Strategies for Promoting Philosophy

Lieve Van Hoof

in Plutarch's Practical Ethics

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9780199583263
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191723131 | DOI:
Strategies for Promoting Philosophy

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This chapter examines how Plutarch tries to convince his reader to adopt a more philosophical attitude. In addition to explicit, philosophical statements about how the reader should behave, he deploys a wide range of discursive strategies and rhetorical techniques, which all play heavily on the reader's sense of honour in order to promote philosophy. Once the reader is convinced, Plutarch offers him an elaborate combination of different kinds of exercises that will help him to put Plutarch's advice into practice. These exercises not only implement the Platonic-Peripatetic pattern of education in an original way, they also distinguish themselves from contemporary Stoic ethics and set Plutarch's practical ethics apart from his other philosophical works. Thus, this chapter does away with the idea that the practical ethical writings, as opposed to other Plutarchean writings, offer a simple and straightforward kind of moralism.

Keywords: reader; strategies; rhetoric; honour; exercises; Plato; Peripatetic; Stoa; ethics; moralism

Chapter.  10589 words. 

Subjects: Classical Philosophy

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