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The goddess Hera is represented in mythology as an irascible wife and imperfect mother in the face of a frivolous Zeus. Beginning with the Iliad, many narrative traditions depict her wrath, the infidelities of her royal husband and the persecutions to which she subjects his illegitimate offspring. But how to relate this image to the cults of the sovereign goddess in her sanctuaries across Greece? This book uses the Hera of Zeus to open up new perspectives for understanding the society of the gods, the fate of heroes and the lives of men. As the intimate enemy of Zeus but also the fierce guardian of the legitimacy and integrity of the Olympian family, she takes shape in more subtle and complex ways that make it possible to rethink the configuration of power in ancient Greece, with the tensions that inhabited it, and thus how polytheism works.
Is work as we know it disappearing? And if so why should we care? These questions are explored by Raymond Geuss in this compact but sweeping survey which integrates conceptual analysis, historical reflection, autobiography and social commentary. Geuss explores our concept of work and its origins in industrial production, the incentives and compulsions which societies use to get us to work, and the powerful hold which the work ethic has over so many of us. He also looks at dissatisfaction with work - which is as old as work itself - and at various radical proposals for doing away with it, and at the seemingly irreversible growth of unemployment as a result of mechanisation. His book will interest anyone who wishes to understand the place of work in our world. This new series offers short and personal perspectives by expert thinkers on topics that we all encounter in our everyday lives.
‘Work’ in the sense of interest here is a social category. This means that the way work is socially organised is not merely some further external fact about it, but rather is something that needs to be considered in detail. This chapter will have two parts. First, I’ll try to say something about how we, nowadays in Western societies, think about the way work is organised, and then I will discuss some existing historical alternatives to this way of thinking about the organisation of work.
The previous two chapters have painted a rather grim picture of work and its place in human life, at any rate since the time when humans became sedentary and then eventually began systematically to practise agriculture in a way that made us dependent on it. It seems that the necessity for a society to produce enough for subsistence trickled down through an almost unsurveyably varied series of complex paths to a highly local form of coercion which forces me in this specific situation to exert myself strenuously at an unpleasant task that I would prefer not to do. Is the situation really as dismal as this might be taken to suggest?
Dissatisfaction with work is as old as work itself, and dissatisfaction with our regime of work is as old as industrialism itself. Sometimes complaints about work are very well focused, such as the complaints made by health-workers in the British National Health Service (NHS) during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 that they were not provided with appropriate protective equipment despite the fact that one of the government’s own exercises had highlighted this as an area of potential concern during a pandemic. Sometimes, however, the discontent is of a kind that cannot be addressed by a mere tweaking of current arrangements, and it expresses itself in more radical demands. In what follows I shall discuss some frequently made suggestions for making radical changes to our world of work.
The Birth of Tragedy was one of the last and most distinguished contributions to a Central European debate about the ills of modern society. The argument in the Friedrich Nietzsche's text falls into roughly three parts. The first part describes the origin of tragedy in ancient Greece as the outcome of a struggle between two forces, principles, or drives. The second part of Nietzsche's text describes how the balance is upset by the arrival of a new force, principle, or drive, which Nietzsche associated with Socrates. The final part of the text describes the modern state of crisis in which they are being forced to realize the limits of the Socratic culture and the high price they have had to pay for it. As Nietzsche himself points out in the introduction to the second edition, The Birth of Tragedy is a work of Romanticism.
One of the ways in which Nietzsche presents his project in On The Genealogy of Morality is as a historical account of the development of contemporary morality, including the development of our virtues and vices and our conceptions of virtue and vice. Nietzsche claims, "bad" and "evil" are not merely semantically distinct because, for instance, "evil" is a subspecies of "bad", so that "evil" means "intensely bad" or "intentionally very bad". "Evil" seems not to refer primarily to any externally discernible kind of action, but rather to be a second-order interpretive term, which shows how the individual vices are to be understood by reference to some underlying structural feature that they all have. Hegemonic Christianity, through its institutions, creates a kind of person. "Evil" is an imaginary characterization used by the weak originally to describe the actions of others (who are oppressing them) and applied in a spirit of revenge.
From Plato to Max Weber, the attempt to understand political judgement took the form of a struggle to define the relationship between politics and morals. This book by leading international scholars in the fields of history, philosophy and politics restores the subject to a place at the very centre of political theory and practice. Whilst it provides a range of perspectives on the theme of practical reason, it also explores a series of related problems in philosophy and political thought, raising fundamental questions about democracy, trust, the nature of statesmanship, and the relations between historical and political judgement. In the process, the volume reconsiders some classic debates in political theory – about equality, authority, responsibility and ideology – and offers new and original treatments of key figures in the history of political thought, including Thucydides, Montaigne, Locke, Smith, Burke and Marx.