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In this revealing and entertaining guide to how the Romans confronted their own mortality, Peter Jones shows us that all the problems associated with old age and death that so transfix us today were already dealt with by our ancient ancestors two thousand years ago. Romans inhabited a world where man, knowing nothing about hygiene let alone disease, had no defences against nature. Death was everywhere. Half of all Roman children were dead by the age of five. Only eight per cent of the population made it over sixty. One bizarre result was that half the population consisted of teenagers. From the elites' philosophical take on the brevity of life to the epitaphs left by butchers, bakers and buffoons, Memento Mori ('Remember you die') shows how the Romans faced up to this world and attempted to take the sting out of death.
The Presocratics, the first heroes of Western philosophy and science, paved the way for Plato, Aristotle and all their successors.
Although none of their original writings have come down to us complete, patient detective work enables us to reconstruct the crucial questions they asked and their absorbing answers. Here Jonathan Barnes brings together the surviving Presocratic fragments in their original contexts allowing modern readers to get to grips with these pioneering thinkers whose ideas remain at the centre of philosophical debate. The revised edition of the collection has been updated to take account of further research and a major new papyrus of Empedocles.
• With a new preface, revised introduction, synopsis, an appendix on sources, subject index and index to quoted texts •
This concise anthology of primary sources designed for use in an ancient philosophy survey ranges from the Presocratics to Plato, Aristotle, the Hellenistic philosophers, and the Neoplatonists. The Second Edition features an amplified selection of Presocratic fragments in newly revised translations by Richard D. McKirahan. Also included is an expansion of the Hellenistic unit, featuring new selections from Lucretius and Sextus Empiricus as well as a new translation, by Peter J. Anderson, of most of Seneca's De Providentia . The selections from Plotinus have also been expanded.
Plato's "Republic" is one of the best-known and most widely-discussed texts in the history of philosophy. But how might we get to the heart of this work today, 2,500 years after its original composition? Alain Badiou breathes life into Plato's landmark text and revives its universality. Rather than producing yet another critical commentary, he has instead worked closely on the original Greek and, through spectacular changes, adapted it to our times. In this innovative reimagining of Plato's work, Badiou has removed all references specific to ancient Greek society -- from lengthy exchanges about moral courage in archaic poetry to political considerations mainly of interest to the aristocratic elite -- and has expanded the range of cultural references. Here, philosophy is firing on all cylinders: Socrates and his companions are joined by Beckett, Pessoa, Freud, and Hegel, among others. Together these thinkers demonstrate that true philosophy endures, ready to absorb new horizons without changing its essence.
Moreover, Badiou -- who is also a dramatist -- has transformed the Socratic dialogue into a genuine oratorial contest. In his version of the "Republic," the interlocutors do much more than simply agree with Socrates. They argue, stand up to him, put him on the spot, and show thought in motion. In this work of dramatic scholarship and philosophy, we encounter a modern version of Plato's text that is alive, stimulating, and directly relevant to our own world.
Focus Philosophical Library's edition of Aristotle's "Nicomachean
Ethics" is a lucid and useful translation of one of Aristotle's
major works for the student of undergraduate philosophy, as well as
for the general reader interested in the major works of western
civilization. This edition includes notes and a glossary, intending
to provide the reader with some sense of the terms and the concepts
as they were understood by Aristotle's immediate audience.
The Cambridge History of Philosophy in Late Antiquity comprises over forty specially commissioned essays by experts on the philosophy of the period 200-800 CE. Designed as a successor to The Cambridge History of Later Greek and Early Medieval Philosophy (edited by A. H. Armstrong), it takes into account some forty years of scholarship since the publication of that volume. The contributors examine philosophy as it entered literature, science and religion, and offer new and extensive assessments of philosophers who until recently have been mostly ignored. The volume also includes a complete digest of all philosophical works known to have been written during this period. It will be an invaluable resource for all those interested in this rich and still emerging field.
How should we evaluate the success of each person's life? Countering the prevalent philosophical perspective on the subject, Steven M. Cahn and Christine Vitrano defend the view that our well-being is dependent not on particular activities, accomplishments, or awards but on finding personal satisfaction while treating others with due concern. The authors suggest that moral behavior is not necessary for happiness and does not ensure it. Yet they also argue that morality and happiness are needed for living well, and together suffice to achieve that goal. Cahn and Vitrano link their position to elements within both the Hellenistic and Hebraic traditions, in particular the views of Epicurus and lessons found in the Book of Ecclesiastes. Written in an accessible style and illustrated with incisive vignettes drawn from history, literature, films, and everyday life, Happiness and Goodness is a compelling work of philosophy for anyone who seeks to understand the nature of a good life.
Here, for the first time in English, is celebrated French classicist Jacques Jouanna's magisterial account of the life and work of Sophocles. Exhaustive and authoritative, this acclaimed book combines biography and detailed studies of Sophocles' plays, all set in the rich context of classical Greek tragedy and the political, social, religious, and cultural world of Athens's greatest age, the fifth century. Sophocles was the commanding figure of his day. The author of Oedipus Rex and Antigone, he was not only the leading dramatist but also a distinguished politician, military commander, and religious figure. And yet the evidence about his life has, until now, been fragmentary. Reconstructing a lost literary world, Jouanna has finally assembled all the available information, culled from inscriptions, archaeological evidence, and later sources. He also offers a huge range of new interpretations, from his emphasis on the significance of Sophocles' political and military offices (previously often seen as honorary) to his analysis of Sophocles' plays in the mythic and literary context of fifth-century drama. Written for scholars, students, and general readers, this book will interest anyone who wants to know more about Greek drama in general and Sophocles in particular. With an extensive bibliography and useful summaries not only of Sophocles' extant plays but also, uniquely, of the fragments of plays that have been partially lost, it will be a standard reference in classical studies for years to come.
M. J. Levett's elegant translation of Plato's Theaetetus , first published in 1928, is here revised by Myles Burnyeat to reflect contemporary standards of accuracy while retaining the style, imagery, and idiomatic speech for which the Levett translation is unparalleled. Bernard William's concise introduction, aimed at undergraduate students, illuminates the powerful argument of this complex dialogue, and illustrates its connections to contemporary metaphysical and epistemological concerns.
This book offers a fresh analysis of the account of Peripatetic ethics in Cicero's On Ends 5, which goes back to the first-century BCE philosopher Antiochus of Ascalon. Georgia Tsouni challenges previous characterisations of Antiochus' philosophical project as 'eclectic' and shows how his reconstruction of the ethics of the 'Old Academy' demonstrates a careful attempt to update the ancient heritage, and predominantly the views of Aristotle and the Peripatos, in the light of contemporary Stoic-led debates. This results in both a hermeneutically complex and a philosophically exciting reading of the old tradition. A case in point is the way Antiochus grounds the 'Old Academic' conception of the happy life in natural appropriation (oikeiosis), thus offering a naturalistic version of Aristotelian ethics.
"Practical Reason, Aristotle, and Weakness of the Will " was first published in 1984. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
One of the central problems in recent moral philosophy is the apparent tension between the "practical" or "action-guiding" side of moral judgments and their objectivity. That tension would not exist if practical reason existed (if reason played a substantial role in producing motivation) and if recognition of obligation were one of the areas in which practical reason operated. In "Practical Reason, Aristotle, and the Weakness of the Will," Norman Dahl argies that, despite widespread opinion to the contrary, Aristotle held a position on practical reason that both provides an objective basis for ethics and satisfies an important criterion of adequacy--that it acknowledges genuine cases of weakness of the will. In arguing for this, Dahl distinguishes Aristotle's position from that of David Hume, who denied the existence of practical reason. An important part of his argument is an account of the role that Aristotle allowed the faculty "nous "to play in the acquisition of general ends. Relying both on this argument and on an examination of passages from Aristotle's ethics and psychology, Dahl argues that Aristotle recognized that a genuine conflict of motives can occur in weakness of the will. This provides him with the basis for an interpretation that finds Aristotle acknowledging genuine cases of weakness of the will.
Dahl's arguments have both a philosophical and a historical point. He argues that Aristotle's position on practical reason deserves to be taken seriously, a conclusion he reinforces by comparing that position with more recent attempts, by Kant, Nagel, and Rawls, to base ethics on practical reason.
Presented in the popular Cambridge Texts format are three early Platonic dialogues in a new English translation by Tom Griffith that combines elegance, accuracy, freshness and fluency. Together they offer strikingly varied examples of Plato's critical encounter with the culture and politics of fifth and fourth century Athens. Nowhere does he engage more sharply and vigorously with the presuppositions of democracy. The Gorgias is a long and impassioned confrontation between Socrates and a succession of increasingly heated interlocutors about political rhetoric as an instrument of political power. The short Menexenus contains a pastiche of celebratory public oratory, illustrating its self-delusions. In the Protagoras, another important contribution to moral and political philosophy in its own right, Socrates takes on leading intellectuals (the 'sophists') of the later fifth century BC and their pretensions to knowledge. The dialogues are introduced and annotated by Malcolm Schofield, a leading authority on ancient Greek political philosophy.
One of the central challenges to contemporary political philosophy is the apparent impossibility of arriving at any commonly agreed upon "truths." As Nietzsche observed in his Will to Power, the currents of relativism that have come to characterize modern thought can be said to have been born with ancient sophistry. If we seek to understand the strengths and weaknesses of contemporary radical relativism, we must therefore look first to the sophists of antiquity--the most famous and challenging of whom is Protagoras. With Sophistry and Political Philosophy, Robert C. Bartlett provides the first close reading of Plato's two-part presentation of Protagoras. In the "Protagoras," Plato sets out the sophist's moral and political teachings, while the "Theaetetus," offers a distillation of his theoretical and epistemological arguments. Taken together, the two dialogues demonstrate that Protagoras is attracted to one aspect of conventional morality--the nobility of courage, which in turn is connected to piety. This insight leads Bartlett to a consideration of the similarities and differences in the relationship of political philosophy and sophistry to pious faith. Bartlett's superb exegesis offers a significant tool for understanding the history of philosophy, but, in tracing Socrates's response to Protagoras' teachings, Bartlett also builds toward a richer understanding of both ancient sophistry and what Socrates meant by "political philosophy."
Cicero is increasingly recognised as a highly intelligent contributor to the ongoing ethical debates between Epicureans, Stoics and other schools. In this work on the fundamentals of ethics his learning as a scholar, his skill as a lawyer and his own passion for the truth result in a work which dazzles us in its presentation of the debates and at the same time exhibits the detachment of the ancient sceptic. Many kinds of reader will find themselves engaged with Cicero as well as with the ethical theories he presents. This collection takes the reader further into the debates, opening up new avenues for exploring this fascinating work.
In addition to works by Plato and Xenophon, we know of dozens of treatises and dialogues written by followers of Socrates that are now lost. The surviving evidence for these writings constitutes an invaluable resource for our understanding of Socrates and his philosophical legacy. The Circle of Socrates presents new--sometimes the first--English translations of a representative selection of this evidence, set alongside extracts from Plato and Xenophon. The texts are arranged according to theme, with concise introductions that provide an overview of the topics and the main lines of thought within them. The aim is to give a fuller account of the philosophical activity of Socrates' immediate followers: both to shed light on less well known figures (some of whom inspired schools and movements that were influential in the development of later thought), and also to improve our grasp of the intellectual context within which Plato and Xenophon, the most important of the Socratics, lived and wrote. Included are a general introduction to the history, content, and character of these writings; a bibliography; an index of sources; and an index of the Socratics and their works.
Cicero's On the Commonwealth and On the Laws were his first and most substantial attempts to adapt Greek theories of political life to the circumstances of the Roman Republic. They represent Cicero's understanding of government and remain his most important works of political philosophy. On the Commonwealth survives only in part, and On the Laws was never completed. The new edition of this volume has been revised throughout to take account of recent scholarship, and features a new introduction, a new bibliography, a chronological table and a biographical index. James E. G. Zetzel offers a scholarly reconstruction of the fragments of On the Commonwealth and a masterly translation of both dialogues. The texts are further supported by notes and synopsis, designed to assist students in politics, philosophy, ancient history, law and classics.
An engaging account of the titan of political philosophy and the development of his most important work, A Theory of Justice, coming at a moment when its ideas are sorely needed. It is hard to overestimate the influence of John Rawls on political philosophy and theory over the last half-century. His books have sold millions of copies worldwide, and he is one of the few philosophers whose work is known in the corridors of power as well as in the halls of academe. Rawls is most famous for the development of his view of "justice as fairness," articulated most forcefully in his best-known work, A Theory of Justice. In it he develops a liberalism focused on improving the fate of the least advantaged, and attempts to demonstrate that, despite our differences, agreement on basic political institutions is both possible and achievable. Critics have maintained that Rawls's view is unrealistic and ultimately undemocratic. In this incisive new intellectual biography, Andrius Galisanka argues that in misunderstanding the origins and development of Rawls's central argument, previous narratives fail to explain the novelty of his philosophical approach and so misunderstand the political vision he made prevalent. Galisanka draws on newly available archives of Rawls's unpublished essays and personal papers to clarify the justifications Rawls offered for his assumption of basic moral agreement. Galisanka's intellectual-historical approach reveals a philosopher struggling toward humbler claims than critics allege. To engage with Rawls's search for agreement is particularly valuable at this political juncture. By providing insight into the origins, aims, and arguments of A Theory of Justice, Galisanka's John Rawls will allow us to consider the philosopher's most important and influential work with fresh eyes.
"What is poetry, how many kinds of it are there, and what are their
When we talk about Presocratic philosophy, we are speaking about the origins of Greek philosophy and Western rationality itself. But what exactly does it mean to talk about "Presocratic philosophy" in the first place? How did early Greek thinkers come to be considered collectively as Presocratic philosophers? In this brief book, Andr Laks provides a history of the influential idea of Presocratic philosophy, tracing its historical and philosophical significance and consequences, from its ancient antecedents to its full crystallization in the modern period and its continuing effects today. Laks examines ancient Greek and Roman views about the birth of philosophy before turning to the eighteenth-century emergence of the term "Presocratics" and the debates about it that spanned the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. He analyzes the intellectual circumstances that led to the idea of Presocratic philosophy--and what was and is at stake in the construction of the notion. The book closes by comparing two models of the history of philosophy--the phenomenological, represented by Hans-Georg Gadamer, and the rationalist, represented by Ernst Cassirer--and their implications for Presocratic philosophy, as well as other categories of philosophical history. Other figures discussed include Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Diogenes Laertius, Schleiermacher, Hegel, Nietzsche, Max Weber, and J.-P. Vernant. Challenging standard histories of Presocratic philosophy, the book calls for a reconsideration of the conventional story of early Greek philosophy and Western rationality.
This book is the first extensive study of the role of the family in the work of Seneca. It offers a new way of reading philosophy that combines philosophical analysis with social, cultural and historical factors to bring out the ways in which Stoicism presents itself as in tune with the universe. The family serves a central role in an individual's moral development - both the family as conventionally understood, and the wider conceptual family which Stoicism constructs. Innovative readings of Seneca's work bring out the importance of the family to his thought and how it interacts with other Stoic doctrines. We learn how to be virtuous from observing and imitating our family, who can be biological relatives or people we choose as our intellectual ancestors. The Ethics of the Family in Seneca will be of particular interest to researchers in Roman Stoicism, imperial culture and the history of the family.
What does the study of Plato's dialogues tell us about the modern meaning of 'sex'? How can recent developments in the philosophy of sex and gender help us read these ancient texts anew?"Plato and Sex "addresses these questions for the first time. Each chapter demonstrates how the modern reception of Plato's works o in both mainstream and feminist philosophy and psychoanalytical theory o has presupposed a 'natural-biological' conception of what sex might mean. Through a critical comparison between our current understanding of sex and Plato's notion of genos, Plato and Sex puts this presupposition into question. With its groundbreaking interpretations of the Republic, the Symposium and the Timaeus, this book opens up a new approach to sex as a philosophical concept.Including critical readings of the theories of sex and sexuation in Freud and Lacan, and relating such theories to Plato's writings, "Plato and Sex" both questions our assumptions about sex and explains how those assumptions have coloured our understanding of Plato. What results is not only an original reading of some of the most prominent aspects of Plato's philosophy, but a new attempt to think through the meaning of sex today.
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