Philosophic Pride is the first full-scale look at the essential place of Stoicism in the foundations of modern political thought. Spanning the period from Justus Lipsius’s Politics in 1589 to Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Emile in 1762, and concentrating on arguments originating from England, France, and the Netherlands, the book considers how political writers of the period engaged with the ideas of the Roman and Greek Stoics that they found in works by Cicero, Seneca, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius. Christopher Brooke examines key texts in their historical context, paying special attention to the history of classical scholarship and the historiography of philosophy.
Brooke delves into the persisting tension between Stoicism and the tradition of Augustinian anti-Stoic criticism, which held Stoicism to be a philosophy for the proud who denied their fallen condition. Concentrating on arguments in moral psychology surrounding the foundations of human sociability and self-love, Philosophic Pride details how the engagement with Roman Stoicism shaped early modern political philosophy and offers significant new interpretations of Lipsius and Rousseau together with fresh perspectives on the political thought of Hugo Grotius and Thomas Hobbes.
Philosophic Pride shows how the legacy of the Stoics played a vital role in European intellectual life in the early modern era.
"It is one of the strengths of Christopher Brooke's fascinating new study, Philosophic Pride, that he is aware of the multifarious nature of his subject; he knows that he is dealing with a fluid cluster of ideas and themes, not a unitary philosophical movement. Not that he has set out, in any case, to write a history of (Neo-)Stoicism; his task is both narrower and harder than that. The subject of this book is the relationship between Stoicism and early modern political thought; since there was scarcely such a thing as a worked-out body of Stoic political theory (unless we count Seneca's fanciful portrayal of the monarchical ruler—Nero, of all people—extending the empire of reason), this means that an already elusive subject is considered here from a variety of oblique angles."—Noel Malcolm, Times Literary Supplement
"I'm a little unsure whether Stoicism really is as powerful an interpretive lens as Brooke here seems to suggest but I, along with doubtless many others, will delight in taking up the provocative interpretive challenges Philosophic Pride lays down."—Ross Carroll, Journal of Intellectual History and Political Thought
"Brooke has made a significant contribution towards filling in some important lacunae in our understanding of the relationships between ancient and modern thinking about morality and politics, and intervened deftly in a broad range of interdisciplinary debates on major figures in the history of practical ethics. These are achievements that will insure this book is welcomed by scholars and general readers with all sorts of investments in his subject matter. They will also enjoy its sincere humanism and remarkable erudition."—Cambridge Humanities Review
"Philosophic Pride is an extremely rich study that offers new insights in and interpretations of the works of established authors such as Lipsius, Grotius, Hobbes, and Rousseau, while minutely tracing down the Stoic foundations of early modern politics in the works of a nearly countless number of well-known and lesser known authors. Without doubt, Christopher Brooke's book-length study will be of great interest to intellectual historians, scholars of the history of political thought, and historians of philosophy."—Erik de Bom, Renaissance Quarterly
"Remarkable for its wide historical sweep, this elegant book is a great addition to the existing literature on the philosophical history of pride. It is a rigorous, original, and flawlessly executed work on a topic of great interest. An utter joy to read."—Frederick Neuhouser, Barnard College
"Philosophic Pride offers a fresh look at how ancient Stoic philosophy was received, adapted, criticized, and accepted, from the end of the sixteenth up to the middle of the eighteenth century. Surveying this large field with more amplitude and exactitude than anything else on offer, this book will be important for scholars of the humanities and specialists."—Anthony Long, University of California, Berkeley
"An outstanding study of the fortunes of Stoicism in early modern moral and political thought, Philosophic Pride examines arguments for and against Stoic themes in the writings of moral and political philosophers, from Justus Lipsius to Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Brooke's exposition of the primary sources is unfailingly lucid, and his treatment of work by other scholars is remarkable in its range."—James Moore, emeritus professor, Concordia University