New Stoicism: Revised Edition

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Item#: 9780691177212
Author Becker, Lawrence C
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What would stoic ethics be like today if stoicism had survived as a systematic approach to ethical theory, if it had coped successfully with the challenges of modern philosophy and experimental science?A New Stoicismproposes an answer to that question, offered from within the stoic tradition but without the metaphysical and psychological assumptions that modern philosophy and science have abandoned. Lawrence Becker argues that a secular version of the stoic ethical project, based on contemporary cosmology and developmental psychology, provides the basis for a sophisticated form of ethical naturalism, in which virtually all the hard doctrines of the ancient Stoics can be clearly restated and defended.<
>Becker argues, in keeping with the ancients, that virtue is one thing, not many; that it, and not happiness, is the proper end of all activity; that it alone is good, all other things being merely rank-ordered relative to each other for the sake of the good; and that virtue is sufficient for happiness. Moreover, he rejects the popular caricature of the stoic as a grave figure, emotionally detached and capable mainly of endurance, resignation, and coping with pain. To the contrary, he holds that while stoic sages are able to endure the extremes of human suffering, they do not have to sacrifice joy to have that ability, and he seeks to turn our attention from the familiar, therapeutic part of stoic moral training to a reconsideration of its theoretical foundations.

Table of Contents
Preface to the Revised Edition ix<
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>Acknowledgments xvii<
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>PART ONE: THE WAY THINGS STAND<
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>1 The Conceit 3<
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>2 A New Agenda for Stoic Ethics 5<
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>3 The Ruins of Doctrine 8<
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>Science, Logic, and Ethics 8<
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>Norms and Moral Training 14<
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>Virtue and Happiness 20<
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>Commentary 23<
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>Acknowledgments 33<
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>PART TWO: THE WAY THINGS MIGHT GO<
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>4 Normative Logic 37<
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>Norms and Normative Propositions 38<
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>Normative Constructs: Getting from Is to Ought 41<
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>Axioms of Stoic Normative Logic 44<
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>5 Following the Facts 46<
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>Impossibilities 47<
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>A Posteriori Normative Propositions 49<
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>Motivated Norms 56<
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>A Developmental Account of Moral Motivation 60<
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>Heteronomous Endeavors, Autonomous Agency, and Freedom 64<
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>Commentary 75<
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>Acknowledgments 87<
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>6 Virtue 89<
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>Inseparable Agency, Virtue, and Eudaimonia 89<
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>The Development of Virtue through Agency 91<
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>Moral Education and Divergent Paths to Virtue 127<
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>The Argument for Virtue as the Product of Ideal Agency 128<
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>Exalted Virtue 132<
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>Commentary 138<
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>Acknowledgments 153<
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>7 Happiness 155<
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>A Whole Life 155<
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>A Controlled Life 159<
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>Life on the Rack 163<
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>A Good Life 166<
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>Joy 173<
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>Commentary 175<
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>Acknowledgments 191<
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>Appendix A Calculus for Normative Logic 193<
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>Notation and Interpretation 193<
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>Basic Definitions, Rules, and Axioms 197<
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>Normative Constructs 201<
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>Axioms of Stoic Normative Logic 214<
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>Immediate Inferences 215<
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>Commentary 218<
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>Acknowledgments 224<
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>Postscript to the Revised Edition 225<
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>The Virtues of Virtue Ethics in the Stoic Tradition 225<
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>Stoic Politics and Virtue Politics Generally 227<
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>Stoicism as a Guide to Living Well 231<
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>Bibliography 239<
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>Index 253