Head of Roman-era statue of Odysseus, found in the grounds of the former villa of the emperor Tiberius. “Who are you, and from where? Where are your city and your parents?” Thus does a stranger ask Odysseus to identify himself in Homer’s poem dedicated to that hero, the Odyssey (10.325). Taking place after the travails […]
About Guillaume Durocher
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Entries by Guillaume Durocher
Go to Part 1. Go to Part 2. The Political Testament of 1752 and the Jews: “The Most Dangerous of Sects” Frederick the Great’s two political testaments are significant documents—systematic presentations of political doctrine, which rulers of Brandenburg-Prussia had composed since the days of the Great Elector (apparently inspired by Richelieu). These expound not only […]
Voltaire at the court of Frederick the Great. Go to Part 1. Frederick, Voltaire, and the Jews Frederick the Great and the famous French philosopher Voltaire had one of the most celebrated relationships between prince and intellectual of the Enlightenment. Indeed, on this rests some of Frederick’s claims to being an “enlightened despot.” Voltaire himself […]
Frederick the Great’s Jewish Policy: Between Containment and Profit Frederick II of Prussia, known as “the Great,” is one of the celebrated figures in Western history. On the one hand, he was an accomplished statesman and military leader, who through skill and dogged determination in wars with far larger states, doubling the size of his […]
Law versus Decadence Like Plato (left), Aristotle hoped that an inspired lawgiver could establish an enduring good government. A last concern of Aristotle’s which is of great relevance to our time is the prevention of decadence. For Aristotle, the good of the city is reflected in the virtue of the citizens. The citizens are educated […]
Population Policies and Eugenics The Spartan sage Lycurgus instituted Greece’s most ambitious population policies. True to his communitarian foundations, Aristotle argues that population policies — notably concerning immigration, naturalization, and reproduction — are a fundamental element of statecraft and ought to be determined by what serves the interests of the society as a whole. Aristotle […]
The ekklesiasterion, or assembly meeting place, of Messene, where civic debates were held Aristotle’s Republic of Virtue From these biopolitical premises, Aristotle wholeheartedly agreed with the communitarian ethos which the Greeks took for granted. As the philosopher explains: “the goodness of every part must be considered with reference to the goodness of the whole” (1260b8) […]