The Artist and the Philosopher

Prelude I’m going to begin a paper on beauty by considering commercials.  I can hear you say, “but Dr. Anderson, no one thinks commercials are beautiful.”  I’m not considering them... Read more

Seneca on History

The emergence of history as a discipline, like that of other “social sciences,” is relatively recent. There was, however, some ancient discussion about the topic before it become a field... Read more

Great Literature as a Humanizing Influence

I’d like to begin my remarks with a caveat. In order for the reading of great literature to have a humanizing effect, students have to approach it with the right... Read more

Poetic Meter as Habituation to Metaphysics

In the Republic, and again in his late dialogue the Laws, Plato has Socrates and the unnamed Athenian both identify the art of poetry with music and make two powerful... Read more

The Work of Art and the Student

The Precarious Status of the Arts At the time I took a post at the National Endowment for the Arts in Summer 2003, with a teaching leave granted to me... Read more

When Art Illuminates Nature

All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts… William... Read more

What is Beauty?

What is beauty? The very concept is rejected by many contemporary artists and estheticians.1 This evening I will try to show how beauty is at the very core of science,... Read more

The Cave, the Quadrivium, & Classical Education

What place should the study of mathematics have in classical education? Most classical schools rightly emphasize the linguistic arts of the trivium—grammar, logic, and rhetoric—but few have thought through (much less... Read more

Quality Matters

After all the bad publicity and spirited criticism of the Common Core ELA Standards, it may surprise people that one of the best defenses of classic literature in the primary... Read more

The Workshop of Humanity: Reading Toward Virtue

Aristotle makes a claim that some of my students find objectionable but which most educators find self-evident. Aristotle asserts in multiple places that the young are not wise and typically fail to possess the... Read more

Summarizing Epic

From two basic themes—freedom and the knowledge of death–flow all the essential elements of epic: the hero, the quest, the natural man, the fall, the kin struggles, the death–world journey,... Read more

The History of Happiness

A talk on the “history of happiness” is a bound to disappoint. Happiness, after all, is something we would prefer to possess than to study. To consider its history seems to... Read more

Xenophon on the Purpose of History

Introduction  Xenophon is often placed alongside Herodotus and Thucydides as one of the greatest historians of Greek antiquity, but Xenophon is by far the least well-known of the three chief... Read more

Your Syllabus Needs a Story

When I was in graduate school in English at UCLA in the 1980s, one of the hot, cutting-edge books in the discipline was Jean-Francois Lyotard’s The Postmodern Condition: A Report... Read more


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