Courage in the Democratic Polis: Ideology and Critique in by Ryan K. Balot

By Ryan K. Balot

During this cautious and compelling examine, Ryan okay. Balot brings jointly political concept, classical background, and historic philosophy so that it will reinterpret braveness as a in particular democratic advantage. starting from Thucydides and Aristophanes to the Greek tragedians and Plato, Balot indicates that the traditional Athenians built a singular imaginative and prescient of braveness that associated this advantage to primary democratic beliefs resembling freedom, equality, and functional rationality. The Athenian ideology of braveness had functional implications for the behavior of struggle, for gender family members, and for the voters' self-image as democrats. In revising conventional beliefs, Balot argues, the Athenians reimagined the emotional and cognitive motivations for braveness in ways in which will unsettle and remodel our modern discourses. with no wasting sight of political tensions and useful conflicts, Balot illustrates the benefits of the Athenian perfect, provocatively explaining its strength to magnify our modern understandings of politics and ethics. the result's a extraordinary interdisciplinary paintings that has major implications for the speculation and perform of democracy, either old and modern.

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Additional info for Courage in the Democratic Polis: Ideology and Critique in Classical Athens

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13 The individual must evaluate these respective goals and deterrents correctly in order to act consistently with his eudaimonia. It is important to see, however, that this judgment does not consist in any felicific or utilitarian calculus. Why not? The reason is that the individual could not understand his own flourishing properly without recognizing the harmony that is supposed, ideally, to connect his own excellent behaviors with the good of his family, friends, and city. Hence, when Pears speaks of the “disvalue” of the courageous person’s “countergoal,” we must acknowledge that neither Aristotle’s nor Thucydides’ ethical agents are envisaged as calculating in accordance with “rational choice” theory.

Hence, the tenor of the paragraph suggests that knowledge is a constituent of the ideal form of courage for Pericles; but it must be accompanied by, and can also be antithetical to, a willingness to run risks. Thus the contested prepositional phrase dia tauta lies at the heart of a paradox in Pericles’ funeral oration. 9 If we move outward, then, from Pericles’ contested statement to his vision of courage throughout his speeches as represented by Thucydides, then we find that Pericles holds a composite view of courage that requires both a knowledge of human flourishing and a daring character that has been properly trained to act in accordance with one’s judgments.

32 Thus the “countergoal” or “deterrent” in Pericles’ argument is the loss of personal property in the short term, but the significance of this personal property is negligible; indeed, the loss will easily be recuperated, he says, as long as the Athenians defend their city. 4). Of course, the Spartans too utilized shame and honor in order to motivate their fighting forces. In the words of the King Archidamus, “We are both good warriors and men of sound judgment, because we are well ordered. We are good warriors because our moderation (sōphrosunēs) is guided by our sense of shame (aidōs), and our courage (eupsuchia) is based upon honor.

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