The End of Virtue —Introduction
Under the influence of Charles Sanders Peirce, I have launched an idea called Triadic Philosophy. It is summarized in the Kindle book Triadic Philosophy 100 Aphorisms . A free sample can be accessed by clicking Look Inside.
Triadic Philosophy grew into several more books outlining specific methods of triadic meditation and thinking. “The Death of ‘Nature’ “ is among several follow-up texts that examine expressions of, and propose actions related to, triadic thought.
The End of Virtue contains the following ten sections, all of which herald the transition from an ineffective ethics based almost exclusively on virtues to an ethic which works to create a world that uses the capacity for good within individuals to build for democracy, helpfulness and tolerance.
How Virtues Came To Rule
Aristotle worked with presuppositions that held for the world he occupied. He could not see beyond an ethic of virtues which he passed on to Augustine and Aquinas to David Brooks to a century which will witness their oblivion.
What Did Virtues Give Rise To
Virtues like courage, honor, prudence and temperance gave rise to a culture of characterization in which people were seen largely in terms of fixed images representing goodness and badness. The ethic of virtues ensured that social orders could exist with little or no reference to universal values and that thinking could proceed on a binary basis that saw groups essentially as enemies.
What Did Virtues Ignore
Virtues ignored the universal values which can be inferred from the statements of Jesus and others who saw the world as one reality and good and evil in terms of harm and its prevention.
The Falstaff Intervention
Shakespeare was not the first to perceive the contradictions of the virtue ethic. In the character of Falstaff he creates a comic send-up of the most celebrated value, the one which ensured until recent centuries that conflict necessitated the vindication of one’s honor.
How Evil Appropriated Virtue
Evil is harm and harm is a product of greed and other aspects of the world made possible by the virtue ethic. The Godfather is among the best indications of exactly how evil appropriates virtue.
Jesus moved the world beyond virtue but thinkers like Nietzsche perceived that Jesus was roundly defeated in death by the ministrations of Paul and others who created a distorted Christianity that accepted lock stock and barrel the virtue ethic carried on by the scions of orthodoxy, Augustine and Aquinas.
Behind Christianity came the matchless and generally ignored ethic of a handful of prophets whose works thankfully were included in various sacred texts including the Bible. Amos, Hosea, Jeremiah, Micah and the poets who created Isaiah insisted that ethics was in actuality a call for justice and goodness that cut through the hypocrisies of the binary world of warring nations, wealth and poverty and the veneration of evil. Jesus is clearly the child of this prophetic line.
After Christianity, a monumental failure in many respects, comes the growth of global spirituality that unassumingly but definitively embraces an ethic of values and a universal perspective.
The secularism that merely carries on the binary, characterizing and status-quo-embracing past is a wolf in sheeps clothing. A good example of this is The New York Times which is caught between the economics of the old order and the basic income perspective of the coming order.
The Values Century
This is the century in which the virtues ethic will be increasingly exposed and the values ethic increasingly put into place, with major positive effects leading to a global democratic revolution.