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Virtue (Latin : virtus , Ancient Greek : ἀρετή "arete") is moral excellence. A virtue is a trait or quality that is deemed to be morally good and thus is valued as a foundation of principle and good moral being. Personal virtues are characteristics valued as promoting collective and individual greatness. In other words, it is a behavior that shows high moral standards. Doing what is right and avoiding what is wrong. The opposite of virtue is vice.
Morality is the differentiation of intentions, decisions and actions between those that are distinguished as proper and those that are improper. Morality can be a body of standards or principles derived from a code of conduct from a particular philosophy, religion or culture, or it can derive from a standard that a person believes should be universal. Morality may also be specifically synonymous with "goodness" or "rightness".
Excellence is a talent or quality which is unusually good and so surpasses ordinary standards. It is also used as a standard of performance as measured e.g. through economic indicators.
In religion, ethics, philosophy, and psychology "good and evil" is a very common dichotomy. In cultures with Manichaean and Abrahamic religious influence, evil is usually perceived as the dualistic antagonistic opposite of good, in which good should prevail and evil should be defeated. In cultures with Buddhist spiritual influence, both good and evil are perceived as part of an antagonistic duality that itself must be overcome through achieving Śūnyatā meaning emptiness in the sense of recognition of good and evil being two opposing principles but not a reality, emptying the duality of them, and achieving a oneness.
The four classic cardinal virtues in Christianity are temperance, prudence, courage, and justice. Christianity derives the three theological virtues of faith, hope and love (charity) from 1 Corinthians. Together these make up the seven virtues. Buddhism's four brahmavihara ("Divine States") can be regarded as virtues in the European sense.[ citation needed ] According to Nitobe Inazō's book Bushido: The Soul of Japan , the Japanese Bushidō code is characterized by eight main virtues, including honesty, heroic courage, and righteousness.
Christianity is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. Its adherents, known as Christians, believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and savior of all people, whose coming as the Messiah was prophesied in the Old Testament and chronicled in the New Testament. It is the world's largest religion with over 2.4 billion followers.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines virtue as "a habitual and firm disposition to do the good." Traditionally, the seven Christian virtues or heavenly virtues combine the four classical cardinal virtues of prudence, justice, temperance and courage with the three theological virtues of faith, hope and charity. These were adopted by the Church Fathers as the seven virtues.
The brahmavihārās are a series of four Buddhist virtues and the meditation practices made to cultivate them. They are also known as the four immeasurables. The Brahma-viharas are:
The ancient Romans used the Latin word virtus (derived from vir, their word for man) to refer to all of the "excellent qualities of men, including physical strength, valorous conduct, and moral rectitude." The French words vertu and virtu came from this Latin root. In the 13th century, the word virtue was "borrowed into English".
During Egyptian civilization, Maat or Ma'at (thought to have been pronounced *[muʔ.ʕat]), also spelled māt or mayet, was the ancient Egyptian concept of truth, balance, order, law, morality, and justice. Maat was also personified as a goddess regulating the stars, seasons, and the actions of both mortals and the deities. The deities set the order of the universe from chaos at the moment of creation. Her (ideological) counterpart was Isfet, who symbolized chaos, lies, and injustice.
Maat or Maʽat refers to the ancient Egyptian concepts of truth, balance, order, harmony, law, morality, and justice. Maat was also the goddess who personified these concepts, and regulated the stars, seasons, and the actions of mortals and the deities who had brought order from chaos at the moment of creation. Her ideological opposite was Isfet, meaning injustice, chaos, violence or to do evil.
Ancient Egypt was a civilization of ancient North Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in the place that is now the country Egypt. Ancient Egyptian civilization followed prehistoric Egypt and coalesced around 3100 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under Menes. The history of ancient Egypt occurred as a series of stable kingdoms, separated by periods of relative instability known as Intermediate Periods: the Old Kingdom of the Early Bronze Age, the Middle Kingdom of the Middle Bronze Age and the New Kingdom of the Late Bronze Age.
Truth is most often used to mean being in accord with fact or reality, or fidelity to an original or standard. Truth is also sometimes defined in modern contexts as an idea of "truth to self", or authenticity.
The four classic cardinal virtues are:
Temperance is defined as moderation or voluntary self-restraint. It is typically described in terms of what an individual voluntarily refrains from doing. This includes restraint from retaliation in the form of non-violence and forgiveness, restraint from arrogance in the form of humility and modesty, restraint from excesses such as extravagant luxury or splurging now in the form of prudence, and restraint from excessive anger or craving for something in the form of calmness and self-control.
Prudence is the ability to govern and discipline oneself by the use of reason. It is classically considered to be a virtue, and in particular one of the four Cardinal virtues. Prudentia is an allegorical female personification of the virtue, whose attributes are a mirror and snake, who is frequently depicted as a pair with Justitia, the Roman goddess of Justice.
Courage is the choice and willingness to confront agony, pain, danger, uncertainty, or intimidation. Physical courage is bravery in the face of physical pain, hardship, death or threat of death, while moral courage is the ability to act rightly in the face of popular opposition, shame, scandal, discouragement, or personal loss.
This enumeration is traced to Greek philosophy and was listed by Plato in addition to piety: ὁσιότης (hosiotēs), with the exception that wisdom replaced prudence as virtue. Some scholars consider either of the above four virtue combinations as mutually reducible and therefore not cardinal.
Plato was an Athenian philosopher during the Classical period in Ancient Greece, founder of the Platonist school of thought, and the Academy, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world.
In spiritual terminology, piety is a virtue which may include religious devotion, spirituality, or a mixture of both. A common element in most conceptions of piety is humility.
It is unclear whether multiple virtues were of later construct, and whether Plato subscribed to a unified view of virtues.In Protagoras and Meno , for example, he states that the separate virtues cannot exist independently and offers as evidence the contradictions of acting with wisdom, yet in an unjust way; or acting with bravery (fortitude), yet without wisdom.
In his work Nicomachean Ethics , Aristotle defined a virtue as a point between a deficiency and an excess of a trait.The point of greatest virtue lies not in the exact middle, but at a golden mean sometimes closer to one extreme than the other. However, the virtuous action is not simply the "mean" (mathematically speaking) between two opposite extremes. As Aristotle says in the Nicomachean Ethics: "at the right times, about the right things, towards the right people, for the right end, and in the right way, is the intermediate and best condition, and this is proper to virtue." This is not simply splitting the difference between two extremes. For example, generosity is a virtue between the two extremes of miserliness and being profligate. Further examples include: courage between cowardice and foolhardiness, and confidence between self-deprecation and vanity. In Aristotle's sense, virtue is excellence at being human.
Seneca, the Roman Stoic, said that perfect prudence is indistinguishable from perfect virtue. Thus, in considering all consequences, a prudent person would act in the same way as a virtuous person.[ citation needed ] The same rationale was expressed by Plato in Protagoras , when he wrote that people only act in ways that they perceive will bring them maximum good. It is the lack of wisdom that results in the making of a bad choice instead of a prudent one. In this way, wisdom is the central part of virtue. Plato realized that because virtue was synonymous with wisdom it could be taught, a possibility he had earlier discounted. He then added "correct belief" as an alternative to knowledge, proposing that knowledge is merely correct belief that has been thought through and "tethered".
The term "virtue" itself is derived from the Latin "virtus" (the personification of which was the deity Virtus), and had connotations of "manliness", "honour", worthiness of deferential respect, and civic duty as both citizen and soldier. This virtue was but one of many virtues which Romans of good character were expected to exemplify and pass on through the generations, as part of the Mos Maiorum; ancestral traditions which defined "Roman-ness". Romans distinguished between the spheres of private and public life, and thus, virtues were also divided between those considered to be in the realm of private family life (as lived and taught by the paterfamilias), and those expected of an upstanding Roman citizen.
Most Roman concepts of virtue were also personified as a numinous deity. The primary Roman virtues, both public and private, were:
In 410 CE, Aurelius Prudentius Clemens listed seven "heavenly virtues" in his book Psychomachia (Battle of Souls) which is an allegorical story of conflict between vices and virtues. The virtues depicted were:
In the 8th Century, upon the occasion of his coronation as Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne published a list of knightly virtues:
In the Bahá'í Faith, virtues are direct spiritual qualities that the human soul possesses, inherited from the world of God. The development and manifestation of these virtues is the theme of the Hidden Words of Bahá'u'lláh and are discussed in great detail as the underpinnings of a divinely-inspired society by `Abdu'l-Bahá in such texts as The Secret of Divine Civilization .[ citation needed ]
Buddhist practice as outlined in the Noble Eightfold Path can be regarded as a progressive list of virtues.[ citation needed ]
Buddhism's four brahmavihara ("Divine States") can be more properly regarded as virtues in the European sense. They are:
There are also the Paramitas ("perfections"), which are the culmination of having acquired certain virtues. In Theravada Buddhism's canonical Buddhavamsathere are Ten Perfections (dasa pāramiyo). In Mahayana Buddhism, the Lotus Sutra (Saddharmapundarika), there are Six Perfections; while in the Ten Stages (Dasabhumika) Sutra, four more Paramitas are listed.
In Christianity, the three theological virtues are faith, hope and love, a list which comes from 1 Corinthians 13:13 (νυνὶ δὲ μένει πίστιςpistis (faith), ἐλπίςelpis (hope), ἀγάπηagape (love), τὰ τρία ταῦτα· μείζων δὲ τούτων ἡ ἀγάπη). The same chapter describes love as the greatest of the three, and further defines love as "patient, kind, not envious, boastful, arrogant, or rude." (The Christian virtue of love is sometimes called charity and at other times a Greek word agape is used to contrast the love of God and the love of humankind from other types of love such as friendship or physical affection.)
Christian scholars frequently add the four Greek cardinal virtues (prudence, justice, temperance, and courage) to the theological virtues to give the seven virtues; for example, these seven are the ones described in the Catechism of the Catholic Church , sections 1803–1829.
The Bible mentions additional virtues, such as in the "Fruit of the Holy Spirit," found in Galatians 5:22-23: "By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit it is benevolent-love: joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, benevolence, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is absolutely no law against such a thing."
The medieval and renaissance periods saw a number of models of sin listing the seven deadly sins and the virtues opposed to each.
"Virtue", translated from Chinese de (德), is also an important concept in Chinese philosophy, particularly Daoism. De (Chinese :德; pinyin :dé; Wade–Giles :te) originally meant normative "virtue" in the sense of "personal character; inner strength; integrity", but semantically changed to moral "virtue; kindness; morality". Note the semantic parallel for English virtue , with an archaic meaning of "inner potency; divine power" (as in "by virtue of") and a modern one of "moral excellence; goodness".[ citation needed ]
In early periods of Confucianism, moral manifestations of "virtue" include ren ("humanity"), xiao ("filial piety"), and li ("proper behavior, performance of rituals"). The notion of ren - according to Simon Leys - means "humanity" and "goodness". Ren originally had the archaic meaning in the Confucian Book of Poems of "virility", but progressively took on shades of ethical meaning.Some scholars consider the virtues identified in early Confucianism as non-theistic philosophy.
The Daoist concept of De, compared to Confucianism, is more subtle, pertaining to the "virtue" or ability that an individual realizes by following the Dao ("the Way"). One important normative value in much of Chinese thinking is that one's social status should result from the amount of virtue that one demonstrates, rather than from one's birth. In the Analects , Confucius explains de as follows: "He who exercises government by means of his virtue may be compared to the north polar star, which keeps its place and all the stars turn towards it."In later periods, particularly from the Tang dynasty period, Confucianism as practiced, absorbed and melded its own concepts of virtues with those from Daoism and Buddhism.
Virtue is a much debatedand an evolving concept in ancient scriptures of Hinduism. The essence, need and value of virtue is explained in Hindu philosophy as something that cannot be imposed, but something that is realized and voluntarily lived up to by each individual. For example, Apastamba explained it thus: "virtue and vice do not go about saying - here we are!; neither the Gods, Gandharvas, nor ancestors can convince us - this is right, this is wrong; virtue is an elusive concept, it demands careful and sustained reflection by every man and woman before it can become part of one's life.
Virtues lead to punya (Sanskrit: पुण्य,holy living) in Hindu literature; while vices lead to pap (Sanskrit: पाप, sin). Sometimes, the word punya is used interchangeably with virtue.
The virtues that constitute a dharmic life - that is a moral, ethical, virtuous life - evolve in vedas and upanishads. Over time, new virtues were conceptualized and added by ancient Hindu scholars, some replaced, others merged. For example, Manusamhita initially listed ten virtues necessary for a human being to live a dharmic life: Dhriti (courage), Kshama (forgiveness), Dama (temperance), Asteya (Non-covetousness/Non-stealing), Saucha (inner purity), Indriyani-graha (control of senses), dhi (reflective prudence), vidya (wisdom), satyam (truthfulness), akrodha (freedom from anger).In later verses, this list was reduced to five virtues by the same scholar, by merging and creating a more broader concept. The shorter list of virtues became: Ahimsa (Non-violence), Dama (self restraint), Asteya (Non-covetousness/Non-stealing), Saucha (inner purity), Satyam (truthfulness).
The Bhagavad Gita - considered one of the epitomes of historic Hindu discussion of virtues and an allegorical debate on what is right and what is wrong - argues some virtues are not necessarily always absolute, but sometimes relational; for example, it explains a virtue such as Ahimsa must be re-examined when one is faced with war or violence from the aggressiveness, immaturity or ignorance of others.
In Islam, the Quran is believed to be the literal word of God, and the definitive description of virtue while Muhammad is considered an ideal example of virtue in human form. The foundation of Islamic understanding of virtue was the understanding and interpretation of the Quran and the practices of Muhammad. Its meaning has always been in context of active submission to God performed by the community in unison. The motive force is the notion that believers are to "enjoin that which is virtuous and forbid that which is vicious" (al-amr bi-l-maʿrūf wa-n-nahy ʿani-l-munkar) in all spheres of life (Quran 3:110). Another key factor is the belief that mankind has been granted the faculty to discern God's will and to abide by it. This faculty most crucially involves reflecting over the meaning of existence. Therefore, regardless of their environment, humans are believed to have a moral responsibility to submit to God's will. Muhammad's preaching produced a "radical change in moral values based on the sanctions of the new religion and the present religion, and fear of God and of the Last Judgment". Later Muslim scholars expanded the religious ethics of the scriptures in immense detail.
In the Hadith (Islamic traditions), it is reported by An-Nawwas bin Sam'an:
The Prophet Muhammad said, "Virtue is good manner, and sin is that which creates doubt and you do not like people to know it."
Wabisah bin Ma’bad reported:
“I went to Messenger of God and he asked me: “Have you come to inquire about virtue?” I replied in the affirmative. Then he said: “Ask your heart regarding it. Virtue is that which contents the soul and comforts the heart, and sin is that which causes doubts and perturbs the heart, even if people pronounce it lawful and give you verdicts on such matters again and again.”— Ahmad and Ad-Darmi
Virtue, as seen in opposition to sin, is termed thawāb (spiritual merit or reward) but there are other Islamic terms to describe virtue such as faḍl ("bounty"), taqwa ("piety") and ṣalāḥ ("righteousness"). For Muslims fulfilling the rights of others are valued as an important building block of Islam. According to Muslim beliefs, God will forgive individual sins but the bad treatment of people and injustice with others will only be pardoned by them and not by God.
In Jainism, attainment of enlightenment is possible only if the seeker possesses certain virtues. All Jains are supposed to take up the five vows of ahimsa (non violence), satya (truthfulness), asteya (non stealing), aparigraha (non attachment) and brahmacharya (celibacy) before becoming a monk. These vows are laid down by the Tirthankaras. Other virtues which are supposed to be followed by both monks as well as laypersons include forgiveness, humility, self-restraint and straightforwardness. These vows assists the seeker to escape from the karmic bondages thereby escaping the cycle of birth and death to attain liberation.
Loving God and obeying his laws, in particular the Ten Commandments, are central to Jewish conceptions of virtue. Wisdom is personified in the first eight chapters of the Book of Proverbs and is not only the source of virtue but is depicted as the first and best creation of God (Proverbs 8:12-31).
A classic articulation of the Golden Rule came from the first century Rabbi Hillel the Elder. Renowned in the Jewish tradition as a sage and a scholar, he is associated with the development of the Mishnah and the Talmud and, as such, one of the most important figures in Jewish history. Asked for a summary of the Jewish religion in the most concise terms, Hillel replied (reputedly while standing on one leg): "That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah. The rest is commentary; go and learn."
In Hagakure, Yamamoto Tsunetomo encapsulates his views on 'virtue' in the four vows he makes daily:
Yamamoto goes on to say:
If one dedicates these four vows to the gods and Buddhas every morning, he will have the strength of two men and never slip backward. One must edge forward like the inchworm, bit by bit. The gods and Buddhas, too, first started with a vow.
The Bushidō code is typified by seven virtues:
Others that are sometimes added to these:
While religious scriptures generally consider dharma or aṟam (the Tamil term for virtue) as a divine virtue, Valluvar describes it as a way of life rather than any spiritual observance, a way of harmonious living that leads to universal happiness. [ citation needed ] Valluvar positively suggested that a divine origin is not required to define the concept of justice. In the words of V. R. Nedunchezhiyan, justice according to Valluvar "dwells in the minds of those who have knowledge of the standard of right and wrong; so too deceit dwells in the minds which breed fraud."For this reason, Valluvar keeps aṟam as the cornerstone throughout the writing of the Kural literature. Valluvar considered justice as a facet or product of aram. While ancient Greek philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, and their descendants opined that justice cannot be defined and that it was a divine mystery,
For the Rationalist philosopher René Descartes, virtue consists in the correct reasoning that should guide our actions. Men should seek the sovereign good that Descartes, following Zeno, identifies with virtue, as this produces a solid blessedness or pleasure. For Epicurus the sovereign good was pleasure, and Descartes says that in fact this is not in contradiction with Zeno's teaching, because virtue produces a spiritual pleasure, that is better than bodily pleasure. Regarding Aristotle's opinion that happiness depends on the goods of fortune, Descartes does not deny that these goods contribute to happiness, but remarks that they are in great proportion outside one's own control, whereas one's mind is under one's complete control.
Immanuel Kant, in his Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and Sublime , expresses true virtue as different from what commonly is known about this moral trait. In Kant's view, to be goodhearted, benevolent and sympathetic is not regarded as true virtue. The only aspect that makes a human truly virtuous is to behave in accordance with moral principles. Kant presents an example for more clarification; suppose that you come across a needy person in the street; if your sympathy leads you to help that person, your response does not illustrate your virtue. In this example, since you do not afford helping all needy ones, you have behaved unjustly, and it is out of the domain of principles and true virtue. Kant applies the approach of four temperaments to distinguish truly virtuous people. According to Kant, among all people with diverse temperaments, a person with melancholy frame of mind is the most virtuous whose thoughts, words and deeds are one of principles.
Friedrich Nietzsche's view of virtue is based on the idea of an order of rank among people. For Nietzsche, the virtues of the strong are seen as vices by the weak and slavish, thus Nietzsche's virtue ethics is based on his distinction between master morality and slave morality. Nietzsche promotes the virtues of those he calls "higher men", people like Goethe and Beethoven. The virtues he praises in them are their creative powers (“the men of great creativity” - “the really great men according to my understanding” (WP 957)). According to Nietzsche these higher types are solitary, pursue a "unifying project", revere themselves and are healthy and life-affirming.Because mixing with the herd makes one base, the higher type “strives instinctively for a citadel and a secrecy where he is saved from the crowd, the many, the great majority…” (BGE 26). The 'Higher type' also "instinctively seeks heavy responsibilities" (WP 944) in the form of an "organizing idea" for their life, which drives them to artistic and creative work and gives them psychological health and strength. The fact that the higher types are "healthy" for Nietzsche does not refer to physical health as much as a psychological resilience and fortitude. Finally, a Higher type affirms life because he is willing to accept the eternal return of his life and affirm this forever and unconditionally.
In the last section of Beyond Good and Evil , Nietzsche outlines his thoughts on the noble virtues and places solitude as one of the highest virtues:
And to keep control over your four virtues: courage, insight, sympathy, solitude. Because solitude is a virtue for us, since it is a sublime inclination and impulse to cleanliness which shows that contact between people (“society”) inevitably makes things unclean. Somewhere, sometime, every community makes people – “base.” (BGE §284)
Nietzsche also sees truthfulness as a virtue:
Genuine honesty, assuming that this is our virtue and we cannot get rid of it, we free spirits – well then, we will want to work on it with all the love and malice at our disposal and not get tired of ‘perfecting’ ourselves in our virtue, the only one we have left: may its glory come to rest like a gilded, blue evening glow of mockery over this aging culture and its dull and dismal seriousness! (Beyond Good and Evil, §227)
These are the virtuesthat Benjamin Franklin used to develop what he called 'moral perfection'. He had a checklist in a notebook to measure each day how he lived up to his virtues.
They became known through Benjamin Franklin's autobiography.
Marc Jackson in his book Emotion and Psyche puts forward a new development of the virtues. He identifies the virtues as what he calls the good emotions "The first group consisting of love, kindness, joy, faith, awe and pity is good"These virtues differ from older accounts of the virtues because they are not character traits expressed by action, but emotions that are to be felt and developed by feeling not acting.
Ayn Rand held that her morality, the morality of reason, contained a single axiom: existence exists, and a single choice: to live. All values and virtues proceed from these. To live, man must hold three fundamental values that one develops and achieves in life: Reason, Purpose, and Self-Esteem. A value is "that which one acts to gain and/or keep ... and the virtue[s] [are] the act[ions] by which one gains and/or keeps it." The primary virtue in Objectivist ethics is rationality, which as Rand meant it is "the recognition and acceptance of reason as one's only source of knowledge, one's only judge of values and one's only guide to action."These values are achieved by passionate and consistent action and the virtues are the policies for achieving those fundamental values. Ayn Rand describes seven virtues: rationality, productiveness, pride, independence, integrity, honesty and justice. The first three represent the three primary virtues that correspond to the three fundamental values, whereas the final four are derived from the virtue of rationality. She claims that virtue is not an end in itself, that virtue is not its own reward nor sacrificial fodder for the reward of evil, that life is the reward of virtue and happiness is the goal and the reward of life. Man has a single basic choice: to think or not, and that is the gauge of his virtue. Moral perfection is an unbreached rationality, not the degree of your intelligence but the full and relentless use of your mind, not the extent of your knowledge but the acceptance of reason as an absolute.
Christopher Peterson and Martin Seligman, two leading researchers in positive psychology, recognizing the deficiency inherent in psychology's tendency to focus on dysfunction rather than on what makes a healthy and stable personality, set out to develop a list of "Character Strengths and Virtues".After three years of study, 24 traits (classified into six broad areas of virtue) were identified, having "a surprising amount of similarity across cultures and strongly indicat[ing] a historical and cross-cultural convergence." These six categories of virtue are courage, justice, humanity, temperance, transcendence, and wisdom. Some psychologists suggest that these virtues are adequately grouped into fewer categories; for example, the same 24 traits have been grouped into simply: Cognitive Strengths, Temperance Strengths, and Social Strengths.
The opposite of a virtue is a vice. Vice is a habitual, repeated practice of wrongdoing. One way of organizing the vices is as the corruption of the virtues.
As Aristotle noted, however, the virtues can have several opposites. Virtues can be considered the mean between two extremes, as the Latin maxim dictates in medio stat virtus - in the centre lies virtue. For instance, both cowardice and rashness are opposites of courage; contrary to prudence are both over-caution and insufficient caution; the opposites of pride (a virtue) are undue humility and excessive vanity. A more "modern" virtue, tolerance, can be considered the mean between the two extremes of narrow-mindedness on the one hand and over-acceptance on the other. Vices can therefore be identified as the opposites of virtues - but with the caveat that each virtue could have many different opposites, all distinct from each other.
Eudaimonia, sometimes anglicized as eudaemonia or eudemonia, is a Greek word commonly translated as happiness or welfare; however, "human flourishing or prosperity" and "blessedness" have been proposed as a more accurate translations.
Virtue ethics are normative ethical theories which emphasize virtues of mind and character. Virtue ethicists discuss the nature and definition of virtues and other related problems. These include how virtues are acquired, how they are applied in various real life contexts, and whether they are rooted in a universal human nature or in a plurality of cultures.
In the philosophy of law, virtue jurisprudence is the set of theories of law related to virtue ethics. By making the aretaic turn in legal theory, virtue jurisprudence focuses on the importance of character and human excellence or virtue to questions about the nature of law, the content of the law, and judging.
Ethics involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong behavior. A central aspect of ethics is "the good life", the life worth living or life that is simply satisfying, which is held by many philosophers to be more important than traditional moral conduct.
Phronesis is an Ancient Greek word for a type of wisdom or intelligence. It is more specifically a type of wisdom relevant to practical action, implying both good judgement and excellence of character and habits, or practical virtue. Phronesis was a common topic of discussion in ancient Greek philosophy.
Four cardinal virtues were recognized in the Bible, Old Testament, classical antiquity and in traditional Christian theology:
Intellectual virtues are qualities of mind and character that promote intellectual flourishing, critical thinking, and the pursuit of truth. They include: intellectual responsibility, perseverance, open-mindedness, empathy, integrity, intellectual courage, confidence in reason, love of truth, intellectual humility, imaginativeness, curiosity, fair-mindedness, and autonomy. So-called virtue responsibilists conceive of intellectual virtues primarily as acquired character traits, such as intellectual conscientiousness and love of knowledge. Virtue reliabilists, by contrast, think of intellectual virtues more in terms of well-functioning mental faculties such as perception, memory, and intuition. Intellectual virtues are studied extensively in both critical thinking and virtue epistemology.
Philippa Ruth Foot, FBA was a British philosopher. She was one of the founders of contemporary virtue ethics, inspired by the ethics of Aristotle. Her later career marked a significant change in view from her work in the 1950s and 1960s, and may be seen as an attempt to modernize Aristotelian ethical theory, to show that it is adaptable to a contemporary world view, and thus, that it could compete with such popular theories as modern deontological and utilitarian ethics. Some of her work was crucial in the re-emergence of normative ethics within analytic philosophy, especially her critique of consequentialism and of non-cognitivism. A familiar example is the continuing discussion of an example of hers referred to as the trolley problem. Foot's approach was influenced by the later work of Wittgenstein, although she rarely dealt explicitly with materials treated by him. She was the granddaughter of American President Grover Cleveland.
The fact–value distinction is the distinction between things that can be known to be true and things that are the personal preferences of individuals.
Aristotle first used the term ethics to name a field of study developed by his predecessors Socrates and Plato. Philosophical ethics is the attempt to offer a rational response to the question of how humans should best live. Aristotle regarded ethics and politics as two related but separate fields of study, since ethics examines the good of the individual, while politics examines the good of the city-state.
Secular ethics is a branch of moral philosophy in which ethics is based solely on human faculties such as logic, empathy, reason or moral intuition, and not derived from supernatural revelation or guidance—the source of ethics in many religions. Secular ethics refers to any ethical system that does not draw on the supernatural, and includes humanism, secularism and freethinking. A classical example of literature on secular ethics is the Kural text, authored by the ancient Tamil Indian philosopher Valluvar who lived during the 1st century BCE.
Character Strengths and Virtues (CSV) is a book by Christopher Peterson and Martin Seligman (2004) that attempts to present a measure of humanist ideals of virtue in an empirical, rigorously scientific manner.
Virtus was a specific virtue in Ancient Rome. It carries connotations of valor, manliness, excellence, courage, character, and worth, perceived as masculine strengths. It was thus a frequently stated virtue of Roman emperors, and was personified as a deity—Virtus.
Virtuous Leadership: An Agenda for Personal Excellence is a book by Alexandre Havard. It sets forth a leadership model to help professional people grow in virtue and lead effectively. Virtuous Leadership has been translated into 15 languages including Russian and Chinese. As such, some commentators have called it the first systematic and holistic attempt to relate the classical virtues to professional leadership in modern times.
Ethics is the branch of philosophy that examines right and wrong moral behavior, moral concepts and moral language. Various ethical theories pose various answers to the question "What is the greatest good?" and elaborate a complete set of proper behaviors for individuals and groups. Ethical theories are closely related to forms of life in various social orders.
The values that a person holds may be personal or political depending on whether they are considered in relation to the individual or to society. Apart from moral virtue, examples of personal values include friendship, knowledge, beauty etc. and examples of political values, justice, equality and liberty. This article will outline some current ideas relating to the first group - personal values. It will begin by looking at the kinds of thing that have value and finish with a look at some of the theories that attempt to describe what value is. Reference will be made solely to Western sources although it is recognised that many, if not all, of the values discussed may be universal.