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21 votes
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Where does Herodotus discuss judging the wisdom of decisions by the evidence at hand vs. the consequences?

Macaulay, 1890 the counsel which has been taken is no less good, though it has been defeated by fortune; while he who took counsel badly at first, if good fortune should go with him has lighted on a ...
20 votes

What is the name of the theory opposite to the Great Man theory?

Not every thesis has a single antithesis or opposite. However, we can highlight a few trends or schools of thought in historiography (the study of history) that contrast most sharply with the Great ...
Brian Z's user avatar
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18 votes
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What was the personal philosophy of Alexander the Great in his youth?

— My memory is all Greek to me too. — But it seems that here we see mainly a slight slip-up in letters with a bit of retroactive reasoning, or perhaps a certain conflation of concepts? The concept of ...
LаngLаngС's user avatar
  • 80.8k
16 votes
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Why did Athenian philosophers praise Spartan culture and laws, which would preclude philosophers like themselves?

This question probably can't produce anything but opinion-based answers, but I'll take my shot. I would say two factors are at play here: First, the lauding of extravagant praise on an "alien" ...
tbrookside's user avatar
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15 votes
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What was the primary motivation for a historical figure like Xenophon to create an extensive collection of written material?

Xenophon gave specific reasons for some of his works but for others he did not. Xenophon (about 431 BC to 354 BC) produced a very wide range of work during his lifetime: historical, biographical, ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar
14 votes
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In what sense is Socrates considered as the father of Western philosophy?

Socrates changed how philosophy itself was to be conceived. Rather than a "sophist" ("wise one" - the tag often used for earlier Greek philosophers), Socrates described himself simply as a "philo-...
sempaiscuba's user avatar
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10 votes

When did people start saying about the US that "it's a free country"?

Google suggests as early as 1848 Stray Subjects, arrested and bound over, That chap as went in fust thar ain t nobuddy ef he has got a swaller tailed coat on My money's as good as his n and it's a ...
MCW's user avatar
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10 votes
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In Classical Athens, what did the portico of the archon basileus look like?

There's a model of the Stoa Basileios (or Royal Stoa), seat of the archon basileus, at the end of 5th century BC on the site of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens (ASCSA). This is ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar
8 votes
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Why was 17th Century England a particularly supportive place for groundbreaking thought?

It was clearly a remarkable period for English scientific thought, but historians of science bicker about why. One very good reason might be the work of Sir Francis Bacon, essentialy the founding ...
marchanti's user avatar
  • 149
8 votes

What was the primary motivation for a historical figure like Xenophon to create an extensive collection of written material?

In a specific case, his work was clearly intended as instructional manual for others: His work On Horsemanship addresses cavalry officers and others either involved with the training of horses or the ...
Marakai's user avatar
  • 2,476
7 votes

What is the name of the theory opposite to the Great Man theory?

It's called "History from Below". I justify this by quoting Herbert Spencer: You must admit that the genesis of a great man depends on the long series of complex influences which has produced the ...
Peter Wone's user avatar
7 votes
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What is the name of the theory opposite to the Great Man theory?

The opposite view holds that extra-human dynamics govern the courses of events. This is a recurring theme of Tolstoy's War and Peace, a fundamental principle of Marx's dialectical materialism; it is ...
George Chen's user avatar
7 votes

How do we reconcile hierarchical and violent aspects of Ancient Egypt with its nonviolent principle of Maat, as exemplified in negative confessions?

I think you're overthinking this. Ma'at doesn't mean non-violence. The list of negative confessions can vary, and there's no reason that particular one must be here. From here: There is no standard ...
cmw's user avatar
  • 1,685
7 votes
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When did Walter Benjamin say "We collect books in the belief that we are preserving them when in fact it is the books that preserve their collector"?

It would appear that this may be a case of a paraphrase which became more popular and replaced the actual quote in our internet copy and paste, hallmark-quote based consciousness. Researching online ...
justCal's user avatar
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6 votes

Which ancient text claims that everything has been said before?

After some searching, I cannot find an older succinct expression of the concept than that in the book Ecclesiastes from the Hebrew Tanakh, which has become the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. ...
called2voyage's user avatar
6 votes
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Was late-medieval French education recalcitrant to math?

Medieval scholarship was essentially a "great books" endeavor, where paragons of intellect were held to have the last word on many subjects (consider Aristotle for natural science or Galen for ...
AlaskaRon's user avatar
  • 1,764
6 votes

What is the source for this Leonardo Da Vinci quote?

According to The Da Vinci Globe (info here) the comment was made during reflection on Leonardo's study of how to accurately render surveyed maps onto a (nearly) spherical surface as a globe. If we ...
Pieter Geerkens's user avatar
6 votes

What is the source for this Leonardo Da Vinci quote?

This is most probably a made up quote. Checking later editions was unfruitful, but Leonardo is so long out of these filthy copyright laws, we might as well look at J.P. Richter: "Leonardo. The ...
LаngLаngС's user avatar
  • 80.8k
6 votes

What was the primary motivation for a historical figure like Xenophon to create an extensive collection of written material?

Of course we can only conjecture (as we cannot know exactly what was in Xenophon's mind), so I conjecture that motivation was the same as for many modern writers: it is the desire to spread one's ...
Alex's user avatar
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6 votes
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Which philosopher said that taking notes is good?

I wonder whether you mean John Locke's treatise on commonplace books? As for Aristotle: The following adage is often attributed to him (put it into a search engine to see how many quotation websites ...
dwolfeu's user avatar
  • 725
5 votes

How much of what we know about ancient philosophers comes from oral literature?

I think you want to start by reading a little Dante. Here I saw Socrates and Plato, who in front of the others stands nearest to him; Democritus, who ascribes the world to chance; Diogenes, ...
pokep's user avatar
  • 1,805
5 votes

When did people start saying about the US that "it's a free country"?

As far as I understand this question, it seems to be based on false assumptions. When did Americans start to use the expression? Immediately when they became Americans? In fact, when they were still ...
LаngLаngС's user avatar
  • 80.8k
5 votes
Accepted

What does Deng Xiaoping mean by "Hide your capacities, bide your time '?

Deng was paraphrasing a well-known Chinese proverb. Context change in the Chinese foreign policy, and avoidance of conflict with the great powers (mostly the US, USSR collapsed soon after) . Before ...
rs.29's user avatar
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5 votes

What were the neoplatonists' attitude towards Christianity (or religion in general)?

There were Christian Neo-Platonists like John Philoponus and pagan Neo-Platonists like Proclus, who lived in Alexandria and Athens respectively. Philoponus wrote a famous refutation of Proclus' (and ...
fdb's user avatar
  • 9,780
4 votes

Is history always written by the victors?

An interesting article in History Today by Katherine Weikert is devoted to this very topic. The three examples studied in depth are: Byrhtnoth, the Saxon leader who lost - and was killed in - the ...
Felix Goldberg's user avatar
4 votes

Why did non-monarchic rule meet with so little success in ancient China?

I think this is a question of wearing European/Western blinders. For example, there were significant differences in governance between Qin (Brutal Legalism) and Han (Confucius) dynasties, and even ...
Astor Florida's user avatar
4 votes

Visit of Greek philosophers to Rome in 155 BCE

The three Greek philosophers were: Carneades ex Academia (Cyrene 214/3–129/8 BC), Critolaus Peripateticus (Phaselis c.200-c.118 BC) and Diogenes Stoicus (Seleucia c.230 – c. 150/140 BC). Some ...
Mauro ALLEGRANZA's user avatar
4 votes

Was late-medieval French education recalcitrant to math?

I would not say that education in the Middle Age was "recalcitrant" to mathematics. (There was a general decline of education in Europe, but this was a decline in everything, nothing special about ...
Alex's user avatar
  • 38.8k
4 votes

Did John Milton and Baruch Spinoza know of and/or about each other?

Maybe... but it seems that there are no evidence. See: Gordon Campbell & Thomas Corns, John Milton: Life Work and Thought (2008), page 267: The circle of Milton, Lawrence, and Skinner also ...
Mauro ALLEGRANZA's user avatar
4 votes

The allure of totalitarianism/ communism/ fascism

Short answer: the destruction and deprivation of World War I. In these circumstances, a decisive, confident leader with a quick and radical solution has much more chances for popular support.
vpekar's user avatar
  • 219

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