Stoic Ethics


“When supported with education, a person’s integrity can give him something to rely on when his perspective seems to blur, when rules and principles seem to waiver, and when he’s faced with hard choices of right or wrong.” –James Stockdale Questions:

  1. Is it important to have integrity? If so, why? If not, why not?
    1. Should we ever sacrifice our integrity for the greater good of humankind? (Cf. Module 5 on Utilitarianism) Explain your answer.
    2. How would Aristotle defend the virtue of integrity? (Cf. Module 5) Explain your answer.
  2. Using Stoic Ethics as discussed in “The World of Epictetus,” and Plato’s “The Ring of Gyges respond to the following questions:
    1. What would you do if you had the ring of Gyges? Would you use it for good or for evil? Why?
    2. How is the Stoic ethic, an ethics of integrity, contrary to Glaucon’s contention that the best form of justice is doing wrong with impunity? Use the “Ring of Gyges” story to explain your answer.
  3. How is Stoic Ethics helpful for keeping one’s integrity especially when under enormous pressure to give it up? Be sure to examine Stockdale’s eight year stay in a Vietnam prisoner of war camp to explain your answer. And also be sure to explain how the Bible, especially the lessons from Job and the works of the Stoic Philosopher Epictetus help him through these horrific years.