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With Malice Aforethought: The Ethics Of Malitia On Stage And At Law

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Chapter Summary

As kakos generates kakia, so malus generates malitia. Malitia is the disposition or characteristic of being malus, just as saevitia, stultitia, and tristitia are the dispositions of persons saevus, stultus, and tristis. This chapter illustrates the gradual displacement of subjective psychological malitia by objective, externally judged, dolus malus and actions taken dolo malo. While keeping historical sequence it discusses a problematic allusion to legal precision as a form of militia. The chapter attempts to mark the limits of the concept by comparing Ciceronian comments on malitia with Aristotle?s discussion of kakia in the Nicomachean Ethics and considering Cicero?s ethical treatment of malitia in de Officiis and other treatises. The higher moral tone sought by Terence easily explains the absence of positively viewed malitia, but there is also reason to think that a legal development is contributing to the diminished frequency of the word itself.

Keywords: dolo malo; dolus malus; kakia; kakos; malitia; Nicomachean Ethics; Terence



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