Sophrosyne: In Search of Moderation

Krishnan Venkatesh + Michael Golluber

Sophrosyne is the ancient Greek word for moderation, which is one of the four classical virtues. But what does Socrates’ definition of moderation really mean and how is it connected to another classical virtue: courage? Santa Fe tutor Michael Golluber explores this question by juxtaposing Plato’s Charmides against his own passion for the good life, which he defines as consisting of good food, good wine, good company, and good conversation. Together with host Krishnan Venkatesh, Golluber seeks to untangle the complexity of sophrosyne—a virtue that often masks a desire for order and control—revealing how difficult it is to both understand and attain.

In this Episode

  • Michael Golluber
    Guest Michael Golluber

    Michael Golluber is a tutor at St. John’s College. He is leading two online study groups with recent alumni, one on Plato and another on Paglia, and is participating in a faculty study group on the junior mathematics tutorial, as well as an Italian language speaking group.

  • Krishnan Venkatesh
    Host Krishnan Venkatesh

    Krishnan Venkatesh is a tutor at St. John’s College. This semester, he is reading Austen in junior seminar, translating Molière in junior language, and leading a Chinese tutorial in the Graduate Institute.

Featured Release

The power and beauty of Homer’s imagery in the Iliad is undeniable, and his scenes of battle often prompt vexing questions about ancient and modern virtues. Can killing and dying in war be beautiful? Is a just cause required for glory to be gained? Is war a courageous way of fulfilling human nature and, ultimately, of embracing the reality that death awaits us all? This episode, in which Annapolis host Louis Petrich and tutor Erica Beall delve into the dramatic contrasts that make Homer’s work powerful and war potentially beautiful, invites us to question our own modern perspectives on this ancient text.

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Executive Producers Welcome

Continuing the Conversation was funded through the philanthropy of donors to St. John’s College. If you’d like to give to the college’s Annual Fund, your gift will go to support the kinds of inquiry and conversation that comes to life at St. John’s College. It also frees up money for creative projects like this one, which brings great conversation and great books into homes across the world.


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