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By Stephen Everson (ed.)

This choice of essays presents a worldly and obtainable advent to the ethical theories of the traditional international. It covers the moral theories of all of the significant philosophers and faculties from the earliest instances to the Hellenistic philosophers. a considerable creation considers the query of what's specified approximately old ethics.

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113 on Tue Oct 14 07:58:56 BST 2014. 002 Cambridge Books Online © Cambridge University Press, 2014 30 Charles H. Kahn One feature of the Herodotean picture is quite unlike the Homeric view: its ultimate pessimism in the conclusion that death is better than life. The Homeric hero has no illusions about a human life without sorrow. ). 2 On the whole, however, Greek literature and art give us the impression of intense vitality and love of life. What, then, are the good things that make life worth living?

The social and political climate of the late fifth century, with violent class conflicts reinforced by thirty years of nearly continuous warfare, must also have contributed to the decay of traditional morality. Such at least was the judgement of Thucydides. (See Thuc. ) The sophists were of course blamed for this moral decline, and with them Socrates as well. We come to Socrates in a moment. But first we may consider how far men like Protagoras and Gorgias could reasonably be held responsible for the intellectual revolt against the traditional virtues of justice and restraint.

The brave man is superior not only to his enemies but also to pleasure. Some men are master of cities but slave to women' (B214). It is hard tofightagainst anger. But it is the mark of a reasonable man to prevail' (B236). Virtue must be internalised by rational persuasion rather than by law and compulsion; 'one is brave and right-minded when one acts correctly from understanding (sunesis) and knowledge (episteme)' (BI8I). Our evidence is too fragmentary for us to determine how far Democritus has integrated his prudential and therapeutic considerations into a view of justice, moral virtue and social harmony as intrinsic goods, rather than as necessary conditions for cheerfulness and peace of mind.

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