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« Paul Boghossian on Moral Relativism | Main | Tim Crane on Animal Minds »

November 05, 2011



Good points, and well argued. Shame they mostly appear to be taken directly from Nietzsche without attribution. He is barely mentioned here, I hope these thoughts are properly attributed to him in the book.


This is the sort of thing that Nietzsche talks about in the Genealogy; for the Greeks the gods were there to take up responsibility for much of their misdeeds...
But Nietzsche explains how human nature changed and how the idea of human excellence could go from this sort of thoughtlessness to taking total responsibility, and you really need this if you don't want to treat Homer as a clever philosopher who is giving an original picture of human nature, as Kelly does. Homer responds to a completely different conception

don weaver

I enjoyed Sean Kelly about how Homer's view of humanity differs from the modern one, perhaps because I am on an extended reading of Homer and the Greek Tragedies. He mentioned 'enthusiasm' more than once during the talk. I was surprised that he did not mention the etymology of the word -- "be inspired or possessed by a god, be rapt, be in ecstasy". This would be a modern echo of Homer's view.

Mark O'Sullivan

Good analysis. But I was surprised that Kelly seemed to present "Homer" as a gifted individual with a valuable but idiosyncratic view. It's clear from the research into epic that, on the contrary, he was rehearsing the values and attitudes of a whole culture which was different from our own (though Kelly could I suppose have been adapting the message for easier popular consumption). But similar learned and informed contributions in relation to the pre-modern cultures of eg Japan, China, Persia, India or Tibet would also be valuable.

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