Emeritus College 


 

Philosophy in the Street
The Persistence of Greek Values in Western Political Thought

 

Bill Garrett, PhD

           

Greek thought has profoundly influenced the human agenda in the West. It has configured our ideas on what it is to be human, and what assumptions about human society are realistic. Over the course of 2.5 millennia, these assumptions have changed, but a central disposition has persisted. The ancient Greeks, beginning with Homer, felt that they needed to constantly remind themselves that they were NOT gods. From Achilles to Prometheus, the assertion of human dignity and human capacity was central to Greek thought, and find echoes in the Enlightenment insistence on the human right to define themselves and their society.

The results have not always been happy. The eugenics movement and the present crisis over human-generated climate change are often disparaged as “Prometheanism.” The brassy certainties and swagger of Western culture─ as well as the successes of the space-program and dazzling medical miracles─ as seen as rooted in the Greek origins of that culture.  

 

Bibliography


 

READINGS

  

#1: Cavemen, Kings, and the Social Order in Plato

#2: The Legacy of the "Noble Lie"

#3: Pericles and Aristotle

#4: Fukuyama, Snyder, Dugin

#5: Post-Truth World

 



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