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Political Thought in Ancient Greece

John David Lewis

Presented at: SRB 2002 Palo Alto

Date: Aug 10, 2002

For the Greeks, the ability to think abstractly about politics developed during centuries of thought about man and his community. This intellectual odyssey began on Homer's battlefield, advanced through self-governing political communities, and culminated in the political philosophies of Plato and Aristotle. What, they asked, is moral excellence? How does it relate to justice in the city? How should we organize our laws and our government? How can we avoid the twin evils of tyranny and anarchy? What is the nature of the ideal state? This course will examine the intellectual history of Greek political thought and will show how the Greeks refined their conceptual understanding of political life in order to solve real problems.



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