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date: 20 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The Stoics notoriously held that virtue was the perfection of human-scale rational agency; that such perfection was rare but humanly possible; that it was both necessary and sufficient for happiness; that it was, in fact, the only unqualified good for human beings; and that it was an all-or-nothing achievement—there were no intermediate degrees of virtue. The mere recital of that list of Stoic doctrines has often been enough to disqualify Stoicism as a viable form of virtue ethics. This chapter, however, describes Stoic ethics as a systematic and attractive alternative to Aristotelian ethics. The implicit suggestion is that the usual caricatures of Stoicism can be erased, and that contemporary virtue ethics can benefit from working in the Stoic tradition—particularly with its naturalistic account of moral development.

Keywords: Stoics, moral motivation, moral psychology, naturalism, naturalistic ethics, practical wisdom, rational agency, stoicism, virtue ethics, virtue

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