Join us Wednesday February 11, 2015 at 6:30 PM for “Philosophy -The Beginning.”

This meeting marks the 4th anniversary of the first official LES meeting. Join us for champagne and cake as we celebrate the past 4 years and toast the future of LES!

In this meeting we’re going to watch the first two lectures in a series called “The Great Ideas of Philosophy.” Each lecture is approximately 30 minutes long and is taught by Professor Daniel N. Robinson PhD, a member of the philosophy faculty at Oxford University, where he has lectured annually since 1991. He is also Distinguished Professor, Emeritus, at Georgetown University, on whose faculty he served for 30 years. He was formerly Adjunct Professor of Psychology at Columbia University, and has held positions at Amherst College and at Princeton University. He is the author or editor of more than forty books.

Lecture 1- is entitled “From the Upanishads to Homer,” and begins with a brief description of what philosophy is. The translation of the word philosophy is love of wisdom; and wisdom comes only in Truth. To be a student of philosophy we are morally bound to go wherever Truth leads. Philosophy confronts three problems in the search for Truth – Knowledge (What is knowledge and how do we obtain it?); Conduct (What kind of life should one live and what actions represent moral conduct?); and Governance (What is wise governance?) Philosophers seek answers to all three of these questions.

The first lecture continues by pointing out contrasts between Eastern and Western philosophies. The Upanishads from India taught there is an Universal Soul or Cosmic Atman of which humanity and all living creatures are a part. Greek philosophers taught that humanity was separate from the Gods who created the Universe; and that human fate was entirely different from that of the Gods. They further taught that human life is filled with irony – that often the very attributes which motivate an individual’s code in life result in the eventual downfall of the individual.

Lecture 2 –  entitled “Philosophy – Did the Greeks Invent It” continues showing the contrasts between Eastern and Western thought, and provides information on how the Greek philosophy developed and spread in the Western world.  The Greeks believed that philosophy earns its Truth by working for it – that Truth depends on evidence. Without evidence there is no Truth. Without Truth there is no Wisdom. To reach Truth, one must remain skeptical and challenge even the most fundamental of beliefs.

Both lectures refer to Homer and the Iliad. Most of us learned about Homer and read some parts of the Iliad in high school Literature Class. Those of us who pursued degrees in the Humanities delved deeper in college. Time  has a way of stealing or at least blurring some knowledge from past learning. Some useful links are included below if you would like a refresher course on Homer, and why the Iliad is such an important key to understanding the mindset of antiquity. The information in these links is far from complete. If you’re interested in researching further you’ll find other links on the Internet – some to  various translations of the complete works of Homer.  Also included is a link with information about the Upanishads.

Note:  It is NOT necessary to explore these links to understand and enjoy the lectures. You’ll enjoy and understand both lectures even if Homer, the Iliad and the Upanishads are all unknown to you. The links are included just in case you want to learn more about the topics discussed in the lectures. Professor Robinson is engaging and does a great job of laying a basic foundation of philosophy in these two lectures. (He also bears a remarkable resemblance to one of our founders. You can decide who when you watch the lectures.) We’ll have time after each lecture to discuss any thoughts that arise while watching, or to share additional knowledge.

LES was founded on the idea of discovering Truth. In the past we’ve sometimes meandered from our original intent and will do so in the future, which is fine. This presentation, however, is consistent with the original intent of exploring ways to discover Truth.  Hope you’ll join us!

Useful links:


The Iliad


All sincere seekers are welcome.  $10 for pay-as-you-go attendees; No charge for LES pre-pay Members.


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