By M. I. Finley

En este libro, traducido a doce idiomas y convertido rápidamente en un clásico, el profesor Moses Finley, reconocido mundialmente como uno de los grandes renovadores de l. a. historia antigua, estudia las formas de gobierno de las ciudades-estado de Grecia y de l. a. Roma republicana, sociedades ambas que, con diferentes instituciones y distinta historia, tenían sin embargo en común una base económica agraria, un sistema social jerarquizado y l. a. admisión de las clases inferiores en el marco institucional. El profesor Finley hace aquí un análisis magistral de los angeles lucha por el poder en el seno de esas sociedades, del papel desempeñado en esa lucha por guerras y conquistas, del sutil juego de las ideologías, de los angeles frágil estabilidad de las alianzas: en una palabra, de los angeles «invención» de l. a. política.

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The best arrangement obtains, what I shall call a perfectly just scheme” (1971: 78. ) Suppose again that there is a state; suppose that there are economic classes; suppose that there is a “least advantaged class”; suppose there is some actual distribution of material benefits; suppose the actual distribution is not an equal distribution; people in lower classes get smaller allocations of material benefits. But suppose in addition that there is no feasible revised distribution that would make the least advantaged class better off.

Consider a case in which punishing an innocent person would have good consequences. The person has this property: being such that punishing him would have good consequences. But it would be seriously counterintuitive to say that the person deserves punishment in virtue of his possession of this property. Certain general principles about desert bases have been introduced in an effort to explain why certain properties seem ineligible to serve as desert bases. ” The same idea can be expressed by saying that a person can deserve something in virtue of a certain property only if the person actually has the property.

He also points out that in cases involving conflicting requirements like these, often one requirement overrides the other. Chisholm suggests that reflection on the concept of requirement also may help us to understand the concept of prima facie obligation, and the possibility of moral dilemmas. There are many cases in which we say that a certain response is required in light of some fact about a person. Thus, for example, we say that the fact that a certain employee has done outstanding work throughout a long career requires that he be given a suitable retirement party.

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