By Sandrine Berges (auth.)
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Additional info for A Feminist Perspective on Virtue Ethics
30 Indeed, in the Collationes, he goes so far as to claim that acts themselves are indifferent; that is, they have no moral value, positive or negative, and all the value is carried by the intention. 31 For Abelard, moral goodness is very much a property of one’s internal landscape rather than of one’s interaction with one’s community. 32 But this is not what we gather from Heloise’s own writings. She does want to focus on the life of her community. Her first letters are concerned with trying to make sense not of her feelings, not of her internal landscape, but of the situation she finds herself in; what has she done wrong?
Seneca is very aware that a good life is lived in the world and that it requires developing a number of appropriate relationships within one’s community. His understanding of what it means to be human is really, in that sense at least, not that different from that of the Greeks: a human being flourishes not in isolation but as part of a couple, a family, a circle of friends and a political community. The idea that the Stoic sage can live in the world and at the same time be self-sufficient is perhaps best understood within the context of that elusive Stoic notion: oikeiosis.
Does he not realise how hard it is already for her to bear the responsibility of his castration? She then turns against God himself: why is it that they were punished once they had repaired the wrong of their secret affair by getting married? It would be futile, she says, for her to try to seek forgiveness from God, as she does not forgive him for what he allowed Abelard to suffer. She confesses that she is not as virtuous as people believe her to be, as her virtue is merely exterior, and that although she acts in a chaste manner, she is still torn apart by memories of their affair.