By Susan Suave Meyer
This can be the 1st accomplished consultant and purely sizeable undergraduate point advent to historic Greek ethics, overlaying the moral theories of the entire significant philosophers (including Socrates, Plato, Aristotle) and faculties (Stoics, Skeptics, Epicureans, Pyrrhonism) from the earliest occasions to the Hellenistic philosophers reading their major arguments and assessing their legacy.
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Additional resources for Ancient Ethics
99 For our present purposes we may note that the experience of the philosophical life in all its splendour supplies the philosopher with the two main qualiﬁcations for holding public ofﬁce. First of all, he is not eager to rule; he sees holding public ofﬁce as a cost and a burden that takes him away from a better life he could be living (500b–c, 520e–521a). This distinguishes him from most of the seekers of excellence we encounter in Plato, who are eager to exercise power in the city. Those who are eager to rule are most likely to rule badly and ruin the city, Socrates claims (426b–d, 520c–d, 521a–b; cf.
Only enduring when it is wise to do so is courageous (192d). The rest of the conversation with Laches raises puzzles about what sort of wisdom this could be. It cannot be knowledge or skill that insures you against the risk (as knowledge of diving makes it relatively safe for an experienced person to dive into wells, and knowledge of business makes it safe for a skilled investor to invest money in an enterprise – 192e–193c). 41 This is knowledge of good and bad (199b–d). Here we have impressed upon us that knowing how to ‘use’ such advantages as wealth and health includes knowing when to forgo their pursuit or risk losing them (cf.
The rulers will use their wisdom to determine those limits. Thus the well-functioning city is itself an entity that exercises self-restraint in light of what is good for itself. This good does not consist simply in satisfying whatever desires the population has (as Socrates complains of Pericles and his cohort – Gorg. 515c–517c), but in maintaining the stability and integrity of the city as a whole. The self-restraint of the well-functioning city will not, however, be like that of a police state, where the rulers determine what the producers are allowed to do, and the auxiliaries enforce this against an unwilling population of producers (Rep.
Ancient Ethics by Susan Suave Meyer