The Definition of Moral Virtue

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

NOTES
1.
For instance, "O virtue! sublime science of simple souls, are so many difficulties and preparations needed to know you? Are not your principles engraved in all hearts, and is it not enough in order to learn your laws to commune with one's self and listen to the voice of one's conscience in the silence of the passions?" This is from the concluding paragraph of the First Discourse (on whether sciences and arts have purified morals) written in 1750. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The First and Second Discourses, trans. Roger D. Masters and Judith R. Masters ( New York: St. Martin's Press, 1978), p. 64. In a famous letter to Malesherbes in 1762, Rousseau wrote: "Oh Monsieur, if I had ever been able to write a quarter of what I saw and felt under that tree, with what force would I have exposed all the abuses of our institutions, with what simplicity would I have demonstrated that man is naturally good, and that it is by these institutions that men have become wicked." Quoted in the introduction to Jean-Jacques Rousseau, On the Social Contract, ed. Roger D. Masters , trans. Judith R. Masters ( New York: St. Martin's Press, 1978), p. 8.
2.
For instance, in the First Rule of Rules for the Direction of the Mind we read: "If, therefore, anyone wishes to search out the truth of things in serious earnest, he ought not to select one special science; for all the sciences are conjoined with each other and interdependent: he ought rather to think how to increase the natural light of reason." The Essential Descartes, ed. Margaret D. Wilson ( New York: New American Library, 1969), p. 37.
3.
For instance, No. 71 of The Principles of Philosophy asserts "That the principal cause of error is found in the prejudices of childhood," and, after giving a series of examples, including the belief that there is much more substance or corporeal reality in rocks or metals than in air or water, or holding that stars are like candles in the sky, or that the earth is immovable and flat, Descartes concludes: "And we have in this way been imbued with a thousand other prejudices from infancy, which in later youth we quite forget we had accepted without sufficient examination, admitting them as though they were of perfect truth and certainty, and as if they had been known by means of our senses or implanted in us by nature." Ibid., pp. 332-33. See also Nos. 1 and 50.
4.
For instance, in the Discourse on the Origin and Foundations of Inequality Among Men, Rousseau writes: "Reason engenders vanity and reflection fortifies it; reason turns man back upon himself, it separates him from all that bothers and afflicts him. Philosophy isolates him; be-

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The Definition of Moral Virtue
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Editor's Preface vii
  • Yves R. Simon (1903-1961) a Bio-Bibliography ix
  • 1 - Modern Substitutes for Virtue 1
  • Conclusion 15
  • Notes 17
  • 2 - Clearing Up Some Confusions 19
  • Notes 44
  • 3 - Further Necessary Distinctions 47
  • Notes 67
  • 4 - Virtue is Not Science 69
  • Notes 87
  • 5 - The Definition of Moral Virtue 91
  • Notes 119
  • 6 - The Interdependence of Virtues 125
  • Notes 131
  • Index 133
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