Democracy and Judgment in Ancient Greek Political Thought Public Deposited

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  • March 20, 2019
  • Miller, Joshua
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Political Science
  • This dissertation examines practical and ethical dimensions of democratic political judgment in the works of Thucydides, Plato and Aristotle. Despite their philosophical and methodological differences, each of these thinkers raised similar doubts about the wisdom of fifth- and fourth-century Athenian decision-making. Arguing that Athenian policy debates tended to privilege short-term gains over longer-term interests, they suggested that moral reflection might guide political judgments toward more ethically sustainable ends. By showing how Greek political philosophy developed in response to real-world political problems, I demonstrate a dialectical relationship between theory and practice that is often overlooked in the scholarship surrounding these figures. This project also contributes to ongoing debates that depict political judgment as a practice open to radically democratic debate, on one hand, or reserved for the rarified talents of experts, on the other. In my view, sound political judgment emerges from careful considerations that all citizens are capable of, provided they commit themselves to engaging in continuous reflection.
Date of publication
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Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Spinner-Halev, Jeff
  • Leonard, Stephen
  • Reeve, C.D.C.
  • Lienesch, Michael
  • Bickford, Susan
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2017

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