By André Comte-Sponville
André Comte-Sponville, A Small Treatise at the nice Virtues, translated by way of Catherine Temerson (New York, Holt Paperbacks, 2001)
The in need of it really is that this ebook will make you are feeling solid approximately being good.
The lengthy of it is:
i used to be doing a paper on `value ethics', and my event used to be that during the realm philosophy, specifically when you consider that 1903, with the publishing of G. E. Moore's Principia Ethica and his promulgation of the `naturalistic fallacy', the glory of values and personality had nearly disappeared. This basic influence used to be proven whilst I checked out a number of scholarly ethics texts from the 1960's and so they proven in simple talking, that the research of ethics had turn into an research of language, given the King Kong sized effect of the works of Ludwig Wittgenstein and the robust Joe younger sized works of J. L. Austin, an immediate descendent of the impact of G. E. Moore's kind of philosophy.
yet I stored following my nostril and in a truly contemporary ethics ebook by way of Terry Eagleton, difficulty With Strangers, he criticized either eu psychologized ethics of Jacques Lacan and the 'high-toned' morality speak of legislations, correct, accountability, precept, and legal responsibility traceable to Immanuel Kant. Eagleton additionally pointed out a comparatively new number of papers, advantage Ethics, which headlined an incredible 1958 paper through Wittgenstein scholar, G.E.M. Anscombe on `Modern ethical Philosophy' which started a go back to advantage ethics. The irony is that the flaw Anscombe pinpointed in ethical philosophy is the absence of sound research in `philosophical psychology', a subject matter which consistently sounded ordinary to me, because the background of philosophy, specifically from the traditional Greeks as much as Descartes, used to be a spinning off of disciplines to young ones reminiscent of physics, arithmetic, and psychology. yet ethics, specially advantage ethics and many of the flavors of Utilitarianism stand and fall by means of what they suggest through psychological states equivalent to `pleasure' and `happiness'. So, looking back, i used to be now not too stunned while I searched amazon.com for `virtues' and personality, and got here up with not anything yet books on self-help, psychology, and `Christian values'. That final is not surprising, because the modern educational ethical philosophy is all approximately principles and values for the gang. It spends almost no time at the ethical standpoint at the person. yet I did locate one sensible publication on `moral values' that's a becoming supplement to the hot theoretical paintings on virtues. this is often the booklet stated above, by way of a contemporary French professor of philosophy on the Sorbonne. in accordance with the thumbnail biographical cartoon, this publication has been translated into 19 languages and has been a bestseller in France.
My first actual reactions have been that the ebook was once now not a superficially saccharine therapy of the topic and that it did supply critical reflections at the virtues which depended on strategies from many nice philosophers and essayists comparable to Thomas Aquinas, Aristotle, Augustine, Descartes, Epicurus, Sigmund Freud, Immanuel Kant, Montaigne, Friedrich Nietzsche, Pascal, Plato, Spinoza, and Simon Weil. and people are only the excessive issues. while the name says `great virtues, I part anticipate finding the seven virtues of Catholic theology or `the seven heavenly virtues' which distinction the seven lethal sins. in its place, i locate eighteen, with way more congruence with Aristotle than with the church fathers. those eighteen, in a just a little intuitive order, are:
(Sorry, Amazon squeezes out all of the tabs and additional spaces)
Politeness constancy Prudence Temperance
Courage Justice Generosity Compassion
Mercy Gratitude Humility Simplicity
Tolerance Purity Gentleness reliable Faith
The perception of prudence could have been one in every of Aristotle's maximum contributions to ethical philosophy. it's the estate which tempers the slavish devotion to principles to anything which literally displays good judgment in life.
One irony of advantage ethics is that at the one hand, it's obvious as a method to set up an ethical idea autonomous of a trust in God, whereas it additionally looks a higher embodiment of the Christian ethics of the Gospels than the foundations established taking into consideration Kant or the `greatest solid for the best quantity' utilitarianism of Mill. those are either `Apollonian' sorts of ethics. with no checking my Nietzsche texts, i think `virtue ethics' is a extra balanced mixture of the Apollonian with the Dionysian, grounded in instinct, emotion, a little bit risky, and with an appreciation of the chaotic.
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Additional info for A Small Treatise on the Great Virtues: The Uses of Philosophy in Everyday Life
To summarize crudely (and in a fashion that I trust may stimulate in some a desire for further reading), it articulates the doctrine of being, the doctrine of essence and the doctrine of the concept. If Hegel is right, this philosophical enquiry will explain what we think about, how we think about it, and how thought grants us knowledge. Metaphysics and epistemology meet in the ancient thought that knowledge cannot be explained as a relation between one kind of thing (human subjects) and another (the world), that is, the knowledge subjects have of objects.
Hegel tells us, in the Introduction to the Lectures on the Philosophy of World History, that ‘the only thought that philosophy brings with it is the simple idea of reason – the idea that reason governs the world and that world history is therefore a rational process’ (ILPWH: 27; SW 11: 34). The history of mankind is 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 1 7 Folio H E G E L’ S L I F E , W O R K A N D I N F L U E N C E 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 137 Folio 1 8 the history of spirit.
The list of mental functions could be expanded, those cited being explained in terms of desires and beliefs, feelings and distinctive character traits being added. For Hegel, the element of mind which is constitutive of the social order is the will (§4). Hegel has a very complex story to tell about the will. At this stage we should expect him to articulate the will in terms of the whole range of beliefs and motives which are engaged in social interactions, in particular in rulegoverned behaviour, and we shall see in the next chapter how he does this.