Democratic Lessons: What the Greeks Can Teach Us - A Conversation with Josiah Ober

by Howard Burton (Author)
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This book is based on an in-depth filmed conversation between Howard Burton and Josiah Ober, Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis Professor in Honor of Constantine Mitsotakis Professor of Political Science and Classics at Stanford University. This extensive conversation includes topics such as the serendipitous factors that led him to study the classical world, the insights that examining rhetoric provide about ancient Athenian society, and how social media might help us fruitfully recreate aspects of the past. Through an engaging dialogue format Josiah Ober discusses his insights that the ancient Athenians didn?t just happen to stumble upon the idea of democracy?they somehow managed to make it work in practice for the better part of 200 years, all the while facing many of the same divisive societal pressures that we are currently grappling with.

This carefully-edited book includes an introduction, Back to the Future, and questions for discussion at the end of each chapter:

I. Cutting One?s Wisdom Teeth - How a girlfriend?s dental work leads to Thucydides
II. Digging Deeper - Contrasting wars and lurking contradictions
III. Battling Iron Laws - Athenian democracy as a counterexample
IV. Feet to the Fire? - Using new and old media to keep politicians on point
V. Why Athens? - Addressing elite capture and economic and political equality
VI. Dissent - Critiquing our system or our values
VII. Enter Aristotle - The perils of being a cat in a box
VIII. Increasing Eudaimonia - Improving democracy
IX. Dignity - An essential ingredient of a flourishing democracy
X. Keeping It Real - Engaging the general public with scholarly insights

About Ideas Roadshow Conversations Series:

This book is part of an expanding series of 100+ Ideas Roadshow conversations, each one presenting a wealth of candid insights from a leading expert in a focused yet informal setting to give non-specialists a uniquely accessible window into frontline research and scholarship that wouldn't otherwise be encountered through standard lectures and textbooks. For other books in this series visit our website:

Book details

Publication date
September 30, 2020
File size
2 MB