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I don't understand this sentence from History of Western Philosophy.

1) Does the "which" here refer to "civilized aristocracy" or "the point of view"?

2) What's the function of "as" here? Does it mean "because" or something else?


The first notable product of the Hellenic civilization was Homer. Everything about Homer is conjectural, but the best opinion seems to be that he was a series of poets rather than an individual. Probably the Iliad and the Odyssey between them took about two hundred years to complete, some say from 750 to 550 B.C., a€ while others hold that "Homer" was nearly complete at the end of the eighth century. a€. The Homeric poems, in their present form, were brought to Athens by Peisistratus, who reigned (with intermissions) from 560 to 527 B.C. From his time onward, the Athenian youth learnt Homer by heart, and this was the most important part of their education. In some parts of Greece, notably in Sparta, Homer had not the same prestige until a later date.

The Homeric poems, like the courtly romances of the later Middle Ages, represent the point of view of a civilized aristocracy, which ignores as plebeian various superstitions that are still rampant among the populace. In much later times, many of these superstitions rose again to the light of day.

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The Homeric poems, like the courtly romances of the later Middle Ages, represent the point of view of a civilized aristocracy, which ignores as plebeian various superstitions that are still rampant among the populace. In much later times, many of these superstitions rose again to the light of day.

which = the point of view of a civilized aristocracy

ignores as plebeian ... various superstitions = ignores the superstitions because it considers them to be plebeian

The direct object of ignores is various superstitions that ... populace

The object complement is as plebeian. The complement appears before the direct object here because the D.O. is "heavy", as it is modified by a that-clause: that are still rampant among the populace.

Compare:

They regard any restrictions on free trade as unnecessary and counterproductive.

And this movement of the complement because of the heaviness of the direct object phrase:

They regard as unnecessary and counterproductive any restrictions on free trade including regulations that require greenhouse gas emissions standards to be met.

P.S. These verbs (regard, ignore, consider, etc) function like predicates, attributing the complement to the direct object.

  • In practice I don't think it could affect the meaning either way, but it seems to me which could in principle refer to either the point of view [of a civilized aristocracy] or simply to a civilized aristocracy. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Jul 15 '17 at 14:58

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