In many ways, Ethan Allen is the quintessential Yankee. A farmer, he speculated in land and involved himself in colonial politics regarding land. He plunged into the War of Independence and became its first hero. Captured by the British and enduring years of severe imprisonment, when released he rushed to join Washington at Valley Forge. And he later fought to make Vermont a state.
Richard Henry Lee
was born at Stratford Hall in Westmoreland, Virginia, on January 20, 1732. At age 16, Lee moved to Yorkshire, England, for his formal education at Wakefield Academy. In 1750, when he was 18, both of Lee’s parents died; he returned to Virginia in 1752 to help his brothers divide the family’s estate.
In philosophy classes, students sometimes wonder why we continue to read long-dead thinkers like Plato
, and there are two sorts of answers I usually give. One is that, for better or worse, their ideas set the stage for debates that are still engaging, or raised questions that defy easy answers. The other is that, unlike in physics or chemistry, it’s not the case that the newer stuff is the truer stuff. It’s certainly possible that some 19th-century thinker was trying to refute an argument made by an 18th-century thinker, but failed. Aristotle
isn’t necessarily wrong about ethics just because he is writing earlier than Jeremy Bentham
. Maybe there are valuable insights in the thinkers of the past.
September’s featured birthday anniversary belongs to Marie Jean Antoine Nicolas de Caritat, The Marquis de Condorcet
, usually referred to simply by his title, or sometimes as Nicolas Condorcet. Sometimes called “the Last Witness of the Enlightenment
” or “the Last Philosophe,” he was also a pioneer of the emerging social sciences.