Stoicism: Virtue and Happiness


in The Development of Ethics: Volume 1

Published in print September 2007 | ISBN: 9780198242673
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191680519 | DOI:

Series: Development of Ethics

Stoicism: Virtue and                         Happiness

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Critics argue that Stoics assume happiness as the fulfilment of rational human nature; that is why they identify happiness with rational agency and virtue. However, since the fulfilment of rational nature requires more than virtue, the Stoics should admit that if happiness includes virtue, it includes more than virtue. In particular, community with others seems to be necessary for the full development of practical reason; and if the Stoics believe that practical reason is at least part of happiness, they should agree that its full development is necessary for happiness. The Stoics have made it clearer why virtue matters more than external goods; they argue that it completes the practical reason that is essential to the agent for whom external goods are good. However, this point about virtue does not justify the conclusion that virtue is the whole of happiness. If one is at all sympathetic to Aristotle's function argument, apparently one must take happiness to include more than virtue.

Keywords: Stoics; happiness; rational agency; human nature; virtue; practical reason; external goods; Aristotle

Chapter.  31549 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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