By M. I. Finley
During this examine, the writer demanding situations the existing traditions of studying and writing approximately old civilizations. He questions, for instance, the particular prestige accorded to vintage texts, exposes the fake assumptions historians have made, in response to restricted details, and provides the failings inherent in traditional motives of the Greek city-state. Emphasizing the necessity to ask the best questions so one can extend our knowing of existence within the historic international, this paintings exhibits how historians may higher care for the facts that's to be had and gives replacement tools that may be used to reconstruct heritage.
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Additional resources for Ancient History: Evidence and Models
49 From what has already been said, it is not difficult to infer how the philosophes handled Pascal's lament that our most sophisticated reasoning amounts to little more than a guise under which we indulge our passions. So be it, they said in effect, since passion is what imbues our human nature with its capacity for greatness. "It is passions alone, and strong passions, that can elevate the soul to great things," 50 wrote a youthful Diderot in the Pensees philosophiques (1746), a book whose title recalls Pascal's.
104 It must be remembered that "the duties of men are as rich a resource for the dramatic poet as their vices and ridiculous affectations; upright productions will succeed everywhere, but more surely among a corrupt people than elsewhere. " 1 0 5 "Enthusiasm," given its religious connotations, was usually a pejorative word in the philosophical vocabulary; yet an enthusiasm for virtue was not out of place in circles frequented by the philosophes. And why not be enthusiastic about a virtue so enjoyable, costing so little?
A virtue that is grand, sublime, that raises humans to new heights without asking them to rise above themselves, was Diderot's objective. 93 From the viewpoint of the philosophes the trick was to have one's renunciation and enjoy it too— to earn glory for sacrificing our desires to some great cause, yet to come out ahead by the time the final curtain drops on our noble deed. Starting from the notion that it is through interacting with others that one's self is constituted and enriched, Holbach has no trouble concluding that "it is always to our own interest...
Ancient History: Evidence and Models by M. I. Finley