The Therapy of Desire: Theory and Practice in Hellenistic Ethics

Princeton University Press
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The Epicureans, Skeptics, and Stoics practiced philosophy not as a detached intellectual discipline but as a worldly art of grappling with issues of daily and urgent human significance. In this classic work, Martha Nussbaum maintains that these Hellenistic schools have been unjustly neglected in recent philosophic accounts of what the classical "tradition" has to offer. By examining texts of philosophers such as Epicurus, Lucretius, and Seneca, she recovers a valuable source for current moral and political thought and encourages us to reconsider philosophical argument as a technique through which to improve lives. Written for general readers and specialists, The Therapy of Desire addresses compelling issues ranging from the psychology of human passion through rhetoric to the role of philosophy in public and private life.
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About the author

Martha C. Nussbaum is the Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at the Law School and in the Philosophy Department at the University of Chicago. She is the author of many books, including Not for Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities (Princeton).
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Jun 6, 2013
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Pages
584
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ISBN
9781400831944
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Language
English
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Genres
Philosophy / Ethics & Moral Philosophy
Philosophy / History & Surveys / Ancient & Classical
Philosophy / Political
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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'We are looking for the things that enable us to live a noble and happy life...and what prospects decent people will have of acquiring any of them.' The Eudemian Ethics is a major treatise on moral philosophy whose central concern is what makes life worth living. Aristotle considers the role of happiness, and what happiness consists of, and he analyses various factors that contribute to it: human agency, the relation between action and virtue, and the concept of virtue itself. Moral and intellectual virtues are classified and considered, and finally the roles of friendship and pleasure. It deals with the same issues as the better-known Nicomachean Ethics, with which it holds three books in common, and its special qualities, as well as the similarities and differences between the two works, are of fundamental concern to anyone interested in Aristotle's philosophy. This is the first time the Eudemian Ethics has been published in its entirety in any modern language. Anthony Kenny's fine translation is accompanied by a lucid introduction and explanatory notes, which assist the reader in understanding this important work. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
This is a major reinterpretation of ancient philosophy that recovers the long Greek and Roman tradition of philosophy as a complete way of life--and not simply an intellectual discipline. Distinguished philosopher John Cooper traces how, for many ancient thinkers, philosophy was not just to be studied or even used to solve particular practical problems. Rather, philosophy--not just ethics but even logic and physical theory--was literally to be lived. Yet there was great disagreement about how to live philosophically: philosophy was not one but many, mutually opposed, ways of life. Examining this tradition from its establishment by Socrates in the fifth century BCE through Plotinus in the third century CE and the eclipse of pagan philosophy by Christianity, Pursuits of Wisdom examines six central philosophies of living--Socratic, Aristotelian, Stoic, Epicurean, Skeptic, and the Platonist life of late antiquity.

The book describes the shared assumptions that allowed these thinkers to conceive of their philosophies as ways of life, as well as the distinctive ideas that led them to widely different conclusions about the best human life. Clearing up many common misperceptions and simplifications, Cooper explains in detail the Socratic devotion to philosophical discussion about human nature, human life, and human good; the Aristotelian focus on the true place of humans within the total system of the natural world; the Stoic commitment to dutifully accepting Zeus's plans; the Epicurean pursuit of pleasure through tranquil activities that exercise perception, thought, and feeling; the Skeptical eschewal of all critical reasoning in forming their beliefs; and, finally, the late Platonist emphasis on spiritual concerns and the eternal realm of Being.



Pursuits of Wisdom is essential reading for anyone interested in understanding what the great philosophers of antiquity thought was the true purpose of philosophy--and of life.

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