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Virtues of Greatness in the Arabic Tradition
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Virtues of Greatness in the Arabic Tradition (Hardback)

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There are few ideals of character as distinctive and divisive as the ancient virtue of 'greatness of soul'. A larger-than-life virtue embodying nothing less than a vision of human greatness, it has often been seen as a relic of the Homeric world and its honour-loving heroes. In philosophy, it found its most celebrated expression in Aristotle's ethics, and it has lived on in the minds of philosophers and theologians in different forms ever since. Yet among the many

lives this virtue has led in intellectual history, one remains conspicuously unwritten. This is the life it led in the Arabic tradition. A virtue of Greek warriors and their democratic epigones - what happened when this splendid virtue made landfall in the Islamic world? This world, too, had its

native heroes, who bequeathed their conception of extraordinary virtue to posterity. Heroic virtue is above all expressed in a boundless aspiration to what is greatest. Could we admire such virtue enough to want it as our own? What can we learn from the Arabic tradition of the virtues? In answering these questions, Sophia Vasalou elucidates a larger family of virtues that are united by their preoccupation with all things great: the 'virtues of greatness'. An important constituent of the

character ideals expounded within the Islamic world, this type of virtue tells us as much about the content of these ideals as about their kaleidoscopic genealogies.

Philosophy, Psychology & Social SciencesNon-Western philosophyIslamic & Arabic philosophyPhilosophy, Psychology & Social SciencesPhilosophy TheoryEthics & moral philosophyPhilosophy, Psychology & Social SciencesWestern philosophyWestern philosophy: Ancient, to c 500Religion & BeliefsIslamIslamic life & practice Publisher: Oxford University Press Publication Date: 12/09/2019 ISBN-13: 9780198842828  Details: Type: Hardback Format: Books
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Sophia Vasalou is currently a Senior Lecturer and Birmingham Fellow in Philosophical Theology at the University of Birmingham. She studied at SOAS University of London and the University of Cambridge, and has published widely on Islamic ethics and other philosophical subjects. Her books include Moral Agents and their Deserts: The Character of Mu'tazilite 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 2015). She is also the editor of The Measure of Greatness: Philosophers on Magnanimity (Oxford 2019).

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