By W. T. Stace
The traditional Greek philosophers have performed a pivotal position within the shaping of the western philosophical culture. This ebook surveys the seminal works and concepts of key figures within the old Greek philosophical culture from the Presocratics to the Neoplatonists. It highlights their major philosophical issues and the evolution of their inspiration from the 6th century BCE to the 6th century CE.
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Extra info for A Critical History of Greek Philosophy
I very much doubt it. However, I rather fear it is what we have got. III At ﬁrst—way back in the late 1950s—a virtue ethicist would have been someone who found more of interest in ‘Modern Moral Philosophy’ than in modern moral philosophy. That article was disconcerting, and hence one expected to learn something from it. Turning to modern virtue ethics, what a contrast we ﬁnd. It can only be called concerting. Modern virtue ethics has become something soothing, edifying and familiar. It has grown up in the polluted atmosphere of contemporary expectations (assumptions, presuppositions, confusions, distractions) and naturally enough has quickly become tarnished by them.
Where there is a ‘have to’ we want to hear about its force. ¹⁹ It is possible to talk seriously about a virtue of charity without indulging in the merely extravagant claim. Peter Geach can do so, for example, because for him charity is a theological virtue, that is to say something comprehensible as a ¹⁷ Aquinas actually contrived to ﬁnd humility in Aristotle’s list of virtues. Anthony Kenny (2004: 105) points out how ‘by an astonishing piece of intellectual legerdemain’, Aquinas was able to claim that humility was ‘not only compatible with but a counterpart of the alleged Aristotelian virtue of magnanimity’—referring us to II IIae, 161, 1, ad 3.
One would need a good deal of charity on a desert island. We have to observe this caution as to what the speaker has in mind even in reading a contemporary author. It is possible the Rosalind Hursthouse for example has changed her view about what counts as charity, for in her ﬁrst book, Beginning Lives, she had listed it as an Aristotelian or good-sense virtue. ‘His [Aristotle’s] answer is: ‘‘If you want to ﬂourish/be happy/be successful you need to acquire and practice the virtues—courage, justice, benevolence or charity, .