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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 pain and happiness could help us rethink our attitudes to environmental issues and Donald Blakeley that Plotinus's idea of mystical union with the cosmos 'leads back to a resourceful kind of dwelling in the midst of earthly affairs.' In totat the essays present principles which may be useful indiscussions of environmental questions, though not without restatement in the light of modern scientific thought. Whether environmentalists will have the patience to work through the retooling of Greek philosophy and enter into a 'conversation' may be doubted. On the other hand, Rist's thoughtprovoking general essay raises questions which should engage and challenge anyone concerned with the environment. (M. ELEANOR IRWIN) M.C. Miller. Athens and Persia in the Fifth Century BC: A Study i11 Cultural Receptivity Cambridge University Press. xiv, 332. 150 plates, 2 maps. us$100.00 In a world nearly as embarrassed by the Great Event as the Great Man and hesitant about taking sides ethnically, the role of the Persian Wars in European cultural and political history requires continual attention. Miller's book covers a cuitural agendum- the claim that fifth-century Athens reveals Persian influence- which has significant social and political ramifications. Any serious student of classical Athens should read it. 412 L.E'ITERS IN CANADA 1997 Proving cultural receptivity involves (a) finding phenomena characteristic of A in the culture of B, (b) showing that appropriate channels of transmission existed, and (c) explaining why transmission actually happened. Miller devotes most space to (b), yet scepticism about Athenian indebtedness to Persia surely concerns will, not opportunity. Nor does detailed exposition individuate very precise connections between Athenian experience of Persia(ns) and specific objects of cultural reception. (The link between hypostyle architecture and embassies to Achaemenid palaces is a partial exception.) A long discussion of Athenian exports to the Persian Empire eventually concludes,'Attic ceramics provide sure testimony only of some form of trade relations between Attica and the western edges of the Achaemenid Empire'- which could be established more succinctly. The space expended on spoils and objects exported to Athens exceeds that required to contextualize Athenian 'persising' without constituting a thorough investigation of material interchange. The approach has odd results (postulated influence of 'archers' on Berlin 3156 appears merely as a superfluous proofthat Achaemenid coins reached Athens, and Attic vasedepiction of Persians is actually never discussed as such; similarly reversed priorities affect gems, jewellery, and bracteates, sometimes with implausible claims of iconographic connection) and produces overkill: one feels there was scarcely an Achaemenid topic about which Athenians had any excuse for ignorance- but their demonstrable knowledge...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 411-413
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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