The Floating University

Glossary

  • Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948): leader of the nonviolent independence movement in India; said “Live as though you’ll die tomorrow, but learn as though you’ll live forever”
     
  • Socrates (469-399 BC): Greek philosopher and one of the founders of Western philosophy; challenged people’s beliefs through pointed questioning, and was put to death
     
  • Plato (428-348): Socrates’ student and an aristocratic Greek wrestler; wrote a series of dialogues after Socrates’ death highlighting Socrates’ thinking
     
  • The Republic (circa 380BC): Socratic dialogue written by Plato about the definition of justice, the just city-state, and the just man
     
  • Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947): English mathematician and philosopher; said all of Western thought is nothing more than footnotes to Plato
     
  • Aristotle (384-322 BC): Greek philosopher, student of Plato, and teacher of Alexander the Great
     
  • Nicomachean Ethics: A work by Aristotle; discusses what it takes to be a happy person; Aristotle believes that virtue is its own reward, and this line of thinking has evolved into what is called virtue ethics
     
  • St. Augustine (354-430 AD): philosopher and theologian; wrote The City of God during the collapse of the Roman Empire from invading barbarians, a work about the conflict between the City of Man (where men love earthly pleasures) and the City of God (where men on earth devote themselves to God and the Christian faith)
     
  • Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274 AD): Italian Dominican priest, wrote Summa Theologica; he is one of the primary orthodox theologians of Catholicism
     
  • Dante Alighieri (1265-1321 AD): Italian poet, known as “the Supreme poet,” wrote Infero, part of The Divine Comedy , which has profound views on human nature, destiny, heaven, and hell
     
  • Martin Luther (1483-1546 AD): German priest and professor of theology; initiated the Protestant Reformation; wrote "Ninety-Five Theses" in 1517 which protests clerical abuses and questions the validity of indulgences (remission of temporal punishment for sins which have already been forgiven)
     
  • John Milton (1608-1674): English poet; wrote the epic poem Paradise Lost, illustrating human nature, history, destiny, and God’s will from the Protestant perspective
     
  • Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855): Danish Christian philosopher; known as the father of existentialism
     
  • Martin Heidegger (1889-1976): German existentialist philosopher; explored the “question of Being”
     
  • Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980): French philosopher and playwright; influential in Marxism and existentialism
     
  • Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900): German philosopher and poet; influential in existentialism and nihilism
     
  • Mortimer Adler (1902-2001): American philosopher who advocated teaching great works to the masses; said “the path of true learning is strewn with rocks, not roses,”
     
  • Thomas Malthus (1766-1834): English reverend and scholar; in 1798 wrote a classic work of political economy called An Essay in the Principle of Population which addressed how much populations could grow before they diminished as a result of limited resources, famine, and disease
     
  • Jane Austen (1775-1817): English novelist of romantic fiction about the landed gentry in England in the late 18th century; books include Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility
     
  • Emily Dickinson (1830-1886): American poet; considered one of the most influential 19 th century poets, known for her unconventional broken rhyme schemes and innovative use of metaphor
     
  • William Shakespeare (1564-1616): English poet and playwright ; considered one of the greatest writers of the human condition