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The Stoics recognise critical place because that feelings such as joy and tranquillity in their philosophical system, and also they really frequently describe them. However, from the works of the earliest Stoics onward this “good feelings” (eupatheiai) show up to have been related to as merely “supervening” upon virtue, i.e., side-effects the the an excellent rather 보다 intrinsically good themselves (Lives and also Opinions, 7.94). The principle that “virtue is its own reward” (virtus ipsa pretium sui) was fundamental to Stoic Ethics. Plenty of subsequent authors have been inspired by this doctrine. Spinoza and Kant held comparable views come the Stoics, in this regard. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote:

The heroic heart does not market its justice and also its nobleness. The does no ask come dine nicely and also to sleep warm. The essence of greatness is the perception the virtue is enough. (Heroism)

Likewise, follow to Diogenes Laertius, Cleanthes (or maybe Chrysippus) claimed that “Virtue is a harmonious disposition, worthy of gift chosen for its own sake and not from hope or fear or any external reward.” in other places he reiterates this:

And virtue in itself they host to be worthy of choice for its own sake. At all events we space ashamed of negative conduct together if we knew that nothing is really an excellent but the morally beautiful. (Diogenes Laertius)

Julia Annas sums increase the Stoic mindset toward virtue and also tranquillity in her scholarly evaluation of Hellenistic philosophies, The morality of Happiness,

If we room tempted to look for virtue because it will certainly make united state tranquil and secure, we are missing the point about virtue the is most crucial ; it is virtue itself the matters, not its results. (Annas, p. 410)

P.A. Brunt wrote in his essay on Late Stoic Moralists:


Strictly undoubtedly both spirituality calm and joy execute not constitute the summum bonum , which is virtue; they room ‘consequential on and also not perfective of it’. Yet this is a scholastic caveat; the is clear that Seneca conceived of the happy life together necessarily consisting of them.

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However, Seneca does explain several reasons why he thinks this difference is of practical importance.

The French scholar Pierre Hadot wrote:

Unlike Epicurean pleasure, Stoic delight is not the motive and the end of moral action: rather, virtue is its own reward. Virtue looks for nothing above and past itself; instead, because that the Stoics, joy, choose Aristotelian pleasure, comes follow me as one extra excess in enhancement to action in conformity with nature, “like beauty because that those in the flower the youth”. (The inside Citadel, p. 240)

He quotes Seneca who dedicates one section of On the Happy Life to this issue, where he addresses it an extremely clearly:

But, in the first place, even though virtue is sure to bestow pleasure, the is not thus that virtue is sought; for it is not this, however something more than this the she bestows, no one does she job for this, yet her labor, while directed towards something else, achieves this also. Together in a plowed field, which has actually been damaged up because that corn, some flowers will spring increase here and there, however it was no for this poor small plants, although they might please the eye, the so much toil to be expended — the sower had actually a different purpose, these were superadded — simply so pleasure is no the reason nor the reward of virtue, yet its by-product, and we perform not expropriate virtue since she delights us, however if we expropriate her, she additionally delights us.

The highest great lies in the very choice of it, and the really attitude of a mind made perfect, and also when the mind has completed the course and also fortified itself in ~ its very own bounds, the highest good has currently been perfected, and nothing additional is desired; because that there have the right to no much more be anything external of the entirety than there deserve to be some point beyond the end.

Therefore girlfriend blunder as soon as you asking what it is that renders me seek virtue; girlfriend are in search of something past the supreme. Execute you asking what that is that I seek in virtue? just herself. For she offers nothing far better — she it s her is her very own reward. Or walk this seem come you too little a thing? when I say to you, “The highest an excellent is the inflexibility of an unyielding mind, that is foresight, the sublimity, that soundness, the freedom, that harmony, that is beauty, perform you need of me miscellaneous still higher to which this blessings might be ascribed? (On the Happy Life, 9)

Likewise, in one of his Letters come Lucilius, Seneca suggests that return virtue is the just true good, we additionally refer to the aftermath of virtue as an excellent in a looser sense, insofar as they derive from it. This has the healthy expansion of the soul that often tends to follow wisdom and virtue. (The Stoics interpret healthy and also unhealthy emotions, in part, as expansions and contractions the the soul.) “Sometimes as a result of noble conduct,” that writes, “one wins an excellent joy even a brief and really fleeting room of time”. We have the right to glimpse Stoic delight in moment of activity because that is a “delight” come contemplate our very own virtue.

But the man also who is deprived that this joy, the delight which is afforded through the contemplation of some last noble effort, will certainly leap to his fatality without a moment’s hesitation, content to action rightly and also dutifully. (Letter 76)

Virtue is the just real motive because that the Stoic’s actions. Someone who posits the joyful feelings, i beg your pardon supervene top top virtue, together his score in life would be morally endangered in certain daunting situations. He would certainly hesitate in the challenge of danger, due to the fact that pleasant feeling are often inaccessible in the warm of battle, and also he might die before ever reaping these fruit of virtue. The Stoic does no wait for a warm glow to descend ~ above him prior to taking action because his just goal is building action, and also the feel which might (or might not) monitor are just an included bonus, or side-effect – they’re irregularity to his motivation.

Likewise, in On Benefits, Seneca writes:

What have the right to be more base 보다 for a man to take into consideration what it prices him to it is in a great man, when virtue neither allures by gain nor deters by loss <…> girlfriend will obtain the doing of that – the deed itself is your gain. Nothing beyond this is promised. If any benefit chance to accrue come you, count it as something extra. The reward of honourable dealings lies in themselves. (On Benefits, 4.1)

Later the says: “If you wish because that anything beyond these virtues, you carry out not wish for the virtues themselves” (On Benefits, 4.12). If we’re virtuous for the services of some other word then, arguably, that’s not really virtue at all. It’s crucial to the concept of virtue the it’s an end in itself, rather than just a way to an end, or what’s well-known as an “instrumental” good. By definition, other that’s merely instrumentally good, isn’t really good at all, in itself, it’s morally indifferent. Again, “All our arguments start from this cleared up point, the honour is pursued for no factor except since it is honour” (On Benefits, 4.16). He opens up On Clemency through stating “the true enjoyment of great deeds consists in the power of them, and also virtues have actually no adequate reward past themselves” (On Clemency, 1.1).

Hence, Epictetus asks his student “Do you look for a reward because that a good man greater than act what is great and just?” (Discourses, 3.24). And also elsewhere the puts the concept that “virtue is its own reward” forward very strongly indeed:

So, you say, what good do I acquire ? But what more good perform you want than this? rather of gift a shameless man you will come to be a dignified man, instead of chaotic you will become organized, indigenous being untrustworthy you will become trustworthy, rather of being the end of control you will end up being sane. If girlfriend want anything an ext than this, store on act what friend are already doing: not even a God have the right to now help you. (Discourses, 4.9)

Marcus Aurelius also frequently return to this theme.

These space the nature of the reasonable soul: the sees itself, analyses itself, and makes chin such as it chooses; the fruit which it bears itself enjoys- for the fruits of plants and also that in animals which synchronizes to fruits others enjoy- the obtains its very own end, wherever the border of life may be fixed. No as in a dance and in a play and in such like things, where the whole activity is incomplete, if anything cuts it short; yet in every component and where it may be stopped, it renders what has actually been set before the full and complete, so that it deserve to say, I have actually what is my own. (Meditations, 11.1)

He says in other places that as soon as we feel others are ungrateful fairly than blaming them we must rather reprimand ourselves due to the fact that when we conferred part kindness upon them we intended an outside reward and did not act in such a method as to have actually received from the very act chin our price in full (9.42).

Virtues favor justice, are their very own reward, and also we need ask because that nothing further because in doing castle we have fulfilled our nature, and also are flourishing.

Have ns done something because that the typical welfare? well then ns have had actually my reward. Permit this constantly be present to your mind, and never stop doing such good. (11.4)

Likewise, the Stoics claim that virtue is synonymous with what is beneficial, or profitable in itself.

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No male is exhausted of receiving what is beneficial. Yet it is beneficial to act follow to nature. Do not then be exhausted of receiving what is useful by act it come others. (7.74)

Frank McLynn, biographer of Marcus Aurelius, writes:

To act morally brings joy, which is a key motif in Marcus’s writings, and denotes the emotion us feel as soon as we are truly fulfilling the function for which we were put on the Earth, and when we consent come the truth of Providence, pantheism and the ‘city of the world’. Here we view that virtue is important its own reward, for pleasure is not the end of ethical action, as the Epicureans thought. The sage go not pick virtue because it causes pleasure, yet it is a fact that, if chosen, virtue does cause pleasure. (McLynn, p. 235)

Cicero likewise, in the well known passage indigenous his Republic well-known as “The Dream that Scipio”, portrays the Stoic Scipio Africanus discovering this to teach from the spirit of his grandfather:

Pay no fist to what the typical mob could say around you and place nobody of your really hopes in human rewards. Allow virtue it s her by her own allurements attract you come true honor.

Brad Inwood, a leading academic authority on Stoicism, offers a concise scholarly account of the history of this idea:

In vast outline, theory of the good life for person beings, i beg your pardon is what ethics by and huge amounted to for most old philosophers, falls into the family of theories linked with Socrates and his followers. This tradition contains Plato and also most Platonists, Xenophon, the Cynics, Aristotle and later Aristotelians, all of whom re-superstructure the watch that virtue, the excellence the a human being, is the highest possible value and also (as we would certainly say) is its very own reward. That stands in contrast with a tradition, going back to some of the sophists in the 5th century bce, that values the virtues essentially for their capability to help us to attain other good things, such as pleasure, wealth, society recognition, and personal safety. That instrumentalist theory of virtue was ideal represented in the Hellenistic and later durations by Epicureans, who are the most continual foil for Stoics in this area. The distinctive position of the Stoics becomes fingerprint if we think the the difficulty put to Socrates at the beginning of book 2 of Plato’s Republic. Is justice valued and also worth pursuing (a) since of the extrinsic services it produces; (b) since of the intrinsic services it produces; or (c) because of both? an Epicurean chooses option (a); Plato, Aristotle, and also most other ancient theorists select (c); Stoics select (b). Not just is virtue its very own reward, but any extr benefits it might produce room not likewise valuable and also cannot be a factor for choosing virtue. In fact, most Stoics would say the it would somehow degrade or taint virtue to select it also in part for that sort of reason. Stoics no alone in acquisition this extreme and even counter-intuitive position—the loosely characterized group recognized as Cynics would join them and also push the paradoxes even further ~ above occasion; but Stoicism is the school that gives the best settled and most credible version of the position. (Stoicism: A very Short Introduction)