This revisionist history traces an influential theory of practical reason from its origins in ancient Greece to its modern and contemporary permutations.
The Greek discovery of practical reason, as the skilled performance of strategic thinking in public and private affairs, was an intellectual breakthrough that remains both a feature and a bug of our modern world. Countering arguments that rational choice-making is a contingent product of modernity, The Greeks and the Rational traces the long history of theorizing rationality back to ancient Greece.
In this book, Josiah Ober explores how ancient Greek sophists, historians, and philosophers developed sophisticated and systematic ideas about practical reason. At the same time, they recognized its limits—that not every decision can be reduced to mechanistic calculations of optimal outcomes. We see contemporary echoes of this tradition in the application of game theory to political science, economics, and business management. The Greeks and the Rational offers a striking revisionist history with widespread implications for the study of ancient Greek civilization, the history of thought, and human rationality itself.
The Greeks and the Rational The Discovery of Practical Reason
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