Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Anthropocentric Greek Ideal versus Biology

It has been said that the Greek Ideal of Humanism is rooted almost entirely in the Homeric Epic and the Greek hero.  Indeed, everywhere the Greek people went before and during the classical age they brought with them Homer and set up schools to teach his epic of Odysseus.  The Greek hero, first accounted for by Homer, and exemplified by characters such as Achilles, were not the heroes we speak of today, they were strong minded obstinately self-centered, or so the work of Moses Hadas, in "Humanism; the Greek ideal and its survival," suggests.  Hadas, whose book was published in 1960, cleanly defines the Greek ideal of Humanism with a quote from Homer, "To strive always for excellence and to surpass all others."  It is man, and his accomplishments, who is the center of all things within this philosophy. How then does Greek Humanism stand up to current trends in society and with our broader understanding of the world brought about by our scientific understanding of biology?