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A Global Ethics for a

Globalized World

Anis Ahmad


[Islamic ethics recognizes the role of intuitions, reason, customs and traditions, so
long as all these draw their legitimacy from the

Divine principles.

First and
foremost is the principle of coherence and unity

in life.

The second foundational
ethical principle is the practice of justice or equity, fairness, moderation, beauty
and balance in life. Then come respect, protection and promotion of life. The role
of reason and rational judgment in human decision-making is also important.
Protection of linage and dignity of genealogy, too, has relevance to people of the
entire world. These divinely inspired ethical

principles of Islam – transcending

finitude of human mind and experience – are not local, regional or national on
their origin. Their universality makes them globally

applicable, absolute and

pertinent in changed circumstances and environment. They are human friendly
and offer appreciable solutions to human problem in this age of globalization. –

A phobia generally stands for an obsession or an intense fear of

an object or a situation, like dog phobia, school phobia, blushing

phobia. Phobias are associated with almost any psychiatric condition

but are most often related with anxiety or obsessional states leading to

queer compulsive behavior.1 Islamophobia, a pegurative terminology,

used more frequently in post 9/11 era, refers to a reactionary

understanding of Islam and Muslims as dogmatic, fundamentalist, less

civilized, anti-rational, backward, destructive and terrorist. Islam is

perceived through the prism of news and media as a faith which

prescribes all those things which conflict and negate the western value

system and pose a threat to the western civilization and rationality.2

This conceptual and psychological problem of the western statesmen,

media experts, think tanks and researchers is not recent. Islam and

Muslims have been for centuries regarded rivals, enemies and

opponents of the west. For the past two centuries, at the least, a

political, intellectual and cultural encounter, between the west and the

Muslim world, has taken place. In this encounter the west was has been

on an offensive and the Muslim world took mostly a defensive

approach. With the rise capitalist economy, secular political system and

liberal intellectual tradition in the west, the western imperialism

penetrated its political, economic and cultural colonialism deep in the

Muslim world. One symbol of it was that the official and commercial

language of the colonizer replaced the native languages. Consequently

in some Muslim lands (Algerian, Tunis, Morroco) French because

Prof. Dr. Anis Ahmad is a meritorious Professor and Vice Chancellor, Riphah

International University, Islamabad. He is also Editor of Quarterly Journal Maghrab
awr Islam (West & Islam), published by Institute of Policy Studies, Islamabad.
1 Ley, “Phobia,” 7.
2 Said, Covering Islam, 7.

Policy Perspectives


practically their first language and Arabic become secondary; In the

Pakistan sub-continent, Sudan, Malaysia, South Africa and Nigeria

whenever the British colonialism ruled, English because official

language. Similarly Italian and Dutch languages were popularized

among in Libya and Indonesia. Adoption of a foreign language had its

socio-cultural implication on the Muslim people. At the same time their

relationship of the colonizer and the colonized also persuaded the

colonizer to understand the mind of the colonized and take necessary

measures to keep the colonizer subjugated. In order to understand and

control the colonized, imperialists tried to learn about the native

languages and cultures. This persuaded the British, French, Italian and

Dutch, to create centers for study of the Orient with focuses on study of

language and culture of the natives. They also trained a generation of

native scholars who subscribed to the western mind-set, research

methodology and its basic assumptions.

All known civilizations have their distinct concepts of good and

bad. Even those considered as “uncivilized” and heathens believe in

certain norms and values.

They generally respect their elders and love

children, they value honesty and disapprove cheating. Traditionally,

local customs and traditions, after continuous practice, evolve into

norms and laws. These norms and laws define for them what is good or

bad behavior. When ethical behavior is considered an obligation and

duty, it is called deontological ethics. Furthermore while determining

right or wrong, one may take up an objective or subjective approach.

Those who think good and right can be known like natural objects, or

that right and wrong can be empirically verified are called ethical

naturalists. While those who think right or wrong are a matter of

emotions, or attitude of a group, are termed emotivists. Those who

hold to non-cognitivism and think that attitudes of a group determine

ethicality or non-ethicality of a judgment are called ethical relativists.

The word ethics [ethickos in Greek, from ethos meaning custom

or usage] as a technical term also refers to morals and character.

Moralis was used by Cicero, who considered it the equivalent of the

ethikos of Aristotle with both referring to practical activity3. Ethical

behavior in general means good conduct, acting with a sense of right

and wrong, good and bad, and virtue and evil. Philosophers classify

ethics in various categories, for example Normative ethics deals with

“building systems designed to provide guidance in making decisions

concerning good and evil, right and wrong…”4.

With these preliminary observations on the meaning of the

term, we may look briefly on the axiological and teleological aspects of

ethical behavior. The axiological or value aspect subsumes that ethical

behavior is to be considered good. The latter simply means that the

3 Reese, Dictionary of Philosophy, 156.
4 Ibid, 156.

A Global Ethics for a Globalized World


ultimate objective and purpose of an action should be achievement of

good. In either case western and eastern ethical thought consider social

consensus, at a given time, as the source of legitimacy of an ethical

act. Though certain ethical values apparently carry universality e.g.

truth, the question, what is truth as such, whether truth is practiced for

the sake of truth, or to avoid a personal harm, or for the collective

benefit of a society, can be approached from different perspectives.

In Western thought Bishop Joseph Butler (1692-1752 C.E.) held

that a person‟s conscience, when neither polluted nor subverted or

deranged intuitively, makes ethical judgments. Immanuel Kant (1724-

1804 C.E.) is known for his taking law as the basis of ethics; therefore

here ethical behavior, for him, is a matter of a categorical imperative.

Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832 C.E.) considered the greatest good of the

greatest number of the people as the goal of ethics. Herbert Spencer

(1820-1903 C.E.) evolved the concept of evolutionary utilitarianism.

Edward A. Westermarck (1862-1939 C.E.) pleaded the view of ethical

relativism thus considering ethical systems as a reflection of social

conditions. While William of Ockham (1290-1349 C.E.) regarded ethics

as having religious origin in the will of God where the Divine command

declares what is right or wrong.

Except for a handful of religious thinkers and philosophers,

those in the East or the West

consider intuition, collective

good or social conditions

responsible for considering an

act good and ethical or bad

and immoral. Nevertheless

certain concepts such as

justice, beneficence and non-

malfeasance are commonly

agreed as basic ethical

principles in the West. Islamic

ethics on the contrary draws

its legitimacy from Divine
revelation or Wah}ī. The Qur‟ān and the Prophetic Sunnah provide

universal ethical principles with specific instructions on what is good,
therefore permissible and allowed (h}alāl), what is desirable (mubāh})

and what is bad and impermissible (h}arām) as well as what is disliked


These two comprehensive terms, h}alal and h}aram cover all

possible areas of human activity wherein one exercises ethical

judgment, and thus acts morally or immorally. Ethical boundaries
(h}udūd) are drawn to indicate areas to be avoided. A vast area of

mubāh} also exists where under general universal Divine principles,

Maqās}id al-Sharī‘ah or objectives of the Divine law, individual and

collective rational, logical and syllogistic reasoning (ijtihād) leads to

judgments and positions on emerging bio-medical and ethical


All known civilizations have their

distinct concepts of good and bad.

Even those considered as

“uncivilized” also believe in

certain norms and values.

Policy Perspectives


The basic difference between the Eastern and Western ethical

philosophy, and the Islamic ethical paradigm can be illustrated with the

help of a simple diagram.

Evolution of Ethical Values in the East
and the West

Ethical Norms

and values

Social Habits

and Behavior

Local Customs

and Traditions

Sociologist, anthropologists and historians of culture trace origin of

ethical values of a people in their physical environment. With the

change in space and time, values and norms are also expected to

change. The norms and values of a pre-industrial society and a post-

modernist society are not expected to be similar. Social, economic and

political evolution is supposed to cause basic changes in the value

system of a people who go through this process. Values and norms,

therefore, are considered relative to socio-economic change. Truth,

beauty and justice are, therefore not absolute but subject to

environmental change and evolution. Man is supposed to adjust his

behavior and conduct accordingly.

Islamic ethics recognizes the role of intuitions, reason, customs

and traditions, so long as all these draw their legitimacy from the

A Global Ethics for a Globalized World


Divine principles of Sharī‘ah. No customs or traditions contrary to the

principles of Sharī‘ah can serve as the basis of social, economic,

political, legal and cultural policies and practices. Social development

and progress is subservient to Sharī‘ah. Divine legislation (Sharī‘ah, in

the strict sense of the word) is neither a product of social evolution nor

particular to a place, people, society or historical context. Its principles

are operational in all seasons and in a variety of human conditions.

Islamic ethics is founded on divine principles of sharī‘ah (the
maqās}id) which can be summarized as follows: First and foremost is

the principle of coherence and unity in life (tawh}īd). It simply means

that human behavior has to be coherent, unified and not contradictory

and incoherent. If it is ethical to respect human life, the same principle

should be observed when a person deals with his friends or adversaries.

Justice, truth and thankfulness should not be selective. If a person

declares that Allah is the Ultimate Authority in the universe, then His

directions and orders should be followed not only in the month of

Ramadan and in the masjid or within the boundaries of the Ka‘bah, but

even when a person is in the farthest corner of the world one should

observe Allah‟s directions in one‟s personal life, in economic activities,

social transactions, as well as in political decision making. Unity in life
or tawh}īd in practice, therefore, is a value and norm not particular to a

place, time or people.

If a comparison is made with Confucianism for example, one

finds that in Confucianism (founded by Confucius: 551-479 B.C.E.),

there is great emphasis on the noble person (chuntzu). The noble

person is expected to observe

certain values like humanity,

benevolence and compassion

(jen); righteousness (yi), filial

piety (xiao) and acting

according to “rules of

propriety” in the most

appropriate manner, or

observing ritual and ceremony


Jin or human

heartedness and yi or

righteousness together build a person of high moral quality5.

Righteousness and human heartedness in Confucianism are not for the

sake of any utilitarian end. Righteousness has to be for the sake of

righteousness. This reminds us of the Kantian categorical imperative, or

following ethics as a legal obligation. Confucianism does not accept

ethical relativism. In other words, ethical behavior and a righteous

person stand for “principled morality”.

5 Yu-Lan, The Spirit of Chinese Philosophy, 10-12.

Islamic ethics recognizes the role

of intuition, reason, customs and

traditions, so long as all these

draw their legitimacy from the

Divine principles.

Policy Perspectives


The Confucian term li is often translated as “ritual” or

“sacrifice”. The fact of the matter is that it stands for more than doing a

ritual in the prescribed manner. Confucius, in response to one of his

students, is reported to have said: “in funerals and ceremonies of

mourning, it is better that the mourners feel true grief, than that they

be meticulously correct in every ceremonial detail.”6 Ethics in practice

appears a major concern of Confucianism. It also indicates that ethical

consciousness and a desire for ethical and moral conduct and behavior

is a universal phenomenon.

Thus according to the Islamic worldview, ethical and moral
behavior (taqwa, ‘amal-s}āleh), observing what is essentially good

(ma‘rūf) and virtue (birr) is an obligation. Reasoned ethical judgment is

the basis of man‟s relation with his Creator as well as the basis of

serving and interacting with His Creation .Every human action is to be

based on ma‘rūf and taqwa, which are the measurable manifestations

of tawhid or unity in life. Man is neither an economic entity nor a social

animal, but an ethical being. Allah informed the angels before the

creation of the first human couple that He was going to create His

khalīfah, vicegerent or deputy, on earth. Allah did not say a “social

animal” or an “economic man” or a “shadow of god/monarch” or one

“obsessed with libido” was going to be created. khalīfah conceptually

means a person who acts ethically and responsibly. Therefore Man in

the light of the Qur‟ān is essentially an ethical being.

This realization of the unity in life, is the first condition for being

a believer in Islam and this principle has global application. Hence not

only for a Muslim but also equally for a Buddhist, Confucian, a

Christian, or a Hindu it is important to liberate oneself from

contradictions in conduct and

behavior. Specifically for a

Muslim observance of one and

the same ethical standards is

a pre-requisite for Īmān or

faith. An authentic Prophetic
h}adīth states:

“It is reported on the

authority of Anas b. Malik that

the Prophet (May peace and

blessings be upon him)

observed: one amongst you

believes (truly) till one likes

for his brother or for his neighbor that which he loves for himself.” 7

The Qur‟ān in several places underscores unity in action or unity

in behavior and profession as the key to ethical and moral conduct.

6 Creel, Chinese Thought from Confucius to Mao Tse-tung, 33.
7 Saheeh Muslim. Book 1. Hadīth no. 72.

The principle of coherence and

unity in life is the first and

foremost. It simply means that

human behavior has to be

coherent, unified and not

contradictory and incoherent.

A Global Ethics for a Globalized World


“O Believers! Why do you say something which you

do not do? It is very hateful in the sight of Allah that

you say something which you do not do.” 8

Unity in life as the first core teaching of Islam also happens to

be the basis of what have been called objectives of the Sharī‘ah
(maqās}id al-Sharī‘ah). Since unity in life means elimination of dual

standards of ethics and morality and development of a holistic

personality, its applicability and relevance is not particular to be

Muslims. Needless to say the objective of sharī‘ah are essentially

objectives of humanity as such truly global. The Qur‟an invites the

whole of humanity to critically

examine human conduct and

behavior, and through the
application of tawh}īd, create

harmony, balance, coherence

and unity in human conduct and

social policy. This principle was

not a tribal, Arabian or Makkan

practice. It was revealed to the

Prophet that the Rabb or

Naurisher of the whole of

human community is Allah

alone, therefore He alone to be

taken as Transcendent creator

and sustainer of the whole universe and mankind. The Qur‟anic

terminology Allah is not an evolved form of ilah but proper and personal

name of Transcendent creator of mankind. Islamic law similarly was not

a matter of Arabian customs traditions assigned normativeness by

Islam. Islam cause to Islamize the Arabs and non-Arabs. It never

wanted to Arabize the non-Arabic speaking world community.

The second foundational ethical principle, and an important

objective of the Sharī‘ah is the practice of „adl (justice) or equity,

fairness, moderation, beauty and balance in life. ‘Adl (justice) is one of

the major attributes of Allah, for He is Most Just, Fair and

Compassionate to His creation. At the same time, it is the principle

operating in the cosmos, in the world of vegetation, in the animal

world, sea world as well as in humanity at large. The Qur‟ān refers to

the constitution of man regarding this principle:

“O man! What had lured you away from your

Gracious Rabb, Who created you, fashioned you,

proportioned you.”9

8 As-Saff:61:2-3.
9 Al-Infitaar: 82:6-7.

Second foundational ethical

principle, is the practice of

justice or equity, fairness,

moderation, beauty and balance

in life.

Policy Perspectives


In Islam ethical conduct and virtuous behavior (taqwa) is

directly linked with ‘adl:

“O Believers! Be steadfast for the sake of Allah, and

bear true witness, and let not the enmity of a people

incite you to do injustice; do justice; that is nearer to


‘Adl is a comprehensive term. It also includes the meaning of

excelling and transcending in ethical and moral conduct:

“Allah commands doing justice, doing good to others,

and giving to near relatives, and He forbids

indecency, wickedness, and rebellion: He admonishes

you so that you may take heed.”11

Though generally taken to mean legal right of a person, „adl has

much wider implications. At a personal level it means doing justice to

one‟s own self by being moderate and balanced in behavior. Therefore

if a person over sleeps or does not sleep at all, starves in order to

increase spirituality or to lose weight, or on the contrary, overeats and
keeps on gaining weight, in both cases, he commits z}ulm or injustice

to his own self. „Adl is to be realized at the level of family. The h}adīth

of the Prophet specifies that one‟s body has a right on person similarly

his wife has a right on a person.

One who is kind, loving, caring and

compassionate toward family is

regarded by the Prophet a true

Muslim. „Adl has to be the basis of


A human society may

survive despite less food but no

society can survive without „adl or

fairness and


„Adl in

economic matters means an

economic order with oppressions,

monopoly and unfair distribution of

wealth. It also demands political

freedom and right to association, difference of opinions, criticism and

right to elect most suitable person for public position. If a political

system does not provide freedom of speech, respect for difference of

opinion and practice of human rights it cannot be called a just political

order. The capitalist world order, because of its oppressive nature
cannot be called an „adil order. It remains a z}alim order so long it does

not provide the due share of the laborer.

10 Al-Ma’idah: 5:8.
11 An-Nah}l: 16:90.

A human society may

survive despite less food

but no society can survive

without fairness and


A Global Ethics for a Globalized World


‘Adl in a medical context means professional excellence in one‟s

area of competence and specialization, for the simple reason that ‘adl

means doing a thing at its best. It implies devoting full attention to the

patient in order to fully understand the problem and coming up with the

best possible remedy. It also means prescribing a quality medicine with

least financial burden on the patient, and avoiding unnecessary

financial burden on a patient by prescribing irrelevant laboratory tests

or high cost medicine when a less costly medicine can do the same.

Thus if in one single area proper attention is not paid, it is deviation

from the path of ‘adl.

The third vital global ethical principle and one of the objective of

the Sharī‘ah is respect, protection and promotion of life. It too has

wider and vital implications for the whole of mankind. This principle is

drawn directly from the Qur‟ānic injunction that saving one human life

is like saving the whole of mankind, and destroying one single life,

unjustly, is like killing the whole of mankind.12 This Qur‟ānic injunction

makes it obligatory on every believing Muslim to avoid harming life or

killing, except when it is in return for committing manslaughter or

causing lawlessness in society.13

Since the word used in the Qur‟ān is nafs which means, self,

soul, individual human being, it is not particular to the Muslims or

people of a particular faith, creed or ethnicity. No individual or group of

human beings can be killed, or their life harmed without an ethical,

objective and legal justification. It also means that life when even in its

developmental stage is equally honorable and valuable. A fetus hence

has the same sanctity as a full-grown human being. Therefore any

things that can harm the fetus is also to be avoided in order to ensure

quality of life is not marginalized. For example if a female during

pregnancy uses alcoholic beverages, or drugs or even smokes,

medically all these are going to harm the fetus, and thus effect the

quality of life in future of a child yet to harm.

Not only this, but the principle has further serious implications

even for environmental policies. It is also directly relevant to the

manufacturing and production of pharmaceuticals. If the quality of

pharmaceuticals is not controlled, their use is bound to harm life.

This principle is also related to public policy on population. It

does not allow state to interfere in the bedroom of a person and impose

an embargo on childbirth, or allow abortion. These are only a few

serious ethical issue directly related to the principle of value of life.

12 “That whoever kills a person, except as a punishment for murder or mischief in the
land, it will be written in his book of deeds as if he had killed all the human beings,
and whoever will save a life shall be regarded as if he gave life to all the human
beings…” Al-Ma’idah:5:32.
13 Ibid.

Policy Perspectives


Obviously these are universal applications of this principle and not

confined to the followers of Islam.

The fourth major ethical principle relates to the role of reason

and rational judgment in human decision-making. The fact that human

beings should have reasoned judgments, and rise above emotional

behavior, blind desires and drives is a major concern of the Sharī‘ah.

Consequently Islam does not permit suspension of freedom of

judgment. An obvious example is, if a person gets addicted to drugs or

hooked to intoxicants, their use influences his personal and social

relations, freedom of will, as

well as personal integrity. In

Islam independence of reason

and rational judgment is a pre-

condition for all legal

transactions. The Qur‟ān

considers the use of intoxicants
immoral (fah}āsh). It is not only

sinful but also legally prohibited.

Modern medical research also

confirms the harmful effects of

drugs and intoxicants on the

mental health of people

irrespective of their race, color

or religion. However Islam‟s concern for reasoned and rational behavior

in personal and social life is not peculiar to Muslims. It‟s universal

values have global relevance to the conduct and behavior of all human

beings at a global level.

The fifth principle, protection of linage and dignity of genealogy,

too, has relevance to people of the entire world, irrespective of their

religion, race, color or language. It makes protection of genetic identity

and protection of lineage an ethical and legal obligation. The Islamic

social and legal system considers free mixing of sexes and pre-marital

conjugal relations immoral as well as unlawful. This has serious

implications for health sciences, social policy and legal system. This

global ethical principle deters a person from commercialization of the

human gene and also from the mixing of genes (such as in the case of

a surrogacy). This principle helps in preserving high standard of

morality in human society. It also discourages anonymity of the gene

and helps in preserving tradition of genetic tree.

This limit review of the objectives of Islamic shari‘ah indicates

that every principle has global relevance to ethical and moral conduct of

persons in a civilized society. The purpose of this brief resume of

universal and foundational Islamic ethical and moral principles, has

been first to dispel the impression that Islamic ethics is particular to the

Muslims; second to understand the objectives and origin of these

values in the Divine guidance and third, to find out how viable they are

in the contemporary world.

Islamic ethical principles

clearly differentiate between a

reasoned and rational judgment

and a judgment based on the

so-called blind drives.

A Global Ethics for a Globalized World


The principles and the objectives of the Sharī‘ah, as mentioned

above, are practically the objectives of humanity. Many of the

biological, emotional or intellectual and social needs of man have been

interpreted in western social sciences as blind drives, instincts and

animal desires; Islamic ethical principles clearly differentiate between a

reasoned and rational judgment and a judgment based on the so-called

blind drives. For instance, some human actions may have apparent

similarity but they may be poles apart. A person may take a loan from

a bank on a mutually agreed interest rate to establish an industry.

Another person may also borrow money from a bank on the Islamic

ethical principles of profit sharing, and with no interest at all. Both

appear industrial loans yet essentially one supports the capitalistic

exploitative system, while the other encourages commercial and

industrial growth without indulging in interest or usury, totally

prohibited by Islam.

Legitimacy of Ethical Values

Before concluding, it may also be appropriate to add a few words on

the legitimacy of Islamic ethical principles. It may be asked, “do these

principles draw their legitimacy from their customary practice, or draw

their power and authority from somewhere else?

Ethical behavior in all walks of life is a major concern of Islam.

However it does not leave ethical judgment to the personal like or

dislike, or to the greatest good of the largest number of people, though

one of the maxims of the Sharī‘ah directly refers to public good or

maslaha ‘amah. The origin and legitimacy of values in the Islamic world
view resides in Divine revelation (wah}ī). Revelation or kalaam/speech

of Allah should not be confused with inspiration or intuition, which is a
subjective phenomenon. Revelation, wah}ī or kalaam of Allah is

knowledge which comes from beyond and therefore, it is not subjective

but objective. Being the spoken word of Allah, makes it transcend the

finitude of space and time. Though revealed in the Arabic language, it

addresses the whole of humanity (an-Naas). It uses Arabic language

only incidentally, for clarity in communication. The purpose of

revelation in Arabic was to Islamize the Arabs and not to arabize those

who enter in to the fold of Islam.

Islamic values by their very nature are universal and globally

applicable. None of the ethical norms have their roots in local or

Arabian customs and traditions. These are not particularistic, temporal

values that normally change with the passage of time. These are

universal values having their roots in the Divine, universalistic

revelation. The principle of ‘adl discussed above, is not particular to a

race, color, groups or a specific region, or period of history. Respect

and promotion of life is also a universal value. Similarly honesty,

fairness, truth are neither Eastern nor Western, these are universally

recognized applied values.

Policy Perspectives


The purpose of these universal Islamic values is to help human

beings develop a responsible vision of life. It is a gross underestimation

to consider life a sport, a moment of

pleasure. Life has meaning, an

ethics by which it has to be lived,

fashioned and organized.

The Islamic world view, as pointed out earlier looks on human

life holistically. It advocates integration and cohesion in life, and avoids
compartmentalization and fragmentation. Tawh}īd or unity in life is

created when one single standard is observed in private and public life

and all human actions are motivated only by one single concern i.e how

to gain Allah‟s pleasure by observing an ethical and responsible life.

Islamic ethics can be summarized in only two points. First and

foremost, is observance of the rights of the Creator; living an ethical

life with full awareness of accountability on the day of Judgment as well

as in this world. Secondly, to fulfill obligations towards other human

beings not for any reward, recognition or compensation, but simply

because it pleases Allah. Serving humanity for the sake of humanity

may be a good cause but what makes serving humanity an ‘ibadah or

worship is serving Allah‟s servants for His sake, and not for any worldly

recognition by winning an excellent reward.

Islamic ethics in practice helps in binding the balanced,

responsible, receptive and proactive personality of a professional. The

primary Islamic ethical values briefly discussed above allow anyone

who follows these in their letter and spirit to reflect as a global citizen,

who transcends above discriminations of color, race, language or

religion. The Qur‟ān invites the entire humanity to adopt the path of

ethical living and practice, in order to make society peaceful, orderly

and responsive to needs of

the community. The Muslim

community is defined in the

Qur‟ān as the community of

ethically motivated persons

(khayra-ummah) or the

community of the middle
path (ummatan-wast}ān)

that does not go out of

balance and proportion and

implements good or ma‘ruf.

Ethically responsible

behavior means a behavior that follows universal ethical norms and

laws and resists all immediate temptations. The strength of character

simply means strict observance of principles a person claims to

subscribe to. Thus Islamic professional ethics guides a professional in

all situations where an ethical judgment is to be made, in medical

treatment as well as in business transactions, and administrative


It is a gross underestimation to

consider life a sport, a moment of

pleasure. Life has meaning, an

ethics by which it has to be lived,

fashioned and organized.

A Global Ethics for a Globalized World


Islamic ethics in practice encompasses not only formally known

social work but practically every action a human takes in society.

Islamic professional or work ethics is not confined to customer

satisfaction. A believer has to act ethically in personal as well as social,

financial, political and cultural matters. Change in space and time does

not lead to any change in ethical and moral standards and behavior.

Quality assurance as an ethical obligation is one of the major concerns

of the Qur‟ān. The general

principles of quality

assurance are mentioned at

several places in a variety

of context.

“Weigh with even

scales, and do not

cheat your fellow

men of what is

rightfully theirs…”14

It is further

elaborated when the Qur‟ān directs, that while delivering goods or

products one should not observe dual standards:

“Woe to those who defraud, who when, they take by

measure from men, take the full measure, but when

they give by measure or by weight to others, they

give less than due.”15

A medical practitioner for example, when he gets his

compensation in terms of consultation fee, it is his or her ethical

obligation to advice a patient with full responsibility, care and sense of

accountability to Allah. The same applies to a teacher, who must deliver

knowledge with full honesty, responsibility and fairness without hiding

the truth, or manipulation of facts. It equally applies to students and

researchers who do their utmost in seeking knowledge and truth, and

produce knowledge while avoiding plagiarism and other unfair means in


14 Ash-Shū’ara:26:182-183.
15 Al-Mut}affifīn:83:1-3.

Islamic ethics in practice

encompasses not only formally

known social work but practically

every action a human takes in


Policy Perspectives


The divinely inspired ethical principles transcend finitude of

humans mind and

experience. These are not

local, regional or national

on their origin, they are

not for a people with a

specific denomination

either. Their universality

makes them globally

applicable, absolute and

applicable in changed

circumstances and

environment. They are

human friendly but not a

result of human intellectual

intervention and offer

appreciable solutions to

human problem in this age

of globalization.

Wamā tawfīqī illa, bi Allah, wa Allahu A’lamu bi als}awāb.

The divinely inspired ethical

principles of Islam – transcending

finitude of human mind and

experience – are not local, regional

or national in their origin. Their

universality makes them globally

applicable, absolute and pertinent in

changed circumstances.

A Global Ethics for a Globalized World



Creel, H.G. Chinese Thought from Confucius to Mao Tse-tung. Chicago:

University of Chicago Press, 1953.

Ley, P. “Phobia.” in Encyclopedia of Psychology. edited by H.J. Eysenck,

et al, Vol III. New York, The Seabury Press, 1972.

Reese, William. Dictionary of Philosophy and Religion Eastern and

Western Thought. New Jersey: Huamanties Press, 1980.

Said, Edward W. Covering Islam, How Media and the Experts Determine

How We See the Rest of the World. New York: Panthoos Book,


Yu-Lan, Fung. The Spirit of Chinese Philosophy. Boston: Beacon Press,


Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without

14 Social Alternatives Vol. 34 No. 1, 2015

Classical Stoicism and the Birth of a Global
Ethics: Cosmopolitan Duties in a

World of Local Loyalties
Lisa hiLL

Do I have responsibilities to strangers and, if so, why? Is a global ethics possible in the absence
of supra-national institutions? The responses of the classical Stoics to these questions directly
influenced modern conceptions of global citizenship and contemporary understandings of our
duties to others. This paper explores the Stoic rationale for a cosmopolitan ethic that makes
significant moral demands on its practitioners. It also uniquely addresses the objection that a
global ethics is impractical in the absence of supra-national institutions and law.

themed artiCLe

What do we owe to strangers and why? Is a global
ethics possible in the face of national boundaries?

What should we do when bad governments order us to
mistreat strangers or the weak? These were just some
of the questions to which the ancient Stoics applied
themselves. Their answers, which emphasised the
equal worth and inherent dignity of every human being,
were to reverberate throughout the Western political
tradition and directly influence modern conceptions of
global citizenship. Yet, how the Stoics arrived at their
cosmopolitanism is often imperfectly understood, hence
the first part of the discussion. Objections that their ideas
were too utopian to be practically useful also reflect
misunderstandings about Stoicism, hence the second
part of the paper.

I begin by exploring the Stoic rationale for the cosmopolis,
the world state, after which I address the objection that
a global ethics is impractical in the absence of supra-
national institutions and law. Well aware that local
loyalties and the jealousy of sovereign states towards
their own jurisdictional authority would represent
significant obstacles to the practice of a global ethic, the
Stoics insisted that the cosmopolis could still be brought
into existence by those who unilaterally obeyed the laws
of ‘reason’ even within the confines of national borders
and in the face of hostile local institutions.


Inspired by the teaching of Socrates and Diogenes of
Sinope (Diogenes the Cynic), Stoicism was founded
at Athens by Zeno of Citium in around 300 BCE and
was influential throughout the Greco-Roman world
until around 200 CE.1 Its teachings were transmitted
to later generations largely through the surviving Latin
writings of Cicero, Seneca, Epictetus, C. Musonius

Rufus and Marcus Aurelius, as well as the Greek
author Diogenes Laertius via his Lives and Opinions of
Eminent Philosophers. The Stoics not only influenced
later generations; they were extremely influential in their
own time. From the outset, Stoicism was a distinctive
voice in intellectual life, from the Early Stoa in the fourth
and third centuries BCE, the Middle Stoa in the second
and first centuries BCE, to Late Stoicism in the first
and second centuries CE (and beyond) when Stoicism,
having spread to Rome and captivated many important
public figures, was at the height of its influence.

Stoic Cosmopolitanism and Global Ethics

The idea that we should condition ourselves to regard
everyone as being of equal value and concern is at
the heart of Stoic cosmopolitanism. The Stoics were
not alone in promoting this ideal: the Cynics were also
cosmopolitan. But it was the Stoics – the dominant
and most influential of the Hellenistic schools – who
systematised and popularised the concept of the
oikoumene, or world state, the human world as a
single, integrated city of natural siblings. Impartiality,
universalism and egalitarianism were at the heart of
this idea.

The Stoic challenge to particularism was extremely
subversive for a time when racism, classism, sexism
and the systematic mistreatment of non-citizens was
a matter of course. It was hardly thought controversial,
for example, that Aristotle (1943: IV. 775a. 5-15) should
declare that ‘in human beings the male is much better
in its nature than the female’ and that ‘we should look
upon the female state as being … a deformity’. Similarly,
ethnic prejudice was the norm rather than the exception
in antiquity. The complacent xenophobia and racism
of Demosthenes’s 341 BCE diatribe against Philip of

Social Alternatives Vol. 34 No 1, 2015 15

Macedon would not have raised a single eyebrow in his
Greek audience:

[H]e is not only no Greek, nor related to the
Greeks, but not even a barbarian from any place
that can be named with honour, but a pestilent
knave from Macedonia, whence it was never yet
possible to buy a decent slave (Demosthenes,
1926: 31).

Reversing these kinds of attitudes (and the behaviour
attendant on them) was the self-appointed task of the
Stoic philosophers.

The Cosmopolitan Ideal, Social Distance and Care
for Strangers

The first step towards promoting a universalistic ethic
entailed changing our whole way of thinking about
social distance. The Stoics were well aware that most
people tend to imagine their primary, secondary and
tertiary duties to others as ranked geographically:
distance regulates the intensity of obligation and people
will normally give priority to themselves, intimates,
conspecifics, and compatriots (in roughly that order),
before strangers, foreigners and members of out-
groups. This view is what is commonly referred to as ‘the
common-sense priority thesis’ or the ‘common-sense’
view of global concerns. Hierocles, the second century
Stoic philosopher, introduces the image of concentric
circles to illustrate how we generally conceive of our
obligations to others:

Each one of us is … entirely encompassed by
many circles, some smaller, others larger, the
latter enclosing the former on the basis of their
different and unequal dispositions relative to each
other. The first and closest circle is the one which
a person has drawn as though around a centre,
his own mind. This circle encloses the body and
anything taken for the sake of the body … Next,
the second one further removed from the centre
but enclosing the first circle; this contains parents,
siblings, wife, and children. The third one has in it
uncles and aunts, grandparents, nephews, nieces,
and cousins. The next circle includes the other
relatives, and this is followed by the circle of local
residents, then the circle of fellow-tribesmen, next
that of fellow citizens, and then in the same way
the circle of people from neighboring towns, and
the circle of fellow-countrymen. The outermost
and largest circle, which encompasses all the
rest, is that of the whole human race (fragment
reproduced in Long and Sedley 1987: 1349).

But the Stoics wanted to radically change this way of
thinking and feeling about others. As Hierocles suggests,
we must first become aware of our own prejudices in

order to repudiate them and thereafter substitute them
with superior cosmopolitan mental habits:

Once all these [circles] have been surveyed, it
is the task of a well tempered man, in his proper
treatment of each group, to draw the circles
together somehow toward the centre, and to keep
zealously transferring those from the enclosing
circles into the enclosed ones (Hierocles fragment
in Long and Sedley 1987: 1/349).

Humanity must embark on a morally demanding
developmental journey that begins (quite naturally) with a
variable quality of attachment towards others, proceeding
to a state of invariable quality of attachment towards
the world at large. The Stoics did not aim to invert the
priority thesis (which would mean that the intensity of our
feelings would increase the further out we went); rather,
they strove for a sameness of feeling for all, regardless
of social distance. Impartiality was their ideal. To be self-
regarding and partial to intimates was not only contrary
to natural law; it was a sign of moral immaturity.

Why Do I Owe Strangers (and the Less Fortunate)

What led the Stoics to this ambitious mission? The
answer originates in Stoic theology, which was devised
as a philosophy of defence in a troubled world and
a rival to the religion of the Olympian pantheon. The
Stoic emotional ideal was a combination of spiritual
calm (ataraxia) and resignation (apatheia) that were
to be cultivated in order to achieve happiness/human
flourishing (eudaimonia). The point of religion was to
bring order and tranquillity; something the official Greek
religion of the Olympian gods was quite obviously
incapable of achieving. This religion, with its capricious,
sex-crazed, ill-tempered and unpredictable gods who
meddled in human affairs from the heights of Mount
Olympus hardly inspired calm, let alone compassion.
Neither did its unending demands for propitiation and
sacrifice promote resignation. So the Stoics devised
a less disconcerting religion that spoke of an orderly
universe with no divine intervention whatsoever and
brought the gods not only closer to us, but into us;
no longer distant, terrifying others but, quite literally,
kindly insiders. ‘Reason’, the ‘mind-fire spirit’ existed as
intelligent matter, residing benignly in all life and impelling
it unconsciously and teleologically towards order and
rightness. Humans are not separate from God (or Gods)
but a part of ‘Him’: ‘the universe [is] one living being,
having one substance and one soul’ (Marcus Aurelius
1916: IV.40).

Because the Gods have given each human a particle of
God-like intellect (‘reason’), we have a natural kinship
both with God and with each other (Marcus Aurelius
1916: 12.26). As related parts of the same entity, and

16 Social Alternatives Vol. 34 No. 1, 2015

equally sharing in ‘reason’, we are natural equals on
earth with equal sagacious potential. According to
Cicero, everyone has the spark of reason and ‘there is no
difference in kind between man and man [it] is certainly
common to us all’ (Cicero 1988: I. 30). Seneca says that
the light of educated reason ‘shines for all’ regardless
of social location, which is, after all, merely a matter of
luck and social conditioning. As he quite sensibly points
out, ‘Socrates was no aristocrat. Cleanthes worked at
a well and served as a hired man watering a garden.
Philosophy did not find Plato already a nobleman; it made
him one’ (Seneca 2002: Ep. 44.3). Exclusive pedigrees
‘do not make the nobleman’; only ‘the soul … renders us
noble’ (Seneca 2002: Ep. 44.5). Everyone has the same
capacity for wisdom and virtue and everyone is equally
desirous of these things (Seneca 2002: Ep. 44.6).

True freedom comes from knowledge, from learning to
distinguish ‘between good and bad things’ (Seneca 2002:
Ep. 44.6). Being knowledgeable and therefore ‘good’ is
not just for ‘professional philosophers’. People do not
need to ‘wrap [themselves] up in a worn cloak … nor
grow long hair nor deviate from the ordinary practices
of the average man’ in order to enter the cosmopolis;
rather, admission is open to anyone who insists on using
their own right judgement, in simply ‘thinking out what
is man’s duty and meditating upon it’ (Musonius 1905:
Discourse 16). This is the route to both the moral and the
happy life: when we learn to live according to the natural
law of Zeus, and therefore our natural tendencies, we
are enabled to achieve inner tranquillity (Chrysippus in
Diogenes 1958: ‘Zeno’, VII. 88).2

Duties, Harm and Aid

The Stoics insisted that one of the things that allow
us to live virtuously in accordance with nature is the
correct performance of duties (Sorabji 1993: 134-157).
The virtuous agent is beneficent and just: justice is the
cardinal social virtue (‘the crowning glory of the virtues’)
and beneficence is closely ‘akin’ to it (Chrysippus cited
in Cicero 1990: I. 20). We should always strive to refrain
from harming others since the universal law forbids
it (Cicero 1990: 1. 149.153; Marcus Aurelius 1916:
9.1; Seneca 2002: Ep. 95.51-3). Indeed, ‘according to
[Nature’s] ruling, it is more wretched to commit than to
suffer injury’ (Seneca 2002: Ep. 95.52-3).

But the negative virtue of refraining from harm is not
enough: virtue must also be positive. It is natural for
human beings to aid others (Cicero 1961: III. 62). We
are duty-bound to meet the needs of our divine siblings
(Marcus Aurelius 1916: 11.4) and it is ‘Nature’s will
that we enter into a general interchange of acts of
kindness, by giving and receiving’ (Cicero 1990: I. 20).
The morally mature person knows that she must ‘live for
[her] neighbour’ as she lives for herself (Seneca 2002:
Ep. 48.3).

We have duties of justice, fairness and mutual aid to one
another and the needs of others imply a duty to meet
them: ‘Through [Nature’s] orders, let our hands be ready
for all that needs to be helped’ (Seneca 2002: Ep. 95.52-
3). Moral failure is epitomised by an ‘incapacity to extend
help’ (Epictetus 1989: Fragment 7, 4: 447). It is not only
neutral strangers who are entitled to our assistance, but
also our supposed enemies. Contrary to the ‘common
notion’ that ‘the despicable man is recognised by his
inability to harm his enemies … actually he is much more
easily recognised by his inability to help them’ (Musonius
1905: Fragment XLI). Clearly, the moral demands of the
cosmopolitan ethic are extremely high, requiring that we
treat impartially even the feared and hated. The need for
a high level of moral maturity is one of the reasons why
the Stoics placed so much emphasis on the desirability
of emotional self-control.

Universal Versus Positive, Local Law

The extirpation of passionate attachment and the
moderation of intense loyalties to conspecifics are basic
preconditions for a global ethics. Impartiality is the key
to Stoic egalitarianism: the wise person knows that the
laws governing her behaviour are the same for everyone
regardless of ethnicity, class, blood ties (Clark 1987:
65, 70), and gender (Hill 2001). Judgements about the
welfare of others are always unbiased: ‘persons’ are of
equal value and ends in themselves regardless of their
social location or proximity to us. Reason is common
and so too is law; hence ‘the whole race of mankind’
are ‘fellow-members of the world state’ (Marcus Aurelius
1916: 4.4; see also Epictetus 1989: I.9. 1-3; Cicero 1988:

Cicero (1961: III.63) says that ‘the mere fact’ of our
‘common humanity’ not only inclines us, but also
‘requires’ that we feel ‘akin’ to one another. The
siblinghood of all rational creatures overrides any local
or emotional attachments because the ‘wise man’
knows that ‘every place is his country’ (Seneca 1970:
II, IX.7; see also Epictetus 1989: IV, 155-165). In order
to ‘guar[d]’ our own welfare we will subject ourselves
to God’s laws, ‘not the laws of Masurius and Cassius’.
When family members rule over others we ‘demolis[h] the
whole structure of civil society’ while putting compatriots
before ‘foreigners’ destroys ‘the universal brotherhood
of mankind’. If we refuse to recognise that foreigners
have the same ‘rights’3 as compatriots we utterly destroy
all ‘kindness, generosity, goodness and justice’ (Cicero
1990: 3. 27-8).

The rational agent will put the laws of Zeus before those
of ‘men’ whenever a conflict between them arises, even
when this imperils the wellbeing of the agent concerned,
as it so often did in the case of Stoic disciples. For
example, when in 60 CE Nero sent Rubellius into exile
to Asia Minor, Musonius went with him in a gesture of
solidarity, thereby casting suspicion on himself in the

Social Alternatives Vol. 34 No 1, 2015 17

eyes of the lethally dangerous Nero. Upon the death
of Rubellius, Musonius returned to Rome, where his
Stoic proselytising drew the further ire of Nero who
subsequently banished him to the remote island of
Gyaros. After Nero’s reign ended, Musonius returned
to Rome but was banished yet again by Vespasian on
account of his political activism.

Musonius thus practised what he preached. He taught
that it is virtuous to exercise nonviolent disobedience
in cases where an authority orders us to violate the
universal law. It is right to disobey an unlawful command
from any superior, be it father, magistrate, or master
because our allegiance – first and always – is to Zeus
and to ‘his’ commandment to do right. In fact, an act
is only disobedient when one has refused ‘to carry out
good and honourable and useful orders’ (Musonius 1905:
Discourse 16). Where the laws of God conflict with the
laws of ‘men’, natural law trumps positive law (Cicero
1988: II.11). As Epictetus (1989: 3.4-7) says: ‘if the good
is something different from the noble and the just, then
father and brother and country and all relationships
simply disappear’. All the Stoics agree on this point
and they directly influenced Kant’s views on the same
subject, namely, that the universal law ‘condemns any
violation that, should it be general, would undermine
human fellowship’ (Nussbaum 2000: 12).

Realist Objections

It is often suggested that cosmopolitanism in general –
and the idea of the world state in particular – is hard to
take seriously because it is practically impossible due
to the persistence of sovereign states and the localised
loyalties that accompany them. On this view, Stoic
cosmopolitanism necessarily involves the commitment
to a world state capable of enacting and enforcing
Stoic principles. However, the cosmopolis is not, strictly
speaking, a legal or constitutional entity (although, of
course, it can be): rather, it is, first and foremost, an
imaginary city, a state of mind, open to anyone capable
of recognising the inherent sanctity of others and who
evinces the Stoic virtues of sympatheia (social solidarity),
philanthropia or humanitas (benevolence), and clementia
(compassion). We become cosmopolites when we work
hard to look beyond surface appearances (Seneca 2002:
Ep. 44.6) and live in obedience to the laws of reason
and of nature, rather than the variable laws of a single
locality. These are the qualities that secure a person’s
membership of the cosmopolis and which also conjure
it into reality.

We are all capable of being cosmopolites. As Musonius
says, the mind is ‘free from all compulsion’ and is ‘in
its own power’; no one can ‘prevent you from using it
nor from thinking … nor from liking the good’ nor from
‘choosing’ the latter, for ‘in the very act of doing this’, you
become a cosmopolite (1905: Discourse 16). Sovereign
states and the citizens within them do not need formal,

supranational structures and legal frameworks to operate
as world citizens; they only need to begin acting as
though the world were a single city which, although
composed predominantly of strangers, is nevertheless
and inescapably one family of natural siblings. Everyone
can and should be a cosmopolite, even if this means
challenging the institutional authority of those who rule.

The fact that the cosmopolis is an imagined community
(albeit constituted by real moral agents committing real
acts of ‘reason’) does not mean that its laws are not more
secure once they have been enshrined in positive law. In
fact, the Stoics preferred to see the laws of Zeus codified
(Bauman 2000: 70, 80). The Roman Stoics, in particular,
sought to bring the cosmopolis into practical existence
through the exercise of power. This is why many threw
themselves into the Sturm und Drang of politics. The true
sage spurns the life of solitary contemplation to devote
him/herself to civic life. There is a fundamental human
desire to ‘safeguard and protect’ our fellow human beings
and because it is natural to ‘desire to benefit as many
people as [one] can’ (Cicero 1961: III.65); it follows that
‘the Wise Man’ will ‘engage in politics and government’
(Cicero 1961: III.68; Diogenes 1958: ‘Zeno’ VII. 21).
Many Stoics sought to influence politics either directly or
indirectly. The Stoic philosopher-king, Marcus Aurelius,
was the most powerful person on earth during his reign
(Noyen 1955), while the Gracchi brothers pushed for
many Stoic-inspired reforms such as admission of all
Italians to citizenship. Those without formal power sought
to influence those who did hold it: Panaetius advised
Scipio Aemilianus, Seneca advised Nero while Blossius
of Cumae advised Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus (see
Hill 2005).

But in the absence of formal institutionalisation the laws
of the cosmos are still held to be real; we remain bound
by them because, as Cicero points out, ‘true law’ is
not ‘any enactment of peoples’ [statute] but something
eternal which rules the whole universe by its wisdom
in command and prohibition’. After all, ‘there was no
written law against rape at Rome in the reign of Lucius
Tarquinius’ yet ‘we cannot say on that account that
Sextus Tarquinius did not break that eternal Law by
violating Lucretia’. The eternal law ‘urging men to right
conduct and diverting them from wrongdoing … did not
first become Law when it was written down, but when it
first came into existence’, which occurred ‘simultaneously
with the divine mind’ (1988: II. 11).

Even if they never managed to constitutionally entrench
the cosmopolis, the Stoics believe it is realised the
moment an agent internalises its moral precepts and
begins to act upon them unilaterally. On this view,
technically, the world state can be brought into existence
by the actions of a single right-thinking person. Therefore
it is unclear that a global ethics is meaningless without
a world state and without political anchoring practices,
and positive laws to guarantee them. At its inception, the

18 Social Alternatives Vol. 34 No. 1, 2015

Stoic cosmopolis was conceived as a moral mindset: no
Stoic ever advocated a legally constituted world-state.
One enters the cosmopolis in and with one’s mind, a
mind that is disciplined to absolute impartiality, capable of
seeing past social conventions and intent on universally
extending benevolence and compassion.

Concluding Remarks

For the Stoics, we are siblings with a common ancestry
who share equally in a capacity for reason. Accordingly,
we are all entitled to full recognition. The global state,
the cosmopolis, is brought into being by this recognition:
it is a function of the capacity to be impartial and to
appreciate that there is an inescapable duty to aid
anyone in need, regardless of their social location or
social proximity. The Stoics knew that this was a hard
task requiring not only a high degree of emotional
control and moral maturity but also a willingness to resist
social convention and local practice. Their injunctions
to reasonable behaviour were made in full knowledge
of the fact that the desired anchoring practices would
most likely be absent; nevertheless, they expected their
disciples to adhere to them, not only in the absence of
such practices but even in the face of hostile anchoring
practices, whether in the form of laws or norms.

Aristotle 1943 Generation of Animals, trans. A.L. Peck,

Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA.
Bauman, R. 2000 Human Rights in Ancient Rome,

Routledge, London and New York.
Brown, E. 2006 ‘The Stoic invention of cosmopolitan

politics’, Proceedings of the Conference Cosmopolitan
Politics: On the history and future of a controversial
ideal, Frankfurt am Main, December, http://www.artsci.
wustl.edu/~eabrown/pdfs/Invention (accessed

Cicero 1961 De Finibus Bonorum et Malorum, trans. H.
Rackham, William Heinemann Ltd, London.

Cicero, Marcus Tullius 1988 De Republica; De Legibus,
trans. C.W. Keyes, William Heinemann Ltd, London.

Cicero, Marcus Tullius 1990 De Officiis, trans. W. Miller,
Harvard University Press, London.

Clark, S. 1987 ‘The City of the Wise’, Apeiron, XX,1:

Demosthenes 1926 ‘Philippic III’, in Demosthenes, trans.
C. A. Vince and J. H. Vince, Harvard University Press,
Cambridge, MA.

Diogenes, L. 1958 Lives of Eminent Philosophers, trans.
R.D. Hicks, William Heinemann Ltd, London.

Epictetus 1989 The Discourses as Reported by Arrian,
the Manual and Fragments, in two vols, trans. W.A.
Oldfather, Harvard University Press, London.

Hill, L. 2001 ‘The first wave of feminism: were the Stoics
feminists?’ History of Political Thought, 22, 1: 12-40.

Hill, L. 2005 ‘Classical Stoicism and a difference of
opinion?’ in T. Battin (ed.) A Passion for Politics:
Essays in Honour of Graham Maddox, Pearson
Education Australia, Frenchs Forest, NSW.

Long, A. and Sedley, D. 1987 The Hellenistic Philosophers,
in two vols, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Marcus Aurelius 1916 The Meditations, trans. C.R.
Haines, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA.

Musonius R. 1905 Musonius Rufus, Reliquiae, O. Hense
(ed.), Teubner, Chicago.

Noyen, P. 1955 ‘Marcus Aurelius: the greatest practitioner
of Stoicism’, Antiquité Classique, 24: 372-383.

Nussbaum, M. 2000 Ethics and Political Philosophy,
Transaction Publications, New Brunswick.

Seneca, Lucius Annaues 1970 ‘Ad Helvium’, in Seneca,
Moral Essays, trans. J.W. Basore, William Heinemann
Ltd, London.

Seneca, Lucius Annaeus 2002 Epistles, in three vols,
intro. R. M. Gummere, Harvard University Press,
Cambridge, MA.

Sorabji, R. 1993 Animal Minds and Human Morals,
Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY.

Lisa Hill PhD is Professor of Politics at the University of
Adelaide. Before that she was an Australian Research
Council Fellow and a Fellow in Political Science at the
Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National
University. Her interests are in political theory, history of
political thought and electoral ethics. She is co-author
of: An Intellectual History of Political Corruption, and
Compulsory Voting: For and Against. She has published
her work in Political Studies, Federal Law Review,
The British Journal of Political Science and Journal of
Theoretical Politics.

End Notes
1. Although the school wasn’t officially closed until 529 CE.
2. Happiness is synonymous with wisdom and virtue in Stoicism.
3. Habendam, or what is held or is due to one.

Every Breath

It’s interesting to consider that

every breath I take

has already been breathed

been part of another breath.

Perhaps that dog over there,

smelly and hairy, licking its own arse.

lynne White,
GWynedd, WaleS

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