By Michael Davis

Via an in depth interpreting of Sophocles’ Ajax, Descartes’ Discourse on technique, and Plato's Meno, Davis argues that historic tragedy and smooth technology are replacement responses to the human eager for autonomy or striving to be a god.Tragic heroes imagine that via politics they could exert extra regulate over the realm than the area will permit. To them the entire global is politics, or polis. Scientists search to manage by means of studying nature, which, in essence, capacity to rework the complete of the realm right into a Polis. hence the problems and motivations in glossy technological know-how have been already found in historic tragedy.

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The polis originates in a longing for freedom, but it can at best be a partial overcoming of our impaired condition. The law is a constant reminder that we must relinquish some of our freedom in order to be free. Political life is, therefore, both the vehicle and the obstacle to human autonomy. But as genuine autonomy is not something that can be approximated (one cannot be almost a god), and as the polis originates in this longing for autonomy, the polis is at its core tragic. Aristophanes' comedy conceals a deeper tragedy.

It is perhaps closer to a hatred of being ruled. The obstacle for any project to attain autonomy is that on the one hand no assistance can be received from without, for that would be heteronomy. On the other hand, to attain autonomy from within means to be autonomous already. For that reason Nietzsche saw the problem as "wie man wird was man ist," or how one becomes what one is. 4 To be a god might be possible; to become a god is something more difficult. To become more than you are means necessarily to turn on yourself.

Chapter 2 originally appeared in somewhat different form as ''Politics and Madness" in Greek Tragedy and Political Theory. I thank the University of California Press for permission to include it in this volume. Page 1 1 Introduction Many the uncanny things, but nothing comes more uncanny than man. Sophocles, Antigone 332 If a good book is like an animal, 1 its parts fitting together with the same necessity as the parts of a living body, an introduction would seem to be at best superfluous and, at worst, like an autopsy performed in order to prove that the patient is alive.

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