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By Lawrence C. Becker, Charlotte B. Becker

ISBN-10: 0203426932

ISBN-13: 9780203426937

ISBN-10: 0203439236

ISBN-13: 9780203439234

ISBN-10: 0415968240

ISBN-13: 9780415968249

ISBN-10: 0415968259

ISBN-13: 9780415968256

This newly revised and up-to-date variation of A background of Western Ethics is a coherent and available review of crucial figures and influential rules of the background of ethics within the Western philosophical culture.

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Extra resources for A History of Western Ethics

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What makes Roman ethics a topic of conceptual interest is the contact that developed between this cluster of indigenous ideas and Greek moral philosophy, especially Stoicism. ), political life in Italy was in total disarray. The state had been ravaged for decades by civic strife, caused among other things by the inability of the central government to resist the conflicts between rival military leaders. E. 14) who, under the name Augustus, initiated the era we call the Roman Empire. The two pioneers of philosophical writing in Latin, Lucretius (c.

First, as is clear from the example given, Seneca intends to help his addressee to what we would call a better state of “mental” health. Second, as in ancient philosophy generally, “mental” health is “moral” health. The route to happiness is the route to ethical virtue. Tranquillity is not perceived by the Roman Stoics as opting out of the world. To the contrary. It is that state of mind which issues in an ability to react and act well. Epictetus constantly directs his interlocutors to reflect on the limits of their autonomy, and to use that understanding as a basis for shaping their outlook: “Remembering the way the world is structured, one should proceed to educate oneself not in order to change the conditions…but in order that, things about us being as they are and as their nature is, we ourselves may keep our attitude in tune with what happens” (Discourses 1.

HELLENISTIC ETHICS 23 over their own happiness in the world here and now. Plato and Aristotle stop short of such an ambitious undertaking. Imperfection is endemic to the physical world, as Plato conceived of it, and to embodied humanity. Aristotle, though the conditions he specifies for happiness are designed to secure its self-sufficiency, stops short of making it invulnerable to fortune: happiness, and the exercise of virtue (its prime constituent), require adequate provision of goods that may fall outside the individual’s control.

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A History of Western Ethics by Lawrence C. Becker, Charlotte B. Becker


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