The ancient lawgiver Solon of Athens left norms of proper conduct that carry important ethical implications for all manner of human affairs, including commercial activities and the pursuit of wealth. In his extant poetry, he emphasizes the strong connections between individual virtue and its consequences in the social and political sphere. In considering the proper means of obtaining material wealth, he describes multiple ways to earn a living and connects them to proper intellectual and ethical dispositions through a concept of (...) justice. This focus on virtue establishes a long-range ethics that is based on a principle of justice, demands rational intellectual activity, and carries implications for everyone’s self-interest. Solon’s concern for matters of virtue, the proper means of attaining wealth, and the need for long-range awareness of consequences offers a valuable point of historical focus for our own examinations of business ethics today. (shrink)
Ayn Rand's first novel, We the Living, offers an early form of the author's nascent philosophy—the philosophy Rand later called Objectivism. Robert Mayhew's collection of entirely new essays brings together pre-eminent scholars of Rand's writing. In part a history of We the Living, from its earliest drafts to the Italian film later based upon it, Mayhew's collection goes on to explore the enduring significance of Rand's first novel as a work both of philosophy and of literature.
The essays in this collection treat historical, literary, and philosophical topics related to Ayn Rand's Anthem, an anti-utopia fantasy set in the future. The first book-length study on Anthem, this collection covers subjects such as free will, political freedom, and the connection between freedom and individual thought and privacy.
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In the Poroi, Xenophon's radical solution to Athens' financial problems includes several ideas vital to the field of political economy. His identification of justice with the pursuit of wealth provides an alternative to the power politics that for half a century had taken Athens into a series of self-destructive imperial wars. He supports his idea of economic growth with arithmetic calculations, and he connects the results to traditional Greek views of public rewards and benefits. From this he crafts a goal-directed (...) strategy for economic growth designed to foster good will through incentives rather than coercion. This brief commentary on the text shows how Xenophon's positive claims are based not on a modern demand-side conception of economic stimulation, but rather on building productive capital. He is a proto-Saysian, not a Keynesian. Xenophon's proposals range beyond the polis into a pan-Hellenic vision of increasing trade that is centred on Athens, monetized with Athenian coinage, and idealized into the common peace that the Greeks had so long desired but so little achieved. (shrink)
Claims that a man-made global warming catastrophe is imminent have two major aspects: the scientific support offered for the claims, and the political proposals brought forth in response to the claims. The central questions are whether non-scientists should accept the claims themselves as true, and whether they should support the political proposals attached to them. Predictions of a coming disaster are shown to be a-historical in both the long term and the short term, to involve shifting predictions that are contrary (...) to evidence, and to be opposed by many scientists. The political proposals to alleviate this alleged problemare shown to offer no alternative to fossil fuels, and to portend a major economic decline and permanent losses of liberty. The anthropogenic global warming claims are largely motivated not by science, but by a desire for socialist intervention on a national and a global scale. Neither the claims to an impending climate catastrophe nor the political proposals attached to those claims should be accepted. (shrink)
Mr. H. G. Wells once suggested that there should be three professors for every subject: one for research, one to write the textbooks, and one to lecture. There is a good deal of truth in the contention that the best philosopher is seldom the best teacher of philosophy. Although most teachers of philosophy are well aware of the fact that they are not great philosophers, and they are genuinely interested in the teaching of their subject, nevertheless there is a tendency (...) for too much emphasis to rest upon their own researches. In consequence, too little attention has been paid to the technique of teaching philosophy. (shrink)
Solon is our only primary source for the intellectual context of archaic Athenian political thought. Dike is central to that context. The primary question of dike is the degree of abstraction it denotes. To Solon dike is neither an abstract principle with metaphysical proportions, nor merely the concrete procedures of dispute mediation. Solon understands Dike in a polis that is ordered by the thoughts and actions of particular human beings, not by divine dispensations. This re-alignment of political authority from vertical (...) authoritarianism to horizontal citizen relationships is directly related to the views of nature found in the Milesian philosophers. Solon’s dike is immanent from the thoughts and actions of the citizens; it is not a divine power pushing down on the polis. Solon’s dike has three distinct functions. First, it is the inevitable result of unjust thoughts and actions; this is ‘natural dike’. Second, dike is a process of dispute mediation; this is ‘procedural dike’. Third, dike is a nascent ordering principle in the polis, found in one passage in Solon as distinct from the consequent retribution. Dike is an archaic concept standing for a comprehensive inevitability in the interactions of the citizens. (shrink)