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Cokesbury

A Small Treatise on the Great Virtues

The Uses of Philosophy in Everyday Life
  • By Andre Compte-Sponville
  • By Catherine Temerson
$15.99
($22.00)
In this graceful, incisive book, writer-philosopher Andre Comte-Sponville reexamines the classical virtues to help us understand "what we should do, who we should be, and how we should live." In the process, he gives us an entirely new perspective on the value, relevance, and charm of the Western ethical tradition. Drawing on thinkers from Aristotle to Simone Weil, by way of Aquinas, Kant, Rilke, Nietzsche, Spinoza, and Rawls, among others, Comte-Sponville elaborates on the qualities that constitute the essence and excellence of humankind. Starting with politeness-almost a virtue-and ending with love-which transcends all morality-"A Small Treatise" takes us on a tour of the eighteen essential virtues: fidelity, prudence, temperance, courage, justice, generosity, compassion, mercy, gratitude, humility, simplicity, tolerance, purity, gentleness, good faith, and even, surprisingly, humor.
Sophisticated, lucid, and full of wit, this modestly titled yet immensely important work provides an indispensable guide to finding what is right and good in everyday life.
Andre Comte-Sponville is one of the most important and popular of the new wave of young French philosophers. Now in his early forties, he teaches at the Sorbonne and is the author of five highly acclaimed scholarly books of classical philosophy. "A Small Treatise on the Great Virtues "spent fourteen months on the French bestseller list and is being translated into nineteen languages. He lives in Paris.
A "New York Times "Notable Book
In this graceful, incisive book, writer-philosopher Andre Comte-Sponville reexamines the classical human virtues to help us understand "what we should do, who we should be, and how we should live." In the process, he gives us an entirely new perspective on the value, the relevance, and even the charm of the Western ethical tradition.
Drawing on thinkers from Aristotle to Simone Weil, by way of Aquinas, Kant, Rilke, Nietzsche, Spinoza, and Rawls, among others, Comte-Sponville elaborates on the qualities that constitute the essence and excellence of humankind. Starting with politeness--almost a virtue--and ending with love--which transcends all morality--"A Small Treatise "takes us on a tour of the eighteen essential virtues: fidelity, prudence, temperance, courage, justice, generosity, compassion, mercy, gratitude, humility, simplicity, tolerance, purity, gentleness, good faith, and even, surprisingly, humor. Sophisticated and lucid, full of wit and vivacity, this modestly titled, yet immensely important work provides an indispensable guide to finding what is right and good in everyday life.
"The strength of this work lies in the exclusion of any mawkish moralizing and in showing us how being virtuous is the best way to affirm our humanity. We follow the author step by step, learning with him how to cultivate the higher inclinations of the heart and the mind to become, at last, the masters and judges of our selves."--Pascal Bruckner, "Le Nouvel Observateur"
"One could hardly ask for a better book . . . than this masterpiece of nuanced wisdom . . . You'll find enough here to fill every day of your life."--Carlin Romano, "The Philadelphia Inquirer"
"Direct and clear . . . This is no ordinary work of philosophy."--Anthony Gottlieb, "The New York Times Book Review"
"Anyone who's eager to contemplate man's capacity for excellence, even someone who knows zip about philosophy, will find in Mr. Comte-Sponville a charming, sophisticated and lucid guide to the way we ought to be."--Adam Begley, "The New York Observer"
""A Small Treatise on the Great Virtues" is the first virtue book written for the people all previous virtue books have railed against."--Christopher Caldwell, "The Wall Street Journal"
"The book is a magnificent achievement, a volume full of understanding and imagination from which no reader can fail to profit. It is not at all a work of haute vulgarisation, but a systematic theory of the virtues that can stand comparison with the central books of the Nicomachean Ethics . . . what distinguishes Comte-Sponville from other figures in this movement, and what makes his book unique in any language is that he is not content to simply talk about virtue in general and to issue calls for philosophical reform. He plunges into the analysis of the particular virtues themselves, spelling out the specific forms of concern and perception that they embody . . . His chapters are the richer for the different perspectives that they weave together in their portraits of the various virtues. A notable feature of the book is the homage that it continually pays to the philosophical tradition . . . A] brilliant discussion . . . Andre Comte-Sponville's splendid renewal of this tradition is bound to sharpen our moral sensibility."--Charles Larmore, "The New Republic"
""A Small Treatise on the Great Virtues" is any anti-6deconstructionist's cause to celebrate--a lucid, heartfelt, ethical treatise meant for the common man . . . Comte-Sponville writes with passionate intensity and easy erudition. Feel this book, don't learn it. Experience it, don't memorize it."--Norah Vincent, "The Village Voice"
"The strength of this work lies in the exclusion of any mawkish moralizing and in showing us how being virtuous is the best way to affirm our humanity. We follow the author step by step, learning with him how to cultivate the higher inclinations of the heart and the mind to become, at last, the masters and judges of our selves."--Pascal Bruckner, "Le Nouvel Observateur"
"Here at last is the real thing, an excellent book of philosophy on the eternal questions of ethics, at once limpid, impassioned, and beautiful."--Luc Ferry, "Le Point"
"In an age of political correctness, individual virtue has shriveled into an anachronism for many commentators. Not for Comte-Sponville, a twenty-first century philosopher whose reflections on virtue bridge the gap between timely and timeless. Asce

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  • Additional Details
    • SKU: 9780805045567
    • Manufacturer: ST MARTINS PR 3PL
    • Language of Text: English
    • ISBN 13: 9780805045567
    • ISBN 10: 0805045562
    • Publication Date: 09/01/2002
    • Format: Paperback
    • Author: Andre Compte-Sponville
    • Page Count: 368
    • Width: 5.50 inches
    • Height: 0.93 inches
    • Length: 8.24 inches
    • Weight: 0.70 pounds
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