Pluralism in the <i>Histories</i>

Lauren J. Apfel

in The Advent of Pluralism

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199600625
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191724985 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Classical Monographs

Pluralism in the Histories

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This chapter is concerned with Herodotus' approach to history across a host of methodological and moral domains. The hallmark of Herodotus' method in the Histories, it is argued, is variety. This is true of his approach to subject matter, sources, and causation. In each of these arenas diversity and conflict occur too frequently and too pointedly to be ignored and, as a result, Herodotus' methodology should be seen as notably pluralist in this regard. Herodotus' stance on moral conflicts also shows a pluralist leaning, especially in contrast with Thucydides. His depiction of moral dilemmas (e.g. Gyges) reveals a true understanding of the core pluralist tenet of incommensurability. So too, the portrait of the conflict between East and West is ultimately drawn as incommensurable. Finally, Herodotus' acceptance of and deep fascination with the diversity of different peoples is taken as a mark of cultural pluralism.

Keywords: Herodotus; pluralism; the Histories; sources; causation; conflict; incommensurability; Gyges; East versus West; cultural pluralism

Chapter.  20208 words. 

Subjects: Classical Philosophy

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