April 15, 2018

Athena's Statue, Parthenon


The statue itself is made of ivory and gold. In the middle of her helmet is placed an image of the Sphinx . . . and on either side of it are griffins in relief. . . . The statue of Athena stands upright, dressed in a full-length chiton, and on her breast a head of Medusa is represented in ivory. She carries a statue of Nike about 4 cubits [6 feet] high, and a spear in the other hand; a shield is placed by her feet, and near the shield is a serpent. This serpent would be Erichtonios. On the base of the image is represented the Birth of Pandora in relief. (Pausanias Description of Greece, Book I, Attica)

August 13, 2008

Are you ready to journey into Philosophy's past?

Philosophy 3301 is an exciting journey back to our intellectual roots: philosophy, the mother of all intellectual disciplines, is itself born, created, forged in the crucible of numerous sea-girt villages of the Mediterranean during the first millennium B.C. No one knows what precise conditions came together to cause the first philosopher-scientists to seek another mode of explanation from the myths and folklore on which they had grown up. What makes a young mind seek a better theory? Cognitive dissonance? Inadequacy of extant explanations? New phenomena not covered by the old theories? Rebelliousness? Increasing intellectual sophistication over the older generation?

Anyway, it happens fast when it happens. We'll watch something explosive occur over a few hundred years, something that we still benefit from and can appreciate as beautiful.

So here's my first discussion for you: What theories or explanations, widely accepted by your parents' generation, do you personally find inadequate today, and why?

Are you ready?

Classical Mythology demands that we rethink many of our basic commitments: religious and spiritual, ethical, and personal. We'll see humans being challenged to their limits and beyond; we'll see magic behind normal everyday phenomena; we'll see intense love and horrifying violence, the arts of civilization and the limits of barbarism, side by side or interwoven. I promise you a wild ride and an unforgettable journey.

Here's my first discussion question for you: Did the Greeks believe their myths?

Continue reading "Are you ready?" »