John Casey

in Pagan Virtue

Published in print October 1991 | ISBN: 9780198240037
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191680069 | DOI:

Series: Clarendon Paperbacks


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This chapter expresses temperance as a rational control of our physical appetites, to subordinate sensual pleasures to reason that is necessary if we are to be truly human. Underlying all this is the idea that temperance denotes not a mere disciplining of passions and appetites, but a harmoniousness of soul that will naturally find its expression in bodily comportment. It further discusses Pelagius beliefs about appetites and passions, which is firmly based upon pagan and Stoic values. The chapter reveals temperance manifestly is a quality that it is reasonable for everyone to cultivate. Yet if we try to extend it into areas to which some ancient thinkers thought it applicable — in particular, politics — then it can begin to look like a virtue that it is not always reasonable for everyone to cultivate.

Keywords: temperance; physical appetites; sensual pleasures; bodily comportment; Pelagius; pagan; Stoic

Chapter.  16868 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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