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Plutarch's Practical EthicsThe Social Dynamics of Philosophy$
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Lieve Van Hoof

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199583263

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199583263.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Plutarch's Practical Ethics

Lieve Van Hoof (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter starts with a survey of the preceding scholarly literature on Plutarch's practical ethics, a group of twenty-odd texts within the Moralia. Although Ziegler's discussion of what he labelled Plutarch's ‘popular-philosophical’ writings, following upon a century of Quellenforschung, brought about an increased interest in several of the texts involved, it also contributed to them being regarded as second-rank philosophy. This book is the first monograph that studies this group of texts as literary compositions in dynamic interaction with their socio-historical context. Methodologically, it combines close reading with perspectives opened up by new cultural history, new historicism, and speech-act theory in order to show that Plutarch's practical ethics were designed not only to contribute to the ethical and social well-being of the Graeco-Roman elite, but also to establish and consolidate Plutarch's own social identity as a philosopher-citizen. The Introduction ends with a survey of the contents of the book.

Keywords:   state of the art, Quellenforschung, Ziegler, popular philosophy, Moralia, practical ethics, close reading, new cultural history, new historicism, speech act

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