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Peter Kalkavage

Peter Kalkavage
Peter Kalkavage has been a tutor at St. John's College in Annapolis, Maryland, since 1977. He is director of the St. John’s Chorus. Dr. Kalkavage is the author of The Logic of Desire: An Introduction to Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit, and has produced editions of Plato’s Timaeus, Phaedo, and Statesman for Focus Philosophical Library. He is also author of two texts that have been used in the St. John’s music program, including On the Measurement of Tones and Elements: A Workbook for Freshman Music.
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Music assures us that we are not alone: that there is something out there in the world that knows our hearts and may even teach us to know them better. Thanks to music, we experience what it means to be connected to the whole of all things...
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To question is not merely to know that one lacks knowledge but to love knowledge passionately, to pursue it and never give up... “…by indirections find directions out…” ~Hamlet, 2.1 The Meno holds a...
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Richard Wagner's Tristan and Isolde should prompt us to search for an antidote to the lovers’ death wish—to pursue a love that preserves rather than destroys, celebrates rather than abolishes individuality, and seeks life rather than death... “They who were two and divided now became one and...
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There is nothing in the natural world, or in the inner and outer life of man, that does not find its counterpart in the all-embracing realm of tones. Music as symbol is the whole of all things... “They who were two and divided now became one...
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“Music, too, is nature.” - Sound and Symbol by Victor Zuckerkandl This essay explores the differences between two perspectives on music: one ancient, one modern. The texts I have chosen are Plato’s...
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I want to begin by saying how my theme is related to justice. Plato and Aristotle often connect justice with wholeness. And it is wholeness—the whole of virtue and the whole of a political community—that...
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Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords readers the opportunity to join Peter Kalkavage as he considers why music is an essential liberal art. —W. Winston Elliott III, Publisher Music and rhythm...
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“The things of friends are common.” —Greek proverb (quoted by Socrates in the Phaedrus) It is a pleasure to be with you today, to visit Belmont University and see Nashville...
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“For we shall see him as he is.” 1 John 3:2 The focus of my talk this evening is the Paradiso, the culminating and most beautiful part of Dante’s Comedy. The Paradiso has much to...
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“Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made.” Romans 1:20 My goal this evening is to praise reason—that is,...
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“Feelings are ‘vectors’; for they feel what is there and transform it into a here.” Alfred North Whitehead, Process and Reality Let me begin by saying to our alumni: Welcome home! My lecture is intended to be its...
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And whoever thinks another a greater friend than his own fatherland, I say that man is nowhere.–Sophocles, Antigonê 182-3 The Timaeus is the strangest of Plato's dialogues. It is so strange that one wonders whether...
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Peter Kalkavage St. John’s College and the Great Books Program here at Mercer University have much in common. Both programs revolve around a set of great works of Western civilization. In both programs these...

Plato Music and rhythm find their way into the secret places of the soul.–Plato Music transcends the classroom, the concert stage, and professional recordings. It pervades life. Mankind has long used music...