A Small Treatise on the Great Virtues: The Uses of by André Comte-Sponville

By André Comte-Sponville

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

The wanting it's that this publication will make you're feeling strong 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 area philosophy, specially when you consider that 1903, with the publishing of G. E. Moore's Principia Ethica and his promulgation of the `naturalistic fallacy', the distinction of values and personality had almost disappeared. This normal influence used to be proven while I checked out a couple of scholarly ethics texts from the 1960's and so they proven in simple talking, that the examine of ethics had turn into an research of language, given the King Kong sized impact of the works of Ludwig Wittgenstein and the effective Joe younger sized works of J. L. Austin, a right away descendent of the impression of G. E. Moore's sort of philosophy.

yet I saved following my nostril and in a truly fresh ethics publication via Terry Eagleton, difficulty With Strangers, he criticized either ecu psychologized ethics of Jacques Lacan and the 'high-toned' morality speak of legislation, correct, responsibility, precept, and legal responsibility traceable to Immanuel Kant. Eagleton additionally brought up a comparatively new choice of papers, advantage Ethics, which headlined a big 1958 paper via Wittgenstein scholar, G.E.M. Anscombe on `Modern ethical Philosophy' which all 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 constantly sounded strange to me, because the historical past of philosophy, specially from the traditional Greeks as much as Descartes, used to be a spinning off of disciplines to young children resembling physics, arithmetic, and psychology. yet ethics, in particular advantage ethics and a few of the flavors of Utilitarianism stand and fall by means of what they suggest via psychological states akin to `pleasure' and `happiness'. So, on reflection, i used to be now not too shocked 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 isn't a surprise, because the modern educational ethical philosophy is all approximately principles and values for the crowd. It spends almost no time at the ethical viewpoint at the person. yet I did locate one functional publication on `moral values' that is a becoming supplement to the hot theoretical paintings on virtues. this can be the ebook stated above, by way of a latest French professor of philosophy on the Sorbonne. based on the thumbnail biographical caricature, this booklet has been translated into 19 languages and has been a bestseller in France.

My first actual reactions have been that the booklet was once now not a superficially saccharine therapy of the topic and that it did provide critical reflections at the virtues which trusted concepts 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 identify says `great virtues, I part look forward to finding the seven virtues of Catholic theology or `the seven heavenly virtues' which distinction the seven lethal sins. as an alternative, 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 sturdy Faith
Humor Love

The perception of prudence could have been certainly one of Aristotle's maximum contributions to ethical philosophy. it's the estate which tempers the slavish devotion to principles to anything which literally displays logic in life.

One irony of advantage ethics is that at the one hand, it's obvious as a way to set up an ethical idea self sufficient of a trust in God, whereas it additionally looks a much better embodiment of the Christian ethics of the Gospels than the foundations established deliberating Kant or the `greatest solid for the best quantity' utilitarianism of Mill. those are either `Apollonian' sorts 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, a bit of risky, and with an appreciation of the chaotic.

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

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27 substance. Imagination pictures the human figure alone without matter. Reason transcends the figure and contemplates the universal nature contained in the individual; for instance, humanity in individual men. The eye of intelligence sees beyond all these powers. Transcending the whole universe, it beholds simple forms in themselves. The human soul, once capable of such intellectual intuitions of pure forms, is now forced to use the faculty of reason because of its confinement to the body and the senses.

We have seen this tendency already in his account of knowledge: the divine action of illumination, not the human mind, is the real cause of truth. The doctrine of seminal principles shows the same concern to insure the supremacy and power of God and to emphasize the frailty and nothingness of creatures. We shall observe this same tendency in Augustine's ethics. ETHICAL NOTIONS THE PREDOMINANTLY ETHICAL CHARACTER of St. AugUStine's thought has already been pointed out. " All the resources of his mind and heart are concentrated on this enterprise.

It was caused by the hiding of the money and the digging in the earth. It was a chance occurrence because of the unintended meeting of these two causes. With respect to us, then, there is chance, but not with respect to God, who disposes all things in their due times and places. But how can man be free if God foresees and disposes all his actions? The fact of man's freedom is clear from his possession of reason. By nature man has the use of reason and hence he can discriminate in judgment. He can distinguish between what is to be avoided and what is to be desired.

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