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The Stoic LifeEmotions, Duties, and Fate$
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Tad Brennan

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199256266

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2006

DOI: 10.1093/0199256268.001.0001

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What Makes an Action Befitting?

What Makes an Action Befitting?

(p.169) 11 What Makes an Action Befitting?
The Stoic Life

Tad Brennan (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the Stoic theory of kathekon, translated as ‘befitting actions’. These are actions that people who are already virtuous do, and also the ones that people do to make progress towards virtue. What makes an action befitting has something to do with how it accords with the nature of the agent, and with the nature of the universe that is revealed in the special circumstances of action that may arise. For instance, the nature of plants is such that they perform their befitting actions by photosynthesising. The nature of humans is such that they perform their befitting actions by walking, bending, or stretching their fingers in certain ways; by asking or answering questions; or by taking care of their health.

Keywords:   action, befitting, Stoics, philosophy, kathekon

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