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Home > Catalogue > The Fragility of Goodness
The Fragility of Goodness


  • Page extent: 592 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 1.03 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 170/.938
  • Dewey version: 21
  • LC Classification: BJ192 .N87 2001
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Ethics--Greece--History
    • Greek drama (Tragedy)--History and criticism
    • Fortune in literature
    • Ethics, Ancient, in literature

Library of Congress Record

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 (ISBN-13: 9780521791267 | ISBN-10: 052179126X)

DOI: 10.2277/052179126X

Manufactured on demand: supplied direct from the printer

 (Stock level updated: 17:00 GMT, 30 November 2015)


This book is a study of ancient views about 'moral luck'. It examines the fundamental ethical problem that many of the valued constituents of a well-lived life are vulnerable to factors outside a person's control, and asks how this affects our appraisal of persons and their lives. The Greeks made a profound contribution to these questions, yet neither the problems nor the Greek views of them have received the attention they deserve. This book thus recovers a central dimension of Greek thought and addresses major issues in contemporary ethical theory. One of its most original aspects is its interrelated treatment of both literary and philosophical texts. The Fragility of Goodness has proven to be important reading for philosophers and classicists, and its non-technical style makes it accessible to any educated person interested in the difficult problems it tackles. This edition, first published in 2001, features a preface by Martha Nussbaum.

• Author has become a superstar (witness initial response to Women and Human Development) • One of the best-selling philosophy titles of all time • Cross disciplinary appeal - philosophy, classics, literary studies


Preface; 1. Luck and ethics; Part I. Tragedy: Fragility and Ambition: 2. Aeschylus and practical conflict; 3. Sophocles' Antigone: conflict, vision, and simplification; Part II. Plato: Goodness without Fragility: 4. The Protagoras: a science of practical reasoning; Interlude 1. Plato's anti-tragic theater; 5. The Republic: true value and the standpoint of perfection; 6. The speech of Alcibiades: a reading of the Symposium; 7. 'This story isn't true': madness, reason, and recantation in the Phaedrus; Part III. Aristotle: The Fragility of the Good Human Life: Introduction; 8. Saving Aristotle's appearances; 9. Rational animals and the explanation of action; 10. Non-scientific deliberation; 11. The vulnerability of the Good Human Life: activity and disaster; 12. The vulnerability of the Good Human Life: relational goods; Appendix to Part III; Interlude 2. Luck and the tragic emotions; Epilogue. Tragedy; 13. The betrayal of convention: a reading of Euripedes' Hecuba.

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