In the 5th century a number of sophists challenged the orthodox understanding of morality and claimed that practicing injustice was the best and most profitable way for an individual to live. Although a number of responses to sophistic immoralism were made, one argument, in fact coming from a pair of sophists, has not received the attention it deserves. According to the argument I call Immortal Repute, self-interested individuals should reject immorality and cultivate virtue instead, for only a virtuous agent can win the sort of everlasting reputation that makes a life truly admirable and successful.
Immorality or Immortality? An Argument for Virtue
I would like to thank everyone who helped me while I was working on this paper. Special thanks goes to the Princeton University Center for Human Values for funding my travel to Oxford during the initial, research phase of the project. I must also acknowledge Hendrik Lorenz, Joshua Billings and Masako Toyoda, each of whom read drafts of the paper and encouraged me to continue writing. Finally, I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to the editor of Rhetorica as well as the two anonymous referees for their critical suggestions and editorial help.
Merrick Anderson; Immorality or Immortality? An Argument for Virtue. Rhetorica 1 May 2019; 37 (2): 97–119. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/rh.2019.37.2.97
Download citation file: