The Definition of Moral Virtue

By Yves R. Simon; Vukan Kuic | Go to book overview

Editor's Preface

THIS BOOK has its origin in a course on "Virtues" given by Yves R. Simon in the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago in the fall quarter of 1957. Professor Simon's lectures as well as his extended replies to students' questions were recorded on tape by Richard Marco Blow, who later also arranged for the transcripts. Professor Simon hoped to use this material either as part of his projected "Philosophical Encyclopedia" or as a separate volume in a series of "Philosophical Inquiries." The onset of the illness that caused his death in 1961, however, prevented him from working on the revision of the manuscript. But he did suggest, in a marginal note, the title which it is here given.

In editing this book, I have relied on experience gained on two previous such occasions as well as my life-long study of Simon's thought, which began with my taking six of his courses in political philosophy, ethics, epistemology, and metaphysics at the University of Chicago from 1954 to 1956. Thus when in 1961 Paule Simon asked me if I would help with the papers of her late husband, I was both eager and prepared. My first job, The Tradition of Natural Law ( 1965), was relatively easy (in retrospect) because the manuscript had been partially edited by Professor Simon himself. My second assignment was an unrevised transcript of Simon's course on "Work," which required a considerably greater measure of editorial effort. But having done it once before, I was able to turn out a book that most reviewers praised as typically Simon's. This was Work, Society, and Culture ( 1971). In editing the present text I have striven for the same effect.

Thus, as much as possible, I have preserved Simon's speech as delivered. But in transferring these lectures and class discussions to the printed page, I have had to tighten the exposition in some places and to interpolate in others. Because I consider these things an integral part of an editor's work, I have not cluttered the text with brackets or other punctuation just to sort out words. I have taken the same approach with regard to the footnotes. They are all numbered uniformly, even though some of them have been added by me. In most cases, these are just references to Simon's other works. But I also cite writings by a few other authors, dated after 1957, that lend special force to points made in the text.

-vii-

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