The Civic Conversations of Thucydides and Plato: Classical Political Philosophy and the Limits of Democracy

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SUNY Press, Jul 15, 2008 - Political Science - 338 pages
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Argues for the contemporary importance of Thucydides and Plato for both democratic political theory and democratic citizens.

This book argues that classical political philosophy, represented in the works of Thucydides and Plato, is an important resource for both contemporary democratic political theory and democratic citizens. By placing the Platonic dialogues and Thucydides’ History in conversation with four significant forms of modern democratic theory—the rational choice perspective, deliberative democratic theory, the interpretation of democratic culture, and postmodernism—Gerald M. Mara contends that these classical authors are not enemies of democracy. Rather than arguing for the creation of a more encompassing theoretical framework guided by classical concerns, Mara offers readings that emphasize the need to focus critically on the purposes of politics, and therefore of democracy, as controversial yet unavoidable questions for political theory.

Gerald M. Mara is Executive Associate Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and Professorial Lecturer in Government at Georgetown University and the author of Socrates’ Discursive Democracy: Logos and Ergon in Platonic Political Philosophy, also published by SUNY Press.
 

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Contents

1 Political Space and Political Purpose in Contemporary Democratic Theory
1
2 The Borders of Rational Choice
31
3 Deliberating Democracy
87
4 Cultures Justice
143
5 Proximate Others
197
Extending the Limits of Democracy
227
Notes
261
References
301
Index
315
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About the author (2008)

Gerald M. Mara is Executive Associate Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and Professorial Lecturer in Government at Georgetown University and the author of Socrates Discursive Democracy: Logos and Ergon in Platonic Political Philosophy, also published by SUNY Press.

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