By Lawrence C. Becker, Charlotte B. Becker
This newly revised and up-to-date variation of A heritage of Western Ethics is a coherent and available evaluate of crucial figures and influential principles of the heritage of ethics within the Western philosophical culture.
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Extra resources for A History of Western Ethics
Hence too the repetitive and sometimes censorious features of writing moral philosophy at this time. In a brief survey it is impossible to convey the range and richness of ethical reflection to be found in Seneca, Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius. Here it has seemed best to indicate their common interest in modes of discourse and practices that provide individuals with ways of evaluating their lives and situations. As Stoics they take moral rules to be grounded in human nature, but it is not what they say about these rules that is chiefly interesting, but the questions, answers, objections, and illustrations they attach to these.
The nature and relative gravity of sins at a given period can be discerned from the penitential literature that begins to emerge in the sixth century. Philosophically more interesting is the complex moral psychology presupposed by the penitential system. Peccatum seems to retain its broader sense of “mistake,” suggesting that it is not the desire which is evil, EARLY MEDIEVAL ETHICS 43 properly speaking, but the complex of the desire, the understanding of that desire, and the action taken. Sin creates a disorder in the soul.
There is no suggestion that he himself flourishes or achieves well-being thereby. This is a decisive contrast with Greek philosophy in which arete (ethical virtue) is taken to be constitutive of, or at least instrumental to, happiness. ) Aeneas abandons Dido because their love affair interferes with his mission as the founder of Rome. In that episode Virgil (writing under Augustus and after Cicero) indicates the cost to his hero and heroine in terms of personal satisfaction. Aeneas exemplifies traditional virtus, but with one significant difference, which may reflect Cicero’s influence: he is motivated by duty and a sense of destiny, not by desire for glory.
A History of Western Ethics by Lawrence C. Becker, Charlotte B. Becker