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The Stoic Theory of Beauty$
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Aiste Celkyte

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781474461610

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474461610.001.0001

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‘The wise man is no true Scotsman’: The Stoics on Human Beauty

‘The wise man is no true Scotsman’: The Stoics on Human Beauty

Chapter:
(p.78) 4 ‘The wise man is no true Scotsman’: The Stoics on Human Beauty
Source:
The Stoic Theory of Beauty
Author(s):

Aistė Čelkytė

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474461610.003.0004

This chapter is dedicated to the so-called Stoic paradox stating that only the wise man is beautiful, while young, conventionally attractive youths, are not. Plutarch’s testimonial and critique of these views imply that they commit what in contemporary terms is sometimes called the ‘No True Scotsman’ fallacy, that is, an arbitrary redefinition of aesthetic terms. The chapter builds an argument that this criticism is not entirely fair by presenting a more charitable interpretation of these claims. The interpretation involves the notion of aesthetic functionality, that is, the idea that an object’s aesthetic value is determined in reference to the kind of an object it is. This reading of the Stoic wise man paradox is consistent with the central Stoic tenets about virtue and happiness.

Keywords:   Stoicism, Wise man, No True Scotsman fallacy, Plutarch, Aesthetic function

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