A New Stoicism by Lawrence C. Becker

By Lawrence C. Becker

What might stoic ethics be like at the present time if stoicism had survived as a scientific method of moral conception, if it had coped effectively with the demanding situations of contemporary philosophy and experimental technology? a brand new Stoicism proposes a solution to that question, provided from in the stoic culture yet with out the metaphysical and mental assumptions that smooth philosophy and technology have deserted. Lawrence Becker argues secular model of the stoic moral venture, in line with modern cosmology and developmental psychology, presents the foundation for a complicated kind of moral naturalism, within which almost all of the not easy doctrines of the traditional Stoics should be truly restated and defended.

Becker argues, in accordance with the ancients, that advantage is something, now not many; that it, and never happiness, is the right kind finish of all job; that it on my own is nice, all different issues being simply rank-ordered relative to one another for the sake of the nice; and that advantage is enough for happiness. additionally, he rejects the preferred comic strip of the stoic as a grave determine, emotionally indifferent and able in general of patience, resignation, and dealing with soreness. on the contrary, he holds that whereas stoic sages may be able to undergo the extremes of human agony, they don't have to sacrifice pleasure to have that skill, and he seeks to show our consciousness from the time-honored, healing a part of stoic ethical education to a reconsideration of its theoretical foundations.

Editorial Reviews

"From the start to the top of this compact yet lucid booklet, Becker skillfully brings to existence either the arguments and the intuitive allure of stoicism.... In its necessities [the new stoicism] is recognizable, with its relatively astringent rational attraction better by way of Becker's targeted and self-disciplined argumentation. Zeno, i think, will be pleased."
-Brad Inwood, Apeiron

"A stimulating dialogue of ethics that's freed from the jejune or overly technical attitudes attribute of a lot present writing at the subject."
-Joseph Shea, n.b.: new from The Reader's Catalog

About the Author

Lawrence C. Becker is William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor within the Humanities and Professor of Philosophy on the collage of William and Mary. he's the writer of a number of books, together with Reciprocity and estate Rights: Philosophic Foundations. he's the coeditor, with Charlotte B. Becker, of the Encyclopedia of Ethics.

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Sample text

Note that theoretical and practical possibility are merely context-restricted forms of logical possibility. Conflicts and ordinal relationships. As will be clear in the section on normative constructs below, and will be explained even more fully in Chapter 5, our logic freely represents and manipulates conflicting norms. We resolve all such conflicts, however, in three stages. First, we record whatever priorities are in fact built into the types of norms involved. For example, in general we suppose that requirements take priority over conflicting oughts, and that indifference yields to either.

From standards to ought-nots. Many endeavors have standards of good form and appropriateness that fall short of the requiredness of categorical commitments but are nonetheless important practical considerations. Such endeavors have an etiquette as well as a set of goals, an aesthetic as well as a set of commitments, a conception of what is fitting as well as a conception of what is effective. When we disapprove of an admittedly licit and effective practice as ugly, uncouth, or tacky—or commend a failure as classy—we appeal to such standards.

Of course these are first-order, nothing-else-considered obligations that typically conflict with the slaves’ categorical commitments and preferences. Practical reason must address such conflicts, and may (or may not) prescribe resistance or rebellion, all-things-considered. It is a lemma of stoic practical reasoning that agents ought to prefer having control of their own situations, experience, actions, and outcomes to lacking such control. It does not follow from this lemma that agents ought to prefer having control of others’ lives to lacking it, nor that they ought always to exercise the control they have, even over their own lives.

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