The Measure of Greatness Philosophers on Magnanimity
The book in a nutshell.Magnanimity is a virtue that has led many lives. Foregrounded early on by Plato as the philosophical virtue parexcellence, it became one of the crown jewels in Aristotle’s account of human excellence and was accorded an equally salient place by other ancient thinkers. One of the most distinctive elements of the ancient tradition to filter into the medieval Islamic and Christian worlds, it sparked important intellectual engagements there and went on to carve deep tracks through several of the later philosophies to inherit from this tradition. Under changing names, under reworked forms, it would continue to breathe in the thought of Descartes and Hume, Kant and Nietzsche and their successors.
Its many lives have been joined by important continuities. Yet they have also been fragmented by discontinuities—discontinuities reflecting larger shifts in ethical perspectives and competing answers to questions about the nature of the good life, the moral nature of human beings, and their relationship to the social and natural world they inhabit. They have also been punctuated by moments of intense controversy in which the greatness of this vision of human greatness has itself been called into doubt. The aim of this volume is to provide a window to the complex trajectory of a virtue whose glitter has at times been as heady as it has been divisive. By exploring the many lives it has lived, we will be in a better position to decide whether and why this is a virtue we might still want to make central to our own ethical lives.
Contributors: Terence Irwin, Christopher Gill, Jennifer Herdt, John Marenbon, Sophia Vasalou, Michael Moriarty, Ryan P. Hanley, Emily Brady, Andrew Huddleston, Andrew Corsa, Eric Schliesser, Kristján Kristjánsson, Robert C. Roberts
You can find my introduction to the book here. And here are some starting places if you wish to buy the book: