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The Measure of Greatness: Philosophers on Magnanimity
 2019941477, 9780198840688

Table of contents :
Cover
The Measure of Greatness: Philosophers on Magnanimity
Copyright
Contents
Acknowledgements
Notes on the Contributors
Introduction
Bibliography
1: Magnanimity as Generosity
1. English and Greek
2. Megalopsychia: Honour and Revenge
3. Why We Ought Not to Recall Evils
4. A Puzzle About Magnanimity
5. The Structure of Aristotle’s Argument in the Nicomachean Ethics
6. The Theoretical Centre of the Argument
7. The Inferior Status of External Goods
8. The Positive Role of External Goods
9. The Behavioural Expressions of Magnanimity
10. Why Megalopsychia Requires Magnanimity
Bibliography
2: Stoic Magnanimity
1. Mainstream Stoic View
2. Magnanimity in Cicero’s De Officiis
Bibliography
3: Strengthening Hope for the Greatest Things: Aquinas’s Redemption of Magnanimity
1.
2.
3.
4.
Bibliography
4: Magnanimity, Christian Ethics, and Paganism in the Latin Middle Ages
1. Magnanimity and a Neutral Scheme of Virtues
2.1 Aquinas
2.2 Magnanimity and the Not So Radical Arts Masters
3. Magnanimity in the Fourteenth-Century Commentaries on the Ethics
4. Dante and Magnanimity
5. Conclusion
Bibliography
Primary Texts
Secondary Works
5: Greatness of Spirit in the Arabic Tradition
1. Identifying the Subject: Two Questions
2. Greatness of Soul: An Ancient Virtue and Its Fate
3. Yaḥyā ibn ʿAdī: Aspiring to the Greatest Virtue
4. Al-Rāghib al-Iṣfahānī: Aspiring to the Eternal
5. Greatness of Spirit Against Its Sources
Bibliography
6: Cartesian Générosité and Its Antecedents
1.
2.
3.
4.
Bibliography
7: Magnanimity and Modernity: Greatness of Soul and Greatness of Mind in the Enlightenment
1. Hume: Greatness of Mind, Sentiment, and Spectatorship
2. Smith: Magnanimity and ‘Absolute Perfection’
3. Witherspoon’s Christian Magnanimity
4. Conclusion
Bibliography
8: The Kantian Sublime and Greatness of Mind
1. Situating Magnanimity and the Kantian Sublime
2. Self and Scale: The Sublime as a Comparative Aesthetic Experience
3. The Self as Exalted Mind
4. Humility, the ‘Insignificant Self’, and the Moral Domain
5. The Embodied Self and the Sublime
6. Conclusion
Bibliography
9: Nietzsche on Magnanimity, Greatness, and Greatness of Soul
1. Introduction
2. Exemplars and Preliminaries
3. The Characteristics of Nietzschean Greatness and Greatness of Soul
4. Relation to Aristotle
Bibliography
10: A Composite Portrait of a True American Philosophy on Magnanimity
1. Emerson: Religious Magnanimity
2. Emerson and Fuller: Magnanimous Friendship
3. Emerson, Fuller, Hume, and Smith: An Ongoing Tradition
4. Emerson, Fuller, and Thoreau: Poverty and Wilderness
5. Conclusion
Acknowledgements
Bibliography
11: Twenty-First-Century Magnanimity: The Relevance of Aristotle’s Ideal of Megalopsychia for Current Debates in Moral Psychology, Moral Education, and Moral Philosophy
1. Introduction: ‘An Insightful Mess’
2. Moral Psychology: Self, Self-Concept, and Megalopsychia
3. Moral Education: Developmental Levels and Individualization
4. Moral Philosophy: Role-Based Moralities—Blessings and Burdens
5. Concluding Remarks
Acknowledgements
Bibliography
12: Greatness of Soul Across the Ages
1. The Homeric
2. Socrates
3. Aristotle
4. The New Testament
5. Stoicism
6. The Arabic Tradition
7. Aquinas
8. Descartes
9. Three Enlightenment Thinkers
9.1. David Hume
9.2. Adam Smith
9.3. John Witherspoon
10. Kant and the Sublime Mind
11. Nietzsche
12. Three American Philosophers
12.1. Ralph Waldo Emerson
12.2. Margaret Fuller
12.3. Henry David Thoreau
13. Lincoln
Bibliography
Index

Citation preview

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The Measure of Greatness

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M I N D A S S O C IAT IO N O C C A SIO NA L SE R I E S This series consists of carefully selected volumes of significant original papers on predefined themes, normally growing out of a conference supported by a Mind Association Major Conference Grant. The Association nominates an editor or editors for each collection, and may cooperate with other bodies in promoting conferences or other scholarly activities in connection with the preparation of particular volumes. Director, Mind Association: Julian Dodd Publications Officer: Sarah Sawyer Recently published in the series In the Light of Experience Edited by Johan Gersel, Rasmus Thybo Jensen, Morten S. Thaning, and Søren Overgaard Perceptual Ephemera Edited by Thomas Crowther and Clare Mac Cumhaill Evaluative Perception Edited by Anna Bergqvist and Robert Cowan Common Sense in the Scottish Enlightenment Edited by C. B. Bow The Actual and the Possible Edited by Mark Sinclair Art and Belief Edited by Ema Sullivan-Bissett, Helen Bradley, and Paul Noordhof Thinking about the Emotions Edited by Alix Cohen and Robert Stern Art, Mind, and Narrative Edited by Julian Dodd The Epistemic Life of Groups Edited by Michael S. Brady and Miranda Fricker Reality Making Edited by Mark Jago The Metaphysics of Relations Edited by Anna Marmodoro and David Yates

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The Measure of Greatness Philosophers on Magnanimity Edited by

S O P H IA VA S A L OU

1

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1 Great Clarendon Street, Oxford, OX2 6DP, United Kingdom Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University’s objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide. Oxford is a registered trade mark of Oxford University Press in the UK and in certain other countries © the several contributors 2019 The moral rights of the authors have been asserted First Edition published in 2019 Impression: 1 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior permission in writing of Oxford University Press, or as expressly permitted by law, by licence or under terms agreed with the appropriate reprographics rights organization. Enquiries concerning reproduction outside the scope of the above should be sent to the Rights Department, Oxford University Press, at the address above You must not circulate this work in any other form and you must impose this same condition on any acquirer Published in the United States of America by Oxford University Press 198 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016, United States of America British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data Data available Library of Congress Control Number: 2019941477 ISBN 978–0–19–884068–8 DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198840688.003.0001 Printed and bound in Great Britain by Clays Ltd, Elcograf S.p.A. Links to third party websites are provided by Oxford in good faith and for information only. Oxford disclaims any responsibility for the materials contained in any third party website referenced in this work.

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Contents Acknowledgementsvii Notes on the Contributorsix

Introduction1 Sophia Vasalou 1. Magnanimity as Generosity Terence Irwin

21

2. Stoic Magnanimity Christopher Gill

49

3. Strengthening Hope for the Greatest Things: Aquinas’s Redemption of Magnanimity Jennifer A. Herdt

72

4. Magnanimity, Christian Ethics, and Paganism in the Latin Middle Ages John Marenbon

88

5. Greatness of Spirit in the Arabic Tradition Sophia Vasalou

117

6. Cartesian Générosité and Its Antecedents Michael Moriarty

147

7. Magnanimity and Modernity: Greatness of Soul and Greatness of Mind in the Enlightenment Ryan Patrick Hanley

176

8. The Kantian Sublime and Greatness of Mind Emily Brady

197

9. Nietzsche on Magnanimity, Greatness, and Greatness of Soul Andrew Huddleston

215

10. A Composite Portrait of a True American Philosophy on Magnanimity235 Andrew J. Corsa and Eric Schliesser

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vi Contents

11. Twenty-First-Century Magnanimity: The Relevance of Aristotle’s Ideal of Megalopsychia for Current Debates in Moral Psychology, Moral Education, and Moral Philosophy Kristján Kristjánsson

266

12. Greatness of Soul Across the Ages Robert C. Roberts

292

Index

319

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Acknowledgements This volume would not have crystallized, or crystallized in quite its present form, were it not for the generous financial support that made it possible to organize a two-day conference on the topic at the University of Birmingham in January 2017 and bring the contributors together for a live conversation. The conference was organized through grants awarded by the British Academy, the Mind Association, and the British Society for the History of Philosophy, so this book stands in their debt. I would like to extend a special thanks to a number of people who acted as commentators on papers presented at the event, namely David Carr, John Sellars, and Jussi Suikkanen. The contributors and I are also grateful to the two readers for the Press whose constructive comments helped make this a better book. Finally, I am grateful to Peter Momtchiloff for his guidance as this book took shape and for seeing it through to publication.

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Notes on the Contributors Emily Brady is Professor of Philosophy and Susanne M. and Melbern G. Glasscock Chair and Director of the Glasscock Center for Humanities Research at Texas A&M University. Previously, she was Professor of Environment and Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh. She has published six books, including Between Nature and Culture: The Aesthetics of Modified Environments (2018, as co-author); The Sublime in Modern Philosophy: Aesthetics, Ethics, and Nature (2013); and Aesthetics of the Natural Environment (2003). Her current book project explores the aesthetics of nature in eighteenth-century philosophy. Andrew J. Corsa  is an Assistant Professor at Lynn University in its Dialogues of Learning programme. His essays on magnanimity, focusing on Hobbes, Hume, Smith, and Thoreau, have been published in the journals Hobbes Studies, Ergo, and Environmental Philosophy. He is currently working on a book reflecting on the role that the virtue of magnanimity should play in the contemporary world. Christopher Gill is Emeritus Professor of Ancient Thought at the University of Exeter. He works on Greek and Roman philosophy, especially ethics and psychology, with a special focus on ideas of character, personality, and self. His books include Personality in Greek Epic, Tragedy, and Philosophy: The Self in Dialogue (1996); The Structured Self in Hellenistic and Roman Thought (2006); Naturalistic Psychology in Galen and Stoicism (2010); and Marcus Aurelius Meditations Books 1–6, translated with introduction and commentary (2013), all published by Oxford University Press. He is currently writing a book on Stoic ethics and its potential contribution to modern thought. Ryan Patrick Hanley is Professor of Political Science at Boston College. A specialist in the history of moral and political philosophy in the Enlightenment period, he is the author of Adam Smith and the Character of Virtue (Cambridge University Press, 2009); Love’s Enlightenment: Rethinking Charity in Modernity (Cambridge University Press, 2017); Our Great Purpose: Adam Smith on Living a Better Life (Princeton University Press, 2019); and, most recently, The Political Philosophy of Fénelon (Oxford University Press, 2020), with its companion volume of translations, Fénelon: Moral and Political Writings (Oxford University Press, 2020). Jennifer  A.  Herdt  is Gilbert  L.  Stark Professor of Christian Ethics and Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the Yale University Divinity School. She is the author of Putting On Virtue: The Legacy of the Splendid Vices (2008), and Religion and Faction in Hume’s Moral Philosophy (1997), and has served as guest editor for special issues of the Journal of Religious Ethics and the Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies. In 2013 she delivered the Warfield Lectures at Princeton Theological Seminary on Christian eudaimonism and divine command morality. An ongoing project on ethical formation, Bildung,

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x  Notes on the Contributors and the Bildungsroman, is supported by a research fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. Andrew Huddleston is Reader in Philosophy at Birkbeck, University of London. Prior to moving to Birkbeck, he was Michael Cohen Career Development Fellow at Exeter College, Oxford. His work focuses on nineteenth-century European philosophy (especially Nietzsche), aesthetics, ethics, and social philosophy. His book Nietzsche on the Decadence and Flourishing of Culture (2019) explores issues of ethics and social philosophy in Nietzsche’s thought. Huddleston’s work has also appeared in a number of journals and edited volumes. Terence Irwin read Literae Humaniores at Magdalen College, Oxford, and received a PhD from Princeton. From 1975 to 2006 he taught at Cornell University. He is now Professor of Ancient Philosophy at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Keble College. His main research interests are in ancient philosophy, moral philosophy and its history, and the philosophy of Kant. He is the author of: Plato’s Gorgias (translation and notes, 1979); Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics (translation and notes, 2nd edn 1999); Aristotle’s First Principles (1988); Classical Thought (1989); Plato’s Ethics (1995); and The Development of Ethics, 3 vols (2007– 9). He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a Fellow of the British Academy. Kristján Kristjánsson received his doctorate in moral philosophy from the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, and his research focuses on issues at the intersection between moral philosophy, moral psychology, and moral education. He is currently Professor of Character Education and Virtue Ethics, and Deputy Director of the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues, at the University of Birmingham, UK. Kristjánsson has published extensively in international journals on his research topics, and his latest books are The Self and Its Emotions (Cambridge, 2010); Virtues and Vices in Positive Psychology (Cambridge, 2013); Aristotelian Character Education (Routledge, 2015); and Virtuous Emotions (Oxford, 2018). John Marenbon is a Senior Research Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, where he has been a Fellow since 1978. He is now also Honorary Professor of Medieval Philosophy at the University of Cambridge and was Guest Professor at Peking University in 2015–16. His recent books include The Oxford Handbook of Medieval Philosophy (as editor, 2012); Pagans and Philosophers: The Problem of Paganism from Augustine to Leibniz (Princeton, 2015); and Medieval Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford, 2016). Michael Moriarty is Drapers Professor of French at the University of Cambridge, and a Fellow of Peterhouse. He was previously Centenary Professor of French Literature and Thought at Queen Mary, University of London. His publications include Taste and Ideology in Seventeenth-Century France (Cambridge, 1988); Roland Barthes (Cambridge, 1991); Early Modern French Thought: The Age of Suspicion (Oxford, 2003); Fallen Nature, Fallen Selves: Early Modern French Thought II (Oxford, 2006); and Disguised Vices: Theories of Virtue in Early Modern French Thought (Oxford, 2011). He has translated Descartes’s Meditations on First Philosophy and The Passions of the Soul and Other Late Philosophical Writings for the Oxford World’s Classics series. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and a Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques.

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Notes on the Contributors  xi Robert  C.  Roberts  is Distinguished Professor of Ethics, Emeritus at Baylor University, and was formerly Chair of Ethics and Emotion Theory at the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues, University of Birmingham. He works on the philosophical moral psychology of emotions and character traits and its intersection with empirical psychology. He is the author of Emotions: An Essay in Aid of Moral Psychology (2003); Spiritual Emotions (2007); Intellectual Virtues: An Essay in Regulative Epistemology (2007, with W.  Jay Wood); and Emotions in the Moral Life (2013), as well as numerous papers in journals and collections. Most recently, Roberts is the editor (with Daniel Telech) of The Moral Psychology of Gratitude (Rowman and Littlefield, 2019), and he is currently working on Kierkegaard’s Psychology of Character (Eerdmans). Eric Schliesser is Professor of Political Science at the University of Amsterdam and Visiting Scholar at the Smith Institute for Political Economy and Philosophy at Chapman University. He has published widely on early modern philosophy and science as well as contemporary philosophy of economics, including a monograph on Adam Smith (Oxford University Press, 2017). He has authored an essay on magnanimity in David Hume and Adam Smith for Hume Studies. Sophia Vasalou received her doctorate from the University of Cambridge, and is currently a Senior Lecturer and Birmingham Fellow in Philosophical Theology in the Department of Theology and Religion at the University of Birmingham. Her work focuses on Islamic ­ethics, virtue ethics, and a number of other philosophical subjects. Her books include Moral Agents and Their Deserts: The Character of Muʿtazilite Ethics (Princeton, 2008); Schopenhauer and the Aesthetic Standpoint: Philosophy as a Practice of the Sublime (Cambridge, 2013); Wonder: A Grammar (SUNY, 2015); and Ibn Taymiyya’s Theological Ethics (Oxford, 2016).

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Introduction Sophia Vasalou

‘We all love great men . . . nay can we honestly bow down to anything else?’ So wrote Thomas Carlyle in a well-known set of lectures running under the title On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and the Heroic in History.1 It is as good a place as any to open a conversation about that singular virtue—a virtue of greatness and great men—to which this volume is dedicated. Carlyle himself may not have had the virtue of greatness of soul or magnanimity specifically in mind when he launched his investigation of the hero. But it is a virtue that has often been understood to bear an especially close relation to the heroic, a relation to which it owes some of its strongest tensions but also the deepest roots of its power to fascinate. For philosophers, the history of this virtue begins with Aristotle, who provided the first extensive philosophical account of it in his Nicomachean Ethics. The great-souled or magnanimous person (megalopsychos), as he pithily put it there, is the one who ‘thinks himself, and is, worthy of great things’ (1123b1–2); or in another translation, ‘who claims much and deserves much’.2 The basis of this person’s sense of worth is his excellence of character. And insofar as the greatest external good is honour, the great-souled person is one who is knowingly worthy of the highest honours. Greatness of soul is thus primarily a virtue that regulates one’s relationship to great honours. Aristotle’s account, articulated in the distinctive moral and civic environment of the Athenian democracy, has often been seen under its aspect as an heir to a  different kind of moral world to which fourth-century Athens maintained a strong but uneasy relationship—the world represented in the Homeric epics. Aristotle’s specific virtue term, as Terence Irwin points out in this volume, has scarcely a discernible footprint in fifth-century Greek, making its earliest literary appearances in the work of the Attic Orators. Yet not-too-distant cognate words— such as megalētor, often translated as ‘great-hearted’—are rife in Homer as designations of his heroes. And when Aristotle’s specific term comes into common use, 1  On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and the Heroic in History, ed. David R. Sorensen and Brent E. Kinser (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013), 31. 2  The first quote is from the translation of the Nicomachean Ethics by Christopher Rowe with commentary by Sarah Broadie (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), which I draw on throughout the text with occasional modification. The second translation is by F. H. Peters. Sophia Vasalou, Introduction In: The Measure of Greatness: Philosophers on Magnanimity. Edited by: Sophia Vasalou, Oxford University Press (2019). © the several contributors. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198840688.003.0013

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2 Introduction its association with the raw splendour of the Homeric world and its gallery of larger-than-life heroes is unmistakably clear. Great-souled or great-hearted men (and it is unmistakably a male virtue) are men like Achilles, whose love of honour, famously the source of the destructive wrath of which the Iliad sings, also leads him to disdain death in the ardour to avenge the death of his friend Patroclus, or men like Ajax, who prefers suicide to dishonour. What do such men have in common? A love of honour, it is clear, even to the death. Aristotle himself is certainly thinking of such men when, in a well-thumbed passage of the Posterior Analytics (II.13.97b15–25), he brings up the term megalopsychia and names ‘intolerance of insults’ as a key component of its meaning. Yet that passage also attests that the transition from the Homeric battle­field to the Athenian polis has not left the moral universe, and the meaning of words, untouched. Since Achilles’ death-defying heroism—a heroism whose tendency to benefit the community mingled uneasily with its destructiveness—there had been other precedents, setting different examples of what a well-lived and indeed heroic life might look like. There had been Socrates, whose pregnant words in the Apology would resonate subtly with Aristotle’s chosen vocabulary in the Nicomachean Ethics, when he would ask his judges what ‘such a man’ as he deserves, and volunteer the answer: ‘Some good thing, men of Athens, if I must propose something truly in accordance with my deserts’ (36d).3 For far from hurting the community, he had been its ‘benefactor’. In Socrates, the death-defying pursuit of the noble had taken a giant step farther, leaving even the love of honour behind to become an allencompassing indifference to external goods. ‘Indifference to fortune’, in fact, was a second semantic strand of the virtue term that Aristotle would go on to identify in the Posterior Analytics. Language had caught up with the changing views of heroism. Yet this seemed to leave moral language in a curious state of tension. When one described the warrior as magnanimous and the philosopher as magnanimous, how much was there in common between the two uses? Was one talking about one and the same characteristic? Aristotle’s considered exposition of the virtue in the Nicomachean Ethics has often been read as an attempt to provide a response to this question, and thus to work through the stress fractures between the moral world of the Homeric epics and the democratic polis. On one reading, Aristotle’s compromise was to maintain the connection with honour but to moderate Achilles’ attachment, and to maintain the link with a reserved attitude to externals, but to moderate Socrates’ detachment.4 It would be hard to understate how deeply this account has divided modern readers. This profound division was captured starkly by the French scholar René 3  Translation by Harold  N.  Fowler in Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Phaedo, Phaedrus (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1914). 4  See the discussion in Neil Cooper, ‘Aristotle’s Crowning Virtue’, Apeiron 22 (1989), 191–205.

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Sophia Vasalou  3 Antoine Gauthier in a panoramic work published in 1951, Magnanimité: l’idéal de la grandeur dans la philosophie païenne et dans la théologie chrétienne, which remains a landmark in the limited scholarship on the topic. It is astonishing today to read some of the strongly worded expressions of admiration that Gauthier documented among some of Aristotle’s readers in the nineteenth and early parts of the twentieth century. One writer speaks of the portrait of magnanimity as a ‘true gem’ in the Aristotelian corpus. Another breathlessly describes the mag­ nani­mous man as ‘sparkling with spiritual beauty, he consumes my entire ability to admire’. Aesthetic terms abound: a noble ‘painting’, a work of art.5 Modern readers may find it difficult to relate to these gushing reactions. This reflects the degree to which the more recent reception of this virtue has been dominated by the very opposite response, what Gauthier himself referred to as a sense of ‘scandal’. There has been no end to the forms this sense of scandal has taken. Several of these are hard to adumbrate without dwelling on the particulars of Aristotle’s account. The easiest to pick out is the deep moral discomfort provoked by the sense of entitlement—an entitlement to ‘great things’—exhibited by the great-souled person and by the self-satisfaction that marks his appraisal of his own moral credentials. Smug, priggish, disdainful of others; to these faults have been added myriad others which find their purchase in different elements entering Aristotle’s picture. The great-souled person likes to ‘bestow benefits, but is ashamed at receiving them’ (1124b9–10) and dislikes hearing about his debts; he tends ‘not to ask anyone for anything’ while being eager to give; he is ‘slow to act, holding back except where there is great honour to be had or a great deed to be done’ (1124b24–6); he is not given to wonder, thinking that ‘nothing is great’ (1125a3). Mining such and other passages, different kinds of readers have excoriated the ideal of magnanimity for failing to make room for gratitude, for codifying a near-delusive desire for god-like self-sufficiency, and for legitimating an unjustifiable self-exemption from the smaller yet nonetheless significant acts that make the warp and woof of the moral life. The great-souled man’s imperviousness to wonder in turn betrays a suffocating self-absorption and the constriction to an all-too-human sphere of virtue lacking transcendent object.6 This last point represents a criticism which Gauthier puts to the mouth of one of Aristotle’s Christian readers in the first half of the twentieth century, the Jesuit writer André Bremond. This is the thin edge of a wedge into the larger observation that many of the moral values antagonized by the ideal of magnanimity—notably 5  See René Antoine Gauthier, Magnanimité: l’idéal de la grandeur dans la philosophie païenne et dans la théologie chrétienne (Paris: J. Vrin, 1951), 5–7. 6  The last point reprises the discussion in Gauthier, Magnanimité, 9. The other points draw on remarks voiced by a number of different commentators. Some of the recurring criticisms of Aristotle’s account can be found clustered in Howard  J.  Curzer, ‘Aristotle’s Much-Maligned Megalopsychos’, Australasian Journal of Philosophy 69 (1991), 131–51, and Roger Crisp, ‘Greatness of Soul’, in The Blackwell Guide to Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, ed. Richard Kraut (Oxford: Blackwell, 2006), 158–78.

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4 Introduction humility and gratitude, taken as a virtue of acknowledged dependence—in fact occupy a special place within Christian morality more narrowly. It may thus appear unsurprising that magnanimity has often been viewed as epitomizing the clash between pagan and Christian ethics. Yet to the extent that these kinds of values remain deeply embedded in modern moral culture, the clash inescapably has wider reach, and magnanimity seems calculated to find itself in tension with this broader culture. This tension, it has been suggested, partly reflects Aristotle’s failure to shake off the heroic origins of the virtue he was commending and leave the Homeric world fully behind. Taken as a virtue of deserving great honours through great acts that require similarly great means and opportunities, this virtue remains the province of the privileged few, and as such, one of the ‘holdovers from an age of Homeric heroism that lay too much emphasis on the lottery of natural and social endowments’. Insofar as this emphasis was encrusted within the structures of Aristotle’s own society no less than his moral philosophy, magnanimity represents a remainder of cultural contingency that Aristotle failed to think away.7 We often view Aristotle as the great universalist voice in ethics; yet here, his mask slips. If we see it slip, this reveals the extent to which our own culture is informed not only by Christian values but also by liberal political values in which egalitarianism occupies pride of place. In this regard, taken as a virtue that enshrines the ‘selfishness of honour-loving gentlemen and glory-seeking warriors’, magnanimity would seem to be the ‘vestige of a bygone aristocratic and militaristic age’ and by the same token to have no conceivable place in the modern world.8 This fusillade of hostile readings has not gone unchallenged. Over the last few decades, the number of Aristotle’s detractors has been almost evenly matched by that of his defenders, who have met such criticisms point-by-point with increasingly nuanced responses. Central to the debate about how we should evaluate Aristotle’s account of this virtue, inescapably, have been heated debates about how we should interpret it—how we should understand the nature of this virtue and its place in Aristotle’s ethics. Is the great-souled man’s fundamental commitment, for example, to honour, or rather, as many of its defenders have argued, to virtue? How does Aristotle’s claim that honour is the greatest good square with his identification of that good with friendship elsewhere? Did Aristotle really intend to present greatness of soul as the peak of excellence, or was it rather as a limited peak, one towering over the sphere of the moral but not the intellectual virtues? His wonderlessness, it has been argued, marks him out as the ‘political man par excellence’ as against the philosopher capable of self-transcending contemplation 7  The quoted remark is from Nancy Sherman, ‘Common Sense and Uncommon Virtue’, Midwest Studies in Philosophy 13 (1988), 103. Cf. Alasdair MacIntyre’s remarks in After Virtue, 3rd ed. (London: Duckworth, 2007), 182, and A Short History of Ethics (London and New York: Routledge, 1998), 75–7. 8  The quote is from Ryan  P.  Hanley, ‘Aristotle on the Greatness of Greatness of Soul’, History of Political Thought 23 (2002), 1, though it is Hanley’s aim to question that assessment.

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Sophia Vasalou  5 whose way of living Aristotle commends in the last book of the Ethics.9 In this regard, Aristotle’s great-souled man is closer to Achilles than to Socrates, or indeed to the conception of greatness of soul marked out (if not fully expounded) in the work of his teacher, Plato, who had highlighted its philosophical character in the Republic. Some have taken the deficiencies and internal incoherencies of this figure to be so blatant that the only reasonable conclusion to draw is that it was intended by Aristotle less as an admirable and emulable ideal than a report— ‘half-ironical’ or indeed ‘humorous’—of popular moral views of his time.10 Such interpretive analyses have sometimes been paired with a closer questioning of the evaluative commitments that underlie criticisms of the Aristotelian account of this virtue. If the great-souled man’s concern with honour, or selfconscious sense of worth, antagonizes us, perhaps the right response is not to reject this ideal but to interrogate our moral premises, and to consider whether there may be a degree of preoccupation with honour, and well-founded sense of self-esteem, that is not only legitimate but salutary.11 Such self-interrogation may require us to challenge deep-seated moral feelings that represent the legacy of a long religious past. The pendulum of such debates has swung back and forth several times over the last few decades, and although the sense of ‘scandal’ has gradually given way to more balanced assessments, the ambivalence provoked by Aristotle’s presentation of this ideal still lingers. This explains why this has been one of the few elements of Aristotle’s ethics that, outside the sporadic salvos of such debates, has not bene­ fit­ted from the burgeoning interest taken in his ethical legacy by contemporary moral philosophers. Distrustful of the dazzle of this grandstanding virtue, philo­ sophers have generally consigned it to the shadows. So why bring it out of them—dedicating an entire volume of essays to its investigation? There are different ways of answering this question. The simplest is to point out, with Carlyle, that certain types of ideals carry their own intrinsic claims. ‘We all love great men’—we all ‘reverence’ heroes. And while we might disagree whether to call Aristotle’s great-souled man a ‘hero’, or whether Aristotle’s own stance towards him was one of tacit reservation as against whole-hearted embrace, 9 Harry V. Jaffa, Thomism and Aristotelianism: A Study of the Commentary by Thomas Aquinas on the Nicomachean Ethics (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1952), 130. The ‘limited peak’ view is also argued by James T. Fetter in ‘Aristotle’s Great-Souled Man: The Limited Perfection of the Ethical Virtues’, History of Political Thought 36 (2015), 1–28. Gauthier is the most notable dissenter from this view, having identified the Aristotelian megalopsychos with the philosopher. See the discussion in Magnanimité, part 1, chapter 3. 10  The words are John Burnet’s: The Ethics of Aristotle (London: Methuen, 1900), 179. Cf. Fetter’s discussion in ‘Aristotle’s Great-Souled Man’. 11  The legitimacy of a certain kind of concern with honour is a theme, for example, in Carson Holloway’s discussion in ‘Christianity, Magnanimity, and Statesmanship’, Review of Politics 61 (1999), 581–604; the legitimation of a certain kind of pride (or pridefulness) is a central theme in Kristján Kristjánsson’s engagement with the virtue in Justifying Emotions: Pride and Jealousy (London and New York: Routledge, 2002), chapters 3 and 4.

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6 Introduction the claim of this ideal on constituting a vision of greatness will be clear. If this larger-than-life image of virtue engages us, it is precisely in its capacity as a vision of human greatness; and it is in the same capacity that it antagonizes us and demands a critical response. We all love great men—yet is this a vision of greatness we can ‘honestly bow down to’? This is a vision, moreover, in which stakes with crucial importance for the moral life are played out, however differently these stakes might be ordered and negotiated by different interpretations. Seen from one perspective, this is a virtue that governs the correct attitude to honour and to proper self-worth. Taken also as a virtue concerned with benefaction on a large scale, as some have emphasized, it is a virtue with crucial significance for the political sphere and the well-being of the community.12 Seen from another perspective, it is a virtue that governs the correct attitude to external goods and vicissitudes of fortune more broadly, and as such, in Gauthier’s wording, is concerned with ‘the problem which is the crucial problem of Greek ethics in its entirety: that of the relationship between human beings and the world’.13 From this perspective, it is a virtue enmeshed with farreaching questions about the role of luck in the good life, and the nature and extent of human dependency, that carved deep tracks through much of ancient ethical thought. These were questions that attracted different kinds of responses among ancient philosophers, with significant repercussions for how the broader moral landscape was configured and how the conception of human greatness was in turn drafted within it. Already Aristotle’s account reveals a concept in transit, whose bound­ar­ies have undergone critical shifts. Yet in doing so—and this is to move towards a second answer to the above question—it invites a question about how its bound­ar­ies might shift yet again. If the meaning of this virtue, and the evaluative commitments keyed into it, underwent important changes in the transition from the heroic world to the democratic polis, what can we say about those later stages of intellectual history in which this world, as indeed the Athenian polis with its constitutive social hierarchies and divisions, was left even farther behind? What story of continuity and change might there be to tell? This collection of essays is an attempt to answer this question by shining a more inclusive and sustained spotlight on the longer life led by this virtue—this vision of greatness—in the unfolding of philosophical history. In doing so, it seeks, on the one hand, to broaden a discussion that has often focused all too narrowly on Aristotle’s account, placing the latter in conversation with a longer sequence of philosophical and indeed theological approaches. Taking this longitudinal view is important if we wish to achieve a fuller and more nuanced 12  The political character of the virtue is accentuated by a number of writers cited above, including Holloway and Jaffa. 13 Gauthier, Magnanimité, 303.

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Sophia Vasalou  7 understanding of this virtue, to the extent indeed of raising questions (and I will return to this in a moment) about how we understand this virtue’s unifying identity across these historical transitions. It is also important for confronting more judiciously evaluative questions about its significance, and for considering what place, if any, this virtue can still occupy among our ideals. This type of question seems particularly relevant set against the record of recent contestations of its significance, framed relative to its Aristotelian expression. Yet in this regard, there could be no more illuminating theme than that of ‘conflict’ or ‘contestation’ to raise as a looking glass to this virtue’s longer history. And it is illuminating precisely because of the ways in which this history frustrates and surprises it, revealing an ideal that, if it did not meet the welcome of heroes throughout its entire passage, was warmly received precisely where it seemed most liable to be rejected, and as such challenging any preconceived notions about the conflict it must inevitably pose to key evaluative perspectives—to an ethic shaped by Christian values, by egalitarian commitments. It is thus commonplace, as already noted, to wonder whether an ideal still so redolent of the world of honour-loving warriors and aristocrats could have a place in the modern world, with its distinctively egalitarian values. Yet this is to overlook a ferocious preoccupation with this type of ideal—an ideal of greatness and great men—that swept through European and American intellectual culture over an extended period spanning the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. This preoccupation can be seen at work among a broad array of intellectuals, and assumes a variety of different forms. In many of these forms, it emerges precisely out of a concern with the problematic consequences of the culture of modernity, with its liberal egalitarian values, democratic structures, and commercial ethos. We hear the acute observer of American political life, Alexis de Tocqueville, for example, mourning the effect of democratic society in making men small-minded, so that their thoughts become confined to the satisfaction of bodily needs and the multiplication of physical comforts and they forget about the ‘more precious goods’ of the soul which constitute ‘the glory and the greatness of the human species’. Democratic men, in this sense, think too meanly of themselves—humility, in them, is a vice. Countering this tendency means cultivating anew a ‘taste for the infinite, a sentiment of greatness, and a love of immaterial pleasures’.14 This is a pedagogical task with a crucially political dimension, requiring visionary statesmanship, one of whose cardinal virtues must be an independence of mind that enables one to resist another endemic peril of democracy, the coercive power of public opinion.

14 Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, trans. and ed. Harvey  C.  Mansfield and Delba Winthrop (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 509, 519. The religious dimension of  Tocqueville’s concerns distinguishes his perspective sharply from some of the other thinkers mentioned next.

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8 Introduction We find the same lament about the erosion of greatness among many other intellectuals of de Tocqueville’s time. It is in the same vein that John Stuart Mill ruefully comments on the disappearance of individual greatness and of ‘energetic characters on any large scale’.15 Perhaps the best-known philosophical development of this concern is by Nietzsche (the subject of Chapter 9 of the present volume), whose preoccupation with the levelling effects of modern society (read against a more distinctive cultural genealogy), with the creep of mediocrity, and the imperative of clearing the space for human greatness is paired with a more explicit problematization of humility as a value. Among a number of other philosophers, this preoccupation takes shape directly as a renewed concern with the importance of magnanimity as a virtue. The Scottish philosophers David Hume and Adam Smith (the subject of Chapter  7) form a case in point. For Smith, as Ryan Hanley has persuasively argued, magnanimity is a virtue that modern conditions not only fail to render otiose but on the contrary mandate all the more urgently—the very antidote for its unique ills. These ills include the type of small-mindedness de Tocqueville would later bemoan, but also that evil which so memorably exercised Rousseau: the tendency to live in other men’s opinions, more concerned with how we appear than how we really are. Magnanimity is the virtue that supplies the corrective to these evils, orienting us to the noble and enabling us to live in our own consciousness of our merit. Insofar as it displaces our concern from the self to the common good, magnanimity has a special role to play in the political sphere.16 We find echoes of this approach in numerous later thinkers. They are distinctly present, for example, in the ideal of self-reliance articulated by the great American intellectual Ralph Waldo Emerson (the subject of Chapter 10), which embodies the stout imperative of looking inward rather than outward to convention and opinion. ‘Whoso would be a man, must be a nonconformist’.17 In these new re­vivals, significantly, magnanimity is conceived as a virtue oriented to the ­honourable rather than to actual honour—which it rather enables one to resist—and to a proper sense of self-worth that can remain independent of the latter. Thus, a more nuanced consideration of some of the episodes of this concept’s history suggests that there may be a more complex story to tell about its apparent conflict with the modern world and its distinctive ethos. Modernity may have left the Homeric battlefield and the ancient polis far behind. But if we think the modern world has no room left for heroes and great men—and surely we can now add: for great women—and their virtues, we may need to think again.

15  ‘On Liberty’, in On Liberty and Other Essays (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998), 77–8. 16  See the discussion in Hanley, Adam Smith and the Character of Virtue (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), chapter 5. 17  Ralph Waldo Emerson, ‘Self-Reliance’, in The Essential Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. Brooks Atkinson (New York: Modern Library, 2000), 134.

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Sophia Vasalou  9 If this conflict invites re-reading, the other source of conflict mentioned above—tied more particularly not to modernity with its democratic egalitarian ethos, but to an ethical culture influenced by Christian values—might seem more stubborn and harder to think away. It is noteworthy that many of the intellectuals just named who preoccupied themselves with the concept of human greatness and who sought to reclaim the virtue of magnanimity as an important ideal saw their concerns as expressly pitted against this ethical culture. Nietzsche is the clearest example, with his vitriolic critique of central Christian values including humility and compassion for their debilitating effects, glorifying human weakness rather than greatness and strength. Yet so is Hume, well known for his dismissive view of the ‘monkish virtue of humility’. The virtue of greatness of mind, by contrast, was shaped by a ‘steady and well-establish’d pride and self-esteem’. In foregrounding the latter, Hume thus saw himself as advocating an ideal with a distinct anti-religious edge, which ‘many religious declaimers’ decry as ‘purely pagan and natural’.18 Hume’s point may seem intuitive in rehearsing a familiar understanding of the conflict between magnanimity and Christian values. The opposition between the Christian ideal of humility and the sense of pride embedded within Aristotelian magnanimity offers one of the most obvious ways of parsing this conflict. Yet there is an interesting question as to how comfortably this picture squares with the actual history of Christian thinkers’ interaction with this particular virtue. Even Augustine, that formidable architect of enduring features of the ethical outlook of Latin Christianity and its relationship to the pagan world, had not entirely refused his admiration to the dazzling examples of Roman heroism in the City of God, and had not singled out magnanimity for special rebuke.19 Looking to the later stages of Christian intellectual history, in fact, we see the virtue living and breathing in the works of major theologians in the Middle Ages, from Abelard, to Albert the Great, Thomas Aquinas, and beyond (as explored in Chapters 3 and 4 of this book). Yet here, to be sure, a closer plotting of this virtue’s historical reception— surprisingly welcomed where rejection might have been expected—locks paths with the task of a finer-grained reading of its constitution, and historical evolution, as a concept. Because even the briefest inquiry reveals that the concept that lives and breathes in Aristotle is not quite the same as the one that animates these theo­logic­al articulations. Aquinas’ reworking, for example, has been characterized in a number of ways, all of which serve to highlight its distance from the Aristotelian account. If Aristotle’s virtue is concerned with the management of honour, Aquinas’ has by contrast been described as a virtue of ‘hope management’, most immediately 18  David Hume, Treatise of Human Nature, ed. L.  A.  Selby-Bigge, rev. P.  H.  Nidditch (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1978), 3.3.2, 599–600. 19  Some of his most concentrated references to the virtue appear in Concerning the City of God Against the Pagans, trans. Henry Bettenson (London: Penguin, 2003), Book I, §22, and do not betray a critical attitude to the virtue as such.

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10 Introduction concerned with the passion of hope.20 If Aristotle’s virtue is that of consummate self-aware greatness, Aquinas’, on one reading, is a virtue in which greatness figures in the content of aspiration. One might even go so far as to call it a virtue of self-realization.21 Similar shifts or divergences can be plotted across several other stages of the virtue’s history, beginning from the ancient world itself. Some of the medieval reworkings can in fact be seen as renegotiating precisely those elements often taken to constitute the Aristotelian virtue’s troublesome ethical commitments. Yet these moves, as John Marenbon shows in his contribution to this volume, in turn partly reflect the influence of the rather different conception of magnanimity stemming from the Stoic tradition (explored in Chapter 2 of this book) and mediated to medieval thinkers notably through the works of Cicero. In this conception, Aristotle’s emphasis on the virtue’s role in managing attitudes to honour is replaced by a stronger emphasis on attitudes to external goods or circumstances more broadly, and magnanimity is configured more specifically as the ability to rise above these and treat them with indifference or disdain. The interweaving of Stoic and Aristotelian elements continues down to post-medieval times, and new emphases emerge that introduce delicate yet not insignificant shifts into the virtue’s content. Thus, Descartes’ seemingly Aristotelian construal of magnanimity or generosité as the ‘passion of legitimate self-esteem’ (as Michael Moriarty puts it in his chapter) is tied, in a not-quite-Aristotelian way, to the subject’s awareness of her freedom of will and resolution to use this freedom well, and to a capacity to regulate desires directed to what lies outside one’s control. Magnanimity, thus, is fundamentally a kind of wonder at one’s own power. Where the concept of magnanimity opens out to the broader concept of human greatness, as with Nietzsche, or to allied states that share some of the historical content of this virtue but not its conceptualization as a virtue—such as Kant’s sublime (the subject of Chapter 8 of this volume), which is shaped by a perception of human greatness not unlike Descartes’ and his Stoic predecessors’—the divergences may loom larger still. Nietzsche’s understanding of human greatness, for example, not only stocks that concept with very different evaluative features compared with most ancient thinkers, but is also remarkable for its willingness to countenance the possibility that the concept of greatness and that of goodness may come entirely apart. Widening the conversation to include approaches taken outside the European world, such as the virtue of greatness of spirit articulated in the 20  David Horner, ‘What It Takes to Be Great: Aristotle and Aquinas on Magnanimity’, Faith and Philosophy 15 (1998), 431. 21  This suggestion can be read out of both Horner’s and Gauthier’s approach to the virtue. Gauthier characterizes it as a virtue that presides over the efflorescence of the human personality in all its aspects—moral, intellectual, physical—which as such ‘defines  .  .  .  a personalist style of life’ (Magnanimité, 368–69). Horner similarly underlines its involvement in the recognition, and thus confident fulfilment, of one’s personal capacities and distinctive calling. See especially ‘What It Takes to Be Great’, 431–3.

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Sophia Vasalou  11 Arabic tradition (the subject of Chapter 5) which was structured by an emphasis on great aspiration and aspiration to virtue, may seem to drive the wedge a notch deeper insofar as it involves severing the textual link with the ancient tradition that holds all of the other accounts together. Looking at these and other divergences—ably plotted by Robert Roberts in his contribution—it may be tempting to conclude that the concept that forms the subject of this book possesses such internal plasticity and such permeable seams that to talk about magnanimity is to talk about everything and nothing, a perfect chameleon. In what sense, it may be asked, are we talking about the same concept? In what sense is the story of this book a story about a single subject? This, of course, is a question as old as Aristotle. Has the passage of time made it any easier to answer? Now some of the differences can be exaggerated, and just how deep they appear will depend on important interpretive decisions. The interpretation of Aristotle’s account advanced by Terence Irwin in his contribution, for example—which draws the Eudemian and the Nicomachean Ethics more closely together to accentuate the status of magnanimity as a virtue involving the correct appreciation and relative ordering of goods—may roll up part of the distance between Aristotle’s approach and several others, including Descartes’ and the one found in the Arabic tradition. Other differences run deeper, reflecting the fact that this virtue, like any other ethical concept, takes its meaning from the broader ethical and indeed metaphysical landscape in which it is anchored. As Roberts suggests here and elsewhere, our view both about which character traits constitute virtues, and about how particular virtues are to be understood, will inevitably be responsive to larger views about human nature and the nature of the world we live in.22 Yet even so, certain patterns can be discerned—certain clusters of physio­gnom­ic features which permit us, if not to draw hard-and-fast boundaries around this virtue, at the very least to trace out a set of family resemblances that bring the different accounts documented in this book together. One such feature is the concern with attitudes to fortune or external goods. Another feature is the concern with attitudes to honour, and the related connection to self-worth and elevated self-esteem. There is then room for competing approaches as regards the precise calibration of attitudes to honour (for example, concerning the degree of attachment, whether this should be Aristotelian moderation or Socratic/Stoic indifference) and to external goods more broadly. There is also room for competing views about the precise features of the self that form the basis of proper esteem and self-esteem, for example one’s acquired excellence of character as a particular individual (Aristotle) as against one’s moral capacities as a member of the human species (Descartes, Kant, several of the philosophers and theologians in the 22  See his discussion in ‘How Virtue Contributes to Flourishing’, in Current Controversies in Virtue Theory, ed. Mark Alfano (New York and London: Routledge, 2015), 36–49.

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12 Introduction Arabic tradition). There are also different ways of parsing the notion of worth, for example whether it is backward-looking (worthiness to receive some good, as on an obvious reading of Aristotle) or forward-looking (worthiness to perform some action or actively achieve some good, as in Aquinas or the approaches attested in the Arabic tradition). Linked to the latter parsing is another recurring feature, the constitutive concern with the pursuit of virtue and of great and virtuous actions, which can in turn figure as the object of (thus forging a further link with) elevated hope and aspiration. There is then room for different specifications of the virtuous pursuit at stake, including whether the emphasis is on moral virtue (notably virtue involving large-scale benefaction, as among numerous thinkers) or on intellectual virtue and thus on the philosophical life more broadly (as among some of the American Transcendentalists). The global connection with virtue and the pursuit of central aspects of the good life as a whole lends the concept a higher-order aspect. This inventory of conceptual filaments, to repeat, is not so much a way of marking out the determinate boundaries of the concept as of plotting those physio­gnom­ic resemblances that make it natural to regard many of the accounts surveyed in this book as instances of a single concept or members of the same family. At the same time, even this more generous understanding of what is involved in identifying our theme concept might seem to come under strain faced with some of the approaches showcased in this volume. This holds especially true of those approaches whose distinction lies in the fact that they cannot be straightforwardly seen as developing a focal concept parsed, categorially, as a virtue. This applies, most obviously, to the exploration of Nietzsche’s approach to human greatness (Chapter 9), and of Kant’s conception of the aesthetic experience of the sublime (Chapter 8). Here, certainly, the boundaries of the topic breathe with greater freedom. Yet to let them breathe is to give acknowledgement to the complex web of relations in which this concept is embedded, and the broader evaluative landscape into which it sends its nerves. It is to acknowledge, for example, that this is a virtue that has often represented not just one virtue among others but a more overarching and superordinate vision of what it is to be great. Nietzsche in particular, as already noted, stands at a special juncture in the revived concern with this vision and the renegotiation of key values, such as humility and pride, that make up the field of relevance of magnanimity as a virtue. To let these boundaries breathe is also to acknowledge the manifold and evolving contexts in which the concerns of this virtue can be manifested—indeed, the plural and evolving contexts in which the moral life more broadly extends its nerves. Kant’s moralized view of the sublime is the best example of that, making the aesthetic encounter with nature (and to a lesser extent art) the scene of a numinous confrontation with our own moral nature and the higher dignity with which it invests us. The terrible wonder provoked by nature can thus become a wonder at our own greatness, understood in

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Sophia Vasalou  13 ways informed by a long tradition of ethical reflection in which the specific virtue of magnanimity also had a solid place.23 This, too, belongs to the history of engagement with this virtue and the moral world in which it lived and breathed. To point to these breathing boundaries and to the larger universe in which this concept sends its pulse is also, by the same token, to call attention to the fact that this book itself is in an important sense incomplete, because inevitably selective. A showcasing of crests rather than a comprehensive topography, its task will never­the­less be complete if it succeeds in opening new windows into the history of a virtue that still both enchants and divides, and if it helps us think more con­ struct­ive­ly through our conflicted responses. Having conjured the broad stage in which the project of this book unfolds, let me offer a brief preview of its contents. The chief aim of this book, as I have said, is to offer a more sustained insight into the historical development of the virtue of magnanimity or greatness of soul set against the larger aim of refocusing discussion about its contemporary significance. This aim is reflected in the structure of the book. Its backbone consists of ten chapters which explore the approaches taken to the virtue among a number of key thinkers, schools, and contexts. Two chapters focusing on the ancient context (Aristotle and the Stoics respectively) are followed by two chapters exploring the virtue’s articulation in the world of medieval Latin Christianity, and by another chapter that addresses the approaches taken in the Islamic world. The next chapters focus, in turn, on Descartes and his predecessors, outstanding thinkers of the Scottish enlightenment (Hume, Smith, and John Witherspoon), Kant, and Nietzsche. A final chapter addresses the American context with a focus on Emerson, Margaret Fuller, and Henry David Thoreau. With this historical backbone in place, the concluding two chapters take a more reflective view, with Robert Roberts critically surveying the concept against its manifold historical articulations, and Kristján Kristjánsson closing the circle by offering a broad-brush appraisal of the Aristotelian account of the virtue and what, despite everything, it may still have to teach us. Taking each chapter in sequence, Terence Irwin (Chapter 1) offers a rereading of Aristotle’s account of magnanimity which takes its point of departure from a commonly overlooked element: the magnanimous person’s disposition to forget past evils. Far from a faithful reproduction of conventional views, this move appears surprising set against earlier conceptions of the virtue, as notably exemplified by the Homeric heroes, in whom magnanimity was tied to an intolerance of dishonour requiring a lively memory of wrongs suffered. Similarly, while the notion of ‘not recalling evils’—of taking a generous attitude towards past offences—had a 23  I have unpacked this idea a little more fully in Wonder: A Grammar (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2015), chapter  4, esp. 160–2, and Schopenhauer and the Aesthetic Standpoint: Philosophy as a Practice of the Sublime (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), chapter 5, esp. 189–90.

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14 Introduction prominent place in Greek political life, it was not specifically connected to magnanimity. A closer scrutiny of the structure of Aristotle’s argument enables us to unpack this non-intuitive move and place it in its proper context. It becomes intelligible once situated against an understanding of magnanimity that emerges most distinctly in the Eudemian Ethics, such that central to the virtue is a capacity to know which goods are great and which goods small. From this perspective, the goods gained by vice are never great enough to be worth pursuing; by the same token, external goods—or their restoration after injury—may need to be forgone for the sake of what is fine, including the good of the community. On this reading, the gap between the modern usage of the term ‘magnanimity’ and Aristotle’s may be slimmer than is sometimes supposed. And while Irwin’s aim is not to defend or vindicate the virtue against its critics, his rereading of Aristotle’s argument quietly dismantles many of their charges along the way. In Chapter 2, Christopher Gill takes up the Stoic approach to magnanimity, an approach that interestingly appears to have developed independently from Aristotle’s. In mainstream Stoic sources, magnanimity is presented as a virtue subordinate to the cardinal virtue of courage which involves an ability to rise above external circumstances, particularly misfortune. Having set this understanding against the Stoic conception of virtue, Gill unfolds a broader canvas by situating this virtue against the Stoic philosophers’ theory of value (in which virtue is the only good), their psychology (shaped by an ideal of freedom from the passions), and their worldview (with the world viewed as a providentially ordered natural whole of which human beings form part). The Stoic approach receives a fresh articulation in Cicero’s On Duties—historically significant given the influence it exercised on medieval and early modern Europe—where it is presented as one of four central or cardinal virtues. In this reworking, the virtue comprises two aspects: an ability to rise above fortune and misfortune, but also a readiness to undertake great and socially beneficial action. Cicero’s discussion raises chal­len­ ging questions about the Stoic attitude to honour; having addressed these questions, the chapter concludes by adumbrating some of the most important similarities and differences between the Aristotelian and Stoic approaches. Jennifer Herdt (Chapter  3) presents a reading of Aquinas’ engagement with magnanimity that is set against the backdrop of longstanding questions about the apparent tension between the Aristotelian virtue and Christian ethics. Aquinas’ negotiation of this virtue has to be seen, on the one hand, in the context of the broader Christian understanding of the moral life, in which God represents the final end, Christ the Way to that end, and the virtues the qualities that equip human persons for their part in creation’s reditus to God. But it also has to be seen in the narrower context of Aquinas’ preoccupation with Jesus Christ as the perfect moral exemplar of all virtues, magnanimity included. In approaching the virtue, Aquinas draws on different strands of both the ancient and the earlier medieval tradition and delicately interweaves the teachings of Aristotle, Cicero,

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Sophia Vasalou  15 and his theological predecessors to reconfigure magnanimity as a virtue of hope that is ultimately concerned with public benefaction and incorporates a perfect reliance on (and redirection of honour to) God. With the attention still trained on the medieval context, John Marenbon (Chapter 4) widens the focus to provide a more longitudinal perspective on the reception of the virtue in the Latin Christian world. Any expectations that the virtue might prove unpalatable to Christian thinkers are unseated by the his­­toric­al discovery that this virtue found a ready place in Christian ethics—a result, in part, of vagaries of textual transmission, which saw Christian thinkers first confront the virtue in its Stoic rather than its Aristotelian form. Even so, the story of the virtue’s reception has much to tell us about the relations between Christianity and paganism. This is borne out by the four case studies that structure the chapter, beginning with Abelard’s incorporation of magnanimity into a scheme of virtues drawn up from a religiously neutral perspective. This scheme was influential on later theologians seeking to integrate the virtue into Church teaching, notably Aquinas, whose theological appropriation of the virtue—transforming it from a self-regarding to an other-regarding virtue in the process and reconciling it with humility—in turn provided a central reference point for Arts Masters in the thirteenth century. The fourteenth century brings a change of wind, as evidenced by two prominent commentaries on the Nicomachean Ethics, by the Franciscan theo­lo­gian Giraut Ott and the Arts Master John Buridan. Unlike Aquinas, whose engagement with the virtue is shadowed by the dominant Stoic conception of his time, these two thinkers confront Aristotle’s account more directly and accept more unreservedly the virtue’s orientation to honour, which brings them up against the task of articulating it in terms compatible with their Christian beliefs. If the tension between magnanimity and Christian values remains muted among these writers, it is in Dante that we see it come closer to open acknowledgement, as a careful reading of his Commedia reveals. Chapter 5 turns away from the Christian context to consider a different cultural and religious setting that has often been excluded from the conversation, the Arabic tradition. The effort to piece together the life this virtue led within the Islamic world opens up interesting questions about how we identify the relevant concept and demarcate its boundaries. One of the surprises of the story that emerges is that there were no fewer than two Arabic concepts that can be identified as heirs to or counterparts of the ancient virtue of megalopsychia, concepts whose genealogies and trajectories converged but also diverged in crucial respects. The focus of one of these concepts (kibar al-nafs or greatness of soul) was on the right attitude to the self and its merits, and bore a strong affinity to Aristotle’s configuration of the virtue. As articulated, this virtue would seem to stand in profound tension with certain elements of Islamic morality. By contrast, the focus of the second concept of virtue (ʿiẓam al-himma or greatness of spirit) was on right desire or aspiration, and some of its main exponents—including the Christian philosopher

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16 Introduction Yaḥyā ibn ʿAdī and the Muslim theologian al-Rāghib al-Iṣfahānī—parsed it more specifically as a foundational virtue of aspiration to virtue. Unlike the first concept, which failed to establish itself in Arabic-Islamic ethical culture, the second spread like wildfire through a number of genres of ethical writing, including literature (adab) and mirrors for princes. This pervasive cultural presence reflects the deep roots this virtue strikes, even more directly than in the Greek tradition, in the values of pre-Islamic Arab society and its heroic ethic, an ethic which it preserves but also transforms. In Chapter 6, Michael Moriarty returns us to the European context to the­mat­ize the concept of generosité in Descartes’ philosophy. Descartes’ approach can be illuminated by locating it against the negotiations of the virtue among some of his predecessors, notably the Jesuit Tarquinio Galluzzi (Tarquinius Gallutius) and Scipion Dupleix. It can also be illuminated by relating it to the popular usage of his focal term—where it is associated with nobility in the twofold sense of social rank and moral character—and to the literary works of Descartes’ time in which the concept comes alive. Particularly instructive here are the works of the playwright Pierre Corneille but also Jean-Pierre Camus, where the virtue is linked to a transcendence of limit and self-sacrifice with heroic connotations. In Descartes, the interdigitation of Aristotelian and Stoic elements visible in earlier phases of the virtue’s trajectory achieves a new expression. Aristotle’s emphasis on self-evaluation is echoed by Descartes’ explication of generosité as a passion of le­git­im­ate selfesteem, though one grounded, in a more universalist manner reminiscent of the Stoics, to an awareness of one’s freedom and one’s resolution to use this freedom well. It is also the Stoic conception that is reflected more overtly in Descartes’ association of generosité with the regulation of desires directed to what lies outside our control. His additional association of generosité with universal benevolence, and virtuous humility, betokens an intellectual heritage whose constitutive layers include both philosophical and Christian elements. With Ryan Hanley’s Chapter 7, we move two centuries forward in time to map the directions taken in the eighteenth century by three key Enlightenment the­or­ ists, David Hume, Adam Smith, and John Witherspoon. United in their interest in reclaiming magnanimity as a virtue with enduring relevance for modern times, these thinkers differed in how they approached two central questions: the standard by which magnanimity is measured, and the need to ensure that goodness and greatness coincide. Hume’s relative understanding of greatness of mind— moral worth is measured against the spectator’s level of excellence and therefore in a real sense lies in the eye of the beholder—created problems which Smith sought to redress by introducing the concept of ‘absolute perfection’ as the touchstone for judgements about magnanimity and indeed moral judgements more broadly. With the virtue linked, as in Hume, to a conscious sense of self-worth as well as to self-control or self-command, this move frees the former element from its dependence on spectators’ judgements while also making room for humility.

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Sophia Vasalou  17 Against this background, and against the apparent tension between magnanimity and Christian values underscored by thinkers like Hume, John Witherspoon sets out to recover the virtue on specifically Christian terms. Central to his account is a move that takes Smith’s solution one step further by identifying the standard of absolute perfection with God, with merit conceived as conformity with God’s will and the desire for worldly honour displaced by a desire for worthiness of God’s esteem. In Chapter 8, Emily Brady focuses on Kant’s place in this historical development. While Kant has little to say about magnanimity as a specific virtue, there are interesting connections to be drawn between this evaluative concept and Kant’s account of an aesthetic experience with critical importance for his thinking, the experience of sublime. Like many theorists before him, Kant makes an element of self-appreciation central to his analysis of the sublime. In the sublime, the greatness of some external natural object enables the mind or soul to become aware of its own greatness, with the latter in turn anchored in one’s moral capacities as a human subject, specifically one’s freedom or autonomy. While this exalt­ation of the human seems to lend itself to a form of human exceptionalism, it is counterbalanced by an element of humility. Having located the sublime against these different dimensions—exaltation and humiliation—Brady concludes by locating it against a third comparative dimension which highlights the role of the body in sublime experience. In Chapter 9, Andrew Huddleston takes our perspective forward by considering another major thinker, Nietzsche, whose relationship to the conversation, like Kant’s, is given less by the concept of magnanimity (Großmuth) than by the more global and richly textured concept of greatness in which Nietzsche took an all-consuming interest. Mining Nietzsche’s remarks about greatness and great individuals across his works, we can fill out the content of this ideal and gain a more concrete picture of the specific characteristics it may involve. These include, among other qualities, independence and a capacity for solitude, self-discipline, the single-minded pursuit of goals, magnanimity in the narrower sense, and selfreverence. There are compelling comparisons to be made between this specification of greatness and the one embedded in Aristotle’s account of magnanimity. Recent scholars have been too quick to dismiss the comparison as the result of a misguided emphasis on Nietzsche’s irrationalism. A crucial difference between the two perspectives lies in Nietzsche’s readiness to decouple greatness from goodness. Yet with a more balanced understanding of the issues, we may be able to recognize Nietzsche’s ideal of greatness as a bid to recover aspects of the classical tradition that he saw the Judeo-Christian worldview as in danger of obscuring. With Chapter 10 we move from the European to the American context to confront the negotiation of magnanimity among some of the linchpin figures of American Transcendentalism: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, and Henry David Thoreau. Working towards what they designate a ‘composite portrait’ of these

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18 Introduction three thinkers, Andrew Corsa and Eric Schliesser identify a number of distinct characteristics that shape their conception of the virtue, forging different kinds of relationship with its prior history. One, thematized especially sharply by Emerson, is the virtue’s intellectual character, its connection with the achievement of philosophical and religious understanding. This achievement rests on a network of dependencies, on God (or the over-soul in Emerson’s later parlance) but also on other human beings. Another characteristic, directly related to this, is the connection with friendship, as brought out especially strongly in the inter­action between Emerson and Fuller. Yet a third, which assumes its clearest form in Thoreau, is the emphasis on a confrontation with the natural world in its wildness. Although far from an ideal of self-sufficiency, magnanimity involves an ability to resist public opinion and social convention (as highlighted by Emerson) and to shake off the bondage of worldly possessions through simple living or voluntary poverty (as highlighted by Thoreau). Recast in the terms of these thinkers, magnanimity is a virtue that is open to all, yet while reflecting the egalitarian commitments of the modern age, it can serve as a remedy for many of its evils, particularly the regnant concern with wealth and public recognition. Chapter 11 brings us back to our starting point to raise the prospect of new beginnings, opening the question of how we might mine the ethical resources of this history via a broad-brush meditation on Aristotle’s account of the virtue. Approaching Aristotle with an explicitly revisionary concern—a concern with how Aristotelian ideas can be reconstructed so as to help us lead better lives today—Kristján Kristjánsson suggests that his account of magnanimity, even if not salvageable as a general ideal, incorporates a number of significant insights that merit a serious hearing. These insights span a variety of domains, including moral psychology, moral education, and moral philosophy more broadly. In moral psychology, the concept of moral selfhood embedded in Aristotelian magnanimity offers a model of ‘soft self-realism’ which helps mediate between hard self-realists and anti-self-realists in current debates about the self. In moral education, it foregrounds, among other things, an important point concerning the necessary individualization of Aristotelian character education that is often sidelined in contemporary discussions. This is linked to the fact that magnanimity, in Kristjánsson’s view, is a virtue decidedly not available to all, resting on a bed of unique circumstances and preconditions, both socio-economic and psy­ cho­ logic­al. For the same reasons, and to the extent that these circumstances cast the magnanimous in a special social role that exacts from them extraordinary acts of virtue and public benefaction—acts that carry significant costs for their personal happiness and flourishing—this account contains instructive lessons about role morality and the practice of virtue more broadly. In the concluding chapter, Robert Roberts takes a step back to provide a more global perspective on magnanimity or greatness of soul across its diverse his­­toric­al expressions. Moving seamlessly between intellectual articulations and paradigmatic

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Sophia Vasalou  19 exemplars of the virtue, he takes into his sweep the variety of philosophical and theological approaches showcased in previous chapters, drawing out some of the contrasts and relations between them and critically highlighting some of the questions they raise and tensions they harbour, while also broadening the scope to weave in a number of additional perspectives. A survey of the different historical conceptions and living embodiments of magnanimity reveals important patterns and continuities. Yet it also reveals discontinuities which have a lot to say about the fundamental plasticity of the virtue and of the larger notion of human greatness to which it is tied. These competing visions of human greatness reflect different views about human nature, and different evaluative outlooks that yield shifting standards for measuring what makes a soul great. Roberts’ discussion is bookended by two exemplars of very different mettle: the Odysseus of the Homeric epics, with his adventurousness, preoccupation with honour and recognition, and belligerence, and Abraham Lincoln, with his generosity of spirit, sense of duty, compassion, and fine balancing of both the intellectual and the moral virtues. In Lincoln’s character, the competing strands of the conceptions of greatness surveyed are renegotiated and integrated in illuminating ways.

Bibliography Aristotle. Nicomachean Ethics. Translated by Christopher Rowe with commentary by Sarah Broadie. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Augustine. Concerning the City of God Against the Pagans. Translated by Henry Bettenson. London: Penguin, 2003. Burnet, John. The Ethics of Aristotle. London: Methuen, 1900. Carlyle, Thomas. On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and the Heroic in History. Edited by David R. Sorensen and Brent E. Kinser. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013. Cooper, Neil. ‘Aristotle’s Crowning Virtue’. Apeiron 22 (1989), 191–205. Crisp, Roger. ‘Greatness of Soul’. In Richard Kraut, ed., The Blackwell Guide to Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, 158–78. Oxford: Blackwell, 2006. Curzer, Howard J. ‘Aristotle’s Much-Maligned Megalopsychos’. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 69 (1991), 131–51. Emerson, Ralph Waldo. The Essential Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Edited by Brooks Atkinson. New York: Modern Library, 2000. Fetter, James T. ‘Aristotle’s Great-Souled Man: The Limited Perfection of the Ethical Virtues’. History of Political Thought 36 (2015), 1–28. Gauthier, René Antoine. Magnanimité: l’idéal de la grandeur dans la philosophie païenne et dans la théologie chrétienne. Paris: J. Vrin, 1951. Hanley, Ryan Patrick. ‘Aristotle on the Greatness of Greatness of Soul’. History of Political Thought 23 (2002), 1–20.

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20 Introduction Hanley, Ryan Patrick. Adam Smith and the Character of Virtue. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009. Holloway, Carson. ‘Christianity, Magnanimity, and Statesmanship’. Review of Politics 61 (1999), 581–604. Horner, David. ‘What It Takes to Be Great: Aristotle and Aquinas on Magnanimity’. Faith and Philosophy 15 (1998), 415–44. Hume, David. Treatise of Human Nature. Edited by L.  A.  Selby-Bigge, rev. P. H. Nidditch. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1978. Jaffa, Harry V. Thomism and Aristotelianism: A Study of the Commentary by Thomas Aquinas on the Nicomachean Ethics. Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1952. Kristjánsson, Kristján. Justifying Emotions: Pride and Jealousy. London and New York: Routledge, 2002. MacIntyre, Alasdair. A Short History of Ethics. London and New York: Routledge, 1998. MacIntyre, Alasdair. After Virtue. 3rd ed. London: Duckworth, 2007. Mill, John Stuart. On Liberty and Other Essays. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998. Plato. Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Phaedo, Phaedrus. Translated by Harold N. Fowler. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1914. Roberts, Robert C. ‘How Virtue Contributes to Flourishing’. In Mark Alfano, ed., Current Controversies in Virtue Theory, 36–49. New York and London: Routledge, 2015. Sherman, Nancy. ‘Common Sense and Uncommon Virtue’. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 13 (1988), 97–114. Tocqueville, Alexis de. Democracy in America. Translated and edited by Harvey C. Mansfield and Delba Winthrop. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000. Vasalou, Sophia. Wonder: A Grammar. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2015. Vasalou, Sophia. Schopenhauer and the Aesthetic Standpoint: Philosophy as a Practice of the Sublime. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013.

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1

Magnanimity as Generosity Terence Irwin

1.  English and Greek In modern English ‘magnanimity’ normally refers to generosity, especially in ­forgiving offences.1 Perhaps the most widely read instance of this use in the mid-twentieth century appears in Winston Churchill’s Second World War, in the ‘Moral of the Work’: In War: Resolution. In Defeat: Defiance. In Victory: Magnanimity. In Peace: Goodwill. When Churchill speaks of magnanimity in victory, he rejects the attitude that seeks to settle old scores, to take revenge, and to humiliate one’s opponent. I will refer to the attitude that Churchill advocates as ‘Churchillian magnanimity’. To see what Churchill means by ‘magnanimity in victory’, we need only refer to his remarks on the vindictive attitudes that were expressed, in Britain and elsewhere, after the First World War. The economic clauses of the Treaty were malignant and silly to an extent that made them obviously futile. Germany was condemned to pay reparations on a fabulous scale. These dictates gave expression to the anger of the victors, and to the belief of their peoples that any defeated nation or community can ever pay tribute on a scale which would meet the cost of modem war. The multitudes remained plunged in ignorance of the simplest economic facts, and their leaders, seeking their votes, did not dare to undeceive them. The triumphant Allies continued to assert that they would squeeze Germany ‘until the pips squeaked’. All this had a potent bearing on the prosperity of the world and the mood of the German race. In fact, however, these clauses were never enforced. On the contrary, whereas about one thousand million pounds of German assets were appropriated by the victorious Powers, more than one thousand five hundred millions were lent a few years later to Germany, principally by the United States and Great Britain, thus 1  I am grateful to participants at the conference in Birmingham on magnanimity for their questions, and to a referee for helpful suggestions about revision. Terence Irwin, Magnanimity as Generosity In: The Measure of Greatness: Philosophers on Magnanimity. Edited by: Sophia Vasalou, Oxford University Press (2019). © the several contributors. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198840688.003.0001

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22  Magnanimity as Generosity enabling the ruin of the war to be rapidly repaired in Germany. As this apparently magnanimous process was still accompanied by the machine-made howlings of the unhappy and embittered populations in the victorious countries, and the assurances of their statesmen that Germany should be made to pay ‘to the uttermost farthing’, no gratitude or good will was to be expected or reaped.2

The magnanimous attitude is contrasted with the desire to squeeze the defeated enemy until the pips squeaked. Even actions that might have been evidence of magnanimity did not express it, and were not taken to express it, because they were accompanied by the vindictive attitude that turned out to be self-defeating. To describe the opposite of the outlook that Churchill advocates, we would probably not use ‘pusillanimity’. We normally use this term to refer to cowardice. We would display pusillanimity not exactly in running away from an imminent danger, but by displaying lack of resolution in the face of less immediate threats or difficulties. It is probably the opposite of the ‘resolution’ and ‘defiance’ that Churchill takes to be the appropriate attitudes to war and to defeat. The use of ‘magnanimity’ to describe the opposite of pusillanimity is common in earlier English, but the OED says it is now obsolete. There is no reason to expect that English usage should correspond exactly to the Latin and Greek terms from which it has developed. Many people might point to the Churchillian example to explain why ‘magnanimity’ is a bad translation of ‘megalopsychia’. Similarly, according to some people, ‘virtue’ is a bad translation of ‘aretê’. In both cases (allegedly) the modern English term that appears to be historically closest to the Greek term carries so many misleading associations that it ought to be avoided. We are in danger (allegedly) of anachronism if we interpret the Aristotelian terms by importing the sense of the modern terms that might immediately occur to us. I do not want to discuss this general question about the rendering of Aristotelian moral (another anachronism?) vocabulary. But I raise this question in order to point out one non-trivial respect in which Aristotelian megalopsychia agrees with Churchillian magnanimity. The modern uses of ‘magnanimous’ and ‘pusillanimous’ identify central features of the Aristotelian virtue. These features are central because they allow us to see what is essential to its being the virtue it is. If we attend to these features, we will avoid being misled by features, or supposed features, of megalopsychia that have exposed it to criticism. It is certainly not a sensible constraint on an interpretation of an Aristotelian virtue that it should make Aristotle agree with our moral outlook. For many ­readers, megalopsychia is one of the clearest examples of the difference between Aristotle and us. In this case, however, I believe that the difference can easily be exaggerated. We can prevent exaggeration if we attend to the central features of 2  Winston Churchill, The Second World War (London: Cassell, 1948), vol. 1, 8–9.

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Terence Irwin  23 the virtue.3 From now on, I will often use ‘magnanimity’ to render the Greek term, without assuming that it is a good translation. To see whether Aristotle recognizes Churchillian magnanimity, we may turn to a brief remark towards the end of his list of characteristics that are commonly attributed to the magnanimous person. He tells us that the magnanimous person does not recall evils. Nor is he prone to marvel—for nothing is great to him—nor prone to recall evils—for it does not belong to a magnanimous person to dwell on memories, especially not of evils, but rather to overlook them.  (1125a2–5)

Aristotle offers an explanation of the behaviour that he attributes to the magnanimous person by referring to a more general characteristic. In this case he suggests that it is uncharacteristic of a magnanimous person to dwell on his memories, especially of bad things. This is a small part of Aristotle’s long discussion of megalopsychia, and we might suppose it is also a minor and unimportant observation. If it needs explanation, we might suppose that he is referring to a familiar feature of the megalopsychos that everyone will recognize. These suppositions, however, are false. I will argue against them by arguing for two other claims: (1) Aristotle’s audience do not take it for granted that the magnanimous person does not remember evils. Such a claim about the magnanimous person is surprising. (2) Aristotle relies on the central theoretical elements of his account of magnanimity. Not remembering evils is a consequence of Aristotle’s argument about the essential features of the virtue. To defend these claims, I need to make a few historical remarks about magnanimity and about recalling evils. We should then be able to see where Aristotle’s account would surprise his audience.

2.  Megalopsychia: Honour and Revenge There are no certain examples of ‘megalopsychia’ and cognates in fifth-century Greek.4 Plato does not use it.5 The earliest clear examples are in the Attic Orators. 3  Aristotelian magnanimity has been quite widely discussed by recent critics. A useful essay is Roger Crisp, ‘Aristotle on Greatness of Soul’, in Richard Kraut, ed., Blackwell Guide to Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics (Oxford: Blackwell, 2006), 158–78. 4  Perhaps the ostensibly earliest occurrence of the term is in Democritus B 46: ‘It is magnanimity to bear untowardness (plêmmeleian) calmly.’ However, (1) Democritus may have lived into the midfourth century; (2) since this is one of the ethical fragments attributed to ‘Democrates’ by Stobaeus, it may not belong to the fifth or the fourth century. 5  There are two examples in the pseudo-Platonic Second Alcibiades. (See Hutchinson’s comment in John M. Cooper, ed., Plato: Complete Works [Indianapolis: Hackett, 1997].) At 140c9, 150c7–9, it is one of the euphemistic terms for foolishness, aphrosunê. This ironic use of ‘megalopsychia’ may be explained by the connexion, marked in [Aristotle], Virtues and Vices, between being magnanimous and being straightforward. See below n. 25.

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24  Magnanimity as Generosity But, even if the word is new, the attitude it describes is as old as the Homeric poems. It is a recognizable element in the outlook of Achilles, Ajax, and all the others who care about their own power, achievements, and reputation. Isocrates praises large ambitions, and takes them to be characteristic of the magnanimous person: we should ‘think immortal thoughts by being magnanimous, but mortal thoughts by measured enjoyment of what you have’ (1.32). The dead king Evagoras will be pleased with the magnificent honours paid to him at his tomb, but even more pleased with Isocrates’ account of his achievements and the dangers he faced. His pleasure is a mark of his magnanimity. For we will find that honour-loving and magnanimous men not only want to be praised for such things, but calmly6 choose death in preference to life, and take their reputation more seriously than their life, sparing no effort to leave behind an immortal memory of them.  (Isocrates 9.2–3) For the king well knew that many men, both Greeks and barbarians, starting from low and insignificant beginnings, had overthrown great dynasties, and he was aware too of the magnanimity of Evagoras and that the growth of both his prestige and of his political activities was not taking place by slow degrees; also that Evagoras had unsurpassed natural ability and that fortune was fighting with him as an ally.  (9.59) He had a high opinion of himself (mega phronein) because of his own achievements, not because of his fortune; he made friends of some people by his benefits to them, and subjected others to him by his magnanimity, being feared by them not because of his harshness but because of his superior nature.  (9.45)

Since one gains honour by doing things on a large and impressive scale, magnanimity leads one to large ambitions. Hence the Persian king regarded Evagoras as a dangerous opponent because of his magnanimity. Similarly, Demosthenes takes Philip’s ambition to conquer all of Greece to be a mark of his magnanimity, despite the humble origins that make his ambition surprising. Surely no one will dare to call it becoming that in a man brought up at Pella, then a small place without reputation, such great magnanimity should arise that he coveted the dominion of all Greece . . . while you, natives of Athens . . . should sink to such cowardice as by a spontaneous, voluntary act to surrender your liberty to a Philip. No one will make that assertion. The only remaining, and the necessary, policy was to resist with justice all his unjust designs. (Demosthenes 18.68–9) 6 Reading eukolôs, rather than (with some mss) eukleôs.

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Terence Irwin  25 In contrast to Philip, the Athenians might be expected to display magnanimity, given their illustrious past, but instead they display cowardly subservience.7 He is dangerous because, like Evagoras, he has enough magnanimity to conceive large ambitions and to put them into effect. According to Aristotle’s Rhetoric, magnanimity includes large ambitions, resulting from the desire for great honour, and it results in large achievements that secure this honour. Hence it is a virtue that produces large benefits (1366b17–18).8 Emulation (zêlos) is characteristic of young and magnanimous people, because it involves thinking oneself worthy of goods that one lacks (1388a37–b3). Magnanimity predominates in young people, because of their hopeful outlook: They are magnanimous; for they have not yet been humbled by life, but are inexperienced in necessities, and thinking oneself worthy of great things is magnanimity; and all this is characteristic of a hopeful person.  (1389a29–32) This attitude to oneself sometimes results in a distant attitude to inferiors. Hence Paris’s retreat to Mount Ida is mentioned as behaviour that might be cited as evidence of magnanimity.  (1401b20–3)

These fourth-century writers use ‘megalopsychia’ to describe the outlook of Homeric heroes, and especially Achilles and Ajax. Among the leading characters in the Iliad and the Odysssey these two stand out, because they display high ambition, and demand the highest honours. Since they aim at superior honours and status, they resent any slight or dishonour, and go to every length to avenge it. If they fail to gain compensation for dishonour, the humiliation is intolerable. Rather than tolerate it, Achilles withdraws from the battle until compensation is offered to him. When Ajax is humiliated and fails to gain compensation through revenge, he prefers suicide to living with dishonour. Demosthenes appeals directly to these Homeric precedents. When he addresses the Athenian tribe of the Aeantids, who claim Ajax as their eponymous ancestor, he tells them that Ajax’s suicide presents them with an example they ought to follow: The Aeantids know very well that when Ajax had been robbed of the prize of highest merit (aristeia), he thought his life was not worth living (abiôton) for himself. When, therefore, the god was giving the prize of highest merit to another, at once they thought they must die trying to repel their foes so as to suffer no disgrace to themselves.  (Dem. 60.31)

7 Magnanimity is closely connected with magnificence, doing things on a grand scale: Dem. 19.140, 235. 8  Christof Rapp (Aristoteles: Rhetorik [Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, 2002], vol. 2, 409n7) argues that the conception of magnanimity in this passage is quite different from the one in EN iv 3. But he believes that the conception in the EN is assumed in ii 12, in the description of young people.

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26  Magnanimity as Generosity The attitude that Demosthenes praises is magnanimity. Similarly, when Aeschines accuses Demosthenes of lacking any sense of honour and self-respect, he contrasts the shameless attitude of Demosthenes with the magnanimity of Ajax. Certainly none of you will have any fear that Demosthenes—this magnanimous man outstanding in war—if he fails to win the prize of highest merit (aristeia) will go home and make off with himself—a man who has so little respect for any sense of honour (philotimia) towards you that he . . . inflicted thousands of wounds on his head and made money by bringing a suit for premeditated assault. (Aeschines, Ctes. 211–12)

Demosthenes so completely lacks Ajax’s magnanimity that there is no danger of his displaying it as Ajax did by suicide. Achilles showed similar magnanimity in his eagerness to avenge the death of Patroclus. Aeschines mentions his refusal to wash or eat before he placed the head of Hector on the tomb of Patroclus. His desire to avoid dishonour was so strong that he was indifferent to everything else. And indeed not only here do we see his deep distress, but he mourned so sorely for him, that although his mother Thetis cautioned him and told him that if he would refrain from following up his enemies and leave the death of Patroclus unavenged, he should return to his home and die an old man in his own land, whereas if he should take vengeance, he should soon end his life, he chose fidelity to the dead rather than safety. And with such magnanimity did he hasten to take vengeance on the man who slew his friend, that when all tried to comfort him and urged him to bathe and take food, he swore that he would do none of these things until he had brought the head of Hector to the grave of Patroclus. (Aeschin. Tim. 145)

Achilles certainly remembered the evil that Agamemnon had done to him by humiliating him, and the evil that Hector had done to him by killing Patroclus. He retained his memory and his anger until Agamemnon had admitted his error, and until he had avenged the death of Patroclus. According to these Homeric examples, we ought not to tolerate dishonour, but ought to do all we can to make sure that offenders pay for any slight or insult or humiliation they have inflicted on us. Refusal to recall evils is regarded as the mark of cowardly and self-effacing people who do not demand recognition of their worth. Not recalling evils is the attitude of pusillanimous people. Magnanimous people do not treat their own honour so lightly. To affirm their own worth, they are ready to squeeze their enemies till the pips squeak, as Achilles did when he humiliated even the dead body of Hector. Vivid memory of grievances is part of

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Terence Irwin  27 what makes someone magnanimous. Aristotle is not saying something obvious when he affirms that the magnanimous person will not recall evils.

3.  Why We Ought Not to Recall Evils Nonetheless, Aristotle’s remark about not recalling evils recalls something familiar to his audience, who know that a generous attitude to past offences is often taken to be the mark of a virtuous person. The Homeric attitudes we have just described are only one side of Homer. The Homeric character who tries to resolve disputes by refusing to bear grudges is Odysseus. In the Iliad he is the diplomat who tries to reconcile Agamemnon and Achilles. This side of him is developed most fully in Sophocles’ Ajax, where Odysseus argues for generous treatment of Ajax’s body and his dependents after Ajax has tried to kill the Greeks who awarded the armour of Achilles to Odysseus. The last book of the Iliad shows how Achilles learns to show some generosity towards his enemies. Both Homeric attitudes are visible in the Greek historians. The attitudes of Achilles and Ajax often result in vindictive behaviour in which one city takes the opportunity to settle some old score with another city, or one faction within a city try to eliminate their opponents. But we also find frequent appeals to the generosity that does not recall past offences. Thucydides, for instance, describes a Spartan appeal to Athenian generosity. After the Athenian success at Pylos, the Spartan ambassadors ask for a generous settlement from the Athenians, who are now in the stronger position. Indeed if great enmities are ever to be really settled, we think it will be, not by the system of revenge and military success, and by forcing an opponent to swear to a treaty to his disadvantage, but when the more fortunate combatant waives these his privileges, to be guided by generosity, and conquers his rival by virtue, and accords peace on more moderate conditions than he expected. From that moment, instead of the debt of revenge which violence must entail, his adversary owes a debt of virtue to be paid in kind, and is inclined by honour to stand to his agreement. And men oftener act in this manner towards their greatest enemies than where the quarrel is of less importance; they are also by nature as glad to give way to those who first yield to them, as they are apt to be provoked by arrogance to risks condemned by their own judgment. (Thucydides iv 19.2–4)9

9  Douglas M. MacDowell draws attention to this passage in ‘Aretê and Generosity’, Mnemosyne 16 (1963), 127–34.

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28  Magnanimity as Generosity The Spartans suggest that the beneficiaries will want to ‘return virtue’ (antapodounai aretên), in recognition of the virtue (aretê) and generosity (to epieikes) that has been shown to them. Virtue is shown especially in benefiting others who have no prior claim to the benefit.10 They will recognize that their benefactors have not exacted the sort of settlement that they could have exacted if they had been keeping their eye on their own interest; benefactors show generosity in so far as they act for the interest of the beneficiaries, and thereby forgo their own interest. This creates a sense of obligation to be generous and forbearing in return. That is exactly what the Allies failed to do after 1918, according to Churchill. Their vindictive attitude to the defeated Germans meant that they received no gratitude even for their more generous actions. The Spartans hope for the attitude that Churchill calls magnanimity in victory, though they do not speak of megalopsychia. In this case their arguments are tenuous, and their proposals vague, as Thucydides presents them. Their appeal to generosity perhaps betrays the weakness of their position.11 And so this passage might lead us to suspect that appeals to generosity are not after all to be taken very seriously. Such a suspicion would be unwarranted. The Athenians, however, were also familiar, from their internal politics and conflicts, with calls for generosity in the pursuit of past quarrels. They were proud of their willingness not to recall evils, and especially on their display of such willingness in the amnesty offered after the fall of the Thirty (Aeschines 3.208, Andocides 1.140). Indeed, the verb ‘not recalling evils’ (ou mnêsikakein) is used as a technical term for a formal am­nesty.12 The Athenian Assembly passed a law that prohibited recalling evils from the past.13 There should be a general amnesty concerning past events towards all persons except the Thirty, the Ten, the Eleven, and the magistrates in Piraeus; and these too should be included if they should submit their accounts in the usual way. Such accounts should be given by the magistrates in Piraeus before a court of citizens in Piraeus, and by the magistrates in the city before a court of those rated. On these terms those who wished to do so might secede. ([Aristotle], Ath. Pol. 39.6) 10  For this aspect of aretê see Simon Hornblower, A Commentary on Thucydides (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991–2008), on Thucydides iii 58.1. 11  Hornblower, ad loc. ‘The wrapping-paper needed to be fancy because there was not much inside.’ Arnold W. Gomme, A Historical Commentary on Thucydides (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1945–81) ad loc. comments that the Spartans’ offer ‘demanded not only a generosity of feeling and a farsightedness on the part of Athens which they had no reason and no right to expect . . . but an even greater generosity, megalopsychia, on their own, to accept the Athenian gesture and forget their own disgrace . . .’. Gomme aptly uses ‘megalopsychia’ in an Aristotelian sense that is not found in Thucydides. 12  See Thuc. iv 74.2; viii 73.6. Peter J. Rhodes (A Commentary on the Aristotelian Athenaion Politeia [Oxford: Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1981], 468) mentions other amnesties that include mȇ mnȇsikakein. He cites Alfred P. Dorjahn, Political Forgiveness in Old Athens (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1946). 13  Mnêsikakein is used in Andocides 1.90; Isoc. 18.3; X Hell. ii 4.43; Lysias 18.19; 25.9.

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Terence Irwin  29 The Athenians took this amnesty seriously. It was secured by an oath, but prob­ably was not embodied in a decree that would give it the force of law. And having sworn oaths that indeed they would not recall evils (mnêsikakein), even now they engage in common political life (homou te politeuontai) and the people abides by the oaths.  (Xenophon, Hellenica ii 4.43)

The amnesty was generally observed, and, together with the rest of the provisions for reconciling the opposed factions, achieved its purpose.14 Since the Thirty had ruled for only a short time in 404 and 403, the amnesty was less elaborate than the ‘Act of Indemnity and Oblivion’ that followed the restoration of Charles II in 1660, or the process of ‘Truth and Reconciliation’ that followed the end of apartheid in South Africa. But it was apparently sometimes challenged by accusers who wanted to exact vengeance. In one instance Archinus, a leading defender of the amnesty, denounced someone to the Council for violating the amnesty, and had him summarily executed. And yet a third such action was when one of the returned exiles began to violate the amnesty, whereupon Archinus haled him to the Council and persuaded them to execute him without trial, telling them that now they would have to show whether they wished to preserve the democracy and abide by the oaths they had taken; for if they let this man escape they would encourage others to imitate him, while if they executed him they would make an example for all to learn by. And this was exactly what happened; for after this man had been put to death no one ever again broke the amnesty. On the contrary, the Athenians seem, both in public and in private, to have behaved in the most unprecedentedly admirable and public-spirited way with reference to the preceding troubles. (Ath. Pol. 40.2)

The author contrasts the holding of grudges with the morally admirable (kalon) attitude that the Athenians displayed for the good of the city. These examples make it clear that ‘ou mnêsikakein’ does not refer to failure to remember evils, in the sense of no longer being aware that they happened. In order to execute the appropriate sort of ‘oblivion’ of some wrong, we have to remember that it happened. ‘Not recalling’ evils implies that we do not attend to them as grounds for retaliation. This connexion between not remembering, forgiveness, 14 Athenian observance of the amnesty: Rhodes, A Commentary on the Aristotelian Athenaion Politeia, 471–3. Thomas C. Loening has a full discussion in The Reconciliation Agreement of 403/402 B.C.  in Athens, Hermes Einzelschrift 53 (1987), with a summary at 145–9. The Athenians went on mentioning people’s past career, including their behaviour during the regime of the Thirty, in speeches at trials; but he concludes that they probably never actually convicted anyone in violation of the amnesty. See Lysias 26.2, 10; 16.3–8.

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30  Magnanimity as Generosity and reconciliation is familiar in the Hebrew Scriptures. The Psalmist prays ‘O remember not the sins and offences of my youth: but according to thy mercy think thou upon me, O Lord, for thy goodness’ (Psalm 25: 6). He is not asking God to become ignorant of something; he is asking God not to hold his sins against him, but to show mercy. None of these passages says anything about megalopsychia, and we should not be surprised about this, given the conception of megalopsychia that we have previously surveyed. So far we have found that megalopsychia is displayed by those who refuse to accept humiliation, and seek revenge on those who have humiliated them. This is the attitude that has to be overcome in those who try not to recall evils.

4.  A Puzzle About Magnanimity On the basis of this evidence, we can be confident that Aristotle’s audience and readers believed that megalopsychia is an important virtue and that generosity towards an opponent or an offender is an important virtue. But we have found no evidence to show that his contemporaries identified these two virtues, or regarded one as an aspect of the other. On the contrary, they treated them as opposed virtues that require quite different behaviour. We have found no evidence to suggest that megalopsychia requires us not to recall evils. Aristotle, therefore, disagrees with many of his contemporaries when he claims that maganimity requires generosity towards past evils.15 Though the claim is stated briefly in EN, it is not a casual claim. Since, as far as we know, it is not a familiar feature of magnanimity, we may reasonably ask why Aristotle asserts it. What is it about magnanimous people that makes them generous in not recalling evils? Since Aristotle makes no similar claim about any of the other virtues of character, why does he think such generosity manifests magnanimity in particular? Before we examine the discussion in EN, we ought to notice an aspect of megalopsychia that we find in philosophical sources, but not in the historians and or­ators we have discussed so far. When Aristotle wants an example of two apparently different senses of a term, he picks two examples of magnanimity, which he finds in Ajax and in Socrates. For instance, if Alcibiades is magnanimous, or Achilles and Ajax, what is the one thing they all have? Refusal to endure insult; for the first went to war, the second was angry, and the third killed himself. Again in other cases, e.g. Lysander or Socrates? If is being indifferent (adiaphoron) in both good and bad fortune, then I take these two common features and ask what there is in common between being unaffected (apatheia) 15  He may also disagree with himself; for this claim is absent from his treatment of magnanimity in both the Eudemian Ethics and the Magna Moralia.

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Terence Irwin  31 about fortune and not enduring dishonour. If there is nothing in common, there will be two species of magnanimity.  (Posterior Analytics 97b17–25)

Aristotle does not suggest that this incidental example gives us a correct account of magnanimity. Nor does he present this contrast between two types of magnanimity in any of the three ethical works. But he must nonetheless suppose that his audience find it an intelligible account; otherwise it would not clarify the point that he seeks to clarify. Our previous examples make it obvious why Alcibiades, Ajax, and Achilles might be thought to be magnanimous. We have found no examples similar to those of Lysander and Socrates, but Aristotle must take them to be recognizable examples of magnanimity. He expects us to be puzzled about how Ajax and Socrates could manifest the same virtue. He suggests, but does not affirm, that they do not manifest the same virtue at all, because magnanimity has these two irreducibly different forms. The ‘Socratic’ view that magnanimity requires indifference to fortune has no support in the dialogues of Plato; none of them uses ‘magnanimity’ in this sense. But we find some relevant evidence in two sources that may be roughly contemporary with Aristotle. The right attitude to fortune is mentioned in the Academic collection of definitions: Magnanimity: a civilized treatment (asteia chrêsis) of the things that happen.16 Magnificence of soul with reason. ([Plato], Definitiones. 412e3–4) A similar view is expressed in Virtues and Vices. Though this essay is in the Aristotelian Corpus, it is not by Aristotle; but it may belong to the Lyceum in the time of Aristotle. Magnanimity is a virtue of the soul in accordance with which one is able to bear both good fortune and bad, and both honour and dishonour. ([Aristotle], De Virtutibus et Vitiis 1250a14–15)17 Neither of these passages mentions indifference to fortune, but they at least refer to some sort of resilience in the face of ill fortune. These references to bearing ill fortune suggest a sharp contrast with the magnanimity of Ajax, who refused to bear ill fortune and committed suicide rather than stay alive after his humiliation. Socratic magnanimity seems not only to be 16  Ernst A. Schmidt ([Aristoteles]: Über die Tugend [Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, 1965], 139) says that the first definition is evidently post-Aristotelian. This claim is questionable in the light of Aristotle’s remark on the magnanimity of Socrates. 17  The Greek text of VV is printed in Friedrich Susemihl, ed., Eudemii Rhodii Ethica (Leipzig: Teubner, 1884). Schmidt provides a translation and commentary in Über die Tugend. On further remarks in VV see section 1.9 below.

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32  Magnanimity as Generosity different from the magnanimity of Ajax, but opposed to it. These two apparently opposite types of magnanimity will eventually help us to understand part of Aristotle’s argument in the EN.

5.  The Structure of Aristotle’s Argument in the Nicomachean Ethics To see how Aristotle responds to the different aspects of megalopsychia that we have described, we should begin from a short description of the structure of the discussion in EN iv 3. This will reveal both the theoretical centre of the argument and the relation of the different parts to this centre. (1) 1123b1–15. It is generally accepted (dokei, 1123b1) that the magnanimous person is the one who correctly thinks himself worthy of great things, since the name of the virtue itself suggests some connexion with greatness (1123a35–b8). (2) 1123b15–26. What are these great things? Being worthy is being worthy to receive external goods, and the greatest of these is honour, so that the great things that the magnanimous person demands will be honours. (3) 1123b26–1124a4. The magnanimous person has all the virtues, since he is worthy of great honours. (4) 1124a4–12. The magnanimous person believes that he deserves honour because he believes in the supreme value of virtue. (5) 1124a12–20. Magnanimity requires the true beliefs and the right attitudes about external goods, and about ‘every sort of good and ill fortune’ (1124a14). (6) 1124a20–6. External goods are worth pursuing, and increase magnanimity. But they are not sufficient for magnanimity, even if their possessor thinks as much of himself as the genuinely magnanimous person does. It is hard to bear good fortune appropriately without virtue (1124a29–b4). (7) 1124b6–1125a16. If we understand magnanimity as the right attitude to external goods, we can see why magnanimous people behave as they do. In some cases these patterns of behaviour are familiar from popular views about magnanimity. In other cases they are unfamiliar, but we can see why they are signs of magnanimity. The first two parts connect Aristotle’s account with common views about magnanimity, and especially about its connexion with greatness and with honour. Part 3 is the theoretical centre. It draws a consequence from the first two parts, and provides the starting point for the next four parts. Part 4 discusses honour, the most familiar object of magnanimity. Parts 5 and 6 extend the discussion from honour to other external goods. Part 7 sketches some of the behavioural consequences.

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Terence Irwin  33 The structure of the discussion matters for our understanding of the various types of behaviour that are mentioned in Part 7, including the magnanimous person’s attitude to recalling evils. Part 7 is not simply a miscellaneous collection, or a character sketch of the sort that we find in Theophrastus’ Characters.18 It is supposed to be intelligible in the light of Parts 3–6.

6.  The Theoretical Centre of the Argument Aristotle’s central claim asserts that the magnanimous person must be the most virtuous person. But the magnanimous person, if he is worthy of the greatest things, would be the best person. For—(1) in every case the better person is worthy of something greater, and the best person is worthy of the greatest things; the truly magnanimous person, then, ought to be good. (2) And greatness in each virtue would also seem to belong to the magnanimous person.  (1123b26–30)

It is useful to look more closely at Aristotle’s defence of this claim, and at the conclusions he draws from it. As Aristotle understands ‘worth’ (axia) here, it refers to external (i.e., nonmoral) goods (1123b22) that recognize the appropriate kind of greatness in someone’s actions. Aristotle argues that the greatest external good is honour, and that the greatness in actions that deserves great honour is greatness in virtue. Virtue, then, is what makes the magnanimous person worthy of great honour. Other people’s responses ought to correspond to the greatness of the magnanimous person’s virtuous actions. This is why vicious behaviour would evidently be inappropriate for a magnanimous person. And19 it would not be at all fitting for a magnanimous person to run away swinging his arms,20 or to do injustice—for what end will he do shameful actions, given that for him nothing is great? And if we examine things one at a time, the magnanimous person would appear altogether ridiculous if he were not good. Nor would he be worthy of honour, if he were base; for honour is a prize for virtue, and is awarded to good people.  (1123b31–1124a1) 18  This highly misleading suggestion about the similarity between Aristotle’s portrait of the magnanimous person and a Theophrastean character-sketch appears in John Burnet, Aristotle’s Ethics (London: Macmillan, 1900). 19  René-Antoine Gauthier (Aristote: L’Ethique à Nicomaque [Louvain: Publications universitaires de Louvain, 1970], ad loc.) reasonably prefers ‘ge’ to the ms reading ‘te’. 20  ‘Run away swinging his arms’ indicates that this is not an orderly retreat (in which Greek hoplites would keep their arms and their shields together), but a headlong flight that shows concern only for one’s own safety.

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34  Magnanimity as Generosity Cowardly and unjust actions are among the vicious actions that would make any claim to magnanimity look ridiculous. What does Aristotle mean, however, by saying that for the magnanimous person ‘nothing is great’, and for that reason he would not find vicious actions at­trac­tive? We might suppose that nothing is great for him because he thinks nothing in life is important. But if he is so superior that he finds every aspect of life a great bore, we might wonder why he nonetheless wants to do great actions (1124b23–6). It is more plausible to understand ‘nothing’ in the light of the question ‘for what end will he do shameful actions?’ The answer to the question is that nothing among the ends for the sake of which one chooses a cowardly or unjust action is important enough to convince the magnanimous person that these vicious actions should be chosen. In the Eudemian Ethics Aristotle elaborates the relevant point about greatness, to clarify the standard by which the magnanimous person measures greatness. For indeed to distinguish correctly great goods from small is laudable. Now those goods seem to be great that are pursued by the one who has the best state about such things being pleasant.  (EE 1232a32–3) Further, it seems to belong to the magnanimous person to be disdainful. But each virtue makes people disdainful of things that are great contrary to reason (tôn para logon megalôn), as, for instance bravery dangers of this kind—for it considers a great thing to be among shameful things,21 and does not think numbers are always fearful—and the temperate person many great pleasures, and the generous person wealth.  (1232a38–b3)

The magnanimous person does not suppose that no danger is a great danger, or that no material advantage to be gained by injustice is a great material advantage. But these things are ‘great contrary to reason’; in other words, a correct rational judgement does not endorse the initial impression that it is especially important. The magnanimous person believes that these goods are not great goods, if we are looking for the good that is so great that we ought to choose it above other goods. In the following remarks in EE Aristotle explains further the scale of greatness that the magnanimous person uses for choosing between different goods. But this seems to belong to the magnanimous person because he takes few things seriously, and those great, and not because they seem so to someone else. And a magnanimous man would consider what seems good to one virtuous person rather than what to just any group of people . . . And thinking little

21  The supplement suggests how we might understand the admittedly awkward ms text, if we do not emend it.

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Terence Irwin  35 of things to be most of all a peculiar condition of the magnanimous person. Again, as concerns honour, life, and wealth, which people seem to take seriously, he care nothing for the others, except for honour. And he would suffer pain if he were dishonoured and ruled by someone un­worthy. And he enjoys most of all achieving honour.  (EE 1232b4–14)

The goods that are great enough to take seriously are not those that other people take seriously. Hence the magnanimous person does not seek praise or honour from other people, unless they are right about which goods are to be taken ser­ious­ly. His discriminating attitude gives him the reputation of being disdainful or contemptuous. But this reputation is undeserved, because it is simply the result of his not caring as much as other people do about the same things. Aristotle now addresses an apparent conflict in the attitude of magnanimous people. It is not a real conflict, given what they value. In this way, therefore, he would seem to be in contrary states. For being occupied about honour most of all and being disdainful of the many and of reputation seem not to agree. But we must draw distinctions about this before we say . For honour is both great and small in two ways. For it by many ordinary men or by those worthy of consideration, and again it differs in what the honour is given for. For it is great not only by the number of those who give it or by what sort of people they are, but also by its being honourable. And in reality, the only ruling offices (archai) and other goods that are honourable and worth taking seriously are those that are really great. And so also there is no virtue without greatness. That is why a given virtue seems to make people magnanimous about the objects which that virtue is about, as we said.  (1232b14–25)

Magnanimity depends on the other virtues because we need the virtuous outlook in order to judge what is genuinely great, and therefore to be chosen above other things. We do not deserve the greatest things, and especially the greatest honours, unless we aim at great goods, on the basis of a correct conception of them.

7.  The Inferior Status of External Goods In the light of this argument about greatness, Aristotle turns in Parts 4–6 to describe the attitude of the magnanimous person to honour and to other external goods. Most of all, therefore, the magnanimous person is about honours and dishonours. And at great honours from excellent people, he will take measured pleasure, on the assumption that he is getting what is proper to him, or even less—for of

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36  Magnanimity as Generosity complete virtue a worthy honour could not come about, but still he will accept because they have nothing greater to award him. But honour from just anyone, or for small things, he will altogether think little of—for he it is not of these that he is worthy. And similarly of dishonour; for it will not be justly about him.  (EN 1124a4–12)

The magnanimous person has the right attitude to honour, because he has the right view of the comparative value of honour, and of other external (i.e., nonmoral) goods in relation to virtue. He seeks honour, but only secondarily, since he cares about deserving it more than about actually receiving it. This attitude to honour distinguishes the magnanimous person from the merely proud person. The distinction is clearly drawn by Adam Smith, who takes ‘magnanimity’ to be the right term for the virtue that Aristotle describes. The words proud and pride . . . are sometimes taken in a good sense. We frequently say of a man, that he is too proud, or that he has too much noble pride, ever to suffer himself to do a mean thing. Pride is, in this case, confounded with magnanimity. (Smith, TMS vi 3.44)

The difference lies in the magnanimous person’s attitude to the relative value of virtue and honour. The man of the greatest magnanimity, who desires virtue for its own sake, and is most indifferent about what actually are the opinions of mankind with regard to him, is still, however, delighted with the thoughts of what they should be, with the consciousness that though he may neither be honoured nor applauded, he is still the proper object of honour and applause . . .  (Smith, TMS vii 2.4.10)

As Smith sees, Aristotle does not wholly reject the popular view that megalopsychia is displayed primarily in the zealous pursuit of one’s own honour and reputation, as we see it displayed in Achilles and Ajax, but he nonetheless believes it is basically misguided, because it puts the pursuit of honour in the first place. Since the magnamimous person cares primarily about deserving to be honoured, he puts actual honour in a subordinate place. Aristotle now turns from honour to other external goods. He mentions good and bad fortune in general, since the different external goods are subject to fortune. Most of all, therefore, as we have said, the magnanimous person is about honours. None the less, also about riches, power, and every sort of good and bad fortune he will be in a measured state, however they turn out, and will neither be overjoyed in good fortune nor downcast in ill fortune; for not about honour either is he in this state, as though assuming that it is the greatest good. For positions of power and riches are choiceworthy because of honour; at any rate those who

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Terence Irwin  37 hold them wish to be honoured through them, but to the one to whom honour is small the other things are also small; that is why seem to be arrogant.22 (EN 1124a12–20)

A reader of this claim about the magnanimous person in misfortune readily recalls the conception of magnanimity that is illustrated by Socrates and Lysander—indifference to misfortune. Aristotle, however, does not mention this conception, even though he is certainly—given the example in the Analytics— well aware of it. Why does he not think it deserves discussion? We can perhaps answer this question if we consider the basis of the Socratic attitude. Though the Platonic dialogues do not attribute magnanimity to Socrates in so many words, they attribute to him the attitude that Aristotle describes as the magnanimity of Socrates. In the Apology Socrates maintains that the good person cannot be harmed (40c8–d2). In the Gorgias he maintains that virtue is sufficient for happiness (470e1–11). In the Euthydemus he defends this attitude by arguing that the so-called goods other than virtue are not really good at all (281e2–5). For present purposes we need not worry about whether Socrates unreservedly endorses this attitude. It is enough to see that one might attribute this attitude to him on the strength of some passages in the Dialogues, and that this attitude would justify the indifferent attitude to good and bad fortune that Aristotle at­trib­ utes to Socrates. Socratic indifference to fortune rests on the belief that virtue is sufficient for happiness. Aristotle does not comment explicitly on Socrates’ attitude to good and bad fortune, but he comments explicitly on the belief that virtue is sufficient for happiness. Without attributing this belief to Socrates, he remarks that it is so obviously false that no one would maintain it unless they were trying to defend a philosopher’s paradox (1095b31–1096a2); there is nothing to be said for such a view (1153b19–25). Since Aristotle believes that the Socratic view of virtue and happiness is not even worth refuting at length, he does not take the Socratic attitude to good and ill fortune to be a view about magnanimity that is worth discussing. The Socratic conception of magnanimity is the basis of the Stoic conception. According to the Stoics, magnanimity is ‘the knowledge that raises one above the things that naturally happen to virtuous and vicious people alike’ (SVF iii 264 = Stob. Ecl. 11 61.15–17 W). In their view, Aristotle’s position is an incoherent compromise between the outlook of Ajax and the outlook of Socrates. Hecaton argues that if, as Aristotle suggests, the magnanimous person really avoids being downcast by misfortune, he must regard it as irrelevant to his welfare, and therefore must take virtue to be sufficient for happiness. 22  Most edd and trr render this as though it referred to the megalopsychos. (Gauthier appeals to 1232a38 (quoted above), where the megalopsychos is said to be conventionally regarded as kataphronêtikos.) But in a19 the megalopsychos has just been mentioned in the singular. The closest plurals are ‘hoi goun’. Why should they not be referred to? The point would then be the same as in a29, where it is combined with ‘hubristai’.

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38  Magnanimity as Generosity If magnanimity is self-sufficient for raising us above everything, and it is a part of virtue, then virtue is also self-sufficient for happiness, looking down on even the things that seem troublesome. (Diogenes Laertius, vii 128) Chrysippus argues, for similar reasons, that Plato makes a fatal error when he counts health as a good: not only justice, but also magnanimity, temperance, and all the other virtues are abolished, if we allow pleasure or health or anything else that is not fine to remain a good. (Plutarch, SR 1040d) The Stoics suppose that Aristotle’s view of the magnanimous person’s attitude to good and bad fortune commits him to the acceptance of a much closer connexion between virtue and happiness than he explicitly accepts. To decide whether the Stoics are right or wrong on this question, we would need to consider the extensive debate that is carried on in De Finibus v, in Alexander’s essays on Stoic ethics, and elsewhere. I will not go any further into this debate now.

8.  The Positive Role of External Goods The magnanimous person ‘will neither be overjoyed in good fortune nor downcast in ill fortune’, but he does not take the Socratic view that variations in fortune neither benefit nor harm him. Aristotle explains his attitude, in contrast to the Socratic attitude, in an earlier section of EN (i 9–11). He argues that some of the vicissitudes of fortune deprive us of happiness, though they do not make us miserable (athlios). But given that many things come about in accordance with fortune and differ in greatness and smallness, the small strokes of good fortune, and similarly of the reverse, clearly will not carry any weight for his life, but many great strokes of good fortune will make it more blessed—for they themselves naturally add adornment to it, and his use of them proves to be fine and excellent—but if things happen the opposite way, they oppress and spoil blessedness—for they bring in sorrows and impede many activities. None the less, in these cases also the fine shines through, whenever someone bears many great misfortunes with good temper, not because of insensitivity to distress, but because he is noble and magnanimous. But if the activities control his life, as we said, no blessed person would ever become miserable; for he will never do hateful and base actions—for a truly good and intelligent person, we suppose, will bear fortunes suitably, and from what is available at any time will do the finest actions, just as we suppose a

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Terence Irwin  39 good general will also make the best use of his forces in war, and a good shoemaker will make the finest shoe from the hides given to him, and similarly for all other craftsmen.  (1100b22–1101a6)

Great misfortunes take us from being happy to a different state, non-happiness, not into the opposite of happiness (being athlios). Large improvements in fortune do not take us from being happy to some higher state. But they make us happier, for the two reasons that Aristotle gives; they adorn life, and the virtuous person’s use of them is fine and excellent. In this case, then, happiness can in some way have something added to it, since good fortune adds goods that make a happy person happier. This description of magnanimous people rejects the Socratic position. Aristotle does not say that they suffer no genuine harm in ill fortune. They bear it calmly (eukolôs), and they do not suffer extreme pain (perilupos). But they do suffer some pain, since great misfortune brings in pains, and they believe truly that they are worse off. But though they cease to be happy, they do not become miserable (athlioi) because of misfortune. The evidence that we have discussed shows why Aristotle’s audience might find this a strange claim to make about magnanimity. In the case of Ajax and Achilles, a reversal of fortune seems not only to deprive them of happiness but to make their position miserable. Achilles cannot bear to live if he cannot get revenge for the death of Patroclus, and he is ready to die if only he can get this revenge. Ajax decides that life is not worth living for him once he has been dishonoured and his efforts at revenge have been frustrated. Since these conform to one familiar conception of megalopsychia, magnanimous people seem both to recall evils and to conclude that their lives are not worth living if they cannot avenge the evils they recall. Aristotle rejects this view of magnanimity, just as he rejects the Socratic view. He believes that ill fortune causes genuine harms, and can deprive us of happiness, but nonetheless the virtuous person will not be made miserable. This is not because virtuous people do not feel miserable. However they felt, they would in fact be miserable (pitiable, athlioi) if they had lost the greatest good they had. But in fact they have not lost it, because virtue is better than any combination of other goods. Just as misfortune can be genuinely harmful, good fortune can be genuinely beneficial. In the passage I quoted earlier on the effects of fortune, Aristotle observes that great strokes of good fortune make happy people happier, for two reasons: (1) By themselves they add adornment (sunepikosmei). (2) The virtuous person’s use of them is fine and excellent. In his treatment of magnanimity he asserts that the right sort of good fortune can make people more magnanimous. But strokes of good fortune also seem to contribute to magnanimity. For the well-born and the powerful or rich are thought worthy of honour; for they are in

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40  Magnanimity as Generosity a superior position, and everything superior in some good is more honoured. That is why these things also make people more magnanimous; for they are honoured by some people. In reality, however, only the good person is honourable. But the one who has both is more thought worthy of honour. But those who without virtue but have such goods neither justly think themselves worthy of great things nor are correctly called magnanimous—for these things are not possible without complete virtue.  (1124a20–9)

Aristotle prefaces this with ‘dokei’, ‘seem’. But in the light of the earlier passage on fine and excellent use (in i 10), he has no reason to deny that good fortune makes magnanimous people more magnanimous. The fine and excellent use of one’s resources and good fortune can increase virtue as well as happiness. This is the aspect of magnanimity that is not captured in the view that it is essentially the virtue that bears good and bad fortune with equanimity. What does Aristotle mean when he speaks of adding adornment, as distinct from fine and excellent use? Perhaps he means that if a virtuous person comes into money, this stroke of luck all by itself improves his life in some way. Alternatively, perhaps he refers to success. If the brave person is on the winning side, and is honoured for his brave action, his life is in one way better than if he had been a gallant failure. Since magnanimous people care about great achievements, not simply about praiseworthy attempts at great achievements, they value the goods of fortune that make success possible. Though the good general and the good cobbler, in Aristotle’s example, do the best they can with the available resources, they prefer the opportunities that are open to them if they have enough troops to win a battle, or good enough leather to produce an attractive and watertight shoe. In these passages Aristotle rejects not only the Socratic conception of magnanimity, but also the less extreme conception (perhaps found in the Definitions, quoted above) that identifies magnanimity with resilience in the face of ill fortune. Such resilience is a part of magnanimity, but not the whole of it. A merely resilient person might not think external goods matter, but a magnanimous person thinks they do matter, and that in particular deserved honour is worth pursuing. No one can be genuinely magnanimous without taking this positive attitude to deserved honour.

9.  The Behavioural Expressions of Magnanimity I have now described the theoretical centre of Aristotle’s argument, in order to show how he understands the pursuit of honour that is characteristic of the magnanimous person. If this description was correct, the last part of the treatment of magnanimity (Part 7) ought to show why the magnanimous person will behave in these ways, in the light of the attitude to virtue and external goods that Aristotle has attributed to

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Terence Irwin  41 him. I will not offer a complete discussion of the various types of behaviour that Aristotle mentions. Nor I will try to defend him on every point. In some cases, however, closer attention to the argument and structure of the whole discussion will help us to see why some objections that may initially strike us are not cogent. (1)  And he does not face dangers in a small cause, nor does he face them frequently, because of honouring few things, nor is he a lover of danger, but he faces dangers in a great cause, and whenever he faces them he is unsparing of his life, on the assumption that being alive on just any terms is not worthy. (1124b6–9) We might wrongly take Aristotle to mean that the magnanimous person will refuse to lift a finger in an emergency until he is convinced that he has a very small chance of survival. According to this view, he would not hold back an enemy advance by flooding the ground in their path at no danger to himself; he would act only if he had to undertake a suicide mission. This absurd conclusion is not what Aristotle intends. He means that a magnanimous person does not face dangers indiscriminately or pursue every honour thoughtlessly. Since he is virtuous, and knows what is great and small, he wants to do the fine action, and so he is more selective than he would be if he were eager for honour and for other people’s good opinion. (2)  And he is the sort of person who does good but is ashamed when he receives it; for the former belongs to the superior person, but the latter to the inferior. (3)  And he returns more good than he has received; for in this way the original giver will owe him in addition , and will be the beneficiary. (1124b9–12) The megalopsychos aims at complete virtue, and hence at benefiting others (euergetein), since this is characteristic of virtue, as Aristotle has already said (1120a9–15). He does not aim at receiving benefits; that would be a sign of excessive concern with external goods. He is ashamed to receive benefits, because they may create obligations that might compromise his independence (if, e.g., one were to contract a debt that would require favours in return).23 (4)  And they also seem to recall whatever good they do, but not whatever they receive—for the recipient is inferior to the giver, and he wishes to be superior— and to hear with pleasure of the former, but without pleasure of the latter—that seems to be why Thetis also does not mention the benefits she has for done for Zeus him, and the Spartans to the Athenians the benefits they 23  See Gauthier, Aristote, ad loc.

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42  Magnanimity as Generosity had done , but only the benefits received . (1124b12–17) This needs to be explained in the same way as we explained the remark on benefactions. Aristotle does not mean that the megalopsychos is ungrateful, but that he does not take the same sort of pleasure in recalling a degree of dependence that he may have incurred as he takes in having done a virtuous action. And it also belongs to a magnanimous person (5)  To ask for nothing, or hardly, but to help eagerly. (6)  And towards those with a reputation for worth or with good fortune to be great, but towards intermediate people to be measured—for to be superior to the former is difficult and impressive, but to be superior to the latter is easy, and it is not ignoble to act impressive with the former, but with the inferior it is vulgar, just as it would be to show one’s strength against the weak. (1124b17–23) Case 5 goes very closely with what has just preceded. The megalopsychos prefers to take the initiative and to avoid possibly compromising situations that might result from expectations of favours. The second case is intelligible in the light of the attitude of the magnanimous person to honour. He is not anxious to throw his weight around, as his imitators are in Part 6. They are insolent (hubristai), and ready to assert themselves in relation to other people. (7)  And not to go into things that are held in honour, or where others take the lead. (8)  And to be inactive and a delayer, except where there is some great honour or achievement. (9)  And to be a doer of few actions, but of great and renowned ones. (1124b23–6) The magnanimous person takes the same view as we saw him take in his attitude to danger. If his reluctance to challenge others resulted from his desire not to come second to anyone, we would be rightly puzzled. For the magnanimous person recognizes that that honour is small in comparison with virtue. The next clause, however, makes it clear that he is not moved by fear of coming second. On the contrary, he is not interested in contests for honour, and so he does not try to beat the reigning champions. He looks for actions that really deserve honour because they are great, from the virtuous point of view. And necessarily also (10)  he is open in his hatreds and his friendships—for concealment is belongs to one who is frightened; and

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Terence Irwin  43 (11)  he is concerned for the truth more than for people’s opinion, and (12)  he is open in his speech and actions—for he is a free speaker because of  thinking less of others and being a truth-speaker—except, not because of self-deprecation, towards the many; and (13)  he cannot live in relation to another, except a friend—for that is slavish, which is why all flatterers are servile and inferior people are flatterers. (1124b26–1125a2) Aristotle says all these attitudes are ‘necessary’ features of the magnanimous person, because they are necessary consequence of the attitude that the megalopsychos takes to virtue and external goods. Aristotle refers back to the theoretical centre in Part 3. The megalopsychos is not so eager for external goods that he flatters and deceives people in order to gain their favour. This point is clear in the ‘for’ clause; he does not keep quiet because he is afraid of falling out of favour with someone. He speaks the truth freely, except when he is dealing with the many, where it is appropriate to say less than the truth about his achievements. Aristotle maintains that the magnanimous person has the virtue of truthfulness, which is discussed later in Book iv. In that discussion Aristotle mentions that there may be cases where it is reasonable to speak less than the truth (1127a6); the magnanimous person recognizes these occasions. Since he has a good reason to avoid making people uncomfortable on some occasions, his telling less than the truth about himself does not manifest the vice of self-deprecation (discussed in iv 7). Just as the magnanimous person does not bend the truth for his advantage, he does not subordinate himself to other people’s goals in order to curry favour. Someone might try to shape his life by the goals of another if he thought that was the only way to secure the necessary external goods for himself, no matter what the cost to the virtues that he cares about. But the magnanimous person does not care enough about external goods to do this. He avoids the vice of ingratiating and manipulative flattery (kolakeia) that is also discussed later in Book iv (1127a8–10). To make it clear that magnanimity does not imply a self-absorbed indifference to other people’s legitimate aims, Aristotle remarks that this rule of not forming one’s life with reference to another has an exception in the case of friendship. In the different types of friendship, we are right to allow other people’s aims to determine our own, to the different degrees that are appropriate for the different types. (14)  Nor is he prone to marvel—for nothing is great to him— (15)  nor prone to recall evils—for it does not belong to a magnanimous person to dwell on memories, especially not of evils, but rather to overlook them. (16)  nor prone to talk about people (anthrôpologos)—for he will talk neither about himself nor about another (for it does not concern him either to see that he is praised or that other people are blamed, nor again is he prone to praise

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44  Magnanimity as Generosity people). That is why he is not an evil-speaker either, even about his enemies, except because of wanton aggression. (17)  and about necessities or small matters least prone to laments or en­treaties—for it belongs to someone who takes these things seriously to have these attitudes about them. (1125a2–10) These features are not explicitly connected with each other, but they are connected with the theoretical centre, through the ‘for’ clauses. Aristotle now turns to more readily observable features of the behaviour, rather than the outlook, of the megalopsychos. The four features that are mentioned here are all products of the virtue that Aristotle described in Part 3. Not ‘marvelling’ or ‘wondering’ or ‘admiring’ (thaumazein) may not initially seem to be connected with not recalling evils, but the connexion is clearer when we consider the sort of admiring that Aristotle has in mind. The explanatory clause ‘for nothing is great to him’ may give the impression that the magnanimous person is rather blasé and easily bored by things, more prone to yawn than to admire. But if we remember the previous instance of ‘nothing is great to him’ (1123b32, in Part 3), we can see that the same restriction of ‘nothing’ is intended in both places. In Part 3 Aristotle meant that none of the rewards to be gained by cowardly action seems great enough to justify such action. Here, similarly, he means that the usual objects of admiration do not deserve it. The things that do not excite the wonder of the magnanimous person are the displays of wealth and power that most people admire. Virtues and Vices describes the magnanimous attitude to these goods. It belongs to magnanimity to bear finely (kalôs) good and bad fortune, honour and dishonour; not to admire luxury or attention24 or power or victories that result from contests, but to have a sort of depth and greatness of soul. The magnanimous is one who neither values living highly nor a lover of life, but in character is straightforward25 and noble, one who suffer injustice and is not prone to exact retribution.26 Things that follow on magnanimity are straightforwardness and truthfulness. (VV 1250b34–42)

This is close to the EN on several features of the magnanimous person. It adds detail on his not admiring, by specifying the sorts of things he does not admire. These are the sorts of things that were excluded by the claim that ‘nothing is great’

24 On therapeia see Schmidt, Über die Tugend, ad loc. 25  This use of ‘haplous’ may explain the ironical use of ‘megalopsychia’ for naïve foolishness (similar to the use of ‘euêtheia’). See n. 5 above on II Alc. 26  Cf. 1126a2 (on praotês).

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Terence Irwin  45 in Part 3. They are not the most important things in life, and so they do not come at the top of the magnanimous person’s scale of greatness. We now come to the feature of magnanimity that I set out to explain: not recalling evils. Fortunately, Aristotle makes it clear what sorts of evils and what sort of recalling he has in mind, by using the standard term (ou mnêsikakein) for an amnesty. He certainly knew about the importance of the amnesty in (for instance) Athenian political life. Not only was it a fairly recent history, but it is also recorded in the Aristotelian Constitution of Athens. Though he probably did not write this work, it was produced in the Lyceum under his supervision, and it belonged to the collection of constitutions (EN 1181b17) that he used in the writing of the Politics, which probably came between EE and EN. Aristotle’s use of this term assures us that he is not thinking about refusal to dwell on just any sort of evil. I recall some kinds of evils if I recall that I had toothache last week, I broke my leg last month, and my house was struck by lightning a year ago. But if I refrain from recalling these bad things that happened to me, that is not the attitude that Aristotle has in mind. ‘Ou mnêsikakein’ is directed towards a proper subset of evils—the wrongs that other people have done to me. Those who ‘recall’ these past wrongs, in the relevant sense, hold them against someone, so that they can punish and humiliate the offender. It is this sort of recalling that Aristotle takes to be incompatible with magnanimity. But a further distinction needs to be drawn among these wrongs. It might be wise of me to avoid holding a grudge against someone who has wronged me, if I stand to lose a lot of money by falling out with them. But this is not the sort of case Aristotle has in mind. ‘Ou mnêsikakein’ refers to cases that are similar to those we mentioned in Thucydides and the Constitution of Athens, where selfinterest, conceived without reference to virtue, would indeed be advanced if I took the opportunity to pay someone back for the evil they have done me, but the virtuous course of action requires us to forgo the opportunity. The Athenian democratic party in 401 might have been able to secure their control and enrich themselves if they had pursued a vendetta against supporters of the Thirty. The best argument for an amnesty was the good of the city; everyone would benefit from a period of internal peace and stability in which they would not be pre­occu­ pied with the suspicions and dangers arising from the past. This is why the Aristotelian author of the Constitution of Athens says that the actions of the Athenians were fine and aimed at the good of the city (politikôtata), because they set aside the advantage to be gained from recalling evils, and thought about what was best for the city. This is a mark of magnanimity, because the magnanimous person has a true view of relative importance. In this case he recognizes that the good of the community is more important than his own status or wealth or power, and so he does not take the opportunity to improve his position at the expense of his opponents. One might think that the magnanimous person is ambitious for great things, and

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46  Magnanimity as Generosity that therefore he will take the opportunity to take the great things he supposes he deserves. Aristotle has argued that this view of the magnanimous person’s ambition is misguided, and so he has explained why the magnanimous person will not recall evils against his opponents. One further feature (16) mentioned here—not being an anthrôpologos—follows appropriately on not recalling evils. Paying off old scores is one way to improve one’s position against antagonists. Attacking them through gossip and rumour is another. In both cases the magnanimous person cares about other things than competition. His outlook does not make him completely silent. Aristotle says he will denounce another person ‘because of insolence’ (di’ hubrin). When others display hubris—wanton and insolent aggression—the magnanimous person speaks out against them. He is not trying to improve his position against theirs, but trying to restrain the words and actions that promote conflict—the sort of thing that leads victims of insolence to bear grudges.27 I have contrasted Aristotle’s contention that megalopsychia requires generosity and refusal to recall evils with the vindictive conception of megalopsychia that is exemplified by Homeric heroes. But readers of Homer might want to remind me that I have not commented on the last book of the Iliad, where Achilles eventually ceases from his revenge and returns the body of Hector for burial. Before he meets Priam, he has ‘destroyed mercy’ (Iliad 24.44), but after they meet and talk, Achilles is no longer vindictive, and returns the body. This passage is certainly worth recalling, since it shows that even the megalopsychos Achilles is eventually capable of some degree of generosity. But it is no less relevant that the fourthcentury sources (quoted above) that refer to the megalopsychia of Achilles never mention his relative moderation towards Priam as a manifestation of it. The view that megalopsychia is actually manifested in generosity to an enemy, and is not merely consistent with it, is peculiar to Aristotle.

10. Why Megalopsychia Requires Magnanimity I have tried to explain the connexion between the Aristotelian virtue of megalopsychia and the attitude that Churchill describes as ‘magnanimous’. I have argued that megalopsychia requires the sort of generosity towards opponents that Churchill describes, and therefore it is appropriately described as magnanimity. 27  Most editors think that ‘di’ hubrin’ refers to hubris by the megalopsychos, so that dia means ‘in order to insult’. On this view, the megalopsychos will not talk about them behind their backs, but will insult them to their faces. On hubris cf. 1126a7. Aristotle probably does not believe that the megalopsychos will display hubris. Those who counterfeit magnanimity are hubristai, 1124a29; but why should he be like them? It is equally grammatical, and gives much better sense, to take the hubris to come from his enemies, so that dia means ‘as a result of (i.e., in response to)’. Simply saying nothing in response to hubris might be thought spineless and, as Aristotle says, êlithios; see 1126a3–8. The magnanimous person’s response is a justified exception to the rule of not being a kakologos.

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Terence Irwin  47 Our survey of the historical background has shown us that the connexion between megalopsychia and not recalling evils is by no means a commonplace for Aristotle’s contemporaries. Aristotle, however, believes that this connexion follows from the nature of the virtue. We see the connexion once we understand that the magnanimous person does not fundamentally pursue honour. The virtue is fundamentally about being worthy of honour, and therefore about the goods that are the concern of the virtues as a whole—those that Aristotle refers to compendiously as ‘the fine’. The sort of generosity that we think of when we speak of magnanimity is also part of the Aristotelian virtue. Though Aristotle does not discuss generosity about past offences in any detail, it is not a minor or superficial or accidental aspect of megalopsychia. Aristotle has strong theoretical reasons to attribute it to the magnanimous person. The appropriate generosity towards opponents proceeds from the central element in magnanimity, its correct estimate of the sort of greatness that ought to be characteristic of the magnanimous person’s actions. From this treatment of magnanimity and not recalling evils we learn something useful about the relation of Aristotle’s ethical theory to the initial beliefs of his audience. Sometimes Aristotle is criticized because his treatment of the virtues offers us little more than a catalogue of the conventional morality of his society (or of a group within it). Sometimes he is defended for the same reason; according to this defence, discussion of the truth of his views would be out of place, because he is simply trying to catalogue the conventional morality of his society, and not trying to defend it. The discussion of magnanimity and not recalling evils is a small example that refutes the assumption that Aristotle is reporting conventional views. As far as we can tell from the available evidence, it is not a conventional view that magnanimity requires us not to recall evils. The most widely held view of the megalopsychos holds that he squeezes his enemies till the pips squeak, as Achilles and Ajax sought to do. This is the view that Aristotle opposes in his argument to show that megalopsychia requires magnanimity.

Bibliography Burnet, John. Aristotle’s Ethics. London: Macmillan, 1900. Churchill, Winston. The Second World War. 6 vols. London: Cassell, 1948–53. Cooper, John M., ed. Plato: Complete Works. Indianapolis: Hackett, 1997. Crisp, Roger S. ‘Aristotle on Greatness of Soul’. In Richard Kraut, ed., Blackwell Guide to Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, 158–78. Oxford: Blackwell, 2006. Dorjahn, Alfred  P. Political Forgiveness in Old Athens. Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1946. Gauthier, René-Antoine, and Jolif, Jean-Yves. Aristote: L’Ethique à Nicomaque. 2nd edn. 4 vols. Louvain: Publications universitaires de Louvain, 1970.

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48  Magnanimity as Generosity Gomme, Arnold W. A Historical Commentary on Thucydides. 5 vols. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1945–81. Hornblower, Simon. A Commentary on Thucydides. 3 vols. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991–2008. Loening, Thomas C. The Reconciliation Agreement of 403/402 B.C. in Athens. Hermes Einzelschrift 53 (1987). MacDowell, Douglas M. ‘Aretê and Generosity’. Mnemosyne 16 (1963), 127–34. Rapp, Christof, ed. Aristoteles: Rhetorik. 2 vols. Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, 2002. Rhodes, Peter J. A Commentary on the Aristotelian Athenaion Politeia. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1981. Schmidt, Ernst A., ed. [Aristoteles]: Über die Tugend. Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, 1965. Smith, Adam. The Theory of Moral Sentiments. 6th edn. D. D. Raphael and A. L. Macfie, eds. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1976. Susemihl, Friedrich, ed. Eudemii Rhodii Ethica. Leipzig: Teubner, 1884.

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Stoic Magnanimity Christopher Gill

The Stoic conception of magnanimity is the second major treatment of this topic (after Aristotle) in Greek and Roman philosophy. This essay discusses, first, the idea of magnanimity that figures in our standard sources for Stoic ethical thinking. Second, I consider this virtue as it is presented in Cicero’s On Duties (De Officiis), which is based on a treatise by Panaetius (c.185–c.110 bc), the last head of the Stoic school. This is the most extensive surviving treatment of this topic, and one that was highly influential in early modern Europe. Although Cicero’s On Duties is an independently composed philosophical essay and reflects his own personal attitudes and concerns, his presentation of magnanimity is largely consistent with Stoic ethical thinking on this topic. This material discussed here exhibits some surprising features. Magnanimity, in most Stoic sources, is given what may seem a subordinate role, as a sub-strand of the generic or cardinal virtue of courage. This is markedly different from the prominent status give to magnanimity, as ‘the crown of the virtues’, by Aristotle.1 However, in Cicero’s On Duties, magnanimity is promoted to being one of the four central or generic virtues; Cicero also explores it in some depth in each of the three books that makes up this work. Even so, Cicero’s treatment reflects core Stoic thinking on this topic, and is distinct from Aristotle’s approach. Since, at various points, I refer to Aristotle’s ideas about magnanimity and courage, it is useful to outline my understanding of the relationship between Aristotle and Stoicism. Early (Hellenistic) Stoic thinkers such as Zeno (334–262 bc), the founder of Stoicism, and Chrysippus (c.280–c.206 bc) were, certainly, aware of the main lines of Aristotelian thinking. Also, in the post-Hellenistic period (roughly, first century bc to second century ad), debate between Stoic and Aristotelian (or Platonic-Aristotelian) thinkers was intense and sustained.2 However, it seems that Aristotle’s school-texts (or treatises) were not widely available or closely studied for a considerable period, even within the school, and 1 Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics (EN) 4.3, 1124a1–2; see also Eudemian Ethics (EE) 3.5, 1232a28–38. 2  See Robert W. Sharples, Peripatetic Philosophy 200 bc to ad 200: An Introduction and Collection of Sources in Translation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), chs 15–18; Christopher Gill, ‘The Transformation of Aristotle’s Ethics in Roman Philosophy’, in The Reception of Aristotle’s Ethics, ed. Jon Miller (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), 31–52.

Christopher Gill, Stoic Magnanimity In: The Measure of Greatness: Philosophers on Magnanimity. Edited by: Sophia Vasalou, Oxford University Press (2019). © the several contributors. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198840688.003.0002

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50  Stoic Magnanimity certainly not outside it.3 There are no clear indications that early Stoic thinkers, in  formulating their ideas, referred to specific passages in, for instance, the Nicomachean Ethics. Even Cicero, who seems to have had access to these texts, is surprisingly vague in his allusions.4 So, in referring in this discussion to the Aristotelian treatises, I am doing so for the purposes of comparison and contrast, and not making claims about influence. Stoic ideas about magnanimity seem to have been formed independently, and represent a distinct alternative to the Aristotelian conception, though with overlapping features considered later.

1.  Mainstream Stoic View I start by considering the mainstream Stoic view. Virtually all the Stoic Hellenistic treatises have been lost, and we are reliant for our knowledge of Stoic ethics on later handbook summaries of doctrines, together with surviving treatments by later Stoic (or least Stoic-influenced) thinkers and writers such as Cicero, Seneca, Epictetus (as reported by Arrian), and Marcus Aurelius.5 In spite of these evidential challenges, the main lines of Stoic thinking on magnanimity emerge with rela­tive clarity. Here is a representative passage from a Stoic doxographical (handbook) account, in a source widely taken to reflect early Stoic thinking, perhaps especially that of Chrysippus, the most important Stoic theorist.6 There are four primary virtues: prudence, temperance, courage, justice. Prudence concerns appropriate acts; temperance concerns human motives; courage concerns instances of standing firm; justice concerns distributions. Of those subordinate to these, some are subordinate to prudence, some to temperance, 3  Some ancient evidence suggests they were not available between the death of Aristotle’s successor, Theophrastus (c.287 BC), and the mid-first century BC. Although the validity of this evidence has been much debated, there is little indication of detailed commentary on these texts in this period. 4  On early Stoic knowledge of Aristotle, see Karen Margrethe Nielsen, ‘The Nicomachean Ethics in  Hellenistic Philosophy: A Hidden Treasure?’ in The Reception of Aristotle’s Ethics, ed. Jon Miller (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), 5–30; on Cicero’s knowledge of Aristotle, see Jonathan Barnes, ‘Roman Aristotle’, in Philosophia Togata II: Plato and Aristotle at Rome (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997), 1–69: 44–50, 57–9. 5  For sources for Stoic ethics, see Anthony A. Long and David N. Sedley, The Hellenistic Philosophers (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987), sections 56–67 (=LS); Brad Inwood and Lloyd Gerson, trans., The Stoics Reader: Selected Writings and Testimonia (Indianapolis: Hackett, 2008), 113–205 (=SR); Hans von Arnim, ed., Stoicorum Veterum Fragmenta, 4 vols (Leipzig: Teubner, 1903–5, repr. Munich: Sauer, 2004), esp. vol. 3 (=SVF). As just indicated, these works are cited here as LS (normally by section and paragraph), SR (by page number), SVF (by volume and fragment number). 6  The source cited is from Stobaeus’ summary of Stoic ethics, thought to be derived from Arius Didymus; for this summary, see SR, 124–51. See also Arthur J. Pomeroy, ed., Arius Didymus: Epitome of Stoic Ethics (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 1999). The passage is part of 5b2; the translation is based on SR, 125–6; see also Pomeroy, Epitome, 14–17. On Stobaeus as a source for Stoic ethics, see Malcolm Schofield, ‘Stoic Ethics’, in The Cambridge Companion to The Stoics, ed. Brad Inwood (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 233–56: 236–46. In referring to Stobaeus in this chapter, I use the numeration (e.g. 5b2) found in all texts and translations of this work.

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Christopher Gill  51 some to courage, some to justice . . . To courage: endurance, confidence, greatheartedness [or magnanimity, megalopsychia], stout-heartedness [eupsychia], love of work . . . endurance is knowledge which stands by correct decisions; confidence is knowledge in virtue of which we know that we will meet with nothing that is terrible; great-heartedness [or magnanimity, megalopsychia] is knowledge which makes one superior to those things which naturally occur among both virtuous and non-virtuous people; stout-heartedness is knowledge which makes the character [psychē] invincible; love of work is know­ledge which achieves its goal by effort, not being deterred by hard work.

The overall framework and the specific phraseology used for ‘magnanimity’ (highlighted in bold here) are consistently presented in a number of such ­sources.7 Magnanimity is one of a number of subdivisions of courage, which is, in turn, one of four generic virtues. The specific connotations of magnanimity are those of rising above external circumstances, notably adversity or misfortune, which might otherwise deter someone from acting bravely and which affect all people equally, both virtuous and non-virtuous. Although these features are quite clear, several other questions present themselves. Two relate to the overall framework of this account: why are the virtues, including sub-virtues, presented as forms of know­ ledge, and how do the different strands of a specific virtue such as courage cohere? On the first question, the Stoics hold a version of the position often attributed to Socrates, that virtue is knowledge, or, alternatively, skill or expertise. We should not assume that the kind of knowledge involved is purely intellectual, or that it corresponds to what Aristotle calls ‘intellectual’, rather than ‘character’, virtues.8 On the contrary, though characterized as forms of knowledge, the sub-divisions of courage cited earlier are broadly similar to Aristotle’s character-virtues, which include courage. However, the Stoics maintain a strikingly unified or holistic view of human psychology, and reject or avoid the Platonic-Aristotelian distinction between rational and emotional (or non-rational) parts of the psyche. Hence, virtue as a form of knowledge is seen as shaping the state of mind and character of the person as a whole, conceived as a psychological and indeed psychophysical unit.9 If we ask about the content of this knowledge, we find this is a rather complex matter, and that the knowledge or expertise is characterized in different ways in different sources. However, a credible overall answer, bearing in mind the close linkage in Stoic thought between virtue and happiness, is this: virtue is knowledge

7 See SVF 3.265, 269–70, 274–5. 8  See Aristotle, EN 1.13, 1103a3–10. 9  See LS 61 A–H. On virtue as knowledge or expertise in Stoicism and other ancient theories, see Julia Annas, The Morality of Happiness (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993), 67–73; also Tad Brennan, ‘Stoic Moral Psychology’, in The Cambridge Companion to The Stoics, ed. Brad Inwood (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 257–94: 260–74; and (on Stoic psychological holism) Christopher Gill, The Structured Self in Hellenistic and Roman Self (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), 138–45.

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52  Stoic Magnanimity of how to live the best possible human life, which the Stoics formulate as ‘the life according to nature’. This is conceived both as a life that fulfils the best possible qualities of human nature, and also, in some sense, those of ‘nature’ as a whole. These qualities are a combination of rationality and sociability; and also of order, structure, and wholeness, and providential care (for oneself and others of one’s kind).10 How should we conceive the relationship between the different sub-strands of a given virtue, such as magnanimity? In general, the Stoics stress the unity or coherence of virtue, both as regards the relationship between the four generic ­virtues or the subdivisions of the generic virtues. The virtues are conceived either (1) as unified, as consisting in knowledge or expertise, or (2) as inseparable and interdependent, so that you cannot have one virtue without also having the ­others. On the second view (that of Chrysippus), a person might at any one time be exercising primarily the virtue of courage and, in a secondary (but inseparable) way, the other four generic virtues.11 We have less ancient discussion of the sub-strands of the generic virtues; but it seems plausible to supply the same pattern. Thus, a person acting courageously might, at any one time, be exercising primarily the sub-virtue of magnanimity (‘knowledge which makes one superior to those things which naturally occur among virtuous and non-virtuous people’). However, secondarily (but inseparably), she is exercising the sub-virtues of endurance, confidence, stout-heartedness, and love of work as defined in the passage cited earlier (Stobaeus 5b2). It is the combination of these sub-virtues, then, that makes up courage as a whole; we should not conceive them as independent traits that different courageous people might exhibit, without sharing the other sub-virtues. How should we explain the characterization of magnanimity, as rising above (‘being superior to’) external circumstances, especially adverse ones? I think we can understand this best by reference to three distinctive features of Stoic ethics, all of which are explicitly linked with magnanimity in Stoic writings. These features relate to theory of value (axiology), psychology, especially emotions, and worldview, three topics which are closely linked in Stoic ethics. One key Stoic ethical claim is that, put rather simply, virtue is the only good, and that the things regarded as bodily and external goods in, for instance, Aristotelian thinking are ‘matters of indifference’ (adiaphora). More precisely, those so-goods, such as health, length of life, prosperity, and the welfare of one’s

10 On the virtue–happiness relationship in Stoic thought, see LS 63; also Annas, Morality of Happiness, ch. 21, Terence Irwin, The Development of Ethics, vol. 1 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017), ch. 12; also Gill, Structured Self, 145–66. The formulation offered here is based on a book of mine in preparation on Stoic ethics. 11  See LS 61 B–D; also Annas, Morality of Happiness, 79–82; John Cooper, Reason and Emotion: Essays in Ancient Moral Psychology and Ethical Theory (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999), 253–61: 258; Gill, Structured Self, 152–4.

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Christopher Gill  53 family, are things that are naturally sought by human beings; for this reason they are characterized as ‘things according to nature’.12 However, achieving such things does not determine whether or not one achieves a happy life; that is, the best possible human life (or ‘the life according to nature’). The achievement of a good or happy life in this sense depends on the exercise of deliberative excellence (that is, the virtues), rather than on success or failure in gaining specific bodily or external advantages; hence the latter are classed as (preferable) ‘indifferents’ rather than goods in Stoic ethics.13 The difference is formulated in this way in one source: ‘they [indifferents] are indifferent with respect to living a beautifully ordered life (and in this consists a happy life), but not, by Zeus, [indifferent] with respect to  being in a natural state nor as regards motivation towards or away from [something]’.14 The validity of the distinction between virtue and indifferents was a source of great controversy in Greco-Roman ethics, and is central to the last three books of Cicero’s De Finibus (On Ends), which is presented in the form of a  debate between the Stoic position and the Platonic-Aristotelian theory of Antiochus.15 This thesis underlies this comment on Cicero made in that context: Wisdom includes magnanimity (magnitudinem animi) and justice and judges itself superior (infra se esse iudicet) to anything that might happen to a person . . . no one could attain those very virtues that I just mentioned without determining that all things are indifferent and indistinguishable from one another except for virtue and vice.16

The distinctive feature of the Stoic view of magnanimity comes out if we contrast Aristotle’s account of courage, which is similar in some ways but exhibits certain important differences. The Aristotelian brave person’s response incorporates the recognition that things such as pain and death are actually bad; hence, the brave person fears such things in a way that corresponds to the danger they pose. Even so, he faces and fears them ‘as reason directs’ and ‘for the sake of the fine’, since that is the end or goal of virtue.17 Indeed, the excellence of a brave person’s character adds a further dimension to the pain he feels at the thought of his own death: ‘The more he has virtue as a whole and the happier he is, the more he will be pained at the thought of death; life is most worth living for such a person, and he knows he will lose the greatest goods, and this is painful to him.’18 The Stoic brave person’s response differs precisely on this point. In the Stoic view, pain and 12  See LS 58; for Aristotle’s contrasting view about different types of good, see EN 1.8, 1098b11–16. 13  See LS 58 A (= Diogenes Laertius 7.101–3). 14  Stobaeus 7a, trans. SR, 134. 15  On the debate among Aristotelian thinkers, see Sharples, Peripatetic Philosophy, ch. 18; on the debate as presented in Cicero, On Ends 3–5, see Julia Annas and Gábor Betegh, eds, Cicero’s De Finibus: Philosophical Approaches (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016), chs 7–9. 16 Cicero, De Finibus (Fin.) 3.25.; see also De Officiis 1.66, cited later. All translations not otherwise attributed are mine. 17  EN 3.7, 1115b7–10, 11–13. 18  EN 3.9, 1117b9–13.

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54  Stoic Magnanimity death are regarded as things no human being would select, other things being equal, but not as determining the goodness or happiness of one’s life and in that sense as being matters of indifference. However, this feature of Stoic thought gives rise to an interesting question, which also bears on the other Stoic themes linked with magnanimity. The passage of Cicero just cited, together with other Stoic characterizations of magnanimity, seems to imply not just that (at the level of theory) virtue is the only good but also that recognizing or understanding this radical difference of value (between virtue and indifferents) forms part of the knowledge that constitutes virtues such as magnanimity. However, in drawing this distinction (between virtue and indifferents), it is not clear whether the Stoics are making a claim about how the exercise of this virtue is experienced by the person concerned or about how it is best analysed in philosophical terms. In general, Stoics maintain that their theory is in line with widespread human intuitions, or with (universally shared) ‘preconceptions’.19 It is consistent with this that Cicero, in the same context (Fin. 3.36–9) as the passage just cited (3.25), appeals, in support of the Stoic theory of value, to widespread recognition among people in general that virtue is inherently valu­able.20 This point is suggestive; but it does not, by itself, explain whether the Stoic distinction describes what people are actually thinking or how their ideas are best analysed. It may be helpful to consider how Stoics envisage the process of practical decision-making, in so far as we can reconstruct this. It is not plausible to suppose that the Stoics think that brave people in general necessarily reflect in an abstract way about their core values, particularly in the heat of battle and other moments of urgent decision. So perhaps we can reconstruct the Stoic view in these terms. When taking decisions, people may think about their immediate situation in these terms. The brave person may think: ‘this (specific action) is the thing to be done’; in Stoic terms, the action presents itself as what is ‘appropriate’ (kathēkon). It may not be conceived as an instance of courageous action but as a response to some relevant fact in the situation, such as ‘my sick daughter needs help’ or ‘the battle line needs to be held up here or we will be defeated’.21 The person involved may be acutely aware that responding to this need may involve something disadvantageous to him, even, potentially, his own death. However, this consideration may be seen as having no weight in comparison to the force of the demand to which he responds on this occasion. As so reconstructed, the brave person is not actually thinking to herself: ‘I am acting virtuously, rather than selecting what is 19  See LS 40 R, 3; 60 B, C, E(1), F. 20  See Charles Brittain, ‘Cicero’s Sceptical Methods: The Example of the De Finibus’, in Cicero’s De Finibus: Philosophical Approaches, eds J.  Annas and G.  Betegh (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016), 12–40: 35, 38. 21 On kathēkonta, including what we should see as social obligations, see LS 59; on the moral claim of looking after a sick daughter, see Epictetus, Discourses 1.11.

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Christopher Gill  55 more advantageous to me’ (that is, obtaining a ‘preferred indifferent’). The Stoic terms spell out the factors we can use to analyse the process of making a brave decision. In particular, the Stoic distinction between virtue and indifferents brings out with great clarity a particularly important aspect of the brave person’s decisionmaking. The Stoic distinction articulates the force of what is—in modern terms—the morally compelling claim, to which the brave person responds in her actions and attitudes. No doubt the experience could be analysed in other terms, for instance those of the Aristotelian distinction between virtue (a psychic good) and bodily or external goods.22 But the Stoics believe that their formulation captures best the radical distinction in value between the two types or levels of value, and thus enables a more penetrating characterization of what virtue involves.23 The Stoic characterization of magnanimity, as ‘rising above (or being superior to) circumstances’, and also above factors that have weight for both virtuous and non-virtuous people (that is, indifferents), forms an integral part of this analysis.24 A second salient feature of Stoic ethics goes along with this. The Stoics believe that a proper understanding of value (particularly, the difference between good and indifferents), when this is achieved, shapes the virtuous person’s psy­cho­logic­al state as a whole. In particular, it ensures that he or she is not subject to misguided ‘passions’ (pathē) such as fear, which rest on the belief that pain and death are not merely ‘dispreferable indifferents’ (things that no human being would naturally want to have) but that they are actually bad and determine whether or not one is leading a good human life; that is, a happy life. When this understanding has been achieved, passions such as fear are replaced by ‘freedom from passion’ (apatheia) or ‘good emotions’ (eupatheiai); that is, affective responses which are in line with a correct understanding of value. Fear, for instance, is conceived as a passion, whose good analogue is caution. However, caution should not be seen as a moderate or watered-down version of fear. Fear is directed at ‘dispreferred indifferents’ (mistakenly seen as bad things), whereas caution expresses concern about not doing what is right and is in line with virtue. The Stoic view is not the implausible one that just changing one’s belief on any one occasion will bring about this kind of substantial psychological change. Freedom from passion (apatheia) should be seen as the outcome of a long-term, full-scale process of ethical and 22  For this distinction, see Aristotle, EN 1.8, 1098b12–16. 23  See further on the question how brave action is conceived by the agent in Stoic theory, Rachel Barney, ‘A Puzzle in Stoic Ethics’, Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 24 (2003), 303–40; Brennan, ‘Stoic Moral Psychology’, 279–90. Similar issues are often discussed in connection with Aristotle’s account of ethical deliberation. See Bernard Williams, ‘Acting as the Virtuous Person Acts’, in Aristotle and Moral Realism, ed. Robert Heinaman (London: UCL Press, 1995), 13–23; John McDowell, ‘Eudaimonism and Realism in Aristotle’s Ethics’, in Aristotle and Moral Realism, ed. Robert Heinaman (London: UCL Press, 1995), 201–18; Anthony Price, ‘Aristotelian Virtue and Practical Judgement’, in Virtue, Norms, and Objectivity: Issues in Ancient and Modern Ethics, ed. Christopher Gill (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), 257–78: 264–78; Anthony Price, Virtue and Reason in Plato and Aristotle (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), 189–250. 24  See text to n. 6 above.

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56  Stoic Magnanimity psychological development.25 This second feature also has a bearing on their conception of magnanimity, as indicated in this passage: . . . unless it is established that pain is not a bad thing, it is undeniably the case that no one of steadfast, constant and lofty spirit (stabili et firmo et magno animo), such as we call brave, could ever exist. One who regards death as a bad thing can never fail to be afraid of it . . . We also assume that a brave and lofty spirit (vir altus et excellens, magno animo, vere fortis) has no respect or regard for any of the misfortunes likely to befall a human being. (Cic. Fin. 3.29, cf. Tusc. 2.32)

Again, the distinctive feature of the Stoic view emerges by contrast with the Aristotelian one that the brave person necessarily fears things such as death in battle but faces this terrifying situation ‘as reason directs’ and ‘for the sake of the fine’.26 The affective dimension of the Stoic view (as distinct from the axiological dimension, discussed in De Finibus) is examined in detail in Cicero’s Tusculans, especially Book 5.27 As with the point made earlier about value, one can ask whether the Stoic claim is that the brave person does not fear pain because he is conscious (or is consciously reflecting) that death is not, in the Stoic sense, a bad thing. Again, the plausible view is that Stoic theory analyses in these terms a  state of mind which may not be consciously experienced by the person ­concerned in this form. In the Tusculans, Cicero repeatedly cites instances of ordinary people whose courage makes them indifferent to pain.28 The Stoic theory unpicks the core components of someone’s experience (the combination of value-judgement and affective reaction) without necessarily implying that the person involved sees things in that way, particularly in moments of intense action or crisis. The third distinctive feature of the Stoic view relates to their worldview. The salient idea is that the recognition that each of us forms an integral part of a broader natural framework (a framework that is good in the sense of being ordered and a source of providential care) enables us to accept and indeed welcome ‘dispreferable things’ such as illness and impending death that no human being would otherwise want.29 A passage often cited in illustration of this idea is a citation from Chrysippus in Epictetus’ Discourses (2.6.9–10): 25  See LS 65; Gill, Structured Self, ch. 4; Margaret Graver, Stoicism and Emotion (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2007), chs 1–2, 7–8. 26  See refs. in nn. 17–18 above. 27  See e.g. Tusc. 5.40–2, which constitutes, in effect, a characterization of Stoic magnanimity in affective terms. 28  See e.g. Tusc. 2.34, 5.77 (Spartan boys), 2.58–9 (brave warriors), 5.78 (Indian widows throwing themselves on the pyre, i.e. committing suttee). 29  See Nicholas White, ‘The Role of Physics in Stoic Ethics’, The Southern Journal of Philosophy 23 (1985), 57–74; Schofield, ‘Stoic Ethics’, 313–14.

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Christopher Gill  57 Therefore Chrysippus was right to say: ‘As long as the future is uncertain to me I  always hold to those things that are better adapted to obtaining the things according to nature [i.e. preferable things], for god himself has made me disposed to select these. But if I actually knew that I was fated to be ill, I would also be motivated towards this. My foot too, if it had intelligence, would be motivated towards getting muddy.’

This theme is sometimes linked with magnanimity, as in this passage from the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius: Nothing is so effective in creating magnanimity (megalophrosynē) as being able to examine methodically and truthfully everything that presents itself in life, and always viewing things in such a way as to consider what kind of function this particular thing contributes to what kind of universe and what value it has for the whole universe and for human beings who are citizens of the highest city, of which other cities are, as it were mere households; and what this object is that presently makes an impression on me, and what it is composed of and how long in the nature of things it will persist, and what virtue is needed to respond to it . . . So, in each case, you should say: this has come from god, this from the coordination and interweaving of the threads of fate . . .  (Meditations 3.11.2–14)

This passage weaves together two themes of Stoic thinking, both of which depend on seeing oneself as part of a larger, cosmic or universal whole. One is the idea that we are part of a larger ‘brotherhood’ or ‘citizenship’ of human beings in general, which co-exists with our membership of localized families, communities, and nations.30 The other is the theme noted earlier. Viewing our own life as part of a larger cosmic framework should lead us to recognize all aspects of our life, including one’s own illness or death, as part of the nexus of Fate (universal causal determinism) and an integral part of the workings of a natural universe which is conceived as providential and good, taken as a whole. Taken together, these ideas are presented as promoting the virtue of magnanimity. What is the link between this theme and the other two aspects of Stoic thought associated with magnanimity, considered earlier? Although I know of no ancient analysis of this question, it is possible to make plausible connections between the three themes and magnanimity. So far, we have seen magnanimity as bound up with the distinction between virtue (treated as the only real good) and indifferents, and also with the avoidance of passions, which depend on the error of treating indifferents as good or bad things. This further theme supports this line of 30  See e.g. Cic. Fin. 3.63–4, Off. 1.12, 50–1, 3.21–2; see also LS 67, and Katja Maria Vogt, Law, Reason, and the Cosmic City: Political Philosophy in the Early Stoa (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), ch. 2.

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58  Stoic Magnanimity thought by encouraging us to see indifferents (preferable or dispreferable) as ne­ces­sary parts of a larger natural order, and therefore not responding to them with passions. Also, this response is supported by encouraging us to see virtue (the only real good) as naturally correlated with a universe which, taken as a whole, is providential and good, and of which we are an integral part. Seeing ourselves as part of a brotherhood of humanity is part of the latter strand: to act virtuously is to express our membership of this community. There are other ways, too complex to explore fully here, in which Stoicism promotes the idea that developing virtue and acting virtuously constitute consistency with a broader natural framework marked by order and providential care.31 So we can see how this complex of ideas also provides a basis for the core feature of magnanimity, identified in the definitions cited earlier, namely the idea that this consists, essentially, in rising above, or being superior to, external circumstances. This theme also supports the idea, implied elsewhere, that magnanimity involves a breadth of vision or understanding, which deepens as well as consolidating the virtue of courage. A similar linkage of ideas is implied in a passage of Plato’s Republic, which forms part of the characterization of the philosophical nature in Book 8 (486a). This passage is in fact cited by Marcus, though without comment, in the Meditations (7.35), so he at least may have recognized the link: Do you suppose that human life can seem any great matter to someone elevated in his mind (dianoia(i) megaloprepeia) who has embraced the whole of time and whole of reality in his thoughts? . . . So to such a person not even death will seem anything terrible.

The Stoic version has elements not in the Platonic passage: but the two passages have in common the idea that magnanimity can be underpinned by locating oneself and one’s life (or death) in a broader cosmic framework.32 In the case of this theme, as in the previous two, the question arises whether the response depends on philosophical reflection of a specific kind, or is more widely available to human beings in general. Here, more than with the other two themes, it may seem that the magnanimous response depends on deliberately adopting a Stoic worldview, including its salient features of determinism and providentiality. This worldview was a controversial one, rejected by the Epicureans, for instance, and questioned by the Sceptics; so it cannot be readily attributed to people in general in the Greco-Roman world.33 On the other hand, as noted before, 31  For some salient references, see LS 63 C–E; for the universe as a paradigm of order and providential care, see LS 54 H, I, L, Q; also LS 62 D. 32 On Med. 3.11 and the cosmic perspective in Marcus, see Christopher Gill, Marcus Aurelius, Meditations Books 1–6, translated with introduction and commentary (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), xl–xliv, lxiii–lxxiv, and on Stoicism generally, Gill, Structured Self, 197–200. 33  See LS 13, 54; Cicero, On the Nature of the Gods (Nat. D.) dramatizes ancient debate on this question.

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Christopher Gill  59 Stoic ethics claims to be based on widely held intuitions (or ‘preconceptions’).34 We also know that Stoic thinkers devoted a great deal of effort to showing that the Stoic conception of gods, for instance, was compatible, at a deep level, with widely shared religious beliefs and attitudes, particularly those in Greco-Roman culture.35 So, it is entirely possible that, in this respect also, the Stoics saw themselves as analysing in their own terms responses that would have been understood differently, or in more practical terms, by the people involved. The acceptance of illness or death with an attitude of resignation, as an event that occurs within the natural cycle of human life and which forms part of a causally related sequence of such events (even if we cannot trace the whole sequence), is a response that is, in principle, widely available, though people do not always respond with this degree of resilience. If this response is combined with a sense that this sequence of events, and the universe as a whole, are good at least in the sense of constituting a natural order, or the way things are and should be, we have at least the main components of the Stoic framework. So it may be that in this respect too, the Stoics saw themselves as analysing a response that human beings in general are capable of making. This is true even if they do so incompletely, and without a full theoretical understanding of the principles involved, and in both respects they fall below the ideal level of the Stoic ideal norm, the wise person or sage.36

2.  Magnanimity in Cicero’s De Officiis So far, this chapter has aimed to provide a general account of early Stoic thinking on magnanimity, as far as we can reconstruct this.37 The remainder of the discussion centres on one particularly extensive and striking treatment, that of Cicero in De Officiis (On Duties). Apart from its significance within Stoic thinking, this discussion has the further interest, in the context of this volume, that it was highly influential in early modern European thought, an influence reflected, for instance, in Michael Moriarty’s chapter on Cartesian generosity.38 The topic of magnanimity figures in all three books of Cicero’s work, especially Book 1, which is centred on the virtues. Cicero’s work is a free adaptation of a treatise ‘on the appropriate’ 34  See n. 19 above. 35  See Cic. Nat. D. 2.44, 60–72. 36  On the Stoic sage, and the relationship of this ideal to ordinary people, see George Kerferd, ‘What Does the Wise Man Know?’ in The Stoics, ed. J. M. Rist (Berkeley: California University Press, 1978), 125–36; Vogt, Law, ch. 3; René Brouwer, The Stoic Sage: The Early Stoics on Wisdom, Sagehood and Socrates (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014), ch. 3. Although the sage is often pictured as a (Stoic) philosopher, it is worth noting that candidates for being a sage include heroes such as Odysseus and Heracles (Brouwer, 111–12), as well as the pre-Stoic philosophers, Socrates and Diogenes (the Cynic). 37  See text to n. 6 above. 38  See Chapter 6 in this volume, esp. pp. 148–9. On Cicero’s later influence, see John Sellars, ed., The  Routledge Handbook of the Stoic Tradition (London/New York: Routledge, 2016), 391, index entry, ‘Cicero’.

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60  Stoic Magnanimity (peri kathēkontos) by Panaetius (c.185–c.110 bc), the last head of the Stoic school. Books 1–2 of Cicero’s work are based on Panaetius’ three-book work; Book 3 is Cicero’s own elaboration of Stoic materials. Cicero’s account has some exceptional features, and it reflects his own political concerns and sympathies;39 the work also reflects Panaetius’ distinctive version of Stoic ethics. Panaetius is sometimes seen as a rather heterodox or eclectic Stoic and as introducing new ideas and approaches into Stoicism. However, I share the view of those scholars who maintain that Panaetius’ approach, as reflected in Cicero’s treatment, is largely orthodox,40 and that Stoic writings remained remarkably consistent in their key principles throughout antiquity.41 This consistency is combined with variation on specific points (especially points of ambiguity or difficulty), by successive t­hinkers, though this is presented as firmly based on original Stoic doctrines;42 and this is what we find in Cicero’s version of Panaetius. The opening of Cicero’s account of magnanimity in Book 1 illustrates this approach. A brave and great spirit (fortis animus et magnus) in general is seen in two things. One lies in disdain for things external, in the conviction that no human being should admire, choose, or pursue anything except what is right (honestum) and fitting (decorum), and should not give way to another human being or to emotional agitation or fortune. The second is that you should, in the state of mind I have described, perform actions which are great, indeed, but above all, beneficial (utiles), and you should vigorously undertake difficult and demanding tasks which endanger both life itself and much that concerns life.  (1.66)

Cicero’s treatment incorporates a number of seemingly new features, though the overall framework is entirely Stoic. One point is that magnanimity, which is a sub-virtue of courage in standard Stoic accounts, is treated as one of the four main or cardinal virtues. The reason for this change is not entirely clear. However, magnanimity, as defined by Cicero, includes the core characteristic of courage in standard Stoic accounts, namely ‘enduring’ or ‘standing firm’ (in a way that is

39  See Miriam T. Griffin and E. Margaret Atkins, Cicero: On Duties, edited and translated (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991); Andrew Dyck, A Commentary on Cicero, De Officiis (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1996). 40  See Teun Tieleman, ‘Panaetius’ Place in the History of Stoicism with Special Reference to this Moral Psychology’, in Pyrrhonists, Patricians, Platonizers: Hellenistic Philosophy in the Period 155–86 bc, eds. A. M. Ioppolo and D. N. Sedley (Naples: Bibliopolis, 2007), 103–42. 41  For this view, see e.g. Brad Inwood, Reading Seneca: Stoic Philosophy at Rome (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), 23–30; Gill, Meditations, xviii. Earlier scholars, by contrast, tended to sub­div­ide Stoicism into ‘early’, ‘middle’, and ‘late’. 42  See David N. Sedley, ‘The School, from Zeno to Arius Didymus’, in The Cambridge Companion to the Stoics, ed. B. Inwood (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 7–32, esp. 15–18; Schofield, ‘Stoic Ethics’, 246–53.

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Christopher Gill  61 consistent with exercising the other three generic virtues).43 A second striking feature is that each of the four virtues is presented as the expression of one of four fundamental tendencies in human nature. This move reflects a more general tendency in Cicero’s account to link virtue closely with the core characteristics of human nature. This is evident, for instance, in the theory of the four roles (personae), which Cicero presents in the course of De Officiis Book 1; two of these roles are explicitly connected to aspects of human nature, either general or individual.44 In fact, there are indications that this theme also forms part of standard Stoic thinking, and reflects the type of ethical naturalism that is characteristic of Stoicism. In Stobaeus’ account also, links are drawn between the four generic virtues and underlying tendencies in human nature.45 However, there is no surviving parallel for Cicero’s suggestion that magnanimity arises out of a kind of impulse towards pre-eminence or leadership (principatus) which leads ‘a spirit well trained by nature’ not ‘to be willing to obey for its own benefit someone whose advice, teaching, and commands, are not just and lawful’. Cicero adds: ‘magnanimity and a disdain for human affairs arises as a result’ (Off. 1.13). The implication is that the ability to ‘be superior to’ or ‘rise above’ circumstances that is widely seen as a feature of Stoic magnanimity has its roots in an in-built human tendency to seek ‘pre-eminence’ in this way.46 A further distinctive feature of Cicero’s account is that each of the four main virtues is presented as having two aspects, the core character of the virtue and its more active and socially directed dimension. This is clearest in the case of magnanimity, and also justice, whose socially directed aspect is liberality or generosity (1.20). The third virtue (decorum) embraces both control of emotions and desires, the typical mark of temperance or moderation, and appropriate (self-controlled) behaviour towards other people.47 Although wisdom is not formally subdivided, Cicero discusses separately the intellectual dimension of wisdom (1.13) and its expression in socially beneficial action (1.153–9). Magnanimity fits into this 43  See the definition just cited in Cic. Off. 1.66, and the standard Stoic account (n. 6 above and LS 61 C(2), D(4)). The other notable variation is the replacement of ‘temperance’ by a sense of decorum or ‘fittingness’ (Off. 1.93–102). On these innovations, and possible reasons for them, see Dyck, Commentary, 183–5, 241–50. Note also Stobaeus 5b5, for a further distinctive idea of Panaetius, on the interdependence of the virtues. 44 Cic. Off. 1.107–21, esp. 110–11, 120; also Christopher Gill, ‘Personhood and Personality: The Four-Personae Theory in Cicero, De Officiis 1’, Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 6 (1988), 169–99. 45  See Stobaeus 5b3 (also 5b4: virtue as part of psychophysical wholeness and perfection). The Stoic theory of development as ‘appropriation’ (oikeiōsis) is one clear indicator of Stoic ethical naturalism; see LS 57 and 59 D. 46 See Gisela Striker, Essays on Hellenistic Epistemology and Ethics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 252–3; Dyck, Commentary, 85–6. See also, on Cicero’s distinctive treatment of magnitudo animi, Malcolm Schofield, ‘Republican Virtues’, in A Companion to Greek and Roman Political Thought, ed. R. Balot (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009), 199–231: 204–9, on De Officiis; Yelena Baraz, ‘True Greatness of Soul in Seneca’s De Constantia Sapientis’, in Roman Reflections: Studies in Latin Literature, eds. Gareth Williams and Katharina Volk (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016), 157–71: 158–61, on Cicero’s Stoic Paradoxes. 47  See Cic. Off. 1.93, and 101–3, on the one hand and 99, 117–40, on the other.

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62  Stoic Magnanimity pattern: the focus falls initially on the magnanimous state of mind, that is, ­recognizing that virtue constitutes the only good and, as a result, rising above circumstances, especially adverse ones (1.66, cited earlier). The affective dimension (freedom from passions) noted briefly here is elaborated later (1.67–9). The second aspect is the readiness to undertake actions which are great and socially beneficial, even if arduous and dangerous (1.66, 69–71); this aspect incorporates bravery, the standard cardinal virtue, but includes a special focus on performing great actions which are socially beneficial. Cicero’s presentation of the virtues in this two-fold way has no obvious parallel in other Stoic sources. However, both these dimensions of virtue are firmly embedded in Stoic theory. The first aspect reflects the standard Stoic view that the virtues constitute complementary or interdependent forms of knowledge or wisdom (text to nn. 6–9 above). The second dimension expresses another important Stoic conviction, that human beings are naturally inclined to benefit others, and that wisdom is expressed, among other ways, in socially engaged and beneficial action. It is stressed that the wise person is naturally inclined to exercise his or her virtue in social involvement in family and political life.48 For instance, we are told: Nature has given bulls the instinct to defend their calves against lions with immense force and energy. In the same way, those with great talent and the capacity for achievement, as Hercules and Liber (=Bacchus) are described, have a natural inclination to help the human race.  (Cic. Fin. 3.66)

In the case of magnanimity, this dimension takes the form (indicated in 1.66) of undertaking other-benefiting action, even if this involves danger or disadvantage, and also of ‘rising above’ or ‘being superior’ to circumstances and the advantages or disadvantages of the situation. The socially beneficial aspect is strongly emphasized by Cicero;49 but this is also consistent with core Stoic teachings. In the present context, this aspect of the Stoic idea of magnanimity has a particular interest. As Michael Moriarty brings out, magnanimity in early modern Europe (particularly in Descartes) is linked with generosité. This term does not only suggest the quality of nobility but also the idea that noblesse oblige and that greatness of mind entails acting spontaneously on behalf of others, especially those less fortunate than oneself.50 The last idea might seem to be a purely modern one, perhaps influenced by Christian ideas about the importance of charity or unconditional love. However, Cicero shows how Stoic magnanimity can be seen as

48  Fin. 3.68; see also Diogenes Laertius 7.121, Stobaeus 11m. This theme is fundamental for the social side of the Stoic theory of appropriation (oikeiōsis). 49 Cic. Off. 1.69–78; see also (in connection with wisdom) 1.153–60. 50  See Chapter 6 in this volume, p. 159, p. 167.

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Christopher Gill  63 carrying with it the readiness to act on behalf of others, even when doing so brings disadvantage or danger to oneself. The same motif can also be found in Aristotle in connection with magnanimity.51 So, whether or not this aspect of Cicero has actually influenced Descartes and others, it is a significant point of contact between Stoicism (and Aristotle) and later European conceptions of this virtue. Cicero’s treatment of magnanimity in Book 3 is clearly linked with that of Book 1; although this book is Cicero’s own composition and is less directly based on Panaetius’ treatise, it reflects the Panaetian framework and is also firmly Stoic in conception. The over-arching theme is that the special status of virtue as regards value (its being the only good) means that action in line with virtue should always be chosen, even when this involves loss of advantages (or ‘preferred indifferents’).52 The theme is elaborated in connection with the four virtues defined in Book 1, focusing on magnanimity in 3.97–115.53 Cicero’s mode of explanation is particularizing, through the use of real or hypothetical case-studies, and exemplary figures and episodes, drawn from Cicero’s own experience or Roman cultural history. The culminating exemplar of magnanimity is Regulus, a Roman general captured in the First Punic War (third century bc, 3.99–111). Cicero underlines two features of Regulus’ actions. He was sent to Rome following capture to negotiate the return of Carthaginian prisoners for his own life; but in the event he argued in the Senate against doing so, on the grounds that his life was less valuable to Rome than the lives of the young prisoners were to Carthage. Secondly, after persuading the Senate to take his advice, he chose to return to Carthage, although he went back to certain torture and death. He did so because he had sworn an oath to the enemy that he would return if he did not succeed in negotiating the return of Carthaginian prisoners (3.99–109). These two features of his conduct match the two aspects of magnanimity as defined in Book 1 (though keeping his oath also shows his adherence to principles of justice, 3.104–8). The decision to argue positively against the return of prisoners, against his own advantage, matches the second aspect highlighted in 1.66. It is an exceptional act of social benefit (to Rome), which expresses Regulus’ dedication to his political community and shows his magnanimity (magnitudo animi et fortitudo, 3.99). Both this act and the maintenance of his oath are also presented as expressing this virtue in that they show the readiness ‘to fear nothing, to disdain everything human, and to think that nothing that can happen to a human being cannot be endured’.54 Cicero also underlines the linkage between this case and his main theme in Book 3. Regulus chose to do

51  See Aristotle, EN 4.3, 1124b7–12, also 1123b26–34. 52  Cicero argues repeatedly that there can be no fundamental conflict between the claims of virtue and advantages since virtue is by definition good. See Cic. Off. 3, 9–10, 12, 17–19; also LS 58, 60–1. 53  Justice is the theme of 3.40–96, and decorum in 3.116–20; wisdom is not discussed separately but its exercise is assumed throughout. 54  See 3.100; also 1.66.

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64  Stoic Magnanimity what he saw as right (honestum), rather than what was advantageous (utile), in both aspects of his decision; and in this way too he showed magnanimity.55 Cicero’s treatment of magnanimity in the remaining book (Book 2) is of special interest because it raises the question of Stoic attitudes to honour, and thus marks common ground with Aristotle’s discussion of magnanimity, in which honour is a central theme. Whereas the overall theme of Book 1 is that of the virtues, the overall theme of Book 2 is that of advantages (utilia), Cicero’s equivalent of ‘preferred indifferents’.56 The underlying message of Book 2 is that the only effective, reliable, and legitimate way to secure advantages is to act in line with the virtues (2.17, 33–4). The advantage on which Cicero focuses especially is glory or public approval; and magnanimity is singled out as being especially well suited to prod­ uce this result.57 But as for those who look down with a great and elevated mind upon prosperity and adversity alike (excelso animo magnoque despiciunt), especially when some great and right actions (ampla et honesta) are before them, which draws them wholly towards these things and engages them, who can fail to admire the splendour and beauty of virtue? Therefore a mind contemptuous in this way arouses great admiration.58

The characterization of magnanimity here is entirely orthodox; however, the Stoic character of the broader thesis needs more consideration. How consistent with Stoic ethics is the presentation of a virtue (here, magnanimity) as valuable because it produces an advantage, namely admiration or, more broadly, honour and reputation? It is not problematic that someone should want to obtain advantages; after all, it is standard Stoic doctrine that ‘preferred indifferents’, which include reputation, have a real and positive value and that human beings naturally go for them (LS 58). What is more troubling is the idea that virtue is of value because it brings about advantage, rather than being exercised for its own sake (LS 61 A). Cicero, at one point, addresses this problem explicitly, though what he says is not wholly reassuring: ‘Therefore justice should be cultivated and maintained by every means, both for its own sake (otherwise it would not be justice) and for

55  See 3.99–100, 101, 103, 105–6; also 1.66. A poetic treatment of Regulus, by Horace, slightly later than Cicero’s, also illustrates Regulus’ ‘passion-free’ adoption of the virtuous course of action (Odes 4.5.41–56); on the passion-free character of the wise person, see also Horace, Odes 3.3.1–8 (exemplified by sage-like figures, including Heracles); for this dimension of magnanimity see Cic. Off. 1.66–8. 56  Book 3 is focused on the relationship between virtue and advantage, and the scope for conflict between these. 57 See Cic. Off. 2.32–45; also Dyck, Commentary, 353–60, 416–17, tracing this theme back to Panaetius. See Anthony A. Long, ‘Cicero’s Politics in De Officiis’, in Justice and Generosity: Studies in Hellenistic Social and Political Philosophy, eds A.  Laks and M.  Schofield (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 213–40: 228. 58 Cic. Off. 2.37–8; see also 1.66.

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Christopher Gill  65 the sake of enhancing one’s honour and glory’ (2.42). The first clause represents orthodox Stoicism, but the second is more questionable. However, we need to locate this topic more firmly in Stoic thinking and also take into account Cicero’s subsequent exposition. The relationship between virtue and (preferred) indifferents in Stoicism is not that of opposites; indifferents do not count as goods, but this does not mean they are evil (that is, the opposite of good) (LS 60). In fact, the relationship between virtue and indifferents is closer and more symbiotic than one might suppose. Virtue is properly exercised in selection of indifferents (in a way that promotes obtaining preferred indifferents); and indifferents constitute ‘the material of virtue’, in the sense that their selection provides the means by which virtue is developed.59 Hence, as Long points out, Cicero’s comment (2.42) would have been more consistently phrased as being that ‘justice is both desirable for its own sake and as the only [justifiable] means of securing glory’.60 In other words, the weight needs to fall on the consistency between acting virtuously and securing preferred indifferents, regardless of the difference in value between these two factors. In fact, in his subsequent exposition, this is where Cicero places the emphasis, though he presents this in terms of achieving worthwhile practical results, rather than in terms of doctrinal consistency. More precisely, he stresses that a good reputation (earned as a result of virtue) enables one to achieve socially beneficial results, and achieving such results is part of the work of virtues, as Cicero stresses in Book 1. Cicero’s concern is especially with the way things work in Roman society (when they are working well); but the points he makes in this connection are also compatible with Stoic doctrine.61 In fact, Cicero’s approach here matches a specific position, adopted by some Stoic thinkers regarding the status of honour. Cicero himself provides the main evidence for the debate:62 As far as good reputation is concerned (what they call eudoxia . . .), Chrysippus himself and Diogenes [of Babylon] used to say that, aside from any instrumental benefit (utilitas) it may have, it was not worth lifting a finger for, and I agree with them strongly. But their successors . . . declared that a good reputation is pref­er­able and worthy of adoption in its own right.

This comment assumes a three-fold distinction within the category of ‘preferable indifferents’: (1) those preferable in themselves (such as good appearance), (2) those preferable instrumentally (such as money), and (3) those preferable for 59  LS 64 J, 59 A, D. On this complex question, see Barney, ‘Puzzle’; also Tad Brennan, The Stoic Life: Emotions, Duties, and Fate (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), chs 11–13. 60  Long, ‘Cicero’s Politics’, 232. 61 Cic. Off. 2.36–50; also Long, ‘Cicero’s Politics’, 230–2. For virtue as socially beneficial, see text to nn. 47–51 above. 62 Cic. Fin. 3.57.

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66  Stoic Magnanimity both reasons (such as health). As Cicero indicates, in his comment in De Finibus, he favours the second of these options, on theoretical grounds, while later Stoic thinkers—this might include Panaetius—adopt the first, or perhaps third.63 In De Officiis 2, Cicero presents the idea that the role of glory or honour is instrumental with reference to social practice. Cicero makes the case by reference to Roman aristocratic politics: glory (including electoral and public support) enables one to engage effectively in political action and in this way to benefit the community as a whole. This fits in with the point made earlier about magnanimity (3.37–8) and the other virtues discussed in Book 2. The virtues arouse admiration (a preferred indifferent), in part, because they promote social benefit; admiration or honour reinforces this process, in an instrumental way, by oiling the wheels of social and political process. The point can be put more broadly, in a way which brings out the link with Stoic doctrine. Virtue, while choiceworthy in itself, is also instrumental, in that it produces the good life (the best life for human beings). Indifferents also contribute to this, though in a different way, by playing the instrumental role of forming ‘the material of virtue’, which includes promoting social benefit.64 Hence, overall, Cicero’s presentation of magnanimity and other virtues as effective in producing glory or honour fits not only with his overall theme in Book 2 but also with Stoic ethics in general. I have considered Cicero’s position on virtue and honour in some detail, partly because it is quite complex and partly because, in its complexity, it shares common ground with the other major ancient treatment of magnanimity, that of Aristotle. As already indicated, there is no special reason to think that Cicero (or indeed, Stoic thinking in general on magnanimity) was directly influenced by Aristotle’s extensive treatment of this topic.65 The two theories were developed independently; and Aristotle’s account reflects a number of features of his conception of virtue which are not shared with Stoicism. For instance, in Aristotle magnanimity, like other virtues, is defined as a ‘mean’ between extremes,66 and is not presented as a form of knowledge or expertise but as one of the virtues of character, rather than intellect. Also, Aristotelian magnanimity is defined by its relationship to honour, whereas this is not true of Stoic magnanimity, although analysis of the Stoic idea involves reference to honour. This, in turn, reflects the fact that, for Aristotle, factors such as honour are not simply ‘preferred

63  See Long, ‘Cicero’s Politics’, 232–3; of course, none of these thinkers are placing honour in the same class as virtue (which is not only choiceworthy in itself but also good, rather than a preferable indifferent). Marcus Aurelius gives a low value to honour on rather different grounds—its temporary quality (Meditations 2.17.1, 4.19, 4.37). 64  For virtue as both instrumental and final, see Stobaeus 5g; on indifferents as the ‘material’ of virtue, see LS 59 A; on both factors as promoting the best life for human beings, see text to n. 10 above. 65  That is, Aristotle, EN 4.3, and EE (Eudemian Ethics) 3.3; see text to nn. 2–4 above. 66 Arist. EN 1123b1–15; see also EN 2.6.

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Christopher Gill  67 indifferents’ but are actually goods (external ones), which make an independent contribution to happiness.67 Despite these structural differences, there are some important points of similarity between the two conceptions, bearing especially on the relationship between virtue and honour; these features have been underlined by Terence Irwin in his chapter in this volume (Chapter 1, sections 1.6–1.8). The key relevant points, in Aristotelian terms, are these. The magnanimous person has all the virtues (magnanimity is the ‘crown’ of these) and regards virtue as being of supreme value.68 Magnanimity is distinguished from other virtues by its concern with honour; however, this does not mean that honour is valued by the magnanimous person for its own sake or independently of virtue. The magnanimous person accepts honour precisely because, and in so far as, this is an appropriate mark of recognition of his virtue.69 In holding that virtue has a higher level of value than other things, including honour, Aristotle is close to the Stoics, though their distinction between virtue (as the only good) and indifferents sharpens this point considerably.70 Aristotle’s attitude to honour is also quite similar to Cicero’s Stoic-style position in Off. 2: honour is a public mark of recognition of virtue, and social benefit, and it is appropriate to accept it on those grounds. However, this does not involve attaching special or great importance to honour as such; indeed, Aristotle makes the striking comment that the magnanimous person ‘does not care much even about honour’.71 These points are central ones in Aristotle’s treatment, and they are similar to core features of Stoic thinking on value. They also underlie other points of resemblance between the two theories. As in Cicero, in line with Stoic theory, Aristotelian magnanimity leads naturally to the performance of great actions which are socially beneficial.72 It also leads to the readiness to perform such actions regardless of the danger and damage potentially involved, which the magnanimous person endures willingly. In this respect, the magnanimous person shows indifference to fortune (in Stoic terms, he ‘rises above it), as indicated in these words: ‘he will face great dangers, and when he is in danger he is unsparing of his life, knowing that there are conditions on which life is not worth having (EN 1124b7–8) . . . he is someone who performs few deeds, but great and notable ones (1124b25–6)’.73 A further 67  On these points of difference, see also text to nn. 8–10, 14 above. Stoic indifferents also contribute to happiness but not independently of virtue (see n. 64 above). 68  EN 1123b29–30, 1124a1–3, a7–8. 69  EN 1123b18–25, 1124a5–9, a12–16. See also Irwin, Chapter 1 in this volume, sec. 7, who clarifies Aristotle’s position on virtue and honour by reference to Adam Smith’s comments. 70  See text to nn. 12–16 above; Irwin, Chapter 1, sec. 8, brings out the difference between Aristotle and the Stoics on this point (though he does not refer explicitly to the Stoics). 71  EN 1124a16; however, he adds (a17), ‘though it is the greatest’ (of the external goods). 72  EN 1124b9–12, b25–6; this point is implied throughout 1123a34–b20. See Cic. Off. 1.66, 2.37–8 cited earlier. 73  See text to nn. 6, 43–6 above. See also: ‘he will have a moderate attitude towards . . . all good and evil fortune, whatever may befall him, and will be neither over-joyed by good fortune nor over-pained by bad’ (EN 1124a14–16).

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68  Stoic Magnanimity and less obvious point of resemblance is this: Aristotle illustrates these core features of magnanimity by reference to modes of social behaviour and interaction; this form of description extends to the style of his behaviour. Cicero also exemplifies magnanimity by reference to social behaviour characteristic of it, both in De Officiis Book 1, and also, in connection with honour, in Book 2. To this extent, both accounts contextualize the virtue in social terms while also bringing out the links between the core character of the virtue and the resulting behaviour.74 A point of difference is that illustration of style or manner of behaviour is offered, in Cicero’s Stoicized account, with reference to the virtue of decorum, the analogue of Aristotelian moderation or self-control, rather than magnanimity, although (given the interdependence of virtues) the style of behaviour expresses the same shared characteristics.75 However, overall, the two accounts, when closely examined, exhibit a striking number of shared features, in spite of being independently formulated, and in spite of certain substantive differences of doctrine (for instance, on the nature of goods). In this discussion, I have aimed to highlight the key distinctive features of Stoic thinking on magnanimity. Our evidence for early Stoic thought on this subject is  limited and not widely known; however, it can be firmly linked with salient features of Stoic ethics, notably their theory of value, psychology (especially emotion), and worldview, topics which are closely interconnected in Stoic thinking. This topic also illustrates Stoic ideas on the relationship between practical decision-making, as experienced by ordinary people, and philosophical analysis of this experience. Cicero’s extensive treatment of magnanimity in On Duties is better known and constitutes the main source of Stoic ideas on this subject for later European thought. On the face of it, this treatment introduces several new features and reflects Cicero’s personal preoccupations. However, when closely examined, his discussion is strongly rooted in Stoic doctrine and brings out features of Stoic thinking on magnanimity which are not otherwise evident, notably on the relationship between virtue and honour. On the last topic, Cicero’s ideas are close to Aristotle’s writing on magnanimity, though Cicero seems not to be familiar with this account. Overall, this essay seeks to show that the Stoic conception of magnanimity is coherent and suggestive, and constitutes a substantial alternative to Aristotle’s better-known treatment.76

74 Arist. EN 1123b30–1, 1124a5–12, 1124b9–1125a16. On Cicero, see text to nn. 61, 64 above. The link between the core qualities of magnanimity and its behavioural characteristics is also stressed by Irwin, Chapter 1, sec. 1.10; this aspect of Aristotle’s account has often been seen as merely trivializing the virtue. 75  For social style and decorum, see Cic. Off. 1.98–104, 126–51. On the interdependence of the virtues, see Cic. Off. 1.15, 1.93–6, 2.35; also text to n. 11 above. 76  I am grateful to Sophia Vasalou for her invitation to contribute to this volume and to participants in the magnanimity conference for their helpful comments on an earlier draft of this chapter.

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Christopher Gill  69

Bibliography Annas, Julia. The Morality of Happiness. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993. Annas, Julia, and Gábor Betegh, eds. Cicero’s De Finibus: Philosophical Approaches. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016. von Arnim, Hans, ed. Stoicorum Veterum Fragmenta. 4 vols. Leipzig: Teubner, 1903–5, repr. Munich: Sauer, 2004. Baraz, Yelena. ‘True Greatness of Soul in Seneca’s De Constantia Sapientis’. In Gareth Williams and Katharina Volk, eds., Roman Reflections: Studies in Latin Literature, 157–71. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016. Barnes, Jonathan. ‘Roman Aristotle’. In Jonathan Barnes and Miriam Griffin, eds, Philosophia Togata II: Plato and Aristotle at Rome, 1–69. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997. Barney, Rachel. ‘A Puzzle in Stoic Ethics’. Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 24 (2003), 303–40. Brennan, Tad. ‘Stoic Moral Psychology’. In Brad Inwood, ed., The Cambridge Companion to The Stoics, 257–94. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003. Brennan, Tad. The Stoic Life: Emotions, Duties, and Fate. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005. Brittain, Charles. ‘Cicero’s Sceptical Methods: the Example of the De Finibus’. In Julia Annas and Gábor Betegh, eds, Cicero’s De Finibus: Philosophical Approaches, 12–40. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016. Brouwer, René. The Stoic Sage: The Early Stoics on Wisdom, Sagehood and Socrates. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014. Cooper, John. Reason and Emotion: Essays in Ancient Moral Psychology and Ethical Theory. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999. Dyck, Andrew. A Commentary on Cicero, De Officiis. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1996. Gill, Christopher. ‘Personhood and Personality: The Four-Personae Theory in Cicero, De Officiis 1’. Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 6 (1988), 169–99. Gill, Christopher. The Structured Self in Hellenistic and Roman Self. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006. Gill, Christopher. ‘The Transformation of Aristotle’s Ethics in Roman Philosophy’. In Jon Miller, ed., The Reception of Aristotle’s Ethics, 31–52. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012. Gill, Christopher. Marcus Aurelius, Meditations Books 1–6, translated with introduction and commentary. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013. Graver, Margaret. Stoicism and Emotion. Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2007. Griffin, Miriam T., and Atkins, E. Margaret. Cicero: On Duties, edited and translated. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991.

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70  Stoic Magnanimity Inwood, Brad. Reading Seneca: Stoic Philosophy at Rome. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005. Inwood, Brad, and Gerson, Lloyd, trans., The Stoics Reader: Selected Writings and Testimonia. Indianapolis: Hackett, 2008. Irwin, Terence. The Development of Ethics, vol. 1. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017. Kerferd, George. ‘What Does the Wise Man Know?’ In John M. Rist, ed., The Stoics, 125–36. Berkeley: California University Press, 1978. Long, Anthony A. ‘Cicero’s Politics in De Officiis’. In A. Laks and M. Schofield, eds, Justice and Generosity: Studies in Hellenistic Social and Political Philosophy, 213–40. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995. Long, Anthony, A., and Sedley, David  N. The Hellenistic Philosophers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987. McDowell, John. ‘Eudaimonism and Realism in Aristotle’s Ethics’. In Robert Heinaman, ed., Aristotle and Moral Realism, 201–18. London: UCL Press, 1995. Nielsen, Karen Margrethe. ‘The Nicomachean Ethics in Hellenistic Philosophy: A Hidden Treasure?’ In Jon Miller, ed., The Reception of Aristotle’s Ethics, 5–30. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012. Pomeroy, Arthur  J., ed. Arius Didymus: Epitome of Stoic Ethics. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 1999. Price, Anthony. ‘Aristotelian Virtue and Practical Judgement’. In Christopher Gill, ed., Virtue, Norms, and Objectivity: Issues in Ancient and Modern Ethics, 257–78. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005. Price, Anthony. Virtue and Reason in Plato and Aristotle. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011. Schofield, Malcolm. ‘Stoic Ethics’. In Brad Inwood, ed., The Cambridge Companion to The Stoics, 233–56. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003. Schofield, Malcolm. ‘Republican Virtues’. In Ryan K. Balot, ed., A Companion to Greek and Roman Political Thought. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009. Sedley, David N. ‘The School, from Zeno to Arius Didymus’. In Brad Inwood, ed., The Cambridge Companion to the Stoics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003. Sellars, John, ed. The Routledge Handbook of the Stoic Tradition. London/New York: Routledge, 2016. Sharples, Robert  W. Peripatetic Philosophy 200 bc to AD 200: An Introduction and Collection of Sources in Translation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010. Striker, Gisela. Essays on Hellenistic Epistemology and Ethics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996. Tieleman, Teun. ‘Panaetius’ Place in the History of Stoicism with Special Reference to His Moral Psychology’. In Anna-Maria Ioppolo and David N. Sedley, eds, Pyrrhonists, Patricians, Platonizers: Hellenistic Philosophy in the Period 155–86 BC, Naples: Bibliopolis, 2007.

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Christopher Gill  71 Vogt, Katja Maria. Law, Reason, and the Cosmic City: Political Philosophy in the Early Stoa. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008. White, Nicholas. ‘The Role of Physics in Stoic Ethics’. The Southern Journal of Philosophy 23 (1985), 57–74. Williams, Bernard. ‘Acting as the Virtuous Person Acts’. In Robert Heinaman, ed., Aristotle and Moral Realism, 13–23. London: UCL Press, 1995.

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3

Strengthening Hope for the Greatest Things Aquinas’s Redemption of Magnanimity Jennifer A. Herdt

1.  Aristotelian magnanimity has long seemed to commentators neither internally consistent nor attractive. Its championing by Christian thinkers, notably Thomas Aquinas, has seemed yet more problematic. Is the magnanimous person, on Aristotle’s account, really concerned especially with honour, or rather with virtue (NE 1124a12)?1 Does the magnanimous person really despise other people, and justifiably (NE 1124b5)? Does she wish to be superior to others, and forget what she has received from others (1124b10–15)? Is he properly described as ‘inactive and lethargic’ (NE 1124b24)? And why think of the magnanimous person as the ‘best person’, possessing all the other virtues and magnanimity as ‘a sort of adornment’ (1123b27, 1124a1)? Is Aristotle’s Book IV account perhaps merely pre­lim­in­ary, a report on endoxa, common beliefs that need somehow to be taken into account but not slavishly followed? Why does Aristotle speak both of honour (1123b20–1) and, later, of friendship (1169b9–10) as the greatest external good? Is that a hint that his account of magnanimity ought to be read through a cor­rect­ ive lens provided by his account of friendship, or of contemplation, or both?2 1 Translations will be from Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, trans. Terence Irwin (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1985). 2  René Gauthier pioneered an interpretation according to which magnanimity is exemplified in the life of contemplation praised in Book X, and embodied by Socrates, Magnanimité (Paris: J. Vrin, 1951, 116–17). Neil Cooper argues that Aristotle is following a methodology outlined in the Posterior Analytics for defining terms by finding what apparently contrary instances have in common; the mag­ nanimity of Alcibiades, Achilles, and Ajax on the one hand, and of Socrates and Lysander on the other, are Aristotle’s examples. This leaves him saddled with the impossible task of attempting to con­ struct a unified account of ‘intolerance of insults’ and ‘indifference to fortune’. Neil Cooper, ‘Aristotle’s Crowning Virtue’, Apeiron (1989): 194, citing from Aristotle’s Posterior Analytics, trans. Jonathan Barnes (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1975), 74. Jacob Howland, who likewise takes his bearings from the Posterior Analytics discussion, suggests that we need to bear in mind the ‘pedagogical trajectory’ of the NE as a whole; when we do so, we shall see that it is Socrates who exemplifies true magnanimity, ‘Aristotle’s Great-Souled Man’, The Review of Politics 64.1 (2002): 27–56; 31. Howard Curzer defends Aristotelian magnanimity against modern detractors by arguing that it is greatness and self-knowledge, Jennifer A. Herdt, Strengthening Hope for the Greatest Things: Aquinas’s Redemption of Magnanimity In: The Measure of Greatness: Philosophers on Magnanimity. Edited by: Sophia Vasalou, Oxford University Press (2019). © the several contributors. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198840688.003.0003

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Jennifer A. Herdt  73 Thomas Aquinas, then, defends an Aristotelian notion that is at best riddled with internal tensions, at worst repugnant, particularly for Christians. Despite the fact that of all the Aristotelian virtues magnanimity seems least redeemable, indeed diametrically opposed to the Christian virtue of humility, Aquinas endorses Aristotelian magnanimity, developing an account in the Summa that quotes ‘the Philosopher’ liberally and corrects him, if that is the best way to put it, only silently. Given the range of interpretations of Aristotelian magnanimity itself, it should come as no surprise that commentators on Aquinas do not agree on whether Aquinas’s interpretation is best seen as intentionally subversive or merely as an effort to employ a hermeneutic of charity.3 What is beyond doubt is that Aquinas seeks to interpret magnanimity in a way that renders Aristotle more internally self-consistent and hence more defensible on his own terms while also going beyond Aristotle based on Christian faith. In doing so, Aquinas is drawing on a longstanding Christian tradition of interpreting magnanimity that took its pagan bearings largely from Cicero, rather than Aristotle, and is extending and correcting the thought of medieval Christian interlocutors from Lombard and Philip the Chancellor to his teacher Albert the Great.4 I will not in this context rehearse the details of the important studies that have brought us to this point. I will instead approach the subject of magnanimity in Thomas from the opposite direction—not with Aristotle’s magnanimous person but rather with Jesus Christ as starting point. It is not simply that Aquinas employs a hermeneutic of charity that leads him to attribute as much truth as possible to ‘the Philosopher’, expecting always that what Aristotle says will point to truths more fully available through revelation. More than this: Aquinas sees in Aristotle’s magnanimous person a reference to Jesus Christ. And we understand magnanimity in Thomas only if we focus squarely on where Thomas is heading not concern with honour, that constitutes its core, ‘A Great Philosopher’s Not So Great Account of Great Virtue: Aristotle’s Treatment of “Greatness of Soul”, ’ Canadian Journal of Philosophy 20.4 (1990): 517–38. 3  Harry Jaffa, Thomism and Aristotelianism (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1952), argues that Thomas misses the ways in which Aristotle in Book IV is merely saving common opinion, which honours the life of public activity, not giving his own final viewpoint, according to which the life of philosophic friendship is the best, 130, 133, 139, 141. David Horner defends a broadly Aristotelian conception of magnanimity, arguing that the magnanimous person’s self-recognition as great is prob­ lematic only when it is not accompanied by balancing elements of ‘humility and positive concern for others’—precisely what Aquinas’s account supplies, ‘What It Takes to Be Great: Aristotle and Aquinas on Magnanimity’, Faith and Philosophy 15.4 (1998): 415–44; 428. Other recent treatments include Mary M. Keys, ‘Aquinas and the Challenge of Aristotelian Magnanimity’, History of Political Thought 24 (2003): 37–65, reprinted in Aquinas, Aristotle, and the Promise of the Common Good (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 143–172, and Rebecca Konyndyk DeYoung, ‘Aquinas’s Virtues of Acknowledged Dependence: A New Measure of Greatness’, Faith and Philosophy 21 (2004): 214–27. 4  Gauthier traces the history in considerable detail, Magnanimité, 179–294. The best contemporary treatment is Tobias Hoffmann, ‘Albert the Great and Thomas Aquinas on Magnanimity’, in Virtue Ethics in the Middle Ages: Commentaries on Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, 1200–1500, ed. Istvan Bejczy (Leiden: Brill, 2007), 101–29.

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74 Aquinas ’ s Redemption of Magnanimity with his discussion of the virtues: towards Christ as exemplar of the virtues and saviour of all. It mattered to Thomas to show that the magnanimous person embodies human greatness because it mattered to him to show that Jesus Christ embodies human greatness—an unexpected greatness shown precisely in trust­ ing reliance on God’s gifts, on the one hand, and self-emptying service to fellow human beings, on the other. I proceed, then, by backing off from Thomas’s account of magnanimity to take in more of the surrounding landscape. This will allow us to see magnanimity in relation to God as final end, Christ as the Way to that end, and the virtues as fit­ ting human persons (those creatures who are principles of their own actions) for their part in creation’s reditus to God. This will situate us to make sense, in the second section of the paper, of how Aquinas situates magnanimity with respect to the other virtues and, in the third, to unpack Thomas’s Christ-centred treatment of magnanimity itself.

2.  Far from a stand-alone ‘treatise’ on the virtues, Aquinas’s unpacking of the virtues and vices is embedded within the vast drama of the coming forth of creation from God and the ultimate return of that creation to God, a return or reditus that takes place by way of the creature made to the image of God and therefore capable not simply of passively reflecting God’s glory but of knowing and loving God. Yet if the exitus–reditus structure of the Summa is clear enough from the brief preface to the First Part of the Second Part, the task of tracing the reditus is hardly com­ plete at the end of that volume, nor the next. To be sure, Aquinas has by that point made clear that God is humankind’s last end, an end towards which human per­ sons can direct themselves inasmuch as they are principles of their own actions, ‘having free-will and control’ of their actions (S.T.  I–II Prol).5 He has offered a detailed account of human acts, habits, virtues, and vices, and of law and grace as extrinsic principles of human action. But as the preface to section 3.3 makes clear, humankind, still in via, looks to Christ, the Way who has already arrived at the final end: Forasmuch as our Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ, in order to save His people from their sins (Matt. i. 21), as the angel announced, showed unto us in His own Person the way of truth, whereby we attain to the bliss of eternal life by rising again, it is necessary, in order to complete the work of theology, that after 5  Unless otherwise noted, references to Aquinas are to the Summa Theologiae; translations are from Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, trans. Fathers of the English Dominican Province (Westminster, MD: Christian Classics, 1981).

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Jennifer A. Herdt  75 considering the last end of human life, and the virtues and vices, there should follow the consideration of the Saviour of all, and of the benefits bestowed by Him on the human race.

Just as scholars have come to recognize that Thomas’s account of the virtues is always already informed by his understanding of grace and the acquired virtues, so also in his account of all the virtues—and surely magnanimity—Thomas’s eyes are always on Christ’s perfect human virtue.6 As he reads Aristotle, then, Thomas is not simply asking how what ‘the Philosopher’ says might be affirmed as true of some generic person of virtue; he is asking how it might be affirmed as true of Jesus Christ. Aquinas innovated by including a detailed consideration of the life of Christ in the Tertia Pars. Prior summae of theology had considered the fitness of the incar­ nation, as Aquinas also does, but had not treated the life of Christ as essential to a  systematic theology.7 Within his discussion of the fitness of the incarnation, Aquinas dwells extensively on Christ’s humanity, both on the ‘assumed’ features of human nature itself, and on the ‘co-assumed’ features that differentiate one human being from another, including perfections such as knowledge and grace, and imperfections such as suffering and dying (III.4–15). It is in this context that Thomas directly addresses the question of Christ’s ­virtues. Did he possess the virtues? Yes, Christ had all the virtues, ‘most perfectly beyond the common mode’ (III.7.2 ad 2). Christ needed the virtues because he was truly human. Human beings need the virtues because, unlike other animals, human beings are not adequately directed towards their good simply by way of their natural inclinations. In addition, human beings possess a will, which enables them reflectively to pursue what they understand to be good. The virtues are habitual dispositions that perfect the will and the concupiscible and irascible powers that are moved by the will, so that persons can reliably pursue the good,

6  See Brian Shanley, ‘Aquinas’s Exemplar Ethics’, 353–4, and Joseph Wawrykow, ‘Jesus in the Moral Theology of Thomas Aquinas’, Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 42.1 (2012): 13–34. A  number of other scholars have attended to Christ’s exemplar causality for Thomas: L.  B.  Gillon pointed out the significance of imitation of Christ in Thomas’s preaching and scripture commentaries, a point that has been underscored more recently by Jean-Pierre Torrell. L.-B. Gillon, ‘L’imitation du Christ et la morale de saint Thomas’, Angelicum 36 (1959): 263–86; J.-P. Torrell, ‘Imiter Dieu comme des enfants bien-aimés’, in Recherches thomasiennes (Paris: J. Vrin, 2000), 325–35. Even in the Summa, Thomas insists that all of Christ’s actions are meant to serve as instruction for us. See Richard Schenk, ‘Omnis Christi actio nostra est instructio: The Deeds and Sayings of Jesus as Revelation in the View of Thomas Aquinas’, in La doctrine de la revelation divine de saint Thomas d’Aquin, ed. Léon Elders, Studi Tomistici 37 (Rome: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1990), 104–31. 7  Leo Scheffczyk, ‘Die Stellung des Thomas von Aquin in der Entwicklung der Lehre von den Mysteria Vitae Christi’, in Renovatio et Reformatio: Wider das Bild vom ‘finsteren’ Mittelalter; Festschrift für Ludwig Hödl zum 60. Geburtstag, ed. Manfred Gerwing and Godehard Ruppert (Münster: Aschendorff, 1985), 44–70; Joseph Wawrykow, ‘Jesus in the Moral Theology of Thomas Aquinas’, Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 42.1 (2012): 18.

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76 Aquinas ’ s Redemption of Magnanimity with their passions and affections harmonizing with reason’s judgment, and in the face of whatever contingencies come their way (I–II.56). Hence it makes good sense that Thomas offers a discussion of the life of Christ in which the virtues are on display. Christ’s virtues, however, take surprising forms. So this poor itinerant is affirmed to have shown perfect liberality and mag­ nificence, by spurning the ownership of riches and distributing what he received to the poor (III.7.2 ad 3). And similarly throughout Thomas’s con­sid­er­ation of Christ’s life: whether preaching openly or in puzzling parables, whether healing or commanding secrecy from those healed, all was done fittingly, wisely, virtuously (III.42.3; III.44.3).8 The passion itself was fitting in part because on the cross Christ set ‘an example of obedience, humility, constancy, justice, and the other virtues’ (III.46.3). ‘Omnis Christi actio nostra est instructio’: Aquinas quotes this saying from Cassiodorus seventeen times, underscoring its significance.9 The point here is not merely that Christ, precisely as truly human, as incarnate, is the perfect example of human virtue to be imitated by other human beings. Beyond this, what Aquinas underscores is that Christ’s virtue was made possible by Christ’s receiving the greatest outpouring of divine grace, grace that overflows to others, bringing about the effects of grace, including the virtues and the gifts of the Holy Spirit (III.7.9).10 One might be tempted to think that Christ’s virtue is a singularly unimpressive achievement. After all, Christ is divine as well as human. But Aquinas has no stakes in showing that Christ was an example of independent, divine, excellence. The example that Christ sets, in his true humanity, is precisely an example of perfect dependency on grace. It is, though, not as passive instru­ ment but as agent, active principle of his own actions, that Christ is the recipient of grace. In this, too, he shows the way to his followers. After having affirmed that Christ had all the virtues, Thomas adds two signifi­ cant caveats: Inasmuch as Christ possessed all the virtues ‘most perfectly beyond the common mode’, he did not possess faith and hope, two of the three theological virtues. For these virtues reflect defects on the part of their possessor. ‘Faith and hope signify effects of grace with certain defects on the part of the recipient of grace, inasmuch as faith is of the unseen, and hope of what is not yet possessed’ (III.7.9 ad 1). Christ was not, like other human beings, a wayfarer, but had always already reached his final end, being always in possession of the beatific vision (III.34.4), resting in the perfect knowledge and love of God. Hence faith and hope were superfluous. In a further refinement, however, Aquinas hastens to add that Christ did possess whatever in these virtues did not involve imperfection: ‘hence it was not necessary that in Christ, who is the author of grace, there should be any

8  See also In I Co., II, lect. 1; In Joan. II, lect. 5–6, S.T. III.40.1, 40.2, 40.3, Sermo Puer Jesus, 1: Christ is exemplary in his moderate austerity, his poverty, his preaching, his adolescence, and his expression of sorrow. 9  See Schenk, ‘Omnis Christi actio’, 111. 10  Wawrykow, ‘Jesus in the Moral Theology’, 20–1.

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Jennifer A. Herdt  77 defects such as faith and hope imply; but whatever perfection is in faith and hope was in Christ most perfectly’ (III.7.9 ad 1; III.7.3–4). This is of particular rele­ vance to the virtue of hope, for it signified no imperfection on Christ’s part to hope with respect to aspects of the end not yet accomplished: ‘He had hope as regards such things as He did not yet possess, although he had not faith with regard to anything; because, although He knew all things fully, wherefore faith was altogether wanting to Him, nevertheless He did not as yet fully possess all that pertained to His perfection, viz. immortality and glory of the body, which He could hope for’ (III.7.4). All this is vital for understanding Thomas on magnanimity. For while magna­ nimity is considered one of the ‘parts’ of the cardinal virtue of fortitude (on which more below), it includes an internal reference to hope—directly to the passion of hope, but indirectly also to the theological virtue of hope. Hope is an irascible passion, ‘a movement of the appetitive power ensuing from the apprehension of a future good, difficult but possible to obtain’.11 And magnanimity, Thomas tells us, ‘strengthens persons in hoping for or obtaining the greatest goods’ (S. T. II–II.129.5). What are these greatest goods? For Aristotle, they are clearly bound up with being a public benefactor; the magnanimous person performs few actions, but these are ‘great and renowned’; the magnanimous person faces danger ‘in a great cause’ (NE 1124b25; 1124b7) and is eager to give benefits to others (1124b10ff). Aristotle regards the human good as the realization of the human function, which he identifies with ‘the soul’s activity that expresses virtue’ (NE 1098a15). At the same time, Aristotle argues that the good of the city is ‘a greater and more complete good to acquire and preserve’ than that of an individual, as ‘finer and more divine’ (1094b8). Courage, then, is fine because it places the good of the city before the welfare of the individual, not for the sake of winning the honour rightly due to civic heroes, but simply because it is fine (1116a20). The virtue of magnificence, in turn, is displayed most fully in ‘expenses for the gods’ and those ‘to the benefit of the community’ (1122b20–2). Likewise for magnanimity (or so Aquinas at any rate understands him): if honour is the greatest of external goods (1124a17), what is most fine and therefore worthy of greatest honour is greatness in devotion to the good of the city. As we shall see, Aquinas, too, sees the magnanimous person as public bene­ factor. At the same time, Thomas reads magnanimity through the lens of Cicero’s distinction between an apparent greatness of soul that merely cloaks the desire for fame and pre-eminence, and a true magnanimity that regards moral goodness as the only good (De off. 1.18.64–1.20.67). This shapes Thomas’s interpretation of Aristotle, who also affirms that only virtue is truly worthy of honour (NE 1124a25). 11  S.T.  I–II.40.2. Gauthier traces the connection between magnanimity and hope in Bernard of Clairvaux and others prior to Thomas in Magnanimité, 282–94.

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78 Aquinas ’ s Redemption of Magnanimity In reading Thomas’s account of magnanimity, we do well always to bear in mind, then, that Jesus Christ is the perfect exemplar of magnanimity, even as he possesses all of the perfection but none of the imperfection of the virtue of hope. For Thomas only God is final good, and happiness is ultimately found in knowing and loving God, together with all that God loves. This greatest good is already possessed so fully by Christ that it overflows; he is thus able to bring others into participating in the knowledge and love of God. Hence Christ is an exemplar of magnanimity precisely in being concerned not with the perfection of his own moral goodness (he is already perfect), but with the public benefaction that reaches out to others. In the sense in which he has hope, it is hope for the realiza­ tion of this work of bringing to completion the reditus of creation to God by way of the creature made to the image of God and thus principle of its own actions, capable of freely knowing and loving God (I–II.3.2 ad 4).

3.  Thomas’s placement of magnanimity within his overall treatment of the virtues owes a great deal to his predecessors Philip the Chancellor and his own teacher Albert the Great.12 Peter Lombard had devoted a single distinction to discussing the cardinal virtues, within the context of an account of the theological virtues and gifts of the Holy Spirit.13 It was Philip the Chancellor who expanded the Lombard’s vestigial treatment of the cardinal virtues into a 300-page discussion, according to which both theological and cardinal virtues assist human beings in their reditus to God and are infused by grace.14 Philip innovated further by distin­ guishing general from specific senses of the cardinal virtues, thus reconciling Plato’s insistence on the unity of the virtues with Aristotle’s insistence on their specification by distinct acts.15 Albert the Great, Thomas’s teacher, followed suit, although as the first scholastic thinker to teach the Nicomachean Ethics, the specific senses of the virtues took precedence over the general. He also made more extensive use of Cicero in his account of the ‘parts’ of various virtues.16 Cicero had followed the Stoics in identifying four primary virtues: prudence, justice, temperance, and courage (only by Christian thinkers to be dubbed ‘car­ dinal’). Each primary virtue was associated with various subordinate virtues, which Cicero dubbed ‘parts’. This schema, which made room for a rich array of virtues, while allowing for their ordered arrangement, was eagerly adopted by Christian 12  See Rollen E. Houser’s overview in The Cardinal Virtues (Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies, 2004), 40–64, and Hoffman’s much more in-depth treatment in ‘Albert the Great and Thomas Aquinas on Magnanimity’. 13  Peter Lombard, Sententiae (Rome: Frottaferatta, 1981), 3. d. 33. 14  Philip the Chancellor, Summa de bono, ed. Nikolaus Wicki (Bern: Editiones Francke, 1985). 15  Summa de bono, 101–2; Houser, Cardinal Virtues, 50, 25–7. 16 Albert, Super ethica, ed. Wolfgang Kübel, Opera omnia (Cologne: Aschendorff, 1968); 14.1: 120; Houser, Cardinal Virtues, 60.

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Jennifer A. Herdt  79 thinkers, who nevertheless felt free to tinker with the details. Albert’s commentary interprets Aristotelian magnanimity in light of Chrysippus and Cicero, following Stoic tradition in identifying magnanimity as a subordinate part of courage.17 While clearly influenced by Aristotle’s discussion of magnanimity, Albert’s account departs quite radically from Aristotle in idiosyncratic ways that were not followed by Aquinas: magnanimity becomes a mean with respect to smaller honours, and Albert invents a new virtue, more perfect than magnanimity, that is a mean with respect to the dignity attending high office. Magnanimity, together with the car­ dinal virtues generally, are treated as acquired rather than infused.18 Thomas follows Philip, then, in organizing his overall discussion of the virtues in terms of the cardinal and the theological virtues. While in his overview treat­ ment in I–II the discussion of the cardinal virtues precedes that of the ­theological virtues, when he unpacks the virtues more fully in II–II, the order is reversed: the theological virtues (faith, hope, and charity) come first. This makes sense, since he builds his account from the ground up—from an account of this creature that is to the image of God, principle of its own actions—of the will, intention, choice, pas­ sions, habits, on to the cardinal virtues, the theological virtues, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. At this point, we are able to see that the perfection of this creature is not a perfection of independence, but of relation to God and God’s grace. Human beings are summoned to a happiness that ­surpasses the capacity of their nature, so ‘man’s natural principles which enable him to act well according to his capacity, do not suffice to direct man’ to the happiness of partaking of the Divine nature. It is for this reason that additional principles—the infused virtues (theological and moral) and the gifts of the Holy Spirit—are necessary. Given the Fall, divine assistance is necessary even for direction to the end given by nature (I–II.62.1). While ‘human virtue directed to the good which is defined according to the rule of human reason can be caused by human acts’, the same is not true for virtue that directs human beings to the good of participation in the Divine life (I–II.63.2). Christians need not just the infused theological virtues but also the infused moral virtues, since only these will be proportionate to the theological virtues and human persons’ ultimate end in God (I–II.63.3). Aquinas is generous about the possibility of acquired virtue. Those lacking grace cannot avoid mortal sin but can nevertheless acquire habits of virtue that allow them to ‘abstain from evil in the majority of cases’ (I–II.63.2). In the state of corrupt nature, man falls short of what he could do by his nature, so that he is unable to fulfil it by his own natural powers. Yet because human nature is not altogether corrupted by sin, so as to be shorn of every natural good,

17 Albert, De bono 2.2.2 (157); 2.2.11 (181–2), pp. 101, 112–13, ed. Carl Feckes, Opera omnia (Cologne: Aschendorff, 1951); see Hoffmann, ‘Albert the Great and Thomas Aquinas’, 107–8. 18 Albert, Ethica 4.2.8, Opera omnia, ed. Stephanus C. A. Borgnet (Paris, 1890–9), 7:308, discussed in Hoffmann, ‘Albert the Great’, 110–11.

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80 Aquinas ’ s Redemption of Magnanimity even in the state of corrupted nature it can, by virtue of its natural endowments, work some particular good, as to build dwellings, plant vineyards, and the like; yet it cannot do all the good natural to it, so as to fall short in nothing. (I–II.109.2)

Nevertheless, having shown human beings’ decisive need for grace—both through indicating the inadequacy of the acquired virtues and by means of a thorough account of sin (QQ. 71–89)—it makes sense that Thomas’s fuller account of the virtues will follow Philip’s lead in laying out the virtues as he sees them working in his audience: not pagans, but Christians, who have received the infused virtues, theological and moral, together with the sacraments of baptism and Eucharist. The treatment of the cardinal virtues, hence, follows that of the theological vir­ tues, and the cardinal virtues may thus be assumed to be infused car­dinal virtues except insofar as Thomas specifies otherwise. Magnanimity is not, of course, one of the cardinal virtues. It does, though, hold a special status in Aristotle, who calls it a kind of crown of the virtues (NE 1124a1). Thomas entertains the objection that it should be called principal or car­dinal, given the special standing it has for Aristotle (I–II.61.1). But he offers an account that seeks to honour that status as adornment while maintaining the schema of the cardinal virtues. The cardinal virtues, for Thomas, have a special role to play both as general and as specific virtues; Aquinas here follows the path broken by Philip and Albert. Magnanimity takes its place as one of the parts of fortitude. As a general virtue, necessary for the performance of any virtuous action, fortitude strengthens a person against any passions that divert from pursuit of the good. For contrary to the Stoics, Christian thinkers held that the passions are not to be stamped out, but rather to be placed under the guidance of reason. The fact that the gospels portrayed Jesus as weeping over the death of Lazarus gave power­ ful impetus for rejecting the Stoics on this front. By way of the passions, human beings are drawn to good and repelled by evil; passions are good for creatures who are not always already in possession of the good (I–II.23.1). Passions of the irascible faculty differ from those of the concupiscible faculty. For while the sim­ ple apprehension of good is a source of pleasure (via the concupiscible power), the apprehension of a good that is difficult to obtain is a source of pain, from which we might be expected to flee; the difficult-to-obtain good is the object of the irascible power, which needs to be perfected so that we will not flee in the face of goods difficult to attain (I–II.23.1). We might expect magnanimity to appear as a subordinate part of the virtue of temperance rather than fortitude. After all, on Aristotle’s account, magnanimity regulates the concern for honours, and the apprehension of the good of honour is surely a source of pleasure. However, Aquinas, following the Ciceronian tradition, regards magnanimity as a strength­ ening virtue; strength of character is needed where there are obstacles in the way of the good desired.

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Jennifer A. Herdt  81 As a specific virtue, fortitude strengthens a person in pursuing the good in the face of the danger of death (I–II.61.3). It is these dangers that are seen, following Aristotle, as specifying fortitude, since they are the most difficult to master and most likely to divert a person from pursuing the good. But we require different vir­ tues in relation to different irascible passions, which are directed towards different things. Fortitude is about fear and daring in relation to great danger, while magna­ nimity is about hope and despair in relation to some difficult good (I–II.60.4). Aquinas enumerates four parts of fortitude: magnanimity, magnificence, patience, and perseverance (II–II.129–38). This is a departure from Cicero, who enumerates them as magnificence, confidence, patience, and perseverance.19 However, since Cicero’s definition of magnificence is more appropriate to magna­ nimity, the change was hardly a radical one, particularly since Thomas identifies confidence with magnanimity.20 These are not to be understood as ‘subjective’ parts, i.e., as different species of a general kind, since Aquinas insists that fortitude proper is always about the dangers of death and so has no subjective parts. Rather, they are ‘quasi-integral’ and ‘potential’ parts—quasi-integral, insofar as they are like struc­ tural features that go to make up a whole—‘as wall, roof, and foundations are parts of a house’ (I–II.48)—and potential or secondary parts, insofar as they strengthen a person in somewhat less difficult challenges than the dangers of death. Magnanimity, Thomas tells us, is an integral part of fortitude insofar as it ‘seems to be the same as confidence’ (I–II.128), and with confidence, says Cicero, ‘the mind is much assured and firmly hopeful in great and honorable undertak­ ings’ (I–II.128). It is thus required for any act of fortitude in the specific sense inasmuch as this kind of assurance is required in order to face well the danger of death. It is a potential part, strengthening a person in challenges other than death, insofar as it has to do with great honours. Great honours are difficult to perform; their performance therefore requires a virtue perfecting the irascible power. The connection of magnanimity with confidence and thereby with hope is potentially problematic, in that hope is its own, theological, virtue. Has Thomas’s move just muddied the waters? No, he argues, for by confidence which here is accounted a part of fortitude, man hopes in himself, yet under God withal (II–II.128.2). By making these moves, Thomas skilfully allows the virtue of confidence to ­re-shape that of magnanimity. Clearly Aquinas’s basic definition of magnanimity is more indebted to Cicero than to Aristotle. However, magnanimity’s significance is underscored by inverting the Ciceronian order of treatment: magnanimity now holds pride of place among the parts of fortitude. And when in Q. 129 Aquinas moves beyond a consideration of the various parts of fortitude to a fuller con­sid­ er­ ation of magnanimity, it is Aristotle’s account, with its emphasis on honour-management, that is foregrounded. Aquinas has his hands full in 19 Cicero, de Inventione 2.54.163, ed. Harry M. Hubbell (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1949). 20 Houser, Cardinal Virtues, 28.

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82 Aquinas ’ s Redemption of Magnanimity reconciling an Aristotelian account (problematic in its own terms) with a Christianized Ciceronian understanding of magnanimity. And yet it is clear that he sees Aristotle’s account not just as a nest of problems, but as adding new insight. For Aristotle’s preoccupation with the connection between magnanimity and honour gives Aquinas the opportunity to underscore that Jesus Christ was indeed worthy of the greatest honour and perfectly displays how honour is to be handled.

4.  Aristotle insists that magnanimity is about honour, and even that ‘the magnani­ mous person is concerned especially with honours’ (NE 1124a12). Cicero, in con­ trast, had said that it is about aspiring to great acts. Aquinas deals with this issue by distinguishing between the matter of a virtue and the act of a virtue; the matter is ‘the field of its activity’; the act consists of the right use of the matter. The great­ est acts make the best use of the greatest things. It is external goods that are prop­ erly things to be used, and honour is the greatest among these, as the appropriate attestation to virtue, ‘offered to God and to the best’ (II–II.129.1). This move allows Aquinas to agree with Aristotle that magnanimity is ‘about’ honour, while not making it a matter of seeking honour (and of course Thomas can claim that Aristotle is on his side, since he, too, had insisted that the magnanimous person ‘does not even regard honour as the greatest good’ (1124a17). Magnanimity is not about seeking honour, but about seeking to do what is deserving of honour, and in accordance with reason (II–II.129.3 ad 1). Moreover, the truly magnanimous seek to do these things not because such things are deserving of honour, but simply because they are great (II–II.129.1 ad 3). At the same time, while magnanimity is  not about seeking honour, nor is it a matter of despising honour. Honour is appropriately given to God and the best. It is good that the good be honoured; the recognition, affirmation, and celebration of virtue is a kind of foretaste of the cele­bra­tion of heaven; indeed, Aquinas insists that virtue ‘deserves to be honored’ not just by human beings but by God (II–II.129.2). Ambition, by contrast, as one of the vices opposed to magnanimity, is in­or­din­ ate desire for honour. Honour is due principally to God, since ‘a man has not from himself the thing in which he excels, for this is, as it were, something Divine in him’ and so to be referred to God. Moreover, ‘the thing in which man excels is given to him by God, that he may profit others thereby’. To be pleased with ­honour in an ordinate fashion is to desire it insofar as it enables greater service to others (II–II.131.1). It is good that virtue be honoured, but not that one seek to be virtuous for the sake of receiving honour (II–II.131.1 ad 3). Seeking glory, that is, the clear and beautiful manifestation of one’s own excellence (II–II.132.5), is not vicious if it is glory is sought not for one’s own sake but for the good of others. Lest we think that God, at any rate, is an exception, Aquinas is quick to correct us:

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Jennifer A. Herdt  83 ‘it is therefore evident that God seeks glory, not for His own sake, but for ours’ (II–II.132.1). Hovering in the wings here is the Christ Jesus who, despite being in the form of God, emptied himself and took on the form of a servant, humbling himself, accepting death on a cross, giving up his life so that others might become friends of God—and whose name is therefore exalted by God above all other names (Phil. 2:5–11). Self-giving service to others is rightly glorified so that others may be drawn into similarly self-giving service, and ultimately into the life of God. Magnanimity is essentially about not just any honours, but about great ­honours. Here Aquinas draws on the so-called principle of the limit or ultimate, which plays an important role in his individuation of other virtues, notably his defence of fortitude as having to do strictly with the dangers of death.21 Virtue, he argues, is about the perfection of a power, which is best perceived at its limit, where it has to do with what is most difficult. When it comes to the moral virtues, difficulty arises chiefly from resistance to reason’s moderation of the passions. ‘Some pas­ sions have great power of resistance to reason arising from the external things themselves that are the objects of those passions: such are the love or desire of money or of honor.’ Hence the need for a virtue that regulates the love of h ­ onour. Indeed, he argues, there is need for two virtues, one (nameless) having to do with ordinary honours, and the other with great honours; for it is difficult to handle even ordinary honours well, such as neither to love them for themselves nor despise them (II–II.129.2). Magnanimity proper, though, remains a virtue con­ cerned with great honours. Aquinas does not conclude from this, however, that only the nameless virtue is open to ordinary people. That Christ is the exemplar of perfect magnanimity also means that magnanimity can be possessed by all, at least in habit, if not in act. For by virtue of something’s being Christ’s virtue it becomes a virtue given to all of those who receive the grace-infused virtues (II–II.129.3 ad 2). The act of magnanim­ ity remains something appropriate only to the great, but the disposition resides in the soul. Aquinas thereby saves the Aristotelian doctrine of the interconnectedness of the virtues, according to which someone who has one virtue has them all (I–II.65.1); one may have the habit of magnanimity without its act, since ‘as regards the principles of virtue, namely prudence and grace, all virtues are connected together’ (II–II.129.3 ad 2). But in so doing, he also introduces a significant revi­ sion of Aristotelian magnanimity: Christ’s greatness, shown in humble service to others rather than in self-seeking, becomes the greatness of those he serves, their own habit of virtue, even that crown of virtue that is magnanimity. 21  On the principle of the ultimate, see James Doig, ‘Aquinas and Jaffa on Courage as the Ultimate of Potency’, in Tradition and Renewal: Philosophical Essays Commemorating the Centennial of Louvain’s Institute of Philosophy, edited by David Boileau and John Dick (Leuven: Leuven University Press, 1993), 2:13–21, 19; Doig, Aquinas’s Philosophical Commentary on the Ethics: A Historical Perspective (Dordrecht: Springer, 2001), xvii.

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84 Aquinas ’ s Redemption of Magnanimity This becomes even more explicit in a discussion of humility’s relationship to magnanimity. Magnanimity cannot possibly be a virtue, the objection goes, since no virtue is opposed to another virtue, and magnanimity is clearly opposed to humility, since, Aristotle tells us, ‘the magnanimous deems himself worthy of great things, and despises others’ (II–II.129.3.4). No, Aquinas insists, properly under­ stood magnanimity and humility are not contrary to one another.22 The key to grasping their harmony is seeing that both are appropriate, in different respects: ‘there is in man something great which he possesses through the gift of God; and something defective which accrues to him through the weakness of nature’. Magnanimity quite appropriately ‘makes a man deem himself worthy of great things in consideration of the gifts he holds from God’, while humility ‘makes a man think little of himself in consideration of his own deficiency’ (II–II.129.3 ad 4). Nor does either virtue lead its possessor to despise others as such; the magnani­ mous person despises others ‘in so far as they fall away from God’s gifts: since he does not think so much of others as to do anything wrong for their sake’. In other words, the magnanimous person does not loathe or abhor others. She despises them only in the sense of refusing to follow them into evildoing. Meanwhile, humility leads us to honour others insofar as ‘we see some of God’s gifts in them’. Humility is not to be confused with the vice of pusillanimity; Aquinas agrees with Aristotle that pusillanimity is a vice of deficiency related to magnanimity (NE 1125a20). The pusillanimous fail to strive for what is in their power, clinging to their own opinion of their incompetence (II–II.133.1 ad 3), and overlooking abilities that they derive either from a good natural disposition, or from science, or from external fortune (133.1 ad 2). They therefore benefit others less than they ought (133.1.1). What is in one’s power therefore includes all that one has been given by God. The foolish servant who buried in the earth the talent entrusted him by his master is therefore a prime instance of pusillanimity. Pusillanimity erodes one’s ability to make use of one’s natural and grace-given gifts; humility, in contrast, gives honour where honour is due, recognizing God as the source of all good gifts. There is no tension between this proper referral of honour to God and magnanimity’s aspiration to deploy God’s gifts well in doing good. There are other apparently repugnant and blameworthy features of Aristotelian magnanimity: lack of gratitude for favours received, being slow to act, employing irony towards others and holding oneself aloof from them, and preferring barren things (II.II.129.3 ad 5). Aquinas staunchly defends these features, insisting that they merit praise rather than blame once they are properly understood. Jesus Christ is not named, but he certainly hovers in the wings of Thomas’s discussion.

22  Thomas here follows his teacher Albert, who similarly argued that the humble are aware that what they have they have received from God; see Hoffmann, ‘Albert and Aquinas on Magnanimity’, 116. Humility is a part of modesty, which itself is a potential part of the virtue of temperance (II–II.161–5).

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Jennifer A. Herdt  85 In Thomas’s discussion of the magnanimous man’s concern only with great works, which can look remiss, we hear Jesus praising Mary, listening at his feet, and chiding Martha for her industrious housework (Luke 10: 38–42). In the irony of the magnanimous man, reframed as a refusal to disclose his full greatness, we hear echoes of Jesus’ instructions in the Gospel of Mark not to tell others of healing miracles, along with Jesus’ puzzling use of parables (e.g., Mark 1:43–5). In Aquinas’s redescription of Aristotle’s magnanimous man’s refusal to associate with others as a matter of his being at home with his friends while shunning flattery and hypocrisy, we hear a defence of Jesus’ withdrawal from the adoring crowds, accompanied only by his closest friends. Instead of repudiating the potentially most objectionable features of Aristotelian magnanimity, then, Thomas uses them to defend precisely those features of Jesus that might appear similarly— or not-so-similarly—objectionable. Rightly understood, he insists, these are precisely what we should expect of perfect magnanimity. Defending the association of magnanimity with confidence gives Thomas an opportunity to address magnanimous persons’ apparent independence: ‘it is proper to the magnanimous person to ask for nothing, or hardly anything, but to help eagerly’, says Aristotle (NE 1124b17). The contrast between confidence and magnanimity could not appear more stark, for Thomas insists that confidence ‘apparently denotes chiefly that a man derives hope through believing the word of one who promises to help him’ or from ‘observing that another is friendly to him and powerful’ (129.6). Confidence, then, is for Thomas first and foremost not self-confidence, but rather trusting reliance on another. Yet Aquinas nevertheless continues to insist with a straight face that the Aristotelian account is appropriate. After all, he notes, Aristotle does qualify the claim of independence with ‘or hardly anything’. It is not deficient, but ‘according to the mode of man’ to need assistance; it ‘surpasses man to need nothing at all’. All human beings are in need of help from others, he argues; from God, of course, and also from other human beings; and this is quite appropriate for a social animal such as we naturally are; it is therefore good for the magnanimous to have confidence in these others. And of course, a concluding note adds, ‘in so far as his own ability goes, it belongs to a magnanimous man to be confident in himself ’ (129.6.1). Here, too, we can read in Aquinas not just a skilful rehabilitation of a problematic aspect of Aristotelian magnanimity, but also a reference to Jesus Christ and to Christ’s full and exemplary humanity. Christ’s greatness was shown not in inde­ pendence but in trusting reliance on God’s assistance, and, in small ways, on that of his friends. This hope in the help of others is appropriate even in Christ, and does not detract from but enhances his magnanimity; such neediness—of human help, and ultimately, of divine grace—is good, not deficiently virtuous, and what­ ever is human is found perfectly exemplified in Jesus Christ. This profile of magnanimity as perfect reliance on God emerges with even greater clarity as Aquinas discusses the vices that oppose magnanimity either by

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86 Aquinas ’ s Redemption of Magnanimity excess—presumption, ambition, and vainglory, or by deficiency—pusillanimity. It  would be presumptuous even to seek to act virtuously if we sought to do so independently of God’s assistance—to attempt something with confidence in God, in contrast, is not. Thomas manages to enlist Aristotle’s support here, noting that, as the Philosopher says, ‘what we can do by the help of others we can do by ourselves in a sense’ (130.1).23 It is not presumption to aspire to great things, so long as one does so by way of confidence in God. Aquinas, then, does not merely save Aristotle from his own incompletely consistent account of magnanimity. Nor does he merely subvert that account in order to execute a Christian re-valuation of values. Rather, he finds in the accounts of his predecessors, pagan and Christian alike, clues pointing to the astonishing exemplarity of Jesus Christ. Jesus shows that truly heroic human greatness lies in openness to receiving assistance, rather than grasping at independence, in using the gifts so received for the service of others, and in rendering glory to the God who seeks not glory from God’s creatures but friendship with them.

Bibliography Albert. Ethica. Edited by Stephanus C. A. Borgnet. Opera omnia. Paris, 1890–9. Albert. De bono. Edited by Carl Feckes. Opera omnia. Cologne: Aschendorff, 1951. Albert. Super ethica. Edited by Wolfgang Kübel. Opera omnia. Cologne: Aschendorff, 1968. Aquinas, Thomas. Summa Theologica. Translated by Fathers of the English Dominican Province. Westminster, MD: Christian Classics, 1981. Aristotle. Nicomachean Ethics. Translated by Terence Irwin. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1985. Aristotle. Posterior Analytics. Translated by Jonathan Barnes. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1975. Cicero. De Inventione. Edited by Harry M. Hubbell. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1949. Cooper, Neil. ‘Aristotle’s Crowning Virtue’. Apeiron 22.3 (1989): 191–206. Curzer, Howard. ‘A Great Philosopher’s Not So Great Account of Great Virtue: Aristotle’s Treatment of “Greatness of Soul” ’. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 20.4 (1990): 517–38. DeYoung, Rebecca Konyndyk. ‘Aquinas’s Virtues of Acknowledged Dependence: A New Measure of Greatness’. Faith and Philosophy 21 (2004): 214–27. Doig, James. ‘Aquinas and Jaffa on Courage as the Ultimate of Potency’. In David Boileau and John Dick, eds, Tradition and Renewal: Philosophical Essays 23  What Aristotle says, in the context of his discussion of deliberation, is that ‘what our friends achieve is, in a way, achieved through our agency, since the origin is in us’ (1112b26).

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Jennifer A. Herdt  87 Commemorating the Centennial of Louvain’s Institute of Philosophy, 2:13–21. Leuven: Leuven University Press, 1993. Doig, James. Aquinas’s Philosophical Commentary on the Ethics: A Historical Perspective. Dordrecht: Springer, 2001. Gauthier, René. Magnanimité. Paris: J. Vrin, 1951. Gillon, L.-B. ‘L’imitation du Christ et la morale de saint Thomas’. Angelicum 36 (1959): 263–86. Hoffmann, Tobias. ‘Albert the Great and Thomas Aquinas on Magnanimity’. In Istvan Bejczy, ed., Virtue Ethics in the Middle Ages: Commentaries on Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, 1200–1500, 101–29. Leiden: Brill, 2007. Horner, David. ‘What It Takes to Be Great: Aristotle and Aquinas on Magnanimity’. Faith and Philosophy 15.4 (1998): 415–44. Houser, Rollen  E. The Cardinal Virtues. Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies, 2004. Howland, Jacob. ‘Aristotle’s Great-Souled Man’. The Review of Politics 64.1 (2002): 27–56. Jaffa, Harry. Thomism and Aristotelianism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1952. Keys, Mary  M. ‘Aquinas and the Challenge of Aristotelian Magnanimity’. History of Political Thought 24 (2003): 37–65. Reprinted in Mary Keys, Aquinas, Aristotle, and the Promise of the Common Good, 143–72. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Lombard, Peter. Sententiae. Rome: Frottaferatta, 1981. Philip the Chancellor. Summa de bono. Edited by Nikolaus Wicki. Bern: Editiones Francke, 1985. Scheffczyk, Leo. ‘Die Stellung des Thomas von Aquin in der Entwicklung der Lehre von den Mysteria Vitae Christi’. In Manfred Gerwing and Godehard Ruppert, eds, Renovatio et Reformatio: Wider das Bild vom ‘finsteren’ Mittelalter; Festschrift für Ludwig Hödl zum 60. Geburtstag, 44–70. Münster: Aschendorff, 1985. Schenk, Richard. ‘Omnis Christi actio nostra est instructio: The Deeds and Sayings of Jesus as Revelation in the View of Thomas Aquinas’. In Léon Elders, ed., La doctrine de la revelation divine de saint Thomas d’Aquin, 104–31. Studi Tomistici 37. Rome: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1990. Shanley, Brian. ‘Aquinas’s Exemplar Ethics’. Thomist 72 (2008): 345–69. Torrell, Jean-Pierre. ‘Imiter Dieu comme des enfants bien-aimés’. In Recherches thomasiennes, 325–35. Paris: J. Vrin, 2000. Wawrykow, Joseph. ‘Jesus in the Moral Theology of Thomas Aquinas’. Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 42.1 (2012): 13–34.

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4

Magnanimity, Christian Ethics, and Paganism in the Latin Middle Ages John Marenbon

Aristotle’s presentation of magnanimity seems as though it would pose problems for Christian thinkers. Most of the other individual virtues discussed by ancient thinkers could be, and were, taken over by them unproblematically, as they made their choices among the differing sub-classifications of wisdom, courage, temperance, and justice. Rather, they distanced themselves from the pagan philosophers by claiming that the ancients’ understanding of virtues had been inadequate or false, and that their list of them was incomplete. By contrast the passage in the Nicomachean Ethics on magnanimity contains three linked areas of apparent difficulty from the Christian perspective. It treats honours, which Christians should value little or not at all, as the greatest of external things (1123b17–21). Worse: to be magnanimous is to observe the mean with regard to honours, to think oneself, at the right times and for the right reasons, worthy of the greatest honours.1 As such, magnanimity seems incompatible with the Christian virtue of humility. And the portrait of the magnanimous man (1124b6–1125a16), according to which he does not remember benefits done to him, is dilatory and detached, and has no care for useful things, does not fit the model for a member of a Christian community.2 Yet, with a few important exceptions, these problems failed to materialize. Magnanimity, it becomes clear, was taken into the Christian scheme as readily as other, unobjectionable subordinate virtues such as beneficence, truthfulness, and sobriety, and given more importance than them. This process was facilitated by the contingencies of textual transmission. Aristotle’s particular account of magnanimity became available only in the mid-thirteenth century. For more than a millennium before then, Christian thinkers had used the Stoic conception of this virtue, which does not present the same problems. But the arrival of

1  For the characterization of magnanimity, see Roger Crisp, ‘Aristotle on Greatness of Soul’, in The Blackwell Guide to Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, ed. Richard Kraut (Malden and Oxford: Blackwell, 2006), 160. 2 Cf. Jennifer Herdt, Chapter  3, p. 72. I talk about the magnanimous man, when discussing Aristotle’s Ethics, because he very clearly does not see women as sharing this virtue. By contrast, many of the medieval treatments suggest that the virtue is more general: women as well as males can be magnanimous. John Marenbon, Magnanimity, Christian Ethics, and Paganism in the Latin Middle Ages In: The Measure of Greatness: Philosophers on Magnanimity. Edited by: Sophia Vasalou, Oxford University Press (2019). © the several contributors. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198840688.003.0004

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John Marenbon  89 the Nicomachean Ethics did not provoke a general reaction against this virtue; rather, magnanimity became even more deeply implicated within Christian moral thinking. Although the story of magnanimity in medieval Latin philosophy is not, then, so dramatic as expected, it illuminates the delicate relations between Christianity and paganism no less, showing how the tensions between admiration for ancient, pagan teaching, on the one side, and Christian values, on the other, were resolved, or side-stepped or made manifest below the surface.3 Four illustrations, drawn from this story, will be explored here. The first is about those thinkers, among them Abelard, who developed a notion of magnanimity within a neutral scheme of virtues, from which any Christian considerations are deliberately excluded. The second is set in the late thirteenth century, when Arts Masters borrow from, and react to, Thomas Aquinas’s sophisticated theological appropriation of magnanimity, now seen in the light of Aristotle. The third is provided by the two most influential fourteenth-century Ethics commentaries. The fourth concerns a single thinker, Dante, and his inexplicit and unexpected attitude to magnanimity.

1.  Magnanimity and a Neutral Scheme of Virtues As René-Antoine Gauthier showed in his splendid and comprehensive study of magnanimity up to the time of Aquinas, it was very easy for the Christians of late antiquity to accept magnanimity as a virtue.4 The philosophical conception of it at the time was the Stoic one, according to which it is either a name for courage as a whole or for a part of courage. Moreover, the word magnanimitas was used in  the pre-Vulgate translations of the Bible and was widely adopted by Latin Christian writers, who often used it synonymously with longanimitas (patience). As a result of both linguistic accident and the deliberate wish of some Greek and Latin Christians to adopt Stoic moral ideas, a conception of magnanimity as bearing and overcoming hardships with patience became common in Church writers, and magnanimity was seen by Cassian as a monastic virtue.5 Some twelfthcentury authors took this Christianization even further. For Bernard of Clairvaux, for instance, magnanimity is a specifically Christian virtue exhibited in its supreme

3  I have described these tensions, at their most explicit, as constituting ‘the problem of paganism’: see John Marenbon, Pagans and Philosophers: The Problem of Paganism from Augustine to Leibniz (Princeton and Woodstock: Princeton University Press, 2015). 4  Magnanimité. L’idéal de la grandeur dans la philosophie païenne et dans la théologie chrétienne (Paris: Vrin, 1951) (Bibliothèque Thomiste 28). This study, although more than sixty years old, remains fundamental and, for the medieval period, remarkably balanced in its judgements and comprehensive in the range of material (up to the late thirteenth century) that it covers. For the assimilation of magnanimity into Christian thought, see 212–39. 5  See below, pp. 90–1.

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90  Magnanimity, Christian Ethics, and Paganism form by the magnanimitas credulitatis (‘the magnanimity of belief ’) of the Blessed Virgin Mary.6 There was, however, a different line of approach among Christian thinkers, in  which magnanimity was treated within a framework where the virtues, as classified and described by pagan writers (Stoics or following the Stoic scheme), are treated neutrally. They are kept close to their original form, not obviously Christianized nor supplemented by characteristically Christian virtues. But they are nonetheless presented to a Christian readership as a valuable way of understanding and engaging in moral life. The earliest example is found in the Formula vitae honestae of Martin, Bishop of Braga, in the late sixth century. The Formula is a brief exposition of the four cardinal virtues, in which magnanimity is treated, in Stoic style, as a synonym for courage in general.7 The whole work is full of phrases reminiscent of Seneca, and there is every chance that, as its editor has suggested, the work epitomizes a now lost work by him. (And, appropriately, the work was in fact attributed to Seneca and widely read in the later Middle Ages, under the title De quattuor virtutibus.) The importance of this work lies not in its contents but the conception Martin enunciates in his preface to Miro, the King of Galicia: he has called the book Guide to a Worthy Life, because ‘it does not teach the difficult and perfect things which are performed by outstanding worshippers of God, but rather proposes those things that can be fulfilled, without the commandments of the divine scriptures through the natural law of human intelligence even by lay people who live rightly and worthily’.8 The central writer who continued this line in the twelfth century is Peter Abelard. He first introduced the concept of magnanimity into his work in Book II of the Theologia Christiana (mid-1120s), a eulogy of the ancient Greek and Roman philosophers, not just for their wisdom but for their ascetic, virtuous lives. He illustrates the ‘constancy and unbeaten strength of mind’ (constantia atque animi robur inuictissimum) of Diogenes by the story of how, afflicted by fever as an old man, he slit his own throat so as not to be overcome by the illness.9 But, a moment later, with Augustine’s treatment of suicide in Book I of De civitate Dei in mind, Abelard raises an objection. Is this behaviour, he asks, not the mere appearance of virtue and bravery, but in reality madness? Augustine had introduced the idea of magnanimity here. Augustine writes (Chapter 22) that suicides (other than those acting on God’s orders) are ‘to be wondered at for their greatness of mind, rather than praised for the soundness of their wisdom’. But he goes on, correcting the suggestion here that such behaviour shows magnanimity: ‘if you are more careful 6  See Gauthier, Magnanimité, 283–5. 7  Martini Episcopi Bracarensis opera omnia, ed. Claude Barlow (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1950), 236–50; cf. 204–35. 8  Martini Bracarensis opera, 237: 18–22. 9  Peter Abelard, Theologia Christiana, II.77; Opera theologica II, ed. Eligius Buytaert (Turnhout: Brepols, 1969) (Corpus Christianorum continuatio mediaeualis 12), 165: 1090–110.

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John Marenbon  91 to take reason into account, it will not rightly be called greatness of soul when someone, not being able to put up with difficulties or sins committed by others, commits suicide’. Abelard, who cites this passage of Augustine, writes that those who, like Samson, kill themselves in obedience to a divine command show the ‘greatness of mind and constancy’ (animi magnitudo et constantia) which belong to the virtue of courage ‘which we do not find at all in Diogenes’ (II.81). Abelard also has Cicero’s definition of courage in De inventione (II.163: courage is the considered undertaking of dangers and enduring of labours (fortitudo est considerata periculorum susceptio et laborum perpessio)) in mind. Combining it with Augustine’s emphasis on reasonableness, he declares that where ‘there is not considered—that is prudent and reasonable (prouida et rationabilis)—enduring of labours, there is no basis for tolerance and so there cannot be bravery, since it does not match up with the description of bravery’.10 It was, however, Abelard’s definition of magnanimity in a work written a few years later, the Collationes, which, as Gauthier has shown, would be enormously influential.11 For the definition of courage (fortitudo) as a whole (II.122), Abelard uses Cicero’s definition in the De inventione, but with, as in the Theologia Christiana, an explicit mention of reasonableness (considerata idest rationabilis periculorum susceptio). Unlike any of his sources, he divides courage into just two parts, magnanimity and tolerance (tolerantia); Macrobius’s Commentary on Cicero’s Somnium Scipionis, which Abelard certainly knew, lists (I.8.7) magnanimitas along with tolerantia, but they are two among seven aspects of courage. Magnanimity is defined as ‘that by which, when there is a rational cause, we are ready to undertake things however difficult’ (qua, cum rationabilis subest causa, quamlibet ardua aggredi sumus parati) and temperance is ‘that by which we persevere constantly in the undertaking of this purpose’ (qua in huius propositi incepto constanter perseueramus). For these, Abelard seems to have begun with De inventione. Although that work list neither magnanimity nor tolerance among the parts of courage, it defines (II.163) one of the parts it does include, patience (patientia), as ‘the willing and long-lasting enduring of laborious and difficult things for the sake of worthiness and usefulness’ (honestatis aut utilitatis causa rerum arduarum ac difficilium voluntaria ac diuturna perpessio). Abelard splits this virtue into two, and he gives it a more active aspect: rather than merely enduring difficult labours, we are to be ready to undertake them (magnanimity) and persist with them (tolerance).12 10  The reference to tolerantia may show the influence of Macrobius (see below). 11 The Theologia precedes the Collationes, which (II.78) refer to it. The dating of the Collationes itself has not been firmly established. Gauthier (Magnanimité, 257) followed the consensus of his time in placing it at the end of Abelard’s career, in 1141–2; it now seems (cf. Collationes, ed. John Marenbon and Giovanni Orlandi (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), xxvii–xxxi) that a date ten or so years earlier is more likely. For the influence of Abelard’s definition, see Gauthier, Magnanimité, 257–82. 12  Gauthier (Magnanimité, 261) draws attention to Abelard’s innovatory emphasis on action, which would prove to be very important (see below, pp. 95–6). He cites as the source for the definition

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92  Magnanimity, Christian Ethics, and Paganism Magnanimity is associated with the ancient world in both the Theologia Christiana and the Collationes, but there is a subtle change between the two perspectives. In the Theologia, Abelard is brought to think about magnanimity by Augustine’s arguments against suicide, part of the polemic at the beginning of the City of God against the values, heroes, and heroines of pagan Rome. But he does not at all share Augustine’s point of view. He wishes to set up ancient Greeks and Romans, philosophers especially but not exclusively, as exemplars of the virtues, to be followed by Christians of his day. Indeed, although he has denied that Diogenes’s suicide showed genuine magnanimity, at the end of the discussion Abelard is happy to talk as if he has demonstrated the abstinence and the magnanimity of the philosophers, and will now go on to discuss their continence.13 But Abelard Christianizes this exposition of the virtues, because he regards the ancient pagan philosophers as having been divinely guided in their understanding and practice of virtue. The Church Fathers, he says, borrowed their descriptions of the virtues, such as justice and courage, from the ancient philosophers, as if ‘they had no doubt that they had been spoken by the same Spirit’.14 In the Collationes, however, the definition of magnanimity is put into the mouth of a Philosopher, who is in dialogue here with a Christian. The Philosopher is portrayed as someone who follows no revealed law, and Abelard deliberately distinguishes him from the divinely inspired proto-Christians of the Theologia Christiana.15 Although the Christian does not challenge his description of the virtues, some of the Philosopher’s remarks do not correspond to what Abelard says in his own right.16 Particularly revealing is the case of humility. Humility, a fundamental moral quality for Christians, had no place in the classifications of virtues Abelard could read in his ancient pagan sources, such as Cicero and Macrobius. Nonetheless Abelard chooses to make his Philosopher include it (II.137) as a part of temperance, but give it a description which, while compatible with the Christian conception, is stripped of any distinctively Christian content. Humility is that ‘through which we temper ourselves from an appetite for empty glory so that we do not desire to seem to be greater than we are’. De officiis I.66, where Cicero says that if you have a great and strong mind ‘res geras magnas illas quidem et maxime utiles, sed et vehementer arduas plenasque laborum et periculorum’. Abelard certainly knew one passage from Cicero’s De officiis, but it is not clear whether he knew more of it (cf. Collationes, xlv). Some apparent parallels may have come, rather, from Ambrose’s De officiis ministrorum, but with regard to magnanimitas the passage from Ambrose’s work (I.36.82) is even more distant: see Gabriella d’Anna, ‘Abelardo e Cicerone’, Studi medievali 3a serie, 10.1 (1969), 339–419, for the arguments in favour of Ambrose, especially 416–17 on magnanimity. 13  Theologia Christiana II.87; 170: 1264–5: ‘Quod si post abstinentiam et magnanimitatem philosophorum eorum quoque continentiam consideremus . . .’ 14  Theologia Christiana II.27; 143: 384–8. 15 Marenbon, Pagans and Philosophers, 82–3. 16 See Collationes, liii–liv. In the discussion of courage in his Sententie (Petri Abaelardi opera theologica VI, ed. David Luscombe (Turnhout: Brepols, 2006) (Corpus Christianorum continuatio mediaeualis 14), section 264), Abelard merely says that its parts are ‘whatever make the mind constant against adverse things’.

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John Marenbon  93 The same, deliberately classicizing, non-Christian, but not anti-Christian, ­ erspective is found in the Moralium Dogmata Philosophorum.17 This work may p seem to be no more than a florilegium, since much of it consists of passages taken from classical Latin texts, above all Cicero’s De officiis. But these extracts are arranged and amplified so as to give a systematic account of the virtues, influenced in its shape and details by Abelard’s teaching. Although the parts of courage are Macrobius’s (omitting tolerantia), the definition of magnanimity is exactly Abelard’s: ‘the voluntary and reasonable undertaking of difficult things’ (difficilium spontanea ac rationabilis aggressio).18 The author, influenced by De officiis where magnanimity is equated with the whole of courage, goes on to give this virtue an  elaborate treatment, with poetic illustrations and discussion of how avar­ice, ambition, and recklessness prevent it.19 He emphasizes especially how magnanimity must serve the common good. The idea is proposed in a citation from De officiis (I.19.63—although there Cicero, and the Moralium Dogmata, following him, speak rather of ‘courage’—fortitudo) and in a sentence apparently composed by the author himself, where he says that the virtue looks to ‘common utility’ rather than its own desired ends (commoda).20 There is no figure of a Philosopher, as in the Collationes, nor is there anything to correspond to the presence there of his interlocutor, the Christian. Rather, the Moralium dogmata proposes its teaching about magnanimity and the other virtues without any reference to revealed religion. Humility does not appear at all in the list of virtues, although it probably was there in the source material.21 Neither in the Moralium Dogmata nor in Abelard is magnanimity presented as an ancient pagan virtue that rubs against Christian values; nor, however, is any attempt made to incorporate it within a specifically Christian doctrinal scheme. The immense popularity of the Moralium Dogmata, widely copied, translated into French, German, and even Irish, and incorporated by Brunetto Latini into his Tresor, ensured that this approach survived, at least outside the universities, into

17  The work is attributed to either William of Conches or, as Gauthier has shown is far more probable (‘Pour l’attribution à Gauthier de Chatillon du Moralium Dogma Philosophorum’, Revue du moyen âge latin 7, no. 1 (1951), 19–64), to Walter of Chatillon. 18  The immediate source of this definition seems to be, as Gauthier argues (Magnanimité, 262–7), the Ysagoge in Theologiam or the repetition of the same definition in Alan of Lille’s De virtutibus et  vitiis (see below on both works, which Gauthier shows were used in the Moralium Dogma). But Abelard’s important idea of reasonableness has been restored—suggesting some other contact with his teaching. 19  Das Moralium dogma philosophorum des Guillaume de Conches. Lateinisch, altfranzösisch und mittelniederfränkisch, ed. John Holmberg (Paris, Uppsala, Leipzig, Cambridge, and The Hague: Champion, Almqvist and Wiksells, Harrassowitz, Heffer and Nijhoff, 1929), 30–2. 20  Abelard was fond of making the contrast between the common good and the commodum, what is advantageous and fulfils an agent’s desires, and in the Collationes the definition of justice—not courage or magnanimity—is reinforced by it (cf. II.118 and especially II.131), and so he might have been an influence here, although the term communis utilitas clearly comes from De officiis. 21  Cf. Gauthier, Magnanimité, 266. The treatment of humility in two of the sources, the Ysagoge in Theologiam and Alain of Lille’s De virtutibus, is discussed below.

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94  Magnanimity, Christian Ethics, and Paganism the later Middle Ages. Indeed, there is a whole project of research to be carried out on how this neutral conception of magnanimity was used in a wide range of medieval literature, with the story of Alexander, often called ‘magnanimous’, as a good starting-point.22 The approach was revived at a more philosophical level at the end of the fifteenth century when Giovanni Pontano wrote his De magnanimitate, based on Aristotle and, though addressed to his Italian contemporaries, written in entirely classical terms.23 The main influence, however, of Abelard’s definition of magnanimity (usually as transmitted by the Moralium dogmata) was, as Gauthier has shown, to be on theologians. Abelard’s neutral approach was taken into a specifically Christian doctrinal framework and, finally, used by Aquinas to help integrate Aristotle’s account of this virtue with Church teaching. Abelard, indeed, himself had used the overall view of the virtues he gave to the Philosopher of Collationes as part of his own theological teaching in his Sententie, but he does not mention magnanimity explicitly there.24 But two of the earliest authors to follow Abelard’s def­in­ ition of magnanimity show the theological turn particularly clearly. The Ysagoge in Theologiam, written by Odo, seemingly an Englishman, most probably before 1139, follows Abelard in his overall understanding of the relations between prudence, justice, courage, and temperance.25 Odo uses Macrobius’s divisions of courage (missing out tolerantia), but takes a somewhat mangled version of Abelard’s definition of magnanimity: Magnanimitas est difficilium aggressio spontanea.26 Humility is not, as in the Collationes, treated as belonging to temperance but to courage. It is one of the parts of firmitas, and it is given a thoroughly Christian colouring, as the virtue ‘through which the mind, exalting itself in no way and ascribing nothing good to itself, also presents externally a cast-down appearance’.27 In his De virtutibus et de vitiis et de donis spiritus sancti, written probably about twenty years later, Alan of Lille follows the Ysagoge, with some added elaborations, in how it describes courage, including the definition of magnanimity (spontanea

22 See George Cary, The Medieval Alexander (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1956), 197–200. The references to Alexander as magnanimous in Walter of Chatillon’s Alexandreis (IV.327, VIII.34, IX.326, X.375) are particularly noteworthy, since he was probably the author of the Moralium Dogma. 23  Ed. Francesco Tateo (Florence: Istituto Nazionale di Studi sul Rinascimento, 1969). 24  Sententie 264, 138: 3139–41: ‘Huius (sc. Fortitudinis) partes sunt quecumque animum contra aduersa constantem efficiunt’. The other sentence collections reporting Abelard’s teaching have the same vague comment. 25  Cf. Marenbon, ‘Abelard’s Ethical Theory’, 305–6. For the dating, see Michael Evans, ‘The Ysagoge in Theologiam and the Commentaries Attributed to Bernard Silvestris’, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 54 (1991): 1–2; on the Ysagoge and Abelard see also David Luscombe, The School of Peter Abelard: The Influence of Abelard’s Thought in the Early Scholastic Period (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1970), 236–44. 26  Ysagoge in Theologiam I; Arthur Landgraf, Écrits théologiques de l’école d’Abélard. Textes inédits (Louvai: Spicilegium sacrum lovaniense, 1934) (Spicilegium sacrum lovaniense. Études et documents 14), 77: 4. 27  Ysagoge in Theologiam I; Landgraf, Écrits théologiques, 77: 13–15.

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John Marenbon  95 difficilium agressio) and the description of humility.28 It marks, however, another stage in the Christianization of the material. In the next section Alan explains how these ‘political’ cardinal virtues become catholic virtues through faith, although he goes on to reject the idea, which would become widespread, that babies receive these infused cardinal virtues at baptism (I, art. 4–5).

2.1 Aquinas It was not until 1246–7, with Robert Grosseteste’s translation of the complete Nicomachean Ethics, that Aristotle’s treatment of magnanimity became known in  Latin Europe. The universities of Paris and Oxford, where it was principally studied, were divided into Arts faculties and the higher faculties of Theology, Medicine, and Law. By the end of the 1250s, the Arts faculties had a curriculum based on the study of the near-complete body of Aristotle’s work, naturally including the Ethics. The thinkers who first tried to understand and assimilate the complete Ethics were not, however, Arts Masters, but two Dominican theo­lo­gians, Albert the Great and his pupil, Thomas Aquinas.29 Indeed, it was Aquinas’s work on the Ethics that shaped its reception among Arts Masters through to the early fourteenth century. For that reason, a brief look at his conception of magnanimity is necessary here; much more detail, and a rather different approach, will be found in Jennifer Herdt’s chapter. Near to the end of his career, in 1271–2, Aquinas set about studying and using the Ethics in two ways. He wrote his Sententie on the Ethics, a literal, section-bysection, line-by-line commentary. In the section on magnanimity, he provides, as almost everywhere, a clear and faithful account of Aristotle’s reasoning, with only a few extra touches of his own.30 At the same time as writing the Sententie, Aquinas was working on the second part (IaIIe and IIaIIe) of his Summa Theologiae. Much of the discussion is closely related to the Ethics, to the extent that the IIaIIe might be regarded both as a ­re-thinking of Aristotelian ethics in the light of Christian doctrine, and of Christian

28  The work is edited in Odon Lottin, Psychologie et morale aux XIIe et XIIIe siècles, VI. Problèmes d’histoire littéraire de 1160 à 1300 (Gembloux: Duculot, 1960), 44–92; here 55–6 (I, art. 2). 29  For a survey of the reception of the Ethics and the thirteenth- and fourteenth-century com­ mentaries, see Bénédicte Sère, Penser l’amitié au moyen âge. Étude historique des commentaires sur les livres VIII et IX de l’ Éthique à Nicomaque (XIIIe–XVe siècle) (Turnhout: Brepols, 2007) (Bibliothèque d’histoire culturelle du moyen âge 4), 35–58. I do not discuss here Albert the Great’s work on the Ethics, which influenced Aquinas’s in important respects: see Tobias Hoffmann, ‘Albert the Great and Thomas Aquinas on Magnanimity’, in Virtue Ethics in the Middle Ages: Commentaries on Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, 1200–1500, ed. István Bejczy (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2008) (Brill’s Studies in Intellectual History 160), 101–29. 30  See Hoffman, ‘Albert the Great’, 117–26, for some suggestions about how Aquinas goes beyond Aristotle.

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96  Magnanimity, Christian Ethics, and Paganism doctrine in the light of Aristotelian ethics.31 It is here that Aquinas sets out most clearly the conception of magnanimity, which he had begun to develop almost twenty years earlier, when he was writing his commentary on the Sentences. Gauthier has argued that Aquinas’s main underlying conception of magnanimity is the Abelardian one, of willingness to undertake arduous, difficult tasks. This judgement may seem bizarre, given the concentration on the points and difficulties raised by Aristotle’s Ethics (unknown to Abelard) in the quaestio (IIaIIe [references to the Summa Theologiae are to the IIaIIe], q. 129) devoted to magnanimity.32 But Gauthier’s judgement is vindicated by Aquinas’s overall plan. Aquinas argues (cf. q. 129, a. 6) that by fiducia Cicero meant the same as magnanimitas. He accepts Cicero’s fourfold division of courage into magnificentia, fiducia, patientia, and perseverantia and devotes a whole article (q. 128, a. 1) to justifying it and showing its consistency with other, apparently incompatible divisions. Courage, Aquinas explains (q. 128, a. 1), has two elements, undertaking (aggredi) and bearing (sustinere). The two elements related to undertaking are fiducia (= magnanimitas) and magnificentia. Fiducia/magnanimitas provides the state of mind in which someone begins a courageous action, whilst magnificentia is the disposition needed to carry it out. These and the other two parts are integral parts with respect to courage in its strict Aristotelian sense, facing death in war—that is to say, all four are needed to make up courage in this sense. But, applied to other things, they are merely the potential parts of courage and form separate virtues distinct from it. Magnanimity (here, fiducia), then, properly speaking is concerned with the hope of performing a difficult deed (q. 129, a. 6: circa spem alicuius ardui). The link between this underlying Abelardian conception and Aristotle’s view is that, although magnanimity is directly concerned with hope, it is indirectly concerned with the object of hope, which is honour (q. 129, a. 1, ad2). Why honour? Because a great act consists in the best use of the greatest thing—that is to say, the greatest external thing, since only external things are used. But honour is the greatest of all external things. And so someone aiming to act in the greatest way will hope to win honour (q. 129, a. 1).33

31  Cf. Mark Jordan, ‘Aquinas Reading Aristotle’s Ethics’, in Ad Litteram: Authoritative Texts and Their Medieval Readers, ed. Mark Jordan and Kent Emery Jnr (Notre Dame and London: University of Notre Dame Press, 1992), 229–49 (Notre Dame Conferences in Medieval Studies 3). 32 The Summa Theologiae IIaIIe is quoted from the Leonine edition (Opera omnia iussu impensaque Leonis XIII  P.  M.  edita, VIII–X (Rome; Typographia Polyglotta  S.  C. de Propaganda Fide, Romae, 1895–7–9)) accessed through Corpus Thomisticum (http://www.corpusthomisticum.org). 33  Aquinas makes it even clearer that honour is not the magnanimous person’s goal in his commentary on the Sentences (II, d. 42, q. 2, a. 4; ed. P.  Mandonnet (Paris: Lethielleux, 1929), 1081): ‘tendit in id quod est magnum simpliciter, quod est scilicet actus virtutis perfectus; non autem tendit principaliter in id quod est magnum secundum quid, sicut sunt exteriora bona, inter quae praecipue magnum honor. Non enim magnanimus honorem quaerit tamquam finem voluntatis suae, quia hoc nimis sibi parvum reputat, cum sit vanum et transitorium bonum; unde non multum curat honorari, sed fieri honore dignum, secundum quod honor est testimonium virtutis.’

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John Marenbon  97 By the way in which he inserts it into his complete discussion of the virtues, therefore, Aquinas refocuses Aristotelian magnanimity. The virtue is no longer that of people worthy of great honours who observe the mean with regard to their own worthiness. Rather, magnanimity, although it must involve the greatest deeds, observes a mean ‘because it moves towards those things that are greatest according to reason’ (a phrase that echoes Abelard’s insistence on reasonableness) and so it ‘does not extend itself to things greater than those for which it is worthy’ (q. 129, a. 3, ad1). For Aristotle, magnanimity is a purely self-regarding virtue. Consider someone who performs great socially beneficial actions and is h ­ onoured for them. Such a man is not for this reason magnanimous. What needs to be added for him to be magnanimous is a correct grasp of his own worthiness for these honours—a quality that makes no difference to others, but makes the man himself better.34 For Aquinas, magnanimity is an other-regarding virtue, since it is gained only through performing, reasonably (not attempting the impossible), the sort of great, socially beneficial acts that should win honour. Aquinas is not, therefore, faced with the problem of explaining why Christians should be directing themselves to honour, since honour is involved in his account of magnanimity only in connection with great and socially valuable acts. This emphasis is very clear in how Aquinas replies to the obvious Christian objection that magnanimity is incompatible with the virtue of humility, but no virtue can be the opposite of another (q. 129, a. 3, ad4). Aquinas explains that, in humans, ‘there is something great which we possess from God’s gift, and something faulty, which belongs to us because of the weakness of our nature’. There is no contradiction in the fact that our judgements of ourselves differ when made according to the one consideration or the other. He goes on to explain that magnanimity ‘makes it that people consider themselves worthy of great things, in view of the gifts they have from God, in such a way that, if they have great virtue of soul, magnanimity brings it about that they set out to perform great deeds of virtue’. The correct judging of a person’s own worthiness, which is immediately referred to God, is not seen as valuable in itself, but only because of the stimulation it gives to performing great and virtuous deeds. Rather, it is humility that is a purely self-regarding virtue (as Aquinas will explain in detail later on: q. 161): when we consider ourselves not according to what God has given us, but our own faultiness, we count ourselves as worth little. This explicitly Christian approach is, however, only one of two strategies Aquinas adopts to reconcile humility with magnanimity. In his discussion of humility, he takes another approach, more fully integrated with his theory and 34  Note that the virtue here is not that of having a correct view about the extent to which one is or is not worthy of honours, since this virtue—as an anonymous Press reviewer pointed out—is certainly other-directed as well as self-regarding (others suffer when someone thinks he or she is worthy of more honour than is really deserved). Rather, the virtue here is restricted to those who are in fact worthy of great honours, and it consists in their knowledge of their worthiness.

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98  Magnanimity, Christian Ethics, and Paganism not involving specifically theological doctrines.35 Here humility and magnanimity are presented as a duo, both of which are needed if a person is to follow the right, middle course with regard to pursuing great things reasonably, neither too ambitiously nor too faint-heartedly. We need, he says, one virtue, humility, to ‘temper and restrain the mind, so that it does not seek lofty things immoderately’ and another virtue, magnanimity, which is characterized in Abelard’s terms, as being needed ‘to strengthen the mind against despair and drive it to follow through great things according to right reason’.36

2.2  Magnanimity and the Not So Radical Arts Masters The way that Aquinas’s ethics influenced the Arts Masters was both very direct, and rather surprising. Before 1277, an Arts Master had compiled a commentary on Aristotle’s Ethics, based on—that is to say, with its ideas in large part taken from—mainly the IIaIIe of the Summa Theologiae, and to a much lesser extent from the Sententie on the Ethics.37 This commentary, christened as ‘K’ by its leading historian, Iacopo Costa, does not survive, but it is known from at least seven commentaries based on it (though not based so closely as to permit a reconstruction).38 35  Many commentators, however, believe that the discussion in the whole of the IIaIIe is concerned, not with naturally acquired virtues, but with those infused by God into Christians alone: cf. Gauthier, Magnanimité, 340, 353–4 and Jennifer Herdt’s chapter here. Whether or not this view was in fact Aquinas’s, it seems not to have had great importance, whereas there is a strong contrast between, on the one hand, the human way of acting achieved even through infused magnanimity and, on the other hand, the Gifts of the Holy Spirit and the infused theological virtue of hope (cf. Gauthier, Magnanimité, 338–46, 354). 36  Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae IIaIIe, q. 161, a. 1 c: ‘Et ideo circa appetitum boni ardui necessaria est duplex virtus. Una quidem quae temperet et refrenet animum, ne immoderate tendat in excelsa, et hoc pertinet ad virtutem humilitatis. Alia vero quae firmat animum contra desperationem, et impellit ipsum ad prosecutionem magnorum secundum rationem rectam, et haec est magnanimitas.’ 37  The existence of K was first argued for in R.-A.  Gauthier, ‘Trois commentaires “averroïstes” sur  l’Éthique à Nicomaque’, Archives d’histoire doctrinale et littéraire du Moyen Âge 16 (1947–8), 187–336. The case has been developed by Iacopo Costa: see Le questiones di Radulfo Brito sull’ ‘Etica Nicomachea’, ed. Iacopo Costa (Turnhout: Brepols, 2008) (Studia artistarum 17), 143–54 and Appendix 1 (157–8), where the correspondences between the quaestiones in Radulphus’s commentary and the IIaIIe are listed. The most up-to-date bibliography on the commentaries is in Taki Suto, ‘Anonymous of Worcester’s Quaestiones super librum ethicorum’, Archives d’histoire doctrinale et littéraire du moyen âge 82 (2015), 317–89, at 320–1. 38  The commentaries (excluding one in Paris BNFr lat 16089 that is hardly legible) are as follows: 1. Anonymous in Paris BNFr lat 14698 (1280s), ed. Iacopo Costa, Anonymi Artium Magistri Quaestiones super Librum Ethicorum Aristotelis (Paris, BnF, lat. 14968) (Turnhout: Brepols, 2010) (Studia artistarum 23); 2. Peter of Auvergne, on Books I and II (early 1280s) (ed. A. J. Celano, Medieval Studies 48, 1986, 1–110); 3. Anonymous, in Erlangen, Universitätsbibl. 213 (1280s): see Kimon Giocarinis, ‘An Unpublished Late Thirteenth-Century Commentary on the Nicomachean Ethics of Aristotle’, Traditio 15 (1959), 299–326 and R.-A. Gauthier, Review of Giocarinis, ‘Unpublished Commentary’, in Bulletin Thomiste 10, no. 3 (1957–9), 875–6; 4. Giles of Orleans (after 1298/99), not edited (only MS: Paris BNFr lat 16089), cf. Gauthier, ‘Trois commentaires’, 222–4; and cf. Suto, ‘Anonymous’, 320, n. 18; 5. Anonymous in Erfurt, Amploniana F.13 (after 1298/99), not edited; cf. Suto, ‘Anonymous’, 320, n. 19; 6.

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John Marenbon  99 Gauthier, who first unearthed this commentary tradition, described the authors of the commentaries deriving from K as ‘plagiarists lacking in any personality’.39 More recent scholars have discussed these texts in terms of their degree of heterodoxy, and have considered in this light whether or not each text dates from before or after 1277. In 1277 the Bishop of Paris, Étienne Tempier, condemned 211 propositions supposedly held or entertained by Arts Masters. Some of these implicated views based on Aristotle’s Ethics. K is considered to have been written before the condemnations. The commentaries based on it are believed all, or almost all, to have been written after them. Those written in the immediate aftermath are considered to be timid (any endorsement of condemned views is carefully avoided), but during the decade from 1280–1300 there is, Costa suggests, ‘a gradual loss of prudence’.40 More important, though, according to Costa, is a heterodoxy not of doctrines, but of method: Aquinas had deformed Aristotelian ethics in order to adapt it to his theological summa; K and its followers deform Aquinas’s Summa Theologiae ‘so that its Aristotelian content emerges and they are restored . . . to a purely philosophical state’.41 Magnanimity was far too well accepted as a Christian virtue to be rejected as such in the 1277 condemnations, but Proposition 171 has implications about how it is to be understood. It declares that the virtue of humility includes self-scorn and counting one’s own good things as vile—a position that is not obviously reconcilable with Aristotle’s presentation of magnanimity.42 Yet the Arts Masters’ treatment of magnanimity in the various commentaries suggests, however, that considering K and its descendants in terms of heterodoxy may not be the best perspective for understanding their thinking. Consider the sections on the topic in the two published commentaries in the group which includes the Anonymous Commentary in Paris BnF lat 14698 (=1), probably from the 1280s, and the commentary by Radulphus Brito (=7), from the last years of the thirteenth century.43 Anonymous collection of questions on Ethics in Paris BNFr lat 16110 (end of s. xiii), not edited and unknown to Gauthier: see Iacopo Costa, ‘Il problema dell’omonomia del bene in alcuni commenti scolastici all’Etica Nicomachea’, Documenti e studi sulla tradizione filosofica medievale 17 (2006), 194–6; 7. Radulphus Brito (1295–9), ed. Costa [see note 37 above]. There are a further two commentaries, which probably have an Oxford, rather than a Paris, origin—the anonymous commentary in Worcester Cathedral Library Q. 13 (edited in Suto, ‘Anonymous’, 339–89) and the commentary by the Oxford Master John of Tytynsale, who died c.1289 (see Suto, ‘Anonymous’, 325–8)—which are related to each other very closely and to this group, and which use the IIaIIe in the same way, but make greater use of the Sententie. It has not yet been established whether or not they derive from K. 39  Review of Giocarinis (1959). 40  Iacopo Costa, ‘L’Éthique à Nicomaque à la Faculté des Arts de Paris avant et après 1277’, Archives d’histoire doctrinale et littéraire du moyen âge 79 (2012), 71–114. 41  Costa, ‘L’Éthique à Nicomaque’, 102. 42  See David Piché, La condemnation parisienne de 1277 (Paris: Vrin, 1999), 130. 43  See nn. 37–8 above for editions. The dating of (1) is contested. Luca Bianchi (‘Viri philosophici. Nota sui prologhi dei commenti al’Etica e ai Meteorologica erroneamente attribuiti a Giacomo di Douai (ms. Paris, BnF, lat. 14698)’, in Scientia, Fides, Theologia. Studi di filosofia medievale in onore di Gianfranco Fioravanti, ed. Stefano Perfetti (Pisa: ETS, 2011), 253–87) believes it might antedate 1277,

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100  Magnanimity, Christian Ethics, and Paganism The Anonymous has just one question on magnanimity, q. 90, ‘Is magnanimity a virtue?’ corresponding to Aquinas’s article 3 of q. 129. Radulphus Brito has that question (q. 91) and two others: ‘Does magnanimity have its being with regard to honours?’ (q. 92 = Aquinas, a. 1) and ‘Do riches contribute to magnanimity?’ (q. 93 = Aquinas, a. 8 ‘Do the goods of fortune contribute to magnanimity?’). In both commentaries, much of the substance of the debate—the arguments advanced against the view which the Master wants to advance and the replies to them—comes from Aquinas.44 Moreover, in the so-called ‘body’ of the questions, where the Master gives his own view, the two Arts Masters adopt the main lines of Aquinas’s view. This tendency to copy does not, however, mean that the two commentators end up giving the same view as Aquinas, in abbreviated form. Aquinas’s complex view about the relationship between magnanimity, honour, great deeds, and hope emerges only from considering all the articles of the question on magnanimity and placing them within the wider discussion in the Summa Theologiae. His own answer to the specific question, ‘Is magnanimity a virtue?’ is very simple (q. 129, a. 3): yes, because it provides the rational mean for honour, the greatest of all external goods. The anonymous commentary says much the same. But for Aquinas this particular answer must be understood in the light of his theory as a whole which, although it recognizes magnanimity as a mean with regard to ­honours, links the honours and the virtue with great and difficult actions and the hope needed to undertake them. This element is missing from the anonymous commentary, which thus succeeds in being closer to Aristotle: not because it has eliminated theological content or drifted from orthodoxy, but because it has cut out what is not relevant to its exegetical task. Radulphus Brito, by contrast, does introduce material into his answer to this question from elsewhere in Aquinas’s treatment of magnanimity, so restoring the emphasis on action and the idea of hope, and indeed offering an excellent summary of how its different aspects interlink: ‘magnanimity has its being with regard to honours, directing the appetite lest it despairs in seeking the great honours that have their being with regard to great deeds worthy of honours.’45 It may be that here Radulphus is simply taking and he offers a reading of its author’s views different from Costa’s, although still framed in terms of degrees of heterodoxy. 44  For example, with regard to Aquinas q. 129, a. 3, Anonymous, q. 90 and Radulphus, q. 91: Aqu. Arg. 1 (magananimity is not a mean) = Anon. Arg. 1 = Radulphus Arg. 1; both Anon and Radulphus follow the basic form of Aquinas’s answer to the objection. Aqu. Arg. 2—not found in either of the others. Aqu. Arg. 3 (magnanimity is a bodily disposition, not a mental one) = Radulphus Arg. 2, not in Anon. Radulphus follows Aquinas’s answer. Aqu. Arg. 4 (magnanimity is contrary to humility) = Anon. Arg. 2 = Radulphus Arg. 3. The answers are different from Aquinas’s, although Radulphus refers briefly to Aquinas’s view (see discussion in my text). Aqu. Arg. 5 (magnanimity has some blameworthy properties) = Anon. Arg. 3 = Radulphus Arg. 4. The line of argument is generally like Aquinas’s in both the others. 45  Quaestiones super lib. Ethicorum, q. 91; 393: 39–41.

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John Marenbon  101 more from K than the generally briefer anonymous commentator; or it may be that Radulphus—who would end his days as a Dominican—has introduced extra material from the Summa. Whichever is the case, the change is not one of being more or less orthodox or theological, but of coming closer to Aquinas’s overall view. There is one objection (four for Aquinas, two for the anonymous, and three for Radulphus) that the two Arts Masters answer differently from Aquinas. The objection is about the very area brought up in the 1277 condemnations, humility: no virtue is opposite to another virtue, but magnanimity is opposite to the virtue of humility. Here Aquinas gives his first, theological answer (we are humble when we consider what belongs to us just in virtue of our own nature). Both the an­onym­ous and Radulphus, by contrast, distinguish different sorts of humility. Two are not virtuous at all: one is the vice of pusillanimity, when people do not consider themselves worthy of the honours of which they are worthy; and another characterizes those who pretend to be less worthy than they know they are.46 Each of the commentators then suggests a third type of humility, which is virtuous. For the anonymous it is the unnamed virtue of ‘moderation over honours’ that Aristotle discusses after he has talked about magnanimity (Ethics IV.iv.4–6; 1125b12–26), although here it is made especially to apply to those worthy of only some small honours. Radulphus too says, but in the body of this question, that this unnamed virtue might be called ‘humility’.47 Radulphus’s own third sense of humility is, rather, that displayed where I know that, for a hidden reason, I am not worthy of the honours I am given—for instance, I am revered as learned, but I know that I am ignorant. Radulphus also adds a fourth meaning ‘according to the theo­lo­gians’—a brief summary of Aquinas’s theological answer.48 Neither of these writers seems attracted by heterodoxy. They are trying to explain Aristotle’s ideas; they find Aquinas’s IIaIIe a wonderful guide (a fact that tells a lot about Aquinas’s daring Aristotelianism); but they need to omit, or min­im­ize, any theological elements, since they are not theologians but Arts Masters, commenting on Aristotle. It is not surprising that they do not use Aquinas’s second, non-theological answer to the problem about humility as opposite to magnanimity, since the quaestio in which it occurs, dedicated to humility, is not one that would have been mined for a commentary on Aristotle’s Ethics. One Arts Master, however, did use that second answer—because he was not commenting on the Ethics, but answering an independent disputed question, ‘Is humility a 46  Anonymous, q. 90, ad2; 281: 33–8; Radulphus, q. 9, ad3; 393: 69–394: 69. 47  Compare Anonymous, q. 90, ad2; 281: 38–41: ‘tertio modo dicitur humilis homo qui est dignus qualibus paruis et non estimat se dignum maioribus, et ex hac consideratione non tendit ad maiora et excelsa, et sic humilis potest dici uirtuosus . . .’; Radulphus, q. 91 ; 393: 42–5: ‘Alio modo potest considerari honor vt est in se quoddam bonum, et sic est quedam alia virtus circa honores, que est innominata, vt dicit Philosophus, et forte potest dici humilitas.’ A passage from the commentary by Giles of Orleans (4), quoted by Gauthier (‘Trois commentaires’, 326–7; Magnanimité, 478), puts this view too. 48  Radulphus, q. 91; 394: 84–6.

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102  Magnanimity, Christian Ethics, and Paganism virtue?’ The master was Siger of Brabant, teaching probably only a year or two after Aquinas finished the IIaIIe.49 Siger uses Aquinas’s second answer as the basis for the body of the quaestio, a move which allows him to talk about humility without raising anything about its specifically Christian connotations. As he says, in language close to Aquinas’s: There are two virtues regarding the appetite for what is good but difficult and fleeing from it because it is difficult. They are humility and magnanimity. This is because magnanimity drives people to difficult things according to right reason, and humility restrains the appetite so that it does not seek great things beyond right reason . . .50

Gauthier noticed the borrowing, but argued that Siger deliberately changes Aquinas’s meaning. For Aquinas, magnanimity and humility are complementary virtues belonging to the same person, whereas, Gauthier says, Siger makes them into virtues belonging to different people: magnanimity for the best, humility for lesser ones.51 Gauthier can thus conclude Siger ‘could not have been more scornful of humility’ and, taking advantage of Aquinas’s ‘imprudence’, has ‘here rediscovered the genuine Aristotle’.52 For once, Gauthier is wrong. In his main discussion of humility, in the body of the question, Siger clearly has in mind a single person, as needing both magnanimity and humility, exactly as he had read in the IIaIIe. He makes this very clear in the sentence before the passage just quoted: ‘with regard to the motion of the appetite in seeking [difficult deeds], virtues are required that restrain it; but with regard to the motion of the appetite fleeing from [difficult deeds], virtues such as courage are required that drive it forward’.53 Gauthier reaches his interpretation because of Siger’s response to the objection that, since humility is the opposite of magnanimity, a virtue, it cannot be a virtue itself. Siger answers: With regard to what is then argued, it should be said that humility is a virtue and so too is magnanimity, but magnanimity is a more perfect virtue than humility or temperance with regard to honour. For Aristotle describes it thus in the chapter on magnanimity in Ethics IV. Humility is not, however, a virtue of imperfect people, although it is not a virtue of such perfect people as magnanimity.54

49 See Siger de Brabant. Écrits de logique, de morale et de physique. ed. Bernardo Bazán (Louvain and Paris: Publications universitaires and Béatrice-Nauwelaerts) (Philosophes médiévaux 14), 29–38. 50  Quaestiones morales 1; Siger, 99: 32–5. 51  ‘Trois commentaires’, 325–8; Magnanimité, 476–80. 52  ‘Trois commentaires’, 328; Magnanimité, 480. Gauthier also believes (Magnanimité, 470) that the Anonymous commentaries by Arts Masters on the Ethics can be used to reconstruct Siger’s thought. 53  Quaestiones morales 1; Siger, 99: 29–31. 54  Quaestiones morales 1 ad2; Siger, 99: 43–7.

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John Marenbon  103 Here humility and magnanimity are indeed virtues of different people, but that is  because here Siger is not talking about the sort humility he has taken from Aquinas in the body of his question, the complementary virtue to magnanimity. Rather, Siger is talking about humility identified with the unnamed virtue (like other Arts Masters: see above). It is identified here explicitly as ‘temperance with regard to honour’—that is to say, the virtue that those who are not worthy of great honours gain by pursuing the lesser honours which are due to them according to the rational mean. Gauthier is right, though, that Siger wants to present a view which fits into the Aristotelian framework, even though here he is not commenting on Aristotle. But he is able to do so by reading the IIaIIe selectively, leaving aside everything explicitly related to Christian doctrine and presenting accurately the positions he has chosen.

3.  Magnanimity in the Fourteenth-Century Commentaries on the Ethics The two most important fourteenth-century commentaries on Aristotle’s Ethics—indeed, along with Aquinas’s, the most influential of all the medieval commentaries—were those by Giraut Ott (Geraldus Odonis) and John Buridan.55 Ott was a Franciscan, who in 1329 became a controversial Minister General of his order, favoured by the papacy but disliked by most of his confreres. Before then, quite probably in the 1320s, when he was a master of theology in Paris, he composed a very lengthy commentary on the Ethics, which includes both a literal exegesis of the text, on the lines of Aquinas’s Sententie, but much longer and more painstaking, and quaestiones on the main problems in or suggested by Aristotle’s work.56 Buridan taught at Paris University, from the 1320s to 1350s: he remained an Arts Master for his entire career, gaining great celebrity. He commented on many of Aristotle’s works, and the commentary on the Ethics, left unfinished, is certainly later than Ott’s, which it uses, and perhaps from near the end of his life.57 Ott’s commentary survives in eighteen manuscripts 55  There were many other commentaries on the Ethics written in the fourteenth century, including those by Walter Burley (1330s) and Albert of Saxony (probably 1350s). Richard Kilvington’s ten Quaestiones on the Ethics (1332) include (q. VIII) one about magnanimity (‘Utrum magnanimus dignificet se honoribus sibi dignis’ (Richard Kilvington’s Quaestiones super libros Ethicorum, ed. Monica Michalowska (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2016) (Studien und Texte zur Geistesgeschichte des Mittelalters 121), 272–93). 56  See Camarin Porter, ‘Gerald Odonis’ Commentary on the Ethics: A Discussion of the Manuscripts and General Survey’, Vivarium 47, no. 2 (2009), 241–94 at 246–7, for dating. There is a valuable study of Ott’s commentary in Bonnie Kent, ‘Aristotle and the Franciscans: Gerald Odonis’ commentary on the “Nicomachean Ethics” ’(PhD Diss., Columbia University, 1984). 57 On the use of Ott, see James Walsh, ‘Some Relationships between Gerald Odo’s and John Buridan’s Commentaries on Aristotle’s “Ethics”,’ Franciscan Studies 35 (1975), 237–75. A plausible reason for the unfinished state (about two thirds of the questions that might have been expected on the final

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104  Magnanimity, Christian Ethics, and Paganism and two early printed editions, Buridan’s in over a hundred manuscripts and many early printed editions.58 Although Aquinas’s views were known to both Ott and Buridan, the difference between their commentaries and the IIaIIe, along with the various Arts commentaries based on it, is striking. There is only one quaestio in common between the two fourteenth-century commentators and Aquinas’s IIaIIe: ‘Is magnanimity a virtue?’ (IIaIIe, q. 129, a. 3; Ott IV, q. 29; Buridan IV, q. 11). Whereas Aquinas aims to understand the Aristotelian virtue of magnanimity by fitting it into a conceptual scheme developed earlier in the Middle Ages, when the current idea of magnanimity was the Stoic one, Ott and Buridan confront the account in the Ethics more directly. They accept in a much less qualified way than Aquinas that magnanimity is a virtue about honours, and they then have, to a greater or lesser degree, to develop a view of it compatible with their Christian beliefs. Since Ott was a Franciscan theologian and Buridan an Arts Master, the two men regarded the nature of this task somewhat differently, but the difference should not be exaggerated. Both approached the Ethics as admiring readers of Aristotle, wishing to find a way of accepting his arguments and positions.59 Moreover, Ott states clearly that, in commenting on a moral philosopher, as he is doing, only the acquired virtues, not those which are divinely infused, are under discussion.60 Since, unlike Aquinas, they accepted that magnanimity is concerned directly and unqualifiedly with honours, both commentators realized that they needed to analyse this concept more closely than Aristotle or their medieval predecessors had done. There is an ambiguity in the idea of honours. Suppose I say: ‘Sophia is keen to win honours’. I might mean, first, that Sophia wants to act in the virtuous ways that will bring her honours. Or I might mean, second, that Sophia is concerned above all with the honours themselves—the commendatory speeches, the titles, the medals. In the first sense, my comment is clearly praising. In the second sense, it is likely to be critical—and especially so if it is made from a Christian perspective. Aristotle’s magnanimous man, who cannot be such unless he is virtuous, and who is only moderately pleased to receive honours from those worthy to bestow them, and not at all from others, can easily be read as pursuing honours

book are missing) would be its author’s death. Moreover, Walsh has suggested (‘Some Relationships’, 256–7) that the reason why, towards the end of his commentary but not before, Buridan refers to Ott by name is that by then Ott had died; Ott’s death took place in 1349. 58  On MSS and editions of Ott, see Porter 248–61; for Buridan, see Introduction to István Bejczy, ed., Virtue Ethics in the Middle Ages, 4. 59  Kent (Aristotle and the Franciscans) shows that, for Ott, this attitude is merely an extension of a general respect by Franciscans for Aristotelian ethics, despite the anti-Aristotelianism of a few members of the Order, 60  Sententia et expositio Geraldi Odonis super libros Ethicorum Aristotelis, III, q. 23 (Venice, 1500), f.54 ra: ‘virtutum aliae infusae sunt, ut tradit sanctarum scipturarum auctoritas, et aliae ex humanis operationibus generatae, de quibus agit moralis philosophus. De primis non est hic quaestio’. Cited by Kent, Aristotle and the Franciscans, n. 117 to chapter 2 (p. 118).

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John Marenbon  105 just in the first way. Yet Aristotle does seem to think that, even in the second, external sense, honours have some value. Ott and Buridan both point to this distinction, though they differ in their ­terminology. Ott uses the contrast (Aristotelian, but not used by Aristotle here) between form and matter. Materially, honour is the honourable thing: the status, office, disposition, or deed. Formally, it is the honour due to such a thing, ‘the demonstration of reverence in testimony of virtue’ (exhibitio reuerentie in testimonium uirtutis).61 Buridan makes a rather more elaborate, threefold distinction. ‘Honour’ can be used, he says, first to denote the preceding cause, in which case it  means the thing for which a person is honoured. The only things worthy of ­honour in themselves are the virtues and virtuous deeds. But there are also things worthy of honour ‘by attribution to the virtues themselves and virtuous deeds, as  tools which we use to perform virtuous deeds’. These things include riches, friends, and offices (such as being Pope or a cardinal, or a bishop, or indeed a bishop’s chaplain). Second, the substance denoted by honour is ‘a sign of the opinion that the honoured person acts well’ (signum benefactiue opinionis) or ‘the demonstration of reverence in testimony of virtue’. This phrase copies Ott’s def­in­ ition of honours taken formally, but Buridan uses the form–matter distinction differently. The matter of honours taken substantially are the things or actions themselves—a poem written in one’s praise, or being seated at the head of the table; whereas their form is ‘the designating of the virtue and excellence of the person to whom or on account of whom such a thing is exhibited’. If someone bows to me mockingly, then the gesture becomes one of dishonour. Third, ‘­honour’ can designate the effect which follows, that is to say, ‘the opinion of the virtue and excellence of the person concerned which is produced by this demonstration of reverence’. This opinion, says Buridan, produces the greatest pleasure and mental exaltation for the person honoured, and among other people it is the same as, or a large part of, good reputation (bona fama).62 Ott poses two questions about honour, and Buridan puts the same ones. The first one (Ott, II, q, 24; Buridan, IV, q. 9) is whether it is better to be honoured or to give honour. Ott argues that it is better to give honour than to receive it. His most obvious reason is that receiving honour is merely an extrinsic good, whereas giving honour is an intrinsic good. Buridan is content to accept this answer and follow this line of reasoning. But his discussion is more complex, because it is in this quaestio, rather than next as with Ott, that the apparatus of distinctions about honour is introduced. Using it, Buridan can say that, if honour is gained for a thing that is essentially honourable—the virtues and virtuous deeds: then the person who gives honour and the person who is honoured are the same. For those who perform virtuous deeds make themselves good and generate 61  Sententia, IV, q. 25; f. 81vb. 62  Quaestiones super X libros Aristotelis ad Nicomachum (Paris, 1489) IV, q. 9; f. 99va–vb.

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106  Magnanimity, Christian Ethics, and Paganism virtue in themselves, and so ought to be honoured. In so far, then, as they make themselves good, they give honour to themselves, and in so far as they are good, they are honoured.63

It is with regard to honour understood in the sense of a show of reverence, which Buridan takes as the most proper meaning of the word, that he follows Ott’s view. The second question about honour is whether the magnanimous person, as magnanimous, desires and seeks after (appetat) honours or rather scorns them. This question is a good way of bringing to light the apparent tension in Aristotle’s discussion between the value placed on honours, as the greatest of all external things and something for which a mean disposition is required, and the magnanimous man’s own apparent disregard for them in practice. For Ott, the distinction between the form and the matter of honours resolves the question. Both Aristotle’s view, he believes, and the truth of the matter is that magnanimous people scorn honours in the formal sense—the expressions and trappings of honour, but they seek for honours in the material sense, since to do so is simply to aim to act virtuously.64 Buridan agrees with Ott’s point about honour taken materially. Using the ­distinctions he has made about the meaning of ‘honour’, Buridan says that, if the word is taken to designate the cause why honour is principally owed to someone—being virtuous and performing virtuous deeds, then magnanimous people desire honours and do not scorn them, otherwise their desires would be wrongly directed. But his more complex set of distinctions makes him pose another question. Should a magnanimous person desire honour, when the word stands for the cause, not of why honour is principally owed to someone, but of why it is owed through attribution to the virtues and virtuous deeds? In this sense, ‘honour’ refers to friends, riches, and official dignities, all of which can help towards virtue. Buridan’s conclusion is that magnanimous people desire honours in this sense too, so long as they do not in any way impede gaining, maintaining, and practising virtue—if they do, then a magnanimous person, indeed any good person, will reject them utterly.65 Buridan is not entirely at odds here with Ott, who sees offices and dignities as part of the matter of honour, not its form. But Ott gives no indication that he would take Buridan’s tolerant attitude to the pursuit of riches and friendship.66 This difference of approach is brought out directly by Buridan’s treatment of  ‘honour’ understood substantially, to designate the very acts of honouring (for Ott, the form as opposed to the matter of honour). Here Buridan engages in 63  Quaestiones IV, q. 9; f. 100ra. 64  Sententia IV, q. 25; 81va–82va. 65  Quaestiones IV, q. 10; 101ra. 66  Sententia IV, q. 25; 81va: ‘honor potest sumi dupliciter. Uno modo materialiter pro re honorabili, puta pro statu honorabili uel pro conditione honorabili uel pro officio uel dignitate honorabili; uel pro dispositione uel pro opera honorabili . . .’

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John Marenbon  107 debate with Ott. Ott lists four reasons why people might wish to be honoured: to exalt themselves; so that others do their duty in honouring what is worthy of ­honour; to encourage others to virtue; and in order to glorify God.67 Buridan takes all but the first of these as good reasons, well stated by ‘a certain doctor’, for why a magnanimous person desires honours in the sense of acts of honouring.68 But, continues Buridan, further on this doctor ‘says that the magnanimous person scorns rather than desires honours as a good for himself ’. Buridan says that he too agrees, but only if the effect of honours—the opinion which is produced by receiving honours—is disregarded. The transitory act of being honoured is not something the honoured themselves do, nor does it change them, and so they are no better as a result of it. But the opinion produced by the honours is a great incitement to others to act virtuously, and so it is valuable. It is not an intrinsic good, but it helps towards many great goods: for example, if you are well thought of as a teacher, then people will flock to your classes. The ‘good fame’ linked to honours is something people should care deeply about, and so ‘the magnanimous person does not scorn but greatly desires honours, not for themselves, but for the effects that follow from them’.69 Buridan goes on to note that ‘some great doctors do not agree with this view’, and he seems to have Ott mainly in mind, since he goes on to give a number of the arguments Ott uses for why the magnanimous should scorn honours understood formally.70 But Buridan thinks all these arguments can be answered: It seems to me that these arguments and the like lead just to the conclusion that the magnanimous person, and in general any good person, by comparison with virtue and virtuous deeds entirely scorns honours, and indeed riches and friends and his or her own body, where, as explained above, accepting or keeping or whatever way of obtaining them would stand in the way of virtues or virtuous activities; and if not, not.71

One of the most striking differences between Ott and Buridan lies in something Buridan hardly considers at all: the relationship between magnanimity and humility. Buridan touches on humility in an argument (for the view he does not wish to hold) borrowed directly from Ott, but otherwise he leaves the subject aside.72 67  Sententia IV, q. 25; 81vb. 68  Quaestiones IV, q. 10; 101rb. 69  Quaestiones IV, q. 10; 101va–vb. 70  Compare Ott (IV, q, 25), f. 82ra with Buridan (IV, q. 10), f. 101vb. 71 Buridan, Quaestiones IV, q. 10; f. 101vb. 72  Argument 5 of IV, q. 10 (f. 101ra) is taken almost word for word from Argument 5 of Ott’s IV, q. 25 (f.81va–b). Those who flee from humility, it says, greatly desire honours. But the magnanimous flee from humility—and some parts of Aristotle’s description are given to support this view. Buridan does not give a reply to the argument, but Ott explains that the magnanimous do not flee true humility, only ‘servile and fearful humility, the cause of which is fear or hope for gain’ (f. 82va). In the fifteenthcentury University of Vienna, where Buridan’s commentary was used as the main guide to reading the

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108  Magnanimity, Christian Ethics, and Paganism For Ott, however, it is a major concern—not surprisingly, since Bonaventure, a founder of the Franciscan scholastic tradition, had stressed that magnanimity is humility, and suggested that Aristotle may have thought otherwise.73 Ott poses the question (q. 27) whether every magnanimous person is proud. The arguments for the positive answer are all taken from features of Aristotle’s description of the magnanimous man that make him appear to be a lover of himself and a scorner of God: he seems to scorn others, he wants to excel, he delights in receiving honours. In his response, Ott explains that, although no one who is truly magnanimous is proud, many of the same statements are true of the magnanimous and the proud, but they must be understood in different ways. Both love themselves, but the proud as ends and things whole in themselves, the magnanimous as the effect of God and as parts of the whole universe of God’s creatures. Unlike the proud, the magnanimous scorn their neighbours only in so far as they are bad, and their seeking honours consists in good deeds, whereas the proud seek honours in the formal sense. This strongly Christian reading of Aristotle continues in the following, related question, where Ott sets out to reject the view that ‘no magnanimous person is humble’. He insists that every magnanimous person is humble: Aristotle himself says that the virtues are required for magnanimity, and humility is a virtue, as can be seen from the teaching of Christ, who says ‘learn of me, because I am meek, and humble of heart’ (Matthew xi, 29). In response to the argument that the humble scorn themselves and do not count themselves worthy, whereas the magnanimous do the opposite, Ott explains, following a line already developed by Aquinas, that there are ways in which both the humble and the magnanimous regard themselves as vile—by comparison with God, who bestows benefits on them, and with what they may become—and ways in which they count themselves as worthy—by comparison with what they were before they knew themselves, and by what they are now, compared with what they would be if they ceased to be virtuous. Both of these outstanding fourteenth-century commentaries, therefore, are alike in treating magnanimity from an Aristotelian point of view. The difference is Ethics, the masters were not content with the omission of this problem, and filled in the gap with an idea taken mainly from Aquinas and Ott. See Christoph Flüeler, ‘Teaching Ethics at the University of Vienna: The Making of a Commentary at the Faculty of Arts (A Case Study)’, in Virtue Ethics in the Middle Ages, ed. Bejczy, 293–305. 73 In his commentary on the Hexaemeron, Collatio  V.10 (Opera omnia V, Quarachi: Collegium S. Bonaventurae, 1891, 355), Bonaventure wrote that ‘the sixth mean is magnanimity, so that great things should be valued and vile things despised. This is humility, which despises what appear to be great and values those things which appear to be small, but are truly great. Aristotle says that magnanimity lies in the appetite for honour. But, whatever he might say, truth does not teach this, unless the honour is for eternal things.’ As Kent points out, however (Aristotle and the Franciscans, 68), a different reportatio of the same lectures suggests that Bonaventure was willing to accept magnanimity as a virtue concerned with honours, so long as the honours are fitting.

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John Marenbon  109 between Ott’s decision, understandable from a theologian, also to read the Ethics in a thoroughly Christianizing way, and Buridan’s decision to read the text in a way that should be acceptable to Christians, but is only incidentally an explicitly Christian reading. There is, however, no reason to think that Buridan intended his exposition merely as an account of what Aristotle thought. Buridan seems thoroughly to endorse Aristotle as interpreted by him, with great perspicacity and, at times, a Stoic tinge, as an instructive treatise on the moral life; a guide for Christians, but not a Christian guide.

4.  Dante and Magnanimity It will be clear by now that treatment of magnanimity by medieval philosophers and theologians illustrates how the potential conflict between Aristotle’s description of the virtues and Christian values was avoided. But there is one author, both a philosopher and a poet, who may not have shared this comfortable attitude and who, while admiring magnanimity, associated it strongly with what lay outside Christianity—with paganism, heresy, or dissent. That writer is Dante. Outside the Commedia, Dante’s comments on magnanimity have nothing special to mark them out. In the Convivio, he contrasts it with pusillanimity (I.11.18–20) and gives it an Aristotelian definition (IV.17.4), though also at one point (IV.26.7) equates it, in Stoic fashion, with courage as a whole. In De vulgari eloquentia, the word is used once (II.7.2) in a comparison, for the spirit in which a genuinely great deed is done; in the Monarchia II.5.2 it is applied to Camillus, whose selfdenying virtuous conduct is being praised; and in Letter 7 (20) Hercules is called ‘the magnanimous’. In the Commedia, arguably, magnanimity receives a different treatment, but it is not an explicit one. Rather, it rests on suggestions made by particular words and phrases in the Commedia, rather than on any more definite statement of position. The word magnanimo occurs just twice in the Commedia. But both uses are significant. In the first case, near to the beginning of the work, it is applied to Virgil: ‘S’i’ho ben la parola tua intesa’, rispuose del magnanimo quell’ombra, ‘l’anima tua è da viltade offesa;        45 la qual molte fïate l’omo ingombra sì che d’onrata impresa lo rivolve, come falso veder bestia quand’ombra.      48 Da questa tema acciò che tu ti solve, dirotti perch’io venni e quel ch’io’ntesi nel primo punto che di te mi dolve.’       51

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110  Magnanimity, Christian Ethics, and Paganism The ghost of the magnanimous poet replied: ‘If I have understood your words correctly, your spirit is attacked by cowardly fear, which often weighs men down, so that it turns them from honourable action, like a beast seeing phantoms in the dusk. So that you may shake off this dread yourself, I shall tell you why I came, and what I heard at the first moment when I took pity on you’ (Inferno II).74

In the second case, further on in the Inferno, the word is applied to Farinata degli Uberti, the Ghibelline leader: Ma quell’altro magnanimo, a cui posta restato m’era, non mutò aspetto, né mosse collo, né piegò sua costa . . .         75 But that other magnanimous one, at whose wish I had stopped, did not alter his countenance nor move his neck, nor turn his side. (Inferno X)

Virgil and Farinata may not seem to have much in common: Virgil is Dante’s hero, his guide through Hell and much of Purgatory; Farinata is one of the damned. But then, despite his virtue and lack of fault, so is Virgil, even if his damnation takes place in Limbo rather than Hell proper.75 Virgil is damned for being a pagan, and Farinata, though a contemporary of Dante’s, is also damned for not being a Christian. He is in the circle of Hell where Epicurus and his followers are placed in tombs in which they will be closed up on the Day of Judgement: the contrapasso for their sin—che l’anima col corpo morta fanno (Inferno X, 15)—their denial of human immortality, which Dante makes the distinctive, and damning, mark of Epicureanism.76 The fact that Farinata is called magnanimo was seized on by critics to suggest that Dante gives him, though damned, a tragic grandeur. More recently, however, specialists have become wary of such romantic readings. John Scott has argued that, in the Italian of his time, magnanimo carried a strong pejorative implication of pride.77 The evidence of Dante’s other uses of the Italian word (in the Convivio) and the Latin one suggests otherwise, however: in none of these instances is pride, in the pejorative sense, indicated. Moreover, few texts were so influential on the 74  All the texts from Dante are cited according to the edition by the Società Dantesca Italiana of Le opere di Dante, ed. F. Brambilla Ageno et al. (Florence: Edizioni Polistampa, 2012). All translations are my own. 75  There is much controversy about the reasons for Virgil’s damnation, and some scholars even believe that he has not been finally damned. See Marenbon, Pagans and Philosophers, 189–93, 208–10, for one view and bibliography. 76  See John Marenbon, The Hellenistic Schools and Thinking about Pagan Philosophy in the Middle Ages: A Study of Second-Order Influence (Basel: Schwabe, 2012) (Freiburger mediävistische Vorträge 3), 28–38. On Dante and Epicureanism, see also George Corbett, Dante and Epicurus: A Dualistic Vision of Secular and Spiritual Fulfilment (London: Legenda, 2013) (Italian Perspectives 25), 8–41. 77  John A. Scott, ‘Dante magnanimo’, in his Dante Magnanimo. Studi sulla ‘Commedia’ (Florence: Olschki, 1977) (Saggi di ‘Lettere Italiane’ 25), 239–345.

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John Marenbon  111 Commedia as Aristotle’s Ethics and Aquinas’s IIaIIe, and so it is likely that Dante took ‘magnanimity’ to designate a virtue. And the use of the word to describe Virgil, Dante’s hero, reinforces this suggestion. Scott has a counter-argument to just this third point. He points out that magnanimo is used here to describe Virgil because of the particular point that is being made. Dante the character is demonstrating a lack of magnanimity—a lack of willingness to undertake a great and arduous deed (his other-worldly journey) through which he will gain honour, pusillanimity—viltade as Virgil calls it, with which Virgil’s own readiness to face these dangers is contrasted. Even so, the use of the word at this point shows that Dante gives it strongly positive connotations, and indeed places it firmly within its Aristotelian context. The most important reference to Aristotelian magnanimity in the Commedia comes, however, in a passage where the word is not itself used. Francesco Forti has noticed that the description in Inferno IV of the virtuous pagans in limbo is full of the language of greatness and honour, linking it verbally to the standard Latin translation of the Ethics and to Aquinas’s Sententie.78 One parallel is particularly striking. Aquinas comments in his Sententie on Aristotle’s characterization of the magnanimous man thus: Et dicit [Philosophus] quod motus magnanimi videtur esse gravis et locutio eius videtur esse stabilis, id est tarda. And the Philosopher says that the movement of a magnanimous man seems to be weighty, and his speech seems to be firm, that is, slow.79

Dante describes the great ancient writers, heroes and heroines, who inhabit the noble castle in Limbo, in this way: Genti v’eran con occhi tardi e gravi, di grande autorità ne’lor sembianti: parlavan rado, con voci soavi. The people there had slow, serious eyes. There was great authority in their faces. They spoke seldom, with sweet voices. (Inferno 4, 112–14)

Dante’s alchemy has transformed the idea in Aristotle and Aquinas, transferring the ponderousness and gravity from movement and voice, to which they apply literally, to the eyes, about which they are true in a richer, metaphorical sense. But the link is evident.

78  Francesco Forti, Magnanimitade. Studi su un tema dantesco (Bologna: Pàtron, 1977), 9–48, esp. 29–31. 79  Sententia libri ethicorum IV.10; S.  Thomae Aquinatis opera omnia (editio leonina) XLVII.2 (Rome: St Thomas Aquinas Foundation, 1969), 236: 240–2. Forti quotes (Magnanimitade, 29–30) from an older and less reliable edition of Aquinas’s Sententia, but the parallel is unaffected.

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112  Magnanimity, Christian Ethics, and Paganism Dante, then, implies that his emblematically virtuous pagan men and women are magnanimous; and the most emblematic of them all, Virgil, is explicitly called ‘magnanimous’. Farinata, indeed, is not a pagan, but as a follower of Epicurus, who distanced himself from Christianity not merely by a failure to know Christ, but a denial of human immortality, it is not difficult to see why Dante might want to treat him together with pagans and be ready to recognize virtues in him, which, like those of Virgil himself, do not in any way help towards his salvation.80 What makes the attitude to magnanimity evinced in the Commedia so unusual is not that this virtue is attributed to virtuous pagans and to Farinata, the dissenter, but that in the whole poem, so rich in its attribution of virtues and vices, only they are said to be magnanimous. Perhaps this line of interpretation can be stretched even a little further. If Dante found something vitiated but admirable in Farinata, he nevertheless judged him heterodox and damned as a result. But there was a different way in which, ar­gu­ably, according to Dante’s views, a Christian could think outside and without reference to Christianity. The Christian could adopt an attitude of ‘Separationism’, the limited relativism taken by some Arts Masters, who saw their job as being exclusively the teaching and study of Aristotelian science, based on reason without revelation, and who fought to defend the independence of this separate sphere of activity.81 It was against a caricatured version of such limited relativism that Étienne Tempier had issued his condemnations in 1277. The most famous of them was Siger of Brabant, and readers of the Commedia may be surprised to find him in Paradise, along with Aquinas, Albert, and Bonaventure, until they remember that Dante himself, most strikingly in the Monarchia, puts forward a version of Separationism adapted to his own position as a philosopher outside the universities.82 The canto of Paradiso in which Siger appears is no. 10. Dante specialists, aware of the almost musical tightness with which the Commedia is organized, have pointed to the importance of the vertical parallels between the same-numbered cantos of the three cantiche of the Commedia.83 The canto of Inferno in which Farinata, the ‘magnanimo’, appears is also no. 10. If Dante is using this parallel to point to a contrast, the most obvious one is between the legitimate bounds of philosophical enquiry and independence, represented by the adventurous Aristotelianism of Albert and Aquinas, as well as Siger’s. But a look at the wording of the lines about Siger suggests that Dante is also evoking the theme of magnanimity, already associated with Farinata: 80  For a view of Farinata which, while avoiding the romanticization of some earlier critics, shows how Dante could have found him admirable, though flawed and limited, see Corbett, Dante, especially 42–64. 81  See Marenbon, Pagans and Philosophers, 142–55. 82  See Marenbon, Pagans and Philosophers, 188–210. 83  On vertical reading, see the Introduction (1–11, at 1–8) by George Corbett and Heather Webb to the collection they edit: Vertical Readings in Dante’s Comedy I (Cambridge: Open Book, 2015).

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John Marenbon  113 Questi onde a me ritorna il tuo riguardo, E’l lume d'uno spirto che’n pensieri gravi a morir li parve venir tardo: essa è la luce etterna di Sigieri, che, leggendo nel Vico de li Strami, silogizzò invidïosi veri. . . . The one from whom your glance returns to me, is the light of a spirit, to whom, in weighty thoughts, it seemed dying came slowly. It is the eternal light of Siger, who, teaching in the Rue du Fouarre, syllogised truths that made him hated. (Paradiso 10, 133–8)

Although the context is quite different, the collocation of gravi and tardo should take the alert reader back to the virtuous pagans con occhi tardi e gravi in Canto IV of Inferno and, behind that, Aristotle’s portrait of the magnanimous man. It is a hint that the reader of the Commedia should associate under the banner of magnanimity Siger, advocate of the independence of rational, Aristotelian speculation, with the virtuous pagans, notably Virgil, and the heterodox Farinata. Almost alone among medieval authors, Dante appears to have sensed that Aristotelian magnanimity should not be made to fit too easily into a scheme of Christian virtues.

5. Conclusion In general, the story of magnanimity among the medieval Latin thinkers is one of successful assimilation of a concept that, seen in its usual, Aristotelian light, would not have been expected to fit easily into any sort of Christian framework. An important reason why the expected did not happen is that medieval writers first encountered magnanimity in its Stoic, rather than Aristotelian form. Abelard’s treatment of the Stoic virtue, influenced by Augustine, proved very influential. Abelard had deliberately put aside theological considerations in his discussion. This neutral approach to magnanimity was taken up in a whole trad­ition of writing on the borderline between what is considered literature and what is considered philosophy—a development not discussed here, but certainly meriting more research. Abelard’s idea of magnanimity was also centrally important in the more strictly philosophical and theological tradition. His idea of magnanimity gave Aquinas a  basis for integrating Aristotle’s account of it, now available, into specifically Christian moral thinking. In turn, Aquinas’s approach, as developed in IIaIIe of the Summa Theologiae, underlay that of the Arts Masters, who adapted it in line with their task as Aristotelian commentators. For later writers, such as Ott and Buridan, magnanimity had been so successfully domesticated within a Christian framework that they could focus on Aristotle’s account, Christianizing it more (as in Ott) or less (as in Buridan), in line with their own predilections. Dante was

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114  Magnanimity, Christian Ethics, and Paganism the exception. By suggesting in the Commedia, implicitly but powerfully, that it is a pagan virtue that jars with Christian values, Dante points to an underlying tension at once animating but hidden by other medieval accounts of magnanimity.

Bibliography Primary Texts Abelard, Peter. Opera theologica II, edited by Eligius Buytaert. Turnhout: Brepols, 1969. Corpus Christianorum continuatio mediaeualis 12. Abelard, Peter. Collationes, edited by John Marenbon and Giovanni Orlandi. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001. Abelard, Peter. Opera theologica VI, edited by David Luscombe. Turnhout: Brepols, 2006. Corpus Christianorum continuatio mediaeualis 14. Anonymi Artium Magistri Quaestiones super Librum Ethicorum Aristotelis (Paris, BnF, lat. 14968), edited by Iacopo Costa. Turnhout: Brepols, 2010. Studia artistarum 23. Aquinas, Thomas. Opera Omnia. corpusthomisticum.org/iopera.html

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Aquinas, Thomas. Opera omnia iussu impensaque Leonis XIII  P.  M.  edita, VIII–X. Rome: Typographia Polyglotta S. C. de Propaganda Fide, 1895–7–9. Aquinas, Thomas. Scriptum super sententiis, II, edited by P.  Mandonnet. Paris: Lethielleux, 1929. Aquinas, Thomas. Sententia libri ethicorum = S. Thomae Aquinatis opera omnia (editio leonina) XLVII.2. Rome: St Thomas Aquinas Foundation, 1969. Bonaventure. Opera omnia V. Quarachi: Collegium S. Bonaventurae, 1891. Brito, Radulphus. Le questiones di Radulfo Brito sull’ «Etica Nicomachea », edited by Iacopo Costa. Turnhout: Brepols, 2008. Studia artistarum 17. Buridan, John. Quaestiones super X libros Aristotelis ad Nicomachum. Paris, 1489. Dante, Alighieri. Le opere, edited by F.  Brambilla Ageno et al. Florence: Edizioni Polistampa, 2012. Das Moralium dogma philosophorum des Guillaume de Conches. Lateinisch, altfranzösisch und mittelniederfränkisch, edited by John Holmberg. Paris, Uppsala, Leipzig, Cambridge, and The Hague: Champion, Almqvist and Wiksells, Harrassowitz, Heffer and Nijhoff, 1929. Écrits théologiques de l’école d’Abélard. Textes inédits, edited by Arthur Landgraf. Louvain: Spicilegium sacrum lovaniense, 1934. Spicilegium sacrum lovaniense. Études et documents 14. Martin of Braga. Opera omnia, edited by Claude Barlow. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1950. Ott, Giraut (Geraldus Odonis). Sententia et expositio super libros Ethicorum Aristotelis. Venice, 1500.

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John Marenbon  115 Peter of Auvergne. ‘Commentary on Aristotle’s Ethics I–II’, edited by A.  J.  Celano, Medieval Studies 48 (1986): 1–110. Pontano, Giovanni. De magnanimitate, edited by Francesco Tate. Florence: Istituto Nazionale di Studi sul Rinascimento, 1969. Richard of Kilvington. Quaestiones super libros Ethicorum, edited by Monica Michalowska. Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2016. Studien und Texte zur Geistesgeschichte des Mittelalters 121. Siger of Brabant. Écrits de logique, de morale et de physique, edited by Bernardo Bazán. Louvain and Paris: Publications universitaires and Béatrice-Nauwelaerts. Philosophes médiévaux 14.

Secondary Works Bejczy, István, ed. Virtue Ethics in the Middle Ages: Commentaries on Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, 1200–1500. Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2008. Brill’s Studies in Intellectual History 60. Bianchi, Luca. ‘Viri philosophici. Nota sui prologhi dei commenti al’Etica e ai Meteorologica erroneamente attribuiti a Giacomo di Douai (ms. Paris, BnF, lat. 14698)’. In Stefano Perfetti, ed., Scientia, Fides, Theologia. Studi di filosofia medievale in onore di Gianfranco Fioravanti, 253–87. Pisa: ETS, 2011. Cary, George. The Medieval Alexander. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1956. Corbett, George. Dante and Epicurus: A Dualistic Vision of Secular and Spiritual Fulfilment. London: Legenda, 2013. Italian Perspectives 25. Corbett, George and Webb, Heather, eds. Vertical Readings in Dante’s Comedy, I. Cambridge: Open Book, 2015. Costa, Iacopo. ‘Il problema dell’omonomia del bene in alcuni commenti scolastici all’Etica Nicomachea’. Documenti e studi sulla tradizione filosofica medievale 17 (2006): 157–230. Costa, Iacopo. ‘L’Éthique à Nicomaque à la Faculté des Arts de Paris avant et après 1277’. Archives d’histoire doctrinale et littéraire du moyen âge 79 (2012): 71–114. Crisp, Roger. ‘Aristotle on Greatness of Soul’. In Richard Kraut, ed., The Blackwell Guide to Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, 158–78. Malden and Oxford: Blackwell, 2006. D’Anna, Gabriella. ‘Abelardo e Cicerone’. Studi medievali 3a serie, 10, no. 1 (1969): 339–419. Evans, Michael. ‘The Ysagoge in Theologiam and the Commentaries Attributed to Bernard Silvestris’. Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 54 (1991): 1–42. Flüeler, Christoph. ‘Teaching Ethics at the University of Vienna: The Making of a Commentary at the Faculty of Arts (A Case Study)’. In István Bejczy, ed., Virtue Ethics in the Middle Ages: Commentaries on Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics 1200–1500, 286–346. Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2008. Forti, Francesco. Magnanimitade: Studi su un tema dantesco. Bologna: Pàtron, 1977.

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116  Magnanimity, Christian Ethics, and Paganism Gauthier, René-Antoine. ‘Trois commentaires «averroïstes» sur l’Éthique à Nicomaque’. Archives d’histoire doctrinale et littéraire du Moyen Âge 16 (1947–8): 187–336. Gauthier, René-Antoine. ‘Pour l’attribution à Gauthier de Chatillon du Moralium Dogma Philosophorum’. Revue du moyen âge latin 7, no. 1 (1951): 19–64. Gauthier, René-Antoine. Magnanimité. L’idéal de la grandeur dans la philosophie païenne et dans la théologie chrétienne. Paris: Vrin, 1951. Bibliothèque Thomiste 28. Gauthier, René-Antoine. Review of Giocarinis, ‘Unpublished Commentary’. Bulletin Thomiste 10, no. 3 (1957–9): 875–6. Giocarinis, Kimon. ‘An Unpublished Late Thirteenth-Century Commentary on the Nicomachean Ethics of Aristotle’. Traditio 15 (1959): 299–326. Hoffmann, Tobias. ‘Albert the Great and Thomas Aquinas on Magnanimity’. In István Bejczy, ed., Virtue Ethics in the Middle Ages: Commentaries on Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics 1200–1500, 101–29. Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2008. Brill’s Studies in Intellectual History 160. Jordan, Mark. ‘Aquinas Reading Aristotle’s Ethics’. In Mark Jordan and Kent Emery Jnr, eds, Ad Litteram: Authoritative Texts and their Medieval Readers, 229–49. Notre Dame and London: University of Notre Dame Press, 1992. Notre Dame Conferences in Medieval Studies 3. Kent, Bonnie. ‘Aristotle and the Franciscans: Gerald Odonis’ commentary on the “Nicomachean Ethics”.’ PhD Diss., Columbia University 1984. Lottin, Odon. Psychologie et morale aux XIIe et XIIIe siècles, VI. Problèmes d’histoire littéraire de 1160 à 1300. Gembloux: Duculot, 1960. Luscombe, David. The School of Peter Abelard: The Influence of Abelard’s Thought in the Early Scholastic Period. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1970. Marenbon, John. The Hellenistic Schools and Thinking about Pagan Philosophy in the Middle Age: A Study of Second-Order Influence. Basel: Schwabe, 2012. Freiburger mediävistische Vorträge 3. Marenbon, John. Pagans and Philosophers: The Problem of Paganism from Augustine to Leibniz. Princeton and Woodstock: Princeton University Press, 2015. Piché, David. La condemnation parisienne de 1277. Paris: Vrin, 1999. Porter, Camerin. ‘Gerald Odonis’ Commentary on the Ethics: A Discussion of the Manuscripts and General Survey’. Vivarium 47, no. 2 (2009): 241–94. Scott, John A. ‘Dante magnanimo’. In his Dante Magnanimo. Studi sulla ‘Commedia’. Florence: Olschki, 1977. Saggi di «Lettere Italiane» 25. Sère, Bénédicte. Penser l’amitié au moyen âge. Étude historique des commentaires sur les livres VIII et IX de l’Éthique à Nicomaque (XIIIe–XVe siècle). Turnhout: Brepols, 2007. Bibliothèque d’histoire culurelle du moyen âge 4. Suto, Taki. ‘Anonymous of Worcester’s Quaestiones super librum ethicorum’. Archives d’histoire doctrinale et littéraire du moyen âge 82 (2015): 317–89. Walsh, James. ‘Some Relationships between Gerald Odo’s and John Buridan’s commentaries on Aristotle’s “Ethics” ’. Franciscan Studies 35 (1975): 237–75.

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5

Greatness of Spirit in the Arabic Tradition Sophia Vasalou

Much—if not quite enough—has been written about the development of greatness of soul and its cognate concepts in ancient philosophy and in the European context more broadly.1 The best-known account of the virtue has been Aristotle’s, but this virtue also featured prominently in the ethical outlook of other ancient philosophers, such as the Stoics, and it is possible to trace its continued trajectory among numerous later philosophers, such as Aquinas, Descartes, Hume, and (with a dash of argument) Kant. Yet what about the Arabic-Islamic context? Virtually nothing seems to be known about the presence of this concept within Islamic culture and the life it led there. My aim in this chapter is to redress this gap by a selective recounting of the life this concept led within the Arabic-Islamic tradition. One of the surprises of this life-story is that there are no fewer than two concepts that can be identified as interlocutors—to put it as broadly as possible— of the ancient virtue of greatness of soul, concepts whose trajectories converged yet also diverged in critical respects. The focus of one of these concepts (kibar al-nafs or ‘greatness of soul’) was on the right attitude to the self and its merits, and bore a strong affinity to Aristotle’s configuration of the virtue. As thus articulated, this virtue would seem to stand in profound tension with certain elements of Islamic morality. By contrast, the focus of the second concept of virtue (ʿiẓam al-himma or ‘greatness of spirit’) was on right desire or aspiration, and some of its chief architects parsed it more specifically as a foundational virtue of aspiration to virtue. Unlike the first concept, which failed to strike deep roots in Arabic-Islamic ethical culture, the second spread like wildfire through a number of genres of ethical writing. It is the second concept that will form the chief protagonist in this chapter. Yet before setting out to plot this story, it is important to take a step back and consider what it means to look for this story in the first place—and this includes, above all, what it means to identify its subject. 1  Material from this chapter also appears in my Virtues of Greatness in the Arabic Tradition (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019).

Sophia Vasalou, Greatness of Spirit in the Arabic Tradition In: The Measure of Greatness: Philosophers on Magnanimity. Edited by: Sophia Vasalou, Oxford University Press (2019). © the several contributors. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198840688.003.0005

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118  Greatness of Spirit in the Arabic Tradition

1.  Identifying the Subject: Two Questions What kind of question might one be asking when one asks about the presence of this concept in the Arabic tradition? There are various possibilities, each of them hinging on different ways of understanding what it means to pick out the concept at stake. The most obvious way of understanding the question is as a question about how thinkers in the Arabic tradition responded to one of the articulations of the virtue found in the ancient context, whose intellectual legacy was mediated to them through the large-scale translation of Greek philosophical texts that took place in the Islamic world from the eighth century onwards. Given the prominence of Aristotle’s articulation of the virtue, the most attractive and most natural way of posing the question would be as a question about the Arabic reception of Aristotle’s account. How, one would want to ask, did Arab thinkers react to Aristotle’s distinctive understanding of this virtue as a quality regulating the attitude to honour and self-worth? Who were the key thinkers, and the key texts? A central part of this task would be to identify the Arabic term through which Aristotle’s term (megalopsychia) was rendered and to track its textual footprint. This ‘natural’ way of posing the question might appear an unduly restricted one. Aristotle’s configuration of the concept was after all not the sole one available in the ancient context. Even if we say nothing about the differences between Aristotle’s own accounts across different works, such as the Eudemian and the Nicomachean Ethics, Plato before him had configured it differently in the Republic, where he had connected it to intellectual activity.2 The Stoics after him would configure it even more differently still. Where Aristotle had emphasized the concern with honour—however delicately he may have finessed this concern, parsing it as a merely ‘moderate’ attachment resulting in measured pleasure at honour conferred by the appropriate people (NE 1124a5–7)—prominent Stoics tipped the virtue sharply away from attachment and towards an attitude of more unqualified detachment, an attitude englobing not just honour but all external goods. The great-spirited man, in Cicero’s words, is marked by ‘disdain for things external, in the conviction that a man should admire . . . nothing except what is honourable and seemly, and should yield to no man, nor to agitation of the spirit, nor to fortune’.3 As against Aristotle’s rather supine image of the great-souled man and more audible accent on passive receiving, Cicero also underscored the active aspect of the virtue and its connection with the performance of ‘great’ and beneficial’ actions. Similarly, while the emphasis on self-worth does not seem to be

2  I am thinking especially of the remarks at Republic 486a; the term there is not megalopsychia but megaloprepeia. 3 Cicero, On Duties, ed. and trans. M.  T.  Griffin and E.  M.  Atkins (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), Book 1, 66.

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Sophia Vasalou  119 entirely absent from Stoic views, it appears to be pegged less to the individual moral qualities of the self than to its universal features.4 What even this brief foray calls attention to is that talk of ‘the’ concept of ‘the’ virtue should not lead us to overlook the plurality of ways in which this concept was articulated, and indeed the plurality of terms through which it was expressed in the ancient context (Plato’s megaloprepeia, Aristotle’s megalopsychia, Longinus’ megalophrosyne, Cicero’s magnitudo animi). If, in fact, we look far back enough to take in the Homeric roots of the concept—as Aristotle himself invites us to do in his Posterior Analytics—our sense of the conceptual and linguistic boundaries of the concept will be loosened still further.5 This is merely the thin edge of a wedge that can be driven right through to appropriations of the concept much later in philosophical history. This is not to deny the possibility that these plural configurations may be unified by important conceptual elements that allow us to consider them as instances of a ‘single’ concept which can be recounted as part of the same story. The heuristic premise of this volume is that they can (keeping in mind that the notion of a  ‘single concept’ is itself not hermetically sealed but fuzzy around the edges). As Arthur Lovejoy noted in a different context, intellectual novelty is often less a matter of the emergence of entirely original elements, than of a new patterning or re-arrangement of existing ones.6 Many of the historical configurations of greatness of soul could be seen as different ways of patterning or balancing a limited number of existing elements. Looking at the above configurations, one might identify at least two such dominant elements: an attitude to self-worth (patterned as high appreciation by reference to different conceptions of the self), and an attitude to external goods, including honour (patterned as moderate concern or contempt). The way such elements were patterned by particular philosophers in the ancient context reflected larger differences in ethical outlook. The great French scholar René Antoine Gauthier went so far as to say that greatness of soul was the battleground on which nothing less than ‘the relationship between human beings and the world’ was decided.7 Yet having attuned ourselves to this pluralism, it may be easier to then take the step to a different way of receiving the starting question (‘What might it mean to ask about the presence of “this” concept in the Arabic tradition?’). We can get to this more immediately by considering the following. Suppose, for a moment, that 4  This takes discussion, but I have in mind the kind of idea that finds expression in one of Seneca’s Epistles: ‘Reflect that nothing except the soul is worthy of wonder; for to the soul, if it be great, naught is great’ (Epistle 8, 5). I draw on the translation by R. M. Gummere (London: William Heinemann; New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1918), vol. 1. 5  In Homer, a common heroic epithet is megaletor. For Aristotle’s remarks, see Posterior Analytics II.13.97b15–25. 6 Arthur  O.  Lovejoy, The Great Chain of Being (Cambridge, MA; London: Harvard University Press, 1964), 3–4. 7  René Antoine Gauthier, Magnanimité: l’idéal de la grandeur dans la philosophie païenne et dans la théologie chrétienne (Paris: J. Vrin, 1951), 303.

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120  Greatness of Spirit in the Arabic Tradition there had in fact been no history of textual transmission of ancient philosophical writings into the Islamic world. Suppose there had been no textual and cultural links to the ancient world giving authors in the Arabic tradition access to ancient ethical thought. Would it still be possible to ask our starting question? As will be clear, this last question invites a more probing reflection on what it means to identify the concept at stake. If it is to be possible for us to approach the presence of the concept in Arabic-Islamic culture in terms other than as a question about the reception of ancient thought, it would seem necessary that we have a type of access to the concept that is not exclusively sustained by its articulation in ancient texts—that we have a different kind of grip on the concept that might allow us to recognize it even in cultural contexts untouched by the influence of the Greco-Roman world. Do we? When considering some of the other standard virtues, such as courage or compassion, this kind of cross-cultural identification seems achievable if not entirely unproblematic. (‘It is a difficult question’, as Daniel Russell points out, whether ‘the courage of a Quaker is the same as the courage of a Samurai’.8) In the case of our focal virtue, the prospect of such identification would appear highly unpromising. Greatness of soul has sometimes been described, and decried, as a virtue steeped in the specificities of its time, encoding, in one phrasing, ‘an attitude to one’s own worth that is more Greek than universal’.9 It is the Trojan horse of Aristotle’s ethics that belies its universalism and betrays its contingent cultural roots, serving up the image of the Athenian gentleman in one view (MacIntyre) and the repugnant relics of the Homeric hero in another.10 This understanding of the tight cultural tethering of the virtue would seem to put paid to the prospects of cross-cultural identification. Greatness of soul could not be divorced from the particular intellectual tradition in which it was textually manifested, and our ability to recognize it in the work of given thinkers would depend on our ability to recognize these thinkers as heirs of and participants in this tradition. Take the case of Montaigne. In the essay ‘We reach the same end by discrepant means’, his discussion is shot through with invocations of the concept from end to end. Our ability to recognize these as invocations of that concept is underwritten not merely by Montaigne’s usage, which throws down direct linguistic bridges to the ancient context (magnanimité is one of his nodal terms, though not the only one11), but more generally by the visible relationship in which he places himself to the ancient literary corpus. 8  Daniel Russell, Practical Intelligence and the Virtues (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), 173. 9 Martha  C.  Nussbaum, ‘Non-Relative Virtues: An Aristotelian Approach’, Midwest Studies in Philosophy 13 (1988), 38; cf. 34, referencing the remarks of Bernard Williams and Stuart Hampshire. 10  For MacIntyre’s view, see After Virtue, 3rd ed. (London: Duckworth, 2007), 182, and A Short History of Ethics (London and New York: Routledge, 1998), 75–7; for the second point, which is in fact closely linked to MacIntyre’s, see Nancy Sherman, ‘Common Sense and Uncommon Virtue’, Midwest Studies in Philosophy 13 (1988), 102–3. 11  Another is généreux, which his translator M. A. Screech translates as ‘magnanimous’, reserving ‘great-hearted’ for magnanime.

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Sophia Vasalou  121 More could be said about this particular case; and the importance of this t­extual tradition cannot be wholly discounted. Yet the point to focus on here is that once we have taken stock of the more generous boundaries of the concept in the ancient context and taken in the plural configurations of the virtue with their characteristic patternings of core elements, these cross-cultural identifications begin to seem less unimaginable. Kristján Kristjánsson has already offered us one model of what such identification might look like in an interesting essay focusing on the Icelandic sagas. There he proposed that it is possible to recognize a substantial affinity between the concept of greatness of soul articulated by Aristotle and a concept that is central to the moral code presented in the sagas, the mikilmenni— variously translated as ‘great men’, the ‘great-hearted’, or ‘great-minded’. Like Aristotle’s great-souled, the mikilmenni combine great virtue with a strong sense of self-esteem and awareness of their merits. They are likewise flanked by two vicious extremes, the ‘small-minded’ and the ‘overly ambitious’. Given the heroic overtones that greatness of soul has often been seen to carry, it is not incidental to note the heroic character of saga morality.12 If Kristjánsson is correct, here we have two virtue terms which are connected by sufficient similarities in conceptual content for us to feel warranted in identifying them as cross-cultural ‘counterparts’. This is one possible model for how such identification could happen—though just how heavily we can lean on this particular instance will ultimately depend on our approach to complex questions about the relative importance of indigenous and foreign elements (notably the influence of Latin literature) in the sagas.13 It is an interesting question how much cultural luck (to possibly coin a term) is required for such felicitous isomorphisms to emerge. Might this kind of virtue concept have a strong probability of emerging naturally within certain types of social formations? If it did, this would have significant implications for the way we think about the relationship between what is culturally contingent and universal in the concept. In the absence of obvious isomorphic terms, there would still be another possibility if our interest lay in 12  Kristján Kristjánsson, ‘Liberating Moral Traditions: Saga Morality and Aristotle’s Megalopsychia’, Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 1 (1998), 397–422. 13  This has been the subject of some debate. As Margaret Clunies Ross notes, the simple earlier view that ‘native traditions taught the Icelanders what to write, but foreign literature taught them how to write it’ has given way among saga scholars to a more nuanced understanding of the interplay between indigenous and foreign traditions: The Cambridge Introduction to the Old Norse-Icelandic Saga (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 48. See Annette Lassen, ‘Indigenous and Latin Literature’, in Ármann Jakobsson and Sverrir Jakobsson, eds, The Routledge Research Companion to the Medieval Icelandic Sagas (Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2017), for a helpful overview that highlights the importance of Latin literature as a background for the sagas while also underscoring the challenges of mapping this relationship in detail. The view that there are significant resemblances between Aristotle’s ethics and saga morality and that these are not to be explained genetically—reflecting, rather, ‘the spontaneous combustion of the human spirit . . . giving off identical heat, light, and power in places remotely separated in space and time’—was clearly voiced by one of the earlier scholars to comment on the affinity. See Sveinbjorn Johnson, ‘Old Norse and Ancient Greek Ideals’, Ethics 49 (1938), 18–36, 36 quoted.

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122  Greatness of Spirit in the Arabic Tradition carrying out a cross-cultural ethical conversation. One might undertake a comparison not at the level of the virtue term, but of what I described as its core elements or stakes. Thus, one might try to investigate, for example, whether in a particular ethical culture similar stances were adopted on stakes such as the appropriate attitude to self-worth or to external goods, and whether concordances in ethical stances can be discerned regardless of whether these concordances were codified in a single corresponding term.

2.  Greatness of Soul: An Ancient Virtue and Its Fate I have been suggesting that there are different ways of understanding what it means to ask about the presence of ‘this concept’ in the Arabic tradition. One way of parsing this is as a question about the reception of the concept of greatness of soul as developed in the ancient philosophical tradition. But there is, in principle, another way, which rests on an ability to specify the identity of the concept in rather broader terms, recognizing concepts in other cultures as counterparts of the ancient concept or as members of the same broad family even if they are not genetically related. For want of a better term, I will call this family ‘virtues of greatness’.14 These broad-brush reflections are an important mise-en-scène for approaching the Arabic tradition. They provide a general framework in which to fit the key discovery that must organize any telling of the story of the virtues of greatness within the Arabic tradition. This discovery is that there are no fewer than two Arabic concepts at work within Arabic-Islamic ethical writings that can be identified as interlocutors, to put it permissively, of the ancient concept of greatness of soul. Yet only one of them can be identified as a direct and exclusive genetic descendant of the ancient concept. The other formed the end-product of a more complex intellectual lineage, and its claim of kinship to the ancient concept is grounded less in paternity than in broader affinity of conceptual traits. I have said more about the first concept elsewhere,15 so here I will quickly summarize the most relevant points in order to focus on the second. The immediate descendant of the ancient Greek tradition appears in Arabic ethical works as kibar al-nafs, which is a direct calque of the Greek term megalopsychia, a compound of the Arabic terms for ‘magnitude’ and ‘soul’. Its parenttexts are a motley crew, and they include not only Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics (available in Arabic from around the second half of the ninth century) and Plato’s 14  This term is also used by Daniel C. Russell but in a rather different context, referring to Aristotle’s virtues of magnificence and magnanimity: ‘Aristotle’s Virtues of Greatness’, in Rachana Kamtekar, ed., Virtue and Happiness: Essays in Honour of Julia Annas (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012). 15  ‘An Ancient Virtue and Its Heirs: The Reception of Greatness of Soul in the Arabic Tradition’, Journal of Religious Ethics 45 (2017): 688–731.

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Sophia Vasalou  123 Republic (available in the form of short quotations, excerpts, and abridgements from a similar time) but also a constellation of shorter texts of syncretistic bent and of gnarled transmission history which proved widely influential in the Arabic context. Among them is the Summa Alexandrinorum, an epitome of the Nicomachean Ethics often presumed to have been composed sometime in late antiquity; the pseudo-Aristotelian De Virtutibus et vitiis, extant in two Arabic translations; an additional ‘seventh book’ incorporated into the Arabic version of the Nicomachean Ethics, which has been conjectured to derive from a lost commentary by Porphyry; and a short treatise on ethics by a certain ‘Nicolaus’ which was found with the manuscript of the Arabic translation of the Nicomachean Ethics. The diversity of parent-texts is to an extent reflected in the way greatness of soul is presented in the Arabic ethical works in which it makes an appearance. These works include al-Fārābī’s (d. 950) On the Perfect State and The Attainment of Happiness, where greatness of soul appears (under unmistakable Platonic inspiration) within the roster of qualities required in the philosopher-king. They also include Miskawayh’s (d. 1030) ethical compendium, The Refinement of Character, and al-Ghazālī’s (d. 1111) The Scale of Action. In both of the latter works, greatness of soul appears in the context of a comprehensive classification of the virtues and vices, filed under the cardinal virtue of courage. Different intellectual influences compete in Miskawayh’s and al-Ghazālī’s definitions of the virtue, but the Aristotelian echoes are strongly audible in both. One picks them up distinctly enough in Miskawayh’s description of the great-souled person as one who ‘always judges himself worthy of great things while [indeed] deserving them’ and again in al-Ghazālī’s characterization of him as one who ‘has the capacity to judge himself worthy of grand things while despising them and caring little about them out of delight in the value and grandeur of his soul’.16 As in Aristotle, the emphasis on self-evaluation and a high sense of one’s worth is central to the architecture of this virtue. What will seem puzzling, coming from the history of this virtue’s troubled reception, is that these moral thinkers show themselves entirely insensible of its serrated edges. In modern times, the great-souled person as Aristotle depicts him has been disparaged for a litany of evils—as supine, arrogant, ungrateful. In the Christian context, the tension between greatness of soul and humility, as Jennifer Herdt notes, has often been ‘seen as capturing the basic tension between pagan and Christian conceptions of virtue’.17 How could a thinker with such acute religious sensitivities as al-Ghazālī in particular fail to pick up the conflict brewing 16  See, respectively: Abū ʿAlī Miskawayh, Refinement of Character/Tahdhīb al-akhlāq, ed. Constantine Zurayk (Beirut: American University of Beirut, 1966), 21; Abū Ḥ āmid al-Ghazālī, Scale of Action/ Mīzān al-ʿamal, ed. Sulaymān Dunyā (Cairo: Dār al-Maʿārif, 1964), 277. 17 Jennifer  A.  Herdt, Putting on Virtue: The Legacy of the Splendid Vices (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008), 40. This particular view, of course, is newly nuanced by the contributions in this volume, including Herdt’s own discussion in Chapter 3 and John Marenbon’s in Chapter 4.

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124  Greatness of Spirit in the Arabic Tradition between this virtue and his own view of the proper attitude to self-esteem as he articulates it elsewhere? Not a sense of one’s ‘grandeur’ but of one’s insignificance and dependence on God is the proper way to relate to one’s merits, he tells us in his magnum opus The Revival of the Religious Sciences. Both his and Miskawayh’s engagement with the virtue appear curiously perfunctory, hardly overstepping the manicured boundaries of a definition. Overall, the life this concept leads in such works appears atrophied. Greatness of soul seems to shrivel on the vine; the foreign graft doesn’t quite take root. This, in broad contours, is the story one could tell about the virtue of greatness that forms the direct genetic epigone of the ancient concept. But it is not the only contender in the field. A more full-blooded and flourishing virtue of greatness can be found in Arabic ethical writings. It appears not only in philosophical works on the virtues, but in a number of other genres of ethical writing, including mirrors for princes and works of literature (adab). My focus here will fall on its philosophical articulations, and particularly on its development at the hands of two key writers, the tenth-century Christian philosopher Yaḥyā ibn ʿAdī (d. 974) and the eleventh-century religious and literary scholar al-Rāghib al-Iṣfahānī. The next two sections will focus consecutively on their contributions, and my discussion will interleave several sidelights that situate these contributions against ancient philosophical approaches and shore up the intuitive case for conceptual affinity. The final section will then return to the question of paternity and genetic origins for a global comment.

3. Yaḥ yā ibn ʿAdī: Aspiring to the Greatest Virtue Where to look for this virtue? It is Miskawayh himself who gives us a strong lead in this direction. Because in the taxonomy of the virtues that he presents in the Refinement, greatness of soul is in fact not the sole virtue to appear whose terms directly engage the concept of ‘greatness’. One line down, grouped under the same rubric of qualities subordinate to courage, we see another virtue, which Miskawayh designates as ʿiẓam al-himma, and which I translate as ‘greatness of spirit’, reserving further comment on this translation for later. The definition reads: ‘a virtue of the soul through which it endures both good fortune and its opposite, even the travails experienced at the time of death’.18 Parsed in these terms, greatness of spirit will remind us of a characteristically Stoic understanding of a similarly named virtue and indeed of the moral life. Yet this, in fact, is not the only meaning of the term in play, as signalled by a statement appearing in another one of Miskawayh’s works, The Scattered and the Gathered, in the

18  Tahdhīb, 21.

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Sophia Vasalou  125 not-insignificant context of a discussion about the appropriateness of publicizing one’s own merits. ‘The great-spirited person (al-kabīr al-himma)’, Miskawayh writes there, ‘belittles the virtues he possesses on account of his aspiration to what surpasses them; for however high the level (martaba) of excellence that a person acquires, it is nugatory compared with that which surpasses it’.19 The first of these statements associates greatness of spirit with the endurance of  fortune; the second with a boundless aspiration to virtue. Bracketing finergrained questions about the relationship between these apparently incongruous meanings, our purposes here are best served by simply fixing our attention on the second. Because it is this second semantic strand that forms the backbone of a virtue that receives important expression in a wide array of ethical works aligned with the philosophical tradition. Having already found a wedge into this tradition through Miskawayh’s brief remarks, all we need to do to drive this wedge more deeply is to turn one generation back to consider the work of one of Miskawayh’s older contemporaries and one of the best-known figures of this formative period of Arabic philosophical thought, the Christian author Yaḥyā ibn ʿAdī. A disciple of al-Fārābī, Yaḥyā’s interests span a number of philosophical and theological topics. On the subject of ethics, his most prominent contribution consists of a short compendium running under the same title as Miskawayh’s later work, The Refinement of Character. In this work, the virtue of greatness of spirit forms a salient concern. Indeed, one might even go so far as to describe it as the virtue that holds the entire project of the book together. The evidence for this begins to emerge from the very first lines of the book, where Yaḥyā opens by staking out his aims and conjuring his audience. His purpose in detailing good and bad character traits, he explains, is to guide ‘those whose spirit is so lofty as to make them vie with the people of excellence’ (man kānat lahu himma tasmū ilā mubārāt ahl al-faḍl), placing the image of the ­perfect human being before them so as to rouse their longing for this beautiful form (li-yashtāqa ilā ṣūratihi).20 In seeking to steer readers towards ethical transformation, this remark suggests, it is their existing loftiness of spirit that the book must appeal to so as to get its very project launched. This remark in fact foreshadows the formal definition of greatness of spirit that appears later in the discussion, where Yaḥyā methodically goes through the tables of the virtues and vices to define each in turn. Coming to greatness of spirit, he defines it as a quality that involves ‘belittling what falls short of the utmost limit among exalted things and seeking lofty stations (istiṣghār mā dūna al-nihāya min maʿālī al-umūr

19 Abū Ḥ ayyān al-Tawḥīdī and Miskawayh, The Scattered and the Gathered/al-Hawāmil waʾlshawāmil, ed. Aḥmad Amīn and al-Sayyid Aḥmad Ṣaqr (Cairo: Lajnat al-Taʾlīf waʾl-Tarjama waʾlNashr, 1951), 308. 20 Yaḥyā ibn ʿAdī, The Refinement of Character/Tahdhīb al-akhlāq, ed. Nājī al-Takrītī (Beirut and Paris: Editions Oueidat, 1978), 69.

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126  Greatness of Spirit in the Arabic Tradition wa-ṭalab al-marātib al-sāmiya) . . . disdaining middling levels and seeking the farthermost degrees’.21 Now in this remark Yaḥyā does not specify his reference to the ‘exalted things’ and ‘lofty stations’, and he appears to leave it open whether these stations should be understood in terms of virtue or in other terms, for example as stations of a social or political kind. Yet he makes the connection with virtue crystal-clear elsewhere, including in his remarks about the corresponding vice, which he defines in terms of ‘failing to hope in the possibility of attaining the farthermost degrees and thinking much of paltry levels of the virtues’.22 With this formal definition in sight, we will be able to pick up on the repeated appearances the virtue makes throughout the treatise even beyond its suggestive stage-setting, recognizing the plethora of occasions on which Yaḥyā implicitly invokes it in framing his ethical appeal. ‘The person who desires to govern his ethical character must take aim at the utmost limit and farthermost degree of each virtue, and must not content himself with anything less than that degree.’ And again: the perfect human being is one who ‘does not think much of the virtues he acquires’. The invitation to perfect one’s character is in part constituted as an invitation to be great-spirited.23 One reason why the equivocation in Yaḥyā’s definition is worth flagging— stations of virtue or stations of a different kind?—is because it points to an important aspect of his discussion in the Refinement. As several commentators have observed, one of the distinctive features of this work is the emphasis it places on the social circumstances and identity of persons in determining the relevance of particular virtues and vices.24 Certain virtues are more relevant to persons of a particular social and political status than to others. Thus, leaders and kings are in

21  Ibid., 91. There are other elements woven into the definition which I am leaving out of the discussion, focusing on what I take to be both the more distinct and the more central strand. One strand that appears both in Yaḥyā’s definition and in those of certain other writers concerns the attitude to material goods, and links the virtue to contempt of money and liberality in giving. This strand is present in some of the translated Greek texts in which the concept appears, whether as kibar al-nafs or as ʿiẓam al-himma. See e.g. in connection with kibar al-nafs the treatise by Nicolaus in al-Akhlāq, taʾlīf Arisṭūṭālīs, tarjamat Isḥāq ibn Ḥ unayn, ed. ʿAbd al-Raḥmān Badawī (Kuwayt: Wikālat al-Mat ̣būʿāt, 1979), 408, and in connection with ʿiẓ am al-himma, Abū Qurra’s translation of the De Virtutibus et vitiis, in Ein pseudoaristotelischer Traktat über die Tugend: Edition und Übersetzung der arabischen Fassungen des Abū Qurra und des Ibn aṭ-Ṭayyib, ed. M. Kellermann (Erlangen: Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg, 1965), Q4. 22  Tahdhīb, 100: istikthār al-yasīr min al-faḍāʾil. The specification of these stations in social or political terms is also flagged in the text, e.g. p. 92: this virtue forms the special apanage of kings, and ‘it is becoming to leaders and great [or high-standing: ʿuẓ amāʾ] men, and those who aspire to their stations’ (tasmū nafsuhu ilā marātibihim). 23  Ibid., 121, 123. 24  For discussions of Yaḥ yā’s ethics which touch on this point, see Majid Fakhry, Ethical Theories in Islam (Leiden: Brill, 1991), part 3, chapter  5; Sidney  H.  Griffith, trans., The Reformation of Morals (Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Press, 2002), introduction, and ‘Yaḥyā b. ʿAdī’s (d. 974) Kitāb Tahdhīb al-akhlāq’, in Khaled El-Rouayheb and Sabine Schmidtke, eds, The Oxford Handbook of Islamic Philosophy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017); Marie-Thérèse Urvoy, Traité d’éthique d’Abû Zakariyyâ’ Yahyâ Ibn ʿAdi (Paris: Cariscript, 1991), introduction; and al-Takrītī’s commentary in the second half of his edition of the Tahdhīb, esp. 249–55.

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Sophia Vasalou  127 higher need of clemency (ḥ ilm) given their greater power to exact revenge, and in higher need of fidelity (wafāʾ) given their greater need to command trust from others. Indeed, certain qualities that are vices in people of a certain status may be virtues for people of a different one. Acquisitiveness is one such example— reprehensible in most people but commendable in kings given their need for extensive financial resources.25 As these examples indicate, Yaḥyā’s interest falls disproportionately on the eminent and the great, and on kings in particular. It is in fact kings and people of high standing that he often seems to have in mind as recipients of his ethical address. Greatness of spirit is turn explicitly singled out as a virtue forming the apanage of kings (min akhlāq al-mulūk khāṣṣatan).26 And it is then precisely their possession of this virtue that Yaḥyā invokes as the enabling condition of their ethical improvement. It is because kings ‘have a greater spirit and a stronger sense of pride’ that if they set their sights on attaining human perfection, they find it easy to surmount conflicting drives.27 There are two points that are particularly worth bringing out if we wish to place the virtue in full profile. One is the peculiarly elusive position this virtue appears to occupy within Yaḥyā’s philosophical psychology. Like many writers in the Arabic philosophical tradition, Yaḥyā adopts a tripartite view of the soul, ­distinguishing between the rational, irascible, and appetitive faculties (or souls). And although, unlike other prominent writers such as Miskawayh, al-Rāghib al-Iṣfahānī, and al-Ghazālī, he does not formally present the virtues and vices by classifying them into cardinal and subordinate and assigning each set to a particular faculty, he offers clear indications regarding the relationship most of the virtues and vices bear to the different faculties.28 Greatness of spirit stands apart among other virtues in speaking to at least two separate faculties. On the one hand, Yaḥyā flags its link to the irascible faculty when he makes the latter the source of the laudable disposition to ‘disdain lowly things . . . and seek high levels of praiseworthy character traits’.29 Coming from Miskawayh’s classification of the virtue—filed under the cardinal virtue of courage, in turn mapped onto the irascible faculty—this move may not seem surprising. More broadly, the emphasis on striving, competition, and conquest that shapes Yaḥyā’s understanding of the virtue makes the connection to the thymotic part of the soul a natural one. More surprising might be another association, this time with the faculty of ­reason. The association is flagged by a pregnant remark Yaḥyā offers in the same vicinity. The rational soul, he writes, is that ‘through which human beings gain their dignity and acquire the greatness of their spirit, so that they take pride in

25  These remarks can be tracked throughout Yaḥyā’s discussion of the virtues and vices in Tahdhīb, 82–100, but they are found in special concentration from 101 ff. where he specifically addresses the differential application of the virtues and vices to different kinds of people. 26  Ibid., 92. 27 Ibid., 126. 28 See Tahdhīb, 73 ff. 29  Ibid., 78.

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128  Greatness of Spirit in the Arabic Tradition their soul’.30 The association with reason will also appear natural, however, if we take into account the crucial contribution it makes to the activity identified as the special purview of greatness of spirit, namely the pursuit of virtue. Reason has both an epistemic and a conative role. It is reason that enables us to judge what is right and wrong and thus sets the moral ends we pursue; it is also reason that enables us to actualize these ends by subjugating the other two faculties when they oppose this pursuit.31 At the same time, Yaḥyā appears to extend the link between greatness of spirit and reason beyond the practical domain to include the theoretical activity of reason.32 The unusual status of this virtue within the structure of Yaḥyā’s psychology is worth highlighting. Yet what should next claim our attention is a point that concerns less its structural position than its conceptual content. I just described the purview of greatness of spirit as the pursuit of virtue. This characterization brings out a striking aspect of this virtue that readers may already have picked up on, and that comes into view most sharply by considering the distinctive place it occupies within the architecture of Yaḥyā’s ethical address. If greatness of spirit is a quality of character that Yaḥyā can appeal to in order to motivate his audience to the task of self-improvement and get his project off the ground, what that reveals is that this is no ordinary virtue and bears no ordinary relationship to that project. That relationship—as indeed the peculiar tensions it carries—are signalled with special clarity in a passage near the conclusion of the work, when Yaḥyā frames a broad exhortation addressed to the kings of this world. True eminence, true mastery, consists in ethical perfection; and therefore it is kings whom it most becomes to possess such perfection. When a king sets himself on this pursuit, ‘the first thing he must habituate himself to is greatness of spirit; for greatness of spirit belittles every vice in his sight and beautifies every virtue’. When a king has greatness of spirit, it keeps him from ‘taking pride in his kingship and makes him see his soul and his spirit as having such great value that he does not think much of his kingship’, allowing him to look with scorn upon the kingship that he normally views as the basis of his greatness, and to perceive that ‘the soul only becomes great through the virtues’.33 Several things stand out in this remarkable passage. Set against Yaḥyā’s usual practice, this passage is unusual in not presupposing the existence of greatness of spirit in his addressee. Yet this serves to elicit more plainly what is otherwise implicit in Yaḥyā’s persuasive appeals to it. Greatness of spirit is not one virtue among others. It might instead be more appropriately termed the first of the 30  Ibid., 79: bihā sharufa al-insān wa-ʿaẓumat himmatuhu. Urvoy reads the first part of the phrase bihā ʿaẓuma sharaf al-insān in her edition (Traité, 11). 31  Tahdhīb, 79: bihā yastaḥ sinu al-maḥ āsin wa-yastaqbiḥu al-maqābiḥ wa-bihā yumkinu al-insān an yuhadhdhiba quwwatayhi al-bāqiyatayn. Cf. the remarks on 81–2 and 117. 32  Ibid., 118: idhā irtāḍa al-insān biʾl-ʿulūm al-ʿaqliyya sharufat nafsuhu wa-ʿaẓumat himmatuhu. Though note the emphasis on the practical, ethical consequences of such theoretical excellence in the continuation of this remark. 33  Ibid., 140.

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Sophia Vasalou  129 v­ irtues, or perhaps a meta-virtue, to mark its higher-order role. It is the virtue that conducts one to, and through, the moral life. We might describe it as a virtue of aspiration; it is the virtue of longing for virtue. Such desiderative language is encouraged by Yaḥyā himself in many places. Yet in this passage Yaḥyā’s accent rather falls on the notions of vision, perception, and judgement. Greatness of spirit leads us into and through the moral life by sensitizing us to the right values and re-orienting our perception so that we see the values of things in their true light. Greatness of spirit ‘beautifies’ the virtues in a person’s ‘sight’. The great-spirited person ‘sees’ his soul as having great value—value that makes the value of kingship itself, the grandest political station, pale in his eyes. Anatomized in these terms, Yaḥyā’s account may provoke an important sense of recognition among readers familiar with philosophical history; though in the next moment it will also highlight not only what unites it with some of this history but also what divides it. The last way of parsing the virtue’s effect—in terms of a shift of evaluative vision involving a displacement of judgements about what is great—is particularly evocative in tying Yaḥyā’s account to an element that played a critical if understated role in the structure of ancient conceptions of greatness of soul. The great-souled man, Aristotle wrote in the Nicomachean Ethics, is not given to wonder, for ‘nothing is great to him’ (1125a3)—a depreciation of external goods finding its correlate in the appreciation of the greatness of his own soul. One might describe this as a displacement of wonder, as suggested by Seneca’s explicit use of this notion at a similar juncture: ‘Reflect that nothing except the soul is worthy of wonder; for to the soul, if it be great, naught is great’ (Epistle 8, 5). Nil admirari—unless this is the soul in its higher capacities.34 ‘To wonder at’ or ‘admire’ is in fact another possible translation for the term ‘to take pride in’ (iʿjāb) that appears both in Yaḥyā’s last-cited statement about kings as well as his earlier more universal statement about human beings: it is through their rational soul that people ‘gain their dignity and acquire the greatness of their spirit’ and thus ‘take pride in their soul’. In associating greatness of spirit with the theoretical exercise of reason and intellectual inquiry, Yaḥyā may also remind us of Plato’s conjunction of the two in the Republic, as also of certain Stoic views of natural inquiry and its special status as an activity that puts us in contact with the divine element of reason that grounds human greatness.35

34  I have fleshed out this point more fully in Wonder: A Grammar (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2015), 154 ff., and Schopenhauer and the Aesthetic Standpoint: Philosophy as a Practice of the Sublime (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), 181 ff. 35  As Seneca puts it in the Natural Questions: natural inquiry offers the mind a ‘proof of its own divinity’ (Praef. 1.1.12) and allows us to ‘transcend [our] mortality and be re-registered with a higher status’ (Praef. 1.1.17). I draw on the translation by Harry M. Hine (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2010). The idea that theoretical inquiry actuates a divine element in humans extends well beyond the Stoics, but the link between this idea and a conception of human greatness seems easier to pick out among them, as I suggested in Wonder and Schopenhauer and the Aesthetic Standpoint (see above note 33).

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130  Greatness of Spirit in the Arabic Tradition What this helps underline, of course, is the emphasis on self-worth that shapes Yaḥyā’s understanding, as it shaped many of the ancient configurations of greatness of soul. Yet this similarity will instantly call attention to a crucial point of difference. Because in Aristotle’s account certainly, the judgement of self-worth that figured at the heart of greatness of soul had a very specific foundation. It was grounded in a justified belief in one’s possession of a virtuous character: in fact ‘greatness in respect of each of the excellences would seem to belong to the greatsouled person’ (NE 1123b30). In Yaḥyā’s account, by contrast, the notion of selfworth shows up in a fundamentally different way: less as something based on backward-looking judgements about the excellence one in fact possesses than as something that itself serves as the basis of forward-looking desires for the excellence one aspires to possess.36 This, in turn, reveals what is perhaps the deepest difference at stake. For Aristotle, greatness of soul is the virtue of one who already possesses the virtues, serving to ‘augment’ them and acting as an ‘adornment’ to them (NE 1124a1–2). Were we thus to locate it in the logical or temporal order of the moral life, we would place it at its very ending. For Yaḥyā, by contrast, greatness of spirit is the virtue not of the accomplished phronimos but of the moral starter or viator; hence its appearance at the curtain-rising moment of ethical pursuit. Yaḥyā’s account may in fact remind us of an appearance that greatness of soul had made outside the Nicomachean Ethics, namely in Aristotle’s discussion of the character of the young and the old in the Rhetoric (2.12–13). There, Aristotle had isolated greatness of soul as a distinctive quality of youth. The young are ‘greatsouled; for they have not yet been worn down by life but are inexperienced with constraints, and to think oneself worthy of great things in greatness of soul and this is characteristic of a person of good hopes’.37 In associating this virtue with the young, Aristotle seems to locate it precisely in the early stages of moral development. He also connects it with a sense of zeal, aspiration, and hopefulness that provide crucial counterweights to his more static image of ne plus ultra characterpossession in the Nicomachean Ethics, and that appear to draw him closer to Yaḥyā’s understanding.38 Like Yaḥyā’s moral addressees, the young in Aristotle’s

36  It is telling in this connection to notice Yaḥyā’s use of the language of ‘entitlement’ to frame the point that the king has the ‘greatest title’ (aḥaqq) to ethical perfection. See e.g. Tahdhīb, 126, 139. 37 I draw on the translation by George  A.  Kennedy, On Rhetoric: A Theory of Civic Discourse (New  York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), substituting ‘great-souled’ for Kennedy’s ‘magnanimous’. 38  In crafting this comparison, much hangs on the view we take about the role of the element of aspiration in the portrait of the megalopsychos in the Nicomachean Ethics. See Michael Pakaluk, ‘The Meaning of Aristotelian Magnanimity’, Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 26 (2004), for an account that goes against the grain of many interpretations in highlighting its centrality. The comparison will also shift if we take into account Aristotle’s articulation of the virtue in other works, such as the Eudemian Ethics, where he identifies a sense of this virtue in which it ‘is an aspect of all virtues’ and involves correct judgements about what is great in the ethical sense. See Eudemian Ethics, ed. and

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Sophia Vasalou  131 description are emulous and driven by an idealistic aspiration for the fine. Hope, we may note, also forms a linchpin concept in Yaḥyā’s account, though it emerges more distinctly in connection with the corresponding vice rather than with the virtue (‘failing to hope in the possibility of attaining the farthermost degrees’). At the same time, it is important to keep in mind that this passage cannot be taken as a straightforward representation of Aristotle’s view of the virtue. As commentators have observed, Aristotle must here be understood as ascribing to the young not the full virtue, but a ‘natural virtue’ requiring further education.39 In this respect, Yaḥyā’s distinctive emphasis on aspiration invites comparison less readily with Aristotle than with other thinkers in whom this element is foregrounded more strongly, as it is among certain Stoic writers. ‘Nature brought us forth magnanimous’, as Seneca puts it in one of his Epistles, and just as she ‘implanted in certain animals a spirit of ferocity, in others craft, in others timidity, so she has gifted us with an aspiring and lofty spirit, which prompts us to seek a life of the greatest honour’ (Epistle 104, 23).40 An emphasis on the ardent desire for what is great and honourable is similarly at work in Cicero’s discussion of greatness of spirit in On Duties, and is indeed mobilized in his key argument that public office provides a crucial context for its exercise. For ‘greater impulses to achieve greater things are aroused in the spirits of those engaged in public life than of those who live quietly’ (Book 1, 73). Plato’s own understanding of greatness of soul, though more narrowly tied to intellectual activity, gave an important place to this desiderative element insofar as this activity was textured by a passionate ardour or eros for truth.41

4.  Al-Rāghib al-Iṣfahānī: Aspiring to the Eternal Such intellectual reverberations are worth documenting if we wish to place this virtue in conversation with the virtues of greatness articulated in the ancient

trans. Brad Inwood and Raphael Woolf (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), 1232a31–3. Another point to underline in comparing Yaḥyā’s account with Aristotle’s in the Rhetoric is that Aristotle’s remarks on emulation focus more directly on the striving to attain external goods and less directly on the striving for virtue; though cf. the remark at 2.11.4, which explicitly refers to the virtues as objects of emulation. 39  For clarification of this point, see Gauthier’s remarks on this passage in Magnanimité, 30–5; and see Terence H. Irwin, ‘Ethics in the Rhetoric and in the Ethics’, in Amélie O. Rorty, ed., Essays on Aristotle’s Rhetoric (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996), 142–74, for more context on the relationship between the ethical viewpoints of the two works. Kristján Kristjánsson implicitly takes a different view in his Aristotle, Emotions, and Education (Abingdon: Routledge, 2007), chapter 5. 40  Trans. Gummere, with modifications. 41  In the memorable words of the Republic (485b), the philosopher is ‘in love’ with all learning that helps reveal the unchanging reality to him, and indeed ‘in love with that whole reality’.

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132  Greatness of Spirit in the Arabic Tradition context. For our present purposes, however, it is important to turn our attention to Yaḥyā’s more immediate context in order to situate his account within its own internal conversation. With this account before us, we have caught hold of a thread that we can follow through to a host of ethical works of philosophical vintage, recognizing the distinctive patterns it forms there. A couple of generations later, we can follow it, however briefly, into the work of Avicenna (d. 1037), whose otherwise exiguous output on ethics includes a short treatise devoted to the topic of virtue and vice titled the ‘Epistle on Character’. This is a work burdened with a vexed transmission history and riddled with textual difficulties that make it inadvisable to lean too heavily on its content. Yet all we need to do at this juncture is to take note of the appearance that greatness of spirit (ʿiẓam al-himma) makes in Avicenna’s taxonomy of the virtues and to then note its specification. Greatness of spirit involves doing one’s utmost with regard to things that augment one’s virtue and dignity (sharaf ), aspiring to what is ever loftier and greater. We will recognize the continuity of this specification with Yaḥyā’s. Coming from Yaḥyā, we may also be able to explain what might otherwise have been Avicenna’s puzzling move to range it with the virtues of the rational faculty (faḍāʾil tamyīziyya).42 Looking across to Avicenna’s contemporaries, we can also follow this thread into the work of Miskawayh, as I have already indicated. The appearances the ­virtue makes are again brief, but not for that insignificant. The context of one of these appearances in the Refinement is particularly worth highlighting. ‘The man of reason and virtue’, Miskawayh writes, ‘directs his aspiration (himma) to the highest stations’. He goes on to rehearse a celebrated and much-contested passage from the tenth book of the Nicomachean Ethics in which Aristotle, having outlined the ideal of intellectual activity, commends it as a way of life that enables us  to transcend the human to the divine and ‘assimilate to the immortals’ (NE 1177b33). ‘Even though one is a human being’, Miskawayh reprises, ‘one’s concerns (himam) need not be human’, and one should rather ‘strive with all one’s powers to live a divine life’.43 The highest expression of greatness of spirit, these

42  Avicenna, ‘Fī ʿilm al-akhlāq’, in ʿAbd al-Amīr Shams al-Dīn, al-Madhhab al-tarbawī ʿinda Ibn Sīnā (Beirut: al-Sharika al-ʿĀlamiyya liʾl-Kitāb, 1988), 370 for the association with the rational virtues, and 372 for the definition (an lā yaqṣura ʿalā [sic] bulūgh ghāyat al-umūr allatī yazdādu bihā faḍīlatan wa-sharafan ḥ attā yasmū ilā mā warāʾahā bimā huwa aʿẓamu qadran wa-ajallu khat ̣aran). Avicenna’s discussion is pockmarked with oddities that I must simply bypass. A helpful compass to the text and its complications is provided by Dimitri Gutas in Avicenna and the Aristotelian Tradition (Leiden: Brill, 2014, rev. ed.), 497–500. 43 Miskawayh, Tahdhīb, 171; cf. the references to himma that appear on pp. 77–90 in a related context. Miskawayh’s quotation of Aristotle’s statement corresponds almost verbatim with the text of the Arabic edition of the NE (The Arabic Version of the Nicomachean Ethics, ed. Anna  A.  Akasoy and Alexander Fidora [Leiden: Brill, 2005], 561.12–13). Compare also Naṣīr al-Dīn al-Ṭūsī’s reprise of this same point using similar language in The Arabic Version of Ṭ ūsī’s Nasirean Ethics, ed. Joep Lameer (Leiden: Brill, 2015), 108–14, passim. The extent of Miskawayh’s familiarity with Yaḥyā’s work is a question that attracts different views: Fakhry is cautious (Ethical Theories, 107); al-Takrītī is far more confident (Tahdhīb, 263 ff.), but his evidence does not seem to me unequivocal. If a degree of

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Sophia Vasalou  133 remarks suggest, lies in the pursuit of an ideal understood as an assimilation to or imitation of God. Far more interesting, however, both for plotting the history of this ethical conversation and for unveiling its richer texture, is the appearance the virtue makes in the work of another writer, al-Rāghib al-Iṣfahānī. Until not long ago, al-Rāghib was a figure who tended to be overlooked in many narratives of the Arabic engagement with philosophical ethics, and it is only recently that he has begun to be appreciated not only as an important contributor to this tradition, but also as a seminal influence on other thinkers already featuring prominently in our narratives. Among the latter, the best-known case is al-Ghazālī, whose considerable debts to al-Rāghib’s work on the virtues, The Pathway to the Noble Traits of the Religious Law, have been copiously documented in a number of studies. Recent scholarship places al-Rāghib in the same generation as Miskawayh and Avicenna, whom it is speculated he may have met, and Miskawayh’s work is in fact one of several influences identified as possible tributaries to al-Rāghib’s ethical thought.44 The intellectual debts evident in al-Rāghib’s Pathway run sufficiently deep to locate his work firmly within the horizon of the philosophical tradition. Yet no less important in limning the character of his ethical engagement are the religious commitments that shape this, which already stand plain in the very title of the book. Part of the distinctiveness of al-Rāghib’s work lies in its trail-blazing venture to effect a closer rapprochement between philosophical ethics and the Islamic scriptural tradition. With al-Rāghib, as Wilferd Madelung notes, the ‘Islamisation of Hellenistic ethics’ takes a major step forward;45 hence, indeed, his appeal to al-Ghazālī, given the latter’s preoccupation with a task of the same kind. The hesitation shown by commentators in classifying his work—as a form of religious ethics, philosophical ethics, or indeed literary writing?—mirrors the complex identity of the work and its author. The last characterization in particular picks up on al-Rāghib’s identity as a notable participant in the tradition of Arabic belles lettres or adab, which was one of several key discursive contexts in which ethical ideas were treated and propagated within the Arabic-Islamic cultural milieu.46 familiarity were to be assumed, the interesting question would be why a theme so strongly foregrounded by one writer should have been sidelined by another. 44  Hans Daiber highlights the importance of Miskawayh, the Ikhwān al-Ṣafāʾ, and al-Fārābī as influences on al-Rāghib in ‘Griechische Ethik in islamischem Gewande: Das Beispiel von Rāġib al-Iṣfahānī (11. Jh.)’, in Historia Philosophiae Medii Aevi: Studien zur Geschichte der Philosophie des Mittelalters, ed. Burkhard Mojsisch and Olaf Pluta (Amsterdam; Philadelphia: Grüner, 1992), vol. 1, 181–92. Wilferd Madelung sounds more cautious about Miskawayh’s influence in ‘Ar-Rāġib al-Iṣfahānī und die Ethik al-Ġazālīs’, in Islamwissenschaftliche Abhandlungen Fritz Meier zum sechzigsten Geburtstag, ed. Richard Gramlich (Wiesbaden, 1974), 161–2. 45  Ibid., 162. 46  Madelung underlines al-Rāghib’s literary identity in ibid, 161; and see Yasien Mohamed, ‘The Ethical Philosophy of al-Rāghib al-Iṣfahānī’, Journal of Islamic Studies, 6 (1995), 51–2, for a conspectus of different views regarding the intellectual character of his ethics.

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134  Greatness of Spirit in the Arabic Tradition The engagement with ethical norms within this tradition was typified by a stronger concern with aesthetic form and persuasive appeal than with analytical rigour or reflective depth, features that are to a certain extent reflected in the intellectual style of the Pathway. As Madelung suggests in assessing the philosophical character of al-Rāghib’s work, al-Rāghib is ‘rather a philosopher by conviction than an independent critical thinker’, though this assessment would in the view of many unite him with other philosophical moralists such as Miskawayh or indeed Yaḥyā.47 Al-Rāghib’s interest for us is intimately bound up with this complex intellectual identity, and not least with the theological concerns that leaven his negotiation of philosophical ideas. These concerns manifest themselves on a number of levels in the way he approaches the main topic of the Pathway, the virtues and the vices, whose treatment otherwise betrays significant philosophical debts. They manifest themselves, most basically, in the interest al-Rāghib shows in providing scriptural grounding for the character traits he incorporates into his scheme. Even more fundamentally, they manifest themselves in the overall framework in which he anchors these character traits and locates their significance. The value of the virtues is grounded in their conduciveness to a kind of happiness understood chiefly if not exclusively in otherworldly terms. No less importantly, the pursuit of the virtues is seen as part of a broader conception of human life as finding its fulfilment in the imitation of God, in turn construed through the Qur’anic concept of vicegerency (khilāfa).48 It is by acquiring the virtues, or what al-Rāghib parses in a more theological diction as the ‘noble traits of the law’ (makārim al-sharīʿa), that human beings can properly govern themselves and others and thereby live up to the possibility held out in a well-known Qur’anic verse: ‘Perchance your Lord . . . will make you vicegerents (yastakhlifukum) in the land, so that He may behold how you shall do’ (Q 7: 129).49 All of this provides important context for considering the account al-Rāghib gives of the virtue of greatness of spirit. Like many other philosophical writers, al-Rāghib organizes his discussion of the virtues by mapping them onto the ­different faculties of the soul. What will be surprising coming from other writers is his specific decision about where to locate the virtue. Deviating from every other decision we have seen, he classifies it under the appetitive faculty (al-quwwa al-shahwiyya). I quote his remarks at length: One says, ‘So-and-so is great-spirited (kabīr al-himma)’ or ‘So-and-so is smallspirited (ṣaghīr al-himma)’ when one of them seeks a greater or nobler possession

47  Madelung, ‘Ar-Rāġib al-Iṣfahānī’, 161, quoting Richard Walzer’s characterization of Miskawayh. 48  Al-Rāghib introduces this idea in The Pathway to the Noble Traits of the Religious Law/Kitāb al-Dharīʿa ilā makārim al-sharīʿa, ed. Abuʾl-Yazīd Abū Zayd al-ʿAjamī (Cairo: Dar al-Salam, 2007), 83. 49  I draw on the translation of Arthur Arberry with some modification.

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Sophia Vasalou  135 than the other. The one who is great-spirited without qualification is the one who does not content himself with animal desires (himam) to the extent of his ability and does not become the slave of his stomach and genitals, but rather strives to deck himself with the noble traits of the Law (makārim al-sharīʿa), so that he may become one of the vicegerents and friends of God in the present world and one of those who enjoy His proximity in the next. The small-spirited person is the opposite of that. A Bedouin Arab said: The greatness of so-andso lies in the smallness of the mundane world in his eyes, so that he is not subject to the power of his stomach . . . and he is not subject to the power of his genitals . . . Human beings have a title (ḥaqq al-insān) to treat these things with moderation, for even though they are animals through their natural substance, they are angels through their reason and thought . . . It has also been said: A person of great spirit does not content himself with possessions due for return and a life given out on loan. So if you can acquire a permanent possession and an eternal life, do so, for what is perishable is of no consideration. The great-spirited person without qualification is the one who pursues the virtues (faḍāʾil) not out of a desire for status, for wealth, for pleasure, or for deriving a sense of hauteur and superiority over people.50

There are several things to notice in this dense passage, including a number of visible continuities with what we heard earlier from Yaḥyā. We will recognize the connection between greatness of spirit and a desire for what is great or noble, with the latter once again notably specified in terms of the pursuit of virtue. We will also recognize the shift in evaluative perception that accompanies it (a person’s greatness ‘lies in the smallness of the mundane world in his eyes’), which displaces the value we assign to bodily drives that oppose that pursuit. Greatness of spirit involves a transcendence of such drives and refusal to be mastered by them. A reflexive element of self-worth is also present in these remarks, though it may take a moment to elicit it. It is our nature as human beings that gives us both the right and the obligation—the chameleon term ḥaqq allows for both significations—to aspire to the higher life of virtue, in which our specific nature as rational beings finds its fulfilment. Here, too, the notion of self-worth serves to ground less a claim to receive than a claim to strive, and is not so much grounded in virtue as a ground for it.51 What will be new is the religious emphasis that shapes the discussion, which transposes the virtue into a theological framework through a number of subtle 50  Dharīʿa, 209. 51  In light of this, it is interesting to note some of the more Aristotelian elements present in the discussion, such as the deployment of the principle of the mean and the identification of two opposing vices, one that involves deeming oneself worthy of (or laying claim to) what one does not deserve (taʾahhul al-insān limā lā yastaḥ iqquhu) and one that involves renouncing what one deserves (tarkuhu limā yastaḥiqquhu). Ibid.

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136  Greatness of Spirit in the Arabic Tradition yet significant moves. Greatness of spirit is expressed in a pursuit of virtue that is grounded in a desire to become close to God; its highest object lies not in this life but the next, which is the good that has greater permanence and thus greater worth. It is not incidental that the relevant shift of evaluative vision flagged in this passage is parsed, less directly as a displacement of the greatness of external goods or physical desires through a perception of the greatness of virtue, than as a displacement of the greatness of the present world through a  perception of the greatness of the next. With these revisions, what was a ­central virtue in the pursuit of the ethical life among al-Rāghib’s predecessors becomes a central virtue in the pursuit of an ethical life understood in thicker religious terms. Al-Rāghib’s configuration of the virtue is interesting on many levels, and not least for the closer attention it invites to the linguistic status of the concept. This attention is solicited with particular directness by al-Rāghib’s striking decision to locate greatness of spirit within the desiderative or appetitive faculty. The decision seems surprising, as I noted, coming from the very different taxonomical decisions taken by his predecessors. Yet of course it appears rather less surprising set against the dominant conceptualization of the virtue among al-Rāghib and his fellow thinkers. Greatness of spirit presents itself in their accounts primarily as a virtue of aspiration. While it also speaks to reason insofar as it requires a judgement about the value of its object, and to the spirited part of the soul insofar as the pursuit of this object requires arduous striving, one can in principle see why the taxonomical decision to ground it in a fundamentally desiderative drive would have been appealing. The space for diverging intellectual choices may here provoke an interesting comparison with Aquinas, who faced a similar choice when addressing the virtue of magnanimity in his Summa Theologiae, which he defined as a ‘stretching forth of the mind to great things’ (ST IIaIIae q. 129 a. 1) and specified as a virtue that governs the passion of hope. Hope addresses itself to a great future good that is difficult yet possible to attain; qua good it forms an object of the appetitive faculty; qua difficult of the irascible. Magnanimity, in turn, Aquinas placed under the irascible faculty. Yet while one can see why al-Rāghib’s move would have been ‘in principle’ appealing, I would suggest that in order to read this move in its proper light, we need to locate it more firmly against a consideration of the linguistic meanings of the terms at stake and the facts of linguistic usage. The term I have been translating as ‘spirit’ (himma) derives from a verb (hamma) whose meaning is simply ‘to purpose’, ‘to intend’, ‘to desire’, ‘to determine (to do)’. This root meaning is reflected in the nouns that derive from it, notably hamm (pl. humūm) and himma (pl. himam). Both of these terms also carry the simpler meaning of ‘purpose’ or ‘concern’, though the latter carries the stronger sense of ‘ambition’ of ‘aspiration’. These semantic facts make it easier to understand why several writers on the

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Sophia Vasalou  137 virtues not only associate the term himma with the notion of ‘willing’ (irāda) but indeed subsume the one under the other or even identify the two.52 Al-Rāghib himself identifies the two concepts in an earlier passage of the Pathway. The later Ḥanbalite writer Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya (d. 1350) makes himma the ‘terminus’ of willing, taking the partner concept hamm to represent its beginning.53 The context of Ibn Qayyim’s remarks is particularly worth noting. They appear in his seminal compendium of spiritual guidance, Passages of the Wayfarers, which formed a commentary on a classic Sufi treatise composed by a writer living in the same century as al-Rāghib, al-Anṣārī al-Harawī’s (d. 1089) Stations of the Journeyers. Both works offer a detailed exploration of the spiritual stations structuring the believer’s interior progress towards God. Greatness or loftiness of spirit, significantly, represents one of these stations. No less significantly, its meaning is defined in terms that will instantly remind us of the ones we heard from al-Rāghib, as a single-minded drive towards what is highest whose proper object is God and which involves re-orienting one’s desire away from what is mundane and ephemeral to what is otherworldly and eternal.54 These resemblances are telling—furnishing, among other things, important indications about the diffusion of the religious construal of the virtue through different types of religious discourse, including ones with weaker intellectual links to the philosophical tradition watering al-Rāghib’s ethical thought. In doing so, they evoke interesting questions about the wider cultural reach of the virtue and indeed about its intellectual foundations. Yet here we may focus our attention on a simple point which the above helps elicit more sharply concerning the character of the virtue and its precise status within the religious ethic. This is a point that stands out especially plainly in Ibn Qayyim’s last formulation. Greatness of spirit, his remarks suggest, may simply be described as a virtue of right desire, whose proper expression lies in the re-orientation of desire towards God and the next life. Yet this, of course, is an orientation that gives the religious life its most elementary identity. Greatness of spirit is thus not merely central to the religious ethic but indeed codifies the most basic values that constitute it. 52  They also make it somewhat easier to explain the special challenges the term himma poses on the level of translation. Matters are relatively simple when himma appears in compound form (ʿiẓam/ ʿuluww/buʿd al-himma), where it lacks a grammatical object. Yet many of the writers who discuss the virtue deploy the term in more complex syntactical structures, essentially converting the compound into a verb-noun structure in which the verb governs an object. We have already seen examples of this, e.g. Yaḥyā’s reference to ‘those whose spirit is so lofty as to make them vie with [more literally: who have a spirit that rises to vying with] the people of excellence’ (man kānat lahu himma tasmū ilā mubārāt ahl al-faḍl). In the effort to preserve a certain degree of consistency in the English while not entirely riding roughshod over the Arabic, some awkwardness is unavoidable. 53  Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya, Passages of the Wayfarers/Madārij al-sālikīn, ed. Shuʿayb al-Arnaʾūt (Beirut: Muʾassasat al-Risāla, 2010), 750. And for al-Rāghib, see Dharīʿa, 94. 54  See the discussion in Ibn Qayyim, Madārij, 750–2, and al-Anṣārī, Stations of the Journeyers/ Manāzil al-sāʾirīn (Cairo: Muṣt ̣afā al-Bābī al-Ḥalabī, 1966), 31.

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138  Greatness of Spirit in the Arabic Tradition Having isolated this broad significance of the virtue and the equally broad meaning of its root term, we will be able to pick up on the resonance of this virtue among a number of writers, including ones who do not formally identify greatness of spirit as a separate virtue. The most striking case here is al-Ghazālī, who represents one of the more enigmatic contributors to the Arabic-Islamic history of the virtues of greatness. One enigma, as noted earlier, concerns his apparent endorsement of the ancient virtue of greatness of soul—designated through the Arabic term kibar al-nafs—while failing to flag the conflict it poses to his understanding of the ethics of esteem and self-esteem. With al-Rāghib’s account of the alternative virtue of greatness of spirit before us, there will be another enigma in the fact that al-Ghazālī, despite his unfeigned enthusiasm for the latter’s work, should have passed over this particular virtue in silence in his own taxonomy. Yet even if greatness of spirit does not feature formally in his classifications of the virtues, its vocabulary registers pervasively throughout his work, and so do the fundamental values it codifies. The term himma thus appears on numerous occasions in the Revival of the Religious Sciences in the context of al-Ghazālī’s characterizations of his spiritual ideal. This is an ideal which at its most basic demands severing one’s worldly attachments and attaching oneself exclusively to God. It demands ceasing to devote oneself (inṣirāf hammihi) to the satisfaction of animal desires like food and drink or sex, relinquishing one’s ardour (qat ̣ʿ al-himma) for mundane objects such as wealth, social status, or family life, and instead dedicating oneself wholeheartedly to God (al-iqbāl bi-kunh al-himma ʿalaʾl-Lāh).55 It also requires seeing the relative values of the present world and the next in their true light: wrongdoers whose hearts have been blinded, al-Ghazālī observes in one place, ‘make light of the next world and magnify (yastaʿẓimu) the mundane world, and their concern (hamm) restricts itself to the latter’.56 No less interestingly, the telltale vocabulary and basic meaning of the virtue feature in several prophetic traditions that al-Ghazālī invokes in the course of his discussion. Asked about the identifying marks of the believer and the hypocrite, the Prophet is reported to have said: ‘The believer’s preoccupation (himmatuhu) lies in prayer, fasting, and worship; the hypocrite’s preoccupation lies in food and drink, just like an animal’s.’ In the crucial context of praising the quality of renunciation (zuhd), al-Ghazālī quotes the following prophetic tradition: ‘When a person gets up in the morning and the mundane world is his main concern (hamm), God brings his affairs into disorder and scatters his means of subsistence . . . but when a person gets up in the morning

55  Such remarks are diffused throughout the Iḥ yāʾ, but the above draws on passages from The Revival of the Religious Sciences/Iḥ yāʾ ʿulūm al-dīn (Cairo: Lajnat Nashr al-Thaqāfa al-Islāmiyya, 1356–7, 16 vols), vol. 9, 1743 and vol. 8, 1371 (the context of the latter remark is a discussion of the Sufi view of the means to knowledge). 56  Ibid., vol. 8, 1359.

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Sophia Vasalou  139 and the next world is his main concern (hamm), God gathers his concern for him and preserves his means of subsistence for him.’57 The core messages and distinctive vocabulary of these statements thus ­indirectly thematize what other writers identify more formally and directly as an independent virtue. In doing so, of course, they reflect the breadth of the concept in ways that raise interesting questions about what it is for the virtue to be ‘present’ as a subject of ethical reflection and indeed what it is to set the boundaries of the concept.

5.  Greatness of Spirit Against Its Sources In the above, I traced out the development of the virtue of greatness of spirit among several writers associated with the philosophical tradition, focusing on Yaḥyā ibn ʿAdī and al-Rāghib al-Iṣfahānī. One of the differences between these writers concerns the broader framework within which they locate the virtue—the ethical life (Yaḥyā) as against the religious life (al-Rāghib). In both cases, this virtue emerges as one with a foundational role within the good life as these writers conceive it. Yet here it is finally time to confront a question that arises naturally from the stage-setting remarks with which I began this chapter. There I outlined two ways of understanding what it might mean to look for ‘the’ concept of greatness of soul in the Arabic tradition. One (the more obvious one) is as a question about the reception of ancient articulations of the concept in the Islamic world, and as a quest for a genetic story grounded in the historical facts of textual transmission. Another is as a question about the presence of a concept, or concepts, that could be identified as counterparts of the ones articulated in the ancient context or as members of the same larger family even in the absence of genetic links—an approach that presupposes a different and broader grip on the concept at stake. In the course of my discussion, I called attention to several similarities connecting the Arabic accounts of greatness of spirit to the articulations of greatness of soul within the ancient tradition. These kinds of similarities will add fuel to the natural question: why not take this story in the most obvious manner—as a story of genetic descent? My answer to this question will have to be put briefly here.58 On the one hand, the presence of a genetic influence from the ancient tradition cannot be wholly excluded from this story. At the broadest level, it admits no doubt that many of the writers surveyed above developed their ideas, including their ideas about 57  Respectively, ibid., vol. 8, 1464, and vol. 13, 2441. 58  I set it out more fully in my forthcoming book on the topic, Virtues of Greatness in the Arabic Tradition.

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140  Greatness of Spirit in the Arabic Tradition greatness of spirit, in close interaction with ethical concepts encountered in translated ancient texts. More to the point, a noteworthy fact is that our focal term, ʿiẓam al-himma, makes an appearance in no fewer than two of the translated texts mentioned earlier as key vectors of ancient ethical thought in the Islamic world: the pseudo-Aristotelian De Virtutibus et vitiis and the treatise by ‘Nicolaus’. Yet among other things, it is not evident that the particular enunciation of the virtue we tracked above—as a virtue, fundamentally, of aspiration, and aspiration to virtue—features prominently in these translated texts. A fuller telling of the genetic story of this concept, I would argue, would have to range beyond the Greek philosophical influence to include at least two other intellectual tributaries. One, which I will only mention by name, is the Persian cultural tradition, which percolated deeply within Arabic-Islamic culture after the collapse of the Sasanian Empire and the assimilation of its peoples into the world of Islam. The other, which is both the most robust and most intriguing, is the influence of the values of pre-Islamic Arab society. These values, as scholars have often noted, never entirely died out with the appearance of Islam, partly owing to the pre-eminent position that pre-Islamic literary material, especially poetry, continued to occupy within the later Arabic literary tradition.59 A linchpin figure in the development of this tradition was the ninth-century scholar Ibn Qutayba (d. 889), who will serve as my chief informant here. Ibn Qutayba’s works include an extensive literary anthology of anecdotes and extracts of poetry entitled Springs of Information. The book is organized under ten main rubrics or books covering topics as diverse as war, friendship, and women. One of these books, running under the title ‘The Book of Nobility’, is dedicated to a discussion of noble and eminent men and their characteristic qualities. Featured within this list of qualities we find the following: ‘loftiness of spirit and self-endangerment in pursuit of exalted things’ (al-himma al-sāmiya . . . li-ṭalab al-maʿālī).60 Ibn Qutayba’s exposition of this quality will provoke a sense of recognition unfolding on several levels. Most importantly, we will recognize the powerful link drawn between the notion of greatness or loftiness of spirit and aspiration. Greatness of spirit is a quality that makes one aim high and desire great things, as illustrated by a report about the Umayyad caliph ʿUmar ibn ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz. ‘I have a yearning soul’, he is reported to have said; ‘it kept on yearning for the position of governor, then when I attained this it yearned for the position of caliph, and then

59  See e.g. the relevant remarks by Hamilton A. R. Gibb and Richard Walzer in ‘Aḵhl̲ āḳ’, Encyclopaedia of Islam, 2nd ed., accessed on 20 September 2016 at http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1573-3912_islam_ COM_0035. 60  Ibn Qutayba, Springs of Information/ʿUyūn al-akhbār (Cairo: Mat ̣baʿat Dār al-Kutub al-Miṣriyya, 1996), vol. 1, introduction, p. fāʾ.

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Sophia Vasalou  141 when I attained this it began to yearn for paradise’.61 As the continuation suggests, such greatness of spirit also expresses itself in contempt of money and thus material goods. This remark is important for foregrounding another element that will seem intimately familiar to us, identifying the next life as the highest object of  aspiration. Another anecdote cements this point even more firmly. The poet al-ʿAt ̣t ̣ābī, we hear, was told that so-and-so is great-spirited (baʿīd al-himma), and he commented in reply: then ‘his sole objective is paradise’.62 Paradise is not the only object included within the scope of the virtue as its meaning is unravelled by the anecdotes and poetic extracts Ibn Qutayba adduces. Greatness of spirit, as ʿUmar ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz’s remark again intimates, finds expression in political pursuits, as well as military exploits. It also expresses itself in the pursuit of honour and glory, as indicated by another saying: ‘Let the one whom it pleases to live pleasantly be content, and let one who desires renown be striving.’63 The accent placed on striving in this last statement registers recurrently throughout the discussion. ‘Honour lies wrapped in the garments of toil’, as one poet puts it.64 Greatness of spirit involves a readiness to endure hardships in order to attain the great objects one aspires to. In this respect, it is shaped not only by what one desires, but also by what one renounces. This is but a sampling of the dimensions the concept carries within Ibn Qutayba’s discussion. But having recognized its affinities with the concept of greatness of spirit as articulated by writers of a philosophical orientation, what will be equally important is to take stock of its sources. A simple look at the character of the material Ibn Qutayba draws upon in the Springs is instructive. This material includes sayings and poetry whose sources range from prominent religious and political personalities of early Islamic history to poets living in pre-Islamic times. This is also reflected in Ibn Qutayba’s discussion of greatness of spirit, which contains long extracts of poetic verse, many of them composed by poets living in the pre-Islamic era. Having discerned these textual bridges to the pre-Islamic Arab context, it will not be difficult to recognize in Ibn Qutayba’s account a set of values that were central to this context and to the ethical code that animated it. In a way of life shaped by activities of fighting and marauding, the qualities prized as excellences included an ability to endure hardships with fortitude and confront dangers with courage and self-assurance. The exemplary individual was one capable of renouncing the lower for the higher—able to launch himself on noble undertakings that would bring glory without regard for possible losses or lesser goods. This meant, above all, a readiness to lavish the most precious possession, one’s very life, heroically conquering one’s inner resistance in pursuit of noble deeds. It also meant spurning a life of pleasure and material comforts in favour of a life of

61  Ibid., 231.

62  Ibid., 233.

63 Ibid.

64  Ibid., 232.

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142  Greatness of Spirit in the Arabic Tradition noble striving. ‘Staying at home, in the neighbourhood’, as M.  M.  Bravmann observed in an illuminating study of the spiritual and ethical background of early Islam, ‘is considered a dull, inferior sort of life, devoid of all noble purpose’. The noble life is not a sedentary life characterized by comfort and tranquillity. It is an arduous life of venturing abroad in pursuit of conquests and fighting.65 We will recognize the presence of these notions in some of the verses included in the Springs that were already cited. Particularly telling in this connection, however, is another verse adduced by Ibn Qutayba, ascribed to the pre-Islamic poet Ḥ ātim al-Ṭ āʾī. The poet expresses his scorn for the kind of person ‘whose sole desire and aspiration (hamm) in life is to obtain clothes and food, who sees hunger as a torment and whose mind, once sated, remains blank from lack of desire (hamm)’. The admirable person is rather the one ‘who marshals his spirit (hamm) and launches himself boldly on terrors and on fate (dahr) . . . if he dies, his glory lives on, and if he lives, he does not sit by abject and dishonourable’.66 Reviling the indolent stay-at-home whose only interest is a life of pleasure and comfort, Ḥātim praises the high-minded person who desires more out of life and who ventures out on self-endangering activity that may lead to his death but will bring a harvest of glory. This vocabulary will instantly refer us to the signature linguistic pattern associated with our focal virtue. Bravmann himself makes the move from this basic pattern to the fullness of a trait in a set of remarks that shine a crucial beam of light on the place of this trait within the pre-Islamic Arab ethic. He identifies greatness of spirit (baʿīd al-himma) as one of the key epithets bestowed on the Arab hero, commenting: ‘the word himmah itself signifies “noble ambition”, and the adjective baʿīd expresses the particularly high degree of this ambition’.67 This term, it will be noticed, is a slight variant of the ones that featured in the philosophical accounts we examined above, in which the virtue was designated through a compound incorporating the term ‘great’ (ʿaẓīm or kabīr). Baʿīd literally means ‘far’. As Bravmann suggests, it was precisely this literal meaning that stood behind the evaluative status of this epithet as a term of praise. Given the value carried by a life of roving and wandering among pre-Islamic Arabs, what is geographically near (adnā) denotes what is also inferior in an evaluative sense; what is far (baʿīd) denotes both what is geographically distant and also higher in an evaluative sense. Hence the fact that the term baʿīd al-himma, whose concrete primary meaning was ‘a man whose aspiration is directed towards distant regions’, underwent a semantic shift and came to carry the broader meaning ‘a man actuated by noble ambitions’.68

65 M. M. Bravmann, The Spiritual Background of Early Islam (Leiden: Brill, 2009), 32; and see generally the discussion at 32–8. 66  ʿUyūn, vol. 1, 233–4. 67 Bravmann, Spiritual Background, 32–3. 68  Ibid., 33.

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Sophia Vasalou  143 The great-spirited or far-spirited person is thus the one who realizes the core ideals of the ethic just outlined—the one who rejects a life of material comfort in favour of a heroic life of hardship and noble undertakings. It is in this conception, I would suggest, that the most potent seeds of later articulations of greatness of spirit are to be found. They were not the only ones. These seeds would intermingle with several others, and they would undergo important modifications as they were transposed to the soil of the Islamic faith and came into contact with an intellectual climate enriched by the influences of other traditions, such as the Persian and the Greek. Transposed into the ethical landscape of Islam, for example, the value attaching to honour and glory among pre-Islamic Arabs would lose ground to (or be reconfigured as) a concern for honour bestowed not by human beings but by God. The evaluative contrast between far and near among preIslamic Arabs would be redrafted as a contrast between the mundane world (dunyā) and the next.69 Seasoned by the influence of the ancient philosophical tradition, the concern with noble undertakings (makārim) embedded in this ideal would be scripted more distinctly as a concern with the cultivation of virtue. These kinds of reconfigurations may remind us of the conceptual and evaluative shifts that marked the trajectory of the Greek concept of megalopsychia as it migrated from the Homeric world to the ancient Greek polis, and from its Achillean to its Socratic and other philosophical embodiments. The parallels would repay closer scrutiny. The fact that in the Arabic context, as in the Greek, the relevant virtue begins life as a heroic quality does not seem incidental. In plotting these parallels we may have the beginnings not only of a local story about the trajectory of one culture-bound virtue or another, but of a more universal story about the emergence of the virtues of greatness as a distinctive schema within the macrocosm of human values.

Bibliography Al-Anṣārī al-Harawī, ʿAbd Allāh ibn Muḥammad. Stations of the Journeyers/Manāzil al-sāʾirīn. Cairo: Muṣt ̣afā al-Bābī al-Ḥalabī, 1966. Aristotle. Al-Akhlāq, taʾlīf Arisṭūṭālīs, tarjamat Isḥāq ibn Ḥunayn. Edited by ʿAbd al-Raḥmān Badawī. Kuwayt: Wikālat al-Mat ̣būʿāt, 1979. Aristotle. The Arabic Version of the Nicomachean Ethics. Edited by Anna A. Akasoy and Alexander Fidora, with an introduction and annotated translation by Douglas M. Dunlop. Leiden: Brill, 2005. Aristotle. On Rhetoric: A Theory of Civic Discourse. Translated by George A. Kennedy. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.

69  Once again I am indebted to Bravmann’s discussion here.

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144  Greatness of Spirit in the Arabic Tradition Aristotle. Eudemian Ethics. Edited and translated by Brad Inwood and Raphael Woolf. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013. Pseudo-Aristotle. Ein pseudoaristotelischer Traktat über die Tugend: Edition und Übersetzung der arabischen Fassungen des Abū Qurra und des Ibn aṭ-Ṭ ayyib. Edited by M. Kellermann. Erlangen: Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg, 1965. Avicenna. ‘Fī ʿilm al-akhlāq’. In ʿAbd al-Amīr Shams al-Dīn, al-Madhhab al-tarbawī ʿinda Ibn Sīnā, 369–77. Beirut: al-Sharika al-ʿĀlamiyya liʾl-Kitāb, 1988. Bravmann, M. M. The Spiritual Background of Early Islam. Leiden: Brill, 2009. Cicero, Marcus Tullius. On Duties. Edited and translated by Miriam  T.  Griffin and E. Margaret Atkins. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991. Clunies Ross, Margaret. The Cambridge Introduction to the Old Norse-Icelandic Saga. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010. Daiber, Hans. ‘Griechische Ethik in islamischem Gewande: Das Beispiel von Rāġib al-Iṣfahānī (11. Jh.)’. In Burkhard Mojsisch and Olaf Pluta, eds, Historia Philosophiae Medii Aevi: Studien zur Geschichte der Philosophie des Mittelalters, vol. 1, 181–92. Amsterdam; Philadelphia: Grüner, 1992. Fakhry, Majid. Ethical Theories in Islam. Leiden: Brill, 1991. Gauthier, René Antoine. Magnanimité: l’idéal de la grandeur dans la philosophie païenne et dans la théologie chrétienne. Paris: J. Vrin, 1951. Al-Ghazālī, Abū Ḥ āmid. The Revival of the Religious Sciences/Iḥyāʾ ʿulūm al-dīn. Cairo: Lajnat Nashr al-Thaqāfa al-Islāmiyya, 1356–7 [1937–8], 16 vols. Al-Ghazālī, Abū Ḥ āmid. The Scale of Action/Mīzān al-ʿamal. Edited by Sulaymān Dunyā. Cairo: Dār al-Maʿārif, 1964.

Gibb, Hamilton A. R., and Walzer, Richard. ‘Aḵh̲lāḳ’. In Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition. Accessed 20 September 2016. http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1573-3912_islam_ COM_0035. Griffith, Sidney  H. ‘Yaḥyā b. ʿAdī’s (d. 974) Kitāb Tahdhīb al-akhlāq’. In Khaled El-Rouayheb and Sabine Schmidtke, eds, The Oxford Handbook of Islamic Philosophy, 129–42. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017. Gutas, Dimitri. Avicenna and the Aristotelian Tradition. Rev. ed. Leiden: Brill, 2014. Herdt, Jennifer  A. Putting on Virtue: The Legacy of the Splendid Vices. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008. Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya, Muḥammad ibn Abī Bakr. Passages of the Wayfarers/Madārij al-sālikīn. Edited by Shuʿayb al-Arnaʾūt. Beirut: Muʾassasat al-Risāla, 2010. Ibn Qutayba, ʿAbd Allāh ibn Muslim. Springs of Information/ʿUyūn al-akhbār. Cairo: Mat ̣baʿat Dār al-Kutub al-Miṣriyya, 1996. 4 vols. Ibn Sīnā, Abū ʿAlī. See Avicenna. Irwin, Terence H. ‘Ethics in the Rhetoric and in the Ethics’. In Amélie O. Rorty, ed., Essays on Aristotle’s Rhetoric, 142–74. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996.

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Sophia Vasalou  145 Johnson, Sveinbjorn. ‘Old Norse and Ancient Greek Ideals’. Ethics 49 (1938): 18–36. Kristjánsson, Kristján. ‘Liberating Moral Traditions: Saga Morality and Aristotle’s Megalopsychia’. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 1 (1998): 397–422. Kristjánsson, Kristján. Aristotle, Emotions, and Education. Abingdon: Routledge, 2007. Lassen, Annette. ‘Indigenous and Latin Literature’. In Ármann Jakobsson and Sverrir Jakobsson, eds, The Routledge Research Companion to the Medieval Icelandic Sagas, 74–87. Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2017. Lovejoy, Arthur  O. The Great Chain of Being. Cambridge, MA; London: Harvard University Press, 1964. MacIntyre, Alasdair. A Short History of Ethics. London and New York: Routledge, 1998. MacIntyre, Alasdair. After Virtue. 3rd ed. London: Duckworth, 2007. Madelung, Wilferd. ‘Ar-Rāġib al-Iṣfahānī und die Ethik al-Ġazālīs.’ In Richard Gramlich, ed., Islamwissenschaftliche Abhandlungen Fritz Meier zum sechzigsten Geburtstag, 152–63. Wiesbaden: Steiner, 1974. Miskawayh, Abū ʿAlī. Refinement of Character/Tahdhīb al-akhlāq. Edited by Constantine Zurayk. Beirut: American University of Beirut, 1966. Mohamed, Yasien. ‘The Ethical Philosophy of al-Rāghib al-Iṣfahānī’. Journal of Islamic Studies 6 (1995): 51–75. Nussbaum, Martha  C. ‘Non-Relative Virtues: an Aristotelian Approach’. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 13 (1988): 32–53. Pakaluk, Michael. ‘The Meaning of Aristotelian Magnanimity’. Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 26 (2004): 241–75. Al-Rāghib al-Iṣfahānī, Abuʾl-Qāsim ibn Muḥammad. The Pathway to the Noble Traits of the Religious Law/Kitāb al-Dharīʿa ilā makārim al-sharīʿa. Edited by Abuʾl-Yazīd Abū Zayd al-ʿAjamī. Cairo: Dar al-Salām, 2007. Russell, Daniel  C. Practical Intelligence and the Virtues. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009. Russell, Daniel C. ‘Aristotle’s Virtues of Greatness’. In Rachana Kamtekar, ed., Virtue and Happiness: Essays in Honour of Julia Annas, 115–47. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012. Seneca, Lucius Annaeus. Ad Lucilium Epistolae Morales. 3 vols. Translated by Richard  M.  Gummere. London: William Heinemann; New York: G.  P.  Putnam’s Sons, 1918–25. Seneca, Lucius Annaeus. Natural Questions. Translated by Harry  M.  Hine. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2010. Sherman, Nancy. ‘Common Sense and Uncommon Virtue’. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 13 (1988): 97–114. Al-Tawḥīdī, Abū Ḥ ayyān, and Abū ʿAlī Miskawayh. The Scattered and the Gathered/ al-Hawāmil waʾl-shawāmil. Edited by Aḥmad Amīn and al-Sayyid Aḥmad Ṣaqr. Cairo: Lajnat al-Taʾlīf waʾl-Tarjama waʾl-Nashr, 1951.

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146  Greatness of Spirit in the Arabic Tradition Al-Ṭ ūsī, Naṣīr al-Dīn. The Arabic Version of Ṭ ūsī’s Nasirean Ethics. Edited by Joep Lameer. Leiden: Brill, 2015. Vasalou, Sophia. Schopenhauer and the Aesthetic Standpoint: Philosophy as a Practice of the Sublime. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013. Vasalou, Sophia. Wonder: A Grammar. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2015. Vasalou, Sophia. ‘An Ancient Virtue and Its Heirs: The Reception of Greatness of Soul in the Arabic Tradition’. Journal of Religious Ethics 45 (2017): 688–731. Vasalou, Sophia. Virtues of Greatness in the Arabic Tradition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019. Yaḥyā ibn ʿAdī. The Refinement of Character/Tahdhīb al-akhlāq. Edited by Nājī al-Takrītī. Beirut and Paris: Editions Oueidat, 1978. Yaḥyā ibn ʿAdī. Traité d’éthique d’Abû Zakariyyâ’ Yahyâ Ibn ʿAdi. Edited and translated by Marie-Thérèse Urvoy. Paris: Cariscript, 1991. Yaḥyā ibn ʿAdī. The Reformation of Morals. Translated by Sidney H. Griffith. Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Press, 2002.

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6

Cartesian Générosité and Its Antecedents Michael Moriarty

J’ai nommé cette vertu Générosité, suivant l’usage de notre langue, plutôt que Magnanimité, suivant l’usage de l’École, où elle n’est pas fort connue. I have called this virtue ‘nobility of soul’, in keeping with the usage of our language, rather than ‘magnanimity’, according to the usage of the schools, where this virtue is not much in evidence.1 I want to approach this topic along two avenues. First, since Descartes implies that he could have used the term ‘magnanimity’, but for its scholastic associations, it would seem helpful to look at preceding discussions of the term magnanimity, to see how the Aristotelian heritage was being maintained by seventeenth-century scholars. Secondly, since, after all, he opted for générosité, it seems reasonable to ask what were the associations of that term that made it preferable for him.

1.  As to magnanimity, first of all, not all early modern commentaries or textbooks of ethics discuss it specifically. The Coimbra commentators, for instance, confine themselves to the cardinal virtues.2 The same is true of the textbook Descartes thought the best of its kind, namely the one by the Cistercian Eustache de Saint-Paul.3 But the concept is discussed in the voluminous commentary on the Ethics (1632–45), by the Jesuit father Tarquinio Galluzzi (Tarquinius Gallutius) (1573–1649), and also at Scipion Dupleix’s L’Ethique of 1610, an early vernacular textbook.

1 Descartes, Les Passions de l’âme, article 161. The translation is from The Passions of the Soul and Other Late Philosophical Writings, trans. Michael Moriarty (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015). Further references to The Passions of the Soul are simply to the number of the article, preceded by ‘§’. 2  Manuel de Góis, Moral a Nicómaco, de Aristóteles, ed. António Alberto de Andrade (Lisbon: Instituto de Alta Cultura, 1957). 3  Eustache de Saint-Paul, Summa philosophiae quadripartita, de rebus dialecticis, moralibus, physicis et metaphysicis, 2 vols (Paris: Charles Chastellain, 1609), I, Parts 1 and 2 [paginated separately], II, Parts 3 and 4. For Descartes’s opinion of him see the letter to Mersenne, 11 November 1640, AT III, 232. Michael Moriarty, Cartesian Générosité and Its Antecedents In: The Measure of Greatness: Philosophers on Magnanimity. Edited by: Sophia Vasalou, Oxford University Press (2019). © the several contributors. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198840688.003.0006

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148 Cartesian Générosité and its Antecedents Turning to Gallutius, first, we find that he feels obliged to distinguish Aristotle’s use of the term from that current in the everyday speech of his time. Illum quippe magnanimum omnes dicunt, atque hoc nomen in eo homine ponunt, qui ad omnia, quæ vel aduersus incurrunt, vel ex animi sententia eueniunt, sic paratum animum habet, vt nec rebus efferri prosperis, nec aduersis deiici se patiatur.4 Everyone indeed calls that man magnanimous, and attaches the term ‘magnanimous’ to that man, who has his mind so prepared for anything that either turns out badly for him, or occurs as he would wish, that he allows himself neither to be carried away by prosperity nor to be downcast by adversity. Magnanimus is vulgò putatur esse, qui nulla fortunæ mutatione concussus, æquabilem vbique retineat tranquillitatem, rebúsque prorsus omnibus existimet se superiorem.  (I, 747–8) He is commonly thought to be magnanimous who is shaken by no change of fortune, but who retains his uniform tranquillity, and thinks himself absolutely superior to all events.

Aristotle would accept that the magnanimous man behaves in this way, but that is not exactly what he means by the term: vult tamen eum potissimùm esse, qui cùm magnis dignus sit, magnis quoque se dignum existimat.  (I, 748) he would, however, have him especially to be a man who is both worthy of great things, and deems himself worthy of them.

Perhaps the popular use of the term ‘magnanimity’ in this not-quite-Aristotelian way indicates the influence of Stoic habits of thought, or of Cicero’s ethics: for Cicero says that: Omnino fortis animus et magnus duabus rebus maxime cernitur, quarum una in rerum externarum despicientia ponitur, cum persuasum est nihil hominem, nisi quod honestum decorumque sit, aut admirari aut optare aut expetere oportere nullique neque homini neque perturbationi animi nec fortunae succumbere. The soul that is altogether courageous and great is marked above all by two characteristics: one of these is indifference to outward circumstances; for such a person cherishes the conviction that nothing but moral goodness and propriety 4  Tarquinius Gallutius, S.J., Explanatio et quæstiones in Aristotelis Moralium Libros, 2 vols (Paris: Sebastien Cramoisy, 1632–45), I, 747. Unless otherwise stated all translations are mine.

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Michael Moriarty  149 deserves to be either admired or wished for or striven after, and that he ought not to be subject to any man or any passion or any accident of fortune.5

We shall find echoes of this conception in references both to magnanimity and to générosité. Having expounded the relevant passage of Aristotle’s text, Gallutius proceeds to examine a certain number of questions it poses; in the first place, whether magnanimity is a virtue and whether it is contrary to Christian humility. This is relevant to us since Descartes includes humility in the same category of passions (or virtues) as générosité, and discusses it accordingly. Gallutius then considers the argument that magnanimity cannot be a virtue, because no virtue can be contrary to another, and magnanimity is contrary to Christian humility precisely because it deems itself worthy of the highest honours and because it despises other people (I, 766–7). In response, Gallutius argues that magnanimity is a virtue. Virtues are needed to regulate the appetite even for good things, which can be sought too en­er­get­ic­al­ly or not energetically enough. This must apply to honours, the highest external good. One example of a disordered appetite Gallutius gives is that of people who seek for honour rather than virtue, and often become hypocrites. We need magnanimity, then, to keep, so to speak, the quest for honour honest. Secondly, however, he concedes that, although magnanimity and humility might foster the same kind of behaviour, there is a radical difference between them: the humble person recognizes God as the source of all his or her good qualities and rather than despising others, respects them as God’s creatures. Yet the two virtues can coexist in the same person, though they cannot be operative simultaneously (I, 767–8). In his textbook on ethics, Dupleix largely follows Aristotle’s model. Thus he treats magnanimity in parallel with a virtue lacking a special name, which he terms ‘moderate ambition’. They are important virtues because concerned with honour, the most excellent of all external goods.6 Moderate or regulated ambition ensures an appropriate attitude to ordinary honours, whereas magnanimity deals with ‘[les] honneurs souuerains & plus releués’ (577–8). In other words, it is a royal and princely virtue. ‘Honour’ here denotes not primarily the intangible quality, the ideal reward for virtue, but empirical realities such as high public office and good reputation. The excess opposed to magnanimity is arrogance (‘la superbe’) and presumption, the inability to share honour even with a brother, son, or father (584–5). No vice so much estranges us from piety. The defect is pu­sil­lan­im­ity, 5 Cicero, De officiis, ed. and trans. Walter Miller, LCL (Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard University Press, 1990), 1.20.66. 6  Scipion Dupleix, L’Éthique ou Philosophie morale (Paris: Laurent Sonnius, 1610), 576.

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150 Cartesian Générosité and its Antecedents which is here glossed as the tendency, in a person born to command, to sink back into the common herd—and he cites the Carolingian monarch Charles the Simple (who reigned from 898 to 922) as embodying this defect (585–6). From this and other historical references it will be seen that Dupleix regards these sibling virtues as of the highest political as well as moral importance, and also that he is attempting to adapt Aristotelian values to the preoccupations of his own society. But Dupleix’s views are more original and more relevant to the theme of this paper when he discusses the virtue of fortitude in the chapter ‘De la Force ou Vaillance’. Nous dirons que la Force ou Vaillance est vne vertu morale, laquelle reglant la crainte & la temerité ou precipitée hardiesse, nous fait resoudre à surmonter courageusement ou supporter constamment toutes les difficultés qui s’opposent à nos louables & genereuses entreprises.  (499) We shall define fortitude or valour as a moral virtue which, by regulating fear and rashness or precipitate boldness, gives us the resolution courageously to overcome or constantly to endure all difficulties that beset our praiseworthy and noble undertakings.

We see immediately that the behaviour-pattern is specified as virtuous by the moral quality of the end to which it is applied; and, moreover, that ‘genereuses’ is one of the terms that confer the appropriate moral quality. Its eminence as a virtue, he observes, is borne out by linguistic usage in both Latin and French. We call it ‘valour’ (‘vaillance’) because it confers more value than any other virtue. In Latin virtus denotes both this specific virtue and virtue in general; in France the word ‘noble’ is applied first and foremost to those who follow the profession of arms, and for whom this is therefore the characteristic quality (500–3). But true valour is not the same as mere courage for, as noted above, it is ­specified by its objects: ‘Ses entreprises sont tousiours genereuses, viriles & masles’ (‘its undertakings are always noble, virile, and manly’) (504). In other words, those driven by disorderly ambition, vengefulness, or vainglory are not truly valiant; unlike those motivated by concern for the public good, the defence of their own honour, or the protection of their nearest and dearest, or of the downtrodden (505). Dupleix is here drawing on Cicero’s account of magnanimity, itself indebted to the Stoics: ‘Itaque probe definitur a Stoicis fortitudo, cum eam virtutem esse dicunt propugnantem pro aequitate’ (‘The Stoics, therefore, correctly define courage as that virtue which champions the cause of right’).7 On this showing, Alexander, Pyrrhus, Hannibal, Sulla, or Caesar were not truly valiant,

7 Cicero, De officiis, 1.19.62.

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Michael Moriarty  151 despite their invincible courage; and Dupleix quotes approvingly the pirate’s reply to Alexander: When the king asked him what he was thinking of, that he should molest the sea, he said with defiant independence: ‘The same as you when you molest the world! Since I do this with a little ship I am called a pirate. You do it with a great fleet and are called an emperor.’8

Moreover, the virtue of valour consists as much in endurance (‘passion’) as in action: voire mesmes qu’il y a sans doubte plus de loüange à supporter constamment les aduersités & les afflictions & les injures qu’on nous fait, qu’à offenser & attaquer les autres, ou se vanger des injures receües.  (507) Indeed it is more praiseworthy constantly to endure misfortunes and afflictions and injustices than to offend and attack others, or to take revenge for the wrongs that have been done us.

The truly valiant person is not over-anxious to avenge insults: Dupleix quotes with approval a reference to Julius Caesar as forgetting nothing, except wrongs done him.9 In short: Pour depeindre donc un homme parfaitement vaillant, il faut qu’il soit tel qu’il se propose seulement ce qui est honneste et loüable, & qu’il execute hardiment & courageusement ses entreprises sans nulle crainte du peril de la mort, & sans se laisser terrasser à l’adversité ny s’eslever par trop en l’heureux succés de ses exploits. (509) To depict, then, a perfectly valiant man: he must be such that he sets himself only those goals that are honourable and praiseworthy, and that he boldly and courageously carries out his undertakings without any fear of death, and without letting himself be either brought down by adversity or uplifted excessively by the fortunate outcomes of his exploits.

Valour, then, consists in acting on the basis of sound moral perceptions, and acting with resolution; it also involves a relative indifference to the outcome of the actions, an avoidance both of despair and of exultation. In this it has something in common with the popular conception of magnanimity referred to by Gallutius. It has also, as we shall see, something in common with Cartesian générosité. 8 Augustine, The City of God, 4.4, translation by W. M. Green (The City of God against the Pagans, ed. and trans. George E. McCracken et al., 7 vols, Loeb Classical Library (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press and London: Heinemann, 1957–72)). 9  Dupleix attributes this to Suetonius: but it is in fact a compliment paid Caesar by Cicero (Pro Ligario, 35).

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152 Cartesian Générosité and its Antecedents

2.  So what did this term mean before Descartes got his hands on it? Some might think that there is no point in asking this question, since Descartes carefully defines what he means by générosité. But since he validates his use of the term by reference to ‘l’usage de notre langue’ (usage in our language), it is plain that he expects his readers to interpret his use of it with reference to their preconceived ideas. So what ideas did seventeenth-century French people attack to the adjective généreux and the noun générosité? An excellent guide, as so often, is provided by Randle Cotgrave’s FrenchEnglish dictionary of 1611:10 Genereux: m.euse.: f. Generous, noble, gentle, worthie, gallant; of a braue humor, of an excellent race, of the right stampe, of a good kind; also, valiant, couragious, hardie, stout. Generosité: f. Generositie; gentilitie, gentrie; generousness, noblenesse, great worthinesse; brauerie of disposition, gallantnesse of humor; courage, valour, stoutnesse.

Both the adjective and the noun are associated with terms that denote social rank as well as moral character. How then are the terms used in the language of the time? It is commonplace to discuss the possible link between Cartesian générosité and the work of the playwright Pierre Corneille.11 We do not, to my knowledge, have any evidence that Descartes was acquainted with Corneille’s work. Nonetheless, he maintained a strong interest in literature throughout his career, and corresponded with Jean-Louis Guez de Balzac, the most distinguished literary critic of his time, who was to be 10 Randle Cotgrave, A Dictionarie of the French and English Tongues, with introduction by William S. Woods (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1950 [reprint of 1st edn, London 1611]). 11  Gustave Lanson, ‘Le héros cornélien et le “généreux” selon Descartes: étude sur les rapports de la psychologie de Corneille et de la psychologie de Descartes’, Revue d’Histoire littéraire de la France 1:4 (1894): 397–411 (http://www.jstor.org/stable/40517433; accessed: 08-12-2016). Lanson is criticized by Paul Bénichou, Morales du grand siècle (Paris: Gallimard, 1948), 15, 25–6. See also Ernst Cassirer, Descartes, Corneille, Christine de Suède, trans. Madeleine Francès and Paul Schrecker (Paris: Vrin, 1942), 3–31, and, more recently, Lisa Shapiro, ‘Cartesian Generosity’, Acta Philosophica Fennica 64 (1999): 249–75 (esp. 250–4); Charles Taylor, Sources of the Self: The Making of the Modern Identity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), 153–4. Jean-Marie Beyssade skilfully uses the distinction in Corneille between two kinds of heroic character, one moral, the other anti-moral, to throw light on Descartes’s twofold conception of liberty as exercised either in the assent to a clearly perceived truth or good or in the rejection of a clearly perceived good or truth for the sake of affirming one’s freedom all the more fully (‘Descartes et Corneille, ou les démesures de l’égo’, in Descartes au fil de l’ordre (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 2001), 277–303. (On the twofold conception itself, see Denis Kambouchner, Descartes et la philosophie morale (Paris: Herrman, 2008), 25–75).

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Michael Moriarty  153 one of Corneille’s defenders against his early opponents.12 So Descartes was by no means cut off from the literary and ideological context in which Corneille was operating. Corneille’s theatre is above all concerned with conflicts of loyalties, or, to put it another way, with clashes of feeling, within a single character, that are always also clashes between values, since the characters always articulate their feelings in terms of values (honour, especially). That is to say, they seek to realize their passions as virtues, a process described, as we shall see, by Descartes.13 In Le Cid (1637) Rodrigue has to avenge an insult to his father by the father of Chimène, to whom he is betrothed. He challenges the offender, a famous warrior whereas he himself is a novice, and kills him. Chimène accepts that to fight was the ‘généreux’ thing to do: Je sais ce que l’honneur, après un tel outrage, Demandait à l’ardeur d’un généreux courage. (Le Cid, III.4.909–10) I know what honour, after such an insult, Required of such an ardent noble heart.

But, likewise, she too must do the noble thing. Just as Rodrigue has shown himself ‘généreux’ by putting loyalty to his father and concern for the family’s honour above his feelings for Chimène, so she must put loyalty to her father first, and attempt to bring Rodrigue to justice: De quoi qu’en ta faveur notre amour m’entretienne, Ma générosité doit répondre à la tienne. (III.4.929–30) However much our love pleads in your favour, My own nobility must respond to yours.

12  Henry Phillips, ‘Descartes and the Dramatic Experience’, French Studies, 39/4, October 1985, 408–22 (p. 408). On Descartes’s interest in poetics and rhetoric, and his connection with Balzac, see further Emma Gilby, Descartes’s Fictions (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019). 13  This is true of the virtuous or would-be virtuous protagonists; but Corneille also, though less often, depicts protagonists whose utter single-mindedness in the pursuit of their desires leads them to flout all moral laws and human feeling. The single-mindedness confers on them an alternative kind of greatness of soul: Corneille himself, discussing the character of Cléopâtre in his tragedy Rodogune (not the Egyptian Cleopatra, but a queen of Syria), writes that her crimes (which include murdering one of her sons and trying to murder the other) are accompanied by a ‘grandeur d’âme’ that strikes us with admiration (or wonderment) even though we detest the deeds themselves (‘Discours de l’utilité et des parties du poème dramatique’, in Pierre Corneille, Œuvres complètes, ed. André Stegmann (Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 1963), 826). Beyssade discusses such characters in ‘Descartes et Corneille’, 287–90, 293–9.

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154 Cartesian Générosité and its Antecedents In Horace, set in the early days of Rome, the Romans and their neighbours and enemies the Albans agree, instead of fighting a pitched battle, to decide their quarrel by a fight between representatives: each city will pick a team of three ­warriors. The Romans pick the three Horace brothers. One of them is married to an Alban woman, Sabine; his sister, Camille, is betrothed to the brother of his wife. The Albans select Camille’s betrothed, Curiace, and his two brothers. Horace’s father laments this choice, bound to divide his family, but summons up his faith in the gods and his générosité to help him put public before private concerns: Sur leur ordre éternel, mon esprit se repose, Il s’arme en ce besoin de générosité, Et du bonheur public fait sa félicité (Horace, III.5.980–2) My mind seeks peace in their eternal order, Armoured against these troubles by nobility, And finds its happiness in the public good.

As we shall see, Descartes’s conception of générosité is likewise closely linked to submission to the divine will. Later in the play, when her brother has killed her betrothed, Camille uses the vocabulary of générosité with bitter irony, to denounce the whole system of values that subordinates private feelings to the idea of the public good; she insists on her right to grieve: En un sujet de pleurs si grand, si légitime, Se plaindre est une honte, et soupirer un crime, Leur brutale vertu veut qu’on s’estime heureux, Et si l’on n’est barbare, on n’est point généreux. Dégénerons, mon cœur, d’un si vertueux père, Soyons indigne sœur d’un si généreux frère. (IV.4.1235–40) When tears are lawful, grief so justified, Lament’s yet branded shameful, sighing wicked; They want me to think I am happy—brutal virtue! Barbarity alone is counted noble. Let us, my heart, betray this virtuous blood, Unworthy daughter, and unworthy sister.

Générosité, then, involves the difficult conquest of immediate feelings, good in themselves, in the name of some higher good: duty to the family or to the state, or to the honour of each.

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Michael Moriarty  155 But we can go beyond the familiar connection with Corneille. I would single out Jean-Pierre Camus, bishop of Belley (1584–1652), and the author (self-proclaimed) of the first treatise in French devoted to the passions, the title of which is identical to that of Descartes’s.14 Camus can be, and has been, linked with Corneille as regards his ethical vision.15 Moreover, Corneille very probably read Camus’s tragic tales, published between 1628 and 1630, if we can judge from the fact that one of his early and least-known plays, Clitandre, contains a striking incident found in Camus’s story ‘La Chaste Martyre’.16 The words généreux and générosité occur frequently in Camus’s tales. An ex­ample of an ‘acte vraiment genereux & heroïque’ is furnished by Alexander the Great. He realizes that his friend the painter Apelles has fallen in love with his beloved mistress Compaspé, who has been sitting to him for her portrait. Out of compassion for Apelles’s sufferings, Alexander passes Compaspé on to him (what she felt about this we are not told). He has put friendship above passion, and it is clearly in this that his générosité consists.17 I will discuss the link between générosité and heroism presently. The term is also frequently associated with magnanimité. In another tale, Nadast, the Hungarian commander of an Imperial fortress, refuses to surrender to an overwhelming Turkish force. The fortress is betrayed by some of his soldiers. The Sultan has them executed, and then offers Nadast wealth and honour if he will convert to Islam. Nadast refuses. I think Camus’s readers would not have been surprised if he too had been put to death; but in fact the Sultan sends him back to the Emperor laden with gifts. Nadast is referred to both as ‘généreux’ and as magnanimous, because he preferred duty to survival; he also preferred loyalty to his religion to the prospect of wealth and honour. By his own magnanimous gesture, the Sultan is hoping to encourage his commanders to imitate ‘ce généreux homme’;18 and it may be that his behaviour suggests that Nadast’s magnanimity is, as it were, 14 Jean-Pierre Camus, Traitté des passions de l’ame [1614], ed. Max Vernet and Élodie Vignon (Paris: Classiques Garnier, 2014), ‘Au lecteur’, 59. In his erudite and authoritative French Moralists: The Theory of the Passions, 1585 to 1649 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1964), Anthony Levi observes that Camus’s claim to primacy ‘is only partly justifiable’ (127). 15  ‘Camus rejoint en fait davantage Corneille que Stendhal: l’idéal d’énergie d’où procède sa fas­cin­ ation est surtout à mettre en relation avec la morale héroïque et aristocratique que le néo-stoïcisme est venu renforcer durant la période troublée des guerres de religion’ (Jean-Pierre Camus, L’Amphithéâtre sanglant, ed. Stéphan Ferrari (Paris: Honoré Champion, 2001), 125). 16  The heroine of Camus’s story, Celia, wishes to embrace the religious life, but she is kidnapped by one of her suitors. Seeing that he intends to rape her, she stabs him in the eye with a hairpin. He faints with the pain, but when he regains consciousness, he murders her. She has, however, preserved her chastity by her ‘coup genereux’ (‘La Chaste Martyre’, in Jean-Pierre Camus, Les Euenemens singuliers, ed. Max Vernet (Paris: Classiques Garnier, 2010), IV.1, 636). In Corneille’s tragicomedy Clitandre, Pymante tries to rape Dorise, who likewise stabs him in the eye with her hairpin (IV.1.1028). His attempt at revenge is thwarted by the fortunate arrival of the Prince who comes to her aid; but Dorise helps to save herself by tripping Pymante so as to leave him at the Prince’s mercy (IV.4). 17  Les Euenemens, III.15, 585–6. 18 Jean-Pierre Camus, Les Spectacles d’horreur, ed. Stéphan Ferrari (Paris: Classiques Garnier, 2013), I.21, 152.

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156 Cartesian Générosité and its Antecedents c­ontagious. The same applies to the behaviour, described in another story, of the Holy Roman Emperor Conrad, who refuses to take advantage of the treachery of one of his vassals who offers to betray to him a rebel to whom he has previously promised support. This fair dealing brings the rebel to submission, and Conrad, again generously, refrains from punishing him. Both the rebel and his would-be betrayer become loyal supporters of the magnanimous and generous emperor.19 Magnanimity or générosité then are sometimes used interchangeably by Camus: sometimes, however, only the word générosité, it seems, will do. This is particularly clear when a character transcends the expected limits of his condition—or rather, I should say, her condition, because Camus often applies the term to women. Women, as the common opinion would have it, are weak, and the low-born have little regard for honour. Yet he tells the story of a peasant girl raped by a troop of soldiers, who stabs the ringleader and is then torn to pieces by the rest (who are then tortured to death by the villagers). The story is called ‘La Généreuse Vengeance’ and the heroine a ‘généreuse fille, qui ne voulait pas survivre à la perte de son honneur’ (‘a noble maid, who was unwilling to survive the loss of her honour’)— even though, Camus points out, a woman is not dishonoured who has been forced.20 In another story, a woman, inspired by a ‘généreuse amour’, accuses herself of being responsible for the death of a man killed in a fair fight by her lover, so as to save him from the scaffold (II.9, 318); in yet another a ‘généreuse Amante’ changes clothes with her imprisoned lover to enable him to escape.21 The story that most fully deploys the concept of générosité is the extraordinary and to my mind strangely moving ‘La Pauureté Genereuse’, for which reason I discuss it at some length. We have seen, and will see again in connection with Descartes, that the moral concept of nobility of soul has strong social associations with nobility of birth. But the association is not inevitable: ‘Il y a des ames si bien faites que malgré la bassesse de la naissance & de la nourriture, elles ont ie ne sçay quoi de genereux & d’eslevé’ (‘there are souls of such temper that in spite of lowly birth and breeding, they have a certain something in the way of nobility and exaltation’).22 This notion is worked out through a story of two generations of a middle-class family from Silesia. Venon, a mercer, finds his friend, Teudas, a craftsman (his trade is not made clear), imprisoned for debt, having backed a bill for a friend who has been ruined. Teudas’s grief is principally on account of his daughter, who is of marriageable age and who he fears may be driven by poverty to some shameful way of life. Venon undertakes to pay his friend’s debts, to share

19  Les Euenemens, I.8, 229–30. 20  L’Amphithéâtre, II.6, 305. 21  Les Euenemens, I.6, 181. 22  Les Euenemens, III.11, 528. There is a penetrating study of the term je ne sais quoi in Richard Scholar, The ‘Je-Ne-Sais-Quoi’ in Early Modern Europe: Encounters with a Certain Something (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005).

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Michael Moriarty  157 his property with him, and, being a widower, to marry his daughter or provide for her to marry someone else. ‘Que dites vous’, Camus asks his readers: de cette générosité en vn homme de basse étoffe, & qui n’auoit pas plus de ­commoditez que celles qui le pouuoient tirer de la premiere necessité, encor ­falloit-il qu’il y adioustast de son industrie  (530) What do you say of such nobility in a man of common stamp and whose resources sufficed only to raise him above sheer poverty, provided he eked them out by his own industry?

Teudas’s daughter Ermige is willing to wed her father’s benefactor, and their marriage is a happy one, blessed by a daughter, Rosane. But as he gets older Venon begins to feel the same anxiety about Rosane’s future as Teudas felt about that of Ermige. Ermige is then selected to be a wet-nurse to the son of a local duke, and she and her daughter enter the ducal household. Rosane grows up with Sapor, the son of the duke and her foster-brother, with whom she falls in love. And love, Camus tells us, ‘hausse les cœurs où il s’attache, & les pousse à des élans qui surpassent l’aage & la condition des amans’ (‘exalts the hearts to which it attaches itself and inspires in them impulses that surpass the age and the rank of the lovers’) (532). To be sure, souls are directly created by God, but the soul is significantly influenced by ‘la disposition du temperament et des organes par où l’esprit exerce ses fonctions’ (‘the constitution of a person’s temperament and of the organs through which the soul exercises its functions’), so it is only natural that Rosane should inherit her parents’ predisposition to affection (‘amitié’) (533). Moreover, Sapor’s feelings for her are as strong as hers for him, and they call each other brother and sister. Love’s characteristic effect is to transform the lover into the beloved, and hence Rosane becomes so like Sapor that she comes to resemble a boy more than a girl. Whatever he is set to learn, she learns it first, and she develops a passion for such manly exercises as riding, fencing, archery, shooting, and so forth; so much so that she is far from pleased when in the name of propriety they are eventually separated and she is enrolled among the duchess’s ladies-inwaiting and required to undertake more feminine tasks.23 When, with adolescence, Sapor’s feelings become overtly sexual and he tries to take liberties with ‘la genereuse Amazone’, he is chastened by her rebuff: Nostre amour est bastie sur la vertu. Si vous sappez le fondement, l’edifice va en ruine, si la vertu manque Adieu l’amitié.  (537) Our love is built on virtue. If you undermine the foundations, the building will collapse, and if virtue is lacking, then farewell affection. 23  The story would offer rich pickings for critics interested in the displacement or confusion of gender boundaries and identities.

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158 Cartesian Générosité and its Antecedents Words, says Camus, more worthy of a princess than of a servant. When Sapor declares his love for her, Rosane proclaims that she loves him as much as life itself, but loves her honour more than either. Nor has she any idea of marrying him, given the disparity of their ranks. Ie vous aime sans interest, sans pretension & sans autre desir que de vous voir grand et glorieux dedans le monde, & entre les bras d’une Princesse, digne d’estre l’epouse d’vn si grand Seigneur.  (537) I love you disinterestedly, I have no designs on you, and I have no other desire than to see you great and glorious in the world, and in the arms of a princess worthy to be the wife of so great a lord.

They should love each other as brother and sister, and she will honour him as her lord and prince. This ‘genereuse remonstrance’ (538) overcomes the turbulent passions that were leading Sapor astray, and inspires him to strive, successfully, to conquer himself (again, générosité inspires générosité). His love for Rosane is purified and increased by her virtue, and it becomes as disinterested as hers. When he suggests to her that she should marry a young gentleman called Numerian, she refuses at first, but then agrees when he insists that this need not, must not, compromise her feelings for him. Her love for him, as her brother, will not be imperilled by her love for her husband. When she meets Numerian, Rosane frankly tells him that she will marry him only on two conditions. First, she will pledge fidelity to him and give up the virginity she had intended to keep intact throughout her life, since within marriage she can do so with honour; moreover, if he dies before her she will never marry again; but though she will love him as her husband, she will also love Sapor as her prince and master. Numerian must be prepared to accept this. Secondly, he must not expect her to adopt the role of a housewife; he must permit her to continue to hunt and to exercise with weapons; and if he goes to war he must allow her to serve alongside him. Numerian agrees. When Sapor marries a princess Rosane wins the new bride’s affection. But then war breaks out against the Turks in Hungary: Sapor receives a command in the Imperial forces, and Numerian joins him. Rosane holds her husband to his pre-nuptial promise, accompanies him to the war, and fights alongside him. One day Sapor is surrounded: Rosane cuts her way through the press to make a way out for him and Numerian follows her. The couple are in turn surrounded, they refuse to surrender, and both are killed. The grief-stricken Sapor recovers the bodies and has them buried together in a marble tomb. Magnanimity is merely one of the virtues displayed by ‘ceste genereuse Amazone’; what exalts her most of all is the fusion of

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Michael Moriarty  159 love and honour in her ‘Ame vraiment Heroique’. She has demonstrated that ­virtue raises those who possess it ‘au dessus de toute humaine condition’ (546).24 The générosité of Venon, Ermige, and Rosane consists in their transcending the limits of the given, whether this takes the form of objective conditions, or of common opinion. Venon is a poor man, but he assists his friend as liberally as if he were rich, imperilling his own comfort to do so. He transcends his financial limitations, but also the bourgeois prudence that would normally go with his station in society. Ermige willingly marries him, although he is much older than her, and was prepared to provide her with a dowry to marry the man of her choice, because she is grateful to her father’s benefactor. She thus transcends the common ex­pect­ ation that a young woman will want to marry an attractive and vigorous young man. As for Rosane, her whole life is a surpassing of limits: she adopts a masculine rather than a feminine identity, and outdoes men in manly exercises, as she shows on the occasion of Sapor’s wedding festivities (542–3). She insists in remaining in the thick of the fighting, the place of honour, when Numerian is trying to get her to retreat (544–5).25 She loves Sapor passionately, and yet, contrary to the intrinsic tendency of passion to weaken and corrupt reason and selfrestraint, she is immune to sensual temptation; nor does her love, reciprocated though it is, inspire her with thoughts of improper social ambition. (Her attitude to social rank is thus different from her attitude to gender. She is committed to not transgressing the boundaries of rank; but this utter disinterestedness lifts her above the mentality conventionally ascribed to her lowly station and into the company of the noble-hearted nobly born.) Perhaps the core of her générosité is a ferocious self-assertion through self-sacrifice. For the sake of obedience to her prince, she is prepared to sacrifice, not the moral ideal of honour, which for her is paramount, but her personal understanding of the ideal, in which it was identified with virginity. In other words, Camus uses both magnanimité and générosité to denote the deliberate decision to treat others well, when one’s immediate passion (say, anger) or advantage would encourage one to treat them badly; and he also uses générosité for self-sacrificing behaviour that goes beyond the expected capacity of the agent. His use of the terms is thus very similar to Corneille’s and by no means irrelevant to Descartes’s employment of them. Rosane has a heroic soul; she is also an example of heroic virtue (535), and, as we saw, Alexander’s generosity to Apelles was termed heroic. Heroic virtue, object 24  The editorial footnote (546) explains this expression as meaning not that virtue exalts us above the human condition, but that it lifts us above whatever ‘condition’ (= station in life) we have been placed in. I think that this is the principal sense, but the other cannot be altogether excluded. 25  Whether her behaviour can be seen as driven by a quasi-suicidal urge to die for Sapor’s sake is one of the speculations the text opens up without itself pursuing.

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160 Cartesian Générosité and its Antecedents of the aspiration of ‘les ames grandement bonnes’, goes beyond ‘les vertus ­communes & ordinaires’.26 In the opening paragraph of ‘L’Ami genereux’, Camus observes that to give up one’s wealth for a friend seems to be merely what any true friend would do. To risk one’s life for a friend, as those do who second them in duels, is something higher; but then it involves incentives (the hope of victory and glory), and this (Camus implies) somewhat dilutes the merit of the risk. But to offer oneself in cold blood to inevitable death for the sake of one’s friend is truly exceptional.27 This was the act of Leobel, the protagonist of ‘L’Ami genereux’ (747). He and Octavian, both Lithuanian noblemen, have been friends since childhood, so closely that they seem to have but one will between them; they are a single soul in two bodies.28 Octavian falls for a young lady called Pauline, who returns his feelings; but he has a powerful rival, Gelase. One night Gelase, his friend Megatime, and a servant attack Octavian and Leobel, who is escorting him. Leobel kills the servant and Gelase; Megatime escapes and accuses Octavian and Leobel of having attacked Gelase treacherously. The accusation is upheld by the courts, owing to the influence of Gelase’s family, and Octavian is condemned to death (Leobel having gone into hiding). He is actually on the scaffold when Leobel forces his way through the crowd, and tells the truth of the incident, offering to die in the place of his friend, whereas Octavian claims that he should be the one to die. The local gov­ern­or pardons them both and has Megatime punished. He asks the two friends to admit him as a third party to their friendship, and does all he can to advance their worldly position.29 Leobel’s virtue is heroic, because he did more than risk death for his friend’s sake, as he did in the original combat; he voluntarily offered to die a shameful death on the scaffold (755). The term ‘heroic’ is used, therefore, of exceptional virtue that goes beyond any expected obligation.30

26  Les Euenemens, IV.9, 705. 27  Les Euenemens, IV.14, 747. Camus here and elsewhere condemns the duelling craze (‘la rage des duels’). The story ‘Le Sort des armes’ calls duels a diabolical invention, and the custom of involving seconds even more diabolical (Les Euenemens, III.14, 574–5). But in some of the stories the duel de­livers a kind of rough justice. 28  The definition of love as the union of wills is taken up by Descartes, Les Passions de l’âme, §§ 79–80. It is conventional in the literature of the early seventeenth century: see Michael Moriarty, ‘Love and Love of Self in Early Modern French Writing’, Seventeenth-Century French Studies 35 (2013), 80–97. But perhaps a more relevant antecedent is Aristotle’s discussion of friendship in which he speaks of a friend as being another self and quotes Euripides to the effect that friends have one soul between them (Nicomachean Ethics, 9.4.5, 1166a31–2; 9.8.2, 1168b7). Cf. also Cicero, De amicitia, 21.81. 29  The governor’s request to the friends to be allowed to join in their friendship is borrowed from the story of the friends Damon and Phintias and the tyrant Dionysius (Cicero, De officiis, 3.10.45). 30  Though the term ‘heroic’ is not used, we find the same distinction in Corneille’s Horace, between the ordinary courage involved in risking one’s life for one’s country and the exceptional virtue of being prepared to fight someone dear to one for the sake of one’s country (III.3.431–52).

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Michael Moriarty  161

3.  The question, then, is how far any of this throws light on Descartes. In this section I begin with some general remarks on the foundation of Cartesian ethics, and then offer an exposition of the Cartesian concept of générosité. In the following section I will then compare it with Aristotle’s magnanimity and finally consider the possible relevance of the conception of générosité we find in vernacular literary works, such as those of Corneille and Camus. When we look, of course, for the Cartesian concept of générosité the work in which we seek it is, by his own account, not a work of moral philosophy at all. Mon dessein n’a pas été d’expliquer les Passions en Orateur, ni même en Philosophe moral, mais seulement en Physicien. (‘Réponse à la Seconde Lettre’, AT XI, 326) My intention was to write of the passions not as an orator or even a moral phil­ oso­pher would, but simply as a natural philosopher.31

And in the treatise, he does not systematically focus on the key question of the moral-philosophical tradition: what is the Supreme Good for human beings? For this he has been criticized by Deborah J. Brown, who argues that he has moved away from the Aristotelian notion of practical wisdom as requiring a true conception of the good and contends that ‘without an independent conception of the goodness of one’s ends, Descartes’ notion of the good [. . .] is circular’.32 Descartes does, however, reflect on the foundation of ethics in the correspondence with Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia. Here he argues for a selective reconciliation of the Aristotelian, Stoic, and Epicurean theories, especially the two latter. He draws a distinction between three concepts: beatitude, the sovereign good, and the ultimate end or goal of all our actions. Beatitude is not the sovereign good, but the contentment that comes from the possession of the sovereign good. The end of our actions can be understood in relation to both of these terms. For the sovereign good must be the ultimate end or goal to which all our actions must be directed; yet we can also think of contentment of mind as our end, inasmuch as it is what makes the pursuit of the sovereign good attractive. Thus, in identifying virtue as the supreme good for the individual human being, Zeno the Stoic was correct, since virtue is the only good the possession of which depends entirely on our free will. But if we ask what is the motive or end of all our actions, Epicurus was right to identify it as pleasure, in the sense of contentment of mind. More precisely, the knowledge of duty is potentially a sufficient motive to act well, 31  The Passions of the Soul, 194. 32 Deborah J. Brown, Descartes and the Passionate Mind (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 194, 196.

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162 Cartesian Générosité and its Antecedents but doing our duty would not make us happy unless there were some pleasure attached to it. Descartes uses the analogy of a shooting-contest: virtue is the target at which we aim, but without a prize the incentive to compete is small; the prize is contentment, but we can win it only by hitting the target. To enjoy solid contentment, then, we need to follow virtue, that is, to have a firm and constant will to act always in accordance with our judgement of what is best, and to use all the ­powers of our mind to attain a correct judgement.33 In a later letter, Descartes sets out for the benefit of Elisabeth the basic items of knowledge that should underpin all our practical judgements: that there is a God, to whose will all events are due; that we have a soul capable of existing without the body; and that the universe is boundless, and has not been created for our benefit. Moreover, it is good to consider ourselves as belonging to a larger whole, narrowing down from the universe to society and the family (15 September 1645, AT IV, 292–3).34 Though in the treatise on the passions, Descartes eschews this kind of discussion of ethical principles, he nonetheless insists that good behaviour requires knowledge of the truth as its foundation. Thus, towards the end of Part I, he argues that the only way to forestall oscillation between contrary passions is to fight passion not with passion, but with the ‘will’s own weapons’, defined as follows: Ce que je nomme ses propres armes [sc. les armes de la volonté], sont des jugements fermes et déterminés touchant la connaissance du bien et du mal, suivant lesquels elle a résolu de conduire les actions de sa vie. What I mean by the will’s own weapons is firm and definite judgements concerning the difference between good and evil, according to which it has resolved to conduct the actions of its life.  (§ 48)

But the strength displayed in resolutely acting on one’s firm judgements is not enough in itself: Il y a pourtant grande différence entre les résolutions qui procèdent de quelque fausse opinion, et celles qui ne sont appuyées que sur la connaissance de la vérité.  (§ 49) But, for all that, there is a great difference between resolutions derived from some false opinion and those based purely on the knowledge of truth.

33  Descartes to Elisabeth, 18 August 1645, AT IV, 275–7. 34  Brown does consider the possibility that God’s goodness provides an independent conception of the good, but contends that Descartes’s conception of God cannot inform our ordinary moral judgements (197 and n. 20). But as the passage just cited shows, Descartes supplements the conception of God by a definite conception of human nature and of the place of the individual in a larger God-given order.

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Michael Moriarty  163 It is only the latter kind of resolution that can forestall future regret and repentance (a preoccupation of Descartes’s since the Discourse on the Method (Part III, AT VI, 25)). In other words, Descartes’s conception of reason is not just pro­ced­ural, to use a term of Charles Taylor’s, but substantial.35 Suppose, for argument’s sake, that my judgements about good and bad are logical deductions from my belief (which I take to be well founded) that there is no God and no free will; my resultant resolutions will not bring me happiness. Générosité is not one of the principal passions introduced by Descartes at the start of Part II of the treatise, namely wonderment (admiration), love, hate, desire, joy, and sadness. It is a derivative of wonderment. Wonderment itself is the reaction we feel: lorsque la première rencontre de quelque objet nous surprend, et que nous le jugeons être nouveau, ou fort différent de ce que nous connaissions auparavant, ou bien de ce que nous supposions qu’il devait être.  (§ 53) when our first encounter with some object takes us by surprise, and we judge it to be new, or very different from what we have previously experienced or from what we expected it to be.

If we are struck by the greatness of the object, we feel respect (estime); if by its little­ness, contempt (mépris). And these reactions can apply to ourselves: Et nous pouvons ainsi nous estimer ou nous mépriser nous-mêmes: d’où viennent les passions, et ensuite les habitudes de Magnanimité ou d’Orgueil, et d’Humilité ou de Bassesse.  (§ 54) And in the same way we can esteem or despise ourselves; which is the origin of  the passions, and in consequence the habits, of magnanimity or pride, and humility or baseness of spirit.

Rather than a ternary schema, with the virtue in the middle of two vices, the excessive and the defective terms, we have here two binaries: the virtues (magnanimity and humility) are set against the corresponding vices (pride and baseness of spirit). It is striking that whereas in the body of article 54 Descartes refers to magnanimity, in the title he refers to ‘générosité’, implying that the terms are essentially synonymous. Before we go on to his analysis of these passions, there is another point to ­consider. As he had done at the end of Part I, towards the end of Part II, he opens up the normative dimension of his analysis, in this case of the function of the

35  Charles Taylor, Sources of the Self (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), 85–6.

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164 Cartesian Générosité and its Antecedents passions (§§ 137–46). In particular he observes that, since the passions tend to represent goods and evils as greater than they in fact are, we must: nous servir de l’expérience et de la raison, pour distinguer le bien d’avec le mal, et connaître leur juste valeur, afin de ne prendre pas l’un pour l’autre, et de ne nous porter à rien avec excès.  (§ 138) make use of experience and reason to distinguish good from evil, and to know the true value of each, so as not to confuse one with the other and so as to avoid excessive inclinations of any kind.

This emphasis on the cognitive underpinnings of behaviour is picked up in his discussion of desire. This, in a sense, is the key passion, since only through the mediation of desire can the other passions prompt us to action. Thus desire, when based on true knowledge, will be good, and, when based on error, it will be bad. More particularly: L’erreur qu’on commet le plus ordinairement, touchant les Désirs, est qu’on ne distingue pas assez les choses qui dépendent entièrement de nous, de celles qui n’en dépendent point. Car pour celles qui ne dépendent que de nous, c’est-à-dire de notre libre arbitre, il suffit de savoir qu’elles sont bonnes, pour ne les pouvoir désirer avec trop d’ardeur: à cause que c’est suivre la vertu, que de faire les choses bonnes qui dépendent de nous, et il est certain qu’on ne saurait avoir un Désir trop ardent pour la vertu. Outre que ce que nous désirons en cette façon ne pouvant manquer de nous réussir, puisque c’est de nous seuls qu’il dépend, nous en recevons toujours toute la satisfaction que nous en avons attendue.  (§ 144) The error we most commonly commit in relation to our desires is to fail to ­distinguish sufficiently between things that are entirely in our control and those that are not. For, as to those that are entirely in our control, that is, that depend on our free will, provided we know they are good, we cannot desire them too fervently, because to do good things that are in our power is to pursue virtue, and it is certain that we cannot have too fervent a desire for virtue. Moreover, what we desire in this way cannot fail to turn out well, because the outcome is entirely in our control, and thus always procures us all the satisfaction to which we looked forward.

In contrast, we should never passionately desire things that do not depend at all on our free will. The echo here of Epictetus’s distinction between what is and what is not within our power has often been remarked upon.36 There are two chief 36  See, e.g., Taylor, Sources, 147. The distinction is repeatedly made by Epictetus: see, for instance, Discourses, 4.1.68–77, Encheiridion, 1.1–3, in The Discourses as Reported by Arrian, Fragments, Encheiridion, ed. and tr. by W.  A.  Oldfather, 2 vols, Loeb Classical Library (Cambridge, MA, and London: Harvard University Press, 1998 [1st publ. 1925]).

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Michael Moriarty  165 remedies for these vain desires. The second is faith in providence, with its all-seeing decrees, which we should regard as equivalent to fate or immutable necessity. But the first is générosité (§ 145). (As regards things that depend partly on our free will and partly on other people or on circumstances beyond our control, we must concentrate on making the best choice we can in the circumstances.) Générosité, then, depends on true knowledge, in particular on the knowledge that our will is free, combined with an understanding of the extent and limits of our freedom. Part III of the treatise deals in detail with the passions derivative of the basic six. And, since the primary passion is wonderment, and esteem and contempt are variants of that, Descartes begins with these two. The words ‘esteem’ and ‘contempt’, to be sure, usually denote opinions, rather than passions, but Descartes extends them to cover the passions that result from these opinions. Thus, esteem, considered as a passion, is: une inclination qu’a l’âme à se représenter la valeur de la chose estimée, laquelle inclination est causée par un mouvement particulier des esprits, tellement conduits dans le cerveau, qu’ils y fortifient les impressions qui servent à ce sujet.  (§ 149) an inclination on the part of the soul to represent to itself the worth of the thing esteemed; which inclination is caused by a particular movement of the spirits, directed into the brain in such a way that they fortify the impressions that serve this purpose.

This movement of the spirits has a visible physical impact: when the object considered is ourselves, it affects ‘the bearing, the movements, the gait and in general all the actions of those who conceive a higher or lower opinion of themselves than usual’ (§ 151). We may recognize here an echo of Aristotle’s portrait of the magnanimous man, with his slow gait (4.3.34, 1125a12–13). But Descartes’s portrayal of the généreux highlights a different set of features. The key point is whether our opinion of ourselves is or is not justified. And there is only one valid justification for self-esteem: Je ne remarque en nous qu’une seule chose qui nous puisse donner juste raison de nous estimer, à savoir l'usage de notre libre arbitre, et l’empire que nous avons sur nos volontés.  (§ 152) I observe only one thing in us that can give us a good reason to esteem ourselves, namely the use of our free will, and the mastery we have over our volitions.

This clearly harks back to the discussion of desire, and the emphasis on learning to distinguish the things that depend on our free will from those that do not. Générosité, then, is the passion of legitimate self-esteem.

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166 Cartesian Générosité and its Antecedents La vraie générosité, qui fait qu’un homme s’estime au plus haut point qu’il se peut légitimement estimer, consiste seulement partie en ce qu’il connaît qu’il n’y a rien qui véritablement lui appartienne que cette libre disposition de ses volontés, ni pourquoi il doive être loué ou blâmé sinon pour ce qu’il en use bien ou mal, et partie en ce qu’il sent en soi-même une ferme et constante résolution d’en bien user, c’est-à-dire de ne manquer jamais de volonté pour entreprendre et exécuter toutes les choses qu’il juge être les meilleures. Ce qui est suivre parfaitement la vertu.  (§ 153) True nobility of soul, in virtue of which a man esteems himself as highly as he may legitimately do, consists in two things and two only: first, he recognizes that there is nothing that legitimately belongs to him, save this freedom to direct his acts of will, and that there is no reason he should be praised or blamed except for his good or bad use of it; secondly, he feels in himself a firm and constant reso­ lution to make good use of it, that is, never to lack the willpower to undertake and execute whatever he judges to be best. And this is what it means to follow virtue perfectly.

Lisa Shapiro very illuminatingly draws out the implications of the conception of esteem as a variant of admiration. In understanding that we have a free will, in experiencing the free disposition we have of our volitions [. . .] we feel as if we are seeing ourselves as worthy for the first time. Generosity is just a wonder at our own power.37

Moreover, since wonder encourages us to consider attentively the object of its wonder, it helps us learn more about it. Therefore, in paying attention to our will ‘we first come to see just what a good use of the will consists in and then, with this insight, resolve to use that will well’ (260). But, as Denis Kambouchner points out, the definition of générosité in article 153 revives the issue discussed earlier, as to whether Cartesian virtue depends on a knowledge of basic metaphysical and ethical principles. If générosité consists in the knowledge that we deserve credit only for the good use of our free will, plus the resolution to make good use of it, what need of foundational principles? Or, rather, are the principles only of service to those who are prone to yield to passions based on false beliefs, and superfluous to those with an innate disposition to virtue?38 In Les Passions de l’âme, § 48, Descartes refers to people endowed with the strongest souls (‘les âmes les plus fortes’) in whom the will can naturally vanquish the passions most easily (‘ceux en qui naturellement la volonté peut le plus 37  Shapiro, ‘Cartesian Generosity’, 259, and compare Nicolas Grimaldi, Six Études sur la volonté et la liberté chez Descartes (Paris: Vrin, 2013 [1st publ. 1988]), 169–70. 38 Kambouchner, Descartes et la philosophie morale, 311–38 (see esp. pp. 321–2).

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Michael Moriarty  167 aisément vaincre les passions’), where ‘naturellement’ suggests an innate cap­ acity.39 The question is a significant one, and the answer is not made clear in Les Passions de l’âme. Kambouchner, however, brings sufficient evidence from Descartes’s late correspondence to justify the inference that, although Descartes holds that the imperative to make good use of one’s free will can be grasped and put into practice more or less independently of philosophical principles, there can be no science of ethics without the foundational principles set out in the letter to Elisabeth of 15 September 1645.40 Générosité, as we have seen, is defined as both a cognitive and an appetitive or conative state of the moral agent. It involves, on the one hand, a knowledge of one’s own nature (we have free will) and of the moral implications of this (we are judged entirely in relation to the use we make of our free will); and on the other, a resolution to exercise it in the best possible way, in accordance with our best judgement. It is in this sense a self-related virtue, as is clear from its classification as a good form of self-esteem. But it nonetheless involves a set of attitudes to other people, which Descartes discusses at some length. Générosité inspires one to great deeds. But nothing is greater than to do good to other people, particularly at the expense of one’s own advantage.41 Thus générosité inspires courtesy, affability, and helpfulness (§ 156).42 It is indeed a part of générosité to bear good will towards all human beings (§ 187). We saw, from Gallutius’s commentary, that one of the criticisms levelled, fairly or unfairly, at Aristotelian magnanimity was that it makes a value of contempt for other people and is inimical to Christian humility. For Descartes, générosité altogether precludes contempt for others. Even when they do wrong, or make mistakes (‘faute’ in French is ambiguous), in such a way as to give proof of weakness, their doing so is most likely to be due to ignorance. Moreover, they too, being endowed with free will, are in principle capable of attaining générosité.43 To realize this, and to realize also that we ourselves have a share in the weaknesses of human nature, is to school oneself in virtuous humility. Humility, then, is so far from being opposed to générosité that the two qualities go together (§§ 154–5). 39  The innate disposition to virtue in some people (referred to in Passions, § 161) is also highlighted by Grimaldi (Six Études, 151–63), though his concern is with the limits of Cartesian freedom: if we are généreux, we have control over our thoughts and feelings, but whether we are généreux or not seems to depend on our God-given nature (151). I return to this issue below. 40 Kambouchner, Descartes et la philosophie morale, 324–34. He quotes the letters to Chanut of 15 June 1646 (AT IV, 441), and 26 February 1649 (AT V, 290–1). See also Passions, § 49, where Descartes argues that only resolutions based on true judgements are immune from regret or repentance. Grimaldi likewise stresses the importance of true judgements based on knowledge to the effective regulation of the passions (Six Études, 168–9). 41  The importance of recognizing our duties to society as superior to our own interests is stressed in the letters to Elisabeth of 15 September 1645, AT IV, 292–4, and 6 October 1645, AT IV, 316–17. See also Kambouchner, Descartes et la philosophie morale, 183–5. 42  Aristotle’s magnanimous man is of course also fond of conferring benefits, and he is courteous, but chiefly towards inferiors (4.3.24, 1124b9; 4.3.26, 1124b19–20). 43  For closer analysis of this point, see Brown, Descartes and the Passionate Mind, 203–5.

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168 Cartesian Générosité and its Antecedents On the other hand, générosité can also involve a sense of being different from other people. Paradoxically, this emerges most clearly from Descartes’s discussion of pity (or compassion: he treats the two terms as synonymous). Because générosité involves good will to all one’s fellow-humans, those who possess it will feel compassion for those who suffer (§ 187). But this is not on account of any kind of identification or a sense of solidarity with their fellow-humans. Since the généreux is himself unaffected by misfortune (§ 159), what he feels when others suffer and complain is pity rather for their weakness than for their suffering as such (§ 187).44 As we read Descartes’s account of these ways of thinking and behaving, we may find it easy to forget that, in theory, this is a treatise on the passions, not on the virtues as such. And if générosité is a passion, does not this compromise the status of freedom? Nicolas Grimaldi puts the point as follows: Comment peut-il dépendre de notre volonté de nous libérer de nos passions, si le propre de la passion est de tellement subjuguer notre volonté qu’elle nous détermine précisément à vouloir ce à quoi notre corps est déjà involontairement disposé? How can it be up to our will to free us from our passions if the distinguishing characteristic of passion is to subjugate our will to such an extent that it actually determines us to will in accordance with the prior involuntary disposition of our body?45

Are the généreux no less the slaves of their characteristic passion than, say, the lustful or the slothful? The problem is especially acute if we think of générosité as an innate quality. Grimaldi, however, seems to exaggerate the effect of the sensation of passion. It cannot be one of strict determination. Thought in Descartes is always potentially reflexive, as we learn from the Second Meditation: ‘I see a light’ or ‘I hear a noise’ can always be amplified into ‘I seem to see a light’, ‘I seem to hear a noise’.46 This being so, we can always withhold our assent from a given sensation: ‘I seem to see a light, but it may be an illusion.’ What applies to sense-perceptions applies also to passions, which generally take their origin in sense-perception.47 So the thought, 44  Descartes’s attitude to compassion is illuminatingly discussed by Katherine Ibbett, Compassion’s Edge: Fellow-Feeling and Its Limits in Early Modern France (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018), 64–8. 45 Grimaldi, Six Études, 146. He is alluding to Passions, § 40, which states that the principal effect of the passions is to incite and dispose the soul to will the acts to which the passions are disposing the body: the passion of terror incites us to want to flee, whereas boldness encourages us to fight. 46  Descartes, Second Meditation, AT VII, 29. 47  Since the random flow of animal spirits can also produce what Descartes calls ‘shadows’ of sense-perceptions, pseudo-perceptions such as dream-images (Passions, § 21, 26), it must be possible for these ‘imaginations’ also to give rise to passion. The passions, stimulated by movements of the animal spirits, must be distinguished from the internal emotions that result from intellectual perceptions and judgements (Passions, §§ 79, 91, 147–8).

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Michael Moriarty  169 inspired by a surge of fear, ‘I want to get out of here’ can always become ‘I find myself wanting to get out of here, I think I want to get out of here’, with the pos­ sible corrective: ‘I don’t really want to run away, that would be suicide, and it would be cowardly.’ By the same token, the généreux may be aware that, even as they choose to exercise their freedom so as to do what they perceive to be best, they could always act against that perception.48 They are not, then, the slaves of their passion, and to that extent their générosité can claim the status also of a virtue, as well as a passion. Virtues and passions are, indeed, closely linked. For Aristotle, virtue regulates our relationship to feelings or emotions as well as actions (2.6.12, 1106b24–5). Descartes explains the relationship between passion and virtue in a different way. Like Aristotle, he sees virtue as a disposition, but, in the first instance, towards thinking in a certain way: Ce qu’on nomme communément des vertus, sont des habitudes en l’âme qui la disposent à certaines pensées, en sorte qu’elles sont différentes de ces pensées, mais qu’elles les peuvent produire, et réciproquement être produites par elles.  (§ 161) What are commonly called virtues are habits in the soul that dispose it to certain thoughts: they are distinct from the thoughts themselves, but can produce them, and reciprocally be produced by them.

The thoughts may be produced by the soul unaided; but they are commonly fortified by a movement of the animal spirits. In that case, they are simultaneously actions of virtue and passions of the soul, since the involvement of the animal spirits is essential to Descartes’s conception of passion. In other words, if we wish to acquire the habit of générosité a good way to go about it is to stimulate the corresponding passion by frequent consideration of the appropriate thought; that is, by contemplating the advantages of making good use of one’s free will, and at the same time the futility of the goods that the ambitious strive to obtain (§ 161). The resultant movement of the animal spirits will help to fortify the thought-process.

4.  We are now in a position to assess the affinities of Cartesian générosité with the philosophical and literary discourses discussed above. If we look at the portrait of the possessor of Cartesian générosité we shall find obvious resemblances to Aristotle’s depiction of the magnanimous man. One

48  On the capacity to act against a clear perception of goodness or truth, see Descartes to Mesland, 9 February 1645, AT IV, 173.

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170 Cartesian Générosité and its Antecedents apparent difference, touched on already, is to do with the attitude to honour. Magnanimity, we are told, has honour for its object; yet générosité appears little concerned with honour. The difference may be less than it appears, though, since, paradoxically, the magnanimous man doesn’t care very much about honour after all (4.3.18, 1124a16–17). Moreover, the knowledge that goes with générosité involves the awareness that we deserve praise or blame only in respect of the way we make use of our free will (§ 153). In other words, though it does not involve thinking about whether people will in fact praise or blame you, it involves a conception of praise- or blameworthiness, and thus in some sense presupposes an ideal spectator. Moreover, both the magnanimous man and the person with générosité are unmoved by prosperity and adversity.49 The possessor of générosité ­values nothing more highly than doing good to other human beings, even at the expense of his or her own interests (§ 156). This philanthropic spirit is not so obviously characteristic of the megalopsychos, though the difference is attenuated if we reflect that greatness of soul presupposes possession of the virtues, or in other words moral nobility (kalokagathia) (4.3.14–16, 1123b26–1124a4), and if we then follow Terence Irwin in identifying the fine (to kalon), the object of virtue, with the good of the community.50 In any case, whereas the attitudes of the magnanimous man are often explained in terms of his contempt for others (4.3.17, 1124a10–11; 4.3.21–2, 1124b4–6; 4.3.28, 11124b29), Descartes insists that générosité is inseparable from respect for others and virtuous humility (§§ 154–5). We respect others, as was seen above, partly because they too are capable of générosité (§ 154). The universalism of the Cartesian ideal is perhaps what differentiates it most significantly from Aristotelian magnanimity.51 This universalist and humanist perspective may be seen as in keeping with the Stoic tradition, to which, I think, there is little need to stress Descartes’s debt. For Descartes, as for the Stoics, the understanding of our moral duties rests on a fundamental grasp of the nature of the universe and of the presence of the divine within it, even though, of course, he and they conceive of the divine in a very different way.52 And his insistence on God’s providence and on the infallibility of the divine decrees comes close to equating it with the Fate of the Stoics (§ 145). Générosité, moreover, as we saw, involves learning to think like Epictetus, in distinguishing between what is, and what is not, in one’s control. To an important extent, then, Cartesian générosité is not a simple restatement of the Aristotelian magnanimity.

49  Ethics, 4.3.18, 1124a13–16; Passions, § 159. 50  Terence Irwin, The Development of Ethics: A Historical and Critical Study, 3 vols (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007–9), I, 213–14. 51 John Cottingham emphasizes the universalism of Cartesian ethics, in contrast to those of Aristotle (Philosophy and the Good Life: Reason and the Passions in Greek, Cartesian and Psychoanalytic Ethics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 100–1). 52  Cottingham felicitously speaks of Descartes’s conception ‘of an ethical domain largely sealed off from the effects of moral luck’ (Philosophy and the Good Life, 101); but he would presumably agree that this is true also of the Stoic conception to which he also refers in connection with Descartes (102).

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Michael Moriarty  171 To move now to early modern sources: insofar as Gallutius aims above all at an accurate exposition of Aristotle, there is relatively little to say about him here. However, his acknowledgement that, according to the common view, as distinct from Aristotle’s own, magnanimity consists in rising above both prosperity and adversity suggests that his contemporaries were acutely aware of the vicissitudes of fortune and of the individual’s incapacity to impose himself or herself on the course of events, as distinct from adjusting to it. Moreover, although he does not himself see magnanimity as incompatible with Christian humility, his discussion of the issue testifies to its importance, and perhaps throws light on Descartes’s insistence that humility and générosité are compatible. As regards Dupleix, we saw that généreux, in the sense of ‘morally noble’, was a key concept in his ex­pos­ ition of the nature of valour, inasmuch as he rejects the notion that true valour can be displayed in the pursuit of ignoble ends. Since valour requires sound moral perceptions, resolution, and indifference to outcomes, insofar as they are not in our control, it has strong affinities to Cartesian générosité. But the affiliations of générosité are not purely with philosophical traditions. As noted above, some have sought to establish links between Descartes’s ethical thought and the heroic ethic of Corneille—and, we might add, Camus.53 Charles Taylor, however, plays down the connection: ‘What we have is a virtually total transposition of the notion of generosity from the defence of honour in warrior societies (portrayed by Corneille) to the Cartesian ideal of rational control.’54 This lapidary formula might be questioned with reference both to Corneille (and Camus) and to Descartes. Both Corneille and Camus celebrate the as­pir­ation to overcome adverse circumstances or events by regarding them in the correct perspective, to master one’s passions by applying a correct understanding of what is good; they prize contempt for individual advantage, and attachment to one’s personal sense of self-worth. Descartes’s conception of générosité involves all these things. It is true that Corneille is a playwright looking for dramatic effect, and we should be chary of treating individual characters as expressing an au­thor­ial philosophy. Moreover, Corneille’s characters do not learn to regard external goods, such as love and honour, as ethically insignificant; they have to choose between two genuine goods. Then again, typically the heroes and heroines stand out by their générosité from the rest of the characters, and we might see this as a point of contrast with Descartes’s potentially universal ethical ideal. Corneille’s morally noble characters are always socially noble as well.55 In Camus, the celebration of

53  Deborah J. Brown suggests, using the work of Margaret Greaves (The Blazon of Honour: A Study in Renaissance Magnanimity (London: Methuen, 1964)), that one should see Cartesian générosité within a set of ‘heroic virtues’ rather different from the traditional Aristotelian repertory (Descartes and the Passionate Mind, 192). But I think that the parallel with Machiavelli she draws is not particularly helpful. On the heroic ethic see also Bénichou, Morales du grand siècle, and n. 11 above. 54 Taylor, Sources, 154. But see also page 541 n. 32 for a qualification of this view. 55  This is borne out by the ‘heroic comedy’ Don Sanche d’Aragon in which the hero, who believes himself to be the son of a fisherman, turns out to be the long-lost heir of the crown of Aragon.

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172 Cartesian Générosité and its Antecedents the low-born girl who becomes a heroine plainly presupposes that heroism and noble birth go together: she is remarkable as an exception to the norm. And yet the contrast is less stark than we might think, as will appear if we look again at the passage where Descartes explains his choice of the term générosité instead of magnanimité. J’ai nommé cette vertu Générosité, suivant l’usage de notre langue, plutôt que Magnanimité, suivant l’usage de l’École, où elle n’est pas fort connue.  (§ 161) I have called this virtue ‘nobility of soul’, in keeping with the usage of our language, rather than ‘magnanimity’, according to the usage of the schools, where this virtue is not much in evidence.

Descartes is mobilizing a discourse widespread among early modern French men of letters, especially those of an aristocratic background or with aristocratic pretensions: the universities are populated by ill-bred pedants.56 But it might be thought that the term he prefers is similarly compromised by its social as­so­ci­ ations, with nobility of birth. On the contrary, Descartes welcomes these, for he goes on to say that good birth seems to contribute to legitimate self-esteem more than to any other virtue.57 And his explanation of this is puzzling. If we look back at his discussion of weakness, we shall remember that he ascribes it mostly to ignorance (§ 154) and he urges us to remember the infirmity of the nature that we have in common with our fellow-humans (§ 155). Given his dualistic system, Descartes could have explained moral weakness partly in psychophysical terms. If A’s brain fibres are tenderer than B’s, the movement of the animal spirits will make more of an impression on A than on B, and A will thus be more prone to passion, and more liable to make the resultant mistakes. Malebranche reasons more or less in this way when assessing the impact of im­agin­ation on our thinking. And we saw that Camus adduced the influence of the body on the soul to explain how, though souls are directly created by God, a person may inherit moral characteristics from his or her parents. Perhaps Descartes was afraid of compromising belief in free will by ascribing too much influence to our physical constitution. But, in any case, he now argues that it is easy to believe that not all souls are created equally noble and good, in such a way as to suggest, in the context of the passage, that the noble and good souls belong to those of noble birth. It is not at all clear why he thinks this easy to believe, and there is no warrant in his philosophy for the belief. Nor is it required to support belief in the freedom of the will. Again, if there are souls of different rank, then we do 56  See Michael Moriarty, Taste and Ideology in Seventeenth-Century France (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988), 96, 155, 183–4. 57  Taylor cites this passage as evidence of a residual connection between Descartes and the aristocratic code (Sources, 541, n. 32).

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Michael Moriarty  173 not share a common nature, and there is therefore all the less reason why we should feel kinship with and respect for our fellow humans. Yet respect for them was presented as key to humility, which was itself presented as the companion virtue to générosité. In the light of this, what becomes of the universalism of Cartesian ethics? But we should perhaps read this passage as a concession to aristocratic ideology, perhaps a compliment to Princess Elisabeth in particular. For Descartes has already stated that générosité can in principle be acquired by everyone, since it depends only on oneself (§ 154). This is because it involves the good use of one’s free will, which is a universal human possession. Moreover, he goes on to state that ‘la bonne institution’ (that is, both a good upbringing and a good education) can do much to correct any innate shortcomings; besides, frequent reflection on the advantages conferred by resolving to make good use of one’s free will, and the futility of all other kinds of advantage, will arouse the passion of générosité, and so favour the acquisition of the corresponding habit, or virtue (§ 161).58 Descartes’s ethic is thus universal in the sense that no one is debarred from générosité by circumstances beyond his or her control, such as social position or gender. But his exposition of it harks back to the aristocratic ethos in that he concedes that, in practice, though the virtue is accessible to all, it is not equally ac­cess­ible to all.59 In this his position is not, after all, very different from Corneille’s or Camus’. As they present the issue, noble blood predisposes or ought to predispose to virtue; yet, as Camus especially stresses, virtue is sometimes achieved by those who lack this natural predisposition. In all three authors, moral nobility is an ideal that can be achieved by those who use their free will in accordance with the insights of a true moral understanding, and who therefore transcend the passions and the self-interest that govern the general run of human beings. Finally, générosité in Descartes is not a self-centred virtue. It is orientated towards doing good to others, less towards individuals with whom one is in a social relationship of equality or inequality, and more towards fellow-members of  the human race. In its stress on universal benevolence, générosité displays an  affinity more with the Stoics (not to mention Christian morality) than with Aristotle.60 Just as Cornelian or Camusian générosité incorporates much more than the defence of honour in warrior societies, so its Cartesian namesake is much more than an ideal of rational control.

58  The acquisition of générosité is discussed by Grimaldi, Six Études, 170–5. 59  As Taylor well puts it, ‘The well-born have a head start, not a monopoly’ (Sources, 541–2, n. 32). 60  Cottingham emphasizes the Christian aspect of Descartes’s ethics (Philosophy and the Good Life, 100–1).

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174 Cartesian Générosité and its Antecedents

Bibliography Aristotle. Nicomachean Ethics. Edited by H.  Rackham. London: Heinemann, and Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1934. Augustine of Hippo, St. The City of God against the Pagans. Translated by George E. McCracken et al. 7 vols. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press and London: Heinemann, 1957–72. Bénichou, Paul. Morales du grand siècle. Paris: Gallimard, 1948. Beyssade, Jean-Marie. Descartes au fil de l’ordre. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 2001. Brown, Deborah  J. Descartes and the Passionate Mind. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Camus, Jean-Pierre. L’Amphithéâtre sanglant. Edited by Stéphan Ferrari. Paris: Honoré Champion, 2001. Camus, Jean-Pierre. Les Euenemens singuliers. Edited by Max Vernet. Paris: Classiques Garnier, 2010. Camus, Jean-Pierre. Les Spectacles d’horreur. Edited by Stéphan Ferrari. Paris: Classiques Garnier, 2013. Camus, Jean-Pierre. Traité des passions de l’ame. Edited by Max Vernet and Élodie Vignon. Paris: Classiques Garnier, 2014. Cassirer, Ernst. Descartes, Corneille, Christine de Suède. Translated by Madeleine Francès and Paul Schrecker. Paris: Vrin, 1942. Cicero, Marcus Tullius. De officiis. Translated by Walter Miller. Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard University Press, 1990. Corneille, Pierre. Œuvres complètes. Edited by André Stegmann. Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 1963. Cotgrave, Randle. A Dictionarie of the French and English Tongues. Introduction by William S. Woods. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1950 [reprint of 1st edn, London 1611]. Cottingham, John. Philosophy and the Good Life: Reason and the Passions in Greek, Cartesian and Psychoanalytic Ethics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998. Descartes, René. Œuvres. Edited by Charles Adam and Paul Tannery. 11 vols. Paris: Vrin/CNRS, 1996. Descartes, René. Opere 1637–1649. Edited by Giulia Belgioioso, Igor Agostini, Francesco Marrone, and Massimiliano Savini. Milan: Bompiani, 2009. Descartes, René. Tutte le lettere 1619–1650. Edited by Giulia Belgioioso, Igor Agostini, Francesco Marrone, Franco  A.  Meschini, Massimiliano Savini, and Jean-Robert Armogathe. Milan: Bompiani, 2009. Descartes, René. The Passions of the Soul and Other Late Philosophical Writings. Translated by Michael Moriarty. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015.

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Michael Moriarty  175 Dupleix, Scipion. L’Éthique ou Philosophie morale. Paris: Laurent Sonnius, 1610. Epictetus. The Discourses as Reported by Arrian, Fragments, Encheiridion. Translated by W. A. Oldfather. 2 vols. Cambridge, MA, and London: Harvard University Press, 1998. Gallutius, Tarquinius. Explanatio et quæstiones in Aristotelis Moralium Libros. 2 vols. Paris: Sebastien Cramoisy, 1632–45. Gilby, Emma. Descartes’s Fictions. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019. Góis, Manuel de. Moral a Nicómaco, de Aristóteles. Edited by António Alberto de Andrade. Lisbon: Instituto de Alta Cultura, 1957. Grimaldi, Nicolas. Six Études sur la volonté et la liberté chez Descartes. Paris: Vrin, 2013. Ibbett, Katherine. Compassion’s Edge: Fellow-Feeling and Its Limits in Early Modern France. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018. Irwin, Terence. The Development of Ethics: A Historical and Critical Study. 3 vols. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007–9. Kambouchner, Denis. Descartes et la philosophie morale. Paris: Herrman, 2008. Lanson, Gustave. ‘Le héros cornélien et le “généreux” selon Descartes: étude sur les rapports de la psychologie de Corneille et de la psychologie de Descartes’. Revue d’Histoire littéraire de la France 1:4 (1894): 397–411. Levi, Anthony. French Moralists: The Theory of the Passions, 1585 to 1649. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1964. Moriarty, Michael. Taste and Ideology in Seventeenth-Century France. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988. Moriarty, Michael. ‘Love and Love of Self  in Early Modern French Writing’. Seventeenth-Century French Studies 35 (2013): 80–97. Phillips, Henry. ‘Descartes and the Dramatic Experience’. French Studies 39/4 (October 1985): 408–22. Saint-Paul, Eustache de. Summa philosophiae quadripartita, de rebus dialecticis, moralibus, physicis et metaphysicis, 2 vols. Paris: Charles Chastellain, 1609. Scholar, Richard. The ‘Je-Ne-Sais-Quoi’ in Early Modern Europe: Encounters with a Certain Something. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005. Shapiro, Lisa. ‘Cartesian Generosity’. Acta Philosophica Fennica 64 (1999): 249–75. Taylor, Charles. Sources of the Self. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989.

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7

Magnanimity and Modernity Greatness of Soul and Greatness of Mind in the Enlightenment Ryan Patrick Hanley

Magnanimity is famously an ancient virtue. Its classic formulation was of course set forth by Aristotle, who articulated in his study of the great-souled person a virtue suited to the specific context and realities of the ancient political world. As such, magnanimity may seem to have little place in modernity, and especially in a modernity that prefers bourgeois virtue to aristocratic or heroic virtue. But as it happens, magnanimity and modernity have a close connection. In the eighteenth century, several prominent moral theorists included magnanimity in their canons of the virtues, and in so doing sought to define a conception of magnanimity compatible with modern political conditions and philosophical commitments. What follows examines three especially well-developed efforts in this vein, namely those of David Hume, Adam Smith, and John Witherspoon. As I hope to show, these three Enlightenment thinkers were united in their belief that magnanimity or greatness of soul or (in Hume’s case) ‘greatness of mind’ has a legitimate place among the modern virtues. Yet for all their agreement on magnanimity’s legitimacy as a modern virtue, Hume and Smith and Witherspoon differed sharply on the question of how magnanimity is best reconciled with certain eth­ic­al and epistemic commitments that were unknown to Aristotle and his fellow ancients but were yet foundational to modern philosophy.1 In particular the three thinkers faced the challenge of demonstrating how exactly a virtue that had ori­gin­al­ly been defined with reference to transcendent goods could be rendered philosophically acceptable to a modern world sceptical of the idea that transcendent ideals such as Aristotle’s to kalon could or should serve as proper grounds for practical morality. Their differing approaches to resolving this issue both attest to the enduring 1 For other treatments of the place of magnanimity in modernity, see esp. Larry Arnhart, ‘Statesmanship as Magnanimity: Classical, Christian, and Modern’, Polity 16 (1983): 263–83; and Carson Holloway, ‘Christianity, Magnanimity, and Statesmanship’, Review of Politics 61 (1999): 581–604. These are valuable studies, but their focal debate concerns, in Holloway’s words, how and whether ‘in the modern world Christianity alone can make magnanimous statesmanship possible’ (581)—a concern somewhat removed from my focus below on the relationship of modern spectatorship to magnanimity. Ryan Patrick Hanley, Magnanimity and Modernity: Greatness of Soul and Greatness of Mind in the Enlightenment In: The Measure of Greatness: Philosophers on Magnanimity. Edited by: Sophia Vasalou, Oxford University Press (2019). © the several contributors. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198840688.003.0007

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Ryan Patrick Hanley  177 appeal of the virtue of magnanimity, and helpfully illuminate certain challenges we face in our efforts to determine magnanimity’s proper place today.2

1.  Hume: Greatness of Mind, Sentiment, and Spectatorship Hume was one of the most prominent eighteenth-century thinkers to discuss the virtue of magnanimity. As many have noted, as a moral theorist Hume sought to recover an appreciation of the ‘awful virtues’ characteristic of the ancients alongside an appreciation of the ‘amiable virtues’ generally admired by modern ­thinkers.3 Yet this synthesis faced a challenge, as the same scepticism towards the transcendent that led modern thinkers like Hume to reground morality in sentiment would seem on its face to preclude recovery of a virtue originally envisioned as grounded in a commitment to transcendent nobility. What solution then can Hume offer? What follows argues that Hume’s primary innovation as a theorist of magnanimity consists in his efforts to reground magnanimity in intersubjective judgement, and thereby suggest a means whereby it might be domesticated within modern moral systems.4 Hume invokes the virtue of magnanimity in numerous places in his historical and political writings.5 But the most extended treatment of magnanimity in his philosophical writings (and hence the treatment on which I focus here) comes in his chapter devoted to the virtue of ‘greatness of mind’ in the Treatise (T 3.3.2).6 2  These include, for example, the attempt to revive magnanimity in a military context as a complement to a separate virtue of integrity; see e.g. Paul Robinson, ‘Magnanimity and Integrity as Military Virtues’, Journal of Military Ethics 6 (2007): 259–69. Robinson’s focus on ‘the traditional division of honour into external and internal elements’ (259)—that is, honour as defined by observers vs. honour as self-defined—is especially usefully anticipated in the accounts given by the eighteenth-century thinkers treated here. 3  For a helpful treatment in this vein, and one indeed which particularly emphasizes how Hume sought to bring together ‘greatness of mind’ and ‘extensive benevolence’, see Marie Martin, ‘Hume on Human Excellence’, Hume Studies 18 (1992): 383–99. 4  Andrew Corsa has recently published an excellent study of Smith’s and Hume’s treatments of greatness of soul; see his ‘Modern Greatness of Soul in Hume and Smith’, Ergo 2 (2015): 27–58. Like my study here, Corsa aims to show how ‘Hume and Smith acknowledge their debt to ancient conceptions of greatness, but offer improved modern approaches’ (28). Yet in explicating these ‘improved approaches’ Corsa focuses on the way in which Smith and Hume sought to reconcile their concept of magnanimity with their commitments to benevolence (see esp. 31, 34, 38–9; cf. Martin, ‘Hume on Human Excellence’, 389). My study focuses on the different question of how Smith and Hume sought to reconcile magnanimity with their commitments to spectatorship. 5  See e.g. E 191, 228, 575; HE 2:126 (William Wallace); HE 4:4, 9, 341, 351 (Elizabeth); HE 5:450, 6:79 (Cromwell); and HE 5:474 (Sir Walter Raleigh). I have used the Liberty Fund editions of Hume’s political works: E = Essays, Moral, Political, Literary, ed. Eugene F. Miller (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1987); HE = History of England, ed. William B. Todd, 6 vols. (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1983). E is cited by page number, and HE by volume and page number. 6  Hume’s philosophical works are cited using the following editions and abbreviations: EPM = An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals, ed. Tom L. Beauchamp (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998); T = A Treatise of Human Nature, ed. David Fate Norton and Mary J. Norton (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2007). Texts are cited using the standard system of paragraph numbering.

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178  Magnanimity and Modernity Hume also discusses the virtue more briefly in the second Enquiry, of course (see  e.g. EPM 7.4, 7.16), and a key debate for specialist scholars has long concerned the ways in which Hume’s earlier accounts and later accounts of various concepts may or may not differ. Yet the nature of this volume renders it impossible for me to engage this debate here, and in the interests of space what follows focuses on Hume’s account of greatness of mind at T 3.3.2—an account that has been called ‘the first extended discussion in English-language philosophy of the concept of greatness of soul or mind’ and has been specifically identified as contributing ‘to a domesticated and democratized understanding’ of this virtue.7 So what then is ‘greatness of mind,’ according to Hume? Hume begins his account in what appears, at least on its face, an Aristotelian manner. In this vein, he announces that his illustration of his ‘general system of morals’ will proceed by ‘applying it to particular instances of virtue and vice’. He specifically proposes to begin with pride and humility, and then to go on to ‘consider the vice or virtue that lies in their excesses or just proportion’ (T 3.3.2.1). Yet if Hume’s talk of a mean between extremes sounds Aristotelian, several other elements in even this opening seem to point in a quite different direction. First, Hume very explicitly addresses his discussion to ‘the passions of pride and humility’. But to speak of virtue as emerging from passion, as Hume does here, is to take a route different from that taken by Aristotle. Even more significant than Hume’s understanding of the relationship of virtue to passion, however, is his understanding of the relationship of virtue to nature. The chapter preceding Hume’s account of greatness of mind offers an introduction to the ‘natural virtues’—an account meant to counterbalance his treatment of the ‘artificial virtues’ in T 3.2. Greatness of mind is presented as an archetype of natural virtue—a virtue which has ‘no dependence on the artifice and contrivance of men’ (T 3.3.1.1)—in the same way that justice had been so notoriously presented as an exemplar of artificial virtue. But what matters for us is Hume’s account of natural virtue. Natural virtue, he explains, is of course virtue that is natural to us, and what is chiefly natural to us, on Hume’s account, is very clear: ‘the chief spring or actuating principle of the human mind is pleasure or pain’ (T 3.3.1.2). On this foundation Hume builds his theory of natural virtue, and paraphrasing his earlier argument he notes that: we have already observed, that moral distinctions depend entirely on certain peculiar sentiments of pain and pleasure, and that whatever mental quality in ourselves or others gives us a satisfaction, by the survey or reflection, is of course virtuous; as every thing of this nature that gives us uneasiness, is vicious. (T 3.3.1.3)

7  Graham Solomon, ‘Hume on ‘Greatness of Soul’, Hume Studies 26 (2000): 130.

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Ryan Patrick Hanley  179 Hume’s account of virtue is striking. First, as he makes clear, the standard of ­nat­ural virtue is the subjective experience of sensations of pleasure and pain. Second, the relevant pains and pleasures here are not those of agents acting in accord with (or failing to act in accord with) virtue, but the pains or pleasures felt by those who ‘survey’ or ‘reflect’ on agents. In this sense, the standard for natural virtue is both sensational and spectatorial. These are grounds for virtue very different from Aristotle’s: an important fact to keep in mind amidst Hume’s seemingly Aristotelian claims that virtue is manifested in character rather than acts (e.g. T 3.3.1.4) and that character is revealed not in discrete instances but fixed dispositions (e.g. T 3.3.1.5).8 For all these seeming parallels with Aristotle, Hume clearly operates under a different paradigm when he insists, in concluding his study of natural virtue, that ‘every quality of the mind is denominated virtuous, which gives pleasure by the mere survey; as every quality, which produces pain, is called vicious’ (T 3.3.1.30). Hume brings these sensational (or sentimental) and spectatorial commitments together in his account of sympathy—itself perhaps his chief innovation as a moral theorist. It is well beyond the scope of this paper to survey his theory of sympathy.9 But crucial for our purposes is how Hume connects his theory of sympathy to his account of greatness of mind. His chief claim on this front concerns sympathy’s role in judging virtue. As he explains: wherever an object has a tendency to produce pleasure in the possessor, or in other words, is the proper cause of pleasure, it is sure to please the spectator, by a delicate sympathy with the possessor . . . Handsome and beautiful, on most occasions, is not an absolute but a relative quality, and pleases us by nothing but its tendency to produce an end that is agreeable.  (T 3.3.1.8)

Hume’s key claim here is that the qualities we admire and judge virtuous are qualities that are not ‘absolute’ but ‘relative’—qualities that are relative specifically to the ways they are subjectively experienced by agents, and via sympathy, by spectators. Now, Hume himself is well aware of the potential implications of this position, and in fact dedicates the remainder of the chapter to articulating a means of avoiding radical subjectivism: thus his account of that ‘common point of view’ which can alone ‘correct the momentary appearances of things’ and enable spectators to reach stable consensus in matters of moral judgement (T 3.3.1.16). This too has long been regarded as one of Hume’s central innovations.10 But what demands our attention is Hume’s claim that ‘the approbation of moral qualities 8  See Martin, ‘Hume on Human Excellence’, 392. 9  For a recent overview, see e.g. Rico Vitz, ‘The Nature and Functions of Sympathy in Hume’s Philosophy’, in The Oxford Handbook of Hume, ed. Paul Russell (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016), 312–32. 10 I examine an aspect of this debate and the associated literature in Love’s Enlightenment: Rethinking Charity in Modernity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017), 44–6.

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180  Magnanimity and Modernity most certainly is not derived from reason, or any comparison of ideas; but proceeds entirely from a moral taste, and from certain sentiments of pleasure or disgust, which arise upon the contemplation and view of particular qualities or characters’ (T 3.3.1.15). Natural virtue, that is, is determined by the sentiments of the spectator. But why does this matter for magnanimity? In the next chapter, Hume applies his theory of spectatorial sentiment to greatness of mind. The opening of the chapter begins with a reminder of the significance of the ‘two principles, which are very conspicuous in human nature’. The first of these is sympathy, which makes possible the ‘communication of sentiments and passions’ between actors and spectators. The second principle is equally if not more significant for the account of magnanimity, and helps us to see what exactly is at stake when Hume tells us, as he did above, that value judgements concern ‘not an absolute but a rela­tive quality’. This second principle is ‘comparison,’ which Hume defines as ‘the variation of our judgements concerning objects, according to the proportion they bear to those with which we compare them’. Hume then explains why this is significant: We judge more of objects by comparison, than by their intrinsic worth and value; and regard every thing as mean, when set in opposition to what is su­per­ ior of the same kind. But no comparison is more obvious than that with ourselves; and hence it is that on all occasions it takes place, and mixes with most of our passions  (T 3.3.2.4)

Herein lies Hume’s most important claim with regard to judgements of magnanimity and moral worth. Moral worth, he here makes clear, is not determined by comparison to any sort of absolute standard, but by comparison to our own worth and our relative level of excellence. This is especially evident, Hume insists, in our determinations of greatness of mind. Greatness of mind is a quality that we judge entirely by reference to ourselves, and indeed by the sentimental and subjective experience that we as spectators have when we witness it in others. This is obviously true when we behold a ‘proud man’ who elicits from us sentiments ‘so mortifying and disagreeable’ as a result of our ‘comparison’ of ourselves to him. But the same is also true when we behold a ‘great man’ of true merit; thus Hume’s claim that ‘we sink very much in our own eyes, when in the presence of a great man, or one of superior genius; and this humility makes a considerable ingredient in that respect, which we pay our superiors’ (T 3.3.2.6). The key claim here is that greatness is something we determine comparatively, a value that spectators assign after comparing themselves to others rather than by evaluating others against some absolute or transcendent standard. Put this way, Hume’s theory of greatness of mind is wholly consistent with his basic commitments to sentimentalism and spectatorship. But for all this consistency,

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Ryan Patrick Hanley  181 it is also an account that raises several questions. First, if greatness is in the eye of the spectator, what resources are available to Hume to respond to worries about potential relativism? Perhaps the most obvious such resource is his concept of the general point of view. As we saw just above, in T 3.3.1 Hume proposes the general point of view as a corrective mechanism, and even though Hume does not invoke the general point of view in T 3.3.2, there is no reason to believe this wouldn’t be available to Humean agents in judgements of greatness of mind. This leads to another question. Hume notes that it is often both practically useful and psychologically important for us to be aware of our own merit, independent of what spectators might say: ‘nothing is more useful to us in the conduct of life, than a due degree of pride, which makes us sensible of our own merit’ (T 3.3.2.8). But how can we know that our self-assessments of our own merit are justified? Hume clearly thinks that we can make justified assessments of our merit without having recourse to spectators; even here he says that ‘a man of sense and merit is pleased with himself, independent of all foreign considerations’ and that it is only ‘a fool’ who ‘must always find some person’ in order to prop up his judgements of himself (T 3.3.2.7). But what enables the man of sense to succeed, and causes the fool to fail? Hume’s suggestion seems to be that the man of sense has access to judgements of ‘utility’ and ‘agreeableness’ (T 3.3.2.8)—the standards that Hume would of course develop at length in his account in EPM of the four measures of ‘personal merit’: ‘useful or agreeable to the person himself or to others’ (EPM 9.1). But in what follows, he also notes that there is a problem here, as ‘no one can well distinguish in himself betwixt the vice or virtue, or be certain, that his esteem of his own merit is well-founded’. This is because ‘everyone almost has a strong propensity’ to ‘over-weaning conceit’ (T 3.3.2.10). This raises a particular problem for greatness of mind. For if indeed judgements of natural virtue are the result of feelings of pain and pleasure, and if indeed the nearly universal vice of self-conceit shapes our pains and pleasures, then it would seem that we need an account beyond what T 3.3.2 provides of what standard we should use to determine the difference between the pleasurable sentiments of the self-conceited and the pleasurable sentiments of the genuinely great-minded. Hume’s account of greatness of mind also raises two other problems. One concerns duplicity. Hume, as we have seen, emphasizes that the pleasure and pain felt by spectators plays a prominent role in determining moral worth. But not only does this raise questions with regard to the capacities of agents to assess their worth independent of judgements of spectators, it also may incentivize agents to act in amoral or immoral ways if they think spectators are likely to be impressed by such. Hume himself suggests this in his account of those ‘rules of good breeding’ that encourage us to conceal any self-esteem that might be offensive to others, in which he counsels that ‘some disguise in this particular is absolutely requisite; and that if we harbor pride in our breasts, we must carry a fair outside, and have the appearance of modesty and mutual deference in all our conduct and behaviour’

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182  Magnanimity and Modernity (T 3.3.2.10). This leads to a paradox. If moral worth is determined in part by the pleasures and pains experienced by spectators, conscious of this, agents may try to shape these judgements by manipulating their external appearances; Hume himself even reminds us ‘no one, who has any practice of the world, and can penetrate into the inward sentiments of men, will assert, that the humility, which good-breeding and decency require of us, goes beyond the outside’ (T 3.3.2.11). Greatness of mind thus may sometimes be just a veneer that conceals what in fact ‘secretly animates our conduct’ (T 3.3.2.13). Greatness of mind can thus be socially problematic. But it can also be pol­it­ic­ al­ly problematic. Herein lies a practical problem inherent to magnanimity. Great actions in the world, Hume explains, are often the effect of pride: ‘all those great actions and sentiments, which have become the admiration of mankind, are founded on nothing but pride and self-esteem’ (T 3.3.2.12). Hume thinks this important for several reasons, not least of which is the implicit rebuke it gives to Christian humility, insofar as ‘whatever we call heroic virtue, and admire under the character of greatness and elevation of mind, is either nothing but a steady and well-established pride and self-esteem, or partakes largely of that passion’—a position in clear conflict with that of a great many ‘religious declaimers [who] decry those virtues as purely pagan and natural, and represent to us the excellence of the Christian religion, which places humility in the rank of virtues’ (T 3.3.2.13).11 But as central as the critique of Christian ethics is to Hume’s project, there is a larger issue at work here. For not only is there a tension between Christian ethics and pagan ethics, there is also a tension between what is admired by the spectator and what is genuinely good for both a virtuous agent and the society in which he or she lives: Accordingly we may observe, that an excessive courage and magnanimity, especially when it displays itself under the frowns of fortune, contributes, in a great measure, to the character of a hero and will render a person the admiration of posterity; at the same time, that it ruins his affairs, and leads him into dangers and difficulties, with which otherwise he would never have been acquainted. (T 3.3.2.14)

The problem with the dazzling virtue of greatness of mind is that the grandeur of its display often blinds spectators to its true effects. Thus not only do agents sometimes dissemble their authentic sentiments from spectators; spectators are often deceived by the dazzling display of certain exhibitions of greatness of mind into approving destructive acts. Hence the problem with the ‘excessive courage and 11 For a helpful treatment of the tension between Christianity and magnanimity, see Arnhart, ‘Statesmanship as Magnanimity’, esp. 271–6; cf. Holloway, ‘Christianity, Magnanimity, and Statesmanship’, esp. 581–2, 591.

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Ryan Patrick Hanley  183 magnanimity’ that marks the ‘character of a hero’ (T 3.3.2.14). This ‘excessive courage and magnanimity’ of course lies at the heart of the ‘heroism, or military glory’ so ‘admired by the generality of mankind.’ Yet it is only ‘men of cool reflection’ who appreciate the ‘infinite confusions and disorder, which it has caused in the world’: ‘the subversion of empires, the devastation of provinces, the sack of cities’. More commonly, spectators who behold these individuals tend to overlook these horrific effects; indeed ‘when we fix our view on the person himself, who is the author of all this mischief, there is something so dazzling in his character, the mere contemplation of it so elevates the mind, that we cannot refuse it our admiration’ (T 3.3.2.15). Magnanimity may be a virtue, but displays of ‘excessive courage and magnanimity’ are problematic in that they are ‘so dazzling’ that they tend to blind even well-intentioned spectators.

2.  Smith: Magnanimity and ‘Absolute Perfection’ Adam Smith, Hume’s friend and interlocutor, shared many of Hume’s ambitions as a moral theorist. Like Hume, Smith sought to articulate a virtue theory that brought together both the amiable and the awful virtues. Also like Hume, and with regard to magnanimity in particular, Smith sought to recover magnanimity on foundations consistent with modern moral systems. These parallels are hardly accidents. Smith, as is well known, employed several Humean mechanisms in his moral theory.12 Furthermore, Smith regarded Hume as an exemplar of magnanimity in his own right, as his private and public writings explicitly attest.13 Yet for all this admiration and agreement, Smith also sought to develop a concept of magnanimity that went beyond Hume’s. Specifically, Smith sought to develop a concept of magnanimity capable of avoiding the relativism to which Hume’s magnanimity grounded in sentiment and spectatorship was susceptible, as well as the propensities to politically destabilizing behaviours that Hume and Smith alike associated with magnanimity. Smith’s concern to respond to the problem that we have identified as lying at the core of Humean magnanimity is manifested in several places. It is perhaps nowhere more evident than in Smith’s own account of his intentions for his project as a moral philosopher. After publishing the first edition of his Theory of Moral Sentiments in 1759, Smith received a letter of friendly criticism from Gilbert Eliot. In response, Smith made several additions to the second edition of his text. And while we unfortunately do not possess Eliot’s letter and thus can 12  I examine several of these parallels (and differences) in my essay ‘Hume and Smith on Moral Philosophy’, in Oxford Handbook of Hume, ed. Russell. 13  For especially helpful treatments of Smith’s references to Hume’s magnanimity, see esp. Eric Schliesser, ‘The Obituary of a Vain Philosopher: Adam Smith’s Reflections on Hume’s Life’, Hume Studies 29 (2003): 327-62; and Corsa, ‘Modern Greatness of Soul’, esp. 28–9, 46–8.

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184  Magnanimity and Modernity only speculate as to what his specific criticisms might have been, Smith’s response is revealing—and especially so when read in the light of Hume’s treatment of greatness of mind. Writing to Eliot, Smith explains that his revisions were ‘intended both to confirm my doctrine that our judgments concerning our own conduct have always a reference to some other being, and to show that, notwithstanding this, real magnanimity and conscious virtue can support itself under the disapprobation of all mankind’ (CAS 49).14 Whatever Eliot’s own worries and concerns may have been, Smith’s response shows him to have been acutely aware of and concerned to respond to the key challenge that Hume’s system poses: what reason is there to think that the self-esteem characteristic of greatness of mind can be sustained or justified in a system founded on spectatorial judgement? Smith’s answer rests on his concept of the impartial spectator—a corrective to the judgements of real spectators that is in fundamental ways akin to Hume’s common point of view. Here again full study of this mechanism lies beyond the space available. What follows focuses rather on how Smith responded to this problem through his treatment of the virtue of magnanimity. Magnanimity plays a conspicuous role in Smith’s moral theory—indeed perhaps a larger role than in any other major eighteenth-century theory. For Smith, magnanimity has several distinctive substantive elements, and in developing these substantive elements he goes into more detail than Hume does in accounting for the functioning of magnanimity. Smith shares Hume’s general sense that magnanimity is a virtue that concerns pride or self-conception, and he shares Hume’s sense that ‘an excessive pride or over-weaning conceit of ourselves is always esteem’d vicious’ (T 3.3.2.1). But Smith also emphasizes somewhat more explicitly than Hume the connection of magnanimity to the process of self-control or selfcommand. This comes out several ways in his text. First, Smith uses magnanimity to describe superiority to misfortune, and especially mastery of bodily pain; hence his several references to the ‘magnanimity’ of the ‘man who in danger, in torture, upon the approach of death, preserves his tranquility un­altered, and suffers no word, no gesture to escape him’ (TMS 6.3.5; cf. 6.3.7, 1.2.1.12). Magnanimity also denotes a self-conscious sense of inherent worth; hence his reference to ‘magnanimity, or a regard to maintain our own rank and dignity in society’ (TMS 1.2.3.8). Magnanimity can also refer to resignation to that which lies beyond our power to control; hence Smith’s reference to ‘magnanimous resignation to the will of the great Director of the universe’ (TMS 6.2.3.4). In developing these elements of his theory of magnanimity, Smith reveals the degree of his engagement with ancient conceptions. These include the Stoic wise man who has

14  Smith’s works are cited using the following editions and abbreviations: CAS = Correspondence of Adam Smith, ed. E. C. Mossner and I. S. Ross (Liberty Fund: Indianapolis, 1987); TMS = The Theory of Moral Sentiments, ed. D. D. Raphael and A. L. Macfie (Liberty Fund: Indianapolis, 1983). TMS is cited using the standard system of paragraph numbering; the correspondence is cited by page number.

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Ryan Patrick Hanley  185 ‘magnanimity and fortitude to despise’ death (TMS 7.2.1.23); Stoicism itself Smith indeed regards as ‘a philosophy which offers the noblest lessons of magnanimity’ (TMS 58–60n), the general tendency of which was to animate its followers ‘to actions of the most heroic magnanimity and most extensive benevolence’ (TMS 7.2.1.47). Aristotle he associates with the idea that magnanimity is ‘a middle between the excess of arrogance and the defect of pusillanimity’ (TMS 7.2.1.12), and that great-souled individuals are ‘not at all disposed to bustle about little matters, but to act with the most determined and vigorous resolution upon all great and illustrious occasions’ (TMS 6.3.44). With Plato he associates the idea that ‘the virtue of fortitude and magnanimity’ consists in a capacity ‘to despise all dangers in the pursuit of what was honourable and noble’ (TMS 7.2.1.7).15 And Smith also saw examples of magnanimity in his own age, and specifically in certain premodern contemporary societies; hence his very striking claims that the ‘savages of North America’ display a ‘magnanimity and self-command’ that ‘are almost beyond the conception of Europeans’, and that in their ‘contempt of death and torture . . . there is not a negro from the coast of Africa who does not . . . possess a degree of magnanimity which the soul of his sordid master is too often scarce capable of conceiving’ (TMS 5.2.9). Yet what runs throughout all these discrete invocations of the concept of magnanimity is Smith’s consistent emphasis on its role in fostering self-control or self-command. Smith clearly admires magnanimity, and thinks it natural that we admire it as well. But on what exactly does he think that our admiration of magnanimity is founded? Smith, in answering this question, takes up a specific side of Hume’s theory, but develops it in a novel way. Like Hume, Smith thinks that magnanimity is a virtue that lies in the eye of the beholder. Magnanimity, that is, is a virtue that is judged of and apprehended by spectators. But Smith goes further than Hume in explaining exactly how this process works. For Hume, as we saw, spectators judge others to possess greatness of mind when they compare their sentiments and selves to other agents and find themselves wanting in comparison. But Smith thinks that the spectatorial process by which we apprehend magnanimity works somewhat differently. One of the key features of Smith’s system is his claim that between spectators and actors there is necessarily always what we might call a ‘sympathy shortfall’ (my term, not Smith’s). Indeed one of Smith’s fundamental assumptions is that spectators, even as they come to feel what actors feel via sympathy, always feel a lesser degree of what spectators feel. It is because of the sympathy shortfall, he claims, that we admire displays of magnanimous self-command; as he explains, when agents sacrifice their self-interests to the interests of others, ‘they accommodate themselves to the sentiments of the spectator, and by an effort of magnanimity act according to those views of things which, they feel, must 15  Smith also calls attention to both the Epicurean (TMS 7.2.2.13) and Ciceronian (TMS 7.4.6) conceptions of magnanimity.

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186  Magnanimity and Modernity nat­urally occur to any third person’ (TMS 4.2.10). In this sense, magnanimity is valu­able as it lowers the pitch of the sentiments experienced by an agent to a level at which spectators, who cannot raise themselves to a similar intensity of feeling, can enter into. Smith explains this process in several places. Early in TMS he gives the example of ‘the man, who under the severest tortures allows no weakness to escape him, vents no groan, gives way to no passion which we do not entirely enter into’, and explains that such a man ‘commands our highest admiration’, precisely because ‘his firmness enables him to keep time with our indifference and insensibility’, with the result that ‘we admire and entirely go along with the magnanimous effort which he makes for this purpose’ (TMS 1.2.1.12). Magnanimity is thus here again determined by spectators, but in Smith’s hands it serves the practical end of enabling spectators and actors to overcome the sympathy shortfall that separates them. Smith offers Seneca’s Cato as another example of the same phenomenon. Noting ‘how far are the languid emotions of our hearts from keeping time to the transports’ of others, he explains that in fact ‘it is on account of this dull sensibility to the afflictions of others, that magnanimity amidst great distress appears always so divinely graceful’, and leads us to wonder ‘at that strength of mind which is capable of so noble and generous an effort’ (TMS 1.3.1.12-13; cf. 14). Smith’s explanation of why we admire magnanimity thus takes an insight of Hume’s for its point of departure and then develops it a step further. Like Hume, Smith thinks that magnanimity is a virtue determined by the spectator. But unlike Hume, he has a theory of why the spectator finds magnanimity pleasing: magnanimity closes the sympathy shortfall, bringing the passions of the agent down to that moderate level that provides spectators the pleasant experience of entering into them. Yet Smith’s spectatorial theory of magnanimity also goes beyond Hume’s in a second respect. As we have seen, when Humean spectators make their comparative judgements, their standard for comparison is the way in which the passions of the agent compare to those of the spectator. But for Smith, moral judgements require another sort of comparison. Some sense of what Smith has in mind on this front can be found in his opening comments on magnanimity. Early in TMS, Smith takes pains to distinguish magnanimity from propriety. Propriety, he explains, is merely correspondence with and conformity to what a spectator would consider appropriate. But this sort of social conventionalism—which is central to Hume’s theory of greatness of mind, as we have seen—Smith insists is different from and indeed inferior to virtue; indeed ‘there is,’ he insists, ‘a considerable difference between virtue and mere propriety’ (TMS 1.1.5.7). Virtue sets its sights considerably higher than propriety—a point he drives home with explicit reference to magnanimity: The great and exalted virtue of magnanimity undoubtedly demands much more than that degree of self-command, which the weakest of mortals is capable of

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Ryan Patrick Hanley  187 exerting. As in the common degree of the intellectual qualities, there is no excellence; so in the common degree of the moral, there is no virtue. Virtue is excellence, something uncommonly great and beautiful, which rises far above what is vulgar and ordinary.  (TMS 1.1.5.6)

Smith takes an important step beyond Hume here. For Hume, the standards for judging virtue are entirely comparative, with the relevant standard of comparison that of spectator and actor. For Smith too, virtue is determined on the basis of comparison, but in his theory the relevant comparison is that between the actions of the agent and a standard that ‘rises far above’ ordinary behaviour. Smith’s evoca­tive language here itself suggests a shift from the merely horizontal plane of Humean comparison to a new vertical plane of comparison. In continuing, Smith elaborates on his vision of this vertical plane. In what follows, he explains that certain actions can achieve propriety but fall short of virtue, while others fall short of propriety but deserve to be recognized as virtuous. Why is this? Smith thinks it is because virtuous actions measure up to a higher standard: Though in those cases, therefore, the behaviour of the sufferer fall short of even the most perfect propriety, it may still deserve some applause, and even in a certain sense, may be denominated virtuous. It may still manifest an effort of generosity and magnanimity of which the greater part of men are incapable; and though it fails of absolute perfection, it may be a much nearer approximation towards perfection, than what, upon such trying occasions, is commonly either to be found or to be expected.  (TMS 1.1.5.8)

Here Smith introduces the key concept that distinguishes his theory from of ­magnanimity from Hume’s: perfection. Smith helpfully illuminates what he has in mind by ‘perfection’ in what follows. Here he explains ‘we very frequently make use of two different standards’ in ‘determining the degree of blame or applause which seems due to any action’. The first is ‘the idea of complete propriety and perfection, which, in those difficult situations, no human conduct ever did, or ever can come up to’. The second is ‘the idea of that degree of proximity or distance from this complete perfection, which the actions of the greater part of men commonly arrive at’ (TMS 1.1.5.9). This is a crucial move, and one that moves Smith far beyond Hume. In Hume’s theory, as we saw, all judgements of moral worth are necessarily ‘relative’, and specifically relative to the degree of excellence achieved by the spectator. For Smith, on the other hand, the comparison that matters is that between the worth of the agent and the standard of ‘absolute perfection’; Smith, to be sure, does not think that the achievement of perfection is within the grasp of a human being. Yet what is crucial—and what most clearly distinguishes his theory from Hume’s—is his claim that our capacity to conceptualize

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188  Magnanimity and Modernity perfection is indispensable to moral judgement, and that it is only in light of our capacity to envision such perfection that magnanimity itself can be appreciated. Smith’s insistence on the standard of absolute perfection as the proper yardstick for magnanimity has two further important implications relative to Hume’s theory. The first of these emerges from the fact that in Smith’s account the standard of absolute perfection is employed not only by spectators, but also by actors judging themselves. This is crucial for Smith, and again signals an important ­difference from Hume. Whereas in Hume’s system, the standard for judgement is  that of the spectator—which, as we have seen, incentivizes social conformity and would seem to disincentivize behaviours that might run counter to public norms—in Smith’s system, actors always have recourse to, and indeed must take recourse to, the higher standard of absolute perfection in judging themselves. This has several key implications. First, the agent’s comparison of self to this standard often serves to induce a certain salutary humility: not the humility Hume associates with Christian self-abasement, but the humility that animates the peak figure of Smith’s ethics, the figure he calls the ‘wise and virtuous man’ (see esp. TMS 6.3.23–5). But it is a second implication of this comparison that is especially important for us here. That is, the agent’s capacity to judge himself or herself on the standard of absolute perfection enables such an agent to be secure in their judgements of themselves, even and especially when they conflict with the judgements of actual spectators. Smith calls attention to this in his account of the way in which a magnanimous individual chooses to judge himself when his actions in the world are unsuccessful, and spectators consequently ignore him: He summons up his whole magnanimity and firmness of soul, and strives to regard himself, not in the light in which he at present appears, but in that in which he ought to appear, in which he would have appeared had his generous designs been crowned with success, and in which he would still appear, notwithstanding their miscarriage, if the sentiments of mankind were either altogether candid or equitable, or even perfectly consistent with themselves.  (TMS 2.3.3.6)

This is a crucial passage. Here Smith explains that magnanimity provides a resource for correcting the erroneous judgements of real spectators. Smith’s magnanimous man, unlike Hume’s, has a conscious standard of measuring self-worth and desert, and this capacity has practical payoffs for his behaviour. Far from a slave to the judgements of others, he can act independently and in ways that run counter to the prejudices of real spectators. Free from being compelled to act in a certain way for the sake of appearing a certain way, such a magnanimous individual acts instead as he thinks he ought: He fixes his thoughts, therefore, upon only those which are agreeable, the applause and admiration which he is about to deserve by the heroic magnanimity of his

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Ryan Patrick Hanley  189 behaviour . . . to feel that in this dreadful situation he can still act as he would desire to act, animates and transports him with joy, and enables him to support that triumphant gaiety which seems to exult in the victory which he thus gains over his misfortunes.  (TMS 1.3.3.8)

Smith’s positing of a transcendent standard of absolute perfection beyond the rela­tive comparative judgements of the spectator—a standard that here he associates with ‘desert’ and elsewhere he will develop via his distinction between praise and ‘praiseworthiness’—at once answers one of the challenges of Hume’s system and provides the key to why he thought, as he wrote in his letter to Eliot, that ‘real magnanimity’ can support itself under the disapprobation of mankind. Smith’s concept of absolute perfection also mitigates a second challenge of Hume’s theory. As we have seen, Hume’s spectatorial theory lacked the resources to correct the misguided admiration that spectators often feel for destructive conquerors. This problem is familiar to Smith as well. As he explains in terms similar to Hume’s, ‘the violence and injustice of great conquerors are often regarded with foolish wonder and admiration’, and however ‘mischievous and destructive’ such actions are, ‘when successful, they often pass for deeds of the most heroic magnanimity’ (TMS 6.1.16). And like Hume, Smith traces this problem directly to the way in which magnanimity often blinds real spectators to genuine effects. Again using Hume’s terminology, he explains that there is something troubling in the ‘dazzling splendour’ of ‘the heroes of ancient and modern history’, insofar as ‘nor does this magnanimity give lustre only to the characters of innocent and virtuous men’, but it also ‘draws some degree of favourable regard even upon those of the greatest criminals’ (TMS 6.3.5–6; cf. 6.3.8).16 But what response to this problem can Smith give? His response is in fact complex and multifaceted. First, Smith recognizes that magnanimity itself must be restrained by other virtues such that aspirations to greatness are channelled into actions of goodness; for while ‘the command of fear, the command of anger, are always great and noble powers’, only ‘when they are directed by justice and benevolence’ do they become ‘great virtues’ (TMS 6.3.12). Part of the solution thus involves educating the actor’s character. But another part of the solution involves training spectators to distinguish ‘the real merit of those spirited, magnanimous, and high-minded persons’—merit that again is earned by certain types of acts that approach the standard of absolute perfection—from the ‘admiration’ spectators all too often ‘feel for their excessive self-estimation’ (TMS 6.3.30). Indeed, it is only after such training that ‘what was before heroic magnanimity, resumes its proper appellation of extravagant rashness and folly’ (TMS 6.3.30). Smith’s solution is thus complex and multifaceted. But at its core is the recognition of a standard of worth beyond the comparative

16  Corsa also notes these parallels; see ‘Modern Greatness of Soul’, 50.

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190  Magnanimity and Modernity standard of ordinary spectators—a standard for judging moral worth that is ‘absolute’ and thus transcends the ‘relative’ judgements of Humean spectators.

3.  Witherspoon’s Christian Magnanimity A third crucial intervention in the eighteenth-century debate over magnanimity was made by John Witherspoon. Witherspoon is today remembered for his service as president of the College of New Jersey (today’s Princeton) during the Revolutionary War period, and for his contributions to the revolutionary effort through his participation in the Continental Congress. But Witherspoon was also well regarded as a thinker in his day; a Scot by birth and a Presbyterian divine by calling, he was especially known for his Calvinist critiques of the mainstream and moderate Scottish Enlightenment with which both Smith and Hume were associated. And one of the most interesting if today largely underemphasized of his interventions in these debates was his contribution on magnanimity. In 1775, Witherspoon delivered to the college’s graduating class a commencement sermon explicitly dedicated to the theme of ‘Christian magnanimity’. The sermon itself has historical interest and import insofar as one of its principal intentions was to motivate its auditors, themselves sons of America’s elite, to rise to the call of military service on behalf of the emerging nation. But the sermon is also distinguished as an important intervention in the philosophical debate over the meaning and relevance of magnanimity in modernity. For Witherspoon, the chief question at issue is whether the peak virtue of the pagans can be reconciled with Christian moral theology, and the commitment to humility in particular—a project in which he had of course been anticipated by Augustine and Aquinas, among others. But for our purposes, Witherspoon’s reconciliation of magnanimity with Christianity is especially important for the way in which it responded to the challenges inherent to the reconciliation of magnanimity with modernity that Hume had made evident. As we saw, Hume’s efforts to ground magnanimity in intersubjective spectatorship prompted Smith’s efforts to ground magnanimity in a conception of worth and desert that might mitigate the relativism to which subjective spectatorial magnanimity was prone. But Witherspoon took Smith’s project a step further: where Smith defined worth and desert with reference to ‘absolute perfection’, Witherspoon identifies this standard of absolute perfection with God. Witherspoon begins his sermon by laying out the main claim for which he means to argue.17 ‘My single purpose’, he explains in his introduction, ‘is to explain and recommend magnanimity as a Christian virtue’, and indeed to do so 17  Citations to Witherspoon’s ‘Christian Magnanimity’ are to the version published in Sermons By the Late John Witherspoon S.S.T.P, L.L.D. (Edinburgh, 1796). References are to page numbers.

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Ryan Patrick Hanley  191 in a manner ‘as neither to weaken its lustre, nor admit of any degree of that c­ orrupt mixture, by which it is often counterfeited and greatly debased’ (255–6). Magnanimity Witherspoon substantively understood to be a virtue that sought to employ the sort of self-command emphasized by Smith in the service of the pursuit of great ends; in this vein, his opening account of magnanimity emphasizes five distinguishing features: ‘to attempt, 1. Great and difficult things; 2. To aspire after great and valuable possessions; 3. To encounter dangers with resolution; 4. To struggle against difficulties with perseverance; and, 5. To bear sufferings with fortitude and patience’ (257). But Witherspoon’s concern here and elsewhere in the piece is less to develop a comprehensive definition or theory of magnanimity than to use magnanimity as a litmus test for the broader tension thought to exist between ‘worldly virtue’ and ‘Christian virtue’ and which have seemed to many ‘to be different things’ (254). These are thought different because of the differing standards that they use in order to judge merit, Witherspoon explains; worldly virtue is ‘a system of principles and duty, dictated by the spirit of the world, and the standard of approbation and blame with the men of the world’, where Christian virtue aims at ‘the spirit of the gospel’ rather than worldly praise and blame (253). Witherspoon explains what is at stake in this difference in what follows, and does so in a way that has special significance in light of Hume’s account of greatness of mind. Magnanimity, he thus explains: seems to be entirely of the worldly cast: it holds a very high place in the esteem of all worldly men; the boldest pretentions are often made to it, by those who treat religion with neglect, and religious persons with disdain or defiance. It is also a virtue of a very dazzling appearance; ready to captivate the mind, and particularly, to make a deep impression on young persons, when they first enter into life. At the same time, the gospel seems to stand directly opposed to it. The humility of the creature, the abasement and contrition of the sinner, the dependence and self-denial of the believer, and above all, the shame and reproach of the cross itself, seem to conspire in obliging us to renounce it.  (254)

Witherspoon’s opening formulation emphasizes the tension between that virtue which (like Humean greatness of mind) takes its cues from the praise and blame of spectators in the world, and that which (like Smith’s magnanimity) defines itself against a standard that transcends this standard. Further, Witherspoon is also clearly aware of the other problem that concerned both Hume and Smith: namely magnanimity’s capacity to blind spectators—like Hume and Smith, Witherspoon explicitly calls attention to the way in which it ‘dazzles’—and seduce them into finding virtue in destruction. Witherspoon’s aim then is to show that magnanimity grounded in ‘the gospel’ rather than spectatorial praise and blame is not only reconcilable with Christian ethics, but can also mitigate some of the practical dangers that Hume and Smith identified.

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192  Magnanimity and Modernity Witherspoon’s strategy for advancing this argument is to show that those who have sought to drive a wedge between magnanimity and Christianity have been misguided. In so doing he means to counter, first, the pious thinkers who think that magnanimity ‘does not belong to religion’, even if ‘there is beauty and excellence in it’ (254). Employing a version of what we can recognize as a species of a unity-of-the-virtues argument, he objects to this claim by arguing that since ‘every real excellence is consistent with every other’, if indeed ‘magnanimity is an amiable and noble quality’ it then necessarily ‘belongs only to true and undefiled religion’ (255). Witherspoon also means to counter, second, magnanimity’s atheistic champions—‘infidels’ who charge that ‘Christianity has banished magnanimity’ and ‘destroyed that nobleness of sentiment, which rendered the ancients so illustrious’ (256). To these Witherspoon replies that ‘real greatness is in­sep­ar­ able from sincere piety’. But what is important are his reasons for so thinking. As he explains, ‘as the scripture points out our original dignity, and the true glory of our nature, so every true penitent is there taught to aspire after the noblest character, and to entertain the most exalted hopes’ (255–6). Witherspoon’s reference to our ‘original dignity’ is recognizable as an imago Dei claim. But his invocation of this claim also plays an important role in ad­van­ cing the debate begun by Hume and taken up by Smith. As we have seen, for them the key question is what determines worth; for Hume, it is the judgements of a spectator, and for Smith, proximity to the standard of absolute perfection. But for Witherspoon the standard of perfection is God, and merit consists in conformity to His will. On this front it is significant that the passage chosen for the sermon is 1 Thessalonians 2:12: ‘That you would walk worthy of God, who hath called you into his kingdom and glory’ (251). Witherspoon invokes this text only once in the sermon, explaining that ‘the Apostle exhorts the Thessalonians to walk suitably to the dignity of their character, and the importance of their privileges, which is a short but just description of true and genuine greatness of mind’ (255). His claim here makes clear that his own conception of greatness of mind is a correction of both Hume’s and Smith’s. In locating the absolute standard of virtue in the dignity of created individuals Witherspoon aims at once to avoid the relativism of Hume’s spectatorial theory, as well as give substance to Smith’s potentially arbitrary theory of ‘absolute perfection’.18 Witherspoon brings this side of his argument to its peak in his concluding account of how magnanimity can be understood as a Christian virtue. Here he aims to show ‘not only that there is nothing in real religion, contrary to magnanimity, but that there, and there only, it appears in its beauty and perfection’ (263). And

18 Holloway captures something like the idea I have in mind in his suggestion that ‘the New Testament suggests the possibility of, and encourages the seeking of, a sort of participation in the eternal in this life similar to that achieved by the magnanimous man’s actualization of the noble in his moral activity’ (‘Christianity, Magnanimity, and Statesmanship’, 594).

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Ryan Patrick Hanley  193 what Witherspoon finds especially beautiful in religious magnanimity is the way in which it enables its possessor to transcend selfish vanity and enter a nobler sphere. As he explains, the possessor of this religious magnanimity ‘is not indeed permitted to glory or build an altar to his own vanity, but he is both permitted and obliged to exert his talents, to improve his time, to employ his substance, and to hazard his life in his Maker’s service, or his country’s cause’ (264). Here and elsewhere the focus is on the contrast between the vain desire for the praises of the spectator and the nobler desire to be worthy of God’s esteem; as he explains, ‘the glorious object of the Christian’s ambition, is the inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and that fadeth not away’. And not only is the struggle for this inheritance more fitting and more worthy of the individual, but it also sustains him in his efforts ‘to look down with becoming indifference, on all the glory of this transitory world’ while ‘he only glories in this, that he knoweth the Lord, and shall be with him for ever’. And herein lies Witherspoon’s key departure from Hume. Where Hume regards the praise and blame of the spectator as the only standard available to us in our determinations of worth, Witherspoon counters that ‘fear of God is the only effectual mean to deliver us from the fear of man’ (265). The key point is that one possessed of religious magnanimity submits only to God: ‘the believer has made an unreserved surrender of himself and his all, to the disposal of providence’ (267). And this is not simply Christianized Stoicism, however familiar it may appear. For insofar as Witherspoon’s magnanimous man prefers God’s approbation to the spectator’s—insofar as he ‘seeks no fame, but by honest means, and fears no reproach for honest actions, but contents himself with a silent and believing regard to him who seeth in secret, and who shall at last bring every work into judgement’ (266)—he not only stands as an alternative to Hume’s magnanimous man, responsive to the praise and blame of ordinary spectators, but he also stands as an exemplar of the ‘real magnanimity’ of which Smith wrote to Eliot. Witherspoon’s grounding of magnanimity in desire for worthiness before God is thus an important response to Hume’s claims about its foundations. But it also has crucial implications for practical action. Hume and Smith and Witherspoon were all well aware of magnanimity’s destructive potential. But Witherspoon’s route to countering it was unique. Witherspoon presents this side of his argument in the two central sections of his sermon. Here he treats magnanimity first as ‘a natural quality’ and second as ‘a moral quality’. The ‘natural quality’ of magnanimity, he explains, is evident in the five distinguishing features to which we have already had occasion to call attention above (257). But what is striking here in Witherspoon’s account is his separation of this ‘natural’ side of magnanimity from its ‘moral’ side. Put differently, Witherspoon thinks that to transform magnanimity into a moral virtue, it is necessary to supplement it with certain further characteristics which are ‘necessary to give it real value, as a moral virtue’ (260).

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194  Magnanimity and Modernity What then are these further characteristics? Witherspoon introduces these by first calling our attention to the way in which the world praises wealth—a theme well known to and frequently treated by both Hume and Smith. Much like Smith, Witherspoon insists that the fervent pursuit of wealth is an activity beneath magnanimity, however much it might be revered by the world; hence his observation that ‘if any person should spend a whole life, in the most unwearied application to the single purpose of accumulating wealth . . . his merit would be very small’ (261). Witherspoon takes seriously the notion that for a person to be magnanimous their ends and ambitions must be great; otherwise, he says, ‘a rope-dancer might be a hero’ (261). But the key point that Witherspoon wishes to make here is that ordinary spectators often praise talents and accomplishments that are decidedly less than praiseworthy. And as Witherspoon goes on to show, this often has pernicious consequences. In language again reminiscent of Hume and Smith, Witherspoon thus observes that ‘some of the noblest powers of the human mind, have often been exerted in invading the rights, instead of promoting the interest and happiness of mankind’, and indeed, ‘many of the most illustrious names, transmitted down to us, have been those of the most active and successful destroyers of their fellow creatures’ (260). Witherspoon is thus well aware that ordinary spectators often misunderstand the genuine worth of the characters they praise, and hence his scepticism of the love of glory and the love of fame celebrated not only by the theorists of antiquity but also by Hume.19 Contra Hume, Witherspoon thus insists that if one acts ‘merely to make his name famous, we must at once perceive how much it detracts even from his name itself ’ (261). Indeed, ‘an insatiable thirst for praise, is so far from being amiable, that it is hateful or contemptible’, and indeed it is precisely this ‘thirst of fame’ that did so much to vitiate the worth of those ‘distinguished heroes of antiquity’ who lived in ‘ig­nor­ance of a better and nobler principle’ (262). The key point here is that for Witherspoon, like Smith, a standard beyond merely the possession of glory and honour needs to be defined; in words that could as easily have been Smith’s, Witherspoon insists that ‘the principle of action must be honourable, as well as the achievements illustrious’ (261). But Witherspoon’s own contribution is to replace Smith’s references to such transcendent concepts as ‘praiseworthiness’ and ‘the honourable and the noble’ with God. By so doing, he aims to solve both problems defined by Hume: first, to provide a non-arbitrary standard for assessing magnanimity; and second, to provide a means by which magnanimity can be directed to moral rather than immoral ends. Witherspoon, like Smith, insists that ‘moral principles, must enter into the composition of true greatness, and that, when they are wanting, the natural characters mentioned before, degenerate into vice and assume the names of pride, ambition, temerity, ferocity, and obstinacy’ (263)—in short, ‘the object 19  For an authoritative treatment, see Andy Sabl, ‘Noble Infirmity: Love of Fame in Hume’, Political Theory 34 (2006): 542–68.

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Ryan Patrick Hanley  195 of our desires must be just as well as great’ (260). But it is precisely by shifting the grounds of magnanimity to religion that Witherspoon thinks this task is accomplished, for only then ‘every good man is called to live and act for the glory of God, and the good of others’.20 And it is here that true greatness for Witherspoon lies, professing that he simply cannot ‘conceive any character more truly great than that of one, whatever be his station or profession, who is devoted to the public good under the immediate order of Providence’ (264).

4. Conclusion The Enlightenment theorists who sought to revive an appreciation for the virtue of magnanimity within modernity were chiefly concerned to address two questions. First, by what standard can we judge magnanimity? That is, in the absence of general acceptance of the existence of a transcendent sphere of nobility that is universally considered as rightly determinative of practical action in this world, how can greatness of soul be identified and distinguished from ordinary virtue? Second, what is needed to ensure that greatness and goodness coincide? That is, given the propensity of ordinary observers to be dazzled by the displays of courage and firmness characteristic of great individuals, what can we do to ensure we do not lose sight of the effects of such individuals amidst our admiration of their acts?21 Hume sought to answer these questions on a horizontal plane, with reference to the ordinary interactions of spectators and actors in the world. Witherspoon of course stands at the far other end of the spectrum, insisting that it is only by regrounding magnanimity in religion that we can avoid the relativism to which Hume called attention. And Smith sought to moderate between the two poles, developing a spectatorial theory that was moderated by an appreciation of the utility of concepts grounded in a certain idea of perfection. Current advocates of magnanimity are likely to differ in their assessments of which route can best move this project forward today. But whatever route is taken, the Enlightenment’s advocates of magnanimity remain valuable for the degree to which they clarify the challenges that any attempt to bring magnanimity into modernity must confront.

20 Cf. Arnhart’s claim that ‘the history of modern magnanimity, with its bizarre combination of  classical and Christian elements, finds its climax in the “greatness of soul” of the Übermensch’ (‘Statesmanship as Magnanimity’, 283). 21  One might naturally add to these a third question: what is it about the conditions of modernity that led the Enlightenment thinkers to seek to recover magnanimity in the first place? I recognize this as a crucial question, but have treated it at length—at least with regard to Hume and Smith—elsewhere; see my ‘David Hume and the Modern Problem of Honor’, Modern Schoolman 84 (2007): 11–28; and Adam Smith and the Character of Virtue (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), ch. 4.

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196  Magnanimity and Modernity

Bibliography Arnhart, Larry. ‘Statesmanship as Magnanimity: Classical, Christian, and Modern’. Polity 16 (1983): 263–83. Corsa, Andrew. ‘Modern Greatness of Soul in Hume and Smith’. Ergo 2 (2015): 27–58. Hanley, Ryan. ‘David Hume and the Modern Problem of Honor’. Modern Schoolman 84 (2007): 11–28. Hanley, Ryan. Adam Smith and the Character of Virtue. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009. Hanley, Ryan. ‘Hume and Smith on Moral Philosophy’. In Paul Russell, ed., Oxford Handbook of Hume. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016. Hanley, Ryan. Love’s Enlightenment: Rethinking Charity in Modernity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017. Holloway, Carson. ‘Christianity, Magnanimity, and Statesmanship’. Review of Politics 61 (1999): 581–604. Hume, David. History of England, ed. William B. Todd, 6 vols. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1983 [HE]. Hume, David. Essays, Moral, Political, Literary, ed. Eugene  F.  Miller. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1987 [E]. Hume, David. An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals, ed. Tom L. Beauchamp. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998 [EPM]. Hume, David. A Treatise of Human Nature, ed. David Fate Norton and Mary J. Norton. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2007 [T]. Martin, Marie. ‘Hume on Human Excellence’. Hume Studies 18 (1992): 383–99. Robinson, Paul. ‘Magnanimity and Integrity as Military Virtues’. Journal of Military Ethics 6 (2007): 259–69. Sabl, Andy. ‘Noble Infirmity: Love of Fame in Hume’. Political Theory 34 (2006): 542–68. Schliesser, Eric. ‘The Obituary of a Vain Philosopher: Adam Smith’s Reflections on Hume’s Life’. Hume Studies 29 (2003): 327–62. Smith, Adam. The Theory of Moral Sentiments, ed. D.  D.  Raphael and A.  L.  Macfie. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1983. Smith, Adam. Correspondence of Adam Smith, ed. E.  C.  Mossner and I.  S.  Ross. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1987. Solomon, Graham. ‘Hume on “Greatness of Soul” ’. Hume Studies 26 (2000): 129–42. Vitz, Rico. ‘The Nature and Functions of Sympathy in Hume’s Philosophy’. In Paul Russell, ed., The Oxford Handbook of Hume. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016. Witherspoon, John. Sermons By the Late John Witherspoon S.S.T.P, L.L.D. Edinburgh, 1796.

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8

The Kantian Sublime and Greatness of Mind Emily Brady

1.  Situating Magnanimity and the Kantian Sublime The aim of the present volume is to consider the concept of magnanimity across thinking in the history of philosophy.1 My task is to explore the concept in Kant’s philosophy, with a special focus on the sublime. To my knowledge, Kant does not consider the concept (or virtue) of magnanimity (Grossmut) in any detail, and his discussion of virtues is not Aristotelian.2 Being virtuous is not achieved through the development of moral character; rather, it involves strengthening and cultivating our capacity to exercise restraint with respect to our natural inclinations, in accordance with the fulfilment of moral duties.3 Kant’s discussions of virtue centre on self-mastery and self-control with respect to inclinations, and he is deeply interested in how we develop moral perfection with regard to duties to others. Jeanine Grenberg has recently dismissed an attempt by Stephen Engstrom to equate the magnanimous person in Kant and Aristotle, arguing that the Kantian moral agent never reaches the state of complete excellence demanded of the virtuous or magnanimous person by Aristotle, for they are always striving to be moral: ‘Although the virtuous person does train her feelings so as to conform to right reasons, virtue itself is the strength (and, really, the proper orientation or state) of the free capacity of reason itself, not simply the state of one’s feelings.’4 For these reasons, this chapter explores Kant’s discussion of the sublime in the Critique of the Power of Judgment (1790), where through an aesthetic judgement 1  I would like to thank Sophia Vasalou for her very helpful comments on this chapter. 2  Jeanine Grenberg, Kant and the Ethics of Humility: A Story of Dependence, Corruption, and Virtue (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 80; Paul Guyer, Virtues of Freedom: Selected Essays on Kant (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016), 222–3. 3 Immanuel Kant, The Metaphysics of Morals, ed. Mary  J.  Gregor (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 6:394; 6:405. 4  Jeanine Grenberg, ‘What Is the Enemy of Virtue?’, in Kant’s Metaphysics of Morals: A Critical Guide, ed. Lara Denis (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 168; Stephen Engstrom, ‘The Inner Freedom of Virtue’, in Kant’s Metaphysics of Morals: Interpretative Essays, ed. Mark Timmons (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998), 289–315. For a related discussion, see Lara Denis, ‘Love of  Honor as a Kantian Virtue’, in Kant on Emotion and Value, ed. Alix Cohen (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), 191–209. Emily Brady, The Kantian Sublime and Greatness of Mind In: The Measure of Greatness: Philosophers on Magnanimity. Edited by: Sophia Vasalou, Oxford University Press (2019). © the several contributors. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198840688.003.0008

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198  The Kantian Sublime and Greatness of Mind of nature, we become aware of a certain kind of greatness of mind.5 Kant’s approach emphasizes respect for the moral capacities of the self as part of humanity, as well as admiration for greatness in the natural world. His theory also offers insight into greatness of mind within an aesthetic response, albeit with significant links to his moral philosophy. More broadly, it shows how ideas about greatness— if not magnanimity—flow into philosophical approaches that lie beyond virtue ethics, moral thought, and an exclusive focus on the human. In what follows, I shall argue that a comparative relation between self and sublime phenomena is central to understanding greatness of mind in the sublime. Drawing out this comparative relation enables us to reach a deeper understanding of how both self-regarding and other-regarding attitudes feature within sublime experience, and just how this greatness might express itself within an aesthetic context.

2.  Self and Scale: The Sublime as a Comparative Aesthetic Experience The self in relation to the scale of sublime phenomena provides a key starting point for understanding the comparative nature of the sublime. Here, I take ‘self ’ to refer to the mentally-physically composed subject, the seat of aesthetic experience, response, and judgement. Assuming that one in fact makes a distinction between the beautiful and the sublime, which I do, then the sublime stands out as an aesthetic category with scale lying at its centre. The human self is always placed in a relation of comparative scale to something much greater in size or power. The distinctive emotional response to the sublime, mainly characterized in the eighteenth century as a feeling of anxious pleasure, arises from this relation of scale. In cases where the sublime situation is threatening and potentially harmful— imagine rocks tumbling from a great height—a further feature will be that the self is physically positioned away from danger, but near enough to experience the tremendous spectacle, hear the sharp sounds of the rocks hitting the mountainside as they tumble, perhaps pounding as they reach the ground. These features are common to many eighteenth-century accounts of the sublime where it is necessary for an aesthetic response as opposed to one that is characterized by an emotional response of outright fear. To underline this point, consider beauty in contrast to the sublime. In beauty, the self is only the seat of the aesthetic response or judgement. While the positioning of the self will certainly affect what aesthetic qualities we discern and how we respond aesthetically—the close examination of the texture, shape, and colours of an individual shell on a beach, versus the view of a shell-covered beach 5  Immanuel Kant, Critique of the Power of Judgment, ed. Paul Guyer, trans. Paul Guyer and Eric Matthews (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, [1790] 2000). Hereafter abbreviated as CPJ.

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Emily Brady  199 from atop a dune—the difference in size and character between self and beautiful object or scene is not central to the experience.6 In order to explain the comparative relation, I will identify three significant—but not exhaustive—ways the self is placed in relation to sublime phenomena: (1) the self as exalted mind; (2) the ‘insignificant self ’ and the moral domain; and (3) the embodied self and the sublime. First, though, I need to mention some of the key points of my interpretation of the Kantian sublime as set out in my previous work. In the history of the sublime, a common theme is the idea that the greatness of some external object in the world enables the mind or soul to become aware of its own greatness. We find this as far back as Longinus’ sublime, but it is also evident in work by Dennis, Gerard, and Reid, to mention but a few. Such greatness of mind in the sublime, as we see in some criticisms of magnanimity, has been criticized as a form of arrogance or hubris. Depending on the analytical framework, such arrogance has been criticized, variously, as a claim to superiority (or power) over other classes of people, colonized peoples, women, or nature.7 In The Sublime in Modern Philosophy: Aesthetics, Ethics and Nature, I discussed Kant’s theory of the sublime in detail and defended it against objections in this vein, specifically in relation to nature. I argued that the sublime response is not exclusively an admiration of the sublimity of the mind or one’s own moral vocation, and not deeply self-regarding, humanistic, or anthropocentric. My argument highlighted Kant’s insistence that judgements of the sublime fall squarely within the aesthetic domain, and that in line with the contours of his aesthetic theory, natural objects play a significant role in disinterested, sublime aesthetic appreciation.8 Standing out from predecessors and contemporaries, Kant’s theory of the ­sublime in the CPJ has a strong metaphysical component, figuring within his transcendental system and critical philosophical approach. But Kant’s ideas are also deeply indebted to other eighteenth-century discussions of the concept.9 6  There are additional differences between the sublime and the beautiful, but they are not my c­ oncern here. Also, by setting up this contrast with beauty, I do not mean to say that experiences of natural beauty do not engage the self in various emotional, imaginative, and reflexive ways. My point is that in the sublime, the self-to-sublime relation is fundamentally one involving a comparison based on scale. 7  See discussion in Emily Brady, The Sublime in Modern Philosophy: Aesthetics, Ethics and Nature (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013). 8  There is a significant debate about whether Kant’s sublime is an aesthetic or moral theory. For aesthetic interpretations, see, e.g., Paul Guyer, Kant and the Experience of Freedom (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996); Robert Doran, Theories of the Sublime from Longinus to Kant (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015). For moral interpretations, see, e.g., Paul Crowther, The Kantian Sublime: From Morality to Art (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989); Eva Schaper, ‘Taste, Sublimity and Genius’, in The Cambridge Companion to Kant, ed. Paul Guyer (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992). Melissa Merritt identifies aesthetic and moral modes of the sublime in ‘The Moral Source of the Kantian Sublime’, in The Sublime: From Antiquity to the Present, ed. Timothy M. Costelloe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), 37–49. 9 Regarding British influences on Kant’s aesthetic theory, he was familiar with the work of Shaftesbury, Addison, Hutcheson, Hume, Blair, Kames, Gerard, and Beattie. In Germany, Sulzer, Baumgarten, and Mendelssohn have been named as primary influences. See Paul Guyer, ‘18th Century

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200  The Kantian Sublime and Greatness of Mind Reference to this historical context is important for interpretations of his theory, especially for grasping how the sublime features as an aesthetic theory, so the next section begins my analysis of self-to-sublime relations and places Kant’s ideas in conversation with other theories of the sublime.10

3.  The Self as Exalted Mind The first kind of relation brings into relief what I call the ‘self as exalted mind’. Here, the self itself becomes the focal point of the sublime. Essentially, the greatness of some external object enables the self, by comparison, to become aware of its own greatness. This relation can be illustrated through the theme of selfadmiration that runs through Kant and many other eighteenth-century accounts. The noun, ‘sublime’, originates in the Greek noun hupsos, or height, while its Latin correlate is sublimis, or elevated, uplifted, aloft. Its etymology stems from (probably) sub, ‘up to’, and limen, ‘lintel’.11 Various theories of the sublime recognize this etymology, arguing that the thing described as high or lofty also indicates a response to such qualities where the subject—or self—feels elevated or uplifted. This lofty feeling is often linked to an expansion of imagination or the ‘mind’ more generally. We can locate this idea as far back as Longinus’ sublime, which is mainly conveyed via a treatise on style in language. The sublimity of great or lofty language is immediately tied to its effects on both the mind and our emotions: ‘For the true sublime naturally elevates us: uplifted with a sense of proud exaltation, we are filled with joy and pride, as if we had ourselves produced the very thing heard.’12 Longinus also links nobility of mind with the sublime, bringing a moral aspect into his thinking.13 Much later, in 1696, John Dennis writes: ‘The soul is transported upon it, by the consciousness of its own ­excellence, and it is exalted, there being nothing so proper to work on its vanity . . . if the hint be very German Aesthetics’, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/aesthetics18th-german, accessed 4/1/17); Paul Guyer, Values of Beauty (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 33. 10  Elsewhere, I outline the sublime’s meaning through paradigm cases rather than a strict philosophical definition (Brady, The Sublime in Modern Philosophy, 6). I have argued that the sublime response involves phenomena with qualities of great height, vastness, or tremendous power which cause an intense emotional response characterized by feelings of being overwhelmed and somewhat anxious, though it is ultimately an experience that feels positive—exciting and pleasurable. To formulate this meaning, I drew considerably (and critically) on Kant and eighteenth-century philosophy. 11 ‘sublime, adj. and n.’, OED Online (http://www.oed.com/viewdictionaryentry/Entry/192766, accessed 4/1/17). Kant uses ‘das Erhabene’ for ‘the sublime’; the adjective, ‘erhaben’ means being raised or elevated. 12 Longinus, On the Sublime, trans. W.  H.  Fyfe, rev. Donald Russell (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1995), sect. 7, 179. 13 Doran, Theories of the Sublime, 88ff. David Hume writes that ‘The sublime, says Longinus, is often nothing but the echo of magnanimity’, and he agrees that the virtue deserves our admiration. See Enquiries Concerning Human Understanding and Concerning Principles of Morals, ed. P. H. Nidditch (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1975), sect. vii, p. 252.

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Emily Brady  201 extraordinary, the soul is amazed by the unexpected view of its own ­surpassing power.’14 In the eighteenth century, before Kant’s theory of the sublime in the third Critique, Alexander Gerard echoes Longinus: ‘from this sense of immensity, [the mind] feels a noble pride, and entertains a lofty conception of its own capacity’.15 In Kant’s theory, mental expansion occurs via the imagination. In the ­mathematically sublime, imagination strives to exhibit the totality of some n ­ atural object,16 and attempts to present, at the same time, all the units of magnitude that would come together as an absolute whole. It succeeds to some extent, and in turn provides the essential launching pad for reason’s role, thus: for the imagination, although it certainly finds nothing beyond the sensible to which it can attach itself, nevertheless feels itself to be unbounded precisely because of this elimination of the limits of sensibility; and that separation is thus a presentation of the infinite, which for that very reason can never be anything other than a merely negative presentation, which nevertheless still expands the soul.  (General Remark, 5:274, 156)

Imagination is challenged and expanded through that tension. Rather than failing altogether to take in some huge thing, it does much of the work in enabling us to grasp the idea of infinity through aesthetic rather than intellectual estimation. Instead, imagination’s positive activity is characterized as an expansion that brings a feeling of satisfaction, not in the object, which cannot be sublime, but rather ‘in the enlargement of imagination itself ’ (§25, 5:249, 133). Although imagination is challenged to its limits, Kant writes that it ‘acquires an enlargement and power which is greater than that which it sacrifices’ (General Remark, 5:269, 152). In the error of ‘subreption’, Kant explains how an externally directed state (aesthetic appreciation of sublimity in the world) is inner directed (§25, 5:257), where respect for moral personhood is substituted with respect for nature.17 It  seems that sometimes we make a mistake and call nature sublime, when it is really the mind that is sublime. Kant’s a priori approach, and his attempt to find a place for the sublime within his critical philosophy, explain, at least more generally, why he puts special emphasis on the mind as the seat of moral ­capacities and the true object of the sublime: ‘the sublime in nature is only improperly so called, and should properly be ascribed only to the manner of thinking, or rather its foundation in human nature’ (§30, 5:280, 160). For many people, this is rather an odd 14  John Dennis, Remarks on a book entitled, Prince Arthur (1696), in The Sublime: A Reader in Eighteenth-Century Aesthetic Theory, ed. Andrew Ashfield and Peter De Bolla (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 30. 15  Alexander Gerard, An Essay on Taste (London, 1759), I.2, 14. 16  Sarah Gibbons also recognizes the exhibitory function of imagination in presenting aesthetic ideas and this same function in the mathematically sublime (see Kant’s Theory of Imagination: Bridging Gaps in Judgment and Experience (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994), 150–1, n. 26). 17  Further support for this interpretation can be found in Brady, The Sublime in Modern Philosophy.

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202  The Kantian Sublime and Greatness of Mind idea. Why should being able to take in vast or powerful things necessarily indicate a self—or mind—that is at least equally great or powerful? The phenomenology of the sublime in Kant and other theorists of his time indicates a situation where it is something external to ourselves that is sublime, and our focus is on that, even if our response involves mixed emotions of being overwhelmed, uplifted, or elated. If our appreciation is ultimately centred on the mind, this puts into question the status of the sublime as an aesthetic category, that is, where there is some kind of appreciation of aesthetic rather than what appear to be moral qualities. Is it a form of aesthetic appreciation, directed at aesthetic rather than moral qualities, or a form of moral awareness, or even a form of self-appreciation? I believe that each of these has a place in Kant’s theory. Elsewhere, I have argued that with respect to the sublime as a form of aesthetic appreciation, in Kant the qualities of external objects as well as more subjective aspects related to the self constitute sublime experience.18 There is sufficient evidence to recognize the causal role played by natural objects in judgements of the sublime. For example, we find specific examples of natural objects and the qualities which cause sublime feeling, e.g., ‘wide ocean, enraged by storms’ (§23, 5:245); the Milky Way (§26, 5:256); ‘mountain ranges towering to the heavens’; ‘deep ravines and the raging torrents in them’; ‘deeply shadowed wastelands inducing melancholy reflection’ (General Remark, 5:269); ‘starry heavens’ (General Remark, 5:270). We can see various phenomenal qualities of these objects as well: ‘raging’, ‘towering’, ‘wide’; and also, for example: chaos, ‘wildest and most disruly order’, devastation (§23, 5:246). Kant also discusses our reactions to formlessness, how imagination is overwhelmed, and how the mind is both attracted and repelled by sublime objects, giving a clear causal role for external nature in terms of how it affects the subject.19 What is the character of the feeling and awareness of greatness of mind, or the exalted self of the sublime? I—and many others—interpret the Kantian sublime as an aesthetic experience which brings about an awareness of one’s moral capacities. It is through that very encounter with something great that imagination is expanded and one becomes aware of just what resources one possesses as a human being, namely the freedom which lies at the heart of moral capacities, ‘Thus the feeling of the sublime in nature is respect for our own vocation . . . which as it were makes intuitable the superiority of the rational vocation of our cognitive faculty over the greatest faculty of sensibility’ (§25, 5:257, 141).20 18  See Brady, The Sublime in Modern Philosophy, and Emily Brady, ‘Imagination and Freedom in the Kantian Sublime’, in Imagination in Kant’s Critical Philosophy, ed. Michael Thompson (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2013), 163–82. 19  Also, Kant’s accounts of sublimity use the language of experiencing phenomenal appearances (as we also see in the beautiful), e.g., ‘Nature is thus sublime in those of its appearances the intuition of which brings with them the idea of infinity’ (CPJ, §26, 5:255). 20  For further remarks in which Kant says it is improper to call nature itself sublime, see CPJ, §28, 5:264; CPJ, §30, 5:280. Clewis discusses ‘subreption’ in some detail in The Kantian Sublime and the

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Emily Brady  203 Bringing in internally directed awareness of moral capacities does not take us away from the sublime as a form of aesthetic appreciation, or away from appreciation of things external to ourselves. Similarly to Kant’s claim that beauty is a symbol of morality, his theory of the sublime shows how an aesthetic experience, and one with a comparative relation at its heart, provides a glimpse of the moral self and its autonomy. In this way, the sublime is not reducible to an exalted self in terms of self-aggrandizement. In interpreting Kant’s theory, we might express the sublime as evoking admiration for both external nature and the freedom and moral capacities of the human self. The measure or comparison is not merely that the moral self is great in relation to the sensible self (the self of inclinations), but also that this moral self is a measure to external greatness. Drawing on Kant’s moral philosophy, Paul Guyer provides an interesting discussion of the importance of the sublime for recognizing our sense of freedom. In the Critique of Practical Reason (5:86, 87) Kant describes duty as sublime because it is that great power which enables us to resist natural inclinations.21 Yet, the moral feeling of that resistance may not be commonly experienced in day-to-day life except in cases of real conflict between duty and inclination. The sublime accordingly provides an opportunity to experience such conflict in an aesthetic rather than moral situation; hence, Guyer argues, a context in which we might experience something like the sublimity of duty and the feelings of respect and admiration which come with it. He points to the significance of sublimity for Kant in the way it presents a conflict which enables us to feel negative freedom through our resistance to inclination, so that ‘the aesthetic experience of the sublime may be our primary window onto the sublimity of the feeling of respect for duty after all’.22 And, in so far as it is self-regarding, this is not self-interest but akin to self-evaluation of one’s moral capacities as they exist across humanity. Such self-regard is not unlike notions of magnanimity or greatness of soul, as espoused by the Stoics.23 Greatness of soul is shown in the ability to overcome adversity, disorder, or trouble; in Kant, the sublime provides rare insight—an aesthetic encounter with greatness in nature—on moral capacities overcoming both external and internal adversity. In addition to the mathematically and dynamically sublime, Robert Clewis identifies a third category in Kant’s work, the moral sublime.24 He links this to Revelation of Freedom (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), 72–9. On his view, subreption is an error of which we are sometimes conscious and sometimes not. I will assume that it necessarily occurs, and defend the role of the object in light of this stronger interpretation. 21 Immanuel Kant, Critique of Practical Reason, trans. and ed. Mary Gregor (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997). 22 Guyer, Values of Beauty, 230. See also: Merritt, ‘The Moral Source of the Kantian Sublime’; Doran, The Theory of the Sublime from Longinus to Kant, 250-1; Allison, Kant’s Theory of Taste, 330. 23  See Chapter 2 in this volume. 24 Clewis, The Kantian Sublime and the Revelation of Freedom, 84ff. In Kant, the mathematically sublime refers to overwhelming magnitude while the dynamically sublime refers to overwhelming power (see Critique of the Power of Judgment).

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204  The Kantian Sublime and Greatness of Mind Kant’s examples of a general, a statesman, and a ‘warrior’ displaying ‘virtues of peace, gentleness, compassion and even proper care to his own person, precisely because in this way the incoercibility of his mind by danger can be recognized’ (5:262–3, 146). While interesting, the case for a third category is not ultimately persuasive, and it is more a reflection of Clewis’s larger project of developing moral and political lines of thought in the sublime than its position as an aesthetic category for Kant. Kant does not himself introduce a third category in the CPJ, though we do see different categories in his pre-Critical work on the sublime.25 In keeping with the structure of the CPJ, the examples noted by Clewis for the moral sublime could be subsumed under the mathematically sublime if we interpret that category through magnitude, as discussed in eighteenth-century writers and the way they situated moral character in relation to that. The high elevation of things—the raising of the mind, high virtue, and so on—was associated with the material qualities of the sublime, e.g., high mountains. This leads me to find additional support for my interpretation in the philosophical context of theories of the sublime prior to Kant, which appear to elevate the self in an egoistic direction. Above, I mentioned the views of Dennis and Gerard, but there are others too, for example Henry Home, Lord Kames, who writes that the subject feels raised to a ‘higher rank’.26 In response to interpretations of such remarks which only emphasize a hubristic reading, first, it is significant that many eighteenth-century philosophers did not strongly distinguish the aesthetic from the moral realms and many were focused on arguing against Hobbes’ egoistic moral philosophy. The sublime (or grandeur, as it was expressed by some philosophers) emerged as an aesthetic category within the context of these philosophical debates. Secondly, we find in the theories of Shaftesbury, for example, and much later in Reid, reference not to the individual self but to the divine (moral) creator of the kinds of phenomena that evoke sublime experience. These points suggest that when greatness of mind features in the sublime, in some eighteenth-century theories it may be read as other-regarding rather than assumed to be a deeply self-regarding notion. While not deeply self-regarding, the experience of the self in the Kantian sublime remains humanistic and anthropocentric. Although this does not amount to 25  In ‘Observations on the feeling of the beautiful and sublime’, Kant makes a threefold classification of the sublime into the terrifying sublime, the noble sublime, and the magnificent sublime (see 2:209, 24–5, in ‘Observations on the feeling of the beautiful and sublime’, trans. Paul Guyer, in Immanuel Kant, Anthropology, History and Education, ed. Günter Zöller and Robert  B.  Loudon (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 23–62). The noble sublime finds sublimity in virtuous character, a view that was common in eighteenth-century theories of the sublime; for example, great benevolence of moral character was considered sublime. See Brady, The Sublime in Modern Philosophy, 39ff. Joshua Rayman mentions, in particular, Baumgarten’s discussion of the virtues as sublime, including magnanimity. See Kant on Sublimity and Morality (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2012), 43ff. My discussion in this chapter should make it clear why I take these views to stand in contrast to Kant’s Critical work on the sublime. 26  Henry Home (Lord Kames), Elements of Criticism, ed. Abraham Mills (New York: Huntington and Savage, 1844 [1761]), chap. IV, 126.

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Emily Brady  205 self-aggrandizement in relation to other human beings, there is more than a hint of human exceptionalism when we consider Kant’s theory in light of his moral philosophy. There is admiration of aesthetic qualities in nonhuman nature to be sure, and such qualities play an essential role in evoking sublime feeling, but human nature is the main concern of the Kantian sublime. There have been discussions of the promise of Kant’s moral philosophy for the treatment of nonhumans—animals and environments.27 Is there scope for moving beyond human exceptionalism in the Kantian sublime? In my book I made a partial case for this, but let me explore this further, here, by considering the concept of humility.

4.  Humility, the ‘Insignificant Self ’, and the Moral Domain Now, beyond Kant’s theory, we find approaches to the sublime that put more emphasis on the feeling of being overwhelmed rather than exalted, and others still that very explicitly point to both feelings. Very often the feature of comparative scale is articulated by the way in which massive or powerful things make one feel small and insignificant. Without being made to feel this way, the experience of the mixed emotions so often associated with the sublime would not be possible, nor would one be able to judge something to be sublime.28 The feeling of insignificance is commonly linked to being humiliated. In Kant, this is the sensible, physical self. We also see in accounts of the sublime a feeling of humility, which reveals a strong contrast with greatness of mind. Humility ­originates in the Latin humilis, which means ‘low’. The concept of humility—in everyday language and in the theoretical history of the concept—has both a moral and religious flavour. The feeling of humility contrasts with feelings of pride, for example, in suggesting a willingness to serve or bow to others. Importantly, the ways in which sublime phenomena have the potential to humble the self can open out an awareness that there are other things in the world, or universe, which are greater than ourselves.29 We have seen how some ideas from the Critique of Practical Reason seem to anticipate Kant’s thinking on the sublime in the CPJ. With respect to humility, echoes of the structure of sublime appreciation are evident when we consider Jeanine Grenberg’s explanation of Kant’s views on humiliation and the moral law: Aspects of the [moral] feeling include both a negative ‘infringement upon the inclinations,’ or even a ‘humiliat[ion]’ of the ‘self-conceit’ of placing satisfaction 27  For a recent example, see Toby Svoboda, Duties Regarding Nature: A Kantian Environmental Ethics (New York and London: Routledge, 2015). 28 Brady, The Sublime in Modern Philosophy. 29 Tom Cochrane refers to this as the humble model; see ‘The Emotional Experience of the Sublime’, Canadian Journal of Philosophy 42 (2012): 125–48.

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206  The Kantian Sublime and Greatness of Mind of one’s inclinations above the moral law (5:72–3/63), and a positive ‘respect’ for (5:72/63) or ‘contemplat[ion] [of] the majesty of ’ (5:78/67) the same law that humiliates self-conceit, which is described as a ‘positive furthering of [the law’s] causality’ (5:75/65) yielding an ‘elevating’ feeling of ‘self-approbation’.  (5: 81/69)30

In his discussion of the dynamically sublime in the CPJ, Kant writes that: Even humility, as the pitiless judging of one’s own failings, which otherwise, given consciousness of good dispositions, could easily be covered with the mantle of the fragility of human nature, is a sublime state of mind, that of voluntarily subjecting oneself to the pain of self-reproach in order gradually to eliminate the causes of it.  (5: 264, 147)

In the context of the sublime, nature seems to humiliate the vital senses or our sensible, embodied self. This anxiety is characteristic of the negative component of sublime feeling, but it becomes juxtaposed with a counterbalancing, positive feeling from the engagement of imagination with reason, and an awareness of the distinctive freedom of the supersensible self. In the dynamically sublime, as Guyer puts it, ‘our pleasure depends upon the way in which physically fearsome natural phenomena turn our thought to the indispensable moral personality which lies within us. The physical properties play a causal role in this reflection . . .’31 The aesthetic judgement involves an experience of nature’s power; indeed, this is the very effect of the sublime objects that Kant discusses. This judgement is not, however, one of nature ultimately having power over the supersensible self. In this way, nature’s dominance is both central and indispensable to our feeling a measure to this dominance. The two forms of dominance support each other to give rise to a kind of feeling where displeasure and pleasure are co-dependent.32 As mentioned earlier, the disruption of the self that occurs here is not a self standing outside nature. After all, in the CPJ, Kant does not argue from the position of human separation from nature, but from our inclusion in nature and nature’s inclusion in us, namely the sensible self with its inclinations. But even though the embodied self is part of nature and subject to it in many respects, the 30  Jeanine Grenberg, Kant’s Defense of Common Moral Experience: A Phenomenological Account (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), 61 (references to Kant are to the Critique of Practical Reason). See also Jeanine Grenberg, Kant and the Ethics of Humility: A Story of Dependence, Corruption and Virtue (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 152n16; Melissa Merritt, ‘The Moral Source of the Kantian Sublime’, 44. 31 Guyer, Kant and the Experience of Freedom, 220–1. See also Tim Gould, ‘Intensity and Its Audiences: Notes Towards a Feminist Perspective on the Kantian Sublime’, Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 48:4 (1990), 311. 32  See Matthews, ‘Kant’s Sublime: A Form of Pure Aesthetic Reflective Judgment’, 174. Although in my view Huhn overly dualizes nature and the subject, his interpretation of the Kantian sublime supports mine through its insistence on the central role of nature and that we pay homage to it even in our power over it (Thomas Huhn, ‘The Kantian Sublime and the Nostalgia for Violence’, Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 53:3 (1995), 270–2).

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Emily Brady  207 sublime makes us feel something else. That is, in our feeling of freedom we experience an independence from nature both externally and internally. Understanding this is essential for putting some of Kant’s remarks in their proper context, as his discussion sometimes uses language which suggests a separation of humans and nature, and a sublime which allows us to feel our ‘dominion’ or ‘superiority’ over the latter. Rather, nature represents both the external powers of nature which threaten us—raging seas or whatever—and the nature we are able to resist within us, that is, nature’s determination of us through sensibility (and it is, of course, our moral capacities that enable us to resist nature so understood).33 This reading clarifies what interests Kant, and points to a more subtle reading of the role these natural qualities play. He is not arguing for a dominion of humans over nature, and his view of nature is not one of a hostile environment to be conquered, even if it does threaten our well-being. Instead, he seems to value nature for the challenges it presents to us, as something that is difficult for us to face, and against which morality provides the resources needed to cope. It is important to keep in mind the wider project of the CPJ when thinking through Kant’s ideas on the human–nature relationship. Guyer argues that, ‘The deepest connection between Kant’s teleology and his aesthetics is his view that aesthetic experience, in spite of its absence of any direct connection with morality, nevertheless like the teleological judgment of organisms also ultimately suggests that nature is a realm that is hospitable to our moral vocation . . .’34 This passage speaks to the way in which we are related to external nature, but also find ourselves different from it through our moral capacities, which importantly include freedom from being determined by our sensibility, and in that sense, by nature internal to ourselves. Also, by recognizing Kant’s larger project, we find reasons for why nature figures so prominently in his aesthetics, in so far as his ideas on both the beautiful and the sublime carry forward our connections to and independence from nature. Recognizing the place of humility enables a less egoistic and anthropocentric interpretation of the greatness associated with the sublime, counterbalancing the exalted mind and the priority of the moral self. It is interesting to see how Schopenhauer expresses this—though he had his own approach to the sublime. He describes the sublime as: ‘an exaltation beyond our own individuality’,35 and writes that: [I]f we lose ourselves in contemplation of the infinite greatness of the universe in space and time, meditate on the past millennia and on those to come; or if the 33 Guyer, Values of Beauty, 260–3. 34  Paul Guyer, ‘The Harmony of the Faculties in Recent Books on the Critique of the Power of Judgment’, Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 67:2 (2009), 201–21, p. 203. 35  Arthur Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Representation, trans. E.  F.  J.  Payne (New York: Dover, 1969), vol. 1, 206.

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208  The Kantian Sublime and Greatness of Mind heavens at night actually bring innumerable worlds before our eyes, and so impress on our consciousness the immensity of the universe, we feel ourselves reduced to nothing . . . 36

Interesting links are made between the sublime and magnanimity by Sophia Vasalou, when she writes about both Kant and Schopenhauer on the sublime. One’s self-worth is recovered in Schopenhauer’s sublime, after being reduced to ‘nothing’. But this is not the hubristic individual; rather it is a state of being ‘under one’s universal aspect as a conscious subject’.37 This is the move from aesthetic to metaphysical that occurs in the sublime response. In so far as the Kantian sublime enables the subject to rise above their physical nature (metaphysically speaking) through the aesthetic experience of the sublime, Vasalou argues that this is akin to the ‘magisterial detachment’ and ‘cosmic voyaging’ of ancient conceptions of magnanimity. In each case, rather than a hubristic reading, Vasalou argues that the subject’s position is one that is full of ethical significance. Such transcendence of the physical, so to speak, allows for greatness of soul as an ethical standpoint— where that soul may aim for an ethical ideal. Overall, her interpretation supports my argument in so far as she provides a less narrow reading of the notion of ‘elevation’ involved in both the sublime and the virtue of magnanimity. The grandeur of the subject is not necessarily egotistical; rather it is a position from which one can express better or worse kinds of character.38 Moving into contemporary debates, a brief foray into empirical psychology provides empirical support for the insignificant self and its connection to the moral domain. In psychological studies, the ‘small self ’ of experiences of awe has been linked to moral behaviour. I take awe and the sublime to be strongly overlapping concepts, although the sublime carries with it a complex theoretical history which ‘awe’ does not. Also, ‘awe’ is interpreted as feeling/emotion in the study I refer to below, while I take the sublime to articulate a relation between material or nonextended qualities and an emotional-imaginative response. In Piff et al.’s 2015 study, the small self is linked to prosocial behaviour. ‘Following others, we reason that the experience of awe is self-diminishing vis-à-vis something vaster than the individual, and reduces emphasis on the desires and concerns of the self.’39 The study predicts that ‘the experience of awe will increase prosocial behavior, and that these effects will be driven by what we refer to as the small self ’.40 36  Ibid., p. 205. 37  Sophia Vasalou, Schopenhauer and the Aesthetic Standpoint (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), 38. 38 Vasalou, Schopenhauer and the Aesthetic Standpoint, 190–1. See also Sophia Vasalou, Wonder: A Grammar (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2015), 142ff. 39  Paul K. Piff et al., ‘Awe, the Small Self, and Prosocial Behavior’, The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 108 (2015), 883–99, 885. 40  Piff, ‘Awe, the Small Self ’, 884. Cf. Kristian Kristjánsson, ‘Awe: An Aristotelian Analysis of a NonAristotelian Virtuous Emotion’, Philosophia 45 (2017): 125–42.

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Emily Brady  209 Importantly, the study bases its understanding on earlier studies which show that ‘the prototypical awe experience, at least in Western cultures, involves encounters with natural phenomena that are immense in size, scope, or complexity’.41 This study and others are mainly interested in prosocial behaviour, that is, human-tohuman, but there is also mention of how awe ‘directs attention to entities vaster than the self ’.42 In any case, it is interesting to find empirical evidence for the insignificant self—or the ‘small self ’—and evidence that awe induces a sense of self with a moral orientation, one that is externally rather than internally directed. So, in the two contrasting relations discussed thus far—self as exalted mind, and the insignificant self—we find the comparative feature of the sublime present in the exalted mind, where, in the face of something apparently greater than ourselves, we discover we can match it; and also comparative in the way the sublime makes us feel rather small, a relation which creates a link between aesthetic experiences of the sublime and moral behaviour. It is important to underline that in Kant’s account of the sublime, as well as others, being made to feel small is coupled with a feeling of being a measure to greatness. In Kant, our experience oscillates between feelings of insignificance, associated with displeasure or anxiety of being overwhelmed, and significance, associated with more positive ­feeling.43 Regardless of where the point of emphasis is, or in more balanced accounts which move between the two, some kind of comparative relation is present. Overall, the ‘small self ’ may act as a counterbalance to greatness of mind which is in danger of being deeply self-regarding, or focusing too narrowly on humanity. I now turn to a third comparative relation, between the embodied self and the sublime.

5.  The Embodied Self and the Sublime In so far as I take the self to be composed of mental and physical being, it is also interesting to explore how the sublime engages the physical, bodily self in a comparative way. This feature of the sublime response is relatively neglected in the literature, yet if we are humbled by the sublime, made to feel small, or elevated and expanded, this is unlikely to be spelled out in only mental terms. Furthermore, while Kant’s interpretation of the sublime is not empirical, and does not focus on bodily feeling, some of the points I make here, drawn from other philosophers, are useful for understanding the role of the body in relation to greatness of mind. The first point is that in this aesthetic category, it matters a great deal how the bodily self is positioned with respect to some sublime phenomenon. In cases of great height, this means above or below, and in cases of threatening situations, close enough to appreciate, but far enough away not to be seriously in danger. The 41  Piff, ‘Awe, the Small Self ’, 884. 42 Ibid. 43 Brady, The Sublime in Modern Philosophy.

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210  The Kantian Sublime and Greatness of Mind second fairly obvious point to make is that very big things make us feel smaller than things that are not very big. In what has been called the ‘mathematical ­sublime’, size matters. Beholding the starry sky at night, the constellations, and imagining the ­universe itself make us feel—mentally and physically—small by comparison. It is not just hugeness in terms of material bulk or vastness of space, though. Historical theories of the sublime frequently use examples of multitudes of things, e.g., vast armies, to make this point. Turning to contemporary art practice, the photographs of Edward Burtynsky and Chris Jordan express a mathematical sublime in seemingly infinite numbers of cars, discarded tyres, mobile phones, and so on. Turning to natural environments, the feeling of self as sole, singular, individual, physically small, outnumbered, can be evoked by masses of other kinds of natural things—enormous flocks of birds, swarms of insects, vast forests, and so on. In the history of the sublime, Burke is the most obvious source for thinking about scale and the body because of the distinctive physiological explanation he gives of the sublime response. If rather archaic, his detailed account at least draws attention to bodily reactions, e.g., the way the eye moves along successive parts of a building’s column in the infinite sublime or, moving beyond the mathematical sublime, the tension felt in the body upon feeling ‘delightful horror’.44 Other philosophers who refer to bodily responses include Mendelssohn, who describes responses of ‘dizziness’, a ‘trembling sensation’, and a ‘sweet shudder’; and Kant’s ‘awesome shudder’.45 The shudder response may also be caused simply by anticipating some situation to transpire—‘Those tumbling rocks could crush me!’ or ‘In just a few steps, I would fall down into the canyon!’ Here, imagination may play a role in that anticipation, projecting the body into the situation, as it were, and feeling what it might be like if we were actually harmed. On the more metaphysically oriented theories of the sublime in Kant, Schiller, and Schopenhauer, we find an additional kind of comparison at play, that between the physical self ruled by the senses and subject to the laws of nature, and the self which is not, after all, threatened by nature’s power. In this comparison, we see how humanity is both like and unlike nature. Hence Schiller’s thought (after Kant) that ‘for the feeling of the sublime it is absolutely requisite that we see ourselves with absolutely no physical means of resistance and look to our nonphysical self for help.’46

44 Burke, A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origins of our Ideas of the Sublime and the Beautiful, ed. J. T. Boulton, 2nd ed. (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, [1759] 1968), 141–2. See also Richard Shusterman, ‘Somaesthetics and Burke’s Sublime’, British Journal of Aesthetics, 45 (2005), 323–41. 45 Quoted in Brady, The Sublime in Modern Philosophy, 51. In The Kantian Sublime and the Revelation of Freedom, Clewis comments on the role of sublimity in Kant in promoting health in the physical body (p. 167). 46  Friedrich Schiller, ‘On the Sublime’, 28.

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Emily Brady  211 Eighteenth-century accounts that place emphasis on the more positive effects of the sublime also mention the role of the body. Alexander Gerard points to a kind of projective imagination, ‘[the mind] sometimes imagines itself present in every part of the scene it contemplates’.47 As Zuckert notes, Kames writes that the ‘spectator’s body reflects such identification . . . we expand the chest or stand taller while appreciating the sublime’.48 Addison highlights a further thread of bodily feeling in these more pleasurable interpretations of the sublime: stillness. ‘We are flung into a pleasing astonishment at such unbounded views, and feel a delightful stillness and amazement in the soul at the apprehension of them’.49 The astonishment attributed to the sublime response in some situations creates stillness or tranquility rather than the negative aesthetics of shock. Sublime effects on the body suggest a physical, embodied dimension in addition to the cognitive aspects of sublime experience. In relation to greatness of mind, the physical expansion of the chest is perhaps the most relevant effect (though we might ask if this is a common feature of contemporary/empirical experiences of the sublime or of awe). But it is also worth emphasizing how the hugeness of a mountain or the power of a storm forces the body to feel under threat, thus providing the opportunity to discover internal greatness of mind as a match to greatness in the external world.

6. Conclusion I have shown how the distinctive feature of comparison of self to sublime is pre­sent in this aesthetic category through three different relations: self as exalted mind in relation to great, sublime phenomena in the external world; the insignificant self, where the self is made to feel small, even humiliated, in contrast to sublimity; and the way in which sublime phenomena cause physical effects in the body. While I am not arguing for anything like this comparative feature as a sufficient condition of sublimity, I would venture that it is a necessary condition—and one that runs across a variety of historical theories, at least. It is a feature that promises to identify something common to them, and as such, one that is missing from the beautiful. By analysing this relation, we have seen how a particular kind of greatness of mind emerges in Kant’s thought, and one that is not egotistical or narrowly self-regarding. This interpretation is promising for reflecting on magnanimity and its legacy in the form of greatness, where an aesthetic encounter between self and world

47  Quoted in Brady, The Sublime in Modern Philosophy, 55. 48  Quoted in Rachel Zuckert, ‘The Associative Sublime: Gerard, Kames, Alison and Stewart’, in The Sublime: From Antiquity to the Present, ed. Timothy M. Costelloe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), 64–76, 68. 49  Joseph Addison and Richard Steele, The Spectator (London, 1812), No. 412.

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212  The Kantian Sublime and Greatness of Mind provides a means of comparison and, with that, an alternative to greatness in its more hubristic expressions. To be sure, there are significant differences between magnanimity and the sublime. Magnanimity is, arguably, a broader concept than the sublime, at least because it is a moral concept which encompasses actions and refers to qualities of character in human and divine beings. It is concerned with moral development, accompanied by warnings against the dangers of lust for power in the magnanimous person. The sublime is a narrower aesthetic concept which describes an aesthetic response to qualities in the world. The Kantian sublime is concerned with our moral capacities, but on my interpretation it is part of the aesthetic domain and not focused on moral action; rather it is a type of aesthetic response that puts one in touch with the moral self. Nevertheless, we have also found that there are some interesting similarities and links between the two concepts. Magnanimity and the sublime seem to share a state of elevation or a lofty spirit of character. That elevation potentially creates a kind of detachment from the restraints of our physical or more vulnerable nature, opening up the freedom of a metaphysical standpoint. Both involve a greatness of mind that provides strength and indifference in the face of adversity or vulnerability. In the case of the Kantian sublime, this plays out with respect to the greatness and power of nature and the adversity that presents to human beings. Self-admiration, but not self-interest, is a feature of both—if one focuses on morally acceptable notions of magnanimity and follows my interpretation of Kant’s theory of the sublime, where admiration is directed both inwards and outwards. Ultimately, magnanimity and sublimity open up the subject to ethical possibility and choice, with sublimity operating within the aesthetic domain of human experience.

Bibliography Addison, Joseph and Steele, Richard. The Spectator. London, No. 412, 1812. Brady, Emily. ‘Imagination and Freedom in the Kantian Sublime’. In Michael Thompson, ed., Imagination in Kant’s Critical Philosophy, 163–82. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2013. Brady, Emily. The Sublime in Modern Philosophy: Aesthetics, Ethics and Nature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013. Burke, Edmund. A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origins of our Ideas of the Sublime and the Beautiful, edited by J. T. Boulton, 2nd ed. 1759. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1968. Clewis, Robert. The Kantian Sublime and the Revelation of Freedom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009. Cochrane, Tom. ‘The Emotional Experience of the Sublime’. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 42, no. 2 (2012): 125–48.

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Emily Brady  213 Cooper, Anthony Ashley, Third Earl of Shaftesbury. ‘The Moralists’, Part II. In Characteristics of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times, edited by Lawrence  E.  Klein. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999. Crowther, Paul. The Kantian Sublime: From Morality to Art. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989. Denis, Lara. ‘Love of Honor as a Kantian Virtue’. In Alix Cohen, ed., Kant on Emotion and Value, 191–209. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013. Dennis, John. Remarks on a book entitled, Prince Arthur 1696. In The Sublime: A Reader in Eighteenth-Century Aesthetic Theory, edited by Andrew Ashfield and Peter De Bolla. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996. Doran, Robert. Theories of the Sublime from Longinus to Kant. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015. Engstrom, Stephen. ‘The Inner Freedom of Virtue’. In Mark Timmons, ed., Kant’s Metaphysics of Morals: Interpretative Essays, 289–315. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998. Gerard, Alexander. An Essay on Taste. London, 1759. Gibbons, Sarah. Kant’s Theory of Imagination: Bridging Gaps in Judgment and Experience. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994. Gould, Tim. ‘Intensity and Its Audiences: Notes Towards a Feminist Perspective on the Kantian Sublime’. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 48, no. 44 (1990): 305–15. Grenberg, Jeanine. Kant and the Ethics of Humility: A Story of Dependence, Corruption, and Virtue. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005. Grenberg, Jeanine. ‘What Is the Enemy of Virtue?’ In Lara Denis, ed., Kant’s Metaphysics of Morals: A Critical Guide, 152–69. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010. Grenberg, Jeanine. Kant’s Defense of Common Moral Experience: A Phenomenological Account. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013. Guyer, Paul. Kant and the Experience of Freedom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996. Guyer, Paul. Values of Beauty. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005. Guyer, Paul. ‘The Harmony of the Faculties in Recent Books on the Critique of the Power of Judgment’. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 67, no. 2 (2009): 201–21. Guyer, Paul. ‘18th Century German Aesthetics’. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2014. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/aesthetics-18th-german. Accessed 4/1/17. Guyer, Paul. Virtues of Freedom: Selected Essays on Kant. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016. Huhn, Thomas. ‘The Kantian Sublime and the Nostalgia for Violence’. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 53, no. 3 (1995): 269–75. Hume, David. Enquiries Concerning Human Understanding and Concerning Principles of Morals, edited by P. H. Nidditch. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1975.

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214  The Kantian Sublime and Greatness of Mind Kant, Immanuel. The Metaphysics of Morals, edited by Mary  J.  Gregor. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996. Kant, Immanuel. Critique of Practical Reason, translated and edited by Mary Gregor. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997. Kant, Immanuel. Critique of the Power of Judgment, edited by Paul Guyer and translated by Paul Guyer and Eric Matthews. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, [1790] 2000. Kant, Immanuel. ‘Observations on the feeling of the beautiful and sublime’, translated by Paul Guyer. In Günter Zöller and Robert B. Loudon, eds, Anthropology, History and Education. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007. Kristjánsson, Kristján. ‘Awe: An Aristotelian Analysis of a Non-Aristotelian Virtuous Emotion’. Philosophia 45 (2017): 125–42. Longinus. On the Sublime, translated by W. H. Fyfe and revised by Donald Russell. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1995. Merritt, Melissa. ‘The Moral Source of the Kantian Sublime’. In Timothy M. Costello, ed., The Sublime: From Antiquity to the Present, 37–49. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012. OED Online. ‘Sublime, adj. and n.’. Oxford University Press. http://www.oed.com/ viewdictionaryentry/Entry/192766. Accessed 4/1/17. Piff, Paul K., Dietze, PiaFeinberg, MatthewStancato, Daniel M.Keltner, and Dacher. ‘Awe, the Small Self, and Prosocial Behavior’.  Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 108, no. 6 (2015): 883–99. Rayman, Joshua. Kant on Sublimity and Morality. Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2012. Schaper, Eva. ‘Taste, Sublimity and Genius’. In Paul Guyer, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Kant, 367–93. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992. Schiller, Friedrich. ‘On the Sublime’. In Walter Hinderer and Daniel  O.  Dahlstrom, eds, and Daniel O. Dahlstrom, trans. Essays, 22–44. New York: Continuum, 1993. Schopenhauer, Arthur. The World as Will and Representation, translated by E. F. J. Payne. 2 vols. New York: Dover, 1969. Shusterman, Richard. ‘Somaesthetics and Burke’s Sublime’. British Journal of Aesthetics 45, no. 4 (2005): 323–41. Svoboda, Toby. Duties Regarding Nature: A Kantian Environmental Ethics. New York and London: Routledge, 2015. Vasalou, Sophia. Schopenhauer and the Aesthetic Standpoint. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013. Vasalou, Sophia. Wonder: A Grammar. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2015. Zuckert, Rachel. ‘The Associative Sublime: Gerard, Kames, Alison and Stewart’. In Timothy  M.  Costelloe, ed., The Sublime: From Antiquity to the Present, 64–76. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012.

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9

Nietzsche on Magnanimity, Greatness, and Greatness of Soul Andrew Huddleston

1. Introduction Nietzsche occasionally uses terms such as Großmuth (GS, 49) that get rendered in English as ‘magnanimity’. When he does, he is picking out something like its cur­ rent meaning, namely that of being generous and forgiving. This sort of magna­ nimity in the narrow sense is something Nietzsche regards as a virtue. That may come as a surprise to those who operate with the caricature that he has no ad­mir­ ation for such things, preferring crude egoism and vengeance. While this passing praise of ‘magnanimity’ in the narrow sense is important to recognize, it is a fairly minor note in Nietzsche’s work. In bringing Nietzsche into dialogue with the tradition of thinking about the virtue of magnanimity, we do better if we harken back to the Aristotelian ‘crowning’ virtue of megalopsychia (often translated as ‘magnanimity’) and consider what the corresponding Nietzschean notion might be. Nietzsche, like Aristotle, is centrally concerned with the idea of greatness of soul in his moral psychology and ethics. Given its present Christian connotations, that word ‘soul’ might seem odd in Nietzsche’s mouth. Yet when it comes to notions of the soul, Nietzsche is concerned that we not throw out the baby with the metaphysical bathwater. He is, to be sure, sceptical of what he sees as the ‘calamitous atomism’ about the ‘soul’ propagated by Christianity and some of its forbears (e.g. Plato in the Phaedo)—the conception of ‘the soul as something indestructible, eternal, indivisible, as a monad, as an atomon: this belief,’ Nietzsche says, ‘ought to be expelled from science!’ (BGE, 12). But he goes on to add right after: ‘Between ourselves, it is not at all necessary to get rid of “the soul” at the same time, and thus to renounce one of the most ancient and venerable hypotheses . . . [t]he way is open for new versions and refinements of the soulhypothesis; and such conceptions as “mortal soul”, and “soul as subjective multi­ plicity”, and “soul as social structure of the drives and affects”, want henceforth to have citizens’ rights in science’ (BGE, 12). In what follows, I will be exploring this notion of greatness of soul in Nietzsche and how it relates to Nietzschean greatness in general. For few philosophers is human greatness as paramount as it is for Nietzsche (UM, III: 6). Greatness, for Andrew Huddleston, Nietzsche on Magnanimity, Greatness, and Greatness of Soul In: The Measure of Greatness: Philosophers on Magnanimity. Edited by: Sophia Vasalou, Oxford University Press (2019). © the several contributors. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198840688.003.0009

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216  Nietzsche on Magnanimity and Greatness him, seems to take precedence over ordinary moral goodness. He is disdainful of the herdish values of compassion and humility, and in their place, he especially celebrates values that are associated with and realized by certain exceptional great individuals. Nietzsche, importantly, does not see great individuals just as means to other things that are of value—symphonies, philosophical works, and the like. Rather, he sees them as instantiating certain values themselves, in the sort of excellent characteristics they have and in the sort of impressive lives they lead. They are, for him, ends-in-themselves.1 But what marks off these great individuals? Given Nietzsche’s unsystematic style of presentation, we do not get a strictly delineated account. We instead get examples of great individuals, and various scattered comments about some characteristic features of human greatness. In this paper, I will seek to give an indication of Nietzsche’s views on these issues, with a particular emphasis on thinking about greatness of soul, that is, the broadly speaking psychical characteristics that are both conducive to and constitutive of exceptional flourishing as Nietzsche conceives it. In sketching the features that are salient for Nietzsche, I hope, in conjunction with the other papers in the vol­ ume, to indicate Nietzsche’s commonalities and divergences with a broader strand of thinking, stemming from receptions of Aristotle’s megalopsychia. The paper will proceed as follows: after mentioning a few of Nietzsche’s salient examples of great individuals, I will work through, and comment on, what he notes as some of the central marks of greatness.2 I then turn to a few reflections on Nietzsche’s relation to Aristotle. In some work on Nietzsche, as well as in recent literature on the virtues, there has been dissatisfaction with Walter Kaufmann’s influential suggestion that the Nietzschean great person is similar to the Aristotelian megalopsychos. While we should recognize that there are key dif­ ferences between Nietzsche and Aristotle—and Kaufmann never claimed the par­ allel was exact—we should not exaggerate these differences either, particularly not on the assumption that Nietzsche is a kind of crude irrationalist. Kaufmann’s suggestion, I will argue, remains an enlightening way of situating Nietzsche’s thought on this topic. But that said, there is another major point of divergence

1  This is not to say that all that is of value for Nietzsche are great individuals and their individual achievements. Nietzsche, as I argue elsewhere, also takes whole cultures to be valuable for their own sake. See Andrew Huddleston, Nietzsche on the Decadence and Flourishing of Culture (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019). 2  I focus primarily on material from the latter part of Nietzsche’s career. There was undoubtedly some degree of development of Nietzsche’s ideas on this topic from The Birth of Tragedy and the Untimely Meditations of the 1870s to the final works of 1888, such as Ecce Homo. One salient differ­ ence is in the figures he admires: Wagner and Schopenhauer are much lauded in Nietzsche’s early works, but drop out of favour in his later works. Was this the result of Nietzsche’s standards of great­ ness and ideas about it themselves changing, or simply his interpretation and assessment of these people? I suspect it is mostly the latter, though considerations of space preclude me from exploring in detail the way in which his views may have evolved. This would require, in particular, a more detailed analysis and treatment of the Untimely Meditations, and comparison of it with later works, than I am able to offer in this paper.

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Andrew Huddleston  217 between Nietzsche on the one hand and Aristotle and various figures on the other. In the core of the tradition of thinking about greatness of soul, it will be thought to go hand-in-hand with moral goodness. Nietzsche, by contrast, seems to regard there being an important tension between morality and the sort of human greatness he celebrates. I discuss, in conclusion, a few ways of under­ standing this tension and its implications for Nietzsche’s relation to the main strand of thinking about this topic.

2.  Exemplars and Preliminaries It will be useful to begin by mentioning a few of the figures that Nietzsche ­singles out for praise as exemplars of human greatness. Some prime examples include Goethe (TI, ‘Skirmishes’, 49), Leonardo da Vinci (BGE, 200), Raphael (TI, ‘Skirmishes’, 9), Beethoven (UM, III: 3), and of course Nietzsche himself (EH). (False modesty, as we shall see, is not a virtue of great individuals.) Although Nietzsche’s salient examples are creative and intellectual figures,3 he mentions some political figures as well, for example Cesare Borgia (TI, ‘Skirmishes’, 37), Julius Caesar (BGE, 200), Napoleon (GM, I:16), and Frederick II (BGE, 200). When Nietzsche describes or celebrates people as great, it is often unclear whether he means that they are great of soul, or simply (or perhaps in addition) people who are great in virtue of having momentous influence, in, for example, putting their stamp decisively on history. My focus in this paper is primarily on greatness of soul, rather than this other sort of greatness, if we want to call it that (which might include Nietzsche’s arch-villain St Paul).4 Given how the two can come apart, it remains an open question whether even all of these individuals listed are great of soul. Clearly Goethe makes the cut, probably Beethoven, but with some of the others it is less clear. Socrates and St Paul exert a tremendous influence, but they are, in Nietzsche’s (perhaps tendentious) eyes, not great of soul.5 What are the psychical features of these sorts of individuals? Again, Nietzsche is never very systematic, but, across a range of passages, he makes various sugges­ tions. But does this mean that there is a set of characteristics that they all have in 3 This point is stressed in Alexander Nehamas, Nietzsche: Life as Literature (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1985), 227, and in Brian Leiter, Nietzsche on Morality (2nd ed.) (London and New York: Routledge, 2014), 98. 4 The German adjective groß, and to some extent the English ‘great’, can, we must remember, merely characterize something as of considerable size or extent (the Great Famine, the Great Fire of London); it needn’t indicate a positive normative assessment. Those with momentous influence are clearly ‘great’ in the former sense in the influence they have. Whether they are in the latter sense is more contentious. 5  TI, ‘The Problem of Socrates’ is a vitriolic attack not just on Socrates’s philosophy, but on him personally as decadent and sick. Paul, likewise, is characterized as animated by hatred (A, 42), a clear sign of the workings of poisonous ressentiment in his psychological economy. Whatever wide influ­ ence their doctrines have, these two people are not paragons of Nietzschean virtue.

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218  Nietzsche on Magnanimity and Greatness common? This has been claimed in the recent secondary literature (albeit with a narrower range of features than those I give here),6 but it seems to me that this move is too hasty. Though I will go on to give some characteristics of greatness, it needn’t be the case that every Nietzschean great individual has every one of these features listed. When Nietzsche says that something is great, or ‘belongs to great­ ness’, or some such locution, it is never clear from the text whether the character­ istics Nietzsche cites are sufficient and/or necessary for greatness, as opposed to generic characterizations or simply frequent marks of it. Moreover, it is not clear that there is meant to be a single ideal, as opposed to several. Nietzsche is a thinker highly sensitive to historical variability; the virtues conducive to and con­ stitutive of excellence in Homeric Greece are not, one-for-one, those in late mod­ ern societies.7 Moreover, if we come to Nietzsche expecting a deeper philosophical explanation or argument of why these particular features redound to greatness, we are, in my view, likely to be disappointed. Interpreters, to this end, will some­ times ascribe to the so-called ‘will to power’ a special priority and reconstruct Nietzsche’s ideas so as to seek to give it this unifying explanatory role.8 I myself am more sceptical about the exegetical and philosophical merits of this will-topower-centred approach, and thus do not adopt it here. Nietzsche, in my view, is not a systematic thinker who argues from a single master value, or from an essen­ tialist conception of human nature, to a view about human excellence (or any­ thing else). What he gives us instead is a vision, which we must piece together from snippets of text, of what sorts of people and traits are especially admirable. Whether that vision persuades, or resonates, will likely depend on what values we hold, rather than on any argument Nietzsche gives for it. Work on this topic has sometimes been framed in response to Alexander Nehamas, who claimed in his 1985 book Nietzsche: Life as Literature that Nietzsche does not offer any ‘descriptions of what an ideal person or an ideal life would be like’.9 It has been pointed out in reply that Nehamas’s contention is in fact incor­ rect; Nietzsche gives a number of descriptive characterizations of such people and lives in his works. But nonetheless, I think there is an important grain of truth to Nehamas’s scepticism. Nietzsche’s descriptions of his ideal of greatness do not provide us with helpfully regulative necessary and sufficient conditions. This is because Nietzsche does not specify conditions for how to be great, in such a way that observers could look to these conditions and the person at issue and easily settle the question of whether someone is great. The conditions just cannot be specified 6 Leiter, Nietzsche on Morality; Patrick Hassan, ‘Nietzsche on Human Greatness’, Journal of Value Inquiry 51 (2017): 293–310. 7 Simon Townsend, ‘Beyond the Myth of the Nietzschean Ideal Type’, European Journal of Philosophy 25, no. 3 (2017): 617–37. 8  One philosophically sophisticated such attempt is to be found in John Richardson, Nietzsche’s System (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996). 9 Nehamas, Nietzsche: Life as Literature, 8. Those responding include Leiter, Nietzsche on Morality, 93 and Hassan, ‘Nietzsche on Human Greatness’, 295.

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Andrew Huddleston  219 in enough detail so that it becomes an easy question, brooking no debate, whether someone meets them. It will typically involve contentious interpretation.10 But issues of this sort aside, this examination of characteristics will nonetheless provide us with some important insight into Nietzsche’s views, even if it is not a kind of rigid rubric. To that end, I will list a number of these characteristic fea­ tures, and make a few brief comments on them. Before we proceed, an initial cav­ eat is in order regarding pronouns and gender. All of Nietzsche’s examples of great individuals are men, and most of his remarks concerning women are shock­ ingly misogynistic. Regrettable though that may be, this makes the masculine pronoun the appropriate one in describing his view, and that is what I shall do in what follows.

3.  The Characteristics of Nietzschean Greatness and Greatness of Soul Independent to the point of being solitary: Describing the human beings who will appear in a more ‘virile, warlike’ age, Nietzsche says that they are those who are ‘silent, lonely, resolute, and content and constant in invisible activities’ (GS, 283). The ‘concept of greatness entails . . . wanting to be by oneself, being able to be dif­ ferent, standing alone and having to live independently’ (BGE, 212). He is some­ one who is ‘always in his own company, whether he associates with books, human beings, or landscapes’ (EH, ‘Wise’, 2). As with many things Nietzsche mentions, this characteristic is both a sign of greatness and an enabler of it. In living inde­ pendently, one maintains distance from received opinions, and finds the peace and freedom from distraction to pursue significant projects. Focused in pursuit of a goal: Great individuals are single-minded in their focus on these sorts of significant projects. These are the people who want to make a lasting stamp on the world, whether by writing novels, composing symphonies, or building empires. Whereas others are pulled in various directions, or fritter away their time, great individuals stay on course. Nietzsche, describing himself in this regard, says he is ‘well disposed toward those moralities which goad me to do something and to do it again, from morning till evening, and then to dream of it at night, and to think of nothing except doing this well, as well as I alone can do it’ (GS, 304). Self-disciplined: Great individuals exercise strict discipline on themselves, a sort of self-control (TI, ‘Skirmishes’, 49). They do not simply give free rein to their passing desires and impulses, but hold them in check sometimes. It might be nice to stay in the warm bed an extra hour in the morning, but this would squander 10  Here Nehamas’s extended analogy of lives to artworks is a helpful one. See Nietzsche: Life as Literature.

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220  Nietzsche on Magnanimity and Greatness productive time for work, so the great individual might force himself up for early writing, after dousing his face in icy cold water. Although Nietzsche abhors asceti­ cism for asceticism’s sake, he is not against asceticism and renunciation when it is done in furtherance of a worthy goal. If you are dousing your face in cold water because this will invigorate you for the day, that is a very different matter from doing it because you believe you, as a sinner, deserve no better (GM, III: 9). Maintaining this discipline requires a certain ‘hammer-hardness’ (BGE, 225) of being able to withstand suffering when necessary. ‘The discipline of suffering, of great suffering—do you not know that only this discipline has created all enhance­ ments of man so far?’ (BGE, 225). (See also BGE, 188.) Viewing others through the lens of one’s project: Because of this intense commit­ ment, other people will be viewed primarily with regard to whether they are a help or a hindrance to what the great individual is seeking to accomplish. ‘A human being who strives for something great considers everyone he meets on his way either as a means or a delay and obstacle—or as a temporary resting place’ (BGE, 273). Having a certain hardness against others: One must even have a certain degree of apparent callousness: ‘Who will attain anything great if he does not find in himself the strength and the will to inflict great suffering? Being able to suffer is the least thing; weak women and even slaves often achieve virtuosity in that. But not to perish of internal distress and uncertainty when one inflicts great suffering and hears the cry of this suffering—that is great, that belongs to greatness’ (GS, 325). This is a chillingly disconcerting quotation, calling to mind, with the benefit of historical hindsight, hardened concentration camp guards. But it is important to note that less unsavoury things (indeed morally heroic ones) could meet this con­ dition too. An acquaintance of mine, who is a physician and experienced moun­ tain climber, once did an appendectomy on someone in desperate need during a climb on K2. I’ve not heard the details of the story in full detail, but imagine, given the minimal anaesthetics available, that the operation must have been extremely painful, and no doubt provoked great cries from the suffering patient. To persist in the face of this takes great resolve, but it was what needed doing. Magnanimity: Despite this hardness against others, one will not take vengeance against them for vengeance’s sake. Nietzsche describes the person of magnanim­ ity (Großmuth) as one who has the possibility of revenge, but ‘drain[s] it in his imagination’, rising above it and forgiving the enemy (GS, 49; Cf., GS, 340) (Nietzsche suggests that this is because he becomes nauseated at this vengeful state, perhaps as something beneath him). Even more extreme is the case of Mirabeau and those like him, who are so far above the slights done to them that they simply brush them off and forget about them (GM, I: 10). Resilient in the face of difficulties: We inevitably face various difficulties. The great individual is someone able to cope with these as they come. He ‘guesses what remedies avail against what is harmful; he exploits bad accidents to his advantage;

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Andrew Huddleston  221 what does not kill him makes him stronger’ (EH, ‘Wise,’ 2; Cf., TI, ‘Maxims’, 8). After a setback or a defeat, some may slink away, or collapse into depression. But the great individual will treat this as an encouragement to go on—to, as it were, get back in the saddle and try again or to move on to something else significant. Seeking obstacles and challenges to be overcome: Indeed, it is not just that the great person waits for challenges and then copes with them when and as they come. He actively seeks out challenges, at least in certain domains. He is, as Nietzsche says, one who is ‘bent on seeking in all things for what in them must be overcome’ (GS, 283). Such a person is not content to rest in comfort, but wants to try things that are new and difficult. If he has climbed one impressively high mountain, he will want to climb a yet higher one, or forgo the supplemental oxy­ gen. If he has solved one difficult puzzle, he will want to try a more difficult one. This aspect of the view is related to the idea of the will to power, with the idea being that these challenges provide an opportunity to exercise the will to power.11 One manifests one’s power in the overcoming of such challenges. Willing to live dangerously: Because of this emphasis on continual striving and overcoming, Nietzsche puts a premium on living dangerously. ‘[T]he secret for harvesting from existence the greatest fruitfulness and the greatest enjoyment is—to live dangerously! Build your cities on the slopes of Vesuvius! Send your ships into uncharted seas! Live at war with your peers and yourselves!’ (GS, 283). Nietzsche of course means this beyond literal bodily peril. He also has in mind the idea of exposing oneself to the possibility of failure. It is in taking these sorts of risks that one makes possible many of the greatest sorts of accomplishments. In order to be willing to do this, the instinct of ‘self-preservation’ must be suspended (TI, ‘Skirmishes’, 44). This needn’t mean that one is foolhardy or rashly selfdestructive. But it does mean that one does not put safety and caution above all else. Instinctively drawn towards healthy courses of action: In some apparent tension with this idea of living dangerously and putting aside self-preservation is the idea that the great person seeks out healthy courses of action. Nietzsche suggests that such a person has a ‘taste only for what is good for him; his pleasure, his delight, cease where the measure of what is good for him is transgressed’ (EH, ‘Wise’ 2). How can putting oneself in danger represent an instinctive choice towards the healthy? We need to remember that Nietzschean health, in its highest forms, is going to be bound up with strength, resilience, and vitality. The fact that one can

11  There are a variety of exegetical issues concerning the will to power, which I will need to leave to the side. But at least one important aspect of the will to power is that it involves this seeking out and overcoming of obstacles and resistances. For further discussion, see Bernard Reginster, The Affirmation of Life: Nietzsche on Overcoming Nihilism (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2006) and Paul Katsafanas, ‘Nietzsche’s Philosophical Psychology’, in the Oxford Handbook of Nietzsche, ed. Ken Gemes and John Richardson (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013). Exactly how far to take this is another matter.

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222  Nietzsche on Magnanimity and Greatness expose oneself to danger, and yet get through it without being undone and with having accomplished something important, is a sign of health. That fact that one would need, or feel the need, to cocoon oneself away from any potential threat is a sign not of health but of sickness. The fact that one should focus on, or feel the need to focus on, mere self-preservation is a sign of a weaker nature; for a stronger person, such considerations would be decidedly secondary. Verschwendung: Also somewhat in tension with being instinctively drawn to the healthy is the idea of self ‘Verschwendung’, perhaps best rendered as ‘selfexpending’. Nietzsche writes: ‘The genius, in work and deed, is necessarily an expender: that he expends himself, that is his greatness’ (TI, ‘Skirmishes’, 44). Nietzsche draws comparisons here to pent-up explosives and to rivers flooding their banks. Thanks to this superabundant outpouring, at the limit the great indi­ vidual may need to forgo even his own health and sacrifice himself in the service of his cause. Resistance to stimuli: The analogy to rivers flooding their banks and explosives can seem to deprive great individuals of any sort of agency. It can make it seem as if they are just a bundle of dispositions that can be triggered in the right circum­ stances. But this underplays the fact that Nietzsche thinks of them as characteris­ tically able to step back and make a sensible decision about what to do: The great individual ‘reacts slowly to all kinds of stimuli, with that slowness which long caution and deliberate pride have bred in him: he examines the stimulus that approaches him . . .’ (EH, ‘Wise’, 2). This is strongly connected with the sort of self-discipline mentioned above. Weaker individuals, by contrast, cannot resist such ‘stimuli’. They are far more reactive. This is not to say that the great have any kind of libertarian free will, but it is to make room for a kind of reflective dimen­ sion when it comes to human action and agency.12 Honest in their outlook: The strength of spirit characteristic of great individuals is correlated with being able to bear reality unadulterated. ‘[S]trength of spirit’, Nietzsche writes, might be ‘measured according to how much of the “truth” one could still barely endure—or to put it more clearly, to what degree one would require it to be thinned down, shrouded, sweetened, blunted, falsified’ (BGE, 39). For this reason, Nietzsche praises honesty (Redlichkeit) as an important virtue of free spirits (BGE, 227). ‘In the middle of an age with an unreal outlook, Goethe was a convinced realist’ (TI, ‘Skirmishes’, 49). He didn’t need to live by the usual pieties and illusions.

12  Paul Katsafanas, The Nietzschean Self: Moral Pyschology, Agency, and the Unconscious (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016) makes this conscious, reflective dimension very central to action and agency. Others are more focused on the unconscious drives and their interrelation. See Ken Gemes, ‘Nietzsche on Free Will, Autonomy, and the Sovereign Individual’, in Nietzsche on Freedom and Autonomy, ed. Ken Gemes and Simon May (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009) and John Richardson, ‘Nietzsche’s Freedoms’, in Nietzsche on Freedom and Autonomy, ed. Gemes and May.

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Andrew Huddleston  223 Life-affirming: Another key mark of the great individual is satisfaction with this life and world, rather than longing for another and allegedly better one. Such a person is one that Nietzsche will describe as life-affirming. At the extreme, one will not just be positively disposed to this life and world, but will love it in every dimension. Nietzsche speaks of the ‘ideal of the most high-spirited, alive, and world-affirming human being who has not only come to terms and learned to get along with whatever was and is, but who wants what was and is repeated into all eternity, shouting insatiably da capo—not only to himself but to the whole play and spectacle’ (BGE, 56).13 Similarly, Nietzsche writes, with reference to Goethe, that he ‘stands amid the cosmos with a joyous and trusting fatalism, in the faith that only the particular is loathsome, and that all is redeemed and affirmed in the whole—he does not negate any more. Such a faith, however, is the highest of all possible faiths: I have baptized it with the name of Dionysus’ (TI, ‘Skirmishes’, 49). The Dionysian faith makes one favourably disposed to this life and world, even though it has some questionable and terrifying features. Cheerful/joyful: In keeping with this basically affirmative attitude, the great individual will be someone who is fundamentally cheerful or joyful (e.g. Goethe [TI, ‘Skirmishes’, 49]). There are of course people who are smilingly blithe in a simple self-satisfied way, and Nietzsche treats such people with scorn.14 The ‘last man’ is an example of such a type (TSZ, ‘Prologue’). The great individual will be one who has faced difficulties, even faced great suffering, but still manages to be cheerful in the face of this. His opposite is the resentful person who goes through life in a foul mood, spreading his misery to others.15 According to Nietzsche, one of the most destructive features of Judeo-Christian morality, and its emphasis on compassion for suffering, is that it undermines this sort of joy by bringing misery to the fore and making people think that they have no right to be happy when others are suffering such misfortune. If the consciences of the strong get ‘poison[ed]’ with the thought of this alleged injustice, they will become ashamed of their good fortune and begin to ‘doubt their right to happiness’ (GM, III: 14).

13  Exactly what does it take to be life-affirming? Does one need to affirm absolutely everything? Or is it a more modest ideal? Does it follow that Nietzsche regards all such things as worthy of affirmation? I discuss matters further in Andrew Huddleston, ‘Affirmation, Admirable Overvaluation, and the Eternal Recurrence’, in Nietzsche on Morality and Affirmation, ed. Daniel Came (Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming). 14  Cf. Nietzsche’s subtle remarks on ‘cheerfulness’ in Schopenhauer as Educator, where he describes ‘a cheerfulness that really cheers’, in contrast to more superficial varieties (UM, III: 2). We see the same sort of distinction at work when Nietzsche scorns the contentment of the ‘last man’ (TSZ, ‘Prologue’), while nonetheless praising a more hard-won form of cheerfulness on the part of others. As Nietzsche puts it in UM III: 2, describing the more genuine kind of ‘cheerfulness that really cheers’, ‘at bottom there is cheerfulness only where there is a victory’. 15  ‘There is among them an abundance of the vengeful disguised as judges, who constantly bear the word “justice” in their mouths like poisonous spittle, always with pursed lips, always ready to spit upon all who are not discontented but go their way in good spirits’ (GM III: 14).

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224  Nietzsche on Magnanimity and Greatness Self-reverential: In addition to holding life in high regard, great individuals hold themselves in high regard. ‘The noble soul’, Nietzsche writes, ‘has reverence [Ehrfurcht] for itself’ (BGE, 287; cf. GS, 284). This is not to say that anyone with self-reverence is thereby a noble soul. Lots of deluded narcissists have a great deal of self-reverence. But the great individual is one who reveres himself and, import­ antly, whose characteristics merit this reverence. Such a person will not go in for false modesty, but certainly won’t go in for unnecessary degrees of self-depreca­ tion either. Nor will he go in for moralities of ‘un-selfing’ (Entselbstung) that see the self as something to be escaped. On the flipside of self-reverence, we have self-dissatisfaction. But it is entirely appropriate for many to be dissatisfied with themselves. Even the great should be dissatisfied with themselves in some cir­ cumstances, for example when they’ve not lived up to an ideal. And for those working towards self-cultivation, dissatisfaction can be what powers one forward towards improvement.16 If self-dissatisfaction becomes a persistent state, though, it can have deforming effects on one’s character: ‘Whoever is dissatisfied with himself is continually ready for revenge, and we others will be his victims, if only by having to endure his ugly sight. For the sight of what is ugly makes one bad and gloomy’ (GS, 290). Aesthetically appealing: As this mention of the threat of ugliness will suggest, Nietzsche puts considerable emphasis on aesthetic considerations. The great per­ son is going to be aesthetically appealing, not just in physical terms (though maybe in that way too), but in being the sort of person with an alluringly stylish character. Such a person, one ‘who has turned out well’, is one who is ‘carved from wood that is hard, delicate, and at the same time smells good’ (EH, ‘Wise’, 2). Nietzsche, likewise, speaks of the potential ‘splendour’ (Pracht) of the type man, which morality may be impeding (GM, ‘Preface’, 6), further emphasizing this aes­ thetic dimension. Moreover, Nietzsche compares lives to works of art, with the suggestion that impressive lives share certain features with works of art (GS, 290, GS, 299). While some of these aesthetic characteristics will be external, there is a close interrelation between these outward manifestations and the qualities of one’s soul. One does not simply present a pleasant outward face; one has a kind of unity or integration among one’s drives, a condition that might usefully be thought of as aesthetic. The success (or failure) of this integration can be evident 16  See UM, III: 6, where Nietzsche describes how an ‘exemplar’ can enable a ‘consecration to culture’: ‘the sign of that consecration is that one is ashamed of oneself without any accompanying feeling of distress, that one comes to hate one’s own narrowness and shriveled nature, that one has a feeling of sympathy for the genius who again and again drags himself up out of our dryness and apathy and the same feeling in anticipation for all those who are still struggling and evolving, with the profoundest conviction at almost everywhere we encounter nature pressing towards man and again and again failing to achieve him, yet everywhere succeeding in producing the most marvelous beginnings, individual traits and forms: so that the men we live among resemble a field over which is scattered the most pre­ cious fragments of sculpture where everything calls to us: come, assist, complete, bring together what belongs together, we have an immeasurable longing to become whole.’

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Andrew Huddleston  225 in one’s characteristics. As in Nietzsche’s example above, the person who hates himself will be marred by a kind of ugliness, if not in the literal visual sense, then in the kind of spiritual condition his persona evinces. Self-shaped: Although some of this aesthetic appeal may be fortuitous, Nietzsche makes clear that it is something at which one has to work. It is a ‘great and rare art’ to ‘give style’ to one’s ‘character’ (GS, 290) in this way. This happens when one formulates an ‘artistic plan’ for the self, and fits the various pieces together according to it, thereby creating a unified style. In this vein, Nietzsche talks about self-creation, an idea that can seem to court paradox. In what sense is a self being created, when this sort of artistic plan is being followed? This seems to raise a kind of regress problem. Who, after all, is doing the creating? The very self being created? I don’t propose to go into detail about Nietzsche’s views on the self and on freedom of the will, both being a minefield of difficulties.17 At a min­ imum, though, we can allow that one has scope for making certain aesthetic choices and thereby determining, to some extent, how one’s life goes, viewed through this aesthetic lens. This is all that is required for a less ambitious kind of aesthetic self-creation. To say that one exerts an influence in this way is not to presuppose libertarian free will or a blank canvas that can be filled in entirely as one wishes. (On these issues, see GS, 335; BGE, 225; TI, ‘Skirmishes’, 49.) Integrated in their manifold drives and impulses: Nietzsche’s aesthetics is classical in spirit, in the emphasis it puts on integration (BGE 212, GS, 290; TI, ‘Skirmishes’, 49).18 This unity is not merely at the surface, but cuts much more deeply in the organization of one’s underlying drives. Given the sort of creatures we are, we have a range of drives pulling in different directions. But in the great individual, these will be hierarchically organized, so that there is an (appropriate) dominant drive ruling over the other drives and turning them towards its purpose. This brings about a kind of wholeness, such that greatness of man is to be found in his ‘range and multiplicity, in his wholeness in manifoldness’ (BGE, 212).19 Possessed of an ‘instinct’ for ‘cleanliness’: Finally, one of the most distinctive characteristics Nietzsche mentions is an ‘instinct’ for ‘cleanliness’ (BGE, 271). There is something almost boy-scout-sounding about this characteristic if we take it lit­ erally. But Nietzsche mainly means it in a more metaphorical register, resonating

17  A good overview of the debate, and proposal for a middle-ground position, can be found in R.  Lanier Anderson, ‘What Is a Nietzschean Self?’, in Nietzsche, Naturalism, and Normativity, ed. Christopher Janaway and Simon Robertson (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012). See also Sebastian Gardner, ‘Nietzsche, the Self, and the Disunity of Philosophical Reason’, in Nietzsche on Freedom and Autonomy, ed.Gemes and May, and Alexander Nehamas, ‘Nietzsche, Intention, Action’, European Journal of Philosophy 26, no. 2 (2018): 685–701. 18  For further discussion of Nietzsche’s commitment to unity, see Ken Gemes, ‘Postmodernism’s Use and Abuse of Nietzsche’, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 62, no. 2 (2001): 337–60. 19 Richardson, Nietzsche’s System; Ken Gemes, ‘Nietzsche and Freud on Sublimation’, Journal of Nietzsche Studies 38, no. I (2009), 38–59; Christopher Janaway, ‘Nietzsche on Morality, Drives, and Human Greatness’, in Nietzsche, Naturalism, and Normativity, ed. Janaway and Robertson.

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226  Nietzsche on Magnanimity and Greatness with several of the characteristics we have already discussed. In ­epistemic terms, cleanliness is a matter of intellectual honesty, particularly with one’s self. It is, in aesthetic terms, a matter of the characteristic reaction that the great person has to those who are ill-constituted. Nietzsche writes of himself that his ‘instinct for cleanliness is characterized by a perfectly uncanny sensitivity so that the proxim­ ity or—what I am saying—the inmost parts, the “entrails” of every soul are physiologically perceived by me—smelled’ (EH, ‘Why I Am So Wise’, 8). He is thus able to find the ‘abundant hidden dirt at the bottom of many a character’ (EH, ‘Why I Am So Wise’, 8) and to stay away when necessary.

4.  Relation to Aristotle In his seminal 1950 book Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist, Walter Kaufmann made the influential suggestion that Nietzsche’s great-souled person is importantly similar to the Aristotelian megalopsychos.20 Kaufmann wrote this study in the wake of the Second World War, at a time when Nietzsche’s reputation was in tatters. He sought to rehabilitate Nietzsche by showing that his philosophy was continuous with a tradition of humanism, and not the proto-Nazi celebration of ruthless power that it was often taken to be at the time. It was as part of this endeavour of rehabilitation that Kaufmann tried to show the affinities between Nietzsche and Aristotle.21 Though Kaufmann’s intentions were noble, and his readings often astute, he had a tendency to overplay his hand. Many studies over the past half-century have reacted to aspects of Kaufmann’s reading, showing the way he presents an overly rosy picture of Nietzsche. On the topic of the greatsouled person in particular, both Aristotle scholars and Nietzsche scholars have resisted Kaufmann’s comparison between Aristotle and Nietzsche as unilluminat­ ing and superficial.22 But, to my mind, Kaufmann’s suggestion has more going for it. There are certainly notable divergences between Aristotle and Nietzsche. But scholars have been too quick to dismiss the parallel, and have done so based on a misunderstanding and mischaracterization of Nietzsche’s views on reason and rationality. I will begin by drawing out some of the key points of parallel and will then proceed to answer the sceptical objections that have been levelled. 20  Walter Kaufmann, Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist (Princeton: Princeton University Press, [1950] 1974), 82–3. Cf. the useful discussion of this issue in Leiter, Nietzsche on Morality, 97. 21 The megalopsychos may himself seem slightly suspect from a modern moral perspective. But Kaufmann, in framing this comparison, is trying to show that the Nietzschean great-souled person is not really all that bad. 22  From the perspective of Aristotle scholarship, see Daniel Russell, ‘Aristotle’s Virtues of Greatness’, in Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy Supplementary Volume, ed. Rachana Kamtekar (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012). From the perspective of Nietzsche scholarship, see Bernd Magnus, ‘Aristotle and Nietzsche: “Megalopsychia” and “Übermensch”’, in The Greeks and the Good Life, ed. David J. Depew (Fullerton: California State Fullerton Press, 1980).

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Andrew Huddleston  227 Before we get to the level of specific characteristics, the first thing to note is the similarly high position that this figure of the ‘great-souled’ person occupies in the esteem of Aristotle and Nietzsche respectively. For Aristotle and for Nietzsche, it is a person who is flourishing and is doing so to an exceptional degree. Aristotle will describe this greatness of soul as a ‘crowning’ virtue, or, as it is also translated, an ‘adornment’ of the virtues (NE 1124a). For both Nietzsche and Aristotle, this is a rare condition. It is not a virtue that is in everyone’s reach.23 But matters go considerably beyond this to include some of the more specific characteristics of the people in question. Consider some of the central features of the Aristotelian megalopsychos, as discussed in Book IV of the Nicomachean Ethics. High (justified) self-regard: This is a person who holds himself in high esteem, thinking himself ‘worthy of great things’ (NE 1123b). But, importantly, such a person is warranted in doing so. ‘What he thinks he is worthy of accords with his real worth’ (NE 1123b). Others (the vain, the humble) think too much or too little of themselves, where this is not justified by their capacities and accomplishments. Less regard for (most) others: Coupled with this high self-regard, the megalopsychos will also not think much of most other people.24 But his belief, according to Aristotle, is accurate. ‘For the magnanimous person is justified when he thinks less of others, since his beliefs are true’ (NE 1124b). He won’t be flaunting this distance in an arrogant way (NE 1124b), but he will have a self-assured sense that he is above others, and will not be ashamed about this, nor afraid to assert it in the right circumstances. Concern with significant tasks: This is a person, Aristotle tells us, who will do a few well-chosen significant actions, not a number of insignificant small ones. ‘His actions are few, but great and renowned’ (NE 1124b). Magnanimity (in the narrow sense): ‘He is not prone . . . to remember evils, since it is proper to a magnanimous person not to nurse memories, especially not of evils, but to overlook them’ (NE 1125a). Independence: He is independent of the opinions of (most) others. ‘He cannot let anyone else, except a friend, determine his life. For that would be slavish; and

23  Nietzsche believes (perhaps unfairly) that Christianity praises virtues suited to the lowest com­ mon denominator, such as meekness and humility, which are virtues even the basest person can have. This, as I say, is somewhat unfair, since certain Christian virtues are extremely (maybe impossibly) demanding. An important theme in certain strands of Christian moral psychology is that it is extremely difficult to be truly humble. One’s vanity will creep in and one will do things for the wrong reasons. Similarly demanding are the exhortations to love one’s neighbour as oneself and to turn the other cheek when wronged. 24  Cf. Nietzsche on this sense of being above others: ‘Without that pathos of distance which grows out of the ingrained difference between strata—when the ruling caste constantly looks afar and looks down upon subjects and instruments and just as constantly practices obedience and command, keep­ ing down and keeping at a distance—that other, more mysterious pathos could not have grown up either—the craving for an ever new widening of distances within the soul itself, the development of ever higher, rarer, more remote, further-stretching, more comprehensive states—in brief, simply the enhancement of the type “man,” the continual “self-overcoming of man”’ (BGE, 257).

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228  Nietzsche on Magnanimity and Greatness this is why all flatterers are servile and [why] inferior people are flatterers’ (NE 1125a). He ‘stays away from what is commonly honoured’ (NE 1124b). As Nietzsche might have put it, he is above herdish opinions, or honours conferred by the herd. Courage: He ‘faces dangers in a great cause, and whenever he faces them he is unsparing of his life, since he does not think life at all costs is worth living’ (NE 1124b). Honesty: He is concerned for truth more than for people’s opinions. He is also honest with himself and honest with others; for example, ‘open in his hatreds . . . since concealment is proper to a frightened person’ (NE 1124b). We thus see a number of notable similarities between the Nietzschean greatsouled individual and the Aristotelian megalopsychos. So why then is the Nietzschean great-souled individual thought to be so markedly different? The main line of objection focuses on the role of reason in Aristotle’s conception of the virtuous life. For Aristotle, rational activity is the good of man, and he simi­ larly puts a considerable emphasis on rationality, as manifested in prudence/prac­ tical wisdom (phronesis). But Nietzsche, the objection continues, is dubious about the value of reason and rationality. While there is some truth in this, the point, I believe, has been overstated, and makes the divergences between Aristotle and Nietzsche appear greater than they in fact are. The charge of ‘irrationalism’ is one often put against Nietzsche. But it is a caricature of his nuanced view. It plays into the idea that Nietzsche’s human ideal is that of a kind of borderline wild-animal, the pillaging noble described in the First Essay of the Genealogy. But Nietzsche recognizes that we are far more interesting, complex, spiritual creatures at this juncture in history. Nietzsche is not against practical wisdom and rationality as such. He is against i) an overestimation of their significance; ii) misunderstandings of what they amount to; and iii) the perverse shapes they can sometimes take. One reason for holding that Nietzsche is an anti-rationalist is that he empha­ sizes the role of the unconscious. Some might accordingly be drawn towards the interpretation that he thinks conscious ratiocination is just a screen for processes going on at an unconscious level. This will sometimes be expressed in terms of a drive psychology: we think we are reaching a rational decision, but really our drives are doing all the work. There is considerable debate about what exactly Nietzsche’s view on these issues is, and it is well beyond the scope to adjudicate it here.25 But this, at least, needs to be accounted for: we are beings who think about 25  For different perspectives on this issue, see Richardson, Nietzsche’s System; Gemes, ‘Nietzsche on Free Will, Autonomy, and the Sovereign Individual’; Gemes, ‘Nietzsche and Freud on Sublimation’; Tom Stern, ‘Against Nietzsche’s “Theory” of the Drives’, Journal of the American Philosophical Association 1, no. 1 (2015): 121–40; Paul Katsafanas, The Nietzschean Self. Nietzsche no doubt wants to stress the basic continuity between other animals and humans, and to rein in the pretensions of humans to think that they are somehow special. He also wants to dethrone the conscious ego as supreme master in the human psyche. All of these are welcome philosophical insights. But the idea that we can adequately explain complex human behaviour in reductive psycho-biological terms, if this

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Andrew Huddleston  229 what we do, and seem to have reasons for the courses of action we take, and engage in intelligible and intelligent patterns of action. Often (as Nietzsche point­ edly stresses) people are self-deceived about their reasons for action, or engaged in various post-hoc rationalizations. But in those honest with themselves, as the great-souled individual will be, this should be at a minimum. Rationality needn’t be understood as an autonomous efficacious force or a mysterious transcendental capacity, nor need it be operative only at the conscious level. It is what enables us to act in intelligent and intelligible ways as human beings. Nietzsche is not deny­ ing the self-evident truth that it is possible and desirable to be rational in this sense. His points are always more subtle. Consider this passage, sometimes wrongly cited as evidence for Nietzsche’s opposition to prudence:26 If a man is praised today for living ‘wisely’ [weise] or ‘as a philosopher,’ it hardly means more than ‘prudently [klug] and apart.’ Wisdom seems to the rabble a kind of escape, a means and trick for getting well out of a wicked [schlimme] game. But the genuine philosopher—as it seems to us, my friends?—lives ‘unphilosophically’ and ‘unwisely,’ above all imprudently [unklug] and feels the burden and the duty of a hundred attempts and temptations of life—he risks himself constantly, he plays the wicked game.  (BGE, 205)

If we cherry-pick a phrase out of context, Nietzsche does seem to praise impru­ dence here. But this passage needs to be scrutinized carefully, rich as it is in inverted commas and wordplay. Nietzsche takes one conception of the philo­ sophical life and, to it, juxtaposes another. One, he suggests, is born of a desire for escape and an overabundance of caution. (He has perhaps in mind the Epicurean’s retreat to cultivate his garden.) He wants, by contrast, a philosopher who is an experimenter, willing to take risks. This makes him ‘unwise’ and ‘imprudent’, rela­ tive to one cautious standard of wisdom and prudence. But it does not mean that the Nietzschean philosopher doesn’t have a different sort of wisdom and pru­ dence of his own. Nietzsche is a person, after all, who entitles major sections of his autobiography Ecce Homo ‘Why I Am So Wise [weise]’ and ‘Why I Am So Prudent/Clever [klug]’. Further apparent evidence for Nietzsche’s alleged opposition to rationalism comes from his criticism of Socrates; in Nietzsche’s words, a ‘buffoon’ who makes

was indeed Nietzsche’s theoretical view (and is indeed the view being attributed to him by some interpreters), seems to me crude and misguided—not to mention at odds with the rich psycho­ logical explanations that Nietzsche actually gives. Here the agent’s own conceptualization of what they are doing, and the contextualization of that understanding in a social, historical, and cultural context, is going to be an important part of the explanatory story. That is not an argument I will make here, however. 26  See Daniel Russell, ‘Aristotle’s Virtues of Greatness’, 134–5.

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230  Nietzsche on Magnanimity and Greatness reason a ‘tyrant’ and who counsels that we be ‘absurdly rational’ (TI, ‘The Problem of Socrates’). What Nietzsche would seem to have as his target in these remarks is not rationality per se, but an extreme version of it. It is the sort that seeks, in the relentless way that Socrates does, to justify dialectically (often with quite specious arguments) virtually everything that he believes and holds dear. Nietzsche sees this as perverse and futile (TI, ‘Socrates’, 5, 11). But Nietzsche is not advocating that one behave irrationally, ignoring all considerations in favour of doing or believing things, nor is he suggesting abandoning oneself wholly to blind impulse. He chal­ lenges a perverse idea of what rationalism would be, not the idea that rationality (Vernunft) has an important role to play. Rationality (or Reason) is, after all, some­ thing Nietzsche includes with ‘virtue, art, music, dance . . . [and] spirituality’ as among the things ‘for whose sake it is worthwhile to live on earth’ (BGE, 188). Of course, there are major differences between Nietzsche and Aristotle. For the latter, rationality occupies an especially prominent role. The ergon (function) of the human being just is virtuous activity in accordance with reason (NE 1097b–1098a), and Aristotle sees human flourishing as realized through fulfilling this ergon. Nietzsche will part ways at this point, not, however, because he is an irrationalist, but instead because he thinks human nature and the human good are less closely tied to rationality and rational activity per se. This is compatible with thinking, as Nietzsche evidently does, that reason and rationality still have a central place in the well-ordered soul, in conjunction with other traits and vir­ tues. The distance between Nietzsche and Aristotle on this front, while signifi­ cant, has nonetheless been exaggerated, based on a misreading of Nietzsche. But there is still another salient difference, and I want to close by discussing that. On Nietzsche’s view, the great individual could, it would seem, be a profoundly immoral person, whereas this is not true of Aristotle, for whom being magnanimous requires also being ‘fine and good’ (NE 1124a). Greatness of soul and morality are yoked closely together in Aristotle; in Nietzsche, they can come apart. Of course, some of the traits that Nietzsche celebrates haven’t always been as morally suspect as they are in the Judeo-Christian tradition, and some of the things he attacks haven’t always been as celebrated. Pride has not always been a vice, nor has humility always been a virtue, as reflection on Aristotle shows.27 But could a deeply immoral person be great, in Nietzsche’s eyes? I think Nietzsche’s answer is pretty clearly yes. Cesare Borgia and Napoleon left many dead in their self-aggrandizing wake. And yet, far from debarring them from being great, one suspects that this is not, for Nietzsche, an obstacle; if anything, some of their nastier traits advance their claim to Nietzschean greatness.28 A more subtle 27 Cf. Howard Curzer, ‘Aristotle’s Much-Maligned Megalopyschos’, Australasian Journal of Philosophy 69, no. 2 (1991): 148–9, for a different perspective on the relation between this Aristotelian virtue and Christianity. 28  For a good discussion of these issues, see Nehamas, ‘Nietzsche and “Hitler”’, Southern Journal of Philosophy 37 Supplement (1999): 1–17.

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Andrew Huddleston  231 question is whether they can be great of soul, not just in influence or effect. Although Nietzsche does not give us clear textual indication one way or the other, one suspects his answer would still be yes. He certainly does not include a morality constraint. Even so, it is vital to see that it is not the mere fact that they perpetrate immoral deeds that speaks to their greatness. One of the ways in which Nietzsche is most often misunderstood, by adolescents and the adolescently minded, is that you become great or otherwise prove yourself great just by doing something (maybe anything) deeply immoral and thereby demonstrating that you are above the sort of morality that constrains everyone else. This, it might be thought, is roughly the Leopold and Loeb understanding of Nietzsche. But simply murdering someone for sport, or proving yourself able to do so, is not sufficient for being great (par­ ticularly of soul). Nonetheless, it would appear that there are morally objection­ able people that Nietzsche would regard as great, and not just coincidentally great, but great partly thanks to some of their features that are morally suspect. Whatever qualms we might have about this view, it pretty clearly is Nietzsche’s. If one is to view and use others in instrumentalizing ways, or to regard their suffer­ ing with callousness, to be devoted in a single-minded way to a personal project when one could be focused on the common weal, or to affirm all of existence (including the questionable and terrible aspects), morality (as conceived by the Judeo-Christian tradition and its secular expressions) must not be one’s overrid­ ing focus of concern. The question I want to close on is a different one, namely this: granted, some great people are immoral. But need a great person be particularly immoral—that is, more immoral than the average person? If so, why? There are people who accomplish great things (more likely in art than in statecraft), without being ruth­ less or immoral about it, and often thanks to moral traits Nietzsche despises (a sense for the universal brotherhood of all humans, say). Why then, it might be queried, is there any necessary sort of tension between morality and greatness? But this line of objection focuses just on great accomplishment. Nietzsche can allow that there are great accomplishments, even by those who are not themselves great individuals, or great of soul. Such individual greatness is valuable not simply as a route to independent great accomplishments (e.g. writing the Eroica, defeat­ ing the Gauls). It is valuable for its own sake as well. The virtues and traits that Nietzsche cites are constitutive elements in the flourishing life. The person who lacks these sorts of traits (or has ones opposed to these) is leading a defective (or at least a non-ideal) life, in Nietzschean terms. The tension with the morality tradition is thus even more thoroughgoing than it might at first seem. Nietzsche is not just making an empirical claim about which traits will lead to the sorts of great things that Nietzsche values. His view of greatness and of greatness of soul is itself a conception of what an exceptionally good life amounts to. Judeo-Christianity holds out a certain ideal of great lives (e.g. the Christian saint, full of pity for the suffering mass of humanity), to which Nietzsche opposes a counter-ideal.

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232  Nietzsche on Magnanimity and Greatness In parts, it is very difficult to accept. We may well reject that ideal, or at least not want to subscribe to it fully. But Nietzsche does force us to think more critically about what we think makes for a great-souled person, and challenges us with a provocative vision of his own. But for all his apparent radicalism, when it comes to greatness of soul, Nietzsche is not so much starting from scratch with an entirely new theory, as he is in large part borrowing aspects of a classical tradition that he sees JudeoChristianity as in danger of obscuring. That said, Nietzsche is a highly historical thinker. He doesn’t simply want us to return to a Homeric outlook, or to an Aristotelian outlook, or anything of the kind. But he thinks we can take import­ ant lessons for how we might move forward in the modern era, and reflect on the shape a ‘great soul’ might take in these changed conditions. That is among the tasks he sets himself in Beyond Good and Evil, and his other towering contribu­ tions to philosophical ethics.29

Bibliography Works by Nietzsche are cited by section number using the following ­ab­bre­vi­ations and translations, which I have modified where I have thought appropriate: A = The Antichrist. Translated by Walter Kaufmann. New York: Penguin Books, 1954. BGE = Beyond Good and Evil. Translated by Walter Kaufmann. New York: Vintage Books, 1966. EH = Ecce Homo. Translated by Walter Kaufmann. New York: Vintage Books, 1967. GM = On the Genealogy of Morals. Translated by Walter Kaufmann. New York: Vintage Books, 1967/On the Genealogy of Morality. Translated by Maudemarie Clark and Alan Swensen. Indianapolis: Hackett Books, 1998. GS = The Gay Science. Translated by Walter Kaufmann. New York: Vintage Books, 1974. HH = Human, All Too Human. Translated by R. J. Hollingdale. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986. TI = Twilight of the Idols. Translated by Walter Kaufmann. New York: Penguin Books, 1954. TSZ = Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Translated by Walter Kaufmann. New York: Penguin Books, 1954. 29  My gratitude to Ken Gemes, Alexander Nehamas, David Carr, and Sophia Vasalou for com­ ments on the ideas I discuss here, as well as to the audience at the ‘Virtues of Greatness’ Conference at the University of Birmingham and to two anonymous referees.

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Andrew Huddleston  233 UM = Untimely Meditations. Translated by R. J. Hollingdale. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997. WP = The Will to Power. Translated by Walter Kaufmann and R. J. Hollingdale. New York: Vintage Books, 1967. In works that comprise several individual essays, after the abbreviation is the essay number (as a Roman numeral) and section number (as an Arabic numeral). For example, GM, I:2 is On the Genealogy of Morals, Essay I, Section 2. In works that include titled main sections, I include a keyword for that section, followed by subsec­ tion numbers, if applicable. For example, TI, ‘Socrates,’ 1 is the Twilight of the Idols, section ‘The Problem of Socrates,’ sub-section 1. For the German I rely on the following, cited by volume and page number: KSA= Kritische Studienausgabe, edited by Giorgio Colli and Mazzino Montinari. Berlin: de Gruyter, 1967. I cite Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics in the translation by Terence  H.  Irwin (Indianapolis: Hackett, 2000) using the standard Bekker numbers. Anderson, R. Lanier. ‘What Is a Nietzschean Self?’ In Christopher Janaway and Simon Robertson, eds, Nietzsche, Naturalism, and Normativity. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012. Curzer, Howard. ‘Aristotle’s Much-Maligned Megalopyschos’. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 69, no. 2 (1991): 131–51. Gardner, Sebastian. ‘Nietzsche, the Self, and the Disunity of Philosophical Reason’. In Ken Gemes and Simon May, eds, Nietzsche on Freedom and Autonomy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009. Gemes, Ken. ‘Postmodernism’s Use and Abuse of Nietzsche’. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 62, no. 2 (2001): 337–60. Gemes, Ken. ‘Nietzsche on Free Will, Autonomy, and the Sovereign Individual’. In Ken Gemes and Simon May, eds, Nietzsche on Freedom and Autonomy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009. Gemes, Ken. ‘Nietzsche and Freud on Sublimation’. Journal of Nietzsche Studies 38, no. 1 (2009): 38–59. Hassan, Patrick. ‘Nietzsche on Human Greatness’. Journal of Value Inquiry 51, no. 2 (2017): 293–310. Huddleston, Andrew. ‘Nietzsche on the Health of the Soul’. Inquiry 60, no. 1–2 (2017): 135–64. Huddleston, Andrew. Nietzsche on the Decadence and Flourishing of Culture. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019.

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234  Nietzsche on Magnanimity and Greatness Huddleston, Andrew. ‘Affirmation, Admirable Overvaluation, and the Eternal Recurrence’. In Daniel Came, ed., Nietzsche on Morality and Affirmation. Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming. Janaway, Christopher. ‘Nietzsche on Morality, Drives, and Human Greatness’. In Christopher Janaway and Simon Robertson, eds, Nietzsche, Naturalism, and Normativity. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012. Katsafanas, Paul. ‘Nietzsche’s Philosophical Psychology’. In Ken Gemes and John Richardson, eds, Oxford Handbook of Nietzsche. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013. Katsafanas, Paul. The Nietzschean Self: Moral Psychology, Agency, and the Unconscious. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016. Kaufmann, Walter. Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist. Princeton: Princeton University Press, [1950] 1974. Leiter, Brian. Nietzsche on Morality. 2nd edn. London and New York: Routledge, 2014. Magnus, Bernd. ‘Aristotle and Nietzsche: “Megalopsychia” and “Übermensch” ’. In  David  J.  Depew, ed., The Greeks and the Good Life. Fullerton: California State Fullerton Press, 1980. Nehamas, Alexander. Nietzsche: Life as Literature. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1985. Nehamas, Alexander. ‘Nietzsche and “Hitler” ’. Southern Journal of Philosophy 37 Supplement (1999): 1–17. Nehamas, Alexander. ‘Nietzsche, Intention, Action’. European Journal of Philosophy 26, no. 2 (2018): 685–701. Reginster, Bernard. The Affirmation of Life: Nietzsche on Overcoming Nihilism. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2006. Richardson, John. Nietzsche’s System. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996. Richardson, John. ‘Nietzsche’s Freedoms’. In Ken Gemes and Simon May, eds, Nietzsche on Freedom and Autonomy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009. Russell, Daniel. ‘Aristotle’s Virtues of Greatness’. Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy Supplementary Volume, ed. Rachana Kamtekar. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012. Stern, Tom. ‘Against Nietzsche’s “Theory” of the Drives’. Journal of the American Philosophical Association 1, no. 1 (2015): 121–40. Townsend, Simon. ‘Beyond the Myth of the Nietzschean Ideal Type’. European Journal of Philosophy 25, no. 3 (2017): 617–37.

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10

A Composite Portrait of a True American Philosophy on Magnanimity Andrew J. Corsa and Eric Schliesser

In this chapter, we offer a composite portrait of the concept of magnanimity in nineteenth-century America, focusing on the work of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, and Henry David Thoreau. In our portrait, these New England philosophers provide an account of magnanimity that reconciles it with humility, egalitarianism, and beneficence. They suggest that individuals can achieve the best sort of magnanimity without wealth, and without engaging in warfare or violence. In many respects, their project resembles that of philosophers of the Scottish Enlightenment, who similarly provide a modernized account of magnanimity. Yet the American account of magnanimity is also religious in a way more reminiscent of the Thomist and Stoic traditions. These Americans propose that, to become magnanimous, an individual must engage in the correct sort of philosophical inquiry, which involves direct engagement with God. They revitalize a trope from the Scottish Enlightenment—the notion of the magnanimous ‘true philosopher’—but provide a novel, religious, and Americanized account of it. For example, they contend that, to become true philosophers, individuals must directly engage with and study wilderness, which they associate with America and contrast with the culture and conformity of Europe. These American philosophers’ notion of magnanimity is intertwined with their conception of the best sort of religious and philosophical inquiry, that of the selfreliant individual. Only those who engage in the best sort of inquiry can achieve the best magnanimity, and vice versa. Although they are self-reliant, magnanimous individuals are not self-sufficient like Aristotle’s great-souled individuals. In order to engage in the sort of inquiry that is characteristic of them, those who are magnanimous and self-reliant require the assistance of others, discussions with magnanimous friends, and the correct sort of connection with God. These theorists have not only a theory of individual magnanimity, but also a theory of magnanimous friendship, and they insist that magnanimous individuals require more assistance from their friends than do others. These American philosophers also contend that the best sort of philosophical inquiry requires that individuals embrace a simple life of voluntary poverty. They offer their accounts of magnanimity and magnanimous friendship as correctives to ills of the American polity Andrew J. Corsa and Eric Schliesser, A Composite Portrait of a True American Philosophy on Magnanimity In: The Measure of Greatness: Philosophers on Magnanimity. Edited by: Sophia Vasalou, Oxford University Press (2019). © the several contributors. DOI: 10.1093/oso/ 9780198840688.003.0010

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236  A Composite Portrait of a True American Philosophy of their time—ills produced by the veneration of wealth and commerce and the perceived value of public opinion and esteem. They see themselves as critics of American capitalism, and they provide examples of magnanimous individuals who fruitfully embrace lifestyles that stand outside it. Our method will be to paint a picture of the Civil War-era, New England-based, but self-consciously American approach to magnanimity—an approach that is explicitly developed to articulate a properly democratic ethos that corrects the ills of America’s imperfect democracy. Each philosopher we discuss holds a unique philosophy, and would, on many points, disagree with the rest. Our intent is to develop a composite, cumulative picture which, while no one philosopher might have held it entire, nonetheless takes all into account.1 Before we get to the details of our analysis, we should offer a brief introduction of our unusual method which is inspired by, but also importantly deviates from, that which Francis Galton employs and discusses. A composite portrait,2 as a method in the history of philosophy, is designed to bring out (a) characteristic features of a group’s philosophizing in order (b) to illuminate characteristic features that may still resonate in today’s philosophy, (c) without claiming that any of these features are present among all the members of the group studied (d) nor demanding that all the members of the group are treated equally. That is, compared to more standard methods in the historiography of philosophy, the construction of a composite portrait de-privileges the views of individual authors. In order to avoid misunderstanding, we offer four additional, brief comments on (a–d). On (a): focusing on characteristic features of a group risks biasing one’s presentation to what is unusual about that group. This is a feature, not a bug. That is to say, the composite portrait is intended to bring out and emphasize a certain deviance or distinctiveness shared by the group; it is not meant to capture all the characteristics that compose them or even all the characteristics they may share with other philosophers. On (b): generating a composite portrait flirts with belonging to a species of Whig history, but the aim is not to glorify the present, but rather to make visible the often effaced traces of how our (perhaps tacit) self-conceptions came about and, thus, make these available for discussion. So a composite portrait has as much family resemblance3 to Whig history as it does to genealogical-critical approaches. 1  On the philosophical significance of such composite pictures (with references to Wittgenstein’s ethical lectures and Hayek), see: M.  Ali Khan, ‘Self-Interest, Self-Deception and the Ethics of Commerce’, Journal of Business Ethics 52, no. 2 (2004): 189–206; M. Ali Khan, ‘Composite Photography and Statistical Prejudice: Levy-Peart and Marshall on the Theorist and the Theorized’, European Journal of Political Economy 20, no. 1 (2004): 23–30; M.  Ali Khan, ‘On Hayek’s Road to Serfdom: 60 Years Later’, European Journal of Political Economy 21, no. 4 (2005): 1026–41. 2  Composite portraiture was developed by Francis Galton. See Galton, ‘Composite Portraits, Made by Combining Those of Many Different Persons Into a Single Resultant Figure’, The Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland 8 (1879): 132–44. For an influential treatment, see Allan Sekula, ‘The Body and the Archive’, October 39 (1986): 3–64. 3  In fact, a composite portrait may be a means to exhibit the family resemblance among some views.

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Andrew J. Corsa and Eric Schliesser  237 On (c): the composite portrait is not a perfect blend of the underlying members of the group to be followed by a mechanical operation (as in Galton’s camera). Rather, it has more in common with an artist’s choice in discerning what matters about the group. In particular, the selection of what matters is informed by an understanding of contemporary practices in order to bring out resonances that are still salient. On (d): our method deviates clearly from Galton’s original, underlying idea. Galton wished to capture generic yet especially salient (once brought to light) qualities that individuals have in common as a type. In that sense, in Galton’s procedure, each member of the group has an equal statistical opportunity to contribute to the final, composite portrait. Philosophical groups tend not to be so egalitarian—we think that, in practice, some members are more significant and influential. In what follows, we sometimes privilege Emerson’s perspective because he was the founding figure and the most powerful of his peers. This is not the place for a full defence of the utility of the methodology we adopt. Moreover, such a defence would be sterile without exemplars.4 So, we hope our chapter can bring out some of the benefits and limitations of composite portraiture as a historiographic method. We begin with Emerson, and then read each subsequent philosopher in relation to those already discussed. Each philosopher contributes to the broad, composite account we develop most substantially with respect to one or two specific themes. While we do not limit ourselves to a single theme when we discuss each thinker, one or two themes are dominant in order to facilitate ease of presentation and comprehension. When discussing Emerson, we emphasize the role of religion, when discussing Fuller we centre on friendship, and when we reflect on Thoreau we consider poverty and wilderness.

1.  Emerson: Religious Magnanimity In 1827, during Emerson’s time serving with the Unitarian Church, he gave a ­sermon in which he identifies Jesus Christ as a perfect exemplar of the virtue of magnanimity. He claims, mixing Stoic and Christian themes, that those who caused Jesus to suffer ‘were unable to comprehend in their pitiful ferocity that there is a greatness of soul to which evil fortune and good, to which the honour and dishonour of men, are accidents, a magnanimity so high and serene that mockery and scorn cannot touch its composure’.5 4  Another exemplar of the utility of composite portraiture in the history of philosophy is Liam Kofi Bright, ‘Logical Empiricists on Race’, Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 65 (2017): 9–18. Bright’s method is not identical to ours, but shares a family resemblance to it. 5  Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Complete Sermons of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Vol. 1, ed. Albert J. von Frank and David M. Robinson (Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press, 1989), Sermon No. 5, 88.

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238  A Composite Portrait of a True American Philosophy Emerson, like the other Transcendentalists we will discuss, employs the terms ‘magnanimity’ and ‘greatness of soul’ interchangeably, sometimes in the same sentence. We will follow their example. Emerson argues that, if we grant that Jesus is the great-souled man, then we can recognize that great-souled individuals can be humble, need not be wealthy, and need not desire the honour of their contemporaries. Thus, Emerson’s conception of greatness of soul is very different from that which many theorists have attributed to Aristotle.6 Emerson is aware that we, as everyday people, are ‘influenced by the pomp of wealth and power’, and tend to ‘lavish our admiration on all that comes to us decorated with the signs of outward splendor’.7 But according to Emerson, by reflecting on the example of Jesus, we can come to better realize that wealth, power, and other ‘signs of outward splendor’ are not necessary for a person to be truly magnanimous.8 In developing his account of magnanimity Emerson emphasizes whether individuals are worthy of honour rather than the honour they actually receive. According to Emerson’s sermon, individuals can be magnanimous even if many others do not honour them, provided that they are genuinely worthy of honour, and that worthiness has nothing to do with outward appearances. After all, Jesus, the ideal great-souled man, was himself born ‘a carpenter’s son; born in a manger . . . the associate of humble men’, and he died on the cross, facing the ‘scorn’ of many men, ‘a death of pain and ignominy’.9 Understanding that Jesus is the ideal, magnanimous individual, we can recognize that rank, origins, and aristocracy are irrelevant to greatness. Further, Jesus did not take action deliberately seeking to maximize the honour he received from others while he was alive. Emerson notes that Jesus did not pursue either wealth or military success, either of which might have brought greater fame from among his contemporaries.10 What is worthy of the greatest honour, and what matters to being a great-souled man? According to Emerson, Jesus accomplished a great good for all people, in bringing us a ‘message from our Father in heaven’ about God’s ‘will and the Wesley Mott discusses this passage in relation to Emerson’s evolving concept of Jesus: Wesley Mott,  ‘Emerson and Antinomianism: The Legacy of the Sermons’, American Literature 50, no. 3 (1978): 384–5. 6  Alexander Sarch, Terence Irwin, and Christopher Cordner all acknowledge that there is some tension between Christian humility and Aristotelian magnanimity, even if Sarch and Irwin also claim that the two notions might be reconcilable: Alexander Sarch, ‘What’s Wrong with Megalopsychia?’, Philosophy 83, no. 324 (2008): 251-2; Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, 2nd ed., trans. Terence Irwin (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1999), 220; Christopher Cordner, ‘Aristotelian Virtue and Its Limitations’, Philosophy 69, no. 269 (1994): 293 and 305. Hardie argues that the Aristotelian great-souled man must have substantial wealth in order to have the resources necessary to accomplish his great deeds: W. F. R. Hardie, ‘“Magnanimity” in Aristotle’s Ethics’, Phronesis 23, no. 1 (1978): 73–4. Sarch and Cordner argue that great-souled men, ‘within the limits of what virtue permits’ (Sarch, ‘What’s Wrong’, 236), actively seek and desire to maximize the honour they receive from their contemporaries: ibid., 239–41; Cordner, ‘Aristotelian Virtue’, 296–9. 7 Emerson, The Complete Sermons, Sermon No. 5, 87. 8  Ibid., 86. 9  Ibid., 87–8. 10  Ibid., 87.

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Andrew J. Corsa and Eric Schliesser  239 purposes to which we exist’.11 Ultimately, Jesus offered his life for the good of humankind. Emerson implies any of us, too, can achieve true greatness if we forget ourselves ‘to spend’ our ‘strength in promoting the happiness of others’.12 To become magnanimous and worthy of the greatest honour, individuals must engage in benevolent action, not so much in private charity, but in a kind of public philanthropy or beneficence, that is, works. In this early sermon, Emerson’s philosophy resonates with that of Saint Thomas Aquinas, who, as Jennifer Herdt argues in this volume, likewise identifies Jesus Christ as an ideal exemplar of greatness of soul. Like Emerson, Aquinas relates greatness of soul to self-emptying, beneficent service to others, and suggests that while great-souled individuals must be worthy of the greatest honour, they need not actively seek honour or actually receive it from their contemporaries.13 Also like Emerson, Aquinas suggests that a person can possess both magnanimity and Christian humility. According to Aquinas, we can be both magnanimous and humble if we both: (1) ‘honour’ and ‘esteem’ other people more than we do ourselves when we compare the gifts of God in them to our own human weakness; and (2) contemn others (‘contemnit alios’) and consider ourselves ‘worthy of the greatest things’ when we reflect on our own gifts of God in comparison to others’ human weakness.14 We do not mean to imply that Emerson consciously sought to align himself with Aquinas. Rather, we mean only to suggest that, regardless of Emerson’s intentions, his early account of magnanimity can be read as part of an extended, Thomist tradition of Christian magnanimity. Additionally, this early sermon should not be taken as providing Emerson’s full and mature account of magnanimity, although we argue that in many ways it shaped that account. In 1832, Emerson resigned from his pastoral office in the Unitarian Church. In his sermon explaining his decision, Emerson is clear that he has not abandoned religion and that he still pays homage to God,15 even if his conception of God is by this time far from traditionally Christian. Further, he insists that while he will resign his official position, he nonetheless intends to remain an informal, religious minister for the rest of his life.16 Emerson claims that he must resign from his position only because he does not wish to participate in some of the church’s

11  Ibid., 89. 12 Ibid. 13  See Jennifer A. Herdt, Chapter 3 in this volume. 14  Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Vol. 3, trans. Fathers of the English Dominican Province (Westminster, MD: Christian Classics, 1981), II–II, q.129, a.3; Holloway, ‘Christianity, Magnanimity, and Statesmanship’, The Review of Politics 61, no. 4 (1999): 590. It is worth noting that, according Aquinas, those who contemn others need not feel any animosity towards them. Rather, as Holloway notes, a magnanimous person’s contempt ‘is simply a looking down upon others as beneath him’ (Holloway, ‘Christianity, Magnanimity’, 589). 15  Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Complete Sermons of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Vol. 4, ed. Wesley T. Mott (Colombia, MO: University of Missouri Press, 1992), 191. 16  Ibid., 194; Mark S. Cladis, ‘Religion, Democracy, and Virtue: Emerson and the Journey’s End’, Religion & Literature 41, no. 1 (2009): 54–5.

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240  A Composite Portrait of a True American Philosophy formal rites, in which he would be required to engage were he to remain. He maintains that, regardless of what church leaders or traditions suggest, he—like every individual—should have the authority to decide for himself which rites to follow or not.17 In his personal journal, Emerson contends that he will remain religious, ‘a disciple of Christ’, even if it is not wise for him ‘to belong to any religious party’, like the Unitarian church.18 Emerson frees himself to follow his own religious convictions, rather than those of church authorities. In addition, he seems to associate the church with faction, rather than the public good. There is no reason to suppose that the views he put forward in his sermons would coincide with his mature philosophical perspective. In fact, there is good reason to expect the latter would make a break with traditional religion. In his private journal, Emerson even implies that greatness of soul may, itself, be linked with the ability to break with tradition, to the extent that breaking with tradition requires originality of reflection and experience: Often the choice is not given you between greatness in the world & greatness of soul which you will choose, but both advantages are not compatible . . . I feel a joy in my solitude that the merriment of vulgar society can never communicate. There is a pleasure in the thought that the particular tone of my mind at this moment may be new in the Universe . . . I occupy new ground in the world of spirits, untenanted before.19

In this journal entry, written months before the sermon in which he attributes greatness of soul to Jesus Christ, Emerson appears to attribute greatness to himself, suggesting that his greatness of soul is linked to his originality of thought and feelings.20 Nonetheless, in the same journal entry, Emerson suggest that his thoughts, while breaking with tradition, still lead him towards the contemplation of God: ‘I doubt not I tread on the highway that leads to Divinity.’21 He contends that anyone who develops his or her own original thoughts in the correct sort of way—as a greatsouled person does—will be led to reflect on God. In a journal article from 1830, Emerson considers ‘a man of honour & generosity’, who nonetheless ‘has an 17 Emerson, The Complete Sermons, Vol. 4, 192; Mott, ‘Emerson and Antinomianism’, 387–8. 18 Emerson, The Journals, Vol. III, 20 June 1831, 259; Frank M. Meola, ‘Emerson Between Faith and Doubt’, New England Review 32, no. 3 (2011): 116. 19  Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Journals and Miscellaneous Notebooks of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Vol. III, 1826–32, ed. William H. Gilman and Alfred R. Ferguson (Cambridge: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1963), 17 April 1827, 78. The use of ‘vulgar’ need not be pejorative. All it means is ‘common society’. But, in context, Emerson’s use of ‘vulgar’ clearly signals his own sense of spiritual superiority. Below, we comment on his egalitarianism. 20  Meola, ‘Emerson Between Faith’, 115. 21 Emerson, The Journals, Vol. III, 17 April 1827, 78.

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Andrew J. Corsa and Eric Schliesser  241 aversion to religion, [and] treats it with a degree of contempt’.22 If this man improves himself and his mode of inquiry—‘if he cultivate all these generous sentiments’—then he will inevitably ‘make advancements unconsciously in religious excellence’ and eventually ‘God will appear as he is to his soul’.23 In another journal entry, Emerson writes that when any man comes to trust himself, listen to his own reason, and ‘scorn to be a secondary man’, he will not become selfish, but will instead ‘fall back on truth itself & God’, and be led to perfection ‘in the Divine Mind’.24 This discussion sets the stage for our understanding of Emerson’s mature theory of magnanimity. In his famous essay ‘Self-Reliance’, Emerson suggests that we should look within ourselves in order to determine the truth, rather than looking outwards and unthinkingly accepting what others maintain.25 A true man, a magnanimous man, must never blindly adopt the opinions of others: ‘Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist.’26 Yet being a nonconformist is difficult, especially when one faces widespread disapproval—‘the discontent of the multitude’.27 When faced with the ‘feminine rage’ of a large number of people, Emerson claims that a person must possess the manly ‘habit of magnanimity’ in order to remain a nonconformist and treat the multitude’s rage ‘as a trifle of no concernment’.28 In addition, we should not be afraid to vocally express a change of mind and appear inconsistent to others, if looking within ourselves leads to a different conclusion from what we previously believed. Emerson contrasts people of ‘little minds’, who adhere to a ‘foolish consistency’, with the magnanimous individual who has a ‘great soul’, and who would not be afraid of changing his position over time.29 He thus identifies the magnanimous individual as the gendered masculine individual who displays great self-reliance. Truly great-souled individuals are able to look within themselves and break with tradition and society. But Emerson is not suggesting that individuals would be ideally self-reliant provided they trust private impulses, whatever they might be, and do whatever they please.30 Rather, to be truly self-reliant and magnanimous, we must learn how to correctly look within ourselves. To reflect on Emerson’s notion of the correct sort of inquiry, consider the role that he claims friends play for a self-reliant individual. In his journal, he indicates that he wants to understand how the ‘principle of self-reliance’ relates to what we call ‘philosophical friendship’, and he writes: It is true that there is a faith wholly a man’s own . . . But at the same time how useful, how indispensable has been the ministry of our friends to us, our teachers . . . the 22  Ibid., 24 July 1830, p. 191. 23  Ibid., 192. 24  Ibid., 27 September 1830, 198–9. 25  Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essays & Lectures, ed. Joel Porte (New York: Library of America, 1983), 259; Randy  L.  Friedman, ‘Traditions of Pragmatism and the Myth of the Emersonian Democrat’, Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 43, no. 1 (2007): 161–2. 26 Emerson, Essays & Lectures, 261. 27  Ibid., 264. 28  Ibid., 265. 29 Ibid. 30 Harry Hayden Clark, ‘Conservative and Mediatory Emphases in Emerson’s Thought’, in Transcendentalism and Its Legacy, ed. Myron Simon and Thornton H. Parsons (Ann Arbor, MI: The University of Michigan Press, 1966), 44 and 48–9.

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242  A Composite Portrait of a True American Philosophy living & the dead. I ask advice. It is not that I wish my companion to dictate to me the course I should take . . . It is that he may stimulate me by his thoughts to unfold my own.31

Self-reliant, magnanimous individuals cannot arrive at the truth simply by looking into themselves. Quite the contrary, it is ‘indispensable’ that they consider what friends and teachers have to say, and let it ‘stimulate’ them when they look within. Likewise, Emerson is clear that it can be useful to reflect on the work of geniuses, and he claims that books by these geniuses ‘are the best type of influence of the past’.32 We should not unthinkingly accept what books say, but they are among ‘the best of things’ provided we recognize that ‘they are for nothing but to inspire’ our own thinking, when we look into ourselves.33 Finally, Emerson is clear that, in order to look within ourselves correctly, individuals must also first have studied the natural sciences.34 Emerson maintains, much as he does in several of the early journal entries discussed above, that when self-reliant, magnanimous individuals correctly look within themselves, they come into alignment with God—with the spiritual unity Emerson calls the ‘over-soul’.35 When they correctly look within, their genius is ‘put . . . in communication with the internal ocean’ which transcends them;36 they are put in touch with the source of all life and being.37 And it is God—the oversoul—that provides magnanimous, self-reliant individuals with truth: ‘We lie in the lap of immense intelligence, which makes us receivers of its truth and organs of its activity. When we discern truth, we do nothing of ourselves, but allow a passage to its beams’.38 Genuine self-reliance involves the practice of aligning oneself with God in a way that allows one to receive the truth.39 While Emerson does not always use the word ‘God’, that is nonetheless what he means. He is clear that the ‘immense intelligence’ with which the self-reliant, magnanimous individual comes in contact is the ‘divine spirit’, and he writes: ‘The relations of the soul to the divine spirit are so pure, that it is profane to seek to interpose helps. It must be that when God speaketh he should communicate, not

31  Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Journals and Miscellaneous Notebooks of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Vol. IV, 1832–4, ed. Alfred R. Ferguson (Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1964), 22 March 1834, 269; Clark, ‘Conservative and Mediatory’, 49. 32 Emerson, Essays & Lectures, 56. 33  Ibid., 57. 34  Ibid., 55–6. 35  Friedman, ‘Traditions of Pragmatism’, 163. 36 Emerson, Essays & Lectures, 272; Friedman, ‘Traditions of Pragmatism’, 163. 37 Emerson, Essays & Lectures, 269. 38 Ibid. Clark insightfully writes: ‘Emerson thought that when the Primal Mind or Over-Soul reveals itself inwardly to the individual, he must be right’ (Clark, ‘Conservative and Mediatory’, 38). 39  Cladis, ‘Religion, Democracy’, 68; Friedman, ‘Traditions of Pragmatism’, 165. In contrast to our interpretation, Cavell writes that he does not take Emerson’s reference to immense intelligence ‘to be an allusion to God or to the Over-Soul’ and instead takes it ‘as an allusion to, or fantasy of, our shared language’ (Stanley Cavell, ‘Finding as Founding: Taking Steps in Emerson’s “Experience” ’, in Emerson’s Transcendental Etudes, ed. David Justin Hodge (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2003), 140).

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Andrew J. Corsa and Eric Schliesser  243 one thing, but all things’.40 Granted, Emerson’s notion of God, at this point, is not traditionally Christian; rather, it is the notion of the ‘over-soul’, an impersonal, ‘eternal ONE’, the ‘soul of the whole’ which is also in every individual.41 Limitations of space prevent us from exploring the details of Emerson’s theology, his neo-Stoic conception of God, yet we offer further insights into his conception of religiosity throughout what follows. In his essay ‘The Over-Soul’, Emerson is even clearer that self-reliant, magnanimous individuals arrive at the greatest truth and insight only by aligning themselves with God—the over-soul: ‘Genius is religious. It is the imbibing of the common heart’, namely the over-soul. ‘There is, in all great poets, a wisdom of humanity which is superior to any talents they exercise’.42 Emerson’s theory of self-reliance cannot be separated from either his notion of divinity or his distinctive religiosity.43 Emerson develops this account of how self-reliant, magnanimous individuals seek truth in other texts as well, such as his chapter on Plato in Representative Men. There he endorses Plato’s contention that virtue is knowledge,44 and he suggests that the most important knowledge is knowledge of being and existence.45 He contends that individuals can only achieve this most important knowledge by aligning themselves with God. Only those who look properly within themselves can align themselves with God and, thus, receive the knowledge necessary for the greatest virtue: The supreme good is reality; the supreme beauty is reality; and all virtue and felicity depends on the science of the real; for courage is nothing else than knowledge . . . The notion of virtue is not to be arrived at, except through direct contemplation of the divine essence.46

Emerson suggests that those who are most virtuous—including those who are magnanimous—are those who have performed the best sort of religious, philosophical inquiry, aligning themselves with God. So, while Emerson’s more mature theory of greatness of soul is in certain respects distant from his earlier account, and from that of Aquinas, it nonetheless embraces a  churchless type of religiosity. Emerson retains the view that magnanimous individuals need not be wealthy or seek honour. Likewise, he still implies that 40 Emerson, Essays & Lectures, 269. 41  Ibid., 385–6. 42  Ibid., 396. 43  Friedman, ‘Traditions of Pragmatism’, 163; Cladis, ‘Religion, Democracy’, 53. In stark contrast to our position, Kateb attempts to provide an account of Emerson’s theory that acknowledges but downplays his religiousness: George Kateb, Emerson and Self-Reliance (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 1995), 61–95. 44 Emerson, Essays & Lectures, 646 and 657; G. Borden Flanagan, ‘Emerson’s Democratic Platonism in Representative Men’, in A Political Companion to Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. Alan M. Levine and Daniel S. Malachunk (Lexington, KY: University of Kentucky Press, 2011), 417. 45 Emerson, Essays & Lectures, 639, 646, and 657; Flanagan, ‘Emerson’s Democratic Platonism’, 417 and 426. 46 Emerson, Essays & Lectures, 646.

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244  A Composite Portrait of a True American Philosophy magnanimity is compatible with humility and with egalitarianism. His is an egalitarianism that appeals to some of the values of those living in a modern democracy, while correcting and challenging the values of public opinion and the marketplace they are attached to. The egalitarian strain becomes clear in the following. For the greatest, magnanimous, and self-reliant individuals are those who, in aligning themselves with the over-soul, recognize the unity of all things, and see that the differences between people are illusions. Quoting the ‘supreme Krishna’, Emerson writes, ‘You are not distinct from me. That which I am, thou art . . . Men contemplate distinctions, because they are stupefied with ignorance’.47 But if we are all one and united, and if the differences between us are mere illusions, then there is a significant sense in which we are fundamentally equal to one another, and the great-souled man would recognize this equality.48 In contrast to Aristotle’s theory of greatness, which some theorists have seen as incompatible with robust accounts of egalitarianism,49 Emerson’s theory of greatness embraces true equality as opposed to the false, superficial flattering equality he associated with public opinion. Likewise, Emerson implies that it is possible for any individual to align him/ herself with the over-soul, insofar as each is equally ‘part or particle of God’.50 This is not to say that any person could, with effort, acquire advanced scientific knowledge or gain the greatest analytical precision or verbal eloquence. Instead, rejecting a tradition of a natural hierarchy of souls, Emerson suggests only that each of us could, in principle, gain equal truth and knowledge both about the nature of being and about what is moral for us.51 But since he indicates that this knowledge is what is most important for acquiring virtue, including magnanimity, he implies that anyone could, in principle, become magnanimous. In addition, Emerson views the fact that we all have equal access to the oversoul as providing a firm basis for a theory of democracy: ‘Democracy, Freedom has its root in the Sacred truth that every man hath in him the divine Reason’.52 In his view, most people are not actually guided by reason, and so it is wrong to think that ‘practical Man is better to the state than a scholar’.53 Nonetheless, each individual has the authority to listen to himself and must not blindly believe or obey either the church or political authorities.54 It is reasonable for all (alas, male only) citizens to participate in government and make up their own minds, because, whether they are guided by reason or not, they all nonetheless have the 47  Ibid., 638. 48  Flanagan, ‘Emerson’s Democratic Platonism’, 417 and 430–1. 49  Cordner, ‘Aristotelian Virtue’, 294; Howard Curzer, ‘Aristotle’s Much Maligned Megalopsychos’, Australasian Journal of Philosophy 69, no. 2 (1991): 151. 50 Emerson, Essays & Lectures, 10. Cladis notes that, according to Emerson, we are all spiritual creatures and divine inspiration is available directly to each of us: Cladis, ‘Religion, Democracy’, 58. 51  Holzwarth makes similar yet distinct claims: John Holzwarth, ‘Emerson and the Democratization of Intellect’, Polity 43, no. 3 (2011): 314 and 325–6. 52 Emerson, Journals and Miscellaneous, Vol. IV, 357. 53  Ibid., 356. 54  Holzwarth, ‘Emerson and the Democratization’, 319; Friedman, ‘Traditions of Pragmatism’, 157.

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Andrew J. Corsa and Eric Schliesser  245 God-given capacity to reason: ‘[T]here is imparted to every man the Divine light of reason sufficient not only to plant corn & grind wheat but also to illuminate all his life his social, political, religious actions.’55 It is clear that Emerson’s defence of democracy rests on his contention that we all have equal access to truth because of our equal relation with God, the over-soul. Finally, because of their relationship with the over-soul, Emerson’s great-souled individuals can remain humble and pious. As suggested earlier, Aquinas claims that Christian great-souled individuals can remain humble by crediting God with their great accomplishments and by being aware that, if they focus strictly on what they would be like if deprived of God’s gifts, they pale in comparison to other people. Likewise, Emerson suggests that we should piously recognize the aid we receive from God, and that our greatest actions are not up to us alone.56 We should recognize that our genius and the great actions we and others perform are not our own, but were instead received from the over-soul: We have never come at the true and best benefit of any genius, so long as we believe him an original force . . . He appears as an exponent of a vaster mind and will. The opaque self becomes transparent with the light of the First Cause.57

2.  Emerson and Fuller: Magnanimous Friendship As suggested, Emerson claims that for individuals to perform the sort of inquiry necessary for them to be aligned with the over-soul and become self-reliant and magnanimous, they must engage with the right sort of friends who can inspire them and also focus attention on great books and geniuses from history. More generally, his view is that social interaction is of key importance: We have social strengths. Our affection towards others creates a sort of vantage or purchase which nothing will supply. I can do that by another which I cannot do alone. I can say to you what I cannot first say to myself. Other men are lenses through which we read our own minds.58

We can best ‘read our own minds’ and recognize what we truly believe by being inspired by discourse with others. A democratic society that preserves freedom of thought and speech and encourages discourse on political issues is thus conducive to genuine self-reliance and magnanimity.59 55 Emerson, Journals and Miscellaneous, Vol. IV, 356. As noted, in passing, above, Emerson seems to have a masculine gendered conception for these claims. 56  Cladis, ‘Religion, Democracy’, 77. 57 Emerson, Essays & Lectures, 631. 58  Ibid., 616. 59  While Emerson does not make this point about democracies explicitly, Flanagan is correct that it is clearly implied (Flanagan, ‘Emerson’s Democratic Platonism’, 432).

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246  A Composite Portrait of a True American Philosophy But in Emerson’s view, to become great, it is not sufficient for us to focus a­ttention solely on the people we encounter in everyday life who are neither great-souled nor geniuses. Our discourse with such people may be useful in helping us to determine our own thoughts, but there is too great a risk of us conforming our beliefs to some of theirs.60 ‘Men resemble their contemporaries’, Emerson points out, and he worries about the ‘assimilation’ which ‘goes on between men of one town, of one sect, of one political party’.61 His worries, here, resemble his worries, discussed earlier, about belonging to established religious parties; he was concerned with issues of partisanship and, to use eighteenth-century terminology, the political impact of faction.62 To avoid the dual risk of mass conformity and factionalism, Emerson contends that we need to converse with living geniuses or engage with historical exemplars. Geniuses help us to understand our own minds, but without the same risk of conformity, insofar as they are able to ‘transcend fashions, by fidelity to universal ideas’ which they received through direct access to the over-soul rather than merely heard from others.63 Such individuals ‘defend us from our contemporaries’.64 Insofar as the geniuses Emerson values have access to the over-soul, they would also be magnanimous. Emerson is clear that, instead of uncritically accepting what the genius has to say, we should treat geniuses as examples that can help us develop our own abilities and make new discoveries for ourselves.65 They illuminate the paths by which we, ourselves, might gain access to the over-soul.66 In his essay ‘Friendship’, Emerson directly discusses the nature of friendship between magnanimous individuals. Focusing on the society of those with the best, highest friendship, he states: ‘He only is fit for this society who is magnanimous.’67 Magnanimous friends, he writes, would be to each other ‘large, formidable natures’.68 And again, speaking of the magnanimous friend, he writes: ‘Let him be to thee for ever a sort of beautiful enemy, untameable, devoutly revered.’69 To better understand the role that interactions with magnanimous geniuses play in the best sort of inquiry, consider the friendship shared by Emerson and Fuller, as well as the debates they shared on the topic of friendship. Not only is their friendship illustrative of our discussion, but Fuller also offers a philosophical account of friendship which is distinctive and in many ways more robust than Emerson’s. In Fuller’s Memoirs, edited after her untimely death (1850), Emerson describes his friendship with Fuller, who was one of his protégées, remarking that, throughout her life, she possessed the character traits of ‘sleepless curiosity’ and ‘magnanimity’. 60  Ibid., 436. 61 Emerson, Essays & Lectures, 627. 62  For useful background to the idea of faction, see: Mark  G.  Spencer, ‘Hume and Madison on Faction’, The William and Mary Quarterly 59, no. 4 (2002): 869–96. 63  Ibid., 627; Flanagan, ‘Emerson’s Democratic Platonism’, 436–7. 64 Emerson, Essays & Lectures, 627. 65  For a different but related assertion: Clark, ‘Conservative and Mediatory’, 50. 66  Flanagan, ‘Emerson’s Democratic Platonism’, 428. 67 Emerson, Essays & Lectures, 350. 68 Ibid. 69  Ibid., 351.

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Andrew J. Corsa and Eric Schliesser  247 He writes that he came to ‘admire her genius’, but that their friendly interactions exhibited ‘superficiality and halfness’. Using the term ‘magnanimity’ a second time in just a few sentences, Emerson writes that ‘it seemed her magnanimity was not met’ by his own.70 During her lifetime, Fuller also worried about whether her friendship with him was truly magnanimous. Reflecting on Emerson’s contention that magnanimous friends would be ‘beautiful enemies’, she writes to Emerson: ‘But did not you ask for a “foe” in your friend? Did not you ask for a “large formidable nature”? But a beautiful foe, I am not yet to you. Shall I ever be? I know not’.71 Emerson and Fuller agree in many ways on what the best sort of friendship should be like. Echoing Hume and Smith, they emphasize that magnanimous friends are capable of great sincerity and frankness with each other, and are also able to express disagreements with each other, on truly fundamental issues, without animosity. But Emerson and Fuller go a step further, suggesting that unless friends, with complete sincerity, challenge each other and disagree, they will not be able to best discover the truth for themselves. The best friendships consist of lived disagreement. Emerson writes that he desires a magnanimous friend who can show ‘manly resistance’ and that it is ‘better to be a nettle in the side of your friend than his echo’.72 He states that his friends ‘carry out the world for me to new and noble depths, and enlarge the meaning of all my thoughts’.73 Fuller likewise maintains that the best sort of friend ‘was made to correspond to that which we are, to teach it, to learn from it, to torture it, to enchant it, to deepen and at last to satisfy our wants’.74 She criticizes Emerson for pushing a particular perspective on her, when instead he should have ‘trusted me, believing that I knew the path for myself ’.75 Emerson and Fuller agree that the best of friends must be entirely honest with each other, and not shy away from truth, in order to best help each other arrive at truth, even if they disagree over its nature. Emerson writes: ‘A friend is a person with whom I can be sincere’; he suggests that with a magnanimous friend ‘I may drop even those undermost garments of dissimulation, courtesy, and second thought’.76 Fuller hopes that Emerson will recognize her ‘fearlessness which shrinks from no truth in myself and others’.77 Emerson writes that magnanimous friends help us to ‘read our own minds’ in ways that non-magnanimous friends cannot, and the letters Emerson exchanged with Fuller helped him to clarify his own thought. He mined his letters with her when writing his essays, to the point where, according to Emerson, ‘She 70  R.  W.  Emerson, W.  H.  Channing, and J.  F.  Clark, Memoirs of Margaret Fuller Ossoli, Vol. 1 (Boston: Robert B. Others, 1881), 287–8. 71  Margaret Fuller, The Letters of Margaret Fuller, Vol. II, 1839–41, ed. Robert N. Hudspeth (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1983), 29 September 1840, 160; David Dowling, Emerson’s Protégés (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2014), 44–5. 72 Emerson, Essays & Lectures, 350. 73  Ibid., 343. 74 Fuller, The Letters, October 1841, 235. 75  Ibid., 160. 76 Emerson, Essays & Lectures, 347. 77 Fuller, The Letters, 29 September 1840, 159.

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248  A Composite Portrait of a True American Philosophy stigmatized our friendship as commercial’,78 a criticism which reflects several of Fuller’s theoretical disagreements with Emerson. Emerson’s account of friendship emphasizes the role each friend has in inspiring the other’s intellectual development, while downplaying (if not denying) the role that friends have in fundamentally changing each other’s natures.79 In contrast, according to Fuller, the best of friends do not merely help us ‘read our own minds’; instead, the best sort of friends fundamentally change each other, making each other better.80 In contrast to Emerson’s account, Fuller insists that when the best sort of friends interact, they do not merely come to ‘know themselves more’, but rather they ‘are more for having met, and regions of their being, which would else have laid sealed in cold obstruction, burst into leaf and bloom and song’.81 Fuller holds that the self is only what it is because of the people with whom it interacts, and it can only reach its greatest potential by being changed by the best of friends.82 She provides an account of self that is not fixed; instead, selves can mutually change and improve each other, and each person’s nature changes over time. A dynamic friendship facilitates the becoming of the individual’s essence. So, too, instead of focusing on individual magnanimity, she emphasizes the importance of magnanimous friendships, insisting that relationships are primary while selves, which are developed as a result of relationships, are secondary. Additionally, Fuller maintains that friends change each other, not only through inspiring abstract thought, but through their emotions and through the everyday specifics of human interaction.83 She laments Emerson’s ‘tedious, tedious attempts to learn the universe by thought alone’.84 She, thus, anticipates Thoreau’s focus on the experimental life. Fuller also challenges Emerson’s contention that the best sort of friend one can have would need to be truly magnanimous and beautiful.85 She writes, in a Socratic vein, that we sometimes ‘love most’ those who lack the greatest beauty insofar as they are ‘that which by working most powerfully on our peculiar nature awakes most deeply and constantly in us the idea of beauty’.86 Fuller suggests that even those who lack beauty and magnanimity might inspire the idea of beauty in 78  Emerson, Channing, and Clark, Memoirs of Margaret, 288; Joan von Mehren, Minerva and the Muse: A Life of Margaret Fuller (Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press, 1994), 131. 79 Jeffrey Steele, ‘Transcendental Friendship: Emerson, Fuller, and Thoreau’, in The Cambridge Companion to Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. Joel Porte and Sandra Morris (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 132. 80  For distinct but related contentions: Charles Capper, Margaret Fuller: An American Romantic Life, Vol. 2, The Public Years (Oxford: Oxford University Press), 73. 81  Margaret Fuller Ossoli, Memoirs of Margaret Fuller Ossoli, Vol. I (London: Richard Bentley, New Burlington Street, 1852), 42. 82  David M. Robinson, ‘Margaret Fuller, Self-Culture, and Associationism’, in Margaret Fuller and Her Circles, ed. Brigitte Bailey, Katheryn P. Viens, and Conrad Edick Wright (Durham, NH: University of New Hampshire Press, 2013), 89. 83 Capper, Margaret Fuller, 73. 84 Fuller, The Letters, 25 October 1840, 170. 85 Emerson, Essays & Lectures, 349–51. 86 Fuller, The Letters, October 1841 [?], 235.

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Andrew J. Corsa and Eric Schliesser  249 us, and so be just as highly loved and just as helpful to us as we seek to engage in the best sort of inquiry.87 In light of this disagreement, consider the different ways in which Emerson and Fuller compare the importance of friends and books. Emerson writes, ‘I do then with my friends as I do with my books’,88 and he implies that the best books—like the most valuable friends—would be those with genuine beauty and genius, which can best inspire us to ‘read our own minds’. In contrast, Fuller suggests that the friends and books which are most valuable to us might not be those with the greatest genius.89 She writes that good books are ‘companions of our lives’,90 and she suggests that even though Emerson’s second series of essays ‘miss what we expect in the work of a great poet or the great philosopher’,91 Emerson’s work is nonetheless good because, like the best sort of friend, it inspires ideas of beauty in us, and, while not great in itself, ‘will lead to great and complete poems—somewhere’.92 Despite their disagreements, Emerson and Fuller would agree that friends are indispensable for becoming magnanimous, self-reliant individuals. Further, both are clear that while magnanimous individuals are self-reliant, they are not selfsufficient, but instead require outside assistance from friends, and the support of God, without which they cannot arrive at the truth.93 The significance of their position comes out in contrast to Aristotle. In his Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle emphasizes the importance of friendship, and he even remarks that great-souled individuals ‘cannot live by reference to someone else, unless that person is a friend’.94 But Aristotle also claims that great-souled individuals are largely self-sufficient, requiring comparatively little aid from others and few external goods.95 In addition, Aristotle’s great-souled individual is ‘the sort of person to bestow benefits, but he is ashamed to receive them’,96 and when Aristotelian magnanimous individuals do receive aid, they attempt to give back more than they received. In contrast, Emerson and Fuller emphasize the 87 For distinct but similar contentions: ibid., July [?] 1841 [?], 214; Steele, ‘Transcendental Friendship’, 132. 88 Emerson, Essays & Lectures, 353. 89  For discussion of Fuller’s comparison of friends to books: Eric Schliesser, ‘A Definition of Analytical Philosophy by a True Critic; Or Margaret Fuller Discovered’, Digressions and Impressions (blog), 14  August 2014, http://digressionsnimpressions.typepad.com/digressionsimpressions/2014/08/theonly-true-criticism-fuller.html. 90  Margaret Fuller, ‘Emerson’s Essays’, in Margaret Fuller: American Romantic, ed. Perry Miller (Gloucester, MA: Peter Smith, 1969), 200. 91  Ibid., 198. 92  Ibid., 200. 93  Cladis, ‘Religion, Democracy’, 67. 94 Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, trans. Christopher Rowe (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), 1124b31–1125a1. 95  Ibid., 1125a11–12; Howard  J.  Curzer, ‘A Great Philosopher’s Not So Great Account of Great Virtue: Aristotle’s Treatment of “Greatness of Soul” ’, Canadian Journal of Philosophy 20, no. 4 (1990): 521. For clarification of the notion of self-sufficiency: Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, 1177a27–1177b1. 96  Ibid., 1124b9–10. Fischer develops an account of a vicious self-sufficiency, and while he does not attribute it to Aristotle, he does quote this passage in the context of developing it: Jeremy Fischer, ‘The Ethics of Reflexivity: Pride, Self-Sufficiency, and Modesty’, Philosophical Papers 45, no. 3 (2016): 368–78.

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250  A Composite Portrait of a True American Philosophy great assistance magnanimous individuals require from others, and they claim that magnanimous individuals accept the aid freely and realize that the aid is so substantial that, against the marketplace norm of equal exchange, they can never pay it back: All I know is reception . . . I worship with wonder the great Fortune. My ­reception has been so large, that I am not annoyed by receiving this or that superabundantly . . . When I receive a new gift, I do not macerate my body to make the account . . . square, for, if I should die, I could not make the account square. The benefit overran the merit the first day, and has overran the merit ever since.97

Great-souled individuals require intellectual aid more than many people do. Other people might live and engage in reflection with comparatively little aid from others. But those who do will never participate in the best sort of inquiry, which is necessary to align with God and achieve true magnanimity. To engage in ideal inquiry, and to become magnanimous, we are indebted to our friends and to God.

3.  Emerson, Fuller, Hume, and Smith: An Ongoing Tradition We have already noted a few echoes of the ideas of Hume and Smith in the work of Emerson and Fuller. Here we introduce a more detailed consideration of their views on the value of magnanimity and magnanimous friendships in order to sharpen the contours of our composite account of Emerson, Fuller, and Thoreau. Our discussion, here, also offers clearer indication of the fact that Emerson, Fuller, and Thoreau belong to an extended, evolving philosophical tradition in which the notion of magnanimity develops over time. These American philosophers saw their theories as alternatives to those proposed by earlier British and Scottish philosophers. For example, Emerson articulates Hume’s sceptical worry about why humans believe ‘that an uniform experience will continue uniform’98 in order to criticize materialism and provide context for Emerson’s own new theory of Transcendentalism. And Thoreau explicitly criticizes the way Smith’s account of economics is taught in Walden’s 97 Emerson, Essays & Lectures, 491. 98 Emerson, Essays & Lectures, 194. While Emerson does not explicitly name Hume in this essay, there is good reason to think he has Hume in mind. As a young man, Emerson was concerned with Hume’s sceptical arguments. In a letter to his aunt Mary in which he writes about Hume’s sceptical arguments, he refers to Hume as the ‘Scotch Goliath’ and asks ‘Where is the accomplished stripling who can cut off his most metaphysical head?’ (Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Selected Letters of Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. Joel Myerson (New York: Colombia University Press, 1997), 16 October 1823, 69). Likewise, in a much later essay, Emerson refers to Hume’s ‘keen observation, that no copula had been detected between any cause and effect’ (ibid., 899).

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Andrew J. Corsa and Eric Schliesser  251 chapter on ‘Economy’, indicating that professors who understand ‘political economy’ might still not understand ‘that economy of living which is synonymous with philosophy’.99 That said, even if Emerson, Fuller, and Thoreau had had no acquaintance with the work of Hume and Smith, it would still have been valuable to consider earlier Scottish theories of magnanimity in order to better understand the American approach by contrast and in order to appreciate the American approach in historical context. According to Hume, greatness of mind is not a single virtue, but is instead a category of virtues, which includes not only magnanimity, but also other heroic virtues such as ‘courage, intrepidity, ambition, [and] love of glory’.100 Hume thinks of these as ‘manly’ virtues.101 Further, great-minded friends are able to be completely open with one another: ‘it is only among intimate friends or people of very manly behavior, that one is allowed to do himself justice’.102 Magnanimous friends are those who best exhibit what he calls ‘true liberty’; they recognize each other as ‘equals’, treat each other with ‘candor and sincerity’, and can have discussions about controversial subjects on which they strongly disagree without ‘animosity’.103 In his obituary for Hume, Adam Smith characterizes Hume as a magnanimous man, and implies that this was the quality that enabled Hume and his friends to exhibit ‘true liberty’, talking frankly with each other, even about death, while Hume was on his deathbed.104 Like Emerson, these Scottish Enlightenment philosophers provide an account of magnanimity that aims to render it compatible with many modern values.105 Hume suggests that the ancients would ‘consider as romantic and incredible, the degree of humanity, clemency, order, tranquility and other social virtues . . . we 99  Henry David Thoreau, Walden, Civil Disobedience, and Other Writings, 3rd edn, ed. William Rossi (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2008), 39. For a substantial discussion of the relation between Thoreau’s and Smith’s philosophy, see: Eric Schliesser, ‘Weekly Philo of Economics: Our Slavery, Adam Smith and Thoreau’, New APPS: Art, Politics, Philosophy, Science (blog), 17 January 2012, http://www.newappsblog.com/2012/01/the-secret-cord-bewteen-adam-smith-and-thoreau.html. 100  David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature: Being an Attempt to Introduce the Experimental Method of Reasoning into Moral Subjects (London: Printed for John Noon, 1739), SBN 599; Marie A. Martin, ‘Hume on Human Excellence’, Hume Studies 18, no. 2 (1992): 385. 101  David Hume, Four Dissertations (London: Printed for A. Millar, 1772), BEA 84; David Hume, An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals (London: Printed for A. Millar, 1751), SBN 319. 102 Hume, An Enquiry, SBN 264. 103 Hume, Four Dissertations, Ded 1–3; Eric Schliesser, Adam Smith: Systematic Philosopher and Public Thinker (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017). See in particular chapter 15, which discusses ‘true liberty’ in relation to Hume, Smith, and the value they place on magnanimity. 104 Adam Smith, ‘Letter From Adam Smith, LL.D.  to William Strahan, ESQ’, in David Hume, Essays, Moral, Political, and Literary, ed. Eugene W. Miller (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1987, rev. ed.), xlv–xlvi. For a discussion of Smith’s characterization of Hume’s magnanimity in his obituary, see Andrew  J.  Corsa, ‘Modern Greatness of Soul in Hume and Smith’, Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 2, no. 2 (2015): 46–55. Schliesser and Hanley also touch on the role of magnanimity in the obituary: Eric Schliesser, ‘The Obituary of a Vain Philosopher: Adam Smith’s Reflections on Hume’s Life’, Hume Studies 29, no. 2 (2003): 338, 345–6, 350–1 and n. 83; Ryan Patrick Hanley, ‘Hume’s Last Lessons: The Civic Education “My Own Life” ’, The Review of Politics 64, no. 4 (2002): 682–3. 105  On this point, see Ryan Hanley, Chapter 7, this volume.

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252  A Composite Portrait of a True American Philosophy have attained in modern times’.106 And much like Emerson, Hume provides an account of greatness according to which only those who are genuinely benevolent, and who exhibit modern, social virtues, can attain the best sort of magnanimity.107 Aristotle suggests that greatness of soul is a heroic virtue, and, surveying common usage of the term ‘greatness of soul’, he notes that many people consider Homer’s Achilles and Ajax as magnanimous.108 Hume likewise claims that greatness of mind is a ‘heroic virtue’109 and ascribes magnanimity to the warrior Ajax. But, anticipating Emerson, Hume suggests that the greatest magnanimous hero need not be a warrior. According to Hume, the philosopher Socrates was magnanimous,110 and philosophers can be heroes just as much as warriors: ‘Heroes in philosophy as well as those in war and patriotism have a grandeur . . . which astonishes our narrow souls’.111 Hume implies that while warriors who lack benevolence might be magnanimous, more beneficent philosophers such as Socrates have a superior sort of magnanimity.112 As Hume defines it, greatness of mind is identical to great ‘steady and wellestablish’d pride’.113 Great-minded individuals must have accurate self-conceptions and not believe themselves to be better than they are; their pride must be warranted by their merit.114 Further, Hume indicates that only benevolent individuals can achieve the best sort of magnanimity. He contends that the ‘courage and ambition’ of magnanimous individuals, ‘when not regulated for benevolence, are fit only to make a tyrant and a public robber’.115 The best sort of magnanimous individual must in fact possess a wide array of virtues, including social ones. They desire fame and honour for the right reason—because they are virtuous.116 Like Emerson, Hume and Smith acknowledge that people often mistakenly tend to honour those who exhibit military power and wealth, even if they lack benevolence.117 Like Emerson, Hume and Smith make it clear that those who receive less honour and fame might nevertheless be more magnanimous if they are more benevolent and better exhibit social virtues. What matters most to

106 Hume, An Enquiry, SBN 256–7. 107  Corsa, ‘Modern Greatness of Soul’, 35–41. 108  Aristotle’s Posterior Analytics, trans. Jonathan Barnes (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1975), 97b16-25. For discussions of Aristotelian magnanimity as a virtue with Homeric roots, see Cordner, ‘Aristotelian Virtue’, 302–3; Curzer, ‘A Great Philosopher’s’, 524–5. Here, we remain agnostic about whether Aristotle agrees with common usage, and himself attributes greatness of soul to Achilles and Ajax. Further, while Aristotle sees greatness of soul as a heroic virtue, we do not mean to imply that he necessarily sees it as a warrior virtue. 109 Hume, A Treatise, SBN 599. 110 Hume, An Enquiry, SBN 256. 111  Ibid., SBN 252; Donald W. Livingston, Philosophical Melancholy and Delirium: Hume’s Pathology of Philosophy (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998), 47–8. 112  This is a central conclusion in Corsa, ‘Modern Greatness of Soul’. 113 Hume, A Treatise, SBN 599. 114 Hume, An Enquiry, SBN 314. 115 Hume, A Treatise, SBN 604. For further support and discussion of this point, see Corsa, ‘Modern Greatness of Soul’, 37–40. 116 Hume, An Enquiry, SBN 265–6 and 276. 117 Hume, A Treatise, SBN 600–1; Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, New Edition (London: George Bell and Sons, 1875), 144.

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Andrew J. Corsa and Eric Schliesser  253 magnanimity is not receiving honour, but genuinely warranting that honour by being truly virtuous and seeking to contribute to others’ happiness. As Smith writes, man desires ‘not only praise, but praiseworthiness’.118 Truly great-souled people can be largely indifferent to the applause or censure of the world, ‘secure that, however misunderstood or misrepresented, we are the natural and proper objects of approbation’.119 Also like Emerson, Smith takes the view that magnanimous individuals need not pursue great wealth. In a Stoic vein, he suggests that even for a poor man’s son, ‘tranquility is at all times in his power’, and he laments that the youth might give it up, and labour with ‘fatigue of body and more uneasiness of mind’ for the sake of wealth and a lifestyle that are ‘in no ways preferable to that humble security and contentment which he had abandoned’.120 Those who are not wealthy and have no higher education often end up in occupations that require overly simple, repetitive tasks,121 while those who are wealthy often focus their time on acquiring more wealth or on enjoying the wealth they have;122 in both cases they fail to become magnanimous. ‘The minds of men are contracted and rendered incapable of elevation . . . and the heroic spirit is almost utterly exhausted’.123 Hume and Smith do not, like Emerson in his early sermon, appeal to Jesus Christ as their ideal exemplar of magnanimity, and instead appeal to the example of Socrates. Hume’s account of magnanimity lacks the religious inflection that characterizes Emerson’s. Nonetheless, all three philosophers broaden the scope of heroism, and suggest that being a warrior, or being wealthy, are not the only or the best ways to be magnanimous. They all suggest that the best magnanimous individuals must also exhibit social virtues. While Hume and Smith do not go as far as Emerson, in claiming that anyone could be magnanimous and heroic,124 they do suggest that there are numerous paths to heroism. 118  Ibid., 164. 119  Ibid., 164. For Smith this is also true of the mathematician and the scientist. 120 Smith, Theory of Moral Sentiments, 260. For more on this similarity between Thoreau and Smith: Schliesser, ‘Weekly Philo’, Blog Post. 121 Adam Smith, Lectures on Justice, Police, Revenue and Arms, ed. Edwin Canaan (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1896), 255–6. 122  Ibid., 257–8. 123  Ibid., 259; Schliesser writes about a similar passage from the Wealth of Nations: Schliesser, ‘Weekly Philo’, Blog Post. 124  Strikingly enough, this is the position of Smith’s teacher, Francis Hutcheson: ‘At present, we may take only this one [conclusion], which seems the most joyful imaginable, even to the lowest rank of Mankind, viz. That no external Circumstances of Fortune, no involuntary Disadvantages, can exclude any Mortal from the most heroic Virtue . . . Thus, not only the Prince, the Statesman, the General, are capable of true heroism, tho these are the chief Characters, whose Fame is diffus’d thro various Nations and Ages; but when we find in an honest Trader, the kind Friend, the faithful, prudent Adviser . . . the tender Husband, and the affectionate Parent, the sedate, yet cheerful Companion, the generous Assistant of Merit, the cautious Allayer of Contention and Debate, the Promoter of Love and good Understanding among Acquaintances . . . we must judge this character really as amiable as those’ (Francis Hutcheson, An Inquiry into the Original of our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue; in Two Treatises, 2nd ed. (London: Printed for J. Darby, A. Bettesworth, F. Fayram, J. Pemberton, C. Rivington, J. Hooke, F. Clay, J. Batley, and E. Symon, 1726), 194–5).

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254  A Composite Portrait of a True American Philosophy

4.  Emerson, Fuller, and Thoreau: Poverty and Wilderness Another of Emerson’s protégés, Thoreau, further broadens the scope of heroism. Like Hume, Thoreau suggests that philosophers can be just as heroic as Homeric warriors. Near the beginning of Walden’s chapter ‘Economy’, Thoreau distinguishes between professional philosophers and those who live the best sort of philosophical lives, writing: ‘There are nowadays professors of philosophy, but not philosophers’.125 In contrast to professors of philosophy, true philosophers must live lives of ‘magnanimity’,126 their success in life must be ‘manly’, and they must—like Emerson’s magnanimous, self-reliant individual—‘not live merely by conformity’.127 At the end of the same chapter, Thoreau quotes a poem written by Thomas Carew, which Thoreau suggests is relevant to his chapters as a whole, and which explicitly equates the ‘heroic virtue’ of figures such as Achilles and Hercules with ‘magnanimity’.128 Overall, Thoreau implies that ‘true’ philosophers, as opposed to the false philosophers who populate educational institutions, are just as great-souled and heroic as Homeric warriors, and have equally ‘strong and valiant natures’.129 But Thoreau goes a step further, suggesting that everyday labourers, or at least those who engage directly with the natural world, such as farmers, can be heroic.130 He draws numerous comparisons between outdoor labourers and mythological warriors such as Achilles and Hercules.131 Whether the intention behind comparisons like these is to elevate those who work in nature, or to poke fun at and diminish mythological warriors, the effect is the same: farmers and warriors are levelled.132 In the essay ‘Walking’, Thoreau remarks that the time in which he lives is ‘the heroic age itself, though we know it not, for the hero is commonly the simplest and obscurest of men’.133

125 Thoreau, Walden, Civil Disobedience, 13; Stanley Bates, ‘Thoreau and Emersonian Perfectionism’, in Thoreau’s Importance for Philosophy, ed. Rick Anthony Furtak, Jonathan Ellsworth, and James D. Reid (New York: Fordham University Press, 2012), 14–15. 126 Thoreau, Walden, Civil Disobedience, 13. 127 Ibid. 128 Thoreau, Walden, Civil Disobedience, 58. Thoreau modernizes Carew’s spelling and grammar: Thomas Carew, Coelum Britannicum: A Masque, in The Poems of Thomas Carew, ed. W. Carew Hazlitt (London: Chiswick Press, 1870), 217–18. 129 Thoreau, Walden, Civil Disobedience, 14. For discussions of the relation of Carew’s poem to Thoreau’s philosophy: Andrew J. Corsa, ‘Henry David Thoreau: Greatness of Soul and Environmental Virtue’, Environmental Philosophy 12, no. 2 (2015): 164–7; Thomas Woodson, ‘Thoreau On Poverty and Magnanimity’, PMLA 85, no. 1 (1970): 24-7; Philip Cafaro, Thoreau’s Living Ethics: Walden and the Pursuit of Virtue (Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 2004), 48–50; Philip Cafaro, ‘Thoreau’s Virtue Ethics in Walden’, The Concord Saunterer 8 (2000): 28–9. 130  In Thoreau’s description of the battle of ants, Thoreau compares one of the ants to Achilles, suggesting that we don’t need to look to ancient epics to find examples of heroism (Thoreau, Walden, Civil Disobedience, 155–6). 131  For two examples: ibid., 107 and 111. 132  Ryan Hanley, ‘Thoreau Among His Heroes’, Philosophy and Literature 25, no. 1 (2001): 68. 133 Thoreau, Walden, Civil Disobedience, 273.

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Andrew J. Corsa and Eric Schliesser  255 So how can a person become magnanimous? Thoreau suggests that there might be different requirements for different people. A small number of people might be able to live lavishly and magnificently and still be magnanimous, if wealth comes easily to them.134 But for the majority of people to become magnanimous, they would need to lead lives of simplicity and perhaps voluntarily adopt poverty. Additionally, Thoreau maintains that, to simplify their lives, the majority of people must spend time in the wilderness, walking, farming, fishing, etc., and observing plants and animals. Only then can they learn to correctly look within, listen to their geniuses, and lead lives that are (there are echoes of the Stoics here) in accord with nature.135 Thoreau thus breaks with the tradition of the Scottish Enlightenment in whose political economy he finds the source of many contemporary ills. While the Scottish philosophers accept that individuals need not be wealthy to be magnanimous, they do not treat simplicity or poverty as necessary ingredients of a magnanimous life. Thoreau also takes a particularly American turn in emphasizing the importance of wilderness. Thoreau notes that to walk east, towards Britain and Europe, is to ‘realize history and study the works of art and literature, retracing the steps of the race’.136 Thoreau writes that he walks eastward ‘only by force’, because ‘it is hard for me to believe that I shall find . . . sufficient wildness and freedom behind the eastern horizon’.137 In contrast, to walk west is to walk into the untapped wilderness at the heart of America—to walk ‘into the future, with a spirit of enterprise and adventure’,138 where only Native Americans live.139 Thoreau’s emphasis on the role that wilderness can play in helping to breed magnanimity is an emphasis on the potential of America over Britain. Why must the majority of people live simply, and perhaps voluntarily adopt poverty, in order to become magnanimous?140 Thoreau writes that, in contrast to those who are genuinely great-souled, the majority of Americans spend too much of their lives pursuing public recognition and commercial ends that are not truly

134  Ibid., 14. 135  While Hanley does not make this precise point, he does imply that, for Thoreau, magnanimity requires living in accordance with one’s nature: Hanley, ‘Thoreau Among His Heroes’, 71. 136 Thoreau, Walden, Civil Disobedience, 268. 137  Ibid., 268. 138  Ibid., 268–9. 139  In a 12 July 1917 piece commemorating the 100th anniversary of Henry David Thoreau’s birth for the London Times Literary Supplement, Virginia Woolf insightfully compares Thoreau himself to Native Americans, both in his demeanour and also in the way he views nature: Virginia Woolf, ‘Thoreau’, in Rebecca Beatrice Brooks, ‘Virginia Woolf on Henry David Thoreau’, The Virginia Woolf Blog (blog), 14 August 2013, http://virginiawoolfblog.com/virginia-woolf-on-henry-david-thoreau. Yet Woolf seems to essentialize Native Americans as savages in a way that Thoreau does not; see Eric Schliesser, ‘On Virginia Woolf on Thoreau Being a Counterpart of Emerson’, Digressions and Impressions (blog), 21 June 2017, http://digressionsnimpressions.typepad.com/digressionsimpressions/2017/06/on-virginia-woolf-on-thoreau-being-a-counterpart-of-emerson.html. 140  While Cafaro does not focus on the relation between simplicity and magnanimity, he claims that, according to Thoreau, there is a ‘strong correlation between simplicity and the other virtues’ (Cafaro, ‘Thoreau’s Virtue Ethics’, 37). Cafaro provides support for connections between simplicity and the virtues of trust, honesty, and independence.

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256  A Composite Portrait of a True American Philosophy important. Thoreau scorns, for instance, ‘the spending of the best part of one’s life earning money’,141 contending that we could successfully pursue what is genuinely important with far less: ‘Superfluous wealth can buy superfluities only.’142 Echoing Stoic themes, but with a Romantic twist, he claims that our possessions limit our freedom, and prevent us from doing what we would do if we genuinely listened to our geniuses. Thoreau was a fierce critic of the public institution of slavery. But this is not the only form that slavery takes, in his view. A farmer who thinks he owns a house might realize that, in fact, the ‘house has got him’, since it would be difficult to move or give up property even to pursue a dream; ‘our houses are such unwieldy property that we are often imprisoned rather than housed in them’.143 Nice possessions, he writes, are ‘gold and silver fetters’144 and many people have spiritually enslaved themselves to them: ‘There are many keen and subtle masters that enslave both north and south . . . worst of all when you are the slave-driver of yourself ’.145 According to Thoreau, the best way to become magnanimous is to strive for: ‘Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!’146 He urges that ‘[n]one can be an impartial or wise observer of human life but from the vantage ground of what we should call voluntary poverty’.147 If we live simply and adopt voluntary poverty, we will not need to work as hard to attain wealth, we will have the freedom to act and to stand up for what we believe in without the fear of potentially losing resources, and we could spend our time and energy on what is truly important.148 Years later, a fellow New Englander, William James, although disagreeing with Thoreau on many points, builds on Thoreau’s claims about poverty in ways that can help to clarify Thoreau’s thought.149 James suggests that many people refrain from standing up for what they believe in and doing what they really want, out of fear of financial consequences.150 James contends that voluntarily adopting poverty and freeing ourselves from concerns for wealth would enable us to better demonstrate moral courage and pursue what is most important to us.151 James 141 Thoreau, Walden, Civil Disobedience, 40. 142  Ibid., 221. 143  Ibid., 26. 144  Ibid., 14. 145  Ibid., 8; Schliesser, ‘Weekly Philo of Economics’, Blog Post. 146 Thoreau, Walden, Civil Disobedience, 65. 147 Ibid. 148  Corsa, ‘Henry David Thoreau’, 172. For a distinct but related discussion: Joshua Colt Gambrel and Philip Cafaro, ‘The Virtue of Simplicity’, Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 23 (2010): 96 and 98. 149 Richardson notes that James’s contentions about voluntary poverty resonate with Thoreau’s views, and that both thinkers take poverty to offer the possibility of freedom: Robert D. Richardson, William James: In the Maelstrom of American Modernism (Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2006), 412. In his introduction to James’s ‘Moral Equivalent to War’, Richardson suggests that James might have had Thoreau explicitly in mind when writing about voluntary poverty: William James, The Heart of William James, ed. Robert Richardson (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2010), 301. 150  William James, William James: Writings 1902–1910 (New York: Library of America, 1987), 333–4. 151  Ibid.; Lee H. Yearley, ‘The Ascetic Grounds of Goodness: William James’s Case for the Virtue of Voluntary Poverty’, The Journal of Religious Ethics 26, no. 1 (1998): 113–14.

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Andrew J. Corsa and Eric Schliesser  257 writes that ‘the fear of poverty among the educated class is the worst moral disease from which our civilization suffers’,152 and he suggests that the educated class can learn how to live better by focusing on examples of people who lead superior lives without that fear of poverty, such as religious saints. Thoreau, likewise, seeks to make himself an example of this kind. By choosing to live in comparative poverty in the wilderness, and by writing about his experiences, Thoreau hopes that his example can help to metaphorically liberate his readers from their slavery to their possessions, to themselves, and to the societies to which they conform.153 Instead of seeking to be a traditional philanthropist who gives money to the poor, he strives to be both a good example for others and a good person, ‘going about the world in his own orbit, doing it good, or rather, as a truer philosophy has discovered, the world going about him getting good’.154 In this regard, Thoreau seeks to correct the ills of capitalism by demonstrating the possibility of lives of great merit that do not embrace its norms. While Adam Smith also bemoans the tireless pursuit of wealth in his society, and suggests that this pursuit can prevent one from becoming magnanimous,155 Thoreau is singularly adamant in suggesting that the solution, even for the majority of wealthy individuals, is to adopt voluntary poverty. In this, Thoreau goes further than Emerson. In his essay ‘Domestic Life’, Emerson claims that ‘the greatest man in history was the poorest’, and writes that virtue and genius ‘are best plain-set, set in lead, set in poverty’.156 But Emerson is elsewhere very critical of philosophers such as Thoreau who argue in favour of poverty: ‘Philosophers have laid the greatness of man in making his wants few; but will a man content himself with a hut and a handful of dried pease? He is born to be rich’.157 Like Thoreau, Emerson is concerned that individuals might waste too much of their time and life striving to acquire wealth,158 and he worries that our property might come to own us rather than the other way around.159 But he remains convinced of the utility of wealth, in enabling an individual to travel, to have access to science and

152 James, William James, 334. 153 Corsa, ‘Henry David Thoreau’, 169. For a related but distinct discussion: Mason Marshall, ‘Freedom Through Critique: Thoreau’s Service to Others’, Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 61, no. 2 (2005): 403 and 408. 154 Thoreau, Walden, Civil Disobedience, 53–4. 155  See our discussion in section 3 above for the relation Smith draws between magnanimity and the pursuit of wealth. That discussion largely corresponds to Smith, Lectures on Justice, 255–9. 156  Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson (Boston and New York: The Jefferson Press, 1912), 112; Alexander C. Kern, ‘Emerson and Economics’, The New England Quarterly 13, no. 4 (1940): 686. 157 Emerson, Essays & Lectures, 990–1; Birch suggests that this passage is ‘undoubtedly aimed in part at Henry David Thoreau’s experiment in subsistence living’ (Thomas D. Birch, ‘Toward a Better Order: The Economic Thought of Ralph Waldo Emerson’, The New England Quarterly 68, no. 3 (1995): 393). 158 Emerson, The Works, 111; Kern, ‘Emerson and Economics’, 686. 159 Emerson, Essays & Lectures, 1005.

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258  A Composite Portrait of a True American Philosophy study, and to thereby ‘do justice to his genius’,160 and he never insists, as Thoreau does, that voluntary poverty and a life of simplicity are necessary for the majority to become truly magnanimous. Thoreau further contends that as long as we stay in a society of people who live lavishly, it will be difficult to live simply.161 It is too easy come to believe that one should possess the same resources as one’s wealthy neighbours,162 and people tend to fall into mental ruts, conforming to the lavish lifestyles common in their society: ‘The surface of the earth is soft and impressible by the feet of men; and so with the paths which the mind travels . . . How deep the ruts of tradition and conformity!’163 Like Emerson and Fuller, Thoreau worries that individuals will naturally ­conform rather than look within, but Thoreau offers a novel solution. Thoreau proposes that we should periodically isolate ourselves from town/city life in the wilderness, even if we remain just a few miles from society. His idea is not that we  should remove ourselves to an isolated location untouched by humans; he acknowledges that Native Americans live in what he considers wilderness, and he encountered other outdoor labourers in the woods near his cabin. Rather, he recommends we should periodically seek out places in nature where we can ‘witness our own limits transgressed’164 and ‘learn what are the gross necessaries of life’.165 This is the best way to break free from conformity. Emerson, too, suggests that we must engage with and study nature in order to correctly look within ourselves and find the truth the over-soul makes possible.166 According to Emerson, we study nature in part because of what it can teach us about our own minds and moral notions when we form analogies between the two.167 For example, he suggests that it can be valuable to us, in coming to understand ourselves and the world, to think that ‘an enraged man is a lion, [and] a cunning man is a fox’. Or again, he writes: ‘Who looks upon a river in a meditative hour, and is not reminded of the flux of all things?’168 In his view, ‘wise men’ can escape from commonly accepted falsehoods by turning back to nature and, like poets, reflecting on the most natural analogies they can draw between nature and their minds and morals.169 Emerson proposes that ‘the true philosopher and

160 Emerson, Essays & Lectures, 989, also 855–7 and 991; Kern, ‘Emerson and Economics’, 690; Birch, ‘Toward a Better Order’, 394. 161  Corsa, ‘Henry David Thoreau’, 177. Additionally, Mooney notes that, according to Thoreau, when we are in towns and cities we experience too-clear expectations and social boundaries (Edward  F.  Mooney, Excursions with Thoreau: Philosophy, Poetry, Religion (New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2015), 65). 162 Thoreau, Walden, Civil Disobedience, 27. 163  Ibid., 217. 164 Ibid., 213; Philip  J.  Cafaro, ‘In Wildness is the Preservation of the World: Thoreau’s Environmental Ethics’, in Thoreau’s Importance for Philosophy, ed. Rick Anthony Furtak, Jonathan Ellsworth, and James D. Reid (New York: Fordham University Press, 2012), 86–9. 165  Ibid., 11; Corsa, ‘Henry David Thoreau’, 178. 166 Emerson, Essays & Lectures, 55–6. 167  Ibid., 22 and 26. 168  Ibid., 22. 169  Ibid., 22–3.

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Andrew J. Corsa and Eric Schliesser  259 the true poet are one’,170 and ‘the ancient precept “Know thyself,” and the modern precept, “Study nature,” become at last one maxim’.171

5. Conclusion Taking Thoreau, Emerson, and Fuller together as a composite, we conclude that the ideal sort of inquiry, which yields access to the (over-soul and) truth, requires both the correct sort of social interaction and the correct sort of interaction with and study of wilderness. While humans have ‘a wild savage in us’,172 we also have an instinct towards a ‘higher’ social and civilized ‘spiritual life’,173 and individuals with the best sort of magnanimity, who engage in the correct sort of inquiry, do not give in to one or the other. They offer an exemplary reconciliation of the wild and Dionysian (to use Nietzsche’s terms) with the civilized and Apollonian and set themselves in order.174 Neither the wildness of magnanimity nor the civility of benevolence is sufficient on its own. Perhaps some malevolent people could be magnanimous, as Hume and Smith allow, but the best sort of magnanimous life includes benevolence. Taking these philosophers together, we can provide a robust picture of what Emerson means when he refers to the ‘true philosopher’.175 True philosophers must engage in the correct sort of inquiry which enables them to align with the over-soul. In their experimental way of living, they must be poets who study and directly engage with nature, and who let friends and geniuses inspire and change them. They must also have ‘strong and valiant natures’176 and possess an array of different virtues, including not only greatness of soul, but also ‘independence’, ‘trust’, and ‘simplicity’.177 The Transcendentalists’ notion of a ‘true philosopher’ resembles at a formal level a similar notion expressed by their Scottish Enlightenment predecessors. Throughout his work, Hume draws distinctions between ‘true philosophy’ and

170  Ibid., 36. In this passage and the discussion around it, Emerson also seeks to resolve the ancient quarrel between poetry and philosophy, anticipating later work by Heidegger and Nietzsche. Emerson appeals to the notion of the true philosopher in order to resolve this quarrel. Given the relation between the notion of the true philosopher and the notion of magnanimity, we might take Emerson to anticipate José Benardete’s efforts to approach this quarrel by way of discussions of greatness of soul: José Benardete, Greatness of Soul: In Hume, Aristotle and Hobbes, as Shadowed by Milton’s Satan (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013). 171  Ibid., 56. 172 Thoreau, Walden, Civil Disobedience, 281; Mooney, Excursions with Thoreau, 137–9. 173 Thoreau, Walden, Civil Disobedience, 143; Hanley, ‘Thoreau Among His Heroes’, 60. 174 Thoreau, Walden, Civil Disobedience, 143 and 149–51; Hanley, ‘Thoreau Among his Heroes’, 60 and 64. For a distinct but nonetheless related discussion: Mooney, Excursions with Thoreau, 136–8. 175 Emerson, Essays & Lectures, 36. 176 Thoreau, Walden, Civil Disobedience, 14. 177  Ibid., 13.

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260  A Composite Portrait of a True American Philosophy ‘false philosophy,’178 and he likewise suggests that the true philosopher must exhibit a wide array of virtues,179 including greatness of mind,180 and must engage in the correct sort of philosophical inquiry.181 Granted, the content of Hume’s conception of ideal philosophical inquiry is radically different from that of the Transcendentalists, and not just with regard to the importance of religious concepts. But like Hume, the Transcendentalists draw connections between magnanimity and ideal philosophical inquiry. As argued above, Emerson suggests that a person could not achieve the best sort of magnanimity without engaging in the ideal sort of inquiry, which leads to alignment with the over-soul. Thus, ideal magnanimity and ideal inquiry are, on Emerson’s account, jointly realized and mutually reinforcing, and the individual with the best magnanimity is nothing other than the true philosopher. Taking Emerson, Fuller, and Thoreau together, we can recognize how magnanimity might serve as a corrective for the veneration of wealth and the excessive valorization of public opinion. Where others might, faced with public disapproval, back down and refrain from standing up for what is true, Emerson suggests that magnanimous individuals can stand their ground. When others might refrain from expressing disagreement on fundamental matters with their friends out of fear of animosity, even though doing so might help both arrive at the truth, Fuller suggests that magnanimous friends will speak frankly with each other. And when others might make decisions based on financial considerations rather than on what is right, Thoreau suggests that magnanimous individuals will stay true to their natures. Magnanimous individuals publicly support policies which they know are right by listening to their geniuses, even if doing so leads to public disapproval and loss of economic status.

Acknowledgements We are indebted to the many wonderful conversations we had with José Benardete about greatness of soul, and we think of this chapter as, in some ways, indirectly responding to his thought. We would also like to thank Sharayah Bower, who was employed as Dr Corsa’s 178  Exploring this distinction in Hume’s thought is a central goal of Livingston’s book, as he makes clear in Philosophical Melancholy, xi. 179  Livingston provides a careful account of the virtues of Hume’s true philosopher: ibid., 35–52. Hume is clear that a ‘true philosopher’ must be a ‘man of virtue’, who ‘governs his appetites, [and] subdues his passions’ (David Hume, Essays and Treatises on Several Subjects, Vol. I, A New Edition (London: Printed for T. Cadell, in the Strand: and A. Donaldson, and W. Creech, at Edinburgh, 1777), Mil 148). On ‘true philosophy’ and Thoreau as a philosophical prophet, see also Eric Schliesser, ‘Philosophic Prophecy’, in Philosophy and Its History: Aims and Methods in the Study of Early Modern Philosophy, ed. Mogens Laerke, Justin  E.  H.  Smith, and Eric Schliesser (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), 209–36. 180 Livingston, Philosophical Melancholy, 47–9. 181  What the ‘correct’ sort of inquiry is for Hume is also a key theme in Livingston’s book.

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Andrew J. Corsa and Eric Schliesser  261 research assistant, and whose feedback and help tracking down sources were very valuable. In addition, we thank Liam Kofi Bright, Abe Stone, and Sophia Vasalou for extremely helpful comments on an earlier draft.

Bibliography Aquinas, Thomas. Summa Theologica. Vol. 3. Translated by Fathers of the English Dominican Province. Westminster, MD: Christian Classics, 1981. Aristotle. Aristotle’s Posterior Analytics. Translated by Jonathan Barnes. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1975. Aristotle. Nicomachean Ethics. 2nd ed. Translated by Terrence Irwin. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1999. Aristotle. Nicomachean Ethics. Translated by Christopher Rowe. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Bates, Stanley. ‘Thoreau and Emersonian Perfectionism’. In Rick Anthony Furtak, Jonathan Ellsworth, and James  D.  Reid, eds, Thoreau’s Importance for Philosophy, 14–30. New York: Fordham University Press, 2012. Benardete, José. Greatness of Soul: In Hume, Aristotle and Hobbes, as Shadowed by Milton’s Satan. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013. Birch, Thomas D. ‘Toward a Better Order: The Economic Thought of Ralph Waldo Emerson’. The New England Quarterly 68, no. 3 (1995): 385–401. Bright, Liam Kofi. ‘Logical Empiricists on Race’. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 65 (2017): 9–18. Cafaro, Philip. ‘Thoreau’s Virtue Ethics in Walden’. The Concord Saunterer 8 (2000): 23–47. Cafaro, Philip. Thoreau’s Living Ethics: Walden and the Pursuit of Virtue. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 2004. Cafaro, Philip. ‘In Wildness is the Preservation of the World: Thoreau’s Environmental Ethics’. In Rick Anthony Furtak, Jonathan Ellsworth, and James  D.  Reid, eds, Thoreau’s Importance for Philosophy, 68–90. New York: Fordham University Press, 2012. Capper, Charles. Margaret Fuller: An American Romantic Life. Vol. 2, The Public Years. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007. Carew, Thomas. Coelum Briitannicum: A Masque. In W. Carew Hazlitt, ed., The Poems of Thomas Carew, 195–235. London: Chiswick Press, 1870. Cavell, Stanley. ‘Finding as Founding: Taking Steps in Emerson’s “Experience”’. In David Justin Hodge, ed., Emerson’s Transcendental Etudes, 110–40. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2003. Cladis, Mark  S. ‘Religion, Democracy, and Virtue: Emerson and the Journey’s End’. Religion & Literature 41, no. 1 (2009): 49–82.

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262  A Composite Portrait of a True American Philosophy Clark, Harry Hayden. ‘Conservative and Mediatory Emphases in Emerson’s Thought’. In Myron Simon and Thornton H. Parsons, eds, Transcendentalism and Its Legacy, 25–62. Ann Arbor, MI: The University of Michigan Press, 1966. Cordner, Christopher. ‘Aristotelian Virtue and Its Limitations’. Philosophy 69, no. 269 (1994): 291–316. Corsa, Andrew J. ‘Henry David Thoreau: Greatness of Soul and Environmental Virtue’. Environmental Philosophy 12, no. 2 (2015): 161–84. Corsa, Andrew  J. ‘Modern Greatness of Soul in Hume and Smith’. Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 2, no. 2 (2015): 27–58. Curzer, Howard  J. ‘A Great Philosopher’s Not So Great Account of Great Virtue: Aristotle’s Treatment of “Greatness of Soul” ’. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 20, no. 4 (1990): 517–37. Curzer, Howard J. ‘Aristotle’s Much Maligned Megalopsychos’. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 69, no. 2 (1991): 131–51. Dowling, David. Emerson’s Protégés. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2014. Emerson, Ralph Waldo. The Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Boston and New York: The Jefferson Press, 1912. Emerson, Ralph Waldo. The Journals and Miscellaneous Notebooks of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Vol. III, 1826–32. Edited by William H. Gilman and Alfred R. Ferguson. Cambridge: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1963. Emerson, Ralph Waldo. The Journals and Miscellaneous Notebooks of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Vol. IV, 1832–4. Edited by Alfred  R.  Ferguson. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1964. Emerson, Ralph Waldo. Essays & Lectures. Edited by Joel Porte. New York: Library of America, 1983. Emerson, Ralph Waldo. The Complete Sermons of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Vol. 1. Edited by Albert  J.  von Frank and David  M.  Robinson. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press, 1989. Emerson, Ralph Waldo. The Complete Sermons of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Vol. 4. Edited by Wesley T. Mott. Colombia, MO: University of Missouri Press, 1992. Emerson, Ralph Waldo. The Selected Letters of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Edited by Joel Myerson. New York: Colombia University Press, 1997. Emerson, R. W., Channing, W. H., and Clark, J. F. Memoirs of Margaret Fuller Ossoli. Vol. 1. Boston: Robert B. Others, 1881. Fischer, Jeremy. ‘The Ethics of Reflexivity: Pride, Self-Sufficiency, and Modesty’. Philosophical Papers 45, no. 3 (2016): 365–99. Flanagan, G.  Borden. ‘Emerson’s Democratic Platonism in Representative Men’. In Alan  M.  Levine and Daniel  S.  Malachunk, eds, A Political Companion to Ralph Waldo Emerson, 415–49. Lexington, KY: University of Kentucky Press, 2011. Friedman, Randy  L. ‘Traditions of Pragmatism and the Myth of the Emersonian Democrat’. Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 43, no. 1 (2007), 154–84.

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Andrew J. Corsa and Eric Schliesser  263 Fuller, Margaret. ‘Emerson’s Essays’. In Perry Miller, ed., Margaret Fuller: American Romantic. Gloucester, MA: Peter Smith, 1969. Fuller, Margaret. The Letters of Margaret Fuller. Vol. II, 1839–41. Edited by Robert N. Hudspeth. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1983. Galton, Francis. ‘Composite Portraits, Made by Combining Those of Many Different Persons Into a Single Resultant Figure’. The Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland 8 (1879): 132–44. Gambrel, Joshua Colt and Philip Cafaro. ‘The Virtue of Simplicity’. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 23 (2010): 85–108. Hanley, Ryan Patrick. ‘Thoreau Among His Heroes’. Philosophy and Literature 25, no. 1 (2001): 59–74. Hanley, Ryan Patrick. ‘Hume’s Last Lessons: The Civic Education “My Own Life” ’. The Review of Politics 64, no. 4 (2002): 659–85. Hardie, W. F. R. ‘ “Magnanimity” in Aristotle’s Ethics’. Phronesis 23, no. 1 (1978): 63–79. Holloway, Carson. ‘Christianity, Magnanimity, and Statesmanship’. The Review of Politics 61, no. 4 (1999): 581–604. Holzwarth, John. ‘Emerson and the Democratiziation of Intellect’. Polity 43, no. 3 (2011): 313–36. Hume, David. A Treatise of Human Nature: Being an Attempt to Introduce the Experimental Method of Reasoning into Moral Subjects. London: Printed for John Noon, 1739. Hume, David. An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals. London: Printed for A. Millar, 1751. Hume, David. Four Dissertations. London: Printed for A. Millar, 1772. Hume, David. Essays and Treatises on Several Subjects. Vol. I, A New Edition. London: Printed for T. Cadell, in the Strand: and A. Donaldson, and W. Creech, at Edinburgh, 1777. Hutcheson, Francis. An Inquiry into the Original of our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue; in Two Treatises. 2nd ed. London: Printed for J.  Darby, A.  Bettesworth, F.  Fayram, J. Pemberton, C. Rivington, J. Hooke, F. Clay, J. Batley, and E. Symon, 1726. James, William. William James: Writings 1902–1910. New York: Library of America, 1987. James, William. The Heart of William James. Edited by Robert Richardson. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2010. Kateb, George. Emerson and Self-Reliance. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 1995. Kern, Alexander C. ‘Emerson and Economics’. The New England Quarterly 13, no. 4 (1940): 678–96. Khan, M.  Ali. ‘Composite Photography and Statistical Prejudice: Levy-Peart and Marshall on the Theorist and the Theorized’. European Journal of Political Economy 20, no. 1 (2004): 23–30.

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264  A Composite Portrait of a True American Philosophy Khan, M. Ali. ‘Self-Interest, Self-Deception and the Ethics of Commerce’. Journal of Business Ethics 52, no. 2 (2004): 189–206. Khan, M.  Ali. ‘On Hayek’s Road to Serfdom: 60 Years Later’. European Journal of Political Economy 21, no. 4 (2005): 1026–41. Livingston, Donald  W. Philosophical Melancholy and Delirium: Hume’s Pathology of Philosophy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998. Marshall, Mason. ‘Freedom Through Critique: Thoreau’s Service to Others’. Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 61, no. 2 (2005): 395–427. Martin, Marie A. ‘Hume on Human Excellence’. Hume Studies 18, no. 2 (1992): 383–99. von Mehren, Joan. Minerva and the Muse: A Life of Margaret Fuller. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press, 1994. Meola, Frank M. ‘Emerson Between Faith and Doubt’. New England Review 32, no. 3 (2011): 111–23. Mooney, Edward F. Excursions with Thoreau: Philosophy, Poetry, Religion. New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2015. Mott, Wesley. ‘Emerson and Antinomianism: The Legacy of the Sermons’. American Literature 50, no. 3 (1978): 369–97. Ossoli, Margaret Fuller. Memoirs of Margaret Fuller Ossoli. Vol. I.  London: Richard Bentley, New Burlington Street, 1852. Richardson, Robert  D. William James: In the Maelstrom of American Modernism. Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2006. Robinson, David  M. ‘Margaret Fuller, Self-Culture, and Associationism’. In Brigitte Bailey, Katheryn P. Viens, and Conrad Edick Wright, eds, Margaret Fuller and Her Circles, 77–99. Durham, NH: University of New Hampshire Press, 2013. Sarch, Alexander. ‘What’s Wrong with Megalopsychia?’ Philosophy 83, no. 324 (2008): 231–53. Schliesser, Eric. ‘The Obituary of a Vain Philosopher: Adam Smith’s Reflections on Hume’s Life’. Hume Studies 29, no. 2 (2003): 327–62. Schliesser, Eric. ‘Weekly Philo of Economics: Our Slavery, Adam Smith and Thoreau’. New APPS: Art, Politics, Philosophy, Science (blog), 17 January 2012. http://www. newappsblog.com/2012/01/the-secret-cord-bewteen-adam-smith-and-thoreau. html. Schliesser, Eric. ‘Philosophic Prophecy’. In Mogens Laerke, Justin  E.  H.  Smith, and Eric Schliesser, eds, Philosophy and its History: Aims and Methods in the Study of Early Modern Philosophy, 209–36. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013. Schliesser, Eric. ‘A Definition of Analytical Philosophy by a True Critic: Or Margaret Fuller Discovered’. Digressions and Impressions (blog), 14 August 2014. http:// digressionsnimpressions.typepad.com/digressionsimpressions/2014/08/the-onlytrue-criticism-fuller.html. Schliesser, Eric. Adam Smith: Systematic Philosopher and Public Thinker. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017.

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Andrew J. Corsa and Eric Schliesser  265 Schliesser, Eric. ‘On Virginia Woolf on Thoreau Being a Counterpart of Emerson’. Digressions and Impressions (blog), 21 June 2017. http://digressionsnimpressions. typepad.com/digressionsimpressions/2017/06/on-virginia-woolf-on-thoreaubeing-a-counterpart-of-emerson.html. Sekula, Allan. ‘The Body and the Archive’. October 39 (1986): 3–64. Smith, Adam. The Theory of Moral Sentiments. New Edition. London: George Bell and Sons, 1875. Smith, Adam. Lectures on Justice, Police, Revenue and Arms. Edited by Edwin Canaan. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1896. Smith, Adam. ‘Letter From Adam Smith, LL.D.  to William Strahan, ESQ’. In David Hume, Essays: Moral, Political and Literary, edited by Eugene W. Miller, xliii–xlix. Revised Edition. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1987. Spencer, Mark G. ‘Hume and Madison on Faction’. The William and Mary Quarterly 59, no. 4 (2002): 869–896. Steele, Jeffrey. ‘Transcendental Friendship: Emerson, Fuller, and Thoreau’. In Joel Porte and Sandra Morris, eds, The Cambridge Companion to Ralph Waldo Emerson, 121–39. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999. Thoreau, Henry David. Walden, Civil Disobedience, and Other Writings. 3rd ed. Edited by William Rossi. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2008. Woodson, Thomas. ‘Thoreau on Poverty and Magnanimity’. PMLA 85, no. 1 (1970): 21–34. Woolf, Virginia. ‘Thoreau’. In Rebecca Beatrice Brooks, ‘Virginia Woolf on Henry David Thoreau’. The Virginia Woolf Blog (blog), 14 August, 2013. http://virginiawoolfblog.com/virginia-woolf-on-henry-david-thoreau. Yearley, Lee H. ‘The Ascetic Grounds of Goodness: William James’s Case for the Virtue of Voluntary Poverty’. The Journal of Religious Ethics 26, no. 1 (1998): 105–35.

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11

Twenty-First-Century Magnanimity The Relevance of Aristotle’s Ideal of Megalopsychia for Current Debates in Moral Psychology, Moral Education, and Moral Philosophy Kristján Kristjánsson

1.  Introduction: ‘An Insightful Mess’ Aristotelianism is all the rage in contemporary virtue ethics and character education. Some of the interest is cloistered and exegetical, aimed at making the ‘real Aristotle’ stand up, but more often the interest is practical and revisionary, aimed at reconstructing versions of Aristotelianism that help us, moderns, lead better lives.1 However, those latter versions are typically sanitized and bowdlerized: purged of unsavoury claims about, say, the nature of women, slaves, and manual labourers. Given how anachronistic Aristotle’s account of the meta-virtue of megalopsychia seems to be, there is a tendency to let it fall quietly by the wayside also. For reasons of space and convenience of exposition, I assume that readers of this chapter are familiar with the basic claims Aristotle makes about megalopsychia.2 In any case, many of those basics reveal themselves—and are subjected to scrutiny— during the course of the chapter, and in other chapters in this volume. In a recent paper,3 Wilcken poses the question of whether magnanimity (understood as Aristotle’s megalopsychia)4 can be ‘made compatible with the 21st

1  See e.g. Kristján Kristjánsson, Aristotelian Character Education (London: Routledge, 2015); Virtuous Emotions (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018). I applaud Howard J. Curzer, Aristotle and the Virtues (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), for trying to satisfy both those interests simultaneously. He offers (often excitedly controversial) exegeses of Aristotle’s texts, but also takes the ‘Great Philosopher’ on his knee and presents him with a truth or two about what the last 2,300 years have taught us about human nature. 2 Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, trans. Terence H. Irwin (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing, 1985), 97–104 [1122b33–1125a35]. 3  Matthew Wilcken, ‘Can Magnanimity Be Made Compatible with the 21st Century?’ Aporia 24, no. 1 (2014): 77–87. 4  There is no agreement on the best translation of ‘megalopsychia’. Many of the proffered options, such as ‘magnanimity’, ‘great-mindedness’, or ‘pride’, carry connotations that can lead modern readers astray. For substantive reasons, emerging in section 4, the megalopsychos is perhaps best described as the great-hearted person. However, as Michael Pakaluk, ‘The Meaning of Aristotelian Magnanimity’, Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 26, no. 1 (2004): 247, observes, whichever term we use will just Kristján Kristjánsson, Twenty-First-Century Magnanimity: The Relevance of Aristotle’s Ideal of Megalopsychia for Current Debates in Moral Psychology, Moral Education, and Moral Philosophy In: The Measure of Greatness: Philosophers on Magnanimity. Edited by: Sophia Vasalou, Oxford University Press (2019). © the several contributors. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198840688.003.0011

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Kristján Kristjánsson  267 century’, and he surprises readers with an affirmative answer. Admittedly, Wilcken considers it necessary to relax some of the conditions that Aristotle places upon the virtue, such as being exhibited by men with stately movements and slow voices, and he thinks it particularly important to accommodate female megalopsychia in today’s (corporate and political) world. Yet after the necessary modifying and ‘modernifying’,5 Wilcken takes megalopsychia to be particularly apt for conceptualizing, understanding, identifying, and (potentially) emulating some of the world’s leading entrepreneurs, benefactors, and business leaders, such as Mary T. Barra, CEO of General Motors.6 My aim in the present chapter is considerably more modest than Wilcken’s. I do think that Aristotle’s depiction of the megalopsychoi provides a Goshen of sobering insights about the capriciousness of the human condition and the complexities of a virtue ethical approach: insights that are as relevant today, if not more so, than they were 2,300 years ago. More specifically, whatever quarrels one may want to pick with the details of Aristotle’s account—and I am certainly not as eager to ‘unpick’ all of those as Wilcken—I propose to show in what follows that megalopsychia can illuminate and augment a number of contemporary discourses in moral psychology, moral education, and moral philosophy. I argue in section 2 that, within moral psychology, megalopsychia aids in mediating between realist and anti-realist conceptions of selfhood. I argue in section 3 that, within moral education, megalopsychia casts light on debates about the levels of moral development, and of flourishing, as well as the necessary individualization of virtue and education in virtue. I argue in section 4 that, within moral philosophy, megalopsychia helps crystallize issues about role moralities, in the context of virtue ethics, and the demands of noblesse oblige; the relationship between objective and subjective well-being; and to what extent contemplation and self-transcendence enter into well-being. Finally, in section 5, I offer some concluding thoughts about how megalopsychia stands in relation to the human condition in the twenty-first century. So, all in all, this chapter provides a whistle-stop tour of a number of diverse, but related, topics and explains the lessons that Aristotle’s account of megalopsychia can teach us about them.7 It is equally important to flag here at the outset what this chapter is not meant to achieve. I do not propose to offer a general justification of megalopsychia as a moral ideal. Although I have come perilously close to it in the past,8 I now believe serve as a ‘place-holder’. Rather than getting embroiled in translation debates, I rely throughout on the original Greek terms. 5  Wilcken, ‘Magnanimity’, 78. 6  Wilcken, ‘Magnanimity’, 82. 7  Since I propose to cover a considerable number of topics, some of the discussion will be tersely worded and briskly paced. Sacrificing depth for breadth is a necessary implication of the aim to offer a critical review of the contribution of Aristotle’s account to a host of contemporary debates. However, other contributors to this volume tackle some of the issues adumbrated here in more detail. 8  Kristján Kristjánsson, ‘Liberating Moral Traditions: Saga Morality and Aristotle’s Megalopsychia’, Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 1, no. 4 (1998): 397–422; Justifying Emotions: Pride and Jealousy (London: Routledge, 2002).

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268  Twenty-First-Century Magnanimity that the megalopsychoi can neither be considered objectively flourishing nor subjectively happy (albeit mostly through no fault of their own), not even by Aristotle’s lights. So I will not be trying, this time, to make the proverbial silk purse out of a sow’s ear. A potential ‘defence’ of megalopsychia would, in any case, be more surplus to requirements than it was a couple of decades ago. At that time, this alleged Aristotelian ‘virtue’ was typically written off in the academic literature and the megalopsychoi disparaged as repugnant, self-absorbed, snobbish, egobloated, arrogant, unneighbourly, priggish, and puffed-up. A couple of important papers by Howard Curzer, where he used considerable hermeneutical charity to counter the received wisdom, changed the state of play.9 Curzer pressed home the crucial Aristotelian point that the megalopsychoi are in possession of all the moral virtues; megalopsychia does not replace them or override them but rather makes them greater. Hence, if something is really morally wrong with the megalopsychoi, it must be so at a psycho-morally deeper and more tragic level than their just being obnoxious human beings. This chapter is not a contribution to Aristotelian exegesis either, so fidelity to Aristotle’s texts is not going to be its core virtue. For example, I will make no attempt to rescue the formal status of megalopsychia as a moral virtue, with a standard golden-mean architectonic. As Curzer correctly points out,10 neither of the two main conceptual conditions of megalopsychia—to be worthy of great things and think oneself worthy of them—fits that architectonic well. With respect to moral greatness, megalopsychia lies at the extreme, not in the middle; with respect to self-evaluation, it does lie in the middle but it shares that position with a radically different character trait—the realistic self-evaluation of the authentic loser. As a self-styled Aristotelian reconstructor I am not terribly bothered by this discrepancy; indeed, Julia Annas thinks that neo-Aristotelians should not consider themselves committed to the ‘doctrine of the mean’ in the first place.11 Like Curzer, I am a ‘drag-Aristotle-into-current-debates sort of guy’;12 and, like him, I believe that although Aristotle’s characterization of megalopsychia is a bit of a mess, it is an ‘insightful mess’.13 As already announced, I propose to use this ‘mess’ to think through a number of contemporary issues that stand in need of enlightenment.

2.  Moral Psychology: Self, Self-Concept, and Megalopsychia One of the proverbial debates in moral psychology is about the status of human ‘selfhood’ or simply ‘self ’. Some of this debate is austerely metaphysical—harking 9 Howard  J.  Curzer, ‘A Great Philosopher’s Not So Great Account of Great Virtue: Aristotle’s Treatment of “Greatness of Soul” ’, Canadian Journal of Philosophy 20, no. 4 (1990): 517–38; ‘Aristotle’s Much-Maligned Megalopsychos’, Australasian Journal of Philosophy 69, no. 2 (1991): 131–51. 10 Curzer, Aristotle and the Virtues, 129–31. 11  Julia Annas, ‘Applying Virtue to Ethics’, Journal of Applied Philosophy 32, no. 1 (2015): 2. 12 Curzer, Aristotle and the Virtues, 7. 13 Curzer, Aristotle and the Virtues, 6.

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Kristján Kristjánsson  269 back to Humean manoeuvres in the eighteenth century14—and has to do with the existence or non-existence of an ontological entity (or a set of processes) called ‘self ’. I will focus rather on a more practical, psycho-moral, dimension of this debate, about whether there exists some sort of locus of moral agency in a person: a stable and hard core of traits that sets the person apart and forms the ultimate object of evaluation of her overall moral credentials. This dimension of the debate is typically elicited by the question of who we really are ‘deep down’, perhaps at an even deeper and more subterranean level than that of personality (e.g. Big-Five) traits. So-called hard self-realists believe in the viability of a construct of objective moral selfhood.15 They consider selfhood to form the hard core of (moral) character, such that even if character subtly and incrementally develops through life, its self-constituting hard core may remain more or less intact.16 This hypothesis is then taken to explain, inter alia, why radical self-change is so rare in people—and so difficult to enact through moral education—while the gradual tweaking of character is the bread and butter of all moral education. Psychologists have even given us possible explanations of why we guard our hard self-core as ferociously as birds protecting their nests.17 Self-realists do not deny the relevance of selfconcept (the set of beliefs and attitudes one harbours about one’s selfhood), but they insist that self is one thing and self-concept another. More specifically, selfconcept or identity, when it gets things right, has an actual self as its cognitive object: the referent to which it corresponds.18 Self-concept is thus a mirror that reflects the self well (resulting in self-knowledge) or badly (resulting in self-deception). It is a platitude that the idea of moral character, in general, and of its hard innermost core of selfhood, in particular, has come under sustained attacks of late: from moral situationists, social intuitionists, and psychological attributionists. There is no space here to elaborate upon those attacks, but as a quick case in point consider a standard critique of Kohlberg’s version of self-realism: his view that a person occupies, at any given time, a stable stage of moral reasoning.19 The unfortunate shortfall evidenced between these alleged core stages and actual 14  David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1978), Book I. 15  See e.g. Owen Flanagan, Self-Expressions: Mind, Morals, and the Meaning of Life (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996). I characterize, explain, and reference ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ self-realism, as well as ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ forms of anti-self-realism, in Kristján Kristjánsson, The Self and Its Emotions (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), chap. 2. 16  A plausible taxonomy here is to consider moral character to comprise the morally evaluable subset of personality, and (moral) selfhood, in turn, the innermost, and most stable, subset of moral character; see e.g. Kristjánsson, Aristotelian Character Education, chap. 1. 17  See esp.William  B.  Swann, Jr., Self-Traps: The Elusive Quest for Higher Self-Esteem (New York: W. H. Freeman & Co., 1996). 18  See e.g. Flanagan, Self-Expressions, 69. 19  Lawrence Kohlberg, Essays on Moral Development, Vol. 1: The Philosophy of Moral Development (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1981).

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270  Twenty-First-Century Magnanimity moral behaviour persuaded many psychologists that what mattered, in the end, for who we are and how we actually behave is not a core of objective traits, but rather our subjective moral identity: our beliefs about who we are and our perception of how important a role morality plays in our identity.20 More generally speaking, according to psychological attributionism, people tend to act in accordance with the explanations they like to give for their own behaviour and with the attributes they believe they possess. So-called selfhood is constructed cognitively, like a theory is constructed, and amounts, in the end, to no more than self-concept. There is no independent target object ‘in here’, no ‘self of selves’ specifiable by a determinate body of empirical evidence. This theory has a name, anti-self-realism, and according to this theory, the self is all smoke and mirrors. Or more precisely, in the alleged quarters of the self,21 there is only one big mirror, called self-concept, and no other furniture. How well or how badly a person does in life (morally or otherwise), barring external circumstances, depends primarily on the subjective ‘self-theory’ that the person possesses through the attributes of her ‘mirror’. The process of adopting such a self-theory has a name: selving. Through an exploratory process of ‘selving’, the agent ‘negotiates’ various identities through interactions with other people until some sort of internal and external harmony is reached. The starter kit of objections against anti-self-realism usually begins with the observation of how badly equipped it is to make a distinction between self-deception and self-knowledge—if there is no objective reality (‘in here’) with which to compare the relevant self-image.22 There is a lot of philosophical and psychological napalm being used in this debate that I choose to eschew. For present purposes, while Aristotle did not have access to the contemporary concept of moral selfhood, formed in the eighteenth and nineteeth centuries, I do not consider it overly anachronistic to drag him into this modern debate, given his clear concept of moral character (of which moral selfhood is typically meant to be a subset). What matters here is that Aristotle is often presented as the quintessential selfrealist. It is not difficult to understand why. After all, Aristotle is the standard whipping-boy of moral situationists and social intuitionists. He is typically depicted as the philosopher who believed in moral character as the column of true majesty in human beings: a column unswayed by fortuitous situations and fleeting beliefs.23 For example, truly courageous persons will act courageously when the situation calls for it, regardless of any beliefs they may have harboured 20  See e.g. Augusto Blasi, ‘Moral Character: A Psychological Approach’, in Character Psychology and Character Education, eds Daniel  K.  Lapsley and F.  Clark Power (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2005), 67–100. 21 Many anti-self-realists simply recoil from using the ‘self ’-word altogether—as irretrievably tainted by association with self-realism. Others still use it as short for ‘self-concept’. 22 Kristjánsson, The Self, chap. 2. 23  That unfortunate situations do not sway moral character, according to Aristotle, does not mean that they cannot undermine flourishing. I return to that point in section 3.

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Kristján Kristjánsson  271 about themselves beforehand.24 Or, more precisely, the true extent of a person’s courage manifests itself through exhibited courage rather than courage-beliefs (typically referred to these days as ‘self-confidence’ and considered part of selfconcept). If the (self-perceived) non-self-confident person still acts confidently when it comes to the crunch, this is all that matters from a moral perspective. While Aristotle is clearly a self-realist, there is something amiss in the above characterization of his views. To be sure, in order to count as a megalopsychos, the person must possess an actual self, worthy of great things. But that is not enough for the full virtue. The mikropsychos (the pusillanimous person) is also worthy of great things, but she is still lacking in moral character because she does not deem herself worthy of great things. As we would put it nowadays, her self-concept does not equal her actual self. One might want to argue that the situation of the mikropsychoi is still better than that of the people who are not worthy of great things and either assess themselves rightly (the realistic losers) or wrongly (the vain), as the mikropsychoi at least have a moral foundation to build on. That does not change the fact, however, that they are lacking in the virtue of megalopsychia. Although Aristotle is not proposing a ‘self-theory’ here, on a contemporary understanding, but rather a normative view about how one should ideally relate to one’s moral character, a useful way to interpret the implicit picture of selfhood is to say that Aristotle is not a ‘hard’ self-realist but a ‘soft’ one. Indeed, any interpretation of Aristotle as a hard self-realist seems to be seriously misbegotten Aristotelianism—be it historical or neo-Aristotelian. Why does it follow from the description of the megalopsychos and the mikropsychos that Aristotle can be called a soft realist? According to soft self-realism, an actual full self does exist; but just like a mirror is also part of the furniture in the room that it mirrors, self-concept is part of that very self. Our self-traits are not independent objects which remain unchanged by the subject’s changing views of their nature; rather, watching and trying (successfully or not) to know oneself—and the conclusions of that watching—become, in part, constitutive elements of selfhood.25 Notice that Aristotle’s point here is not that the megalopsychoi are what they are, deep down, in virtue of their actual moral characteristics, but that some of them are then fortuitously hamstrung by their deficient self-knowledge—by possessing, so to speak, a warped self-mirror. Rather, the point is that no one can count as a megalopsychos in the first place unless both the actual moral characteristics and the self-assessment of those characteristics pass muster—and that is a soft realist view. This is an important observation about (moral) selfhood that is worth translating into modern language in order to tease out some of its implications. Dan  Russell has written an enlightening paper where he basically embraces 24  Cf. Aristotle, NE, 78 [1117a18–20]. 25  See David A. Jopling, Self-Knowledge and the Self (London: Routledge, 2000), 65.

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272  Twenty-First-Century Magnanimity megalopsychia and gives it a modern twist by rehabilitating it as ‘self-respect’.26 The self-respectful person is true to her own moral judgement; she lives by the commitments she has made hers. Self-respect, in this sense, is a holistic, global trait and it serves the purpose of a meta-virtue which glues the other moral virtues together and makes them stronger—magnifies them. It is a form of selfharmony and inner fortitude. But Russell also explains how self-respect requires certain self-beliefs in the form of evaluative pride; hence once again we are treading in the realm of soft rather than hard self-realism. Etymologically, however, it is odd to use ‘self-respect’ as a proxy for ‘being worthy of great things’, as the word seems to indicate a certain attitude towards yourself, rather than a description of your objective moral features, and hence fall within the rubric of self-concept rather than self. I would prefer to talk, therefore, about the objective part of the megalopsychos’s self-construct as objective self-worth, rather than as self-respect. Regarding the subjective part, a term from contemporary psychology may come in handy, however, as a proxy for subjective self-worth: namely, self-esteem. The standard understanding of self-esteem in psychology is of the perceived ratio of one’s accomplishments to one’s aspirations. Here is, therefore, a more modern-sounding terminology for making sense of the character types that Aristotle demarcates in his chapter on megalopsychia. The megalopsychos and the mikropsychos both have abundant objective self-worth, but whereas the former has (reasonable) moral self-esteem to match it, the latter does not. The vain and the loser both lack objective self-worth; the latter (reasonably) lacks moral self-esteem also, but the former has a surfeit of it. Crisp suggests a complication regarding possible domain-specificity. Someone could be vain in one domain of life, but pusillanimous—a mikropsychos—in another.27 While I agree in principle, I take it that what Aristotle is chiefly interested in is objective self-worth and self-esteem of worth in the domain of moral virtues (rather than, say, the domain of artistic creation or of techné); hence domain discrepancies are less likely to jeopardize this neat 4-type taxonomy. The reconfiguration of megalopsychia as a modern-looking psycho-moral construct serves a purpose, because it enables us to exploit the benefits of the Aristotelian system for conceptualizing various features of contemporary society. We can ask, for example, why mikropsychia, especially among women, is considered one of the great perils of today. In other words, why are so many worthy women unsure of their own worth? The so-called self-esteem industry (of selfhelp and psychotherapeutic notoriety) at the end of the twentieth century ar­gu­ ably went too far in highlighting this facet of our present age. After all, the

26  Daniel Russell, ‘Aristotle on the Moral Relevance of Self-Respect’, in Virtue Ethics, Old and New, ed. Stephen M. Gardiner (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2005), 101–21. 27  Roger Crisp, ‘Aristotle on Greatness of Soul’, in The Blackwell Guide to Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, ed. Richard Kraut (Oxford: Blackwell, 2006), 160.

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Kristján Kristjánsson  273 often-cited meta-analysis by Baumeister and colleagues demonstrated that excessive self-esteem is more psycho-socially damaging than deficient self-esteem.28 This finding, however, does not change the fact that the low moral self-esteem of the mikropsychos is a serious problem, and Aristotle’s account gives us a handle on understanding why this is not only a psychological problem but a moral one: it prevents sufferers from actualizing a major moral virtue. Fetter correctly notes that the mikropsychos (whom he describes as ‘the small-souled man’) does not only harm himself morally; he does harm to his fellow citizens, through his pusillanimity, by depriving them of the benefits of his talents, particularly his capacity for giving significant benefactions to his community.29 Going back in time, an interesting question beckons about why no examples of mikropsychia seem to be identifiable in the vast army of characters described in the Icelandic sagas: stories tracing the history of a ‘heroic society’ that is often juxtaposed with that of ancient Greece.30 This lacuna may well be indicative of some deep sociological truths about the (Bourdieuean) habitus and social capital of societies prone to produce mikropsychia (and perhaps some of the other character types also). Certain social structures and attitudes may, indeed, need to be in place for people’s self-assessments to implode into the sort of narcissistic navelgazing that characterizes the worst of modern inferiority complexes. In any case, these sociological observations remind us of the extent to which Aristotle’s megalopsychia itself is, in part, heteronomously created and sustained, a point to which I return presently. Like all Aristotelian virtues, megalopsychia is made up of various components. However, because it is a meta-virtue, the components are far more complex than in the case of simple moral virtues. The main components in megalopsychia are thus, presumably, the other virtues—with their components, in turn,

28  Roy F. Baumeister, Jennifer D. Campbell, Joachim I. Krueger, and Kathleen D. Vohs, ‘Does High Self-Esteem Cause Better Performance, Interpersonal Success, Happiness, or Healthier Lifestyles?’ Psychological Science in the Public Interest 4, no. 1 (2003): 1–44. 29  James  T.  Fetter, ‘Aristotle’s Great-Souled Man: The Limited Perfection of the Ethical Virtues’, History of Political Thought 36, no. 1 (2015): 11. Cf. also Curzer’s point that justified self-confidence helps people to act even better (morally) than they would otherwise (Aristotle and the Virtues, 134). Notably, some psychologists might grumble about this moralized take on what they would consider a pure psychological problem of an ‘inferiority complex’. However, we are seeing greater willingness than before within personality psychology to question any simple distinction between the psychological and the moral. 30  Contrast here Kristjánsson, ‘Liberating Moral Traditions’, with Alasdair MacIntyre, After Virtue (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1981), chap.  10. The fact that I could not find any mikropsychoi in the large corpus of the Icelandic sagas admittedly does not constitute conclusive evidence. First, I might have missed some. Second, the sagas were written centuries after the events presumably took place (although the historical authenticity is also debated), so mikropsychoi might well have existed in the heroic society itself. Third, the saga writers might well have had some artistic or ideological reasons for not including character descriptions of mikropsychoi; those are for one thing not as exciting to read about as the tales of the great-souled versus the overbearing (with some losers added in for comical effect). Nevertheless, MacIntyre seems to be overly quick in lumping ancient Greek and medieval Icelandic heroic societies together as one of a kind.

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274  Twenty-First-Century Magnanimity serving as sub-components of megalopsychia. What sets megalopsychia apart, most immediately, is its unique combination of overall moral worth and belief in this moral worth qua what I have called moral self-esteem. Most, if not all,31 Aristotelian virtues have a unique emotional component also, however, so what about megalopsychia? Curzer thinks it has none, apart from the emotional aspects of other virtues as sub-components, thus making megalopsychia incompatible with Aristotle’s taxonomy of character traits.32 I am puzzled why Curzer makes this move. He seems to be motivated to do so by focusing exclusively on the two aforementioned components of moral worth and belief in that moral worth. However, there is—it seems to me—another unique component running through the whole chapter on megalopsychia, a component that is essentially emotional. I would call this component pridefulness (qua broad emotional personality trait), to distinguish it from simple pride as an episodic emotion and from a narrow disposition to experience that specific episodic emotion.33 The megalopsychoi are not only proud here and now of their accomplishments or possess a general trait towards such pride; they are acutely prideful, in the sense of caring about their pride and being prone to a host of selfconscious emotions having to do with satisfied or frustrated honours. They are, so to speak, proud of their own pride and expect recognition of it from others. The references to the megalopsychos’s strong (albeit, ex hypothesi, not overly but medially strong) emotional concern with justified honours are simply too many to circumvent;34 and there is a reason why some scholars have simply wanted to translate ‘megalopsychia’ as ‘pride’.35 Tolland may slightly understate this point when he says that the megalopsychos ‘essentially strives for what is honourable; honours are merely a fringe benefit’.36 More accurately, the megalopsychos strives for being honoured for what is truly honourable. The megalopsychoi are osten­ sibly concerned about winning their colours, and this emotional motivation ­permeates and sustains their virtuousness.37 To return to Curzer, he may be 31  The social-glue virtues of friendliness, truthfulness about oneself, and wit (Aristotle, NE, 107–14 [1126b11–1128b8]) may constitute exceptions, by not possessing a unique emotional component. 32 Curzer, Aristotle and the Virtues, 131. 33 Kristjánsson, Justifying Emotions, chap. 4. 34  See e.g. Aristotle, NE, 98–9, 103–4 [1123b15–24, 1124a4–5, 1125a34–5]. 35  Although Aristotle’s idealized description of shame reduces it to a virtue for moral learners only (since phronimoi, let alone megalopsychoi, should, in principle, have nothing left to be ashamed of), and Aristotle does not discuss justified jealousy as a potentially benign extension of envy (Kristjánsson, Justifying Emotions, chap.  5), I take it that ‘real-world’ megalopsychoi may be prone to feelings of shame and jealousy (and other self-conscious emotions) as part of their pridefulness trait. 36 Anders Tolland, ‘A Defense of Aristotelian Pride’, in Johanssonian Investigations: Essays in Honour of Ingvar Johansson on His Seventieth Birthday, eds Christer Svennerlind, Jan Almäng, and Rögnvaldur Ingthorsson (Heusenstamm: Ontos Verlag, 2013), 671. 37  Aquinas famously put a positive Christian spin on this feature by linking the honour sought by the megalopsychos for great deeds of virtue to the Christian passion of hope (as well as confidence). See Michael Lamb, ‘A Passion and Its Virtue: Aquinas on Hope and Magnanimity’, in Hope: Claremont Studies in the Philosophy of Religion, Conference 2014, eds Ingolf U. Dalferth and Marlene A. Block (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2016), 77–88, for references and a commentary.

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Kristján Kristjánsson  275 committing the same misstep here as Alexander Sarch has identified in the case of Roger Crisp’s treatment of megalopsychia:38 namely, to disregard or downplay that facet of megalopsychia which has to do with the megalopsychos’s (proper, i.e. medial) regard for honour and esteem, and how the emotion instantiating this regard, which I call pridefulness, is an integral part—and internal to the motives—of the megalopsychos’s unique virtuousness. However, because honour constitutes the greatest external good for the megalopsychos—presumably alongside friendship39—megalopsychia becomes an extremely fragile and vicissitudinal virtue (see further in sections 3 and 4 below).40 Now, obviously, any Aristotelian virtue is susceptible to moral luck; after all those who maintain that we can flourish ‘when we are broken on the wheel, or  fall into terrible misfortunes, provided that we are good [. . .] are talking nonsense’.41 To be sure, megalopsychia—like other Aristotelian virtues—needs to have an autonomous quality about it to count as a virtue; it must have been chosen and thought through (via phronesis) by the individual, rather than being just a natural or habituated trait of character. Yet if I am right in that self-­ conscious emotions animate megalopsychia and set it apart, this gives the virtue a particularly heteronomously tainted status. For the idea of the megalopsychos’s own self—with its pridefulness trait—as distinct from, but still essentially of the same kind as, those of others must derive from the possibility of evaluating his self and its existential connections as equal, superior, or inferior to theirs, and such an evaluation will be psychologically dependent upon external criteria for  both its formation and sustenance.42 This acknowledgement seems to take Aristotle’s idea of the megalopsychos’s selfhood right into Humean territory; for after famously deconstructing the idea of a metaphysical self in Book I of his Treatise, Hume revived the idea of a moral, emotionally driven, self in Book II,43 a self that is created and sustained precisely by the self-conscious emotions of pride and shame. There is a final complication here which is of considerable modern interest. Suppose I am right in that Aristotle’s characterization of the megalopsychos neatly bridges the gap between hard self-realism and anti-self-realism, by assuming that both objective self-worth and subjective self-concept matter for full selfhood. Suppose also that I am right in that the objective-self comprises the broad emotional trait of pridefulness, incorporating a number of self-conscious emotions. What about the self-concept (moral self-esteem) part, then? Is that only composed 38  Contrast Alexander Sarch, ‘What’s Wrong with Megalopsychia?’ Philosophy 83, no. 2 (2008): 231–53, with Crisp, ‘Aristotle on Greatness of Soul’. 39 Aristotle, NE, 257 [1169b11]. 40  Cf. May Sim, ‘Rethinking Honor with Aristotle and Confucius’, Review of Metaphysics 66, no. 2 (2012): 263–80, for an interesting comparison between Aristotle and Confucius on this point. 41 Aristotle, NE, 21, 203 [1099a32, 1153b19–21]. 42  Cf. Kristjánsson, The Self, 48–9. 43 Hume, Treatise, 253, 286.

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276  Twenty-First-Century Magnanimity of beliefs (about our moral worth)? Here is the complication. A lot of current empirical research has revealed a gaping gap between explicit self-esteem (as indicated by standard self-report questionnaires) and so-called implicit self-esteem (as indicated by, arguably, more objective implicit measures). Many p ­ eople thus seem either deceitful or self-deceived about their true level of self-esteem. One way to explain this discrepancy is to assume that the ‘perceived ratio of accomplishments to aspirations’ does not only refer to conscious beliefs but also, and perhaps more importantly, to unconscious beliefs, lurking irretrievably below the waterline of overt self-evaluation. The problem is that references to ‘unconscious beliefs’ are—post-Freud—typically viewed askance in contemporary psychology. A more plausible hypothesis is that implicit self-esteem is made up of background emotions of pride and shame, persistently colouring our appraisal of what we have achieved and what our worth is.44 But this hypothesis seems to create an oddity. I have just argued that the megalopsychos’s objective self-worth includes pridefulness. Now I am saying that the megalopsychos’s moral self-esteem also includes pridefulness. Does this not undermine—or somehow transcend—the distinction between self-realism and anti-self-realism? If both self and self-concept essentially comprise the same emotions, where is the supposed dichotomy? Far from making the dichotomy redundant, I consider the case of megalopsychia to strengthen it. The key to unravelling this oddity is the realization that a self-conscious emotion such as pride is essentially Janus-faced: it is at once outward-looking as a motivator and inward-looking as an evaluator. This is precisely why a possible complaint about an aspiring megalopsychos that he ‘needs more pride’ could mean either of two things. It could mean that he needs stronger self-worth (on the above objective understanding) to steer him towards virtuous deeds, or that he needs to evaluate his moral worth more positively. The self-conscious emotions such as pride are simultaneously part of the actual full self and of self-concept (where they have the actual full self as their intentional and attitudinal object). This is the basic insight of what I call ‘soft self-realism’ and want to ascribe (however anachronistically) to Aristotle. His description of the megalopsychos’s selfhood shows modern moral psychologists how we can have the best of both worlds: acknowledge the existence and relevance of both an objective (moral) self and subjective self-concept, but understand how those are interrelated through the self-conscious emotions, which serve at once as a substantive piece of furniture in the moral self and a mirror which reflects that furniture.

44  See Kristjánsson, The Self, chap. 5.

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Kristján Kristjánsson  277

3.  Moral Education: Developmental Levels and Individualization Character education is high on current educational agendas, and although some of it is blatantly instrumentalist, focused on performative and communicative skills that Aristotle would have designated as mere techné, there are also efforts underway to retrieve Aristotelian forms of character education.45 Famously, Aristotle claimed that the purpose of moral inquiry ‘is not to know what virtue is, but to become good, since otherwise the inquiry would be of no benefit to us’.46 In Aristotelianism, then, character education is not an extraneous addition to an understanding of morality or the study of moral philosophy—it is, rather, what such understanding and study are all about. This approach is quite different from that of many contemporary moral philosophers, even of a virtue ethical bent, who seem to think of potential engagement with moral education in terms of sticking their heads needlessly above the philosophical parapet. There are notable exceptions here, such as Curzer, who devotes large chunks of his book to issues of moral education, and Annas, who reminds readers that virtue ethics, at least of the Aristotelian kind, is essentially ‘developmental’.47 Although Aristotle makes no distinct moral-education claims in his discussion of megalopsychia, I will use this section to rhapsodize about some developmental and educational lessons that I think can be gleaned from it. I mentioned earlier one of the reasons why Kohlberg’s erstwhile overarching and priestly paradigm of moral development has fallen into disrepute: its weakness in predicting actual behaviour. Aristotelians will find other more pressing faults with Kohlberg and his Kantian inheritance, as they are not all that keen on the goal of predicting behaviour in the first place. They are obviously keener on ascertaining whether a moral action is performed for the right reason and motivated by the correct emotions. That said, many moral educators—even those subscribing broadly to the Aristotelian character-education camp—­ clamour for the old days when moral functioning was considered fairly straightforward to conceptualize and measure: as falling into one of the discrete stages of Kohlbergian development. Thus, Sanderse has tried to offer a comparable Aristotelian stage theory of moral development, and I have come close to that temptation in the past also.48 Recent commentators have problematized a 45  See e.g. Kristjánsson, Aristotelian Character Education. 46 Aristotle, NE, 35 [1103b27–9]. 47 Curzer, Aristotle and the Virtues; Annas, ‘Applying Virtue’, 7. Cf. also Annas’s accessible and helpful (although by no means uncontroversial) introductory text on Aristotle-based virtue ethics, which contains a strong educational undercurrent: Julia Annas, Intelligent Virtue (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011). 48 Wouter Sanderse, ‘An Aristotelian Model of Moral Development’, Journal of Philosophy of Education 49, no. 3 (2015): 382–98; Kristján Kristjánsson, Aristotle, Emotions, and Education (Aldershot: Ashgate/Routledge, 2007).

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278  Twenty-First-Century Magnanimity stage-theory interpretation of Aristotle and consider his descriptions of moral levels as shorthand idealizations rather than depictions of real people.49 On this anti-idealization reading, each virtue comprises various different components, where individuals can be strong on one (say, on proper emotion) but weaker on another (say, on putting emotion into action). Rarely will all those components align in perfect harmony in a person;50 thus the multi-component view seems to cast doubt on the usefulness of a stage-theory model. That said, Curzer51 makes a stab at defining various levels of moral development, ranging from the many (hoí polloí)52 and the generous-minded (eleutherios) to the incontinent, continent, those with natural (habituated but non-phronesisinfused) virtue, to the properly virtuous and, above them, to those with superhuman or heroic virtue. Notice that Curzer is not saying that everyone needs to progress through those levels in the same order, Kohlberg-style, without skipping any of them, or that most people’s moral functioning can be ‘operationalized’ so as to fall overall within a given stage; nevertheless being aware of those milestones may help in getting a handle on the normal trajectory of moral development. Incidentally, I do not agree with Curzer that ‘it is reasonable to equate the megalopsychos with the person of superhuman, heroic virtue’,53 as specified by Aristotle,54 although it shares some of the same super-virtuous characteristics. As I see it, megalopsychia is a characteristically human virtue—while confined to a privileged group of human beings—hence, I favour Crisp’s interpretation of it as a higher-level phronetic virtue, but an essentially non-divine one.55 Curzer also identifies another multi-level theory in Aristotle’s account of moral development, having to do with possible levels of well-being as functions of (a) virtuous character and (b) moral luck. Those levels range, at the bottom, from the misery of those without good fortune and any compensating virtue, up to mere lack of flourishing for those with bad fortune but compensating virtue or good fortune without virtuous activity, further up to flourishing for those with sufficient good luck and virtuous activity, to the top level of blessedness for those with bonus goods of fortune and virtuous activity.56 Again, it might have been helpful 49  See in particular Howard J. Curzer, ‘Against Idealisation in Virtue Ethics’, in Varieties of Virtue Ethics, eds David Carr, James Arthur, and Kristján Kristjánsson (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017), 52–73. 50  This tallies with Aristotle’s own observation that the majority of agents will, at any given time, fall somewhere between the levels of incontinence and continence (NE, 190 [1150a15]). 51 Curzer, Aristotle and the Virtues, chap. 15. 52  Below this first level of moral development are, obviously, more depraved levels such as those of the vicious and the brutish. 53 Curzer, Aristotle and the Virtues, 127. 54 Aristotle, NE, 172 [1145a18–20]. 55  Crisp, ‘Aristotle on Greatness of Soul’, 163–4, 167. 56 Curzer, Aristotle and the Virtues, 420–3. Somewhat surprisingly, in the Rhetoric (On Rhetoric, trans. George  A.  Kennedy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), 150 [1389a29–32]), Aristotle ascribes megalopsychia to the young, ‘for they have not yet been worn down by life’ and think themselves worthy of great things. Obviously, on his own theory of virtue development, the young cannot even be phronimoi, let alone megalopsychoi. Perhaps Aristotle is here simply reporting on the general view, or using the term metaphorically. In any case, there is good reason not to consider the Rhetoric a systematic moral treatise on a par with the Nicomachean Ethics.

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Kristján Kristjánsson  279 to complement this level-theory with a component-view of well-being, according to which a person might be considered to have, so to speak, one foot at one level and another at another level. For example, while the megalopsychoi seem to be equipped with some of the psychological and material repertoire to reach the level of blessedness, other features will be holding them back, as I explain in section 4, and even prevent them from leading fully flourishing lives. How do you prepare someone, through character education, for leading a life as a megalopsychos? Aristotle is adamant about the relativity of the intermediate state of virtue to developmental level and individual circumstance. ‘Each state [of character] has its own special [view of] what is fine and pleasant’.57 Temperance in eating is not the same for Milo the athlete as for the university professor, because what is intermediate in virtue is such relative to the individual, ‘not in the object’.58 And a boxing instructor will not ‘impose the same way of fighting on everyone’.59 So ‘ought’ seems to imply ‘can’ for Aristotle just as for Kant. For some reason, however, these points are rarely foregrounded in contemporary versions of Aristotelian character education, which are often about imposing ‘the same way of fighting’ on a whole class of diverse moral learners. There is no better place to be reminded of the necessary individualization of Aristotelian character education than in the chapter about megalopsychia. Aspiring megalopsychoi need to be a pretty unique bunch of people. It is clear from Aristotle’s description that they need to be blessed with an abundance of moral luck in the form of riches, and other material wherewithal, to be able to do what will be morally expected of them in terms of exhibiting magnificence (grand-scale largesse) in ways that are brilliant and serve the public good.60 However detached and self-sufficient the megalopsychoi want to consider themselves with respect to the external goods in question, their specific moral mission could never get off the ground without them. Although spectacular deeds of the kind expected of the megalopsychoi do not necessarily require enormous wealth and power,61 one clearly needs straw to make bricks; and I would argue that the strict demands placed upon the magnificent and megalopsychoi as public bene­ factors exclude the possibility of the majority of moral learners ever reaching the level in question. Although Aristotle does not mention this, except obliquely with his (humorous?) references to the walking styles and voices of the megalopsychoi, those also clearly need to be what Curzer calls ‘larger than life’ characters.62 One cannot consider persons who are overly shy or diffident to qualify as potential candidates for megalopsychoi. It requires a certain personality profile, and we know nowadays that such profiles are much more difficult to alter than moral 57 Aristotle, NE, 65 [1113b31–3]. 58 Aristotle, NE, 43 [1106b1–7]. 59 Aristotle, NE, 295 [1180b9–11]. 60  I follow Curzer, Aristotle and the Virtues, in understanding magnificence (megaloprepeia) and megalopsychia as complementary and synergic virtues that will be exhibited by the same group of people. 61 Curzer, Aristotle and the Virtues, 124. 62 Curzer, Aristotle and the Virtues, 121.

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280  Twenty-First-Century Magnanimity character.63 So, all in all, moral educators will ideally need to single out potential megalopsychoi and subject them to special treatment. Does this make megalopsychia a privileged and elitist virtue? That is a doublebarrelled question, and my inclination would be to maintain that whereas megalopsychia is, in a certain sense, a privileged virtue, it is not elitist, in an ordinary sense of the word. It is not elitist for the same reason that it is not elitist to single out persons with a special physique and train them to be Olympic athletes, while others, who we realize would never make the grade, however hard they trained, are left behind. As Russell points out,64 all virtues require habits and skills suited to one’s individual situation. To be sure, having a certain social prominence, economic status, and personality profile makes one a fit candidate for moral coaching as a megalopsychos, but that is a ‘privilege’ which comes with many burdens (as I explain in section 4).65 Indeed, if what we are after in life is ordinary flourishing and happiness, there may be good reasons for counting oneself lucky not to qualify as a potential megalopsychos—just as there may be good reasons for counting oneself lucky not to be a musical or athletic prodigy. Russell’s whole paper constitutes an extensive and compelling counterargument against an elitist interpretation of megalopsychia.66 In my view, for training towards megalopsychia to count as truly elitist, the predicament of budding phronimoi without megalopsychia would have to count as inferior, in major respects, to that of budding megalopsychoi. However, although the former is inferior in some respects (with regard to potential honours, for example), it seems to be superior in other respects, for example in terms of the time the ‘mere’ phronimoi will have for contemplation and for the ordinary niceties of daily life (a point to which I return below).

4.  Moral Philosophy: Role-Based Moralities—Blessings and Burdens The exact role of rules and duties in virtue ethical theories in general, and Aristotelian ones in particular, remains controversial. Many Aristotelians look down their noses at the very idea of a rule-and-duty-based morality and see it 63  Although one’s Big-Five personality profile is not set in stone, it would take something akin to a miracle, for example, to change a consistent introvert into an extrovert. 64 Daniel Russell, ‘Aristotle’s Virtues of Greatness’, Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy, Supplementary volume (2012): 142. 65  Ryan Hanley, ‘Aristotle on the Greatness of Greatness of Soul,’ History of Political Thought 23, no. 1 (2002): 15–20, argues that, implicitly, megalopsychia is presented as a virtue to which the youth of Athens should aspire. I would resist this conclusion and maintain that, given what I said earlier about the unique psycho-social make-up of the megalopsychoi, they make, across the board, for pretty unhelpful role models. 66  Russell, ‘Aristotle’s Virtues of Greatness’.

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Kristján Kristjánsson  281 going against the grain of virtue ethics. For example, Annas has recently argued strongly against understanding the role of virtues in terms of creating moral duties. She does accept the relevance of duties in specific, well-defined spheres of life, in particular within professional practice, but she calls it ‘duty creep’ when the language of duties and rules is transferred from there to the general moral realm of human association—where it is out of place from a virtue ethical perspective.67 She is not simply making a linguistic point about the need to reinterpret duties as ‘required moral aspirations’, the absence of which signals moral failure. She thinks ‘duties’ have a perfectly legitimate (deontological) understanding in the realm of professional practice, but that this deontological baggage cannot simply be undone when speaking about ordinary moral ‘duties’. Therefore, duty-and-rules talk should be banished from a general virtue ethical discourse about the moral aspirations which the virtues represent. Curzer is more conciliatory towards rule-and-duty talk. Indeed, he thinks rules are lurking at various significant junctures within Aristotelian virtue ethics, or as he puts it, they are ‘sprinkled’ throughout the Nicomachean Ethics.68 He does think, however, that rule assimilation is a late stage in the moral developmental process, and that instilling the right attitudes in moral learners ‘requires virtuous people and precedes the understanding of rules’.69 Curzer considers these concessions to be innocuous in the sense of their not undermining the status of Aristotle either as the founder of virtue ethics or as a moderate particularist.70 I do not propose to enter this potential debate about Aristotle’s virtue ethics. I  must admit, however, that I have no particular compunction about adopting Crisp’s language of considering the virtuous person as having a ‘duty’ to do what is virtuous71—as long as we are mindful of the fact that we are not talking about a Kantian duty here. I think ordinary language is pretty relaxed about what ‘duty’ can mean, and I am not sure it is helpful to avoid that flexibility in the service of theoretical purity.72 The point I want to raise here is, rather, that I am deeply sceptical of Annas’s attempt to separate role-based morality, for instance within the ambit of professional ethics, from the morality of non-role-encumbered moral agents engaging with one another, guided by free-floating virtues only. Consider her example of the general virtue-based moral aspiration you should

67  Annas, ‘Applying Virtue’, 10. 68  Howard  J.  Curzer, ‘Rules Lurking at the Heart of Aristotle’s Virtue Ethics’, Apeiron 49, no. 1 (2016): 67. 69  Curzer, ‘Rules’, 65. 70  Curzer, ‘Rules’, 58. 71  Roger Crisp, ‘Supererogation and Virtue’, in Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics, vol. 3, ed. Mark Timmons (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), 13–34. 72  On the perils of excessive theoretical linguistic purity in philosophy, see this intriguing parable: Liz Gulliford, ‘The Word Thief ’, in Dual-Process Theories in Moral Psychology: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Theoretical, Empirical and Practical Considerations, ed. Cordula Brand (Wiesbaden: Springer, 2016), 433–5.

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282  Twenty-First-Century Magnanimity have to save a child from drowning in a pond.73 The way she illustrates the ­example almost trivializes it; you have sufficient time and opportunity to save the child at almost no cost to yourself (except by ruining your new expensive clothes). Yet, even in this case the status of the passer-by is not completely roleneutral; she occupies the role of a passer-by of a certain sort in a certain kind of situation. We only need to complicate the example slightly to bring this out more clearly. We always approach a moral situation from the vantage point of some socio-moral role: as a parent, child, friend, colleague, casual passer-by, etc. A parent will be morally expected to tie the loose shoe-laces of her own child but not of all the children with loose shoe-laces in the neighbourhood. Similarly, if there were two children drowning in the pond, one of them her own child, and the passer-by could only save one of them, the virtuous thing to do would ar­gu­ ably be to save her own child, precisely because of her role as the child’s mother. Someone might want to argue that the ‘role’ (if that is the right word) of Annas’s casual passer-by can only be defined by the absence of the explicit roles that the person might have been occupying, as a doctor, say, or a close relative—and that, hence, the casual passer-by comes close to Annas’s conception of the nonrole-encumbered virtuous agent. My counter-argument would be that what we expect morally from the virtuous passer-by also depends on the situation-dependent role he finds himself in. Is he a swimmer? Can he save the child easily and without danger?—and so forth. Annas has already defined the ‘role’ of the passer-by in the way she sets up the story. All moralities are, in significant respects, role moralities—and it would be disingenuous of virtue ethicists, of all people, to try to suppress that feature of moral life. MacIntyre famously argued74 that there is something unique about heroic society, such as those of ancient Greece and medieval Iceland, in this regard, where the (Hegelian) distinction between Sittlichkeit and Moralität has simply evaporated and people—deprived of any moral ‘hidden depths’—are not psychosocially equipped to think outside of their well-defined social roles. I have argued elsewhere that MacIntyre overblows this characteristic of ‘heroic societies’, and that there are, for example, various examples in the Icelandic sagas of persons pondering deep moral quandaries about what to do.75 However, such examples of moral ambivalence need not indicate that people have stepped out of role morality altogether, but rather that moral roles commonly conflict and that it is often not clear which of the parallel roles that one occupies at any given time should take moral precedence. Although I see, therefore, nothing morally unique about these heroic societies, there is no denying the fact that the description of the role of the megalopsychoi in ancient Greece provides an exceptionally clear example of the nature, blessings, 73  Annas, ‘Applying Virtue’, 9. 74 MacIntyre, After Virtue, chap. 10. 75  Kristjánsson, ‘Liberating Moral Traditions’.

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Kristján Kristjánsson  283 and burdens of occupying a clearly specified moral role. More specifically, they are the prime examples of the demanding duties—or required aspirations, if you prefer—of noblesse oblige. Because of their socio-economic status and personality features, they are cast in a certain role in society, and this role calls for specific actions from them, not supererogatorily, but directly and overridingly, precisely because of who they are. Whereas the ordinary phronimoi, given their means and abilities, can stick to their last and instantiate the virtues that are possible for them, the megalopsychoi must not dodge the column but rather address their extra responsibilities head-on. Those involve the building of temples, sponsoring of public ceremonies, and rushing in where others dare not, or cannot, tread: tirelessly pulling chestnuts out of the fire for their fellow citizens. In doing so, they need, as Pakaluk puts it, to ‘pare away the small things that clutter up one’s time and occupy one’s attention’ and devote themselves, first and foremost, to ‘the ­larger and more important matters’.76 Philanthropy, public benefaction, and deeds of grandeur, requiring courage and spectacular effort, are their cups of tea. Meanwhile, however, the smaller virtues and the more subtle niceties of life fall by the wayside. The point is not that the megalopsychoi do not care to deign to them; they simply have no time for them. Or even if they, strictly speaking, did have time for them, they will see that time—between the outbursts of spectacular deeds—better spent resting and recuperating for the next big effort. This does not mean that the megalopsychoi do not possess all the ordinary virtues. In fact, they possess them in ironclad form and to an unusual degree. However, possessing a virtuous trait and being able to display it are two distinct things. We are constantly faced with virtue dilemmas where one virtue has to be chosen at the expense of others. A significant function of phronesis is to orchestrate and oversee such choices. So, although judges have to sacrifice compassion for justice because of their role, and nurses or best friends have to forgo justice and opt for compassion because of their roles, it does not mean that these moral agents do not possess the other (suppressed) virtue also; it simply gets squeezed out or silenced because of the overriding role-relevant requirements. The megalopsychoi present an extreme case here. Because of the moral expectation placed on them to be on a constant vigilance to cater for the greatest needs of their fellow citizens, they are forced to declutter and prioritize like no one else. This necessity can, however, easily be misunderstood and misinterpreted. Consider gratitude: a virtue that has come under the spotlight recently in philosophy and psychology,77 even being given pride of place by some as the ‘parent’ of the virtues. While that is probably an exaggeration, there is no denying the

76  Pakaluk, ‘The Meaning of Aristotelian Magnanimity’, 266. 77  For an overview, see Liz Gulliford, Blaire Morgan, and Kristján Kristjánsson, ‘Some Recent Work on the Concept of Gratitude in Philosophy and Psychology’, Journal of Value Inquiry 47, no. 3 (2013): 285–317.

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284  Twenty-First-Century Magnanimity standing of gratitude as an important social-glue virtue, representative of good character.78 One of the most potentially damaging descriptions of the megalopsychoi is, therefore, about their lack of gratitude towards others: their disposition simply to forget the gifts they receive.79 Roberts considers that disposition nothing less than symptomatic of a moral pathology, and he dismisses the megalopsychoi as control freaks and power addicts.80 He does not realize that in order to be selective enough—so that they can benefit as many people around them as humanly possible in noble, grand, and spectacular ways81—they abandon gratitude, or more precisely, it gets silenced by the requirement to do something grander with their time than beavering away at saying thank you to others, or cluttering their minds with thoughts of indebtedness.82 So far is this suppression of ordinary gratitude from being indicative of aloofness towards others, let alone a desire to dominate them, that the megalosychos finds it ‘proper’ to ‘ask for nothing, or hardly anything, but to help eagerly’.83 Apart from psychological suppression, another clever strategy that the megalopsychoi use is to quickly return more goods than they receive, thus pre-empting the need for gratitude.84 Moreover, control-freakish displays ‘of strength against the weak’ are written off by Aristotle himself as ‘vulgar’ and contrary to megalopsychia.85 There is a serious sting in the tail here, however. The blessings of being someone who is able to devote one’s life to the greatest and most urgent needs of one’s fellow human beings come with a burden. The requirement to be indefatigably at others’ beck and call makes it highly likely that one ends up emptying one’s psycho-moral coffers. The megalopsychoi are in a position similar to that of emergency medics and front-line soldiers—people who stand in acute danger of burn-out as a result of carrying an albatross of extreme moral aspirations around their necks. The sombre implication of this fact stares at the reader from Aristotle’s description of the megalopsychoi: they are simply not happy people (in an everyday subjective sense). I explain in more detail shortly why that is the case, but let me first make clear why I have not reached a recognizably un-Aristotelian conclusion here. Is subjective happiness not supposed to supervene on and complete the

78  Although Aristotle himself does not specify gratitude as a component of virtue, let alone as a virtue in itself, he makes positive remarks about it in his Rhetoric. In any case, displays of gratitude would normally be called for as part of Aristotle’s own social-glue virtue of friendliness (see further in Kristjánsson, Virtuous Emotions, chap.  3, where I argue that it would not be un-Aristotelian to go beyond Aristotle himself and consider gratitude a fully virtuous emotion). 79 Aristotle, NE, 101 [1124b13–14]. 80  Robert  C.  Roberts, ‘The Blessings of Gratitude: A Conceptual Analysis’, in The Psychology of Gratitude, eds Robert  A.  Emmons and Michael  E.  McCullough (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), 58–78; ‘Gratitude, Friendship, and Mutuality: Reflections on Three Characters from Bleak House,’ in The Moral Psychology of Gratitude, Robert  C.  Roberts and Daniel Telech (Lanham; New York: Rowman and Littlefield, 2019), 317–37. 81  Cf. Curzer, ‘A Great Philosopher’s Not So Great Account’, 524–5. 82 Kristjánsson, Virtuous Emotions, chap. 3. 83 Aristotle, NE, 101 [1124b17–18]. 84 Aristotle, NE, 101 [1124b11–13]. 85 Aristotle, NE, 102 [1124b22–3].

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Kristján Kristjánsson  285 possession of the moral virtues ‘like the bloom on youths’?86 Yes, but a very important Aristotelian qualification tends to be forgotten. Aristotle explicitly says that ‘it is not true that the active exercise of every virtue is pleasant; it is pleasant only in so far as we attain the end’.87 So grand and ambitious are the efforts aspired to by the megalopsychoi that not all of them are likely to bear fruit; and even if they do, the ineliminable tension between the exercise of the grand virtues and the smaller niceties that must be decluttered will cast a constant chill over their lives. Therefore, the ‘end’ of virtuous activity will often not be reached, and the ‘bloom’ of pleasure will not appear.88 The problem may run deeper than simply that of internal tensions and running out of puff in the domain of the moral virtues. Famously, Aristotle’s Book 10 claim is that exercising the moral virtues is not sufficient for full, supreme flourishing; we also (and more significantly) need the intellectual activity of contemplation (theoria). Now, Aristotelian scholars famously debate the extent to which contemplation requires ruminations on unchangeable and divine things. To what extent do reflections on the fundamental principles of human existence suffice?89 However, even if we accept the most inclusive interpretation, the megalopsychoi will have little if any time for philosophizing at all, even about the true nature of ordinary things. It is, I submit, no coincidence that the most telling sign of the megalopsychos’s detached, world-weary, and melancholy attitude to life is that ‘he finds nothing great’.90 He finds nothing great because he is debarred from engaging in the sort of self-transcendent contemplative activity that uncovers the wonder-filled nature of true greatness. Again, because of his unique moral role, he has no time for it. It is not as if the megalopsychos is incapable of all self-transcendence. Quite the contrary, he is the paragon of what we might call ‘horizontal self-transcendence’: merging his moral self-concept with that of

86 Aristotle, NE, 276 [1174b32–5]. I think that Aristotle’s thesis about the relationship between objective and subjective well-being may stand in need of a serious overhaul. For example, I have criticized it elsewhere (Kristján Kristjánsson, ‘Flourishing as the Aim of Education: Towards an Extended, “Enchanted” Aristotelian Account’, Oxford Review of Education 42, no. 6 (2016): 707–20) for not being attentive to cases of what I call ‘exquisite wretchedness’: cases where agents experience true (aweinspired) subjective happiness in default of a eudaimonic ballast of moral virtue. 87 Aristotle, NE, 79 [1117b15–16]; cf. Curzer, Aristotle and the Virtues, 38–42, 329–31. 88  This consideration may give us reason to modify standard Aristotelian claims about the motivational unity of virtuous agents. Even if those are united to a certain extent (by dint of the integrative function of phronesis), in comparison with the merely continent, the ‘unity’ reached will be painful and involve ineliminable residues of regret. My sympathies are with David Carr’s take on this issue (‘Virtue, Mixed Emotions and Moral Ambivalence’, Philosophy 84, no. 1 (2009): 31–46), rather than Annas’s in Intelligent Virtue, as the latter seems to over-simplify the moral non-ambivalence of the virtuous. See further in Kristján Kristjánsson, Virtues and Vices in Positive Psychology: A Philosophical Critique (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), chap. 7.3. 89  See critical overviews in Curzer, Aristotle and the Virtues, chap. 18; Kristjánsson, Aristotelian Character Education, chap. 5. 90 Aristotle, NE, 102 [1125a3]. Cf. also the description of the megalopsychos as a kataphronetikos: a person who is, deep down, contemptuous of all worldly goods (Aristotle, NE, 100 [1124a10–19]; cf. Pakaluk, ‘The Meaning of Aristotelian Magnanimity’, 260).

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286  Twenty-First-Century Magnanimity other people. However, ‘not prone to marvel’—that is, not prone to experience ‘wonder’91—he is incapable of ‘vertical self-transcendence’: embedding his selfconcept in higher truths.92 Great-hearted he may be, but great-minded he is not, because of the resulting intellectual hollowness at the core of his being. Or to put it more bluntly and provocatively: the megalopsychos is unhappy primarily because, by being unable to practise the perfection of reason, he is a philistine! The comment that the megalopsychos likes ‘fine and unproductive’ possessions93 does not really speak against this interpretation. Presumably, because the megalopsychos ‘counts nothing great’,94 he is not a connoisseur of beautiful things. Rather his collection of fine items sounds tokenistic: a declaration of contempt for ordinary, useful worldly possessions. James Fetter advances the hypothesis that Aristotle wrote his chapter on megalopsychia explicitly as an object lesson on the point that practising the moral virtues alone—even to an extreme and meticulous degree—is itself imperfect and inferior to a life which combines the intellectual virtue of contemplation with the moral virtues.95 I find myself in broad but uneasy agreement with the thrust of Fetter’s argument. Aristotle did not have a particular knack for dropping hints, so I think that if this is what he intended the chapter to show, he would have said it outright. However, even if he did not intend to expose the shortcomings of a life of mere moral virtue in this chapter, I agree with Fetter that this is implicitly what the chapter does. It blows the whistle on the perils of philistinism. Pakaluk detects the inklings of an interest to philosophize in the megalopsychos’s demeanour;96 I see none. Even when the megalopsychos does potentially have time, between his dazzling deeds, to contemplate, he has had no training in it and does not know how to practise it; hence he just remains idle, finding nothing sufficiently worthwhile to fill his time between the spectacular outbursts of moral energy.97 Or as Aristotle puts it, the megalopsychos is ‘inactive and lethargic except for some great honour or achievement’.98 The megalopsychos is curiously misdeveloped, therefore. His hyper-sensitive moral wisdom has little theoretical wisdom to complement it; this is why, in the end, he cuts a rather sad, lonesome, and tragic figure.

5.  Concluding Remarks Megalopsychia is a divisive trait of character that scholars tend to either demonize or deify. Until recently, at least, the former voices were louder. In the haste,

91 Aristotle, NE, 102 [1125a3]. 92  Cf. Kristjánsson, ‘Flourishing’. 93 Aristotle, NE, 102 [1125a12–13]. 94 Aristotle, NE, 103 [1125a14]. 95  Fetter, ‘Aristotle’s Great-Souled Man’, 2. 96  Pakaluk, ‘The Meaning of Aristotelian Magnanimity’, 267. 97  Cf. Fetter, ‘Aristotle’s Great-Souled Man’, 24; Crisp, ‘Aristotle on Greatness of Soul’, 175. 98 Aristotle, NE, 102 [1124b24–5].

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Kristján Kristjánsson  287 however, to throw out the bathwater, the baby may have gone missing too. I have argued in this chapter that there is a lot to learn for us moderns, both academics and laypeople, from the contours of Aristotle’s description of his crown of the moral virtues. I have not gone as far as Wilcken in wanting to ‘rehabilitate’ the virtue;99 I have a more measured view of it now than before.100 However, just as the concept of virtue itself has again come into respectable use of late, untethered from its unfortunate nineteenth-century connotations,101 I hope that we can learn to appreciate megalopsychia afresh as a great reservoir of psychological, educational, and moral truths, without necessarily wanting to accommodate it wholesale into neo-Aristotelian theory. Let me end by rehearsing two reasons why megalopsychia is of such modern appositeness. First, because of the relevant affluence of contemporary societies, but coupled with increased inequalities, more people than ever before now have both the means and the ideal opportunities to practise magnanimity on a grand scale. Megalopsychia reminds us of the extensive moral aspirations that such ­people are required to take on, in order to remain virtuous, and the privileges involved in being a public benefactor. However, it also shows us the dark side of those aspirations, where being a grandiose goody-two-shoes can constitute a stiffening process—a sort of mental starch—that prevents the people involved from developing their more fine-grained moral virtues and engaging in the leisurely philosophizing—the staring in wonder at the esoteric—that completes a good life. Megalopsychia thus brings home to us the delicate and, in many ways, uneasy relationship between moral virtue and subjective well-being. Contra Nussbaum,102 I see no particular beauty in the essential fragility of the human condition. It would be so much better if the megalopsychoi could both satisfy the demands of their role and marvel leisurely at high-brow principles. But there are simply too many fires burning in today’s world and too many chestnuts to pull out of those fires. The vicissitudes of moral luck continue to play tricks on us, and the ‘gift’ of extremely good fortune can, in more senses than one, be considered a ‘Greek gift’ nowadays, just as it was 2,300 years ago. That said, megalopsychia does not constitute a full-blown counter-example to a thesis about a harmony between objective and subjective well-being. Although the megalopsychoi satisfy the main preconditions for an objectively flourishing life, namely external necessities and a clear moral purpose, and the substantive condition of possessing moral virtues (indeed in magnified forms) alongside the intellectual virtue of phronesis, they are not able to cultivate contemplation (theoria). Therefore, a core ingredient in full or supreme eudaimonia is missing,103 and 99  Wilcken, ‘Magnanimity’. 100  Cf. Kristjánsson, ‘Liberating Moral Traditions’; Justifying Emotions. 101  Annas, ‘Applying Virtue’, 1. 102 Martha C. Nussbaum, The Fragility of Goodness (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986). 103  That said, the megalopsychoi can be said to be flourishing in what Aristotle called a ‘secondary’, non-supreme way (NE, 287 [1178a9]).

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288  Twenty-First-Century Magnanimity this is the main reason why they do not count as what ordinary people would simply call ‘happy’. Does this cancel out the advantage of being a megalopsychos? It may seem to do so until you consider the alternative: keeping your wealth in an offshore account and indulging in your own self-centred interests. Even if those interests happen to be philosophical, there is no hint in Aristotle of this being the better option. The advantages of theoretical wisdom do not start to kick in until you have done what moral wisdom requires of you.104 I do think, however, that Curzer slightly over-eggs this point when he says that the contemplative life, for Aristotle, is ‘just a particularly reflective version of the ethical life’.105 But even if that were true, the megalopsychoi have neither the time nor the training for such a reflective extension of their ethical lives. Second, megalopsychia is relevant today because of the burgeoning interest in Aristotelian forms of character education. Large portions of this literature highlight the instrumental and extrinsic benefits of such education: for grade attainment, employability, positive emotions, and pro-social ends. It is not only that the intrinsic value of good character seldom gets a mention,106 the burdens and pains that go with the virtuous life are systematically elided. In an attempt to make the cultivation of character more palatable, a one-sided romantic picture is painted. But human life is more complicated and ambivalent than that, especially a good human life. I propose to character educationists to be more forthright about the blessings and burdens of eudaimonia, as they reverberate and resonate in the human soul in the twenty-first century.

Acknowledgements I am grateful to Howard Curzer and Sophia Vasalou for their critical comments on an earlier version. The chapter benefited from input from scholars in the Virtue, Happiness and Meaning of Life Project (University of Chicago) under whose aegis it was written, and from comments by participants at the Virtues of Greatness conference, University of Birmingham, in January 2017.

Bibliography Annas, Julia. Intelligent Virtue. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011. Annas, Julia. ‘Applying Virtue to Ethics’. Journal of Applied Philosophy 32, no. 1 (2015): 1–14. Aristotle. Nicomachean Ethics. Translated by Terence H. Irwin. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing, 1985. 104 Curzer, Aristotle and the Virtues, 394. 105 Curzer, Aristotle and the Virtues, 394. 106  As I lament in Kristjánsson, Aristotelian Character Education.

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Kristján Kristjánsson  289 Aristotle. On Rhetoric. Translated by George A. Kennedy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007. Baumeister, Roy F., Campbell, Jennifer D. Krueger, Joachim I., and Vohs, Kathleen D., ‘Does High Self-Esteem Cause Better Performance, Interpersonal Success, Happiness, or Healthier Lifestyles?’ Psychological Science in the Public Interest 4, no. 1 (2003): 1–44. Blasi, Augusto. ‘Moral Character: A Psychological Approach’. In Daniel K. Lapsley and F. Clark Power, eds, Character Psychology and Character Education, 67–100. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2005. Carr, David. ‘Virtue, Mixed Emotions and Moral Ambivalence’. Philosophy 84, no. 1 (2009): 31–46. Crisp, Roger. ‘Aristotle on Greatness of Soul’. In Richard Kraut, ed., The Blackwell Guide to Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, 158–78. Oxford: Blackwell, 2006. Crisp, Roger. ‘Supererogation and Virtue’. In Mark Timmons, ed., Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics, vol. 3, 13–34. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013. Curzer, Howard J. ‘A Great Philosopher’s Not So Great Account of Great Virtue: Aristotle’s Treatment of “Greatness of Soul” ’. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 20, no. 4 (1990): 517–38. Curzer, Howard J. ‘Aristotle’s Much-Maligned Megalopsychos’. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 69, no. 2 (1991): 131–51. Curzer, Howard J. Aristotle and the Virtues. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012. Curzer, Howard J. ‘Rules Lurking at the Heart of Aristotle’s Virtue Ethics’. Apeiron 49, no. 1 (2016): 57–92. Curzer, Howard J. ‘Against Idealisation in Virtue Ethics’. In David Carr, James Arthur, and Kristján Kristjánsson, eds, Varieties of Virtue Ethics, 52–73. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017. Fetter, James T. ‘Aristotle’s Great-Souled Man: The Limited Perfection of the Ethical Virtues’. History of Political Thought 36, no. 1 (2015): 1–28. Flanagan, Owen. Self-Expressions: Mind, Morals, and the Meaning of Life. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996. Gulliford, Liz. ‘The Word Thief ’. In Cordula Brand, ed., Dual-Process Theories in Moral Psychology: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Theoretical, Empirical and Practical Considerations, 433–5. Wiesbaden: Springer, 2016. Gulliford, Liz, Morgan, Blaire, and Kristjánsson Kristján. ‘Some Recent Work on the Concept of Gratitude in Philosophy and Psychology’. Journal of Value Inquiry 47, no. 3 (2013): 285–317. Hanley, Ryan. ‘Aristotle on the Greatness of Greatness of Soul’. History of Political Thought 23, no. 1 (2002): 1–20. Hume, David. A Treatise of Human Nature. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1978. Jopling, David A. Self-Knowledge and the Self. London: Routledge, 2000. Kohlberg, Lawrence. Essays on Moral Development, Vol. 1: The Philosophy of Moral Development. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1981.

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290  Twenty-First-Century Magnanimity Kristjánsson, Kristján. ‘Liberating Moral Traditions: Saga Morality and Aristotle’s Megalopsychia’. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 1, no. 4 (1998): 397–422. Kristjánsson, Kristján. Justifying Emotions: Pride and Jealousy. London: Routledge, 2002. Kristjánsson, Kristján. Aristotle, Emotions, and Education. Aldershot: Ashgate/ Routledge, 2007. Kristjánsson, Kristján. The Self and Its Emotions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010. Kristjánsson, Kristján. Virtues and Vices in Positive Psychology: A Philosophical Critique. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013. Kristjánsson, Kristján. Aristotelian Character Education. London: Routledge, 2015. Kristjánsson, Kristján. ‘Flourishing as the Aim of Education: Towards an Extended, “Enchanted” Aristotelian Account’. Oxford Review of Education 42, no. 6 (2016): 707–20. Kristjánsson, Kristján. Virtuous Emotions. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018. Lamb, Michael. ‘A Passion and Its Virtue: Aquinas on Hope and Magnanimity’. In Ingolf  U.  Dalferth and Marlene  A.  Block, eds, Hope: Claremont Studies in the Philosophy of Religion, Conference 2014, 77–88. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2016. MacIntyre, Alasdair. After Virtue. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1981. Nussbaum, Martha  C. The Fragility of Goodness. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986. Pakaluk, Michael. ‘The Meaning of Aristotelian Magnanimity’. Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 26, no. 1 (2004): 241–75. Roberts, Robert  C. ‘The Blessings of Gratitude: A Conceptual Analysis’. In Robert A. Emmons and Michael E. McCullough, eds, The Psychology of Gratitude, 58–78. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004. Roberts, Robert  C. ‘Gratitude, Friendship, and Mutuality: Reflections on Three Characters from Bleak House’. In Robert  C.  Roberts and Daniel Telech, eds, The Moral Psychology of Gratitude, 317–37. Lanham; New York: Rowman and Littlefield, 2019.  Russell, Daniel  C. ‘Aristotle on the Moral Relevance of Self-Respect’. In Stephen  M.  Gardiner, ed., Virtue Ethics, Old and New, 101–21. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2005. Russell, Daniel  C. ‘Aristotle’s Virtues of Greatness’. Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy, Supplementary volume (2012): 115–47. Sanderse, Wouter. ‘An Aristotelian Model of Moral Development’. Journal of Philosophy of Education 49, no. 3 (2015): 382–98. Sarch, Alexander. ‘What’s Wrong with Megalopsychia?’ Philosophy 83, no. 2 (2008): 231–53. Sim, May. ‘Rethinking Honor with Aristotle and Confucius’. Review of Metaphysics 66, no. 2 (2012): 263–80.

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Kristján Kristjánsson  291 Swann, William B., Jr. Self-Traps: The Elusive Quest for Higher Self-Esteem. New York: W. H. Freeman & Co., 1996. Tolland, Anders. ‘A Defense of Aristotelian Pride’. In Christer Svennerlind, Jan Almäng, and Rögnvaldur Ingthorsson, eds, Johanssonian Investigations: Essays in Honour of Ingvar Johansson on His Seventieth Birthday, 665–76. Heusenstamm: Ontos Verlag, 2013. Wilcken, Matthew. ‘Can Magnanimity Be Made Compatible with the 21st Century?’. Aporia 24, no. 1 (2014): 77–87.

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12

Greatness of Soul Across the Ages Robert C. Roberts

That a virtue should be called magnanimity suggests that souls come in sizes, some larger than others.1 But what makes for this sizing? I frame this paper between the Homeric heroic ideal embodied in the megalêtôr and the picture of the American hero, the magnanimous Abraham Lincoln. What is it for a soul to be big, large, great, magnus, megas? What is the standard? Minds are not like mountains and houses, for which the measurement is relatively standardized and determined by physical properties. It is much more dependent on contestable conceptions of human nature and understandings of the good. The notion of greatness as applied to a soul is plastic, adaptable to just about any evaluative framework. In this essay, my points of departure are frequently the other essays in this volume, though my survey is somewhat broader. I try to show the extent to which various writers, inventing or reflecting varying moral outlooks, invest the notion of greatness of soul with whatever value they take human greatness to consist in. Each outlook has a conception of what a human being essentially is, a  conception that suggests what an ideal exemplar2 of the tradition would be. Or, to put the point another way, the virtues that traditions posit, which vary in their logical grammars, determine the various conceptions of greatness of soul. Greatness of soul (heart, mind, spirit—the expressions vary) is to be distinguished from greatness in the sense of historical importance. Often those reputed to be great-souled are also historically important, but there is no necessary connection. To be great of soul is to have essential personal greatness—greatness of character— and this is compatible with having little influence beyond one’s local community. Seneca remarks that ‘Greatness of mind befits any mortal, even the poorest—­is anything greater or braver than to beat back the force of ill fortune?’3 1  This paper was written with the support of a grant from the Templeton Religion Trust, by way of the Self, Motivation, and Virtue project at the Institute for the Study of Human Flourishing at the University of Oklahoma. The opinions it expresses are those of the author, and not necessarily those of the Templeton Religion Trust. I am grateful to my co-principal investigator in that project, Michael Spezio, for many conversations about related themes. 2  This variety (and in some pairs of cases, incompatibility) of exemplars raises interesting questions for Linda Zagzebski’s recent proposal of an exemplarist moral theory. See her Exemplarist Moral Theory (New York: Oxford University Press, 2017). 3 Seneca, On Mercy I.5.3, in Seneca: Moral and Political Essays, edited by John  M.  Cooper and J. F. Procopé (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), p. 134. Robert C. Roberts, Greatness of Soul Across the Ages In: The Measure of Greatness: Philosophers on Magnanimity Edited by: Sophia Vasalou, Oxford University Press (2019). © the several contributors. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198840688.003.0012

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robert C. Roberts  293 Andrew  J.  Corsa and Eric Schliesser (this volume) note that Ralph Waldo Emerson thinks that ‘anyone can be magnanimous and heroic’, and that Henry David Thoreau thinks that ‘everyday laborers, or at least those who engage directly with the natural world, such as farmers, can be heroic’.4

1.  The Homeric Consider the Greek heroic conception of the great heart (megalêtôr) as depicted in Odysseus’ adventure in the cave of the Cyclops (Odyssey 9). The great-hearted man is impetuously adventuresome, a traveller abroad seeking excitement and noble deeds and honour, somewhat like the pre-Islamic Arabs as characterized by Sophia Vasalou in this volume (Chapter 5).5 Against the advice of his more cautious companions, Odysseus enters the Cyclops’ cave. His honour depends on his being frank and open. When the companions nervously propose to grab some cheeses and sneak away, Odysseus insists on waiting for the return of the Cyclops. He is to receive his possessions either by open fighting (piracy is also an ­honourable occupation for a hero, according to Thucydides,6 and Odysseus confirms this evaluation when, without shame and even in boasting, he reports on sacking cities7) or by being honoured with gifts. He insists on being recognized and acknowledged as a hero of the Trojan War. On being insulted, he must get revenge to maintain his honour, so when the Cyclops, returning to the cave, ignores the great hero and gives priority to his domestic chores, finally acknowledging Odysseus’ presence only by a surly ‘Who are you?’, his great heart has been insulted. Instead of offering his ‘guests’ a meal, Polyphemus makes a meal of several guests. So it is necessary, by heroic moral logic, for Odysseus to regain his honour by getting conspicuous revenge on the Cyclops—humiliating domination that the Cyclops cannot but recognize as such. However, since the gigantic Polyphemus has overwhelming physical strength, Odysseus must use his craftiness to accomplish his comeuppance. With a burning stick he gouges Polyphemus’ single eye and exits captivity by clinging to the underside of the Cyclops’ sheep as he drives them from the cave in the morning. When Polyphemus demands his name, Odysseus craftily wounds his own great heart by saying that he is Nobody, thus making it impossible for Polyphemus to get aid from his fellow Cyclops when they call into the cave to find out why he’s 4  ‘A Composite Portrait of a True American Philosophy on Magnanimity’, this volume, p. 254. 5  Drawing on Ibn Qutayba’s literary collection, Springs of Information, she characterizes the ­pre-Islamic Arab ideal as ‘an arduous life of venturing abroad in pursuit of conquests and fighting’ (Vasalou, ‘Greatness of Spirit in the Arabic Tradition’, pp. 141–2). 6  Peloponnesian War, trans. Walter Blanco (New York and London: W. W. Norton, 1998), 1.5, p. 5. ‘[Piracy] did not entail the slightest shame; on the contrary, it brought great renown, as is made clear by some mainlanders, for whom piracy remains an honorable activity to this day.’ 7  Odyssey 9.500–5.

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294  Greatness of Soul Across the Ages screaming in agony. But Odysseus restores his heroic dignity by impetuously shouting his real identity in a taunt as the ships sail away, being only narrowly missed by the projectiles that Polyphemus angrily hurls into the sea. Bent on seeking honour and glory, the great-hearted man displays himself as important in invidious contrast with his enemy or rival; the hero lays claim to special treatment due to his importance; responds impulsively to insult; he moves by ‘headlong impetuosity’. Here is a summary of features of the Homeric great heart: 1) Impetuous adventuresomeness that might seem to Aristotle to be rashness; 2) a frank interest in being seen and acknowledged as great, in being honoured, which in other outlooks might seem to be vanity; 3) a disposition to pillage and make war that might be seen as vicious belligerence and injustice against the pillaged; 4) a compulsion to vindicate his honour against insults that other outlooks might see as hypersensitivity, graceless unforgiveness, and childish grudge-bearing.8

2. Socrates We might take Socrates’ comparison of himself with Achilles as a claim to be analogous to the great souls of legend, and as an implicit reproach to many of his contemporaries for their pusillanimity. Socrates says: You are wrong, sir, if you think that a man who is any good at all should take into account the risk of life or death; he should look only to this in his actions, whether what he does is right or wrong, whether he is acting like a good or a bad man. According to your view, all the heroes who died at Troy were inferior ­people, especially the son of Thetis who was so contemptuous of danger compared with disgrace. When he was eager to kill Hector, his goddess mother warned him, as I believe, in some such words as these: ‘My child, if you avenge the death of your comrade, Patroclos, and you kill Hector, you will die yourself, for your death is to follow immediately after Hector’s.’ Hearing this he despised death and danger and was much more afraid to live a coward who did not avenge his friends. ‘Let me die at once,’ he said, ‘when once I have given the wrongdoer his deserts, rather than remain here, a laughingstock by the curved ships, a burden upon the earth.’9

On the Socratic model, to be a great soul is to be ‘above’ the ordinary concerns of safety, power, and worldly glory (reputation, honour), to care about what is 8 I am indebted to Rainer Friedrich for this interpretation of the Cyclopeia. ‘Heroic Man and Polymetis: Odysseus in the Cyclopeia’, Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies 28 (1987), pp. 121–33. 9  Apology 28b–d. Translation by G.  M.  A.  Grube, in Plato: Complete Works, edited by John M. Cooper and D. S. Hutchinson (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1997), slightly amended.

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robert C. Roberts  295 essential to living well, where living well is a matter of courageously doing and promoting justice and seeking truth and understanding. Socrates is like Achilles in disregarding the prospect of death as the price of his integrity, but very unlike him in what he regards as worth paying that price for. Achilles is willing to die for revenge against Hector and to avoid a name for cowardly disloyalty to his friends, whereas Socrates is willing to die for philosophy (truth, wisdom) and the commitment to justice that he thinks philosophy entails.10 Achilles is concerned about being a laughingstock beside the ships, while concern about being a laughingstock is one of the things that Socrates is ‘above’ (he was in fact something of a laughingstock, and apparently didn’t go out of his way to avoid that reputation). Despite Socrates’ famous ‘egoism’, as well as his comparing himself to Achilles, he doesn’t seem to be preoccupied, as the Homeric hero is, with his greatness of mind being appreciated by others. Indeed, in the self-applied metaphors of gadfly and midwife, he seeks to minimize his own importance in the interest of what is really important. His egoism seems free of anything in the neighbourhood of vanity. He is more concerned with being honourable than with receiving honour.

3. Aristotle The greatness of Aristotle’s great-souled man is a function of 1) his being perfected in all the virtues, and 2) his being intensely practically aware of his perfection.11 By practically aware, I mean that he uses his value in being a perfect exemplar of all the virtues as the standard by which to evaluate the honours that others bestow on him. Aristotle tells us that the megalopsychos is concerned above all with honours, and that megalopsychia, as the crown of the virtues, is a mean of attitude with respect to honours. Since perfection in the virtues is a value that can’t be matched by any external good, including even honours, no honour comes up perfectly to the standard he sets. The megalopsychos is somewhat indulgent in this regard, and will accept honours bestowed on him by good people as the best that his admirers have to give. But his indulgence has limits: he meets honours bestowed on him by inferior people or for trivial reasons with utter contempt. Another kind of great-souled person might look on such clumsy efforts with generous compassionate sympathy; but not, apparently, Aristotle’s great-souled man, whose focus is insistently on what his own greatness merits. The concern about honours seems to be a kind of reversion to Homer (from Socrates). Like Socrates, Aristotle’s greatsouled man is ‘above’ honours, but his concern about them makes him quite a bit less above them than Socrates, for whom they seem to be really indifferent. 10 Corsa and Schliesser (this volume, p. 252) note that, ‘According to Hume, the philosopher Socrates is magnanimous, and philosophers can be heroes just as much as warriors.’ 11  EN 1123b–1125a.

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296  Greatness of Soul Across the Ages The megalopsychos is not given to admiration, thinking that, by the standard of his own excellence, nothing is great (1123b33, 1125a3). Again, admiration, like the assessment of honours, is conceived as self-comparative: the megalopsychos would, presumably, admire what is greater than himself, but nothing fits the bill. From within other evaluative frameworks, the inability to admire what is great could seem to be a defect: the megalopsychos seems to be missing something in life. Also, the self-referential logic of the megalopsychos’s conception of the ad­mir­ able seems unnecessary. Couldn’t a great musician admire the work of an equally great musician, or, indeed, of a less great musician, or a moderately great painter or philosopher? The virtue of megalopsychia also seems to rule out gratitude, which many would regard as virtuous, and to imply a couple of traits having to do with other people’s agency that many would regard as vices. And he is the sort of man to confer benefits, but he is ashamed of receiving them; for the one is the mark of a superior, the other of an inferior. And he is apt to confer greater benefits in return; for thus the original benefactor besides being paid will incur a debt to him, and will be the gainer by the transaction. [Great-souled people] seem also to remember any service they have done, but not those they have received (for he who receives a service is inferior to him who has done it, but the megalopsychos wishes to be superior), and to hear of the former with pleasure, of the latter with displeasure.  (1124b10–15)12

One of the purported vices in question is hyperautonomy, the concern not to be beholden to anybody but oneself for any important contribution; and another is domination, the disposition to control others’ agency because of, or to secure, one’s own importance. The competitive spirit of the megalopsychos’s giving of benefits seems to oppose it to what many would regard as the spirit of real generosity—the concern to benefit the other for her own sake, where the benefit in question might well be to let the other have a hand in one’s agency, and to acknowledge gladly her contribution to it. Terence Irwin’s paper in this volume (Chapter  1) conforms Aristotle’s greatsouled man more to contemporary moral common sense than my brief remarks.13 Two emphases in my account are missing in Irwin’s: the intense self-reference and the comparative element. He also gives less emphasis to the megalopsychos’s concern for self-sufficiency. Instead of having the megalopsychos evaluate honours by the standard of the megalopsychos’s own excellence, Irwin has him evaluate them,

12  Translated by W. D. Ross, revised by J. L. Ackrill and J. O. Urmson (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1981). 13 See also Christopher Gill’s rapprochement of Aristotle and Cicero in this volume, ‘Stoic Magnanimity’.

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robert C. Roberts  297 like Cicero’s magnanimous man, by the standard of true virtue; and Irwin reads the passage about the megalopsychos’s generosity without stressing his spirit of competition with the beneficiary and his desire to dominate the beneficiary by outdoing the latter’s generosity, and to avoid indebtedness to him or her. Thus, on his reading, Aristotelian megalopsychia doesn’t rule out gratitude or real generosity. These are exegetical questions that bear considerable discussion. Kristján Kristjánsson (Chapter 11) stresses the megalopsychos’s concern about honours, by making his emotions concerning receiving or not receiving them when they are due to him the arena in which megalopsychia conforms to a general Aristotelian pattern such that virtues are medial states with respect to some particular emotion type, the emotion in this case being ‘pridefulness’. Kristjánsson doesn’t tell us much about the emotion of pridefulness, but presumably the megalopsychos would not feel any pridefulness at all in response to honours bestowed by inferior people with little understanding. In section 4 he sketches a megalopsychos that I don’t recognize in the text, a sort of Mother Teresa without God, exhausted by frenetic activity on behalf of others, without time to say thank you, weary, unhappy, and intellectually undeveloped—in Kristjánsson’s own words, ‘a grandiose goody-two-shoes’.14 But if it’s characteristic of the megalopsychos ‘to be sluggish and to hold back except where great honour or a great work is at stake, and to be a man of few deeds, but of great and notable ones’ (1124b24–6), why is he so frazzled?

4.  The New Testament The sons of Zebedee seem to have put their mother up to asking a favour of Jesus: ‘Command that these two sons of mine may sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom’ (Matthew 20.21). Jesus answers by reminding the brothers that their Lord must undergo crucifixion on the way to claiming his kingdom, and asking whether they are ready to follow him in this. Recklessly, they answer that they are ready. He then tells them that they will indeed suffer martyrdom for the kingdom, but that seating arrangements there are not up to him. His Father will decide that. When the other ten disciples find out what the brothers have been up to, they are indignant about this power play. Jesus calls all the disciples together and tells them: You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men (megaloi) exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you; whoever would be great (megas) among you must be your servant (diakonos), and 14  Kristján Kristjánsson, ‘Twenty-First-Century Magnanimity: The Relevance of Aristotle’s Ideal of Megalopsychia for Current Debates in Moral Psychology, Moral Education, and Moral Philosophy’, this volume, p. 287.

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298  Greatness of Soul Across the Ages whoever would be first among you must be your slave (doulos); even as the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve (diakonêsai), and to give his life as a ransom for many.  (Matthew 20.25–8)

In the teaching of Jesus and the rest of the New Testament, humility, in conjunction with agapê (love of ‘neighbour’, indiscriminate love of persons), becomes a major feature of human greatness, so that the ideal of human excellence is the recognition of the full humanity of all human beings, including the poor, the outcast, the foreigner, the defective, even the enemy. Humility seems to be, or at least to entail, the absence of the vices of pride, most of which come in for criticism by Jesus and/or the apostles: tribalism, elitism, self-righteousness, vanity, pretentiousness, arrogance, domination, and all the other forms of unhumility, human division by ego, and lovelessness. Other virtues that come in the same package as humility and love are gratitude (happy recognition of dependency on another) and a generously forgiving spirit (disposition not to do evil, and even to do good, to those who have injured you). Although we have observed the word ‘great’ (megas) used in describing such generosity in the Gospel passage quoted above, the New Testament does not single out a trait by the name of megalopsychia. But in modern English, apparently under the influence of Christianity, ‘magnanimity’ has come to mean a generous and forgiving spirit.15 The New Testament’s conception of greatness of soul stands in resonating contrast with the heroic and the Aristotelian: their inherent elitism, the concern to be recognized (honoured) for one’s greatness, the heroic enthusiasm for dominant vengeance against enemies, the Aristotelian greed for agency vis-à-vis other associated actors (domination, super-self-sufficiency). Of the three conceptions we  have reviewed so far, the Socratic is closest to the New Testament, though Socrates’ emphasis on inquiry is certainly a difference. In Socrates we see strong analogues of love (his dedication to the service of people’s virtue), forgiveness (see his speech to the condemning court16), and humility (his service to the god, the servanthood of his self-descriptions as gadfly and midwife). Jesus’ notion of personal greatness requires being a ‘servant of all’—thus the virtues of humility and neighbour-love would fit nicely with Socrates’ definition of a true ruler in book 1 of the Republic (342e).

15  See the paper by Terence Irwin (Chapter 1, this volume), and the discussion of Abraham Lincoln at the end of this essay. John Marenbon (Chapter  4 in this volume) notes that for ‘Bonaventure, a founder of the Franciscan scholastic tradition . . . magnanimity is humility.’ ‘Magnanimity, Christian Ethics, and Paganism in the Latin Middle Ages,’ pp. 107–8. 16  Socrates’ attitude is only analogous to forgiveness. It is similar in that he harbours no malice towards his condemners; but since, as he says, they have done nothing that actually harms him, there seems to be nothing to forgive. On the other hand, they have sought to harm him, and to respond to such hostility without malice is characteristic of forgiveness. Thanks to an anonymous reader for the Press for bringing this up.

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robert C. Roberts  299

5. Stoicism In Homer, the megalêtôr dominates his enemy; Aristotle’s megalopsychos more genteelly dominates the other in exchanges of favours; the Stoic, in the spirit of Socrates, rises above the passions that disturb and disrupt the lives of morally uncultivated humanity. The Stoic’s domination is aimed, not at the other, but at the passions of his own bosom. Christopher Gill (Chapter 2 in this volume) points out that the Stoic sage’s magnanimity raises him above not only vices such as injustice and illiberality, but also ‘indifferents’ such as reputation, longevity, comforts, and other things that are preferable but not strictly good. He quotes Cicero to the effect that honour (a preferable indifferent), while it is valuable for promoting the ends of justice, is ‘not worth lifting a finger for’17 apart from such instrumentality. Magnanimity reflects the Stoic belief that only virtue is really good and only vice really evil; and it reflects not just this belief, but emotional dispositions that correspond to it: the great-souled sage will not experience fears, frustrations, and disappointments as ordinary people tend to do. And his ethical belief and passionlessness (apatheia) are cradled in his view of the universe as a rational and providential order to which disease, loss, failure, and death contribute as well as health, possession, success, and life. Cicero, like other Stoics, associates greatness of soul especially with the car­dinal virtue of courage rather than justice, temperance, or wisdom, apparently because courage is the most suggestive of domination (the courageous person dominates threats and dangers), though, as it turns out, it entails, for him, features of all three virtues. Courage is most naturally associated with fear, which is the ‘normal’ response to threat and danger, but Cicero conceives courage more broadly than we do: it includes the domination of passions aroused by the prospects of fame and pleasure, as well as harm.18 He stresses that the soul that dom­in­ates passions in the interest of injustice is not great; greatness implies justice, as it does in the Homeric heroes. But Cicero’s conception of justice is very different: it is exemplified, not in revenge, but in the peace of civil order. Gill stresses that Stoic magnanimity is also wisdom. The Stoic sage has so perfectly shaped his mind by the conceptual distinction of what is truly good (virtue and the providential ordering of all events) from preferable indifferents, and of what is truly evil (vice and irrationality) from dispreferable indifferents, that he actually perceives and is practically moved according to this conceptualization of things. This perfect ordering of perception and motivation to the real values of things is the schema for the classical virtue of sôphrosynê—temperance.19 So encompassing is greatness of soul in Cicero that it bids fair to be the totality of human virtue. 17  De Finibus, 3.57, thus, on my reading, contrasting strongly with Aristotle. 18  De Officiis, 1.67–8. Plato similarly broadens the concept in Republic 429c, 430a–b. 19  See Aristotle, EN 3.10–12. See also Robert C. Roberts, ‘Temperance’, in Virtues and Their Vices, ed. Kevin Timpe and Craig Boyd (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), 93–114.

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6.  The Arabic Tradition The virtue of greatness of spirit (kibar al-himma), as Sophia Vasalou presents it (Chapter 5), primarily from the works of Yaḥyā ibn ʿAdī and al-Rāghib al-Iṣfahānī, appears to have four aspects: 1) aspiration to the highest good, this being virtue; 2) scorn for what is below the highest good; 3) strength in resisting impulses contrary to the highest good; 4) high self-regard. Each aspect invites specifying questions. To which virtue or virtues does the great-spirited person (kabīr al-himma) aspire? What is scorn? If ‘scorn’ is the right word, then it might seem that ‘contempt’ would be another. ‘Scorn’ and ‘contempt’ suggest more than merely not being much concerned with what is below the highest good, but something closer to hatred or repulsion, or if ‘contempt’ is right, possibly utter dismissiveness, as having no value whatsoever. Here we might compare what Christopher Gill says about the Stoic attitude towards ‘indifferents’: among the ‘preferred’ ones, ‘it is standard Stoic doctrine that “preferred indifferents”, which include reputation, have a real and positive value’.20 Does the great-spirited person attribute any positive value at all to what is below the highest good? Is what is below the highest good also contrary to the highest good? In high selfregard, what exactly is the self that is highly regarded? The virtues to which the great-spirited person aspires, according to the Arabic theologians and philosophers, are compassion, clemency, generosity, modesty, honesty, and fidelity, among others.21 According to Miskawayh, the scorn that the great-spirited person has for shortfall from the highest good (aspect 2) is characteristically directed at the great-spirited person’s own current character traits. He ‘belittles the virtues he possesses on account of his aspiration to what surpasses them’.22 So it would seem that humility is a salient aspect of the character of the great-spirited. This would agree with Jesus’ and Socrates’ notions, but would be alien to Odysseus and Aristotle. If we assume that virtues come in degrees of strength, depth, and pervasiveness, then the great-spirited person’s scorn for his own character traits would not have to imply that he has no compassion, generosity, honesty, and fidelity at all. He could scorn his own virtues by the standard of perfection, or at least some higher degree of virtue. (If it takes virtue to conceive of virtue, then his scorn might evolve in wisdom as he grows in virtue.) The combination of scorn for one’s own current character traits (aspect 2) and high self-regard (aspect 4) would require a distinction between one’s self and one’s 20  Gill, ‘Stoic Magnanimity’, p. 64. 21  Sophia Vasalou, personal communication. 22  Vasalou, ‘Greatness of Spirit’, pp. 124–5, quoting Miskawayh.

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robert C. Roberts  301 current character traits. The high self-regard might be based on one’s high as­pir­ations (aspect 1), but these would need to be deeply dispositional to function legitimately as such a basis, and if they were, the disposition would itself count as a character trait (maybe hope). In that case, the distinction wouldn’t be between one’s self and one’s character traits, but between the trait of aspiring to the highest good and the ones that fall short. Did the theologians and philosophers in the Arabic tradition work this out? Some Protestant Christian thinkers (the ‘hyper-Augustinians’ that Jennifer Herdt discusses23) would say that the high self-regard isn’t based on any character trait, but on one’s ontological status as created in God’s image, or perhaps on God’s love for one despite one’s shortcomings of character, or the ‘alien righteousness’ of Christ. In Plato and Aristotle, the highest good wouldn’t be virtue, but whatever the highest virtue is in touch with—the Good, God, the happy life.24 On scorn for what is below the highest good (aspect 2), I’m reminded of the passage from Plato’s Theaetetus where Socrates says, expressing a kind of bemused contempt, that when the philosopher hears the praises of a despot or a king being sung, it sounds to his ears as if some stock-breeder were being congratulated—some keeper of pigs or sheep, or cows that are giving him plenty of milk.  (574d)25

Yaḥyā’s great-spirited person apparently doesn’t have quite so unconventional a conception of the highest good, because he thinks that: It is because kings ‘have a greater spirit and a stronger sense of pride’ that if they set their sights on attaining human perfection, they find it easy to surmount conflicting drives.26

This reverence for kings’ native powers of aspiration anticipates Descartes’ odd idea that ‘the noble and good souls belong to those of noble birth’.27 It is plausible, however, that some people (probably not many), finding themselves in a position such as king or president of the United States, respond by reaching higher, morally. They rise to the occasion, feeling the burden of office as an aspiration to virtue. William Lee Miller (President Lincoln: The Duty of a Statesman28) argues that Abraham Lincoln, though already an unusually good man, matured exponentially in the presidency. And in an earlier book Miller comments

23  Putting on Virtue: The Legacy of the Splendid Vices (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008), chapters 6 and 7. 24 See Nicomachean Ethics, book 1, 1095b32–1096a2. 25  In Plato (1997). The translation is by M. J. Levett, revised by Miles Burnyeat. 26  Vasalou, ‘Greatness of Spirit’, pp. 126–7. 27  As paraphrased by Moriarty, ‘Cartesian Générosité and Its Antecedents’, this volume, pp. 172–3. 28  New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2008.

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302  Greatness of Soul Across the Ages that ‘although it is another cliché to say that men “grow” in the presidency, James Buchanan did not “grow”; Andrew Johnson did not “grow”’.29 Barack Obama predicted, too generously, that his successor, who was not known for his moral grandeur prior to the election, would ‘wake up’ once he was president. ‘Regardless of what experience or assumptions he brought to the office, this office has a way of waking you up . . . because reality has a way of asserting itself.’30 The principle is that people who, were they not thrown into such a role, would merely have been good persons may become great souls, moral characters of heroic dimensions; but whether that happens depends a lot on the prior moral fibre—notably the teachability—of the person. When a leader has grown, through the challenges of high office, to be great of soul, the office itself ceases to be a point of pride: When a king has greatness of spirit, it keeps him from ‘taking pride in his kingship and makes him see his soul and his spirit as having such great value that he does not think much of his kingship,’ allowing him to look with scorn upon the kingship that he normally views as the basis of his greatness, and to perceive that ‘the soul only becomes great through the virtues.’31

This is connected with the third aspect of greatness of spirit, which is strength in resisting impulses contrary to the highest good. Examples of such distracting impulses would be resentment of slights and criticism, the temptation to exaggerate one’s historical importance, the desire to destroy the legacy of predecessors to enhance one’s own, and the urge to silence moral criticisms of oneself. This notion of resolute, resisting agency and its counterpart disposition of character strength is reminiscent of the tough, fighting Homeric heroes and the pre-Islamic Arabs, and also, in a reflexive and genteel version, of the Stoics. Greatness of soul involves being a strong dominator of resistant forces in oneself. Cicero is very clear that such self-domination is not greatness unless in the service of justice and the common good, and I would guess that the theologians and philosophers in the Arabic tradition agree with something in the neighbourhood of this requirement.

7. Aquinas On Jennifer Herdt’s reading of the Summa Theologiae (Chapter  3), Aquinas reads predecessor texts on a virtue like magnanimity as though the authors were 29  Lincoln’s Virtues: An Ethical Biography (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2002), p. 91. 30  Roberta Rampton, ‘Trump will get wake-up call when he takes office, Obama says’, https://www. reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump/trump-will-get-wake-up-call-when-he-takes-office-obama-saysidUSKBN1390HL. 31  Vasalou, ‘Greatness of Spirit’, p. 128, quoting Yaḥyā.

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robert C. Roberts  303 groping, without full awareness, to describe the perfect exemplar of all the virtues, whom he (Thomas) knows by revelation to be Jesus Christ. His assumption is that  the greatest among them are right in what they say, even if they don’t always understand themselves perfectly, and his task is the humble one of making explicit the real and true meaning of what they have gropingly written. In the present paper, Herdt expounds Thomas’s reading of Aristotle on the virtue of magnanimity. The great-souled Christ imitator will rely gratefully on God’s provisions and give herself in service to God and other human beings. Thomas includes the factor of aspiration to the highest good that we have seen in other thinkers’ conception of magnanimity: for him, however, that good is the spiritual well-being of the community that knows God and lovingly serves God and fellow human beings. This is the real meaning of Aristotle’s idea that the megalopsychos does great public works. He does these works with confidence: ‘the mind is much assured and firmly hopeful in great and honorable undertakings’ (Cicero, quoted by Thomas). The magnanimous person, as modelled on Christ, is eminently worthy of honour, though he seeks, not honour, but only to be worthy of it. Honour, as properly enthusiastic recognition of what is worthy of such recognition, is a good thing. Honouring is good for the one who honours, insofar as it expresses an ap­pre­ci­ation, and thus a love, of what is honourable; it is good instrumentally, as promoting what is honourable; and it is good, simply, as a fitting recognition of excellence. The great-souled person seeks honour, when she does, not for her own sake but for the sake of the well-being of the community. Magnanimity, which makes a person think highly of himself because of the gifts God has given him, is compatible with humility, which ‘makes a man think little of himself in consideration of his own deficiency’ (II–II.129.3 ad 4). We might wonder how the humility of Christ fits this description. Is Christ deficient so that it’s virtuous in him to think little of himself? Perhaps there’s a sense in which Aristotle, in his account of the great-souled man, was really trying to get at what Aquinas finds in Christ. But if so, I think Aristotle would be surprised to find out that it was really Jesus Christ that he had in mind. In his useful history of the concept of magnanimity in the Middle Ages (Chapter 4 of this volume), John Marenbon argues that Dante, who was largely a disciple of Thomas Aquinas, had in him an element of mild resistance to the policy of reading Aristotle almost as though he was a crypto-Christian. Marenbon argues, from a couple of instances of the term magnanimo in the Divine Comedy, the legitimate possibility of a kind of conditional admiration of pagan virtues that are inconsistent with Christian character. Like some of the Christian Arts Masters who insisted on reading Aristotle in his own terms rather than in terms of Christian theology, the most notable of whom was Siger of Brabant, Dante could rather generously admire something like Aristotelian magnanimity as a culturally bracketed virtue in such damned pagans as Farinata and Virgil.

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8.  Descartes The généreux justifiedly admires his own reliable disposition to seek to do only what he judges to be the best and which is within the purview of his or her free will. Apparently it would be a mistake, or at least not true générosité, to admire some attribute of oneself for which one was not freely responsible. Since moral goodness is above all benevolence towards others, the généreux sees himself as having bootstrapped himself to benevolence. Benevolence requires respect for others as free agents like oneself, so Cartesian self-admiration is not comparative; it does not despise others in the way Aristotle’s magnanimous man despises efforts to honour him by persons with an inadequate understanding of his majesty. Or is it comparative after all? For the moral equality of all human beings is, for Descartes, an equality of their moral potential—anyone can become généreux, but it seems unlikely that all people actually use their free will well enough to acquire this virtue, so those who do have it stand before an open door to self-righteousness. It is within the purview of their free will to walk through that door of comparison and treat those who lack the virtue with contempt. But because of the generosity of générosité, they don’t. Like magnanimity in Aquinas’s ethics, it’s in the nature of générosité to involve the counterpart virtue of humility. Descartes distinguishes baseness of spirit from humility.32 Baseness of spirit is self-contempt, while humility seems to fit a definition that has had recurrent appeal in the history of theology and in recent philosophy: ‘owning our limitations’.33 Michael Moriarty comments that ‘to realize . . . that we ourselves have a share in the weaknesses of human nature, is to school oneself in virtuous humility’.34 But the person who justifiedly admires himself for his reliable dis­pos­ition to seek to do only what he judges to be the best that’s within the purview of his or her free will, which is ‘what it means to follow virtue perfectly’ (Passions, §153), wouldn’t have a share in the weaknesses of human nature, would he? In his discussion of the concept of générosité in the literary works of Corneille and Camus, Moriarty emphasizes the struggles and difficulty of the exemplars of the virtue to rise above their natural attachments and passions, so as to do their duty. ‘Générosité, then, involves the difficult conquest of immediate feelings, good 32  The Passions of the Soul, §54. Baseness of spirit is what Hume calls humility, and considers a vice or ‘monkish virtue’: a kind of shame or self-contempt. ‘Humility . . . is a dissatisfaction with ourselves, on account of some defect or infirmity’ (Dissertation II: On the Passions, in Four Dissertations (London: A.  Millar, 1757), section II, p. 132). On the monkish virtues, see Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals, section IX, Part 1. 33  See Dennis Whitcomb et al., ‘Intellectual Humility: Owning Our Limitations’, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 94 (2017), and Stephen Pardue, The Mind of Christ: Humility and the Intellect in Early Christian Theology (London and New York: Bloomsbury T. and T. Clark, 2013). For a different account of humility, see Robert C. Roberts and Ryan West, ‘Jesus and the Virtues of Pride’ in The Moral Psychology of Pride, ed. Adam Carter and Emma Gordon (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2017), pp. 99–121. 34  Michael Moriarty, ‘Cartesian Générosité’, this volume, p. 167.

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robert C. Roberts  305 in themselves, in the name of some higher good: duty to the family or to the state, or to the honour of each.’35 The virtue, so conceived, does naturally tend to point up the agent’s limitations. Were she to relax her control for a moment, she would veer away from générosité. Although, as Moriarty notes, the immediate feelings that the généreux conquer are good in themselves (here we are not in the realm of Aristotelian enkrateia, ‘continence’), they are not, in Descartes’ moral outlook, feelings that one should act on. To follow them would be to fall short of générosité, which is perfect virtue. But doesn’t the struggle itself indicate a shortfall of générosité? This division within the self between the natural passions and the call of duty that the Cornelian hero feels, and the heroic struggle that it occasions, makes for good drama— ‘Corneille is a playwright looking for dramatic effect’36—but it also shows emotional immaturity, a susceptibility to motivations that the agent needs to dominate actively. At a higher level of emotional development, the passions ‘competing’ with the généreux motive would be so subdued as to occasion no struggle, as in the appetites of Aristotelian temperance.37 Is the note of dramatic struggle that we find in Corneille and Camus absent in Descartes? It is mostly absent in classical Stoicism, which prizes tranquility as a mark and aim of virtue. But if générosité is like Stoic apatheia in this regard, then the explanation that I have just cited of the généreux’s humility—that moral struggle is indicative of limitations—would seem to be undercut. If the généreux is humble, this is not the explanation.

9.  Three Enlightenment Thinkers 9.1.  David Hume David Hume thinks that greatness of mind38 is a response-dependent comparative property, varying with the spectator. In accordance with his sentimentalist conception of natural virtues, Hume makes greatness of mind a matter of one person’s emotional reaction to another. I have the virtue of greatness of mind if someone, beholding me and comparing my worth to his own, feels distressed by my superiority to him. Similarly, I have the vice of smallness of mind (pusillanimity) if someone, beholding me and comparing my worth with his own, feels exalted by his superiority to me. Since these two things might very well happen simultaneously—Joseph being appalled by my superiority to him and Janet being delighted by my inferiority to her—I could be virtuously great of mind and 35  Ibid, p. 154. 36  Ibid, pp. 171–2. 37  See Roberts, ‘Temperance’. 38  Treatise of Human Nature, edited by L. A. Selby-Bigge (London: Oxford University Press, 1888), 3.3.2, pp. 592–602. Hume would no doubt try to avoid the following reductio by correcting each of the attributions with reference to a general point of view. But does a general point of view compare itself in the required way? His theory seems to need the individual standpoint to stay on the ground.

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306  Greatness of Soul Across the Ages viciously small of mind at the same time, possibly even in respect of the same quality (I am a middling violinist, Joseph is an untalented amateur, and Janet is on her way to an international career). Hume’s account of great-mindedness appears to substantiate Elizabeth Anscombe’s observation about the sophistical character of Hume’s moral philosophy generally.39 Like the great soul that Aristotle sketches, the one that Hume depicts would be considered vicious by exponents of more egalitarian ethical outlooks, confusing big ego with great soul. The comparison of myself and the other, and the character of my emotional reaction—delight at the other’s inferiority, dejection at her superiority—suggests vices like invidious triumph and envy—traits contrary to virtuous humility. Hume’s account of the great mind is an account of what Jean Vanier calls the false self, the self that constructs its worth by comparing itself advantageously or disadvantageously with others.40

9.2.  Adam Smith Adam Smith, a friend of Hume, offers an account according to which magnanimity involves high self-regard that is nevertheless not vanity or conceit, depends on a spectator but is not relativistic as in Hume’s account, is a courage-like transcendence of suffering, toil, danger, misfortune, and the approach of death, and provides a counterpoise to ‘resentment’ as a response to moral offence. Smith puts the ­following expression in apposition to ‘magnanimity’: ‘a regard to maintain our own rank and dignity in society’41 and Ryan Hanley paraphrases this as ‘a selfconscious sense of inherent worth’.42 The paraphrase seems odd; it would be natural to read Smith’s expression as referring to a disposition to insist on being recognized as the possessor of a certain social rank—which is very different from inherent human worth. Odysseus and Aristotle can understand Smith’s expression, but not Hanley’s paraphrase, which rings of Stoicism and Christianity. Yet Hanley’s paraphrase is correct: inherent human worth is what Smith has in mind—or at least it’s an element in his idea of magnanimity, and one that helps to protect this virtue from bleeding over into conceit, vanity, arrogance, invidious triumph, and the like. If I ‘pride myself ’ on my inherent worth as a human being, I recognize that every other human has equal warrant for pride, and Smith’s magnanimity, unlike Hume’s greatness of mind, involves no invidious comparison of persons; indeed, it tends towards a sense of solidarity with all humanity as equals. 39  Elizabeth Anscombe, ‘Modern Moral Philosophy’, Philosophy 33 (1958): 1–19; p. 3. 40  Becoming Human (New York: Paulist Press, 1998), pp. 113, 120–1. See Corsa and Schliesser, ‘True American Philosophy on Magnanimity’, for a different account of Hume’s conception of greatness of mind. 41  The Theory of Moral Sentiments (Indianapolis: Liberty Classics, 1969), 1.2.3.8, p. 93. 42 Hanley, ‘Magnanimity and Modernity: Greatness of Soul and Greatness of Mind in the Enlightenment’, this volume, pp. 184–5.

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robert C. Roberts  307 We might speculate that the expression he uses, about rank in society, reflects more popular conceptions of greatness in his day and milieu, as they do in ours. Hanley observes that Smith follows Hume in thinking magnanimity is produced by a relation to a spectator. In a letter to a friendly critic Smith says, ‘our judgments concerning our own conduct have always a reference to some other being’.43 The difference is that Hume’s magnanimity is a projection onto the agent, residing in the mind of the spectator, while Smith’s is a property of the agent in his selfconscious response to the spectator, a sort of accommodation to the spectator’s awareness of him. Another difference is that Hume’s magnanimity has no measure other than the spectator’s self-assessment relative to his assessment of the agent onto whom the spectator projects the quality of magnanimity, while Smith’s is subject to an absolute measure, that of moral perfection. Let us try to understand how the interaction of agent and spectator gives rise to magnanimity. Hanley notes that Smith’s doctrine of a congenital human ‘shortfall of sympathy’ is crucial to the account: though we recognize the sentiments of another, we never fully ‘enter into’ them; we never fully appreciate them. How does this fact of human nature produce magnanimity? Smith offers us ‘the man who, under the severest tortures, allows no weakness to escape him, vents no groan, gives way to no passion which we do not entirely enter into’, and explains that such a man ‘commands our highest admiration’, precisely because ‘his firmness enables him to keep time with our indifference and insensibility’, with the result that ‘we admire and entirely go along with the magnanimous effort which he makes for this purpose’.44 The account seems to be this: as he undergoes torture, the agent realizes that the spectator would not appreciate his pain under the lash or thumbscrews if he gave them fully adequate expression; so he reduces his expressions of agony to a level that can be appreciated by the spectator. This is supposed to explain his self-command. But we seem to need more explanation. Why does the sufferer want to accommodate the spectator in this way? Why not just scream commensurately with the pain and let the spectator fall short, as he will, of appreciating it? Is the sufferer moved by compassion for the spectator? But if the spectator can’t sympathize with his suffering anyway, there’s no need for the sufferer’s accommodation. So he can’t be seeking the spectator’s gratitude, either. Or does he desire that the spectator admire him? Does vanity move him to accommodate? And how is his concern to accommodate the spectator related to the concern for whatever the noble and beneficent goal is for which he summons his magnanimity? What about cases of unobserved heroic endurance of pain? If Smith’s theory of magnanimity is a spectator theory, then magnanimity must be impossible without a spectator. But surely there’s not always a human spectator where people endure 43  As quoted by Hanley, ibid., pp. 183–4; note that Smith doesn’t say ‘some other human being’. 44  Theory of Moral Sentiments, 1.2.1.12, p. 81.

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308  Greatness of Soul Across the Ages pain heroically. Furthermore, if the standard of genuine magnanimity is absolute, as Hanley claims, then the spectator also needs to be qualified. By their moral immaturity, many human spectators will be unqualified for the job. In his note to his friendly critic, Smith writes not only that ‘our judgments concerning our own conduct have always a reference to some other being’, but also that ‘notwithstanding this, real magnanimity and conscious virtue can support itself under the disapprobation of all mankind’.45 The discrepancy between the virtue and the disapprobation of all human spectators, along with the requirement of some spectator, suggests that the spectator in question must be the ever-present and perfectly qualified ‘great Director of the Universe’.46 That would seem to solve the problem of Humean relativism, as well. The hero can maintain self-admiration for his magnanimity against the opinion of all mankind because God judges correctly and vindicates him, and the hero knows it. But now the theory has another problem: the ‘shortfall of sympathy’ besetting all human spectators was supposed to be crucial to the explanation of magnanimity, but if God is the spectator, the hero will have no need to accommodate such a shortfall. One last point about Smith’s conception of magnanimity is its function as a counterpoise to the passion of justified resentment: Magnanimity, or a regard to maintain our own rank and dignity in society, is the only motive which can ennoble the expressions of [resentment in response to offenses]. This motive must characterize our whole stile and deportment. These must be plain, open, and direct; determined without positiveness, and elevated without insolence; not only free from petulance and low scurrility, but generous, candid, and full of all proper regards, even for the person who has offended us. It must appear, in short, from our whole manner, without our labouring affectedly to express it, that passion has not extinguished our humanity; and that if we yield to the dictates of revenge, it is with reluctance, from necessity, and in consequence of great and repeated provocations.47

This conception of magnanimity as generous, respectful forgiveness, so much in contrast with the destructive ‘greatness’ of souls like Odysseus and Alexander the Great, seems indebted to Stoicism, and even more to the New Testament.

9.3.  John Witherspoon John Witherspoon, reflecting perhaps Jesus’ saying about human greatness that I  quoted earlier, commends an improvement on both Hume and Smith. On 45  Hanley, ‘Magnanimity and Modernity’, pp. 183–4. 46  Theory of Moral Sentiments, 6.2.3.4, p. 384. 47  Theory of Moral Sentiments, 1.2.3.8, p. 93.

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robert C. Roberts  309 Witherspoon’s proposal, magnanimity is marked by humble service to one’s fellow human beings—service inspired by God’s promises of rule in a kingdom of love and peace. And instead of the impersonal god of the Stoics (which is just the orderliness of the universe, from which it is pretty indeterminate what moral norms of character might follow), Witherspoon suggests that the God who provides the norms for greatness of soul is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and of Jesus Christ.

10.  Kant and the Sublime Mind ‘The Kantian sublime’ appears to be an experience that some people have of the sublimity, or greatness, of their own minds; it is thus analogous to the high selfregard that we have seen to be an element in some conceptions of the great soul. Although the idea of the Kantian sublime remains obscure to me, I will offer an account loosely based on Emily Brady’s essay in this volume (Chapter 8). A person experiences the sublimity of some phenomenon of nature: towering mountains, a raging storm, the sprawling starry sky above, or the like. She becomes aware of herself in comparison with the impressive thing, and feels small. But then it occurs to her that her mind is capable of grasping or appreciating the sublimity of this great and impressive thing and she realizes that that ability itself is also amazingly impressive—that her mind is just as sublime, if not more so, than the towering mountain. But she is led from there to note that her capacity to grasp the sublimity of natural things is not even the most impressive thing about her mind: incomparably more impressive is her ability to grasp the moral law. The mind has become great by standing in awe of its own greatness. Notice the complete lack of invidiousness in this kind of self-admiration. The subject twice compares her mind with another sublimity: first with the sublimity of the natural phenomenon, then the sublimity of its grasp of the sublimity of the natural phenomenon with that of its grasp of the moral law. So its self-admiration is distinctly comparative. But the comparison is in neither case a comparison with other minds, as seems to be the case with Aristotle’s great-souled man, Odysseus, the Humean, and the Nietzschean great soul (see section 11 below). Only some people, it seems, are great-souled in the fullness of this experience, though all rational minds are candidates for it. Thus Kantian greatness of soul is egalitarian while also forming an elite class, yet without essential invidiousness. It also lacks the theme of domination of other or of self that occurs in several of the historical versions of magnanimity. In not being a character trait or a virtue, the Kantian sublime is unlike the other versions of greatness of soul treated in this volume or in this survey, though I suppose Hume’s conception might be thought similar, since for Hume as well, the greatness of a soul consists in a mental state, though in Hume’s case it is the

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310  Greatness of Soul Across the Ages mental state of the spectator, rather than of the possessor, of greatness of mind. The other kinds of magnanimity admittedly involve experiences of the self, and in some, though not all, cases, this experience is a kind of self-admiration. But in these other cases, magnanimity is a trait, one of whose expressions is an experience of self. Only Kantian magnanimity (if we can indeed appropriately apply this term here), among the kinds here surveyed, is an experience of self.

11. Nietzsche Andrew Huddleston conveniently gives us a list of the features of the Nietzschean great soul, by which we can compare his traits with the features that other ­thinkers and traditions attribute to great human beings. Nietzsche’s great person is even more extremely self-suffi