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Contents Preface 0 Acknowledgments 00 Apology: A Brief for the Bourgeois Virtues 1 I. Exordium: The Good Bourgeois 00 II. Narratio: How Ethics Fell 00 III. Probatio A: Modern Capitalism Makes Us Richer 00 IV. Probatio B: And Lets Us Live Longer 00 V. Probatio C: And Improves Our Ethics 00 VI. Refutatio: Anticapitalism Is Bad for Us 00 VII. Peroratio 00 Appeal 00 Please be patient about the argument, for your own good. 1 The Very Word ¿Virtue¿ 00 ¿Virtue ethics¿ says that acting well is not a matter of finding the most general ethical rule but of finding stories for a good character. Can a bourgeois person be virtuous? 2 The Very Word ¿Bourgeois¿ 00 ¿Bourgeois¿ is used here for the middle class: haute, petite, and the angry clerisy sprung from it, too. 3 On Not Being Spooked by the Word ¿Bourgeois¿ 00 ¿Bourgeois¿ need not be a term of contempt. Part 1 The Christian and Feminine Virtues: Love 4 The First Virtue: Love Profane and Sacred 00 Ethics comes from stories. Love stories, for example. 5 Love and the Transcendent 00 Love is for people; but it is love for Art, Science, Nature, God, too. 6 Sweet Love vs. Interest 00 Loving is not the same thing as ¿maximizing utility.¿ 7 Bourgeois Economists against Love 000 Some economists mistake this. Adam Smith did not. 8 Love and the Bourgeoisie 000 Capitalism requires love. 9 Solidarity Regained 000 The market has not eroded love. Part 2 The Christian and Feminine Virtues: Faith and Hope 10 Faith as Identity 000 The other ¿theological virtues,¿ besides love, also figure in any human society, even a commercial one. For instance, Faith¿who you are. 11 Hope and Its Banishment 000 Hope in a commercial society is mobility. Its transcendent version makes the clerisy uneasy. 12 Against the Sacred 000 Religious Hope and faith were disdained by some, 1700 to the present. But other faiths and hopes expanded. 13 Van Gogh and the Transcendent Profane 000 Thus, for example, Vincent van Gogh, who was hopeful, not crazy. 14 Humility and Truth 000 Such ¿theological¿ virtues¿faith, hope, and love¿show themselves even in some economists, and in any good scientist. 15 Economic Theology 000 Economics needs a theology. In fact, it already is a theology Part 3 The Pagan and Masculine Virtues: Courage, with Temperance 16 The Good of Courage 000 Courage is modeled by Achilles or Odysseus. The stories are myths, in the double sense: culturally important tales; and false in detail and sometimes in spirit. A bourgeois army is a contradiction, as at Srebrenica. 17 Anachronistic Courage in the Bourgeoisie 000 Yet bourgeois men have adopted the mythical histories of knights and cowboys as their definition of masculinity. 18 Taciturn Courage against the ¿Feminine¿ 000 For example, they have taken taciturnity as a marker of masculinity, against the talk-talk of the marketplace. Male bourgeois writers in America came to need a way of distinguishing themselves from women. Therefore they adopted a nostalgia for the silent, violent hero. 19 Bourgeois vs. Queer 000 And they needed to distinguished themselves from homosexuals, a big project in American literature and in English, German, and American law. 20 Balancing Courage 000 The outcome was some generations of courage-loving men, especially those of the Greatest Generation, modeling their behavior in business on myths of aristocracy. But Temperance is a virtue, too. Part 4 The Androgynous Virtues: Prudence and Justice 21 Prudence Is a Virtue 000 Prudence makes other virtues work, and is proper benevolence toward the self. 22 The Monomania of Immanuel Kant 000 The other, Kantian system that has replaced virtue ethics in the thinking of philosophers in the past two centuries was built on an excess of Justice: The Maxim. 23 The Storied Character of Virtue 000 We do good mainly by story and example, not by maxim. 24 Evil as Imbalance, Inner and Outer: Temperance and Justice 000 Virtue ethics emphasizes balances in the soul and in the society: temperance and justice. 25 The Pagan-Ethical Bourgeois 000 The four pagan virtues, like the three Christian, can fit a commercial society, as in Amsterdam¿s City Hall. Part 5 Systematizing the Seven Virtues 26 The System of the Virtues 000 The virtues fit together, sacred to profane, feminine to masculine. 27 A Philosophical Psychology? 000 Modern positive psychology comes to the same conclusion, near enough. 28 Ethical Striving 000 The approach to the good is like the approach to the truth. The two depend on each other and on the characters we shape in our stories. 29 Ethical Realism 000 The ethical is ¿real,¿ all right. 30 Against Reduction 000 Kantianism assumes that identity is already formed, and utilitarianism ignores identity entirely. We need ethical identities, partly given, partly taken. 31 Character(s) 000 The identities, for example, can be aristocratic, peasant, priestly, or bourgeois. 32 Antimonism Again 000 Virtue ethics is better than Kantianism. 33 Why Not One Virtue? 000 Because Aristotelianism is better than Platonism. 34 Dropping the Virtues, 1532¿1958 000 The West used the seven virtues until Machiavelli made an art of the state. Latterly even moralists like Jane Austen and George Orwell have disdained systems of the virtues. 35 Other Lists 000 Many other lists lack discipline. 36 Eastern and Other Ways 000 The Confucian discipline is similar to Western virtue ethics, though not identical. 37 Needing Virtues 000 The amoralism of the cynics Nietzsche, Holmes, Mencken, Posner is a pose. Part 6 The Bourgeois Uses of the Virtues 38 P & S and the Capitalist Life 000 The Profane and the Sacred both work in capitalism. 39 Sacred Reasons 000 The sacred motivates the market for Art, of course; but it figures in most markets. 40 Not by P Alone 000 The sacred is bigger than economists think. 41 The Myth of Modern Rationality 000 The novelty and extent of rationality in capitalism is usually exaggerated. 42 God¿s Deal 000 But the sacred need not drive out Prudence. 43 Necessary Excess? 000 Greed is not necessary for a capitalist economy to prosper. 44 Good Work 000 Capitalistic work is consistent with religious values. 45 Wage Slavery 000 And capitalistic production is not dehumanization. 46 The Rich 000 Even successful capitalists can be virtuous. 47 Good Barons 000 Profit is good, not bad, for our persons and our souls. 48 The Anxieties of Bourgeois Virtues 000 So the bourgeoisie can be good. Usually it is good. And yet it worries. Postscript: The Unfinished Case for the Bourgeois Virtues Notes 000 Works Cited 000 Index 000
Library of Congress Subject Headings for this publication:
Capitalism -- Moral and ethical aspects.
Commerce -- Moral and ethical aspects.
Social ethics -- History.
Business ethics -- History.
Virtues -- History.