Disguised Vices: Theories of Virtue in Early Modern French by Michael Moriarty PDF

By Michael Moriarty

ISBN-10: 0199589372

ISBN-13: 9780199589371

The notions of advantage and vice are crucial parts of the Western moral culture. yet in early glossy France they have been known as into query, as writers, so much famously l. a. Rochefoucauld, argued that what seems to be as advantage is in truth disguised vice: humans perform praiseworthy deeds simply because they stand to realize not directly; they deserve no credits for his or her behaviour simply because they've got no regulate over it; they're ruled by means of emotions and factors of which they might not remember. Disguised Vices analyses the underlying common sense of those arguments, and investigates what's at stake in them. It lines the arguments again to their assets in previous writers, exhibiting how historic philosophers, fairly Aristotle and Seneca, formulated the excellence among behaviour that counts as virtuous and behavior that basically turns out so. It explains how St Augustine reinterpreted the excellence within the gentle of the variation among pagans and Christians, and the way medieval and early sleek theologians strove to reconcile Augustine's place with that of Aristotle. It examines the restatement of Augustine's place through his hard-line early sleek fans (especially the Jansenists), and the debate to which this gave upward thrust. eventually, it examines l. a. Rochefoucauld's critique of advantage and assesses the level of its hyperlinks with the Augustinian present of thought.

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ARISTOTLE Aristotle seeks to clarify the concept of virtue, not as if it were a notion alien to the ordinary person, nor as if ordinary people were very confused about it, but rather in the spirit of making clear why ordinary persons would use the word in some circumstances and not in others. In other words, he provides criteria for its proper use, which will be taken over or presupposed by many later analysts. What follows, then, focuses on these criteria: again, it is not intended as a summary of Aristotle’s ethical theory in general.

Secondly, given Laches’ definition of courage as endurance, Socrates argues that if courage is to rank as a noble quality, as Laches agrees it should, it must be combined with wisdom (192c–d). One thing this means is that, to be classed as virtuous, the agent must have a certain and probably a correct understanding of his actions and their aim. For this reason mere fearlessness, such as animals display, cannot, as Nicias argues, count as courage (197a–b). But, thirdly, wisdom can compromise courage.

A relative indifference to honour, considered as an empirical manifestation of other people’s opinions, could be seen as a residue of an older aristocratic consciousness, like that of Shakespeare’s Coriolanus, despising the necessities of political life in a partly democratic system. But it could also be that it is upheld as a value because it redeems all the other virtues from the taint of instrumentality. There is always the risk in doing the noble or the beautiful thing of becoming preoccupied with its nobility or beauty in other people’s eyes, so that their opinion colours the action, obscuring its intrinsic hue, and substitutes itself for the true end or goal of action.

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Disguised Vices: Theories of Virtue in Early Modern French Thought by Michael Moriarty


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