Victor Nuovo: The birth of Neoplatonism and European theological systems

Plotinus believed that all existing things, including the physical universe, possess souls, and that there exists in every soul a longing, a deep desire to return to the source of its existence.

Victor Nuovo: Stoicism: Arduous path to wisdom

The chief end of life, according to the Stoics, is moral autonomy, moral self-governance, which they took as the only reliable path to self-mastery.

Victor Nuovo: Epicurus & ‘the gift to be simple’

To begin with, Epicurus, the philosopher, was not a vulgar Epicure, which is to say he did not live his life in pursuit of sensual delights, eating and drinking and carousing.

Victor Nuovo: Aristotle’s metaphysics

Aristotle wondered whether there might be a single cosmological principle that not only gave unity to the whole of nature, but was the cause of its existence. He gave it a name: the Unmoved Mover.

Victor Nuovo: Aristotle: ‘substances’ & truth

He was the first philosopher to conceive of a comprehensive system of the arts and sciences, and he made original contributions to many of them: logic, semantics, politics, economics, ethics, aesthetics, literary criticism, meteorology, biology, psycholog … (read more)

Victor Nuovo: Plato’s ‘Republic’: City and soul

“The Republic” of Plato (426-346 BCE), which may be the greatest philosophical work ever written, has two themes, the soul and the city.

Victor Nuovo: The trial and death of Socrates

In 399 BCE a judicial assembly of the city of Athens found Socrates guilty of impiety and corrupting the youth, and it sentenced him to death.

Victor Nuovo: The art of persuasion

Gorgias of Leontini (483–375BCE) was another celebrated sophist, perhaps more celebrated than Protagoras.

Victor Nuovo: The Socratic Revolution

Why is Socrates so important? Socrates wrote nothing, so we can’t search a body of writing for answers. And the fact that he was written up by a young admirer, Plato (426–346), who in turn became a great philosopher, perhaps the greatest and surely the gr … (read more)

Victor Nuovo: Protagoras, the first humanist

These teachers, known as “sophists,” travelled from city to city giving instruction for pay. Some of them became rich and famous. One of the most successful of these was Protagoras of Abdera (490–420 BCE).

Victor Nuovo: The Greek Atomists

The atomic theory was first conceived by two Greek philosophers, Leucippus and Democritus, who flourished during the first half of the 5th century BCE.

Victor Nuovo: Parmenides: A two-fold reality

Parmenides endeavored to achieve his goal by demonstrating through purely rational argument that the very idea of Nature is absurd.

Victor Nuovo: Heraclitus and the unity of opposites

Heraclitus was the first to make paradox a philosophical theme. 

Victor Nuovo: Xenophanes, the free thinker

Xenophanes was a wandering poet. The times of his birth and death are unknown, but he is said to have “flourished,” that is, been active, around the middle of the sixth century BCE.

Victor Nuovo: Pythagoras and his school

Imagine how hard it would be, if not impossible, to think coherently if we lacked the number 1, which is the very idea of Unity.