in prison to help him sort things out. This dramatic dialog is an engaging means of drawing in the reader and keeping her interested. Boethius was a Christian, who loved and believed in philosophy. Lady Philosophy presents a number of interesting ideas such as why it's worse for a criminal to go unpunished that to be punished. That idea would never go over now, but it was interesting to follow Philosophy's argument on that and her explanation of the difference between eternal and perpetual, etc.

Can philosophy be fun? Yep, Boethius was, though Socrates and Aristotle are more useful.

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