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Colloquium 6

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Chapter Summary

"Only virtue is good" is a key thesis of Stoic ethics, and it is perceived as wildly implausible both by modern commentators and ancient critics. The Stoics themselves initiate the reception of their philosophy as paradoxical. But, at the same time, they claim that their theories are in agreement with preconceptions, i.e., with those notions that we acquire early in life as part of the natural development of reason. According to the Stoics, our preconception of the good is that the good benefits. That is how the Stoics define the good- "the good is benefit". As they claim, their ethical theory is in agreement with preconceptions because it fully captures this idea. This chapter explores the relationship between the preconception, the definition, and the conception of the good, and offers an analysis of how the ideal agent comes to acquire the conception of the good.

Keywords:ethical theory; preconceptions; Stoic ethics



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