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Categories of Inquiry and Procedures of Comparison

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Building on influential work in virtue ethics, this collection of essays examines the categories of self, person, and anthropology as foci for comparative analysis. The papers unite reflections on theory and method with descriptive work that addresses thinkers from the modern West, Christian and Jewish Late Antiquity, early China, and other settings. The introduction sets out central methodological issues that are subsequently taken up in each essay, including the origin of the categories through which comparison proceeds, the status of these categories in the process of comparison, and the goals of comparison. In considering the question of goals, the introduction draws connections between comparative study and historical study within one tradition. Both types of analysis can bridge the gap between historical and normative work by attending to the ways in which the questions a scholar asks—not just the answers found—vary from one context to another.
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Keywords: Geistesgeschichte; anthropology; comparative ethics; history of ethics; self; virtue

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2005-06-01

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