Hegel's often-echoed verdict on the apolitical character of philosophy in the Hellenistic age is challenged in this collection of new essays, originally presented at the sixth meeting of the Symposium Hellenisticum. An international team of leading scholars reveals a vigorous intellectual scene of great diversity: analyses of political leadership and the Roman constitution in Aristotelian terms; Cynic repudiation of the polis - but accommodation with its rulers; Stoic and Epicurean theories of justice as the foundation of society; Cicero's moral critique (...) of the traditional political pursuit of glory. The volume as a whole offers a fresh and comprehensive guide to the main currents of social and political philosophy in a period of increasing interest to classicists, philosophers and cultural and intellectual historians. (shrink)
I discuss several areas of classical Chinese philosophy such as Confucianism, Daoism, Yijing philosophy, and the Mingjia, in terms of their global relevance for humankind today. I contend that despite the critique of 4 May 1919 and Great Cultural Revolution of 1965–1976, these philosophical schools have remained latent in the consciousness of the Chinese people. I argue that classical Chinese philosophy is very relevant for the present worldwide rebirth (renaissance) of human civilization. It is, in fact, crucial to (...) the development of a “global” humanistic philosophy needed for the survival of the human species, the resolution of cultural crises, the improvement of the quality of life, and the axiological enrichment of community living. (shrink)
Saving the City provides a detailed analysis of the attempts of ancient writers and thinkers, from Homer to Cicero, to construct and recommend political ideals of statesmanship and ruling, of the political community and of how it should be founded in justice. Also, Malcolm Schofield debates to what extent the Greeks and Romans deal with the same issues as modern political thinkers.
Classics of Political and Moral Philosophy provides in one volume the major writings from nearly 2,500 years of political and moral philosophy. The most comprehensive collection of its kind, it moves from classical thought (Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, Cicero) through medieval views (Augustine, Aquinas) to modern perspectives (Machiavelli, Hobbes, Spinoza, Locke, Rousseau, Hume, Adam Smith, Kant). It includes major nineteenth-century thinkers (Hegel, Bentham, Mill, Nietzsche) as well as twentieth-century theorists (Rawls, Nozick, Nagel, Foucault, Habermas, Nussbaum). Also included are numerous essays (...) from The Federalist Papers and a variety of notable documents and addresses, among them Pericles' Funeral Oration, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, and speeches by Edmund Burke, Abraham Lincoln, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, John Dewey, and Martin Luther King, Jr. The readings are substantial or complete texts, not fragments. An especially valuable feature of this volume is that the works of each author are introduced with a substantive and engaging essay by a leading contemporary authority. These introductions include Richard Kraut on Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, and Cicero; Paul J. Weithman on Augustine and Aquinas; Roger D. Masters on Machiavelli; Jean Hampton on Hobbes; Steven B. Smith on Spinoza and Hegel; A. John Simmons on Locke; Joshua Cohen on Rousseau and Rawls; Donald W. Livingston on Hume; Charles L. Griswold, Jr., on Smith; Bernard E. Brown on Hamilton and Madison; Jeremy Waldron on Bentham and Mill; Paul Guyer on Kant; Richard Miller on Marx and Engels; Richard Schacht on Nietzsche; Thomas Christiano on Nozick; John Deigh on Nagel; Thomas A. McCarthy on Foucault and Habermas; and Eva Feder Kittay on Nussbaum. Offering unprecedented breadth of coverage, Classics of Political and Moral Philosophy is an ideal text for courses in social and political philosophy, moral philosophy, or surveys in Western civilization. (shrink)
Tracing the course of thought, action, and expression in the golden age of Islamic civilization, L. E. Goodman's Islamic Humanism paints a vivid panorama that departs strikingly from the all too familiar image of Islamic dogma, authoritarianism, and militancy. Among the poets and philosophers, scientists and historians, ethicists and mystics of Islam, Goodman finds a warm and vital humanism, committed to the pursuit of knowledge and to the cosmopolitan values of generosity, tolerance, and understanding. Drawing on a wide range of (...) writings, from love poetry to pietism, to satire, to history and metaphysics, and on to hunting, music and the dance, clothing, politics, and the marketplace, Goodman discloses the rich texture of classical Islamic civilization-its distinctive problematics and the space it left for the talents and creativity of the individual. His philosophic openness and easy familiarity place Islamic humanism securely in its larger context, revealing clearly what is of universa and abiding vitality and interest. In place of stereotypes, suspicions, and unease, Goodman sets out concrete and detailed expositions and explorations of Islamic thought and experience as seen through the eyes of the participants themselves. His engaged but sympathetic readings penetrate beneath the surface of the ancient texts to the humanistic values embraced by some of the greatest thinkers of Islam. As a result, Islamic Humanism does much more than remind us how much we owe to the intellectual achievements of Islamic civilization. The work is a significant contribution to Western understanding of Islam and to Islamic self-understanding of the profoundly humanistic dimensions of the Islamic tradition. (shrink)
The arrival of the Sophists in Athens in the middle of the fifth century B.C. was a major intellectual event, for they brought with them a new method of teaching founded on rhetoric and bold doctrines which broke away from tradition. In this book de Romilly investigates the reasons for the initial success of the Sophists and the reaction against them, in the context of the culture and civilization of classical Athens.
In the long river of human history, if one person can represent the civilization of a whole nation, it is perhaps Master Kong, better known as Confucius in the West. If there is one single book that can be upheld as the common code of a whole people, it is perhaps Lun Yu, or The Analects. Surely few individuals in history have shaped their country's civilization more profoundly than Master Kong. The great Han historiographer, Si-ma Qian, writing 2,100 years ago (...) said, "He may be called the wisest indeed!" And, as recently as 1988, at a final session of the first international conference of Nobel prize-winners in Paris, the seventy-five participants, fifty-two of whom were scientists, concluded: "If mankind is to survive, it must go back twenty- five centuries in time to tap the wisdom of Confucius". This is a man whose influence in world history is truly incomparable. His sayings (and those of his disciples) form the basis of a distinct social, ethical, and intellectual system.They have retained their freshness and vigour for two and a half millennia, and are still admired in today's China. Compiled by pupils of Confucius's disciples half a century after the Master's death, The Analects of Confucius laid the foundation of his philosophy of humanity--a philosophy aimed at "cultivating the individual's moral conduct, achieving family harmony, bringing good order to the state and peace to the empire". Containing 501 very succinct chapters (the longest do not exceed fifteen lines and the shortest are less than one) and organized into twenty books, the collection comprises mostly dialogues between the Master and his disciples and contemporaries. The ethical tenets Confucius put forth not only became the norm of conduct for the officialdom and intelligentsia, but also had a profound impact on the behaviour of the common people.The great sage's unique integration of humanity and righteousness (love and reason) struck a powerful chord in all who attempted to understand his moral philosophy. As the translator Chichung Huang contends, "What ethical principle laid down by man could be more sensible that none which blends the best our heart can offer with the best our mind can offer as the guiding light for our conduct throughout our lives?". Ever timely, Confucius's teachings on humanity (family harmony in particular) and righteousness may well serve as a ready-made cure for today's ills in an era which human beings are blinded by force and lust, not unlike Confucius's own day. Far more literal than any English version still in circulation, this brilliant new rendition of The Analects helps the reader not only to acquire and accurate and lucid understanding of the original text, but also to appreciate the imagery, imagery, parallelism, and concision of its classical style.The translator Chichung Huang, a Chinese scholar born in a family of Confucian teachers and schooled in one of the last village Confucian schools in South China, brings to this treasure of world literature a sure voice that captures the power and subtleties of the original. Vivid, simple, and eminently readable, this illuminating work makes the golden teachings of the sage of the East readily available to anyone in search of them. (shrink)
The contribution of the Ancient Greeks to modern western culture is incalculable. In the worlds of art, architecture, myth, literature, and philosophy, the world we live in would be unrecognizably different without the formative influence of Ancient Greek models. -/- Ancient Greek civilization was defined by the city - in Greek, the polis, from which we derive 'politics'. It is above all this feature of Greek civilization that has formed its most enduring legacy, spawning such key terms as aristocracy, oligarchy, (...) tyranny and - last but by no means least - democracy. -/- This stimulating Very Short Introduction to Ancient Greece takes the polis as its starting point. Paul Cartledge uses the history of eleven major Greek cities to illuminate the most important and informative themes in Ancient Greek history, from the first documented use of the Greek language around 1400 BCE, through the glories of the Classical and Hellenistic periods, to the foundation of the Byzantine empire in around CE 330. Covering everything from politics, trade, and travel to slavery, gender, religion, and philosophy, it provides the ideal concise introduction to the history and culture of this remarkable civilization that helped give birth to the world as we know it. (shrink)
The strangeness of modern physics has sparked several popular books--such as The Tao of Physics--that explore its affinity with Eastern mysticism. But the founders of quantum mechanics were educated in the classical traditions of Western civilization and Western philosophy. In Nature Loves to Hide, physicist Shimon Malin takes readers on a fascinating tour of quantum theory--one that turns to Western philosophical thought to clarify this strange yet inescapable explanation of reality. Malin translates quantum mechanics into plain English, explaining its (...) origins and workings against the backdrop of the famous debate between Niels Bohr and the skeptical Albert Einstein. Then he moves on to build a philosophical framework that can account for the quantum nature of reality. He shows, for instance, how Platonic and Neoplatonic thought resonates with quantum theory. He draws out the linkage between the concepts of Neoplatonism and the more recent process philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead. The universe, Whitehead wrote, is an organic whole, composed not of lifeless objects, but "elementary experiences." Beginning with Whitehead's insight, Malin shows how this concept of "throbs of experience" expresses quantum reality, with its subatomic uncertainties, its constituents that are waves and also particles, its emphasis on acts of measurement. Once any educated person could explain the universe as a vast Newtonian web of cause and effect, but since quantum theory, reality again appears to be richer and more mysterious than we had thought. Writing with broad humanistic insight and deep knowledge of science, and using delightful conversations with fictional astronauts Peter and Julie to explain more difficult concepts, Shimon Malin offers a profound new understanding of the nature of reality--one that shows a deep continuity with aspects of our Western philosophical tradition going back 2500 years, and that feels more deeply satisfying, and truer, than the clockwork universe of Newton. (shrink)
The contribution of the Ancient Greeks to modern western culture is incalculable. In the worlds of art, architecture, myth, literature, and philosophy, the world we live in would be unrecognizably different without the formative influence of Ancient Greek models. -/- Ancient Greek civilization was defined by the city - in Greek, the polis, from which we derive 'politics'. It is above all this feature of Greek civilization that has formed its most enduring legacy, spawning such key terms as aristocracy, oligarchy, (...) tyranny and - last but by no means least - democracy. -/- This highly stimulating introduction to Ancient Greece takes the polis as its starting point. Paul Cartledge uses the history of eleven major Greek cities to illuminate the most important and informative themes in Ancient Greek history, from the first documented use of the Greek language around 1400 BCE, through the glories of the Classical and Hellenistic periods, to the foundation of the Byzantine empire in around CE 330. Covering everything from politics, trade, and travel to slavery, gender, religion, and philosophy, it provides the ideal concise introduction to the history and culture of this remarkable civilization that helped give birth to the world as we know it. (shrink)