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Probabilities, Hypotheticals, and Counterfactuals in Ancient Greek Thought

$113.00 (C)

Victoria Wohl, Michael Gagarin, Jenny Bryan, James Allen, Ryan K. Balot, Vincent Farenga, Robert Tordoff, Karen Bassi, Sean Gurd, Verity Platt, Daryn Lehoux, Brooke Holmes, Catherine Gallagher
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  • Date Published: September 2014
  • availability: Temporarily unavailable - available from TBC
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107050495

$ 113.00 (C)

Temporarily unavailable - available from TBC
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About the Authors
  • This volume explores the conceptual terrain defined by the Greek word eikos: the probable, likely, or reasonable. A term of art in Greek rhetoric, a defining feature of literary fiction, a seminal mode of historical, scientific, and philosophical inquiry, eikos was a way of thinking about the probable and improbable, the factual and counterfactual, the hypothetical and the real. These thirteen original and provocative essays examine the plausible arguments of courtroom speakers and the 'likely stories' of philosophers, verisimilitude in art and literature, the likelihood of resemblance in human reproduction, the limits of human knowledge and the possibilities of ethical and political agency. The first synthetic study of probabilistic thinking in ancient Greece, the volume illuminates a fascinating chapter in the history of Western thought.

    • The first synthetic study of a mode of thought ubiquitous in ancient Greek philosophy, science, literature, and art
    • Traces probabilistic thought across a variety of ancient disciplines and discourses
    • Examines a seminal mode of ancient thought, and its relation to modern thought
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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2014
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107050495
    • length: 305 pages
    • dimensions: 234 x 158 x 23 mm
    • weight: 0.58kg
    • contains: 8 b/w illus.
    • availability: Temporarily unavailable - available from TBC
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: eikos in ancient Greek thought Victoria Wohl
    1. Eikos arguments in Athenian forensic oratory Michael Gagarin
    2. Eikos in Plato's Phaedrus Jenny Bryan
    3. Aristotle on the value of 'probability', persuasiveness, and verisimilitude in rhetorical argument James Allen
    4. 'Likely stories' and the political art in Plato's Laws Ryan K. Balot
    5. Open and speak your mind: citizen agency, the likelihood of truth, and democratic knowledge in archaic and classical Greece Vincent Farenga
    6. Counterfactual history and Thucydides Robert Tordoff
    7. Homer's Achaean wall and the hypothetical past Karen Bassi
    8. Play of the improbable: Euripides' unlikely Helen Victoria Wohl
    9. Revision in Greek literary papyri Sean Gurd
    10. Likeness and likelihood in classical Greek art Verity Platt
    11. Why doesn't my baby look like me? Likeness and likelihood in ancient theories of reproduction Daryn Lehoux
    12. Galen on the chances of life Brooke Holmes
    13. Afterword Catherine Gallagher.

  • Editor

    Victoria Wohl, University of Toronto
    Victoria Wohl is Professor of Classics at the University of Toronto. She works on the literature and culture of classical Athens. Her research spans a variety of genres, poetic and prosaic, and focuses on the social relations, political thought, and psychic life of democratic Athens. In particular she is interested in the intersection among these three fields and the role of literature in articulating and negotiating their interaction. Her previously published work includes Law's Cosmos: Juridical Discourse in Athenian Forensic Oratory (2010), Love Among the Ruins: The Erotics of Democracy in Classical Athens (2002) and Intimate Commerce: Exchange, Gender, and Subjectivity in Greek Tragedy (1998).


    Victoria Wohl, Michael Gagarin, Jenny Bryan, James Allen, Ryan K. Balot, Vincent Farenga, Robert Tordoff, Karen Bassi, Sean Gurd, Verity Platt, Daryn Lehoux, Brooke Holmes, Catherine Gallagher

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