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University of Toronto St. George
Political Science
Janice Stein

Political Thinking POL200Y1 September-17-2008 Thucydides as historian and theorist Athens and Sparta were the superpower of Greece Athens and Sparta led victory for Greece against Persian Athens are sea power and Sparta is on land After that Athens began to take powerempire over Greece He didnt record exactly what happened but recreated them - moments He included his largegeneral judgements about human nature About human nature Democracy as a form of political regime Theorist who educates our judgement on political questions ie justice Did not imagine any utopian politics Views politics to critically be evaluated What significance does Thucydides have in theoretical level? His purpose is to be useful to explain human nature in politics Diagnosis of civil war Saw world has suffering and filled with injustices (political diseases) He believes that they used to make their stories Distinguishes useful knowledge is different then pleasurable stories They arent suspicious Also distinguishes himself from the truth but his is the alternative truth for his reader Offers a philosophical approach as human nature is unchanging and is extra historical Can only be appreciated by the way it behaves in history History is the way to understand human nature Why did he turn to history and not poetry?? Medical science? Error that the Athenians made in the past because they fail to see the tyranny of their ancestor Ignorance of their own pasts Their democrats was founded on a mistake Misunderstanding past Athenians robbed some knowledge that would have helped them When planning against Cicily in military world For Thucydides for we are conditioned by the past Understanding our past can be a preconditioned for political improvement Asks whether forgetful of past a defining characteristic of democracy Wondering whether Athenians understand past and undrstand where they came from . philosophical order Speeches and actual political behaviour Pg13 - speeches are slippery and untrustworthy and can decieve us if we are not trained to understand our past Deeds can be looked into as they are done He writes to give his thoughts and is inviting reader to understand political 1 Political Thinking POL200Y1 rhetoric and behaviour Thucydides is meaning to teach us the political regime using history and to make us understand facts Diagnosis Thucydides starts with past, articulates the tech of power that Greeks have developed over time Key tech od power Wallssecurity, shipsnaval power, liquid moneycash These are progresses that Greeks have made for themselves He disagrees with poets His war is the greatest war because of the suffering Plague on the body politics The plague (literally used in the book is also a metaphor in the destruction of political body Greeeks were related by language kinship and religion groups They were related by culture = global war turns out to be a civil war between brothers What relation there may be unchanging human culture and political culture Causes of the War national character Ethos - character of particular political regime Spartan fear Spartans claims to be the liberator of Greece your struggle will be much rent then yourself - knowledge of the enemy is important Is democracy the innovative regime Main art of democracy is freedom and equality This freedom can create problem as individuals create their own agenda Corinthians stress the ideal of the Athenians willing to sacrifice themselves for the common good What would make the Athenians more democratic- for the city and not self Patriotic ethos? Athenian Justification Athenians give the speech to recall the past They self sacrificed for the nation as they left home to go to sea (islanders nation) Athenians argue that they were generous They view themselves as leaders and not empirilists They do it for the good of themselves and the others as welll They believe that their behaviours are acceptable (The Spartans also made the same ppoint about themselves internally) They claim that it is useful for them to take control and use things for their own good, because they were compelled to take their leadership role 2 www.notesolution.comPolitical Thinking POL200Y1 They were driven by fear honour and self interest because someone else less suitable would have taken that role They suggest that international relation is shot through moral ambiguity and political power Spartan war council Human nature must be understood with poltical culture Spartan King Speech He implicitly accepts the idea that justice and injustice is irrelevant to nation But what is most advantageous is important He was also worried that asking for peace was cowardice for Spartans Shows that Military ethos- war as a needed solution He called the division of group who were cowards wanting peace and who were the men wanting war Arcidumus had to fight in interest of prudence He argued that the tradiionalism of Spartans make them courageous Their slow thinking make them well thoughtful Archidumus counts their slowness Poltics is not also subject to rationalism His speech turns out to be useless as the small speech by St Indifference to him Perticiles shows that correct analysis can show an outcome Shows democratic rationalists Has the tech of military power is shown off Through speech speech he shows a self image Before Greek men were farmers when the battles were usually about two groups for land Athenians are to take over Spartans by their What is the connection between innovation and democracy Democracy is accepting the poor - produces are culture were everyone is heard even the poor 430 BC - periclian oration In contrasts there is not oration for the Spartans Because of its novelty democracy is needed If citizens were willing to be killed for Athens then there needs to be a public oration This oration also doesnt go to the past Perticles offers the democratic way of life and show why Athenian democracy is better than Spartan Oligarchy Democracy is free and Athenians fight for that Pg45 - Its a pleasure and an honor to die for father land Athenians voted to go to war and went to war on their own unlike nowdays democracy where its a decision of a president The Athenian freedom allowed them to develop themselves and provided the context where highest of human nature can be realized They are self sufficient citizens 3
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