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Philosophy and Power in the Graeco-Roman WorldEssays in Honour of Miriam Griffin$
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Gillian Clark and Tessa Rajak

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780198299905

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198299905.001.0001

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The Worth of Human Dignity: Two Tensions in Stoic Cosmopolitanism

The Worth of Human Dignity: Two Tensions in Stoic Cosmopolitanism

Chapter:
(p.31) The Worth of Human Dignity: Two Tensions in Stoic Cosmopolitanism
Source:
Philosophy and Power in the Graeco-Roman World
Author(s):

Martha C. Nussbaum (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198299905.003.0003

Cynic/Stoic cosmopolitanism urges us to recognize the equal, and unconditional, worth of all human beings, a worth grounded in reason and moral capacity, rather than on traits that depend on fortuitous natural or social arrangements. The insight that politics ought to treat human beings both as equal and as having a worth beyond price is one of the deepest and most influential insights of Western thought; it is responsible for much that is fine in the modern political imagination. This chapter first characterizes the moral core of Cynic and Stoic cosmopolitanism, focusing on those features that most strongly influenced modern thinkers such as Pufendorf, Grotius, Smith, and Kant. It then tries to articulate the rationale for the Stoic position about the relationship between human dignity and the worth of external goods.

Keywords:   Stoic cosmopolitanism, Cynic cosmopolitanism, human dignity, external goods

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