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Greek Philosophy and Political Thought

Socrates represents the primary social value of inquiry, of the pursuit of philosophy, of the examination of the meaning of life. He also represents integrity, for when we inquire into the meaning of existence and develop a set of beliefs, we must live up to those beliefs. Socrates believes the unexamined life is not worth living, and if he accepts the right of the court to judge his thoughts, he has lost his integrity. He makes this evident when he notes why he will not be silent:

For if I tell you that to do as you say would be a disobedience to the God, and therefore that I cannot hold my tongue, you will not believe that I am serious; and if I say again that daily to discourse about virtue, and of those other things about which you hear me examining myself and others, is the greatest good of man, and that the unexamined life is not worth living, you are still less likely to believe me (Plato 111).

The basic political unit in ancient Greece was the city-state, such as Athens or Sparta, and the political unit in ancient India was similarly centered on important cities and their environs. The rule in Athens was democratic, while in some city-states there were strong military leaders or kings instead. The city-stats had once had kings and than had been ruled by oligarchies before passing through a period of rule by tyrants. The tyrants were replaced by democracies. The cities of India in the ancien


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