By Sandrine Berges (auth.)
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Extra info for A Feminist Perspective on Virtue Ethics
He responds to her belittling of her own virtue by telling her that the darker she is on the outside, the more beautiful she will be inside, ignoring her claims that it is her inside that leaves much to be desired. At the same time, Abelard, trying to convince Heloise that her true lover is not him but Christ, draws an almost erotic picture of a nun’s relationship with Christ, a nun as a soft-fleshed lover secluded in Jesus’s bedroom, a woman who wears unattractive clothes whenever she is in anybody else’s company.
For women to be harmonious, she tells us at the beginning and again at the end, they must be full of intelligence and moderation. They are not thereby expected to develop only half of the four Platonic virtues but taught that wisdom and temperance are the way to develop the other two. ” How temperance enables the other virtues in women’s lives becomes clear through the text in which the author details the many ways in which women must be temperate – by restraining their desires for nice clothes and jewels, resisting taking lovers or fighting their anger and impatience towards less than ideal husbands – in order to rule justly over the household.
For those individuals the advice seems to be: keep your community small if you want to grow – mixing with others will impede your right development. In letter IX it becomes clear that even this cannot be Seneca’s meaning or that at the very least, this is a dubious interpretation of it. A wise man is self-sufficient, Seneca says; yet he want friends, neighbours, associates, a wife and children. Being content with oneself suffices for a happy life but not for life itself. Those who believe that the sage will never seek the help or company of others but isolate himself from the world are mistaken: “The wise man is self-sufficient.
A Feminist Perspective on Virtue Ethics by Sandrine Berges (auth.)