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Chapter 8 - Conclusion

Exemplarity and Stoicism

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 March 2018

Matthew B. Roller
Affiliation:
The Johns Hopkins University
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Summary

Chapter eight, the conclusion, examines Seneca the Younger’s Stoic critique of Roman exemplarity—particularly (but not only) its moral dimension. From a Stoic perspective, Seneca contends that observing individual actions provides insufficient grounds for judging an actor’s moral status. First, judges evaluating single actions may mistake a virtue for a vice, and so misjudge the actor’s moral state. Second, since Stoic ethics values consistency, a person’s true moral state becomes evident only over time, in the performance of many actions in many contexts; no single action provides sufficient information to ground a valid moral judgment. These Stoic critiques impinge heavily upon three of the four operations of Roman exemplarity as described in the introduction. A Stoic exemplary morality is possible, however, if the four operations are revised and given “appropriate” content. Seneca’s critique reveals that “conventional” exemplarity was by no means uncontested, and shows that formal, theorized philosophy can supply an alternative.
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Models from the Past in Roman Culture
A World of Exempla
, pp. 265 - 289
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2018

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  • Conclusion
  • Matthew B. Roller, The Johns Hopkins University
  • Book: Models from the Past in Roman Culture
  • Online publication: 21 March 2018
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781316677353.010
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  • Conclusion
  • Matthew B. Roller, The Johns Hopkins University
  • Book: Models from the Past in Roman Culture
  • Online publication: 21 March 2018
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781316677353.010
Available formats
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Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Conclusion
  • Matthew B. Roller, The Johns Hopkins University
  • Book: Models from the Past in Roman Culture
  • Online publication: 21 March 2018
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781316677353.010
Available formats
×