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Timeless wisdom on generosity and gratitude from the great Stoic philosopher Seneca To give and receive well may be the most human thing you can do-but it is also the closest you can come to divinity. So argues the great Roman Stoic thinker Seneca (c. 4 BCE-65 CE) in his longest and most searching moral treatise, "On Benefits" (De Beneficiis). James Romm's splendid new translation of essential selections from this work conveys the heart of Seneca's argument that generosity and gratitude are among the most important of all virtues. For Seneca, the impulse to give to others lies at the very foundation of society; without it, we are helpless creatures, worse than wild beasts. But generosity did not arise randomly or by chance. Seneca sees it as part of our desire to emulate the gods, whose creation of the earth and heavens stands as the greatest gift of all. Seneca's soaring prose captures his wonder at that gift, and expresses a profound sense of gratitude that will inspire today's readers. Complete with an enlightening introduction and the original Latin on facing pages, How to Give is a timeless guide to the profound significance of true generosity.
What the Roman poet Horace can teach us about how to live a life of contentment What are the secrets to a contented life? One of Rome's greatest and most influential poets, Horace (65-8 BCE) has been cherished by readers for more than two thousand years not only for his wit, style, and reflections on Roman society, but also for his wisdom about how to live a good life-above all else, a life of contentment in a world of materialistic excess and personal pressures. In How to Be Content, Stephen Harrison, a leading authority on the poet, provides fresh, contemporary translations of poems from across Horace's works that continue to offer important lessons about the good life, friendship, love, and death. Living during the reign of Rome's first emperor, Horace drew on Greek and Roman philosophy, especially Stoicism and Epicureanism, to write poems that reflect on how to live a thoughtful and moderate life amid mindless overconsumption, how to achieve and maintain true love and friendship, and how to face disaster and death with patience and courage. From memorable counsel on the pointlessness of worrying about the future to valuable advice about living in the moment, these poems, by the man who famously advised us to carpe diem, or "harvest the day," continue to provide brilliant meditations on perennial human problems. Featuring translations of, and commentary on, complete poems from Horace's Odes, Satires, Epistles, and Epodes, accompanied by the original Latin, How to Be Content is both an ideal introduction to Horace and a compelling book of timeless wisdom.
How ancient skepticism can help you attain tranquility by learning to suspend judgment Along with Stoicism and Epicureanism, Skepticism is one of the three major schools of ancient Greek philosophy that claim to offer a way of living as well as thinking. How to Keep an Open Mind provides an unmatched introduction to skepticism by presenting a fresh, modern translation of key passages from the writings of Sextus Empiricus, the only Greek skeptic whose works have survived. While content in daily life to go along with things as they appear to be, Sextus advocated-and provided a set of techniques to achieve-a radical suspension of judgment about the way things really are, believing that such nonjudging can be useful for challenging the unfounded dogmatism of others and may help one achieve a state of calm and tranquility. In an introduction, Richard Bett makes the case that the most important lesson we can draw from Sextus's brand of skepticism today may be an ability to see what can be said on the other side of any issue, leading to a greater open-mindedness. Complete with the original Greek on facing pages, How to Keep an Open Mind offers a compelling antidote to the closed-minded dogmatism of today's polarized world.
Timeless advice about how to use humor to win over any audience Can jokes win a hostile room, a hopeless argument, or even an election? You bet they can, according to Cicero, and he knew what he was talking about. One of Rome's greatest politicians, speakers, and lawyers, Cicero was also reputedly one of antiquity's funniest people. After he was elected commander-in-chief and head of state, his enemies even started calling him "the stand-up Consul." How to Tell a Joke provides a lively new translation of Cicero's essential writing on humor alongside that of the later Roman orator and educator Quintilian. The result is a timeless practical guide to how a well-timed joke can win over any audience. As powerful as jokes can be, they are also hugely risky. The line between a witty joke and an offensive one isn't always clear. Cross it and you'll look like a clown, or worse. Here, Cicero and Quintilian explore every aspect of telling jokes-while avoiding costly mistakes. Presenting the sections on humor in Cicero's On the Ideal Orator and Quintilian's On the Orator's Education, complete with an enlightening introduction and the original Latin on facing pages, How to Tell a Joke examines the risks and rewards of humor and analyzes basic types that readers can use to write their own jokes. Filled with insight, wit, and examples, including more than a few lawyer jokes, How to Tell a Joke will appeal to anyone interested in humor or the art of public speaking.
HarperCollins is proud to present its incredible range of best-loved, essential classics... Despite dating from the 4th century BC, The Art of Rhetoric continues to be regarded by many as the single most important work on the art of persuasion. As democracy began emerging in 5th-century Athens, public speaking and debate became an increasingly important tool to garner influence in the assemblies, councils, and law courts of ancient Greece. In response to this, both politicians and ordinary citizens became desperate to learn greater skills in this area, as well as the philosophy behind it. This treatise was one of the first to provide just that, establishing methods and observations of informal reasoning and style, and has continued to be hugely influential on public speaking and philosophy today. Aristotle, the grandfather of philosophy, student of Plato, and teacher of Alexander the Great, was one of the first people to create a comprehensive system of philosophy, encompassing logic, morality, aesthetics, politics, ethics, and science. Although written over 2,000 years ago, The Art of Rhetoric remains a comprehensive introduction for philosophy students into the subject of rhetoric, as well as a useful manual for anyone today looking to improve their oratory skills of persuasion.
The middle of the second until the middle of the first century BCE is one of the most creative periods in the history of human thought, and an important part of this was the interaction between Roman jurists and Hellenistic philosophers. In this highly original book, Rene Brouwer shows how jurists transformed the study of law into a science with the help of philosophical methods and concepts, such as division, rules and persons, and also how philosophers came to share the jurists' preoccupations with cases and private property. The relevance of this cross-fertilization for present-day law and philosophy cannot be overestimated: in law, its legacy includes the academic study of law and the Western models of dispute resolution, while in philosophy, the method of casuistry and the concept of just property.
In ancient Greece, philosophers developed new and dazzling ideas about divinity, drawing on the deep well of poetry, myth, and religious practices even as they set out to construct new theological ideas. Andrea Nightingale argues that Plato shared in this culture and appropriates specific Greek religious discourses and practices to present his metaphysical philosophy. In particular, he uses the Greek conception of divine epiphany - a god appearing to humans - to claim that the Forms manifest their divinity epiphanically to the philosopher, with the result that the human soul becomes divine by contemplating these Forms and the cosmos. Nightingale also offers a detailed discussion of the Eleusinian Mysteries and the Orphic Mysteries and shows how these mystery religions influenced Plato's thinking. This book offers a robust challenge to the idea that Plato is a secular thinker.
This book examines tragedy and tragic philosophy from the Greeks through Shakespeare to the present day. It explores key themes in the links between suffering and ethics through postcolonial literature. Ato Quayson reconceives how we think of World literature under the singular and fertile rubric of tragedy. He draws from many key works - Oedipus Rex, Philoctetes, Medea, Hamlet, Macbeth, and King Lear - to establish the main contours of tragedy. Quayson uses Shakespeare's Othello, Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, Tayeb Salih, Arundhati Roy, Toni Morrison, Samuel Beckett and J.M. Coetzee to qualify and expand the purview and terms by which Western tragedy has long been understood. Drawing on key texts such as The Poetics and The Nicomachean Ethics, and augmenting them with Frantz Fanon and the Akan concept of musuo (taboo), Quayson formulates a supple, insightful new theory of ethical choice and the impediments against it. This is a major book from a leading critic in literary studies.
*** THE INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER *** It can feel good to be the one with all the answers. When we don't know something it can feel embarrassing, and we may worry that asking questions will only make us look like we don't know what we're doing. We form opinions without knowing all the facts, take things at face value or slip into snap judgements. All our lives we've been praised for knowing the answer - and yet, we're rarely taught how to ask good questions. You don't need all the answers. You need the right questions. In this thoughtful and accessible journey into the world of practical philosophy, international bestselling author Elke Wiss will not only show you how you can develop your own conversational skills, but also explains why we often find asking questions so challenging in the first place. By learning how to ask the questions that really matter, you can start unlocking more meaningful conversations, begin to bridge difficult divides, and build deeper connections with family, friends, or people we're only just getting to know.
Written as a personal diary for spiritual development, Marcus Aurelius's "meditations" were not meant for publication nor posterity, yet the Roman emperor and Stoic philosopher has provided inspiration and guidance for more than eighteen centuries. Now, after nearly two thousand years, Mark Forster has adapted the ideas and principles relevant to the Roman world of the second century and has made them accessible to the twenty-first-century reader.
Packaged in handsome, affordable trade editions, Clydesdale Classics is a new series of essential works. From the musings of intellectuals such as Thomas Paine in Common Sense to the striking personal narrative of Harriet Jacobs in Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, this new series is a comprehensive collection of our intellectual history through the words of the exceptional few. Originating in approximately 380 BC, Republic is a Socratic dialogue written by famed Greek philosopher Plato. Often referred to as Plato's masterwork, Republic's central goal is to define the ideal state. By conceptualizing this model state, Greeks believed it would lead states formed with its principles in mind to function the most efficiently and fairly, striving toward justice and the greater good of society. This edition includes a foreword by British American philosopher and Plato expert Simon Blackburn. Widely read around the world by philosophy students and academics alike, Plato's Republic is sure to pass on its invaluable lessons and enlighten the next generation of thinkers.
Much has been written about the interpretation of Plato in the last thirty years. Once interpreted as a revolutionary of the left, and a prophet of Socialism, he has lately been interpreted as a revolutionary of the Right and a forerunner of Fascism. In this book Plato appears as himself - a revolutionary indeed, and even an authoritarian, but a revolutionary of the pure idea of the Good, and an authoritarian of the pure reason, unattached either to the Right or the Left.
This book gives a general survey of political thought from Homer to the beginning of the Christian era. To the evidence of the philosophers is added that of Herodotus, Euripides, Thucydides, Polybius and others whose writings illustrate the course of Greek political thinking in the Classical and Hellenistic periods. This re-issues the second, updated edition of 1967.
Philosophy is a discipline committed to helping us live wiser and less sorrowful lives. This book artfully draws together forty of the greatest and most useful ideas found in philosophy, taking us on a journey around key concepts from both Eastern and Western cultures. We are invited to sample the distinctive wisdom of Eastern philosophy via tea drinking ceremonies, walks in bamboo forests, contemplations of rivers and ritualised flower arranging sessions. From Western culture we seek the teachings of some of the greatest minds throughout history including Machiavellianism and Stoicism. This essential guide to philosophy reminds us of the wit, humanity and relevance of a number of great philosophers including Nietzsche, Heidegger, Confucius, Lao Tzu and Buddha. Essential thoughts about love, work, anxiety, self-knowledge and happiness are examined, highlighted and inspiringly presented here so they can work their consoling effect where it is most needed: in our daily lives.
Moral Motivation presents a history of the concept of moral motivation. The book consists of ten chapters by eminent scholars in the history of philosophy, covering Plato, Aristotle, later Peripatetic philosophy, medieval philosophy, Spinoza, Locke, Hume, Kant, Fichte and Hegel, and the consequentialist tradition. In addition, four interdisciplinary "Reflections" discuss how the topic of moral motivation arises in epic poetry, Cicero, early opera, and Theodore Dreiser. Most contemporary philosophical discussions of moral motivation focus on whether and how moral beliefs by themselves motivate an agent (at least to some degree) to act. In much of the history of the concept, especially before Hume, the focus is rather on how to motivate people to act morally as well as on what sort of motivation a person must act from (or what end an agents acts for) in order to be a genuinely ethical person or even to have done a genuinely ethical action. The book shows the complexity of the historical treatment of moral motivation and, moreover, how intertwined moral motivation is with central aspects of ethical theory.
In 399 BC Socrates was prosecuted, convicted, sentenced to death and executed. These events were the culmination of a long philosophical career, a career in which, without writing a word, he established himself as the figure whom all philosophers of the next few generations wished to follow. The Apologies (or Defence Speeches) by Plato and Xenophon are rival accounts of how, at his trial, Socrates defended himself and his philosophy. This edition brings together both Apologies within a single volume. The commentary answers literary, linguistic and philosophical questions in a way that is suitable for readers of all levels, helping teachers and students engage more closely with the Greek texts. The introduction examines Socrates himself, the literature generated by his trial, Athenian legal procedures, his guilt or innocence of the crimes for which he was executed, and the rivalry between Xenophon and Plato.
Classical Philosophy is the first of a series of books in which Peter Adamson aims ultimately to present a complete history of philosophy, more thoroughly but also more enjoyably than ever before. In short, lively chapters, based on the popular History of Philosophy podcast, he offers an accessible, humorous, and detailed look at the emergence of philosophy with the Presocratics, the probing questions of Socrates, and the first full flowering of philosophy with the dialogues of Plato and the treatises of Aristotle. The story is told 'without any gaps', discussing not only such major figures but also less commonly discussed topics like the Hippocratic Corpus, the Platonic Academy, and the role of women in ancient philosophy. Within the thought of Plato and Aristotle, the reader will find in-depth introductions to major works, such as the Republic and the Nicomachean Ethics, which are treated in detail that is unusual in an introduction to ancient philosophy. Adamson looks at fascinating but less frequently read Platonic dialogues like the Charmides and Cratylus, and Aristotle's ideas in zoology and poetics. This full coverage allows him to tackle ancient discussions in all areas of philosophy, including epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of language, philosophy of science, ethics and politics. Attention is also given to the historical and literary context of classical philosophy, with exploration of how early Greek cosmology responded to the poets Homer and Hesiod, how Socrates was presented by the comic playwright Aristophanes and the historian Xenophon, and how events in Greek history may have influenced Plato's thought. This is a new kind of history which will bring philosophy to life for all readers, including those coming to the subject for the first time.
The second edition of Five Dialogues presents G. M. A. Grube's distinguished translations, as revised by John Cooper for Plato, Complete Works . A number of new or expanded footnotes are also included along with an updated bibliography.
The similes in Homer are treasure troves. They describe scenes of
Greek life that are not presented in their simplest form anywhere
else: landscapes and seascapes, storms and calm weather, fighting
among animals, civic disputes, athletic contests, horse races,
community entertainment, women involved in their daily tasks, men
running their farms and orchards. These basic paratactic additions
to the narrative show how the Greeks found and developed parallels
between two scenes--each of which elucidated and interpreted the
other--then expressed those scenes in effective poetic language.
How to Think Like a Roman Emperor takes readers on a transformative journey along with Marcus, following his progress from a young noble at the court of Hadrian - taken under the wing of some of the finest philosophers of his day - through to his reign as emperor of Rome at the height of its power. Robertson shows how Marcus used philosophical doctrines and therapeutic practices to build emotional resilience and endure tremendous adversity, and guides readers through applying the same methods to their own lives. Combining remarkable stories from Marcus's life with insights from modern psychology and the enduring wisdom of his philosophy, How to Think Like a Roman Emperor puts a human face on Stoicism and offers a timeless and essential guide to handling the ethical and psychological challenges we face today.
The Greeks and Romans have been charged with destroying the ecosystems within which they lived. In this book, however, M. D. Usher argues rather that we can find in their lives and thought the origin of modern ideas about systems and sustainability, important topics for humans today and in the future. With chapters running the gamut of Greek and Roman experience - from the Presocratics and Plato to Roman agronomy and the Benedictine Rule - Plato's Pigs brings together unlikely bedfellows, both ancient and modern, to reveal surprising connections. Lively prose and liberal use of anecdotal detail, including an afterword about the author's own experiments with sustainable living on his sheep farm in Vermont, add a strong authorial voice. In short, this is a unique, first-of-its-kind book that is sure to be of interest to anyone working in Classics, environmental studies, philosophy, ecology, or the history of ideas.
'It is impossible to live the pleasant life without also living sensibly, nobly and justly' The ancient Greek philosopher and teacher Epicurus argued that pleasure - not sensual hedonism, but the absence of pain or fear - is the highest goal of life. His hugely influential lessons on happiness are a call to appreciate the joy of being alive. One of twenty new books in the bestselling Penguin Great Ideas series. This new selection showcases a diverse list of thinkers who have helped shape our world today, from anarchists to stoics, feminists to prophets, satirists to Zen Buddhists.
An ambitious reinterpretation and defense of Plato's basic enterprise and influence, arguing that the power of his myths was central to the founding of philosophical rationalism. Plato's use of myths-the Myth of Metals, the Myth of Er-sits uneasily with his canonical reputation as the inventor of rational philosophy. Since the Enlightenment, interpreters like Hegel have sought to resolve this tension by treating Plato's myths as mere regrettable embellishments, irrelevant to his main enterprise. Others, such as Karl Popper, have railed against the deceptive power of myth, concluding that a tradition built on Platonic foundations can be neither rational nor desirable. Tae-Yeoun Keum challenges the premise underlying both of these positions. She argues that myth is neither irrelevant nor inimical to the ideal of rational progress. She tracks the influence of Plato's dialogues through the early modern period and on to the twentieth century, showing how pivotal figures in the history of political thought-More, Bacon, Leibniz, the German Idealists, Cassirer, and others-have been inspired by Plato's mythmaking. She finds that Plato's followers perennially raised the possibility that there is a vital role for myth in rational political thinking.
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