Q. Examine the Stoic's models of ethics in terms of its suitability for modern civil servants? (150 words)21 May, 2020 GS Paper 4 Theoretical Questions
- Briefly discuss the Stoics ethical models in Introduction.
- In body mention the ethical notions and cardinal virtues of Stoic.
- Inspect the suitability of the model properly in terms of their utility for modern-day civil servants.
- Conclude the answer suitably.
- Stoicism is an ancient Greek philosophy which teaches the development of self-control and fortitude as a means of overcoming destructive emotions.
- It does not seek to extinguish emotions completely but rather seeks to transform them by a resolute Asceticism, which enables a person to develop clear judgment, inner calm and freedom from suffering.
Basic Tenets of Stoicism
- The philosophy of Stoicism is often divided into three parts:
- Logic: a way to determine if your perceptions of the world are correct;
- Physics (natural science): a structure to understand the natural world; and
- Ethics: the study of how to live one's life.
- The main ethical notions held by the Stoic philosophers.
- Nature: Nature is rational.
- Law of Reason: The universe is governed by the law of reason. Humans can't actually escape its inexorable force, but they can, uniquely, follow the law deliberately.
- Virtue: A life led according to rational nature is virtuous.
- Wisdom: Wisdom is the root virtue. From it springs the cardinal virtues: prudence, bravery, self-control, and justice.
- Apatheia: Since passion(anger) is irrational, life should be waged as a battle against it. The intense feeling should be avoided.
- Pleasure: Pleasure is neither good nor bad. It is only acceptable if it doesn't interfere with the quest for virtue.
- Evil: Poverty, illness, and death are not evil.
- Duty: Virtue should be sought, not for the sake of pleasure, but for duty.
Utility for Civil Servants
- The Stoics classified these different forms of virtue under four broad headings, the four cardinal virtues:
- Wisdom or Prudence: Includes excellent deliberation, good judgment, perspective, good sense.
- Justice or Fairness: Includes good-heartedness, benevolence, public service, fair dealing.
- Courage or Fortitude: Includes bravery, perseverance, authenticity (honesty), confidence.
- Self-Discipline or Temperance: Includes orderliness, self-control, forgiveness, humility.
- The goal of Stoicism is freedom from anger through the pursuit of reason.
- It teaches indifference and a "passive" reaction to external events and equanimity in the face of life's highs and lows.
- Public service, unlike many other jobs, includes direct interaction with people to resolve their problems. Any deviation from the side of the public servant could have a multi-fold adverse effect.
- So it becomes essential that he/she should have virtues like wisdom, self-control, fortitude & prudence.
- It makes a civil servant clear, unbiased and self-disciplined and allows them to understand the things rationally.
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