Areté. virtue and ethics of the State

30 Jul

The ethics of classical antiquity thus had two bases to aretê, virtue (understood as citizen formation but with moral values) while the ethics of the sophists who made Greek democracy go into crisis defended a relative truth and man gave up his passions and instincts .

At the beginning of the Roman period, these two currents reappear with the Neoplatonists, Epicureans and Stoics, on the one hand, defending an ascetic morality and, on the other, thinkers such as Cicero and Lucrécio, who included a set of laws and rights in the period of the Roman Empire, of which the modern law has a strong influence, it is what we call the State ethics, to differentiate the concept of ethics from the city-state of Plato and Aristotle who also defended the virtues, the Greek arete.

Although it is not possible to make a clear allusion to the sophists in the period of the Roman empire, their thinkers are legislators, the Neoplatonists are current out of power and take refuge in Christian and Muslim thinkers, such as Saint Augustine, Alfarabi and some Stoic thinkers who would bring influences in the Roman power, like Seneca who was Nero’s tutor, although they defended virtue did not defend an ascetic morality.

Epistemic influences emerge in this period, such as the quarrel with the universals of Boécio and later Abelardo, Duns Scotto and Tomás de Aquino, will resume questions about being and essence, the existence of Universals (what we call the concept) or just private individuals.

In the treatise on virtues Tomás de Aquino made the difference between moral and intellectual virtues, considering that the holy philosopher made a review of Aristotelian ethics, incorporating Christian values, while the moral virtues perfect the speculative and practical aspects, the moral virtues will improve the appetite potentials, name given to the passions and instincts whose discussion comes from the period of the sophists.

Idealistic morality will follow the Kantian maxim: “act in such a way that it can become a universal law”, while creating the transcendental subject outside any religious characteristic, he has a subjective cognitive capacity having: reason, understanding (of the categories ) and sensitivity (pure forms of intuition, space and time), based on this morality that Hegel will elaborate the morality of the State.

In line with Kantian morality, Hegel will elaborate ethics, elaborated on the question of “self-determination of the will”, no longer in subjectivity or in the transcendental, but in the objective unfolding of free wills, that is how the State is the regulator of free wills , and ethics is a quality of ethics, which remains in the private field, and which the State through its laws can make it objective, so the inner moral qualities and virtues are valid only for these aspects and according to the state’s determinations that can interfere in subjective life.















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