Harrison Middleton University
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Category: Social Science

We’re excited that you’ve joined the conversation! At HMU, we want to continue the great authors’ conversations in a contemporary context, and this blog will help us do that. We look back to Aristotle and the early philosophers who used reason and discourse to gain wisdom and now we endeavor to do the same every day.

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December 1, 2023

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

We’ve all done it. Looking for quick information on some random subject, we inevitably turn to Wikipedia. Created in 2001, Wikipedia is an encyclopedia open to edits, a collaborative effort. Merriam-Webster defines “wiki” as “a website that allows visitors to make changes, contributions, or corrections.” Merriam-Webster also claims that the first use of wiki is in 1995 (Wikipedia itself,

 » Read more about: Understanding Wikipedia  »

November 3, 2023

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

The October Quarterly Discussion merged two chapters from The Prince by Machiavelli with a chapter from Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Of prime interest was the focus on the Roman Emperor Septimius Severus. Machiavelli presents him as a champion of the princely cause since he successfully tricked and killed his opponents,

 » Read more about: Gibbon Meets Machiavelli  »

October 20, 2023

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

George Bull translated the Penguin Classics version of Machiavelli’s The Prince (1999). In the introductory materials, Bull notes some of the difficulties of translating Machiavelli’s language. I find his comments particularly enlightening since they also address the problematic nature of virtue. Machiavelli clearly witnessed unsettling atrocities in his time. Rather than condemning the injustices, he merely noted that injustice exists and suggested that it might be a necessary evil on the ruler’s behalf.

 » Read more about: Machiavelli Addresses Virtue  »

November 11, 2022

Thanks to 2022 HMU Fellow in Ideas David Kirichenko for today’s review.

The Laws of Human Nature by Robert Greene

There are defined patterns to how humans behave. Being social creatures, it is important to understand our own behaviors and motivations to grasp the reality of the world around us. In his book The Laws of Human Nature, Robert Greene attempts to weave together an appreciation of how humans operate through the lenses of history,

 » Read more about: BOOK REVIEW: The Laws of Human Nature  »

November 4, 2022

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

For the October Quarterly Discussion, we read Plutarch’s “Coriolanus” and a speech by David McCullough titled “Knowing History and Knowing Who We Are.” I was not really sure if this combination would work because of the great differences between the two pieces. Plutarch’s biography portends to be history, but is simultaneously a commentary on culture,

 » Read more about: Plutarch Meets McCullough  »

September 23, 2022

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

As recently discussed on this blog, I have begun a journey through the great idea of Knowledge. I want to better understand our sources of knowledge, how we think we know what we think we know. Really, I am trying to assess at what point a thought, idea or belief becomes something akin to knowledge. So much of my studies stem from what we now term the “Western world.” In How the World Thinks,

 » Read more about: Baggini Talks Knowledge  »

September 2, 2022

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

Years ago, under the pressures of student life, I read the full volume of Plutarch’s Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans (often referred to as Parallel Lives). Honestly, I was dreading it because I harbored assumptions about some of these ancient texts. (And we all know what a mistake it is to assume anything.) At that time,

 » Read more about: Plutarch Is My Favorite  »

July 8, 2022

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

Happiness is of such importance that the Declaration of Independence uses it as a foundational principle. Considering its importance in my own society, one would think that I thoroughly understand the term. However, it is as slippery today as it has always been. Sometimes I believe that my own personal happiness is necessary because it will assist me to support those around me.

 » Read more about: Where is Happiness  »

June 10, 2022

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

“The hardest thing of all to see is what is really there.” – John Baker, The Peregrine

”Learning is a profession….” – Zena Hitz

2022 Fellow in Ideas David Yamada recently wrote a book review that inspired me. Per his suggestion, I quickly read Zena Hitz’s Lost in Thought: The Hidden Pleasures of an Intellectual Life.

 » Read more about: What is Real Learning  »

Friday, May 6, 2022

Thanks to David Kirichenko, a 2022 Fellow in Ideas recipient, for today’s post.

Understanding your place in the universe is difficult. It requires facing, and then transcending, your deepest concerns, with death as one of our core fears. One day you will die. Everyone you know and love will die. All of us began aging from the day we were born, and death does not wait at the end of life’s road – it is with us throughout life’s journey.

 » Read more about: The Art of Meditating on Mortality  »

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