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

by Martha Craven Nussbaum

ISBN 0521277027 / 9780521277020 / 0-521-27702-7
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Language English
Edition Softcover
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Book summary

This book is a study of ancient Greek 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 interelated treatment of both literary and philosophical texts. In a close analysis of three tragedies, and works by Plato and Aristotle, the author argues that we cannot understand the thought of the philosophers without also investigating its relation to the literary works; and that the literary works, in virtue of their form as well as their content, make a distinctive contribution to ethical thought. [via]