Disguised Vices: Theories of Virtue in Early Modern French Thought

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9780199589371: Disguised Vices: Theories of Virtue in Early Modern French Thought

The notions of virtue and vice are essential components of the Western ethical tradition. But in early modern France they were called into question, as writers, most famously La Rochefoucauld, argued that what appears as virtue is in fact disguised vice: people carry out praiseworthy deeds because they stand to gain in some way; they deserve no credit for their behaviour because they have no control over it; they are governed by feelings and motives of which they may not be aware. Disguised Vices analyses the underlying logic of these arguments, and investigates what is at stake in them. It traces the arguments back to their sources in earlier writers, showing how ancient philosophers, particularly Aristotle and Seneca, formulated the distinction between behaviour that counts as virtuous and behaviour that only seems so. It explains how St Augustine reinterpreted the distinction in the light of the difference between pagans and Christians, and how medieval and early modern theologians strove to reconcile Augustine's position with that of Aristotle. It examines the restatement of Augustine's position by his hard-line early modern followers (especially the Jansenists), and the controversy to which this gave rise. Finally, it examines La Rochefoucauld's critique of virtue and assesses the extent of its links with the Augustinian current of thought.

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About the Author:


Michael Moriarty read Modern and Medieval Languages at St John's College, Cambridge. He became a Research Fellow of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge in 1982, and a College Lecturer in French and Director of Studies in Modern Languages in 1985. He was appointed to an Assistant Lectureship in the Cambridge University Department of French in 1986. In 1990, he became a University Lecturer. In 1995, he was appointed by Queen Mary, University of London, to a Chair in French Literature and Thought (renamed the Centenary Chair in 2005). He is a Fellow of the British Academy and a Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Palmes Academiques.

Review:

La Rochefoucauld's nuanced and complex account of human behaviour is renewed by Moriarty's exposition of the transcendant values that it both assimilates and throws into question, as the reader confronts this wilfully and artfully provocative text in which, somme toute, 'moral agency is largely an illusion'. * Richard Parish, French Studies * the third part of Michael Moriarty's ambitiously and impressively conceived project on early modern thought in France ... Together, they constitute probably the most important single body of work on French seventeenth-century thought for at least a generation ... Unquestionably, Moriarty's work stands as a valuable and magisterial analysis in itself of virtue authentic or otherwise. But it also constitutes a crucial component in the wider historical and intellectual context * Henry Philips, The Seventeenth Century * The range of enquiry is extensive, tracing the origins of early modern scepticism back to the ancients ... The author demonstrates an impressive range and depth of scholarship in his engagement with both primary sources and critical predecessors, in a style which is consistently lucid, readable, reflexive and thought-provoking. He shows how early modern debates on virtue, however remote in time, have a bearing on modern thought in their challenge to self-delusion and their affirmation of self-awareness and recognition. The impact of this illuminating book extends beyond its immediate audience in early modern scholarship, providing valuable critical insight into subsequent developments in the history of ideas in France and Europe * Comments from Prize Jury, R. H. Gapper Book Prize 2012 on the winning book *

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Descripción Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, 2011. Hardback. Estado de conservación: New. New.. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. The notions of virtue and vice are essential components of the Western ethical tradition. But in early modern France they were called into question, as writers, most famously La Rochefoucauld, argued that what appears as virtue is in fact disguised vice: people carry out praiseworthy deeds because they stand to gain in some way; they deserve no credit for their behaviour because they have no control over it; they are governed by feelings and motives of which they may not be aware. Disguised Vices analyses the underlying logic of these arguments, and investigates what is at stake in them. It traces the arguments back to their sources in earlier writers, showing how ancient philosophers, particularly Aristotle and Seneca, formulated the distinction between behaviour that counts as virtuous and behaviour that only seems so. It explains how St Augustine reinterpreted the distinction in the light of the difference between pagans and Christians, and how medieval and early modern theologians strove to reconcile Augustine s position with that of Aristotle. It examines the restatement of Augustine s position by his hard-line early modern followers (especially the Jansenists), and the controversy to which this gave rise. Finally, it examines La Rochefoucauld s critique of virtue and assesses the extent of its links with the Augustinian current of thought. Nº de ref. de la librería BTE9780199589371

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Descripción Estado de conservación: New. Oxford University Press, 2011. 420p. Hardback. The range of enquiry is extensive, tracing the origins of early modern scepticism back to the ancients . The author demonstrates an impressive range and depth of scholarship in his engagement with both primary sources and critical predecessors, in a style which is consistently lucid, readable, reflexive and thought-provoking. He shows how early modern debates on virtue, however remote in time, have a bearing on modern thought in their challenge to self-delusion and their affirmation of self-awareness and recognition. The impact of this illuminating book extends beyond its immediate audience in early modern scholarship, providing valuable critical insight into subsequent developments in the history of ideas in France and Europe Comments from Prize Jury, R. H. Gapper Book Prize 2012 on the winning book (Publisher's information). Condition: New Print on Demand. Printed on Demand. Nº de ref. de la librería 41711

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