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

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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 referred to as into query, as writers, so much famously los angeles Rochefoucauld, argued that what appears to be like as advantage is in truth disguised vice: humans perform praiseworthy deeds simply because they stand to realize ultimately; 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 past writers, displaying how old philosophers, fairly Aristotle and Seneca, formulated the excellence among behaviour that counts as virtuous and behavior that purely turns out so. It explains how St Augustine reinterpreted the excellence within the gentle of the adaptation among pagans and Christians, and the way medieval and early glossy theologians strove to reconcile Augustine's place with that of Aristotle. It examines the restatement of Augustine's place via his hard-line early sleek fans (especially the Jansenists), and the debate to which this gave upward thrust. ultimately, it examines los angeles Rochefoucauld's critique of advantage and assesses the level of its hyperlinks with the Augustinian present of thought.

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18, 1124a16–17). Such concern for others’ opinion would diminish his self-sufficiency. It would seem that we have here a kind of refinement of the heroic ideal, perhaps because it is being adapted to a more complex community, a democracy in which even the leading citizens’ position reflects other people’s opinion of them (they have to be voted into office, and can be voted out). 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.

There are no incentives to courage any more: you just have to do the courageous thing. Newbolt’s poem is therefore an insightful analysis of the paradoxes of moral education: incentives make virtue more desirable, but to think of them while in the act devalues the act; and the point of acquiring virtue is to learn to do without incentives: to perform the act for its own sake. This is why magnanimity or greatness of soul is, to quote Macintyre’s phrase again, ‘the crown of the virtuous life’. 10, 1123b17–22).

More will be said about this notion presently: for the moment, it is enough to say that performing the actions before we have the virtue endows us with the virtue and so facilitates similar actions in future: we become 14 Alasdair Macintyre explores the tensions involved in the medieval attempt to assimilate Aristotle’s theory of the virtues within an ethic shaped by the concept of a divine law (After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory, 2nd edn (London: Duckworth, 1985 [1st publ. 1981]), 168–70). 15 There is an illuminating account of the process of habituation in Jennifer A.

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


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