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The study of the virtues has largely dropped out of modern philosophy, yet it was the predominant tradition in ethics fom the ancient Greeks until Kant. Traditionally the study of the virtues was also the study of what constituted a successful and happy life. Drawing on such diverse sources as Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, Shakespeare, Hume, Jane Austen, Hegel, Nietzsche, and Sartre, Casey here argues that the classical virtues of courage, temperance, practical wisdom, and justice centrally define the good for humans, and that they are insufficiently acknowledged in modern moral philosophy. He suggests that values of success, worldliness, and pride are active parts of our moral thinking, and that the conflict between these and our equally important Christian inheritance leads to tensions and contradictions in our understanding of the moral life.
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John Casey is University Lecturer in English, Cambridge, and Fellow at Gonville and Caius College.Review:
"Dr Casey has written a strange and difficult book, but it is a book which repays the effort of encountering its strangeness and difficulty."
--J.Enoch Powell, The Spectator
"His style is succinct and vigorous ... The whole thing is a triumph of commonsense and lucidity."
--Simon Raven, The Sunday Correspondent
"This is a delightful book: learned, without being dense; lucid, but not heartless."
--Angela Tilby, Church Times
"His style is succinct and vigorous ... his arguments are direct, unencumbered by jargon or verbiage. The whole thing is a triumph of commonsense and lucidity"
--Simon Raven, Sunday Correspondent
"Pagan Virtue deserves some of the highest praise which can be accorded to a work of philosophy: it speaks more directly to the general reader than to the specialist philosopher."
--Mark Archer, Financial Times
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