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410 LETTERS IN CANADA 1997 nmemonic effectiveness of this type of framework rather than on some more general criticism of the accuracy of archon dating. In the appendix Shrimpton turns to the question of what determined the arrangement of events withm each division of the chronological scheme. He argues that Thucydides )wavered between noting the order of events in )'absolute time" and in "experienced time" or JJnews order."' Here again, although some of the details of the complicated classification system applied in the tables are not explained sufficiently clearly, the general argument is convincing. Overall, Shrimpton's book offers both inspiration and frustration: inspiration because of the rich and varied insights it draws from many sources to apply to the elucidation of ancient historiographic practice; frustration because the rigour of the argumentation sometimes falls short of the fertility of the ideas expressed. (CATHERINE RUBINCAM) Laura Westra and Thomas M. Robinson, editors. The Greeks and the Environment Rowrnan and Littlefield. x, 230. us$22.95 The title The Greeks and the Environment represents two solitudes: 'the Greeks' of the ancient world, who were unaware of the possibility of largescale damage to their physical world caused by human intervention, and Jthe environment,' which has become a matter of grave concern in the modern world. Greek philosophers have usually been thought to have nothing to contribute to a discussion of environmental issues because they say almost nothing about the subject directly, the notable exception being Plato's reference in Critias to deforestation in Attica. But as Max Oelschlaeger points out in his foreword, without an examination of the beliefs and attitudes which underlie environmental questions and, specifically, without a connection to the Greeks with whom philosophy began, the environmental n1ovement has lacked a sense of history. This book is an attempt to fill this lacuna. The twelve essays in this book discuss the way the ancient philosophers understood the physical world and human interaction with and responsibility for it. The first three essays provide an overview of Greek thought. Anthony Preus finds origins of philosophical thought about the world in myths of the Golden Age and the Flood, and traces ideas of justice, the cosmic cycle~ and autarkeia (self-sufficency). John Rist probes the basis Greek philosophers would have used for environmental questions and concludes that we can learn from them to develop objective values and to place the good of the community ahead of individual rights. For Daryl Tress, Plato and Aristotle's holistic approach to nature (in spite of the limits of their knowledge) provides a foundation for exploring environmental questions. HUMANITIES 411 The next three essays concentrate on Plato. Timothy Mahoney sees Plato as an 'ancestor of today's deep ecology'; he argues, for example, that Platonic eudaimonia (happiness), as set out in The Republic, is not egocentric but requires that the good of the whole be considered. Madonna Adams examines the model in Timaeus of the world as a living creature with which everything should co-operate and argues that the principles of organic harmony in the model can be helpful to ecologists. Owen Goldin sees Plato in Critias as pessimistic about repairing damage to the environment, in the way he was about political reform, but suggests that he would have approved of any steps taken to improve the environment. The nextfour essays tum our attention to Aristotle and applyhis biology as well as his ethics to environmental questions. Laura Westra suggests that many principles of ecology, like potentiality and actuality, which have their origins in Aristotle, can be rethought at a species rather than at an individual leveL For C.W. deMarco, Aristotle's discussion of parts of animals, often thought to be an obstacle to holism, can be applied to an nnderstanding of wholes. Richard Shearman argues that Aristotle's ethics provide a basis for concern for others, even non-humans, which can be extended to a concern for the preservation of species. Mohan Matthen takes Aristotle's concept of the universe as an organic whole as a positive environmental model while acknowledging his failure to understand that this whole is neither stable nor eternal. In the last two essays, Alan Holland argues that Stoic ideas about...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 410-411
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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