Class Ideology & Ancient Political Theory

PDF-file by Ellen Meiksins Wood

Class Ideology & Ancient Political Theory PDF ebook download The political thought of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle defended and justified the values and way of life of the declining and decaying landed aristocracy in opposition to Athenian democracy and the craftsmen, traders and labourers upon which it increasingly rested.

Although the Socratics recognized and condemned aristocratic regeneration, they hoped that the outlook and conduct of the nobility could be revitalized so as once more to become the foundation of civic life in order to stem the levelling tide of democracy, the tyranny of the mob, and the vulgarity that they felt were endangering Greece and especially Athens.

To be understood and appreciated fully, the classics of political theory must be viewed as basically ideological and much more closely and rigorously related to their social contexts than has usually been the case.

The point of departure for this critique of the Socratics is a particular conception of the Greek polis and its significance for Western social organization, an interpretation differing from most standard treatments. Besides casting new light upon the political thought of the Socratics, this study should help to illuminate the aristocratic myth about the character of the demos which, immortalized by the Socratics, has been a cornerstone of anti-democratic ideology and social theory in the West ever since the ancient philosophers first recorded their fears of the 'mob'.

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