REVIEW ARTICLE - PHILOSOPHY, HISTORY, AND DEMOCRACY Josiah Ober John R. Wallach, The Platonic Political Art: A Study olCritical Reason and Democracy (University Park Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2001), xi + 468 pp., $65.00, ISBN 0 271 02075 X (cloth); $25.00, ISBN 0 271 02076 8 (pbk.). Plato was born into a new, exciting, and very confusing world. The polis of Athens, in the late sixth, fifth, and fourth centuries BC, was remarkable for accomplishment in many spheres of activity. From the perspective of tradi tional Greeks, the radically enhanced capacity of the Athenian people to get things done was awe-inspiring and frightening. Lacking any better explana tion, Athens' rivals resorted to claims based on 'nature', explaining the rest less drive to do and have more as an innate Athenian quality. Or so we are led to believe by the speech of the Corinthian ambassadors in the first book of Thucydides' history (1.70-71), who characterize Athens and its accomplish ments for their Spartan allies. Thucydides' readers will leam, as they work through his complex account of the twenty-seven year war, that the Corinthians offered a fair description of Athenian activity but that 'innate nature' is a weak explanation
Polis: The Journal for Ancient Greek Political Thought – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2002
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