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 publication will make you are feeling strong approximately being good.
The lengthy of it is:
i used to be doing a paper on `value ethics', and my adventure was once that during the realm philosophy, in particular in view that 1903, with the publishing of G. E. Moore's Principia Ethica and his promulgation of the `naturalistic fallacy', the honour 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 they usually proven in simple conversing, that the research of ethics had turn into an research of language, given the King Kong sized impression of the works of Ludwig Wittgenstein and the robust Joe younger sized works of J. L. Austin, an instantaneous descendent of the impression of G. E. Moore's sort of philosophy.
yet I saved following my nostril and in a really contemporary ethics e-book through Terry Eagleton, hassle With Strangers, he criticized either eu 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 stated a comparatively new selection of papers, advantage Ethics, which headlined an enormous 1958 paper by way of 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 topic which consistently sounded abnormal to me, because the background of philosophy, in particular from the traditional Greeks as much as Descartes, was once a spinning off of disciplines to teenagers comparable to physics, arithmetic, and psychology. yet ethics, in particular advantage ethics and some of the flavors of Utilitarianism stand and fall through what they suggest via psychological states resembling `pleasure' and `happiness'. So, looking back, i used to be no longer too shocked whilst 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 viewpoint at the person. yet I did locate one useful booklet on `moral values' that's a becoming supplement to the recent theoretical paintings on virtues. this is often the ebook brought up above, via a contemporary French professor of philosophy on the Sorbonne. in keeping with the thumbnail biographical cartoon, this booklet has been translated into 19 languages and has been a bestseller in France.
My first actual reactions have been that the publication used to be now not a superficially saccharine therapy of the topic and that it did provide severe reflections at the virtues which depended on innovations from many nice philosophers and essayists akin 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 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 slightly intuitive order, are:
(Sorry, Amazon squeezes out the entire tabs and additional spaces)
Politeness constancy Prudence Temperance
Courage Justice Generosity Compassion
Mercy Gratitude Humility Simplicity
Tolerance Purity Gentleness strong 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 truly is visible as a method to set up an ethical idea self sufficient of a trust in God, whereas it additionally looks a stronger embodiment of the Christian ethics of the Gospels than the foundations established considering 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 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
Such things impact palpably on what’s around them (including people). More basically, they are independent of us, and we need intelligent commerce with them in order to determine what their properties and powers are. ” The upshot is this: I’ll be talking freely throughout this book of objects of various sorts without any commitments to such things existing. I’ll also allude to various regularities about our experience of language transactions, the sharp formulation of which will require quantification over such objects.
34 SEMANTIC PERCEPTION Quine (1960b, 132), like Frege, also describes this body of knowledge or belief as inherited: The lore of our fathers is a fabric of sentences. In our hands it develops and changes, through more or less arbitrary and deliberate revisions and additions of our own, more or less directly occasioned by the continuing stimulation of our sense organs. Quine often speaks somewhat interchangeably of our “language,” of our “conceptual scheme,” and of our “web of beliefs” (see, for example, Quine 1953c, 78–79, Quine 1960a, 3, 123, 276).
In the same way—when I speak—my perception of the nature of sentences, and what they convey, constrains what I think I can and can’t do with them. Crucial, though, to any description of the phenomenology of an area of choice is what’s left out or missing—the gap between how things are perceived 30. This isn’t to say that the expressions uttered are themselves peculiar objects; no more is it to say that the appropriate objects of study in linguistics—generally—are peculiar objects (at least, they’re no more peculiar than other objects of scientific study).
A Small Treatise on the Great Virtues: The Uses of Philosophy in Everyday Life by André Comte-Sponville