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

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?

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

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

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”

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

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

Politics by Other Means: Re-Learning How to be Liberal

by Chris Berger The specific political distinction to which political actions and motives can be reduced is that between friend and enemy. — Carl Schmitt, The Concept of the Political Crisis of the Liberal Status Quo Western politics is changing. While this is acutely felt in recent weeks, it has been a long time in the making, and to be blunt: we had this coming.  … Continue reading Politics by Other Means: Re-Learning How to be Liberal

Why Science Needs Philosophy

by Chris Berger The industry of bringing science to the people is thriving. “Edutainment,” as we sometimes call it, plays an important role in the education of children and adults. After all, this is an age in which scientific advancement moves at a pace impossible for an average lay person to keep up with independently. To complicate things, misinformation and pseudoscience are rampant, and now … Continue reading Why Science Needs Philosophy

Jim Prentice and the Virtue of Moderation

by Chris Berger The untimely death of the Hon. Jim Prentice came as sobering news.  Having worked as a member of the staff for Premier Prentice’s caucus during the time of his leadership, I can attest personally that his passing deprives Albertans, and indeed Canadians, of a dedicated and gifted public servant. In some ways, his passing is an untimely one in that it follows closely … Continue reading Jim Prentice and the Virtue of Moderation