Thucydides on living with those with which we disagree

2016/11/08 § 4 Comments

[…]and we know that there can never be a firm friendship between man and man or a real community between different states unless there is a conviction of honesty on both sides and a certain like-mindedness in other respects; for if people think differently they will act divergently.

– Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War (1.1.414) – via First Things, a translation of this passage that is unknown to me.

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§ 4 Responses to Thucydides on living with those with which we disagree

  • Jesse Califf says:

    What does this mean to you Chris?

    • Chris says:

      That in order for there to be an exchange of ideas, there must be some sort of fundamental agreement upon the nature and character of goodness – i.e., this “conviction of honesty.” Another translation calls it “benevolence.”

      Thucydides’ point then, I believe, is that there has to be a starting point of agreement for any dialogue to actually take place. This particular passage is couched in its own context, but it is a generally political statement. That is to say, the idea of concerning oneself with this is an issue of politics.

      What do you think, Jesse? Are you sold on my interpretation? I should disclose to you that I’ve never read Thucydides at length.

  • Kiersten says:

    I could not refrain from commenting. Perfectly written!

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