more from Isaiah Berlin

Single Idea 7664

[catalogued under 23. Ethics / D. Deontological Ethics / 2. Duty]

Full Idea

There is an absence among the Greeks of a notion of obligation, and hence of duty, which is difficult to grasp for people who read the Greeks through spectacles partly affected by the jews.

Gist of Idea

The Greeks have no notion of obligation or duty


Isaiah Berlin (The Roots of Romanticism [1965], Ch.1)

Book Reference

Berlin,Isaiah: 'The Roots of Romanticism' [Pimlico 2000], p.4

A Reaction

This doesn't quite fit early section of 'Republic', in which morality is a mutual agreement not to do harm. Presumably the Greek word 'deon' refers to what needs to be done, rather than to anyone's obligation to do it(?). Contracts need duty? Cf. 4133

Related Idea

Idea 4133 Speciesism isn't like racism, because the former implies a viewpoint which belongs to no one [Williams,B]