Virtues for the People

Virtues for the People

Aspects of Plutarchan Ethics

Plutarch of Chaeronea, Platonist, polymath, and prolific writer, was by no means an armchair philosopher. He believed in the necessity for a philosopher to affect the lives of his fellow citizens. That urge inspired many of his writings to meet what he considered people's true needs. Although these writings on practical ethics illustrate in various ways Plutarch's authorial talents and raise many challenging questions (regarding their overall structure, content, purpose, and underlying philosophical and social presuppositions), they have attracted only limited scholarly attention.

Virtues for the People contains a collection of essays that deal with these questions from different perspectives and illuminate Plutarch's thinking and writing. In addition to twelve chapters in English, it includes one essay each in German, Italian, French, and Spanish, each accompanied by an English-language abstract. Special points of interest are the concept of "popular philosophy" itself and its implications, its dependence on a more theoretical philosophical background, and the importance of moral progress, the therapy of wickedness, and the common experiences of everyday life.