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The Fragility of Goodness
Luck and Ethics in Greek Tragedy and Philosophy

2nd Edition

$39.99 (G)

  • Date Published: January 2001
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521794725

$ 39.99 (G)

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About the Authors
  • 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 updated edition contains a new preface.

    • 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
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    "[Nussbaum's] book still has much to offer." BMCR

    "This is an immensely rich and stimulating book. This is partly because the author combines to a rare degree qualities not often found together: a scholar's understanding of the text with rigour of argument, and these together with an imaginative grasp of moral questions. But it is also because she has chosen to write a very ambitious book, to grapple with some fundamental, perennial issues....It should change the tenor of debate in more than one field." Charles Taylor, Canadian Journal of Philosophy

    "Over fifteen years since its first appearance, this work is still of interest to literary critics, philosophers and intellectual historians alike." Patrick O'Sullivan, University of Cantebury, Christchurch, NZ

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    Product details

    • Edition: 2nd Edition
    • Date Published: January 2001
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521794725
    • length: 592 pages
    • dimensions: 226 x 152 x 36 mm
    • weight: 0.794kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    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.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Ancient Philosophy: Back to the Future
    • Art and Society
    • Contemporary Moral Theories
    • Literary Themes: Ethics and Literature
    • Philosophical Fictions
  • Author

    Martha C. Nussbaum, University of Chicago

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