Epicurus had a distinctive position on pleasure: the greatest possible pleasure consists in the absence of pain. The pain in question may be physical or psychological. Not to be hungry, cold, or otherwise distressed is the greatest pleasure that the body can know; to be free of fear, particularly the kind of vague, undirected anxiety that Lucretius called cura, is the most pleasant state that the mind can achieve. As Lucretius exclaims, "Do you not see that our nature cries out (...) for nothing other than that pain be absent from the body and that it may enjoy in the mind pleasant sensations, far from anxiety and fear?". Beyond this, Epicurus avers, pleasures can only be varied, not increased. Epicurus further... (shrink)
In this book, David Konstan argues that the modern concept of interpersonal forgiveness, in the full sense of the term, did not exist in ancient Greece and Rome. Even more startlingly, it is not fully present in the Hebrew Bible, nor in the New Testament or in the early Jewish and Christian commentaries on the Holy Scriptures. It would still be centuries - many centuries - before the idea of interpersonal forgiveness, with its accompanying ideas of apology, remorse, and a (...) change of heart on the part of the wrongdoer, would emerge. For all its vast importance today in religion, law, politics and psychotherapy, interpersonal forgiveness is a creation of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, when the Christian concept of divine forgiveness was fully secularized. Forgiveness was God's province and it took a revolution in thought to bring it to earth and make it a human trait. (shrink)
This paper shows the close relationship between morality and emotions, as emotions were defined and understood by classical Greek and Roman philosophers. Particular attention is paid to the nature of anger, and also to the distinction between full-fledged emotions, which depend on rational judgments and which, accordingly, only human beings are capable of experiencing, and what the Stoics called “pre-emotions,” which were common to human beings and other animals.
Mary P. Nichols, Socrates on Friendship and Community: Reflections on Plato’s Symposium, Phaedrus, and Lysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008. Pp. viii + 229. ISBN 978-0-521-89973-4. Laurence D. Cooper, Eros in Plato, Rousseau, and Nietzsche: The Politics of Infinity. University Park: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2008. Pp. xii + 357. ISBN 978-0-271-03330-3.
In this book, eminent scholars of classical antiquity and ancient and medieval Judaism and Christianity explore the nature and place of forgiveness in the pre-modern Western world. They discuss whether the concept of forgiveness, as it is often understood today, was absent, or at all events more restricted in scope than has been commonly supposed, and what related ideas may have taken the place of forgiveness. An introductory chapter reviews the conceptual territory of forgiveness and illuminates the potential breadth of (...) the idea, enumerating the important questions a theory of the subject should explore. The following chapters examine forgiveness in the contexts of classical Greece and Rome; the Hebrew Bible, the Talmud, and Moses Maimonides; and the New Testament, the Church Fathers, and Thomas Aquinas. (shrink)
The Cambridge Companion to Socrates is a collection of essays that provides a comprehensive guide to Socrates, the most famous Greek philosopher a comprehensive guide to Socrates, the most famous Greek philosopher. Because Socrates himself wrote nothing, our evidence comes from the writings of his friends , his enemies, and later writers. Socrates is thus a literary figure as well as a historical person. Both aspects of Socrates' legacy are covered in this volume.Socrates' character is full of paradox, and so (...) are his philosophical views. These paradoxes have led to deep differences in scholars' interpretations of Socrates and his thought. Mirroring this wide range of thought about Socrates, this volume's contributors are unusually diverse in their background and perspective. The chapters in this volume were authored by classical philologists, philosophers, and historians from Germany, Francophone Canada, Britain, and the United States, and they represent a range of interpretive and philosophical traditions. (shrink)
There is a deep problem with beauty. Beauty is commonly equated with sexual attractiveness. Yet there is also the beauty of art, which arouses an aesthetic response of disinterested contemplation. As Roger Scruton writes in his recent book, Beauty : “In the realm of art beauty is an object of contemplation, not desire.” Are there, then, two kinds of beauty? By looking back at the classical Greek conception of beauty, we may see how it gave rise to the modern dilemma, (...) and some possible ways of resolving it. (shrink)
David Konstan argues that the term philia, in Aristotle, represents an elective, affective relationship, and not, as many scholars have maintained, a relation of mutual obligation, like that of kinship, with no necessary affective element; in addition, he disambiguates two senses of philia, one corresponding to “love”, the other designating the reciprocal affection characteristic of friendship.