CYA Virtual Lecture Series
27 Jan 2021

CYA Virtual Lecture Series || January 27, 2021

 CYA is delighted to be back with yet another session of its Virtual Lecture Series. 

This Wednesday, 27 January 2021, at 12 p.m. (EST) / 7 p.m. (Athens), guest speaker, Michael K.

Kellogg, founding and managing partner in the law firm of  Kellogg Hansen Todd Figel & Frederick, P.P.L.C., and eloquent author of books on philosophy and the history of western thought, will discuss the much-debated critical battle of philosophy and poetry.

What Plato called “the ancient quarrel between poetry and philosophy” was a quarrel over primacy.  Which is most important to the city state: poetry or philosophy?  Which has the strongest claim to wisdom?   

We know where Plato came out because he would have banned most poets from his ideal Republic.  Our very term, philosophy, is a cognate of the Greek words, philia (which means love or friendship) and sophia (which means wisdom).  But just because philosophers purport to love wisdom doesn’t mean they have a special claim to it. 

Aristophanes contends that it is the poet’s job to safeguard the soul of the city-state and to lead men to wisdom and the good life.  He dismisses philosophy as, at best, “never-ending futile chatter / In a niggling senseless game.”  He condemns philosophy even as practiced by Socrates and Plato because their focus on what is true everywhere and for all people makes them indifferent to the local and temporal concerns of the city-state.  Poetry, by contrast, tethers us to, even as it transforms our understanding of, the present and thus make us both wiser and better citizens.

Plato devotes his most beautiful, intricate, and poetic work – the Symposium – to refuting Aristophanes and yet, in the end, reveals his own ambivalence.


Facilitating the discussion will be CYA’s Chairman of the Board of Trustees, K. Chris Todd, a name partner in the Washington D.C. law firm of Kellogg Hansen Todd Figel & Frederick, P.P.L.C., and a good friend of Michael Kellogg.

To participate in this live discussion, Please register HERE 

G U E S T  S P E A K E R

Michael K. Kellogg

Founding and Managing Partner of Kellogg, Hansen, Todd, Figel & Frederick


Michael Kellogg is a founding partner and the managing partner of the law firm, Kellogg, Hansen, Todd, Figel & Frederick.  He received degrees from Stanford University and Oxford University in philosophy before graduating magna cum laude from the Harvard Law School in 1982.  

After clerking on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit for Judge Malcolm Wilkey, and then on the United States Supreme Court for then-Associate Justice William Rehnquist, Mr. Kellogg served as Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, focusing on drugs and organized crime before joining the Solicitor General’s office.  His current practice is focused on appellate, regulatory, and antitrust issues.  He has briefed and argued 14 cases before the United States Supreme Court. 

He co-authored Federal Telecommunications Law and has authored one book on philosophy, The Questions We Never Stop Asking (2010), and five books on the history of western thought: The Greek Search for Wisdom (2012), The Roman Search for Wisdom (2014), The Wisdom of the Middle Ages (2016), The Wisdom of the Renaissance (2019), and The Wisdom of the Enlightenment (forthcoming 2021).


K. Chris Todd

Chairman, Board of Trustees, College Year in Athens


Κ. Chris Todd is a name partner in the Washington D.C. law firm of Kellogg Hansen Todd Figel & Frederick, P.P.L.C., specializing in litigation and white-collar criminal defense. He received degrees from Texas Tech University (B.A. 1969) and the University of Texas, School of Law (J.D. 1972) and attended Cambridge University, Darwin College (1973-1974).

Mr. Todd has been in the private practice of law for 30 years after serving as a federal prosecutor for over a decade. While a federal prosecutor, he was the Chief of the White House National Security Counsel team that conducted the criminal investigation of the cover-up during the Iran/Contra matter. Before that, he was an Assistant United States Attorney in New York City, where he prosecuted mobsters, drug dealers, and Wall Street fraudsters. 

For the past thirty years, Mr. Todd has served on the Board of Trustees of College Year in Athens, fifteen of which as Chairman of the Board of Trustees, where he has volunteered his time and resources to support CYA.

This institution is very fortunate to have him be a part of its governance and leadership, let alone for his selfless dedication to the school.