CICERO, RETRIEVING THE HONORABLE
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From Marcus Tullius Cicero’s philosophical writings, the author first draws out a modest network of ideas that informs his understanding of what it means to be a good man (vir bonus). Then, he finds in Cicero the idea of a befitting mutuality among four distinctively human capacities: a faculty for inquiry into and love for truth manifest in words and actions (reason); a disposition for the recognition of and attraction to things of worth beyond selfinterest (the honorable); an acute sense of one own spheres of responsibility along with facility for speaking and acting appropriately within them (appropriate action), and fostering and extending the bonds of mutual personal relations grounded in justice and benevolence (society). Against the background of deep commitments in modernity to hedonism and autonomous individualism, the author proposes a retrieval of the virtue of the honorable as an attractive alternative.
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