Some people think Socrates was a prophet of the true God to the Greeks. Whether that's true or not doesn't affect his status as one of the most perceptive, thorough and truth-loving philosophers of all time. There was little his teaching didn't cover, though to most of us it wouldn't be strictly recognizable as teaching.
Socrates "taught" by asking questions. He aimed not at destruction, but at forcing people to come to terms with their own assumptions, to find flaws in their own logic, to make sure what they believed was consistent and tenable. Peter Kreeft uses this same method to look at all the important issues of life (from money and love to education, Capitalism and God), albeit from a Christian perspective.
Anyone who's read Plato's Socratic dialogues will know that, not only are they mentally stimulating, they're also surprisingly entertaining. Humor takes its place beside philosophy, drama beside intellectual exploration. Kreeft's dialogues are equally thought-provoking and fun, so that delving into the "good life" becomes a joy rather than an irritation or drudgery.
It was Socrates who said the unexamined life is not worth living. Kreeft takes this phrase to its logical conclusion and evaluates everything. Each dislogue involves an uprooted Socrates in the postmodern Desperate State University talking either to Peter Pragma (representing humanistic naturalism) or Felicia Flake (her name says it all). The results are mind-altering, dangerous, and laugh-out-loud ridiculous.
Kreeft's textworks equally well as philosophy, theology, armchair reading, or guide to what makes us happy, what should make us happy, and why those two are often at odds. In today's hyper-everything world, this book is a refuge, a mentally rigorous yet oddly calming examination of what everyone wants—The Best Things In Life.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.
Table of Contents:
Foreword by Anytus of Athens
- I. Socrates and Peter Pragma
- On Education and E.T.
- On Liberal Education and Careers
- On Technology and Inchworms
- On Artificial Intelligence and College Presidents
- On Superstition and Santa Claus
- On Success and the Greatest Good
- II. Socrates and Felicia Flake
- On Pot and Happiness
- On Rock... and Music
- On Sex and Love
- On Sexism and Pop Psychology
- On Communism and Capitalism
- Interlude before Felicia's Oxford Tutorial
- On Objective Values
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