Combat and Classics
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“I beheld the wretch – the miserable monster whom I had created.” Why did Victor Frankenstein create his monster? What role did beauty, love, science, and education play in his endeavor? Join Lise, Brian, and Jeff in a discussion of this classic, widely-known novel.
Ep. 14: Chekhov's "Rothschild's Violin"
How should human life be valued? Is death something to suffer, or something that provides relief? Jeff, Lise and Brian discuss these questions and more in examining Anton Chekhov's short story "Rothschild's Violin" or "Rothschild's Fiddle."
Ep. 13: Plato's Phaedo
Should we fear death? Jeff, Lise, and Brian discuss Plato's Phaedo, in which Socrates is joined by his friends to discuss that and other questions while awaiting the time for Socrates' execution later the same day.
Ep. 12: Sophocles' Philoktetes
What role do lying and deception play in achieving strategic objectives? Jeff, Lise and Brian discuss that and other questions as raised by Sophocles in Philoktetes, in which a soldier (Philoktetes) is recovered from an island where he was left after being wounded. His significance arises from his possession is the famed bow of Heracles, which the characters Odysseus and Neoptolemus believe is necessary to win the Trojan war.
Ep. 11: Rousseau's "First Discourse on the Arts and Sciences"
Jeff, Lise, and Brian are joined by the distinguished Dylan Casey and Wes Alwan for this crossover episode with the Partially Examined Life. They discuss the First Discourse on the Arts and Sciences, in which Rousseau argues that the arts and sciences tend to lead to "moral corruption". What is "moral corruption"? What does it mean for a human being to be "whole"? How can a society be structured to allow individual humans to achieve wholeness? What role do the arts and sciences play in...
Ep. 10: Anton Chekhov's "The Student"
In this episode, Lise, Jeff and Brian discuss “The Student,” a (very) short story by Anton Chekhov. The central character is Ivan, a student, or disciple, whose depression is transformed into elation during the course of his conversation with a peasant mother and daughter about the suffering of Peter as he realizes his betrayal of Jesus.
Ep. 9: Joseph Conrad's "Typhoon"
Lise, Jeff and Brian discuss another work by Joseph Conrad, a rip-roaring, seafaring tale! In his novella Typhoon, Conrad tells the story of Captain McWhirr, his crew, and his ship’s brawling passengers as they sail through a typhoon. The work raises questions about leadership in the face of human conflict and natural disasters.
Ep. 6: Plato's Symposium
Join Lise, Jeff and Brian for another Platonic dialogue! Socrates and Alcibiades reappear at a party attended by several characters who decide to take turns praising Eros, who is often referred to in English as the “god of love.” As the dialogue progresses, we learn there is much more to love, or rather to “eros,” than sexual desire, and the characters’ conversation moves on to numerous other topics, including politics, law, and philosophy.
Ep. 5: Aristophanes' "Birds"
What can we learn from a farce about banishment? Where do politics, nature and religion collide with the absurd? Check out our discussion on Aristophanes' "Birds."
Ep. 4: Plato's Alcibiades I
Let's do some more Plato! Alcibiades is one of the most famous figures in military history. An incredibly successful Athenian general who fled to Athens' enemy Sparta after being charged with with sacrilege. He and Socrates had a very "complicated" relationship. This particular dialogue raises questions about the nature of justice and who is worthy to lead.
Ep. 3: Interview with Professor Martin L. Cook
Join us for a discussion with Martin L. Cook, Distinguished Visiting Professor at United States Air Force Academy. Prior to that, Professor Cook was Admiral James B. Stockdale Professor of Professional Military Ethics at the College of Operational and Strategic Leadership at the U.S. Naval War College. He is also co-editor of The Journal of Military Ethics. Cook was previously a professor of philosophy and deputy department head at the Philosophy Department of the U.S. Air Force Academy...
Ep. 2: Plato's Republic
Join Lise, Jeff and Brian for a conversation on Book I of the Republic. BUT FIRST! How to approach the "Great Books": How do you start from scratch with no background or without a group? We hope you like it!
Ep. 1: Sophocles' Ajax
Join Lise, Jeff and Brian as they discuss Sophocles' Ajax, the story of a great Greek warrior who takes his own life on the beach of Troy. Also, check out Stringfellow Barr's "Notes on Dialogue" as a follow-up to the discussion at the beginning of the episode about the student-led seminars at St. John's College, which form a critical part of the education it offers.
Ep. 0: Introduction
Join Lise, Jeff and Brian for the kick off podcast explaining a little what we're about. Spoiler alert: it's a strange brew of classical literature, military history and culture, and the human experience of war.