Paths to flourishing:

Ancient models of the exemplary life


Abstract: The current “exemplarist turn” within virtue ethics is increasingly shedding light on the importance of exemplars both as enabling one to identify the virtues and for the importance they bear for orienting one’s conduct, as well as for educating the novice. However, even if categorizations of exemplars have already been proposed, there seems to be a lack of discussion on the kind of imitation different exemplars are supposed to elicit. In order to offer a preliminary answer to this question, in this paper I present three paths to flourishing via imitation of exemplary individuals: The Platonic (§1), the Stoic (§2), and the Aristotelian (§3). Then, I sketch an attempt to reconcile these models (§4). In conclusion, I suggest that, when it comes to education, this reconciliation becomes necessary. Along these lines, I recommend that a multi-step educational program is elaborated.

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Vaccarezza, M. S. (2020). Paths to flourishing: Ancient models of the exemplary life. Ethics and Education15(2), 144-157.