The Fragility of Goodness

The Fragility of Goodness : Luck and Ethics in Greek Tragedy and Philosophy

4.22 (461 ratings by Goodreads)
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4.22 (461 ratings by Goodreads)
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This book is a study of ancient views about 'moral luck'. It examines the fundamental ethical problem that many of the valued constituents of a well-lived life are vulnerable to factors outside a person's control, and asks how this affects our appraisal of persons and their lives. The Greeks made a profound contribution to these questions, yet neither the problems nor the Greek views of them have received the attention they deserve. This book thus recovers a central dimension of Greek thought and addresses major issues in contemporary ethical theory. One of its most original aspects is its interrelated treatment of both literary and philosophical texts. The Fragility of Goodness has proven to be important reading for philosophers and classicists, and its non-technical style makes it accessible to any educated person interested in the difficult problems it tackles. This edition, first published in 2001, features a preface by Martha Nussbaum.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 592 pages
  • 161 x 235 x 41mm | 938g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Revised
  • 2nd Revised edition
  • 052179126X
  • 9780521791267
  • 2,410,673

Table of contents

Preface; 1. Luck and ethics; Part I. Tragedy: Fragility and Ambition: 2. Aeschylus and practical conflict; 3. Sophocles' Antigone: conflict, vision, and simplification; Part II. Plato: Goodness without Fragility: 4. The Protagoras: a science of practical reasoning; Interlude 1. Plato's anti-tragic theater; 5. The Republic: true value and the standpoint of perfection; 6. The speech of Alcibiades: a reading of the Symposium; 7. 'This story isn't true': madness, reason, and recantation in the Phaedrus; Part III. Aristotle: The Fragility of the Good Human Life: Introduction; 8. Saving Aristotle's appearances; 9. Rational animals and the explanation of action; 10. Non-scientific deliberation; 11. The vulnerability of the Good Human Life: activity and disaster; 12. The vulnerability of the Good Human Life: relational goods; Appendix to Part III; Interlude 2. Luck and the tragic emotions; Epilogue. Tragedy; 13. The betrayal of convention: a reading of Euripedes' Hecuba.
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Review quote

"[Nussbaum's] book still has much to offer." BMCR "This is an immensely rich and stimulating book. This is partly because the author combines to a rare degree qualities not often found together: a scholar's understanding of the text with rigour of argument, and these together with an imaginative grasp of moral questions. But it is also because she has chosen to write a very ambitious book, to grapple with some fundamental, perennial issues....It should change the tenor of debate in more than one field." Charles Taylor, Canadian Journal of Philosophy "Over fifteen years since its first appearance, this work is still of interest to literary critics, philosophers and intellectual historians alike." Patrick O'Sullivan, University of Cantebury, Christchurch, NZ
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Rating details

461 ratings
4.22 out of 5 stars
5 47% (217)
4 35% (161)
3 12% (56)
2 5% (22)
1 1% (5)
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