Category Archives: Ancient Greece

The Aristotelian “State” and the Modern “State”

Aristotle‚Äôs understanding of politics is founded on the distinction between the polis (city) and the politeia (constitution, regime). The politeia describes not just a written document (a constitution as we understand it), but the whole character of a society which … Continue reading

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Did Socrates Destroy the Greek Polis?

In the previous post, “Not What It’s Cracked Up to Be,” I noted that in the aftermath of the Battle of Salamis in 480 B.C., the non-propertied, non-educated, common laborer-sort of Greek began to gain increasing influence in the polis. … Continue reading

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Not All It’s Cracked Up To Be

The critical battle of the Greco-Persian Wars, the Battle of Salamis, fought at sea in 480 B.C., ended the threat of Eastern domination of Greece and made possible the free flowering of classical Greek culture. Had the Greeks not won … Continue reading

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Socratic and Biblical Wisdom

“But where can wisdom be found? Where does understanding dwell? Man does not comprehend its worth; it cannot be found in the land of the living. The deep says, ‘It is not in me’; the sea says, ‘It is not … Continue reading

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Truth Is A Good Man’s Knowledge of Being

In various places in his dialogues, Plato has it that “truth” is “saying what is.” This doesn’t just mean speaking statements that are abstractly the case, but actually making one’s speech match the things that are (or, being). In his … Continue reading

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Plato, Aristotle, and Augustine on Virtue, Vice, and the Human Will

In the Medieval World course I took last semester, one of my professors made a casual remark about comparing Augustine, Plato, and Aristotle’s understanding of virtue, vice, and the human will. Nothing more was said, but what little was said … Continue reading

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Augustine and Plato’s Cave

Nothing original or penetrating here; just some observations of mine on St. Augustine’s use of Neoplatonic categories to describe his journey toward God’s love. I wouldn’t stand by these noticings with great confidence, so if anyone has better ideas please … Continue reading

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Aristotle and the Flood

In another entry, “Plato and the Famous Flood,” I commented on Plato’s understanding that a great flood had wiped out an ancient, advanced civilization and created rumors and myths of heroes and gods. Aristotle also holds this view. His account … Continue reading

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Augustine Vs. Timaeus (?)

In Book XI, Chapter 5 of his Confessions, it looks to me like without mentioning Plato or anything about Platonism Augustine is criticizing Plato’s creation account in the Timaeus. The phrases Augustine uses, the issues he highlights, could have been … Continue reading

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Amusement, Play, and Leisure

On the difference between leisure and amusement, noted in another recent post, Aristotle says that leisure time cannot be filled with play, because “Play is a thing to be chiefly used in connexion with one side of life – the … Continue reading

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