Avatar photo

Thomas Fleming

Thomas Fleming is president of the Fleming Foundation. He is the author of six books, including The Morality of Everyday Life and The Politics of Human Nature, as well as many articles and columns for newspapers, magazines,and learned journals. He holds a Ph.D. in Classics from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and a B.A. in Greek from the College of Charleston. He served as editor of Chronicles: a Magazine of American Culture from 1984 to 2015 and president of The Rockford Institute from 1997-2014. In a previous life he taught classics at several colleges and served as a school headmaster in South Carolina

5 Responses

  1. Robert Reavis says:

    Thank you for another good conversation, especially the initial and simplest question of all :” What is will? “
    Aristotle knew it had a cognitive aspect as well the sensory side. We of course know all about the sensory appetites but have forgotten almost everything Aristotle, St.Augustine and Ignatius knew about it’s cognitive ability and thus are always straining against the goad even more than necessary for fallen creatures. I really enjoyed this session because I think the simplest questions are always the most difficult to understand. “What is will?” Is one of them. “Thy will be done” is truly good news for us if we knew what it was but most of us wouldn’t see things that way today. Thank you again for these delightful quests.

  2. Jacob Johnson says:

    It is helpful to us humans that a word so often used for dodgy and destructive purposes is included in this central text as an example of its proper application.

  3. Allen Wilson says:

    This is such a deep and profound series. I’ve been re-listening to the episodes and still find things I’ve missed.

  4. Philip Smith says:

    It is not insignificant that the Aleister Crowley cult is called “Thelema” based on a particular construal of the term.

  5. Robert Reavis says:

    Mr Smith,
    Your point is well taken but one of the things I have always appreciated about Dr Fleming is his response to one strict interpretation of words. I once heard him give a wonderful talk to a rather obscure house or foundation from a famous congregation of Benedictines on the Greek word for spirit. It was not definitive because the word is used to describe certain aspects of a rather mysterious reality. In a certain sense it could be the “breath of life” but in another sense the “soul”of man and these realities are not easily distinguished in the short span of one life. A rather profound and off the cuff remark of Mr Navrozov recently mentioned the leisure of youth that allows one to entertain all the wonders of evolution but as the definitive end approaches, the more pointed aspects of revelation are more welcomed to resolve the mystery of death. This of course is all relevant to the lover who considers such things in their multiple aspects and the will is one of those realities. The heart has little meaning today in the rather young and fashionable intellectual circles that dominate contemporary academia but even in the most liberal of academic circles there are very few honest souls and good teachers that would deny the University its rightful place “where old men dream dreams and young men see visions.”
    I am always suspicious of “know it alls” but always respectful of those who desire to know all that can be known. Socrates was a damned nuisance because he was not reluctant to inquire and ask questions of those who thought they knew. If anyone can explain the human will or “heart” definitively,I would be most interested .