Chapter

What Makes an Action Befitting?

Tad Brennan

in The Stoic Life

Published in print June 2005 | ISBN: 9780199256266
Published online February 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191603075 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199256268.003.0011
What Makes an Action Befitting?

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This chapter examines the Stoic theory of kathekon, translated as ‘befitting actions’. These are actions that people who are already virtuous do, and also the ones that people do to make progress towards virtue. What makes an action befitting has something to do with how it accords with the nature of the agent, and with the nature of the universe that is revealed in the special circumstances of action that may arise. For instance, the nature of plants is such that they perform their befitting actions by photosynthesising. The nature of humans is such that they perform their befitting actions by walking, bending, or stretching their fingers in certain ways; by asking or answering questions; or by taking care of their health.

Keywords: action; befitting; Stoics; philosophy; kathekon

Chapter.  5073 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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