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Athens, the political city: a reconstruction of the Greek political theory of democracy in the classical period (c. 5th-4th Century b. C.)

Grant number: 14/15392-4
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research
Effective date (Start): August 03, 2015
Effective date (End): January 08, 2016
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Political Science - Political Theory
Principal Investigator:Patricio Tierno
Grantee:Patricio Tierno
Host: Edith Hall
Home Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: King's College London, England  

Abstract

The present inquire addresses the problem of plausibility, i. e., the question of the logical conditions and the conditions of possibility for the reconstruction of the Greek political theory of classical democracy. This theory comprises the set of doctrines or systematic corpus of ideas formulated by diverse ancient authors during the classical period (c. 5th and 4th century b.C.) in direct relation to the emergence of the polis and democracy in Greece and, in particular, to the historical evolution of democracy in Athens. The main purpose of this reconstruction is to study two modes of thought which best represent, into the Athenian socio-communitarian context, the democratic reflection of the classical period and two different ways of approaching to three problematic conceptual themes: 1) the origins, development and definition of political community in the Greek city; 2) the citizen's definition and participation in political institutions; and 3) the constitution or political regime established through government's institutional and common organization and citizen's franchise. The two referred modes of thought can be identify, firstly, with the sophistic movement represented by the igualitarism and relativism of Protagoras and by the negative and instrumental rhetoric of Gorgias; and, secondly, with the theoretical philosophy embodied in the eidetic, constructive and re-foundational programme of Plato and in the natural, constitutional and deliberative investigation of Aristotle. It will be argued, then, that the four mentioned thinkers express, as a hole, a critic, reflective and intellectual movement that could be used to recreate the political theory of Greek democracy and to evaluate on a new basis its ideological projection on the reception and appropriation operated by modern and contemporary democratic theory. (AU)