Greek Philosophy Essay

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Greek philosophy and modern liberalism vary in several aspects, the understanding of the good life and the construct of liberty being two of the more prominent differences. Modern liberalism claims the understanding of good life is not narrowly defined; rather, it is best interpreted and defined as much as possible by the individual. Hence, the practice of negative liberty is more suitable in the public sphere since negative liberty simply requires the absence of state interference in the life of the individual as far as that is consistent with freedom of others. Conversely, the argument of one true good life is the position of Greek philosophy, thus necessitating a corresponding argument for positive liberty. Each form of liberty exhibits considerable strengths and glaring weaknesses and careful discussion of both is necessary to determine the more appropriate philosophy and course of action for society. The assertion of one true good life, the crux of the argument for positive liberty is a noteworthy drawback. This position indicates that one individual or group of individuals possesses the knowledge of one true good life and has the capability to disseminate this critical information within the public sphere. Upon closer examination of this claim, one is left befuddled. Who possesses this information? Is this particular definition and interpretation valid within the context of the public sphere? More importantly, is this concept reasonably attainable and/or practical? I contend that positive liberty is desirable and valid within the confines of the private sphere; but not practically applicable nor valid within the public sphere. According to early Greek philosophical thought, rationality is the arête (excellence) and distinctive characteristic of human beings. This ability to be rational, best exercised through logos (language/reasoning) leads to a human

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