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Human Virtue and Human Excellence

A.W.H. Adkins, Joan K. Lowrence and Craig K. Ihara

This is an original and stimulating collection of articles by scholars trained in classics, moral philosophy, political science, literature, and intellectual history. Its principal objective is to convey to the modern reader a sophisticated understanding of Homeric and Classical Greek morality and how it differs from our own. Some of the articles focus primarily on Greek value concepts, especially the concept of arete. Others compare those concepts to modern notions of virtue and tolerance, as well as to the work of contemporary literary figures and philosophers, including T.S. Eliot, Alasdair Macintyre, John Wallace, and Philippa Foot. Throughout, the juxtaposition of ancient and modern ideas and the worldviews they presuppose makes these readings both intellectually exciting and revealing.
Contents: Introduction - Theognis and Arete - Tolerance and Arete in Fifth-Century Athens - Arete to Virtus: Virgil's Redefinition of the Epic Hero - Greek Arete and Heroic Figures in T.S. Eliot's Poetry - Virtuosity in Human Fulfillment: Aristotle's Definition of the highest Good for Man - The Good and the Proficient: Reservations concerning modern Arete claims - Why be Virtuous? Two contemporary approaches - The Anscombe-Macintyre Attack on modern moral Philosophy.