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Thucydides on Choice and Decision Making

Why War Is Not Inevitable

Ilias Kouskouvelis

ca. 36,99
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Sozialwissenschaften, Recht, Wirtschaft / Politikwissenschaft


This book uncovers a different perspective on the great classical thinker, who has largely been misread. Through the scrupulous and holistic analysis of The Peloponnesian War – or, as the author suggests, of The War – a different Thucydides emerges. One who understands power and its distribution, but considers as crucial the choices made by people or leaders. One who suggests, according to the book’s interpretation on the outbreak of war and the Sicilian expedition, that the war was a result of decision making and, thus, not inevitable. One with his own view on domestic and international politics, a Thucydidean view; a view certainly containing elements of the modern International Relations paradigms, but clearly linking external behavior with deliberations and choice. A Thucydides, finally, holding a more benign than believed view on human nature, and informs our understanding of human behavior, especially when in a position of power or in war.

Professor Kouskouvelis’ curiosity evolved from his school days when he realized that there was much more to Thucydides than simply an account of The War. His scholarship in Ancient Greek and a lifetime of studying Thucydides and international relations has led him to reappraise Thucydides, provide to his views their true and unobserved dimension, and assign to him his appropriate position; that of a shrewd observer of life and politics, and a thinker on how people decide.

This book will be of interest to anyone trying to understand how the major decisions of statecraft are shaped by both context and choice. The text elucidates for us how Thucydides’ schemata on decision making and the flawed decisions that reoccur are rooted in our human foibles and our entrapment by interest, fear, and honor, to name just a few. It will be of significant interest to political thinkers, academics, military, decision makers, and the wider public who thirst for classical thinking about security, strategy and decision making.

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