Thoreau's Living Ethics: Walden and the Pursuit of Virtue

Capa
University of Georgia Press, 25 de jan. de 2010 - 288 páginas
Thoreau's Living Ethics is the first full, rigorous account of Henry Thoreau's ethical philosophy. Focused on Walden but ranging widely across his writings, the study situates Thoreau within a long tradition of ethical thinking in the West, from the ancients to the Romantics and on to the present day. Philip Cafaro shows Thoreau grappling with important ethical questions that agitated his own society and discusses his value for those seeking to understand contemporary ethical issues.

Cafaro's particular interest is in Thoreau's treatment of virtue ethics: the branch of ethics centered on personal and social flourishing. Ranging across the central elements of Thoreau's philosophy—life, virtue, economy, solitude and society, nature, and politics—Cafaro shows Thoreau developing a comprehensive virtue ethics, less based in ancient philosophy than many recent efforts and more grounded in modern life and experience. He presents Thoreau's evolutionary, experimental ethics as superior to the more static foundational efforts of current virtue ethicists.

Another main focus is Thoreau's environmental ethics. The book shows Thoreau not only anticipating recent arguments for wild nature's intrinsic value, but also demonstrating how a personal connection to nature furthers self-development, moral character, knowledge, and creativity. Thoreau's life and writings, argues Cafaro, present a positive, life-affirming environmental ethics, combining respect and restraint with an appreciation for human possibilities for flourishing within nature.

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Conteúdo

Life
16
Virtue
45
Economy
76
Solitude and Society
106
Nature
139
Politics
174
Foundations
205
Death
230
A Note to the Reader
237
Notes
239
Bibliography
259
Index
265
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Página 245 - He delighteth not in the strength of the horse : he taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man. The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy.
Página 18 - And those thin clouds above, in flakes and bars, That give away their motion to the stars; Those stars, that glide behind them or between, Now sparkling, now bedimmed, but always seen: Yon crescent Moon, as fixed as if it grew In its own cloudless, starless lake of blue; I see them all so excellently fair, I see, not feel, how beautiful they are!
Página 5 - The one thing in the world, of value, is the active soul. This every man is entitled to; this every man contains within him, although in almost all men obstructed, and as yet unborn.
Página 27 - ... as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner and reduce it to its lowest terms and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion.
Página 111 - Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members. Society is a joint-stock company, in which the members agree, for the better securing of his bread to each shareholder, to surrender the liberty and culture of the eater. The virtue in most request is conformity. Self-reliance is its aversion. It loves not, realities and creators, but names and customs. Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist.
Página 93 - We are in great haste to construct a magnetic telegraph from Maine to Texas; but Maine and Texas, it may be, have nothing important to communicate.
Página 71 - For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.
Página 103 - And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; '•' Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat of the herb of the field.
Página 21 - Only that day dawns to which we are awake. There is more day to dawn. The sun is but a morning star.
Página 230 - I learned this, at least, by my experiment -, that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.

Sobre o autor (2010)

Philip Cafaro is an assistant professor of philosophy at Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado.

 

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