Download A Companion to Greek and Roman Political Thought by Ryan K. Balot PDF

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By Ryan K. Balot

Includes 34 essays from major students in heritage, classics, philosophy, and political technology to light up Greek and Roman political concept in all its range and depth.

  • Offers a vast survey of historic political suggestion from Archaic Greece via overdue Antiquity
  • Approaches old political philosophy from either a normative and historic focus
  • Examines Greek and Roman political notion inside of ancient context and modern debate
  • Explores the function of historical political suggestion in a number philosophies, resembling the person and neighborhood, human rights, faith, and cosmopolitanism

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Additional info for A Companion to Greek and Roman Political Thought

Sample text

This is true particularly for the Greek traditions of civic virtue. In ethical philosophy, Elizabeth Anscombe (1958), Rosalind Hursthouse (1999), and Gabriele Taylor (2006), among others, have drawn on ancient, and particularly Aristotelian, thinking about virtue and vice in order to remedy apparent shortcomings in the prevailing Kantian and utilitarian theories. As David Depew shows in chapter 26, however, these neo-Aristotelian philosophers should also take account of virtue and vice as political phenomena, in the spirit of the ancients’ own understanding of the virtues and of eudaimonia.

The Greeks and Romans already stood out within the ancient Mediterranean world, because, unlike their Mediterranean neighbors, they gave a specifically political interpretation to ideals such as freedom and ‘‘law and order’’ (Raaflaub, chapter 3). What is important, however, is not any triumphal claim that the Greeks originated the political, but rather the exploration of why communal political activity became special or even primary for Greeks and Romans. By contrast with other ancient Mediterranean peoples, as Raaflaub shows, the Greeks and Romans erected their conception of the political on the basis of egalitarian practices of political power (to be sure: among the citizenry, not universally) and a concern with collective aims such as justice, well-being, law and order, freedom, and equality.

Is it responsible for scholars and thinkers to put classical political thought to use in the vastly different conditions of late modernity? To each question, our answer is a resounding yes. Despite the apparent tensions between particular and general, it will emerge that these approaches can cooperate successfully and so produce illuminating results. Study of the ancient city implies neither nostalgia for classical antiquity nor envy of the political lives of ancient citizens. Instead, the ubiquitously rich and deeply alien world of classical antiquity can be recovered as a repository of imaginative and theoretical resources.

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