René Descartes and the benefit of the doubt

The French philosopher René Descartes is best-known for his statement Cogito, ergo sum – I think, therefore I am. But what is the deeper philosophy behind this statement? When trying to understand Descartes’ philosophy, it is important to bear in mind that he was not only a philosopher, but also a mathematician – any high school student hasContinue reading “René Descartes and the benefit of the doubt”

Speaking Truth to Power: The Trial of Socrates

“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” Socrates Socrates, one of the most famous philosophers, was sentenced to death, essentially for the mischief he caused with his inquisitive mind. He was accused of influencing the youth with his dangerous thoughts, and of undermining the belief in the gods. In the Apologia, Plato recounts theContinue reading “Speaking Truth to Power: The Trial of Socrates”

Friedrich Nietzsche and the Death of God

One of Friedrich Nietzsche’s most famous phrases is his statement that God is dead. In The Gay Science, he tells the story of a madman who went to the marketplace and shouted that he was looking for God. This caused amusement among the onlookers; many of them no longer believed in God. The madman announced: “WhereContinue reading “Friedrich Nietzsche and the Death of God”

Plato’s allegory of the cave

In his work Republic, Plato presents the allegory of the cave, which is one of the best-known philosophical allegories. Plato describes the process of gaining insight and the problems that come with it. Plato describes the unenlightened man as shackled to a wall, deep inside a dark cave. His head is fixed in a certain position, such thatContinue reading “Plato’s allegory of the cave”

Hannah Arendt and the Banality of Evil

A while ago I re-read the book Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil by Hannah Arendt. In the book, Hannah Arendt, a Jewish philosopher who studied in Berlin and Heidelberg and who emigrated in 1933, describes the trial of Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem. Eichmann was a subordinate organizer of the Holocaust; he hadContinue reading “Hannah Arendt and the Banality of Evil”