Norman F. Cantor





Norman F. Cantor

Author profile


born
in Winnipeg, Canada
November 19, 1929

died
September 18, 2004

gender
male

genre


About this author

Born in Winnipeg, Canada, Cantor received his B.A. at the University of Manitoba in 1951. He went on to get his master's degree in 1953 from Princeton University and spent a year as a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford. He received his doctorate from Princeton in 1957 under the direction of the eminent medievalist Joseph R. Strayer.

After teaching at Princeton, Cantor moved to Columbia University from 1960 to 1966. He was a Leff professor at Brandeis University until 1970 and then was at SUNY Binghamton until 1976, when he took a position at University of Illinois at Chicago for two years. He then went on to New York University, where he was professor of history, sociology and comparative literature. After a brief stint as Fulbright
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Average rating: 3.60 · 5,703 ratings · 502 reviews · 38 distinct works · Similar authors
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More books by Norman F. Cantor…
“In ethics [Aristotle] had two bright ideas. First, that extreme behavior of selfishness and self-sacrifice don't work for most people; look for the golden mean. Second, good behavior is not a result of either sudden inspiration or harsh control. It is a habitual pattern, which means slow and steady conditioning: 'One swallow does not make a summer,' nor does one good deed make ethical behavior.”
Norman F. Cantor, Antiquity: The Civilization of the Ancient World

“The Stoics taught a life of restraint and control, the personal cultivation of learning, beauty, and reason. The Stoics asked the Romans to realize that much that is encountered in life is beyond the individual's control. Make the best of what can be humanly cultivated. It is a kind of Platonism shrunk to a pursuit of private feelings and thoughts: Do the best with what you can control and refine, and let the rest go.
"The world is rational, but it is only amenable to active intervention within the limits of the individual's capacity. Do not try to be an overachiever. Do not dream of social transformation. Private cultivation rather than social action makes for the good life. Although the slave Epictetus was one of the principal Stoic writers, the emperor Marcus Aurelius's upper-class background is more typical of its devotees.
"Stoicism is a narrow ethic, one suitable to the emotional and intellectual needs of aristocrat and slave alike, but less useful for the ambitious middle class.”
Norman F. Cantor, Antiquity: The Civilization of the Ancient World

“In one of Plato's seminars a young man with a rural accent stood up one day and said Plato's philosophy was nonsense. You can have ideas that are neither real nor permanent. They can be mere fleeting fantasies. Plato evicted the student, whose name was Aristotle. Unlike Plato, Aristotle was not one of the gilded youth of Athenian society. His social background was solid middle class. But such was the encyclopedic knowledge he came to exhibit, and his skill in logical argument, that in time Aristotle gained rich benefactors, including the king of Macedonia who hired Aristotle to tutor his young son, later known as Alexander the Great.”
Norman F. Cantor, Antiquity: The Civilization of the Ancient World

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