By Lawrence C. Becker, Charlotte B. Becker
This newly revised and up to date version of A heritage of Western Ethics is a coherent and obtainable review of crucial figures and influential rules of the background of ethics within the Western philosophical culture.
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Additional resources for A History of Western Ethics
See for Roman Stoics. Alleyne. London, 1883. The only comprehensive history, in one volume, of the material; seriously dated. SCOTT DAVIS “Medieval” and its cognates arose as terms of opprobrium, used by the Italian humanists to characterize more a style than an age. Hence it is difficult at best to distinguish late antiquity from the early middle ages. It is equally difficult to determine the proper scope of “ethics,” the philosophical schools of late antiquity having become purveyors of ways of life in the broadest sense, not clearly to be distinguished from the more intellectually oriented versions of their religious rivals.
It was the political crisis of the Roman Republic that primarily stimulated ethical reflection at Rome. To understand why this was so, it is necessary to return to the moral tradition outlined above. ” This ideology stimulated intense competitiveness. Cato’s frugal farmers, if they ever existed, were succeeded, as our historical record makes plain, by men who strove to outdo one another in wealth, power, and nobility of birth. None of these was a constituent of the ideal virtus, but the external recognition that this quality demanded was readily taken to be an end in itself.
32). The life of which Marcus Aurelius speaks is literally his own. His Meditations, which he wrote in Greek under the title “To Himself,” were not published until centuries after his death, and may never have been intended for anyone else to read. They consist of a series of jottings, composed during his arduous life as emperor which included long periods of military service reluctantly but resolutely undertaken. ” Marcus was not simply keeping a spiritual diary, a record of his thoughts. He wrote in this way as a disciplinary exercise, to remind himself of his Stoic principles, to register his shortcomings, to bolster his morale.