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The Munk Debates: S02 #18 – Aristotle vs Plato – Plato, not Aristotle, was Ancient Greece’s greatest philosopher

13/07/2021

March 25,2021

Much of the wisdom that our society today has inherited from ancient Greece draws on the writings and ideas of its two greatest philosophers, Plato and Aristotle. Though contemporaries – Aristotle was Plato’s student – these two giants of Western Thought had radically different views of nature and the human condition, what constituted a good society and the purposes to which we should direct our individual lives. Two millennia later can we now discern which thinker has had the greatest impact on our civilization? And, considering the daunting future humankind faces – from climate change to the rise of thinking machines to genetic manipulation of our bodies – which of these philosophers’ ideas best speak to our present-day reality? MORE AT LINK

Debaters

Plato

Clifford Orwin is a Professor of Political Philosophy, Classical Studies and Jewish Studies at the University of Toronto, where he has taught for more than twenty-five years and where he currently serves as Chair of the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy’s program in Political Philosophy and International Affairs.

Aristotle

Edith Hall is a British scholar of classics, specialising in ancient Greek literature and cultural history, and Professor in the Department of Classics and Centre for Hellenic Studies at King’s College, London. From 2006 until 2011 she held a Chair at Royal Holloway, University of London, where she founded and directed the Centre for the Reception of Greece and Rome until November 2011. She resigned over a dispute regarding funding for classics after leading a public campaign, which was successful, to prevent cuts to or the closure of the Royal Holloway Classics department.


About Munk Debates

We are the world’s first podcast dedicated to convening one-on-one debates between today’s biggest thinkers and sharpest minds. Our mission is to create space for civil and substantive debates on the big issues of the day – free of spin, focused on facts and animated by smart conversation. Join us each week for a fresh take on the complex, controversial and compelling debates of our time.

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