Herman sets out to show that the debate between these two thinkers, who lived about 400 years before the birth of Jesus Christ, provides the distinctive, even governing, feature of Western civilization.
“One path – Plato’s path – sees the world through the eyes of the religious mystic as well as the artist,” he writes in The Cave and the Light. “The path of Aristotle, by contrast, observes reality through the sober eyes of science and reveals the power of logic and analysis as tools of human freedom.”
Western civilization depends on both for its vigor, according to Herman. “It’s the constant tension between these two ways of seeing the world – the material versus the spiritual, the practical versus the insightful-intuitive side – it’s the creative tension, like the drawing of a string of a bow, that creates the dynamism that’s been so characteristic of western culture throughout its history,” he said ...
I enjoyed the review and the book sounds pretty good, though Gehrke points out some problems with the argument.