Get A Small Treatise on the Great Virtues: The Uses of PDF

By André Comte-Sponville

André Comte-Sponville, A Small Treatise at the nice Virtues, translated by means of Catherine Temerson (New York, Holt Paperbacks, 2001)

The in need of it really is that this ebook will make you're feeling solid approximately being good.

The lengthy of it is:

i used to be doing a paper on `value ethics', and my adventure used to be that during the area philosophy, particularly considering the fact that 1903, with the publishing of G. E. Moore's Principia Ethica and his promulgation of the `naturalistic fallacy', the honor of values and personality had nearly disappeared. This normal influence was once proven whilst I checked out a number of scholarly ethics texts from the 1960's and so they proven in undeniable conversing, that the research of ethics had develop into an research of language, given the King Kong sized effect of the works of Ludwig Wittgenstein and the effective Joe younger sized works of J. L. Austin, a right away descendent of the impact of G. E. Moore's variety of philosophy.

yet I stored following my nostril and in a truly contemporary ethics ebook through Terry Eagleton, hassle With Strangers, he criticized either eu psychologized ethics of Jacques Lacan and the 'high-toned' morality speak of legislation, correct, accountability, precept, and legal responsibility traceable to Immanuel Kant. Eagleton additionally stated a comparatively new choice of papers, advantage Ethics, which headlined a huge 1958 paper via Wittgenstein pupil, 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 topic which continuously sounded bizarre to me, because the heritage of philosophy, particularly from the traditional Greeks as much as Descartes, used to be a spinning off of disciplines to little ones equivalent to physics, arithmetic, and psychology. yet ethics, specifically advantage ethics and some of the flavors of Utilitarianism stand and fall by way of what they suggest by means of psychological states resembling `pleasure' and `happiness'. So, on reflection, i used to be now not too stunned while I searched 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 nearly no time at the ethical viewpoint at the person. yet I did locate one functional e-book on `moral values' that is a becoming supplement to the hot theoretical paintings on virtues. this is often the publication brought up above, through a contemporary French professor of philosophy on the Sorbonne. in keeping with the thumbnail biographical comic strip, this booklet has been translated into 19 languages and has been a bestseller in France.

My first actual reactions have been that the booklet used to be now not a superficially saccharine remedy of the topic and that it did supply severe reflections at the virtues which depended on ideas from many nice philosophers and essayists equivalent 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. whilst 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 a little bit intuitive order, are:
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Politeness constancy Prudence Temperance
Courage Justice Generosity Compassion
Mercy Gratitude Humility Simplicity
Tolerance Purity Gentleness reliable Faith
Humor Love

The perception of prudence could have been one among 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 way to set up an ethical thought autonomous of a trust in God, whereas it additionally looks a much better embodiment of the Christian ethics of the Gospels than the foundations dependent deliberating Kant or the `greatest strong for the best quantity' utilitarianism of Mill. those are either `Apollonian' types of ethics. with out checking my Nietzsche texts, i think `virtue ethics' is a extra balanced mixture of the Apollonian with the Dionysian, grounded in instinct, emotion, just a little volatile, and with an appreciation of the chaotic.

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Extra resources for A Small Treatise on the Great Virtues: The Uses of Philosophy in Everyday Life

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We perceive macro objects and create complex ideas of kinds, but we cannot know the configuration of the micro particles that explain the outward properties. Perception provides knowledge (just barely) at the sensible level, but it fails at the insensible and more explanatory level. The conclusion Locke draws is that scientific knowledge of nature is impossible. The only evidence we can have about real essences is analogical, hypothetical and probable while scientific knowledge must be 26 understanding empiricism KEY POINT Levels of skepticism Locke: Ideas are caused by physical objects and their qualities, which in turn are explained by insensible corpuscles (atoms).

But this does not imply that there are triangles in nature. To apply the theorems, we must know that there are real existences that satisfy the definition and the theorems, and this can only be known by experience. The result is a priori knowledge but not knowledge of real existence. Similar remarks apply to arithmetic, which is based on the abstract ideas of the numbers. The real and nominal essences are the same since both are present to the mind. ) In the case of natural philosophy, the real and nominal essences diverge.

In common berkeley’s defence of idealism 35 speech, it signifies “extended, solid, movable, unthinking, inactive substance”. ” We may change the meaning and hold that matter is active, but this is just “to play with words” (Dialogue II: 164–5). Viewed in this light, idealism is an alternative explanation to realism. Locke held that ideas of colours are caused by powers in external objects, which in turn rest on their material constitution. If Berkeley is right, this is not an adequate explanation.

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