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A detailed analysis of oikonomia, an underexplored branch of knowledge in ancient Greek philosophy.

In this book, Étienne Helmer offers a comprehensive analysis of oikonomia in ancient Greek philosophy. Despite its similarity to the word "economy," for the ancients, oikonomia named a branch of knowledge--the science of management--that was aimed at studying the practices we engage in to satisfy our needs. This began with the domestic sphere, but it radiated outward from the oikos (house) to encompass broader issues in the polis (city) as well. Helmer explores topics such as gender roles and marriage, property and the household, the acquisition and preservation of material goods, and how Greek philosophers addressed the issue of slavery in the ancient world. Even if we are not likely to share many of ancient thinkers' beliefs today, Helmer shows that there was once a way of thinking of "economic life" that went beyond the mere accumulation of wealth, representing a key point of departure for understanding how to inhabit the world with others.

Publication Date: 
May 16, 2024