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Greek Political Thought

Greek Political Thought

Ryan K. Balot

ISBN: 978-1-405-10029-8

Jan 2006

368 pages

In Stock

$127.95

Description

This wide-ranging history of ancient Greek political thought shows what ancient political texts might mean to citizens of the twenty-first century.
  • A provocative and wide-ranging history of ancient Greek political thought
  • Demonstrates what ancient Greek works of political philosophy might mean to citizens of the twenty-first century
  • Examines an array of poetic, historical, and philosophical texts in an effort to locate Greek political thought in its cultural context
  • Pays careful attention to the distinctively ancient connections between politics and ethics
  • Structured around key themes such as the origins of political thought, political self-definition, revolutions in political thought, democracy and imperialism
Preface and Acknowledgments.

Abbreviations.

1. Introduction: How to Do Greek Political Thought.

2. Archaic Greece and the Centrality of Justice.

Achilles, Agamemnon, and Fair Distribution.

Justice as “Distinctively Human”.

Institutions and Values of the Early Polis.

What is Justice? The Voice of the Oppressed and the Origins of Political Thought.

The Egalitarian Response.

The Elitist Response.

Case Study: Sparta and the Politics of “Courage”.

A Second Case Study: Archaic Athens and the Search for Justice.

3. Democratic Political Thinking at Athens.

Evidence and Sources.

Democracy Ancient and Modern.

Democratic Conceptions of Freedom.

Democratic Deliberation.

Courage, Trust, and Leadership.

Democratic Political Thought outside Athens?.

Protagorean Arguments for Democracy.

Democratic Conceptions of Equality.

Justice and the Demos.

4. Criticizing Democracy in Late Fifth-Century Athens.

Mapping out the Problem: The “Old Oligarch”.

Modern and Ancient Quandaries.

Nomos and Phusis.

The Challenge of Thrasymachus and Callicles.

Thucydidean Imperialists Revisit Nomos and Phusis.

Socrates and Nomos.

Logos and Ergon.

Democratic Epistemology and Relativism.

Democratic Epistemology and Untrustworthy Rhetoric – or, Where Does the Truth Lie?.

Socrates and Athens.

5. Imperialism.

Aristotle Analyzes Imperialism.

Definitions and History.

Monarchic Imperialism.

Natural Superiority?.

Debating Athenian Imperialism.

Final Thoughts.

6. Fourth Century Revisions.

The ancestral republican “solutions”.

The monarchic “solution”.

Plato’s “solutions”.

Criticizing Contemporary Politics.

Plato on Rhetoric and Order in the Gorgias.

The Priority of Reason in City and Soul: Plato’s Republic.

Educating Citizens in the Classical Context.

Politics and Ethics.

Philosophical Rulers.

Platonic Political Philosophy after the Republic.

7. Aristotle’s Political Thought.

Civic Conflict, Emotion, and Injustice: Observing the Polis as It Is.

Exploring What Ought To Be: Aristotle’s Naturalism.

Aristotle on the Good Life.

Nature in the Politics.

Aristotle on Slavery.

Polis and Citizenship in General.

Aristotle’s Best Polis.

Political Possibilities in Existing Cities.

The Best Constitution in Relation to Existing Conditions.

Classification of Constitutions.

The Power of the Masses.

Conclusion.

8. Hellenistic Political Thought.

Theory of Kingship.

The Traditional Schools.

New Directions: Cynics, Stoics, and Epicureans.

The Politics of Cynicism?.

Stoicism and Epicureanism.

9. Epilogue: The Question of Politics.

Bibliographic Essay.

Notes.

Index

""Balot's book is written with admirable clarity and offers a coherent and sophisticated perspective on ancient politics for an undergraduate.... It has a thought-provoking agenda and treats the abstract issues really well."" (The Classical Review, 2008)

""This comprehensive and well-informed book fills a niche.... [A] clearly argued and illuminating book. Balot achieves his stated aims with deceptive ease."" (Journal of Hellenic Studies, February 2009)

“Balot’s book is written with admirable clarity and offers a coherent and sophisticated perspective on ancient politics for an undergraduate audience.” (The Classical Review, Vol 58 No. 1, 2008)

“Balot has provided students with a carefully cleared path through several centuries of thought about Greek politics.” (Bryn Mawr Classical Review)

""Greek Political Thought is a great starting point for any student interested in the ethical and political thought of the ancient world."" (Philosophy Reviews)


  • A provocative and wide-ranging history of ancient Greek political thought.

  • Demonstrates what ancient Greek works of political philosophy might mean to citizens of the twenty-first century.

  • Examines an array of poetic, historical, and philosophical texts in an effort to locate Greek political thought in its cultural context.

  • Pays careful attention to the distinctively ancient connections between politics and ethics.

  • Structured around key themes such as the origins of political thought, political self-definition, revolutions in political thought, democracy and imperialism.