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The Advent of PluralismDiversity and Conflict in the Age of Sophocles$
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Lauren J. Apfel

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199600625

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199600625.001.0001

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Pluralism in the Histories

Pluralism in the Histories

(p.160) V Pluralism in the Histories
The Advent of Pluralism

Lauren J. Apfel

Oxford University Press

This chapter is concerned with Herodotus' approach to history across a host of methodological and moral domains. The hallmark of Herodotus' method in the Histories, it is argued, is variety. This is true of his approach to subject matter, sources, and causation. In each of these arenas diversity and conflict occur too frequently and too pointedly to be ignored and, as a result, Herodotus' methodology should be seen as notably pluralist in this regard. Herodotus' stance on moral conflicts also shows a pluralist leaning, especially in contrast with Thucydides. His depiction of moral dilemmas (e.g. Gyges) reveals a true understanding of the core pluralist tenet of incommensurability. So too, the portrait of the conflict between East and West is ultimately drawn as incommensurable. Finally, Herodotus' acceptance of and deep fascination with the diversity of different peoples is taken as a mark of cultural pluralism.

Keywords:   Herodotus, pluralism, the Histories, sources, causation, conflict, incommensurability, Gyges, East versus West, cultural pluralism

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