Thursday, December 31, 2009

Welcome - Updated 11/8/2007

Welcome to the Olympia Academy. I intend this to be a discussion with a Great Books focus. The ground rules are:

a) No politics unless it can be directly related to the book currently being discussed.
b) Be respectful.
c) Since I own the blog I kind of get to set the pace.

The basis for the reading list will be the "Dartmouth Canon"

First Year

First Quarter

First Week
1) Genesis
2) Hesiod, Theogony
3) Hesiod, Works and Days

Second Week
1) Homer, Iliad 1-4
2) Homer, Iliad 5-8
3) Homer, Iliad 9-12

Third Week
1) Homer, Iliad 13-16
2) Homer, Iliad 17-20
3) Homer, Iliad 21-24

Fourth Week
1) Gilgamesh
2) Thucydides 1
3) Thucydides 2

Fifth Week
1) Thucydides 3-5
2) Thucydides 6-8
3) Job

Sixth Week
1) Aeschylus, Oresteia
2) Sophocles, Oedipus Tyrannus
3) Sophocles, Antigone

Seventh Week
1) Isaiah
2) Aristophanes, Clouds
3) Aristophanes, Frogs

Eighth Week
1) Plato, Apology
2) Plato, Crito
3) Plato, Phædo

Ninth Week
1) Plato, Republic
2) Plato, Republic 2-3
3) Plato, Republic 4-5

Tenth Week
1) Plato, Republic 6-7
2) Plato, Republic 8-9
3) Plato, Republic 10

Second Quarter

First Week
1) Plato’s Symposium
2) Song of Solomon
3) Psalms

Second Week
1) Aristotle, Ethics 1-2
2) Aristotle, Ethics 3-4
3) Aristotle, Ethics 5-6

Third Week
1) Aristotle, Ethics 7-8
2) Aristotle, Ethics 9-10
3) Aristotle, Politics 1-2

Fourth Week
1) Aristotle, Politics 3-4
2) Aristotle, Politics 7-8
3) Aristotle, Poetics

Fifth Week
1) Aristotle, Metaphysics 1
2) Aristotle, Metaphysics 1
3) Aristotle, Physics 2

Sixth Week
1) Aristotle, Physics 2
2) Aristotle, On The Soul 1-2
3) Aristotle, On The Soul 2-3

Seventh Week
1) Aristotle, Physics 7
2) Aristotle, Physics 7
3) Aristotle, Metaphysics 11

Eighth Week
1) Lucretius, On The Nature of Things 1-2
2) Lucretius, On The Nature of Things 3-4
3) Lucretius, On The Nature of Things 5-6

Ninth Week
1) Livy 1
2) Polybius 6
3) Cicero, De Re Publica

Tenth Week
1) Plutarch, Caesar, Alexander
2) Plutarch, Romulus, Theseus

Third Quarter

First Week
1) Exodus
2) Exodus
3) Deuteronomy

Second Week
1) Virgil, Aeneid 1-3
2) Virgil, Aeneid 4-6,
3)Georgics 4

Third Week
1) Virgil, Aeneid 7-12
2) Tacitus, Annals 1-6
3) Tacitus, History 1-5

Fourth Week
1) Matthew
2) Paul, Romans
3) Revelation

Fifth Week
1) Augustine, Confessions
2) Augustine, Confessions
3) Augustine, City of God

Sixth Week
1) Augustine, City of God
2) Aquinas, Summa Theologica
3) Aquinas, Summa Theologica

Seventh Week
1) Aquinas, Summa Theologica
2) Aquinas, Summa Theologica
3) Dante, Inferno

Eighth Week
1) Ibn Kaldun, The Muqaddimah
2) Ibn Kaldun, The Muqaddimah
3) Dante, Inferno

Ninth Week
1) Dante, Inferno
2) Dante, Paradiso
3) Dante, Paradiso

Tenth Week
1) Njal Saga
2) Njal Saga
3) Song of Roland

Second Year

First Quarter

First Week
1) Montaigne, Essays
2) Montaigne, Essays
3) Machiavelli, Prince

Second Week
1) Machiavelli, Prince
2) Machiavelli, Discourses
3) Machiavelli, Discourses

Third Week
1) Cervantes, Don Quixote
2) Cervantes, Don Quixote
3) Cervantes, Don Quixote

Fourth Week
1) Racine, Phædre
2) Shakespeare, Hamlet
3) Shakespeare, Lear

Fifth Week
1) Shakespeare, Lear
2) Shakespeare, Tempest
3) Bacon, New Atlantis

Sixth Week
1) Galileo, Two World Systems
2) Galileo, Two World Systems
3) Descartes, Discourse on Method

Seventh Week
1) Descartes, Discourse on Method
2) Descartes, Meditations
3) Descartes, Meditations

Eighth Week
1) Hobbes, Leviathan
2) Hobbes, Leviathan
3) Hobbes, Leviathan

Ninth Week
1) Hobbes, Leviathan
2) Pascal, Pensées
3) Pascal, Pensées

Tenth Week
1) Vico, The New Science
2) Vico, The New Science
3) Swift, Gulliver’s Travels

Second Quarter

First Week
1) Locke, Second Treatise
2) Locke, Second Treatise
3) Locke, Second Treatise

Second Week
1) Montesquieu, Persian Letters
2) Montesquieu, Persian Letters
3) Hume, Dialogues on Natural Religion

Third Week
1) Hume, Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding
2) Hume, Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding
3) Hume, Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding

Fourth Week
1) Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations (selections)
2) Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations (selections)
3) D’Alembert, Preface to L’Encyclopedie

Fifth Week
1) Rousseau, First Discourse
2) Rousseau, Second Discourse
3) Rousseau, Third Discourse

Sixth Week
1) Rousseau, Emile 1
2) Rousseau, Emile 2
3) Rousseau, Emile 3

Seventh Week
1) Rousseau, Emile 4
2) Rousseau, Emile 5
3) Rousseau, Social Contract 1

Eighth Week
1) Rousseau, Social Contract 2
2) Rousseau, Social Contract 3-4
3) Rousseau, Reveries

Ninth Week
1) Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France
2) Tocqueville, The Ancient Regime and the French Revolution
3) Tocqueville, Democracy in America 1

Tenth Week
1) Tocqueville, Democracy in America 1
2) Tocqueville, Democracy in America 2
3) Tocqueville, Democracy in America 3

Third Quarter

First Week
1) Kant, Foundation of the Metaphysics of Morals
2) Kant, Foundation of the Metaphysics of Morals
3) Kant, Critique of Pure Reason (Introduction)

Second Week
1) Goethe, Faust 1
2) Goethe, Faust 1
3) Goethe, Faust 2

Third Week
1) Goethe, Faust 2
2) Hegel, Phenomenology of Mind (selections)
3) Hegel, Phenomenology of Mind (selections)

Fourth Week
1) Hegel, Philosophy of History
2) Hegel, Philosophy of History
3) Hegel, Philosophy of History

Fifth Week
1) Marx, 1844 Manuscripts
2) Marx, 1844 Manuscripts
3) Marx, German Ideology

Sixth Week
1) Marx, Das Kapital (selections)
2) Tolstoy, Anna Karenina
3) Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

Seventh Week
1) Tolstoy, Anna Karenina
2) Tolstoy, Anna Karenina
3) Darwin, Origin of Species

Eighth Week
1) Darwin, Origin of Species
2) Nietzsche, Genealogy of Morals
3) Nietzsche, Genealogy of Morals

Ninth Week
1) Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil
2) Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil
3) Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra (selections)

Tenth Week
1) Weber, Science as a Vocation
2) Freud, Civilization and its Discontents
3) Heidegger, Letter on Humanism

I don't really expect to cover ground at the same pace as is outlined here, and I don't really expect anyone to read all these books. I figure that as we go along we will pick and choose. Hopefully this will lead to other suggestions. As the site gets established I will be more than happy to let others guide the selection of the reading. Discussion can take place in the comments section. Unless the comments are profane or spam I will not delete them. I will also be tagging each selection with an appropriate Technorati tag for easy linking to related items.

***Update*** Minor format change. I was striking out works as I finished them I am now linking the entries in the list below and the posts concerning each work.

I also struck the original introduction.

Way back when I started this endeavor I figure a few of my friends might stop by and comment every once in a while. Not the case. The fatal mistake in that plan was forgetting I don't have any friends.

I also thought I might get some visitors from technorati and from other blogs I might link. Again I was mistaken. Apparently my opinion of the philosophical works that formed the basis of Western Civilization isn't that highly sought after. Imagine that.

As soon as those pieces clicked into place in my admittedly slow brain I realized that I don't really need to explain my blog or establish any rules. It would almost be liberating if I had any readers. ***Sob***

OK so I don't have any readers and the reading is progressing at a snails pace, why am I continuing? It's a grudge match now. I don't care if I die on the shitter with some ancient piece of semi-pornographic sadomasochistic dreck passing as profound thought (yes I am looking at you Freud) clutched in my cold dead hands and now one ever reads this piece o' crap blog except me I am finishing this project. You can come along for the ride or not it's your choice, but when cockroaches rule the earth and they restore my hard drive this blog will still be there.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Making progress

Even though I haven't been posting I have been working on the reading list. In the past couple months I finished the Symposium, Psalms, Song of Solomon, and am working on some Aristotle. I have also read Atlas Shrugged, Plato in 90 minutes, Aristotle in 90 minutes, and am working on an Andrew Jackson biography as well a Naked Lunch.

I know the state of this blog makes me look like a complete slacker but I am at least partially productive.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Wow it's been forever since I posted here.

Life has gone through a few major upsets and to be honest I kind of lost interest for awhile but today I finished up Plato's Symposium so I am back. At least for awhile.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Great Books 10 Year Reading Plan 1990 edition

A while back I published a linked to the 1952 10 year reading plan that came with the Great Books of the Western World. Today I received an e-mail requesting a link to the 1990 version. It took a little effort but I found it here. The two versions have a lot of commonality, but there are some significant differences. Lots more recent fiction in the second version and (without going through and actually counting selections) the first edition seems heavier on the math and sciences.

I should also thank the commenter because he made me realize how badly I have neglected this project. Time to get off my butt and get started again.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Selection 18 - Plato's Republic





Placeholder. I have finished the reading but I have been so busy at work I haven't had time to post anything beyond this yet.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Selection 17 - Phaedo

Reference: Phaedo Wikipedia Entry

Source: Phaedo at Project Gutenberg


Background:The last book in the first tetralogy as well as the final book discussing the end of Socrates life (including his trial) and death.

1/25/2008 (sorry for some reason this didn’t get posted and stayed in draft way back when)
I started this dialogue about a month ago and something has been nagging at me about it - today I finally realized what it was. I saw this in a Disney(?) movie in the 6th grade. I am not sure what finally triggered the realization but suddenly I had a vivid memory of sitting in the gym at Highland Elementary in Billings with about 99 other 6th graders barely able to stay awake watching Socrates and a bunch of other guys in sheets talk about the soul and then Socrates drinking a chalice full of poison. I also remember when one of the girls in the class, Michelle something, asked why Socrates had to kill himself Mr. Howe, my teacher, told us it was because he had sex with boys. Then they started showing a Donald Duck film about the "Golden Ratio"

Donald Duck in Mathmagic Land Part 1

Donald Duck in MathMagic Land Part 2

Sorry the middle part is missing :-(

Anyway enough cherished childhood memories...

Updated 3/10/2008

So I finally finished Phaedo over the weekend. Although this was the most difficult of the dialogues I have read so far it was also (now that I have thought about it) the most interesting.

I’m really struggling with what to write her. In short this book argues the premise of the immortality of the soul and attacks it from 4 different angles. Stealing shamelessly from Wikipedia they are:

The Opposites Argument or "Cyclical argument" explains that as the Forms are eternal and unchanging, and as the soul always brings life, then it must not die, and is necessarily "imperishable". As the body is mortal and is subject to physical death, the soul must be its indestructible opposite. Plato then suggests the analogy of fire and cold. If the form of cold is imperishable, and fire, its opposite, was within close proximity, it would have to withdraw intact as does the soul during death. This could be likened to the idea of the opposite charges of magnets.

The Theory of Recollection explains that we possess some non-empirical knowledge (e.g. The Form of Equality) at birth, implying the soul existed before birth to carry that knowledge. Another account of the theory is found in Plato's Meno, although in that case Socrates implies anamnesis (previous knowledge of everything) whereas he is not so bold in Phaedo.

The Affinity Argument explains that invisible, immortal, and incorporeal things are different from visible, mortal, and corporeal things. Our soul is of the former, while our body is of the latter, so when our bodies die and decay, our soul will continue to live.

The Argument from Form of Life explains that the Forms, incorporeal and static entities, are the cause of all things in the world, and all things participate in Forms. For example, beautiful things participate in the Form of Beauty; the number four participates in the Form of the Even, etc. The soul, by its very nature, participates in the Form of Life, which would mean the soul could never die.

Of the four I think the “Form of Life” argument is the most important. Mainly because I know that Plato believed that everything had a “form” that made it distinctly it, but this is the first of the four dialogues I have read that really addresses this.

The other interesting thing was how Socrates approaching death tied in with his approach to life. Basically that man should embrace experiences as they happen but with a detachment that allows an unbiased analysis. This will allow the soul to grow and develop with the corrupting influence of the body minimized.

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Monday, February 25, 2008

Portable Professor - The Birth of Western Philosophy

As you might have guessed Plato is kicking my butt, and since Aristotle is up next I am expecting more bruises. However, this weekend at Barnes and Nobel I found one of their portable professor courses that deals with both Plato and Aristotle so I picked it up. Maybe my pain will now diminish.

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