PenTru

Political Redux: February 14, 2017

by Chris Berger As of this Valentine’s Day, electorates continue their affairs with populism and ethno-nationalism.  Europe in particular has always had its flirtations with fringe elements in mainstream politics, whereas in North America, institutions like First-Past-The-Post have tended, as a general rule, to keep eccentrics both malicious and benign either out of the political spotlight altogether, or reined in by more moderate forces in … Continue reading Political Redux: February 14, 2017

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Getting Things Done, Philosopher Style

by Chris Berger Attempting one’s first steps into philosophic thought is a daunting, frankly reckless, and directionless gamble. I say directionless because good guidance is at such a premium and reckless because we seldom have a clear idea of what we want out of it. As for daunting, those who take such a step with confidence know not what they’re getting into. What is the … Continue reading Getting Things Done, Philosopher Style

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Political Redux: January 2017

by Chris Berger The New Year is conventionally a time for fresh beginnings, but these have certainly taken an unorthodox, bewildering, and frankly ominous form in 2017.  At three levels of consideration, politics is headed into territory we probably wouldn’t have expected a year or two ago. Alberta Here in Alberta, the “Unite the Right” movement, led on the one side by Progressive Conservative leadership … Continue reading Political Redux: January 2017

FILE - This is a Aug. 27, 1941  file photo of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill as he gives his famous " V for Victory Salute" . Churchill Britain's famous World War II prime minister died fifty years ago on January 24 1965. (AP Photo, File)

No Country for Statesmen

by Chris Berger A professor for whom I worked as a teaching assistant a number of years ago, a fascinating and intellectually generous man in his own right, had the good fortune of studying under the guidance of Leo Strauss, the (in)famous historian of political philosophy, in his twilight years at the University of Chicago in the sixties. Given my own interests and proclivities, I … Continue reading No Country for Statesmen

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Splitting Infinitives, or Splitting Hairs?

by Chris Berger I have a confession to make: I am a grammar stickler. Or at least, I try to be (I am probably too absentminded, and therefore too sloppy, for it to be a genuine obsession, though I come close). My friends’ and colleagues’ annoyance notwithstanding, however, it is an affliction I have come to live with and even embrace. It was not always … Continue reading Splitting Infinitives, or Splitting Hairs?

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Teaching with Dinosaurs – An Interview with Scott Persons

by Chris Berger Scott Persons is a man who has devoted his life to discovery, education, and public science outreach.  A researcher and teacher already lauded for his contributions to the field of paleontology, Edmontonians may know him from his appearances at Nerd Nite events around the city; Canadians, from his Summer 2016 series on CBC radio featuring Alberta dinosaurs; and people the world over, … Continue reading Teaching with Dinosaurs – An Interview with Scott Persons

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Fear and Loathing in Modernity

by Chris Berger We moderns are uncomfortable with being modern. Such is the point of departure for Steven B. Smith’s probing new book, Modernity and Its Discontents: Making and Un-Making the Bourgeois from Machiavelli to Bellow. This will make it of pressing interest for those interested in the political, philosophical, and even literary engagements with our modern context.  That word, “discontent,” diagnoses our present situation … Continue reading Fear and Loathing in Modernity

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Connecting the Dots – Thoughts on Arthur M. Melzer’s “Philosophy Between the Lines”

by Chris Berger You’re skeptical of mysticism, you say? Good. So am I. This is probably why a lot of people are skeptical of the idea of esotericism, and more specifically of the idea of an “art of esoteric writing.” Talk of such an art immediately calls to mind associations with the occult, kabbalists, Freemasons, and other arcane codes and secret societies. In large measure, … Continue reading Connecting the Dots – Thoughts on Arthur M. Melzer’s “Philosophy Between the Lines”

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Catching the Train on Randolph Street — A Thought on Saul Bellow, Literature, and Eros

by Chris Berger According to his close friend Allan Bloom, novelist Saul Bellow had a saying: even if you plan on making the trip to eternity, you still have to catch the train on Randolph Street (at least if you’re setting out from Chicago).  To my knowledge he never penned this aphorism in any of his published works, but nevertheless it is reflective of a theme … Continue reading Catching the Train on Randolph Street — A Thought on Saul Bellow, Literature, and Eros

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Escaping to Clementine

by Chris Berger An Edmontonian could be forgiven for bypassing 120th and Jasper without a second thought. The Pearl, while a towering new monolith of luxury on the evolving cityscape, wouldn’t seem at first to have much to drop in for.  And this obscurity hides a new Edmontonian gem in the best possible way. Clementine, the newest addition to the local food and drink scene, … Continue reading Escaping to Clementine