Philosophy and Popular Morals

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PHILOSOPHY AND POPULAR MORALS IN ANCIENT GREECE.An Examination of Popular Morality and Philosophical Ethics in their Interrelations and Reciprocal Influence in Ancient Greece, down to the close of the Third Century B.C.

,

BY

A R C H IB A L D E. DOBBS, Ju n r.,Scholar of King's College, Cambridge.

i UNIVERSITYV O FI .

f

H - ,,OF T H E X

D U B L IN ; EDWARD PONSONBY, 116 GRAFTON STREET. LO ND O N: SIMPKIN, MARSHALL, & CO.,4 S t a t i o n e r s H a l l C o u r t , E .C .

L t d .,

19 0 7 .

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PREFACE.

T h is Essay was awarded the Hare Prize in February,

1906.

Since then it has been practically rewritten. In the first place, we have to

The subject is twofold.

consider the circumstances which gave rise to moral philosophy in Ancient Greece, and the process of its development through the criticism and absorption of popular ideas; and secondly, its subsequent reflex influence on popular .life and thought down to the close of the third centuryB.C.

It is to the latter problemdiscussed in Part II of this Essaythat I would call special attention. The influence of popular thought on philosophy has been discussed in detail by modern writers of learning and repute ; and in this province I have done little more than collect and systematize their conclusions. The influence of philosophy on the mind and conduct of the people has, so far as I am aware, been wholly disregarded. Lack of evidence, and the illusive nature of the subject, b

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vi

Preface.

will supply obvious reasons for this lamentable neglect; and there is a widespread opinion, even among professed students, that philosophy must be something different in kind from commonsense; and that a philosopher with practical aims and sympathies is a contradiction in terms. I am indebted to Professor Bury for recommending a comparative method of study. He pointed out that an examination of similar movements in modern times, where the evidence is full and often conclusive, might cast the light of analogy on my more remote and obscure subject, and suggest fruitful lines of inquiry. This turned my attention to the Utilitarian movement in the last century, with its political, social, and moral propaganda: its discussion-circles : its tracts and journals : its patrons and parliamentary representatives : its public, and its manifold direct and indirect achievements. I beheld a philosophy in action ; and although I could not by any magic of scientific deduction trace the lineaments of a past age in the history of the present, yet the whole problem which I was to investigate seemed to grow nearer, and to become more intelligible, more interesting, and more human. A number of possibilities suggested themselves to my mind ; and I felt less inclined to deride the sanguine records of Diogenes Laertius concerning the activity and influence of the ancient philosophers, when I found similar activity and similar influence

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Preface.

vii

ascribed on unimpeachable authority to a similar class of men, with similar aims, a century ago. Our teachers have a perverse habit of scheduling certain Greek authors and certain passages in those authors as peculiarly modern in sentiment,, I call it

a perverse habit, because it tends to persuade us that the greater part of Greek literature, and the main features of Greek thought and civilization, are interesting merely from an academic or aesthetic point of view. It obscures the fact that the fundamental conceptions at the root of almost all our social, political, and ethical movements, and the antagonisms of thought and temperament which underlie all our social and religious controversies, may be traced in the ancient records of Greek life and thought. The circumstances may be different, but there is little change of principle ; and the same types of character and sentiment recur in both ages.

I cannot send this volume to the press without a word in grateful memory of the late James Adam, LlTT.D., Fellow and Tutor of Emmanuel College, who took a most kindly interest in my Essay. All those who have in any way benefited by his tuition and advice, will under stand the encouragement I derived from his perusal and generous appreciation of my MS. It was by the merest chance that it came under his notice, and he treated it as if it had been the work of an old pupil.

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Preface.I wish to thank Professor J. B. Bury, Mr. Leonard

Whibley, of Pembroke, the Rev. R. G. Bury, of Trinity, and Mr. Wedd, of Kings, for several criticisms and much encouragement; also Mr. A . C. Turner, of Trinity, who has helped me to revise the proof-sheets. A . E. DOBBS, J u n .

October, 1907.

My references in the foot-notes to Isocrates follow the pagination of Stephanus, except where special notice is given to the contrary ; in the case of all other Attic Orators I have written the sections of Bekker.

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CONTENTS.

CHAPTER I.PAGE

I n tro d ucto ry

.

.

.

.

.

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.

i

P A R T I. TH E INFLUENCE OF POPULAR IDEAS ON THE GROWTH OF MORAL PHILOSOPHY. CHAPTER II.Early

P o p u l a r M o r a l it y . 9

(i ) The Moral Motive(2) Ethics of the Individual(3) Social Ethics . . . . . . . .

CHAPTER III.The A geof

T r a n s it io n .

(1) Some New Ideas of the Sophistic Era (2) The Sophistic Teaching(3) The State of Popular Morality (4) Euripides (5) The Task of Philosophy . . . . -4 4

CHAPTER IV.T h e R is eand

Develo pm en t

of

P h il o s o p h ic E t h i c s . . . . .8 4

(1) Socrates; Cynics and Cyrenaics

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X

Contents.CHAPTER V.

T h e R is e

( ) < .and

Develo pm en t . .

of

P h il o s o p h ic E t h i c s . . . . 95

continued

(2) Plato

.

.

CHAPTER VI.T h e R is eand

Develo pm en t . . .

of

P h il o s o p h ic E t h i c s . . . . 130

{continued).(3) Aristotle .

CHAPTER VII.T h e R ise

(

and

1 ontinued c

) .

Develo pm en t

of

P h il o s o p h ic E t h i c s . . . *159

(4) Stoics, Epicureans, and Sceptics

P A R T II. TH E R EFLEX INFLUENCE OF MORAL PHILOSOPHY ON POPULAR THOUGHT AND CONDUCT. CHAPTER VIII.Ba c kto t h e

Ca v e . . *171

AuthoritiesScope and Limits of Philosophic Influence

CHAPTER IX.T h e R eso u rcesand

P o s it io n

of th e

S ch o o ls.

(1) The Schools viewed from withinSpread of the SchoolsEffort to reach the MassesThe Student ClassesInfluential Pupils Philosophic LiteratureEuripides: (2) The Schools viewed from withoutLegal ObstructionThe Philosophers rise to HonourPopular Attitude to Philosophy; evidence of Comic Poets, of Xenophon and IsocratesCauses of Popular Mistrust and IndifferenceProbable Improvement in Third Century B.C.

176"

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Contents.CHAPTER X.M a in l y Po l it ic a l .(i )

xi

Fourth Century B.C. Political and Social State of Greece Wealth and PovertyPolitical and Social Teaching of the PhilosophersTheir Influence (?) on Political Morality, Ethics of Warfare, and Economic Reform Philosophic Statesmen; the Orator Lycurgus, Epaminondas, Dion, PhocionMace donian Supremacy and the Persian Campaign: (2) Third Century B.C.State of Greece from Death of Alexander Philosophic Statesmen, Reforms of Cleomenes IIIDiscordant Counsels of Philosophy Dearth of Philosophic Statesmen General Summary . . . . . .

199

CHAPTER XI.Mo r a l and

S o c ia l P r o b l e m s .

Distinction between Literary and Popular Ethics: (1) ProsewritersTraces of Philosophy in the Orators, Isocrates and Xenophon Literary Cosmopolitanism Immortality Sum mary: (2) PoetsEthical BasisEthics of the Individual Social EthicsWomen and MarriageSummary: (3) Real LifeChanges in the Greek OutlookCosmopolitanism Treatment of Slaves, Poor, Artizans, WomenDecay of Greek MoralsNegative Influence of Philosophy . . . 226 A p p e n d ic e s G e n e r a l Index . . . . . . .269 . 279

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PHILOSOPHY AND POPULAR MORALS IN ANCIENT GREECE.

C H A P T E R I. INTRODUCTORY.SlKaiovkuI

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