Chapter

Towards an Understanding of the History of Greek Ethics

Nicholas White

in Individual and Conflict in Greek Ethics

Published in print June 2002 | ISBN: 9780198250593
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598661 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198250592.003.0008
 Towards an Understanding of the History of Greek Ethics

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Thus far it has been shown that Greek ethics is not as different from modern ethics as is commonly held, and that we cannot oppose a harmonizing Greek ethical outlook with a modern view that involves a conflict between happiness and adherence to ethical standards. Greek ethics has universalistic features—though they are different from the egalitarian characteristics of modern positions and do not focus on the notion of benevolence in the way that modern ethics does—and it mostly distinguishes self‐referential and non‐self‐referential aims. Moreover, there is not in any case such a thing as a monolithic ethical view of ‘the Greeks’, and the idea of a straightforward contrast between ‘ancient’ and ‘modern’ ethics is best avoided.

Keywords: benevolence; egalitarian; eudaimonism; Greek; Greek ethics; harmony; kosmos

Chapter.  9126 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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