Search results for tag "Body" - 2 answer(s)

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Asceticism

By - Oct 5, 2011 - Category Conceptbox
Asceticism

It appears that asceticism has always played a role in societies where spiritual life was organised and ritualised, to different degrees and in various ways depending on civilisations and times.

Etymologically, the term “asceticism” comes from the Greek askesis, which simply means “exercise”. In Ancient Greece, it applied to the exercises and discipline required of athletes. This is precisely what all forms of asceticism have in common: to impose a discipline onto oneself and thus exert one’s willpower against certain natural bodily tendencies. In India, for example, the practice of asceticism includes bodily exercises designed to control the body, breathing exercises to control both the body and the mind, as well as various fasting and meditation techniques.

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Virtue ethics and the ‘medicine of the spirit’

Magnifying glass, pocket watch and old books

Virtue ethics can be defined as an ethical approach that emphasises the character of the agent. Whereas consequentialism emphasises the consequences of the action, and deontological ethics the rules that one may follow, virtue ethics define a virtuous act by a certain virtue in the agent, for example benevolence or generosity. Virtue ethics is not in conflict with deontological or consequentialist approaches, and can even be reconciled with them. The action driven by virtue ethics actually precedes the other two approaches: while deontological ethics or consequentialism addresses what is to be done in any given situation, virtue ethics focuses on the ways to develop certain virtues, or character patterns, in order to act well when needed. The main problem for virtue ethics, then, is 1) to define which virtues are desirable, and 2) how to develop them.

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