Ancient Political Thought—Thucydides

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By Maimuna
Words 520
Pages 3
Maimuna Sidibay The fundamental concept Thucydides brings out in his work On Justice, Power, and Human Nature, is his pessimistic view towards human nature while simultaneously contending that justice is what it takes to catalyze prosperity. Thucydides makes certain claims through his representation of democracy that portray his views on human nature. His view teaches us that human nature has been the ultimate tool used by the famous speakers of ancient Greece—thus, it is important in studying his History for we are able to delineate these falsities as we apply them to our own lives. Then, in evaluating the implications in Thucydides’ History, I will agree that it is natural human inclination to unjustly rule over others. I propose to argue my case by first describing human nature and it’s relationship with power and second to explain that with the absence of such conventions such as justice, human nature and overt power induce civil strife. In the “Melian Dialogue,” Thucydides provides a precise position on his view of human nature and its’ pair, power. He shows here that human nature is cruel and unjust and when it is not controlled and restrained, human nature will incline man to become possessive of those more weaker than him and thus pursue his own self-interest through greed. During the Melian Dialogue, the Melians declined the Athenians’ proposal that they submit to the Athenians. In this dialogue, Thucydides made clear that the superior will use his power as he pleases to subordinate the weak; the Athenians respond to the Melians saying “We will merely declare that we are here for the benefit of our empire, and we will speak for the survival of your city: we would like to rule over you without trouble, and preserve you for our mutual advantage” (104). Cleary here we see how human nature is presenting…...

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