By J. J. Chambliss
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Additional info for Educational Theory As Theory of Conduct: From Aristotle to Dewey
Yet Sappho's virtues are full of life, charged with action, never adequately settled in the nature of things to satisfy the requirements of a Platonic form. Sappho's purity is not that of Polyxena, a purity of innocence. Sappho's is worldly- Page 17 wise, despite its detachment from political matters. While not written to extol "public" virtues, the way in which Sappho's lyrics share with the reader the need for integrity of being makes them intimate and personal examples of Greek art. As a particular sculpture makes public an ideal, Sappho's poems make public an ideal grounded in the reality of human beings striving to say what they are, and wanting to share that way of being with others.
Some of them are of two minds, as we shall see. We begin with Aristotle's predecessors, and discuss the ideals of conduct celebrated in Homer's Iliad, the poetry of Sappho, tragic poetry, and Pindar's odes. We continue with Isocrates' orator and Plato's philosopher. These writings show us something of the conceptions of conduct in which Aristotle's ideas took shape. His Nicomachean Ethics and Politics stand as the turning point in our study of conduct. This is so because Aristotle's work is a criticism and a culmination of the ideas on conduct which preceded him and made his own work possible.
14 In the following passage, Pindar is more exuberant than usual about what nature is capable of giving, going so far as to say that wisdom comes by nature: "The wise man knows many things by nature; the vulgar are taught. They will say anything. "15 Pindar has no compliment for the many, who must be taught. For Page 10 them, the great deed will not come; not only do they chatter in vain, but they also strive in vain. And practice cannot gain victory for them: "Best by nature is best; but many have striven before now to win by talents acquired by teaching the glory.