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Eros, Honor, and The Shield of Achilles



The purpose of this discussion is to reveal the teaching in Homer's Iliad regarding the thing we call ‘technology.’  This is particularly important for us because of the way in which we tend to mistakenly believe that the most urgent questions concerning our own technology are unique to us today because of Modern science.  This mistaken belief leads us further to mistakenly think that our most urgent questions of technology today are only, or best, approached by way of their different treatments in the various recent postmodern philosophers and sociologists.  In contrast to all that, through a very meticulous reading of key passages throughout the entirety of Homer's Iliad I demonstrate the way in which Homer provides us with a very rich teaching on the very meaning of this thing we call technology in the life of man, along with its possibly great advantages and its possibly great perils, even and especially concerning the proper relationship between man and the divine.  


Throughout the discussion I include numerous and in-depth relationships between the themes that Homer has his finger on the pulse of and how those same themes arise in later definitive thinkers of the Western intellectual tradition, such as Plato, Aristotle, John Locke, Nietzsche, Ernst Jünger, and Martin Heidegger.  Among the comparisons and contrasts with these later thinkers, a few of the most important themes I go into great detail about in this discussion are the following:


1. The philosophical meaning of natural rights and just how complicated they can become upon careful analysis.


2. The similarities and differences between poetry and philosophy, and how they each respectively go about inquiring into the meaning of the good life as well as offering guidance, if not answers, to it.


3. The philosophical significance of mathematics as it arises in our ability to make distinctions between the most basic (but definitive!) concepts we all use in the necessary ordering of human life as such and, in particular, any understanding of political community that is to be flourishing.




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