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how many of the four cardinal virtues do you practice?

how many
0, I enjoy doing evil
 34%  [ 8 ]
 8%  [ 2 ]
 17%  [ 4 ]
 17%  [ 4 ]
4, I aspire to maintain harmony
 21%  [ 5 ]
Total Votes : 23


the cardinal virtues [are derived] both from their formal objects or the perceived kinds of rational good which they generally seek, and from the subjects, or faculties, in which they reside and which they perfect. The latter consideration is the more easily intelligible. In the intellect is prudence; in the will is justice; in the sensitive appetites are temperance restraining pleasure, and fortitude urging on impulses of resistance to fear which would deter a person from strenuous action under difficulties; also checking the excesses of foolhardy audacity. On the side of the formal object, which in all cases is rational good, we have the four specific variations. The rational good as an object for the action of intellect demands the virtue of prudence; inasmuch as the dictate of prudence is communicated to the will for exertion in relation to other persons, there arises the demand for justice, giving to every man his due. So far the actions are conceived; next come the passions: the concupiscible and the irascible. The order of objective reason as imposed on the appetite for pleasures demands the virtue of temperance; as imposed on the appetite whch is repelled by fear-inspiring tasks, it demands fortitude. Four cardinal virtues [can be found] in common recognition and [a systematic account of them ca be given as a] group as far as it admitted of logical systematization. In so doing [one need] naturally look to the faculties employed and to the objects about which they [are] employed. [It is] convenient to regard the action of reason, prudence, and the two passions of the sensitive appetite, lust and fear, as internal to the agent; while [regarding] the action of the will as concerned with right order in regard to conduct towards others.

Prudence wrote:
Definitions of it are plentiful from Aristotle down. His "recta ratio agibilium" has the merits of brevity and inclusiveness. Father Rickaby aptly renders it as "right reason applied to practice". A fuller description and one more serviceable is this: an intellectual habit enabling us to see in any given juncture of human affairs what is virtuous and what is not, and how to come at the one and avoid the other. It is to be observed that prudence, whilst possessing in some sort an empire over all the moral virtues, itself aims to perfect not the will but the intellect in its practical decisions. Its function is to point out which course of action is to be taken in any round of concrete circumstances. It indicates which, here and now, is the golden mean wherein the essence of all virtue lies. It has nothing to do with directly willing the good it discerns. That is done by the particular moral virtue within whose province it falls. Prudence, therefore, has a directive capacity with regard to the other virtues. It lights the way and measures the arena for their exercise. The insight it confers makes one distinguish successfully between their mere semblance and their reality. It must preside over the eliciting of all acts proper to any one of them at least if they be taken in their formal sense. Thus, without prudence bravery becomes foolhardiness; mercy sinks into weakness, and temperance into fanaticism. But it must not be forgotten that prudence is a virtue adequately distinct from the others, and not simply a condition attendant upon their operation. Its office is to determine for each in practice those circumstances of time, place, manner, etc. which should be observed, and which the Scholastics comprise under the term medium rationis. So it is that whilst it qualifies immediately the intellect and not the will, it is nevertheless rightly styled a moral virtue.

This is because the moral agent finds in it, if not the eliciting, at any rate the directive principle of virtuous actions. According to St. Thomas (II-II, Q. xlvii, a. Cool it is its function to do three things: to take counsel, i.e. to cast about for the means suited in the particular case under consideration to reach the end of any one moral virtue; to judge soundly of the fitness of the means suggested; and, finally, to command their employment. If these are to be done well they necessarily exclude remissness and lack of concern; they demand the use of such diligence and care that the resultant act can be described as prudent, in spite of whatever speculative error may have been at the bottom of the process. Readiness in finding out and ability in adapting means to an end does not always imply prudence. If the end happens to be a vicious one, a certain adroitness or sagacity may be exhibited in its pursuit. This, however, according to St. Thomas, will only deserve to be called false prudence and is identical with that referred to in Rom., viii, 6, "the wisdom of the flesh is death". Besides the prudence which is the fruit of training and experience, and is developed into a stable habit by repeated acts, there is another sort termed "infused". This is directly bestowed by God's bounty. It is inseparable from the condition of supernatural charity and so is to be found only in those who are in the state of grace. Its scope of course is to make provision of what is necessary for eternal salvation. Although acquired prudence considered as a principle of operation is quite compatible with sin in the agent, still it is well to note that vice obscures or at times utterly beclouds its judgment. Thus it is true that prudence and the other moral virtues are mutually interdependent. Imprudence in so far as it implies a want of obligatory prudence and not a mere gap in practical mentality is a sin, not however always necessarily distinct from the special wicked indulgence which it happens to accompany. If it proceeds to the length of formal scorn of the Divine utterances on the point, it will be a mortal sin.

Justice wrote:
Justice is here taken in its ordinary and proper sense to signify the most important of the cardinal virtues. It is a moral quality or habit which perfects the will and inclines it to render to each and to all what belongs to them. Of the other cardinal virtues, prudence perfects the intellect and inclines the prudent man to act in all things according to right reason. Fortitude controls the irascible passions; and temperance moderates the appetites according as reason dictates. While fortitude and temperance are self-regarding virtues, justice has reference to others. Together with charity it regulates man's intercourse with his fellow men. But charity leads us to help our neighbour in his need out of our own stores, while justice teaches us to give to another what belongs to him.

Because man is a person, a free and intelligent being, created in the image of God, he has a dignity and a worth vastly superior to the material and animal world by which he is surrounded. Man can know, love, and worship his Creator; he was made for that end, which he can only attain perfectly in the future, immortal, and never-ending life to which he is destined. God gave him his faculties and his liberty in order that he might freely work for the accomplishment of his destiny. He is in duty bound to strive to fulfil the designs of his Creator, he must exercise his faculties and conduct his life according to the intentions of his Lord and Master. Because he is under these obligations he is consequently invested with rights, God-given and primordial, antecedent to the State and independent of it. Such are man's natural rights, granted to him by nature herself, sacred, as is their origin, and inviolable. Beside these he may have other rights given him by Church or State, or acquired by his own industry and exertion. All these rights, whatever be their source, are the object of the virtue of justice. Justice requires that all persons should be left in the free enjoyment of all their rights.

A right in the strict sense in which the term is used in this connection is not a mere vague and indefinite claim against others, which others are bound to respect, on any grounds whatever. We sometimes say that the unemployed have a right to work, that the needy have a right to assistance, and it may be conceded that those phrases are quite correct, provided that such a right is understood as a claim in charity not as a claim in justice. For, at least if we confine our attention to natural law and ordinary circumstances, the assistance to which a man in need has a claim does not belong to him in justice before it is handed over to him, when it becomes his. His claim to it rests on the fact that he is a brother in distress, and his brotherhood constitutes his title to our pity, sympathy, and help. It may, of course, happen that positive law does something more than this for the poor and needy; it may be that the law of the land has given a legal right to the unemployed to have employment provided for them, or to the poor a legal right to relief; then, of course, the claim will be one of justice.

A claim in justice, or a right in the strict sense, is a moral and lawful faculty of doing, possessing, or exacting something. If it be a moral and lawful faculty of doing something for the benefit of others, it belongs to the class of rights of jurisdiction. Thus a father has the natural right to bring up and educate his son, not for his own, but for the son's benefit. A lawful sovereign has the right to rule his subjects for the common good. The largest class of rights which justice requires that we should render to others are rights of ownership. Ownership is the moral faculty of using something subordinate to us for our own advantage. The owner of a house may dispose of it as he will. He may live in it, or let it, or leave it unoccupied, or pull it down, or sell it; he may make changes in it, and in general he may deal with it as he likes, because it is his. Because it is his, he has a right to all the uses and advantages which it possesses. It is his property, and as such its whole being should subserve his need and convenience. Because it belongs to him he must be preferred to all others as to the enjoyment of the uses to which it can be put. He has the right to exclude others from the enjoyment of its uses, it belongs with all the advantages which it can confer to him alone. Were anyone else to make use of the house against the reasonable wish of the owner, he would offend against justice, he would not be render- ing to the owner what belongs to him.

The right of ownership may be absolute or qualified. Absolute ownership extends to the substance of the property and to all its uses. Qualified ownership may, in the language of divines, be direct or indirect. The former is ownership of the substance of a thing without its uses, such as the landlord has over a house which he has let. Indirect ownership is the faculty of using, but not of disposing of, a thing. When anything definite and determinate is owned by anyone so that he can say--"This is my property"--he is said by divines to have a right in re. On the other hand if the thing has not yet come into existence though it will come, or it is not separate and determinate, so that he cannot say that it is actually his, but he nevertheless has a strict claim in justice that it should become his, he is said to have a right ad rem. Thus a farmer has a right ad rem to the harvest of the coming year from his land; when he has harvested his crop he will have a right in re.

Ownership in the sense explained is the principal object of the virtue of justice as it regulates the relations of man with man. It sharply distinguishes justice from charity, gratitude, patriotism, and other virtues whose object is a claim against others indeed, but a claim of a less strict and more indefinite character. Justice between man and man is called individual, particular, or commutative justice, because it is chiefly concerned with contracts and exchange. Individual justice is distinguished from social, for not only individuals have claims in justice against other individuals but a subject has claims against the society to which he belongs, as society has claims against him. Justice requires that all should have what belongs to them, and so the just man will render to the society, or State, of which he is a member, what is due to it. The justice which prescribes this is called legal justice. On the other hand, the individual subject has claims against the State. It is the function of the State to protect its subjects in their rights and to govern the whole body for the common good. Authority for this purpose is given to the State by nature and by God, the Author of man's social nature.

The power of the State is limited by the end for which it was instituted, and it has no authority to violate the natural rights of its subjects. If it does this it commits injustice as individuals would do if they acted in like manner. It may indeed levy taxes, and impose other burdens on its subjects, as far as is required by the common necessity and advantage, but no further. For the common good it has authority to compel individual citizens to risk life for the defence of their country when it is in peril, and to part with a portion of their property when this is required for a public road, but as far as possible it must make suitable compensation. When it imposes taxes, military service, or other burdens; when it distributes rewards, offices, and honours; when it metes out condign punishment for offenses, it is bound to do so according to the various merits and resources of the persons concerned; otherwise the State will sin against that special kind of justice which is called distributive.

There is a controversy among authorities as to whether commutative, legal, and distributive justice are so many species of one common genus, or whether commutative justice is in reality the only species of justice in the strict sense. There is much to be said for the latter view. For justice is something which is due to another; it consists, as Aristotle said, in a certain equality by which the just and definite claim of another, neither more nor less, is satisfied. If I have borrowed a horse and cart from my neighbours, justice requires that I should return that particular horse and cart. The debt in its precise amount must be paid. Consequently, justice in the full and proper sense of the term requires a perfect distinction between debtor and creditor. No one can be bound in justice towards himself; justice essentially regards others. However, between the State and the individuals who compose it there is not this perfect distinction, and so there is something wanting to the proper and complete notion of the virtue in both legal and distributive justice.

The rights which belong to every human being inasmuch as he is a person are absolute and inalienable. The right to life and limb, the essential freedom which is necessary that a man may attain the end for which he is destined by God, the right to marry or remain single, such rights as these may not be infringed by any human authority whatever. A man himself even has no right to dispose of his own life and limbs; God alone is the Lord of life and death. But a man has the duty and the right to use and develop his faculties of soul and body, and if he chooses he may dispose of his right to use these faculties and whatever advantage they can procure him in favour of another. No person then can become the property of another human being, slavery in that sense is repugnant to the dignity of human nature. But a man may by various titles have the right to the labour of another.

All things inferior to man were created for his use and benefit; they fulfil the end of their being by ministering to his wants and necessities. Whatever, therefore, pertains to the animal, vegetable, or inorganic world may be brought under the ownership and made the property of man. The right thus to acquire property which is useful and necessary for an orderly human life, is one of man's natural rights, and it can not be taken away by the State. She State may indeed make reasonable laws regulating and defining the property rights of its subjects for the common good, but it cannot abrogate them altogether. Such rights are antecedent to the State, and in their substance independent of it; the State was instituted to protect and defend them, not to take them away.

Rights are the appanage of intelligent beings as such, beings who can reflect on themselves, know their own wants, and who can will to supply them by permanently appropriating to themselves objects which are subordinate and which will satisfy those wants. Every human being, therefore, is the subject of rights, even before he has been brought into the world. The unborn child has a right to its life; it may even have property rights as well. Justice then is violated if such rights are interfered with unwarrantably. Minors and married women have their rights like others, but positive law frequently modifies their property rights for the common good. In past ages the property rights of women especially were largely modified by positive law on their being married, the husband acquiring more or less extensive rights over the property of his wife. In modern times, and especially in English-speaking countries, the tendency has been to do away with such positive enactments, and to restore to married women all the property rights which unmarried women possess.

Not only individuals, but societies of men as such are the subjects of rights. For men cannot singly and by their own unaided exertions do everything that is necessary for the security and dignity of human existence. For this end man needs the co-operation of his fellows. He has then a natural right to associate himself with others for the attainment of some lawful end, and when such societies have been formed, they are moral persons which have their rights similar to those of natural persons. Such societies then may own property, and although the State may make laws which modify those rights for the common good, it is beyond its power altogether to abrogate them. Men have this power to form themselves into societies especially for the purpose of offering to God the public and social worship which is due to Him. The Catholic Church, founded by God Himself, is a perfect society and independent of the State. She has her rights, God-given, and necessary for the attainment of her end, and justice is violated if these are unwarrantably interfered with.

As we have seen, human nature, its wants and aims, are the source of the fundamental and natural rights of man. By his industry man may occupy and annex to his person material things which are of use to him and which belong to nobody else. He thus acquires property by the title of occupation. Property once acquired remains in the possession of its owner; all that it is or is capable of is ordained to his use and benefit. If it increases by natural growth or by giving birth to offspring, the increase belongs to the original owner. By the same law of accession increase in value, even unearned increment as it is called, belongs to the owner of that which thus increases--"Res fructificat domino". Positive law may, as we have seen, modify property rights for the common good. It may also further determine those that are indeterminate by the law of nature; it may even create rights which would not exist without it. Thus a father may by law acquire certain rights over the property of his children, and a husband may in the same way have certain rights over the property of his wife. When such rights exist it is, of course, a matter of justice to respect them. Finally, rights may be transferred from one to another or modified by a great variety of contracts, which are treated of under a special heading. See CONTRACT.

The foregoing is in very brief outline the doctrine on justice which has been gradually elaborated by Catholic philosophers and divines. The foundations of the doctrine are found in Aristotle, but the noble, beautiful, and altogether rational edifice has been raised by the labours of such men as Aquinas, Molina, Lessius, Lugo, and a host of others. The doctrine as it appears at large in their stately folios is one of the chief and most important results of Catholic thought. It fully accounts for the peremptory, sacred, and absolutely binding character with which justice is invested in the minds of men. It was never of greater importance than it is nowadays to insist on these characteristics of justice. They disappear almost if not altogether in the modern theories of the virtue. Most of these theories derive rights and justice from positive law, and when socialists and anarchists threaten to abrogate those laws and make new ones which will regulate men's rights more equitably, no rational defense of the old order is possible. It becomes a mere question of might and brute force. Even if some with Herbert Spencer endeavour to find a deeper foundation for justice in the conditions of human existence, it is easy to answer that their interpretation of those conditions is essentially individualist and selfish, and that human existence thus conditioned is not worth having; that the new social order peremptorily demands their abolition. The Catholic doctrine of justice will be found one of the main safeguards of order, peace, and progress. With even balance it equally favours all and presses unduly on none. It gives the State ample authority for the attainment of its legitimate end, while it effectually bars the road to tyranny and violence.

temperance wrote:
Temperance is here considered as one of the four cardinal virtues. It may be defined as the righteous habit which makes a man govern his natural appetite for pleasures of the senses in accordance with the norm prescribed by reason. In one sense temperance may be regarded as a characteristic of all the moral virtues; the moderation it enjoins is central to each of them. It is also according to St. Thomas (II-II:141:2) a special virtue. Thus, it is the virtue which bridles concupiscence or which controls the yearning for pleasures and delights which most powerfully attract the human heart. These fall mainly into three classes: some are associated with the preservation of the human individual; others with the perpetuation of the race, and others still with the well-being and comfort of human life. Under this aspect temperance has for subordinate virtues, abstinence, chastity, and modesty. Abstinence prescribes the restraint to be employed in the partaking of foodand drink. Obviously the measure of this self-restraing is not constant and invariable. It is different for different persons as well as for different ends in view. The diet of an anchorite would not do for a farm labourer. Abstinence is opposed to the vices of gluttony and drunkenness. The disorder of these is that food and drink are made use of in such wise as to damage instead of benefit the bodily health. Hence gluttony and drunkenness are said to be intrinsically wrong. That does not mean, however, that they are always grievous sins. Gluttony is seldom such; drunkenness is so when it is complete, that is when it destroys the use of reason for the time being. Chastity as a part of temperance regulates the sensual satisfactions connected with the propagation of the human species. The contrary vice is lust. As these pleasures appeal with the special vehemence to human nature, it is the function of chastity to impose the norm of reason. Thus it will decide that they are altogether to be refrained from in obedience to a higher vocation or at any rate only availed of with reference to the purposes of marriage. Chastity is not fanaticism; much less is it insensibility. It is the carrying out of the mandate of temperance in a particular department where such a steadying power is acutely needed.

The virtue of modesty, as ranged under temperance, has as its task the holding in reasonable leash of the less violent human passions. It brings into service humility to set in order a man's interior. By transfusing his estimates with truth, and increasing his self-knowledge it guards him against the radical malice of pride. It is averse to pusillanimity, the product of low views and a mean-spirited will. In the government of the exterior of a man modesty aims to make it conform to the demands of decency and decorousness (honestas). In this way his whole outward tenor of conduct and method of life fall under its sway. Such things as his attire, manner of speech, habitual bearing, style of living, have to be made to square with its injunctions. To be sure the cannot always be settled by hard and fast rules. Convention will oftenhave a good deal to say in the case, but in turn will have its propriety determined by modesty. Other virtues are enumerated by St. Thomas as subordinate to temperance inasmuch as they imply moderation in the management of some passion. It ought to be noted, however, that in its primary and generally understood sense temperance is concerned with what is difficult for a man, not in so far as he is a rational being precisely, but rather in so far as he is an animal. The hardest duties for flesh and blood are self-restraint in the use of food and drink and of the venereal pleasures that go with the propagation of the race. That is why abstinence and chastity may be reckoned the chief and ordinary phases of this virtue. All that has been said receives additional force of we suppose that the self-control commanded by temperance is measured not only by the rule of reason but by the revealed law of God as well. It is called a cardinal virtue because the modration required for every righteous habit has in the practice of temperance a specially trying arena. The satisfactions upon which it imposes a check are at once supremely natural and necessary in the present order of human existence. It is not, however, the greatest of moral virtues. That rank is held by prudence; then come justice, fortitude, and finally temperance.

fortitude wrote:
(1) Manliness is etymologically what is meant by the Latin word virtus and by the Greek andreia, with which we may compare arete (virtue), aristos (best), and aner (man). Mas (male) stands to Mars, the god of war, as arsen (male) to the corresponding Greek deity Ares. While andreia (manliness) has been specialized to signify valour, virtus has been left in its wider generality, and only in certain contexts is it limited, as by Caesar when he says: "Helvetii reliquos Gallos virtute praecedunt". Here the writer was certainly not taking the pious outlook upon virtue, except in so far as for primitive peoples the leading virtue is bravery and the skillful strength to defend their lives and those of their fellow-tribesmen. At this stage of culture we may apply Spinoza's notion that virtue is the conservatory force of life. "In proportion as a man aims at and is successful in pursuing his utile, that is his esse, so much the more is he endowed with virtue; on the other hand, in proportion as he neglects to cultivate his utile or his esse, so much the greater is his impotence" (Eth., IV, prop. 20). "Virtue is that human faculty, which is defined only by the essence of man, that is, which is limited only by the efforts of man to persevere in his esse" (prop. 22). The idea is continued in Propositiones 23, 24, 25, 27. The will to live -- der Wille zu leben -- is the root virtue. Of course Spinoza carries his doctrine higher than does the savage warrior, for he adds that the power preservative and promotive of life is adequacy of ideas, reasonable conduct, conformity to intelligent nature: finally that "the highest virtue of the intellect is the knowledge of God" (lib. V, prop. xlii). Spinoza usually mixes the noble with the ignoble in his views: for a rude people his philosophy stops short at virtue, the character of the strong man defending his existence against many assaults.

Aristotle does not say that fortitude is the highest virtue; but he selects it first for treatment when he describes the moral virtues: eipomen proton peri andreias (Eth. Nic., III, 6); whereas St. Thomas is at pains to say explicitly that fortitude ranks third after prudence and justice among the cardinal virtues. The braves in a warrior tribe and the glamour of braverie in knight-errantry, the display of pomp by modern armies on parade, were not objects to disturb the sense of proportion in the mind of the Friar Preacher. Still less could etymology deceive his judgment into thinking that the prime virtue was the soldier's valour commended on the Victoria Cross. Neither would he despise the tribute "For Valour" in its own degree.

(2) To come now to definitions. If we consult Plato and Aristotle we find the former comparing man to the god Glaucus who from dwelling in the sea had his divine limbs encrusted beyond recognition with weeds and shells: and that represents the human spirit disguised by the alien body which it drags about as a penalty. The soul in its own rational nature (for our present purpose we fuse together the two terms psyche and nous, distinguished by Aristotle, into one -- the soul) is simple: man is compound, and, being conflictingly compounded, he has to drive a pair of steeds in his body, one ignoble -- the concupiscences -- the other relatively noble -- the spiritual element, in which is "go", "dash", "onslaught", "pluck", "endurance". Upon the latter element is based fortitude, but the animal spirit needs to be taken up and guided by the rational soul in order to become the virtue. It is in the breast that ho thymos, to thymoeides (courage, passion) dwells, midway between reason in the head and concupiscence in the abdomen. Plato's high spirituality kept him from speaking too exaltedly of fortitude which rested on bodily excellence: consequently he would have wise legislators educate their citizens rather in temperance than in courage, which is separable from wisdom and may be found in children or in mere animals (Laws, I, 630, C, D, E; 631, C; 667, A).

Although Aristotle makes animal courage only the basis of fortitude -- the will is courageous, but the animal spirit co-operates (ho de thymos synergei) -- he has not a similar contempt for the body, and speaks more honourably of courage when it has for its prime object the conquest of bodily fear before the face of death in battle. Aristotle likes to narrow the scope of his virtues as Plato likes to enlarge his scope. He will not with his predecessor (Lackes, 191, D, E) extend fortitude to cover all the firmness or stability which is needful for every virtue, consequently Kant was able to say: "Virtue is the moral strength of the will in obeying the dictates of duty" (Anthropol., sect. 10, a). The Platonic Socrates took another limited view when he said that courage was the episteme ton deinon kai me (Laches, 199); hence he inferred that it could be taught. Given that in themselves a man prefers virtue to vice, then we may say that for him every act of vice is a failure of fortitude. Aristotle would have admitted this too; nevertheless he chose his definition: "Fortitude is the virtue of the man who, being confronted with a nobel occasion of encountering the danger of death, meets it fearlessly" (Eth. Nic., III, 6). Such a spirit has to be formed as a habit upon data more or less favourable; and therein it resembles other virtues of the moral kind. Aristotle would have controverted Kant's description of moral stability in all virtue as not being a quality cultivatable into a habit: "Virtue is the moral strength of the will in obeying the dictates of duty, never developing into a custom but always springing freshly and directly from the mind" (Anthropol., I, 10, a). Not every sort of danger to life satisfies Aristotle's condition for true fortitude: there must be present some noble display of prowess -- alke kai kalon. He may not quite positively exclude the passive endurance of martyrdom, but St. Thomas seems to be silently protesting against such an exclusion when he maintains that courage is rather in endurance than in onset.

As a commentator on Aristotle, Professor J.A. Stewart challenges the friends of the martyrs to make a stand for their cause when he says: "It is only when a man can take up arms and defend himself, or where death is glorious, that he can show courage" (p. 283). Here the disjunctive "or" may save the situation: but there is no such reserve on p. 286, where he adds: "Men show courage when they can take up arms and defend themselves, or (e) where death is glorious. The former condition may be realized without the latter, in which case the andreia would be of a spurious kind: the latter condition, however, cannot be realized without the former. Death in a good cause which a man endured fearlessly, but could not actively resist could not be kalos thanatos (glorious death)." Does Aristotle positively make this exclusion? If so, St. Thomas corrects him very needfully, as Britons would admit on behalf of their soldiers who, off the coast of S. Africa in 1852, nobly stood in their ranks and went unresistingly down in the sinking ship, Birkenhead, that they might give the civilians a better chance of being saved. As specimens of courage not in the higher order Aristotle gives the cases of soldiers whose skill enables them to meet without much apprehension what others would dread, and who are ready to flee as soon as grave danger is seen: of animally courageous men whose action is hardly moral: of courage where hope is largely in excess over dread: of ignorance which does not apprehend the risk: and of civic virtue which is moved by the sanction of reward and penalty. In the above instances the test of oi andreioi dia to kalon prattousi -- "the exercise of fortitude is virtue", a principle which is opposed to the mere pragmatism that would measure courage by efficiency in soldiership -- fails. Aristotle says that mercenaries, who have not a high appreciation of the value of their own lives, may very well expose their lives with more readiness than could be found in the virtuous man who understands the worth of his own life, and who regards death as the peras -- the end of his own individual existence (phoberotaton d' ho thanatos peras gar). Some have admired Russian nihilists going to certain death with no hope for themselves, here or hereafter, but with a hope for future generations of Russians. It is in the hope for the end that Aristotle places the stimulus for the brave act which of itself brings pain. Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori ("It is sweet and noble to die for one's native land" -- Horace, Odes, III, ii, 13): the nobility is in the act, the sweetness chiefly in the anticipated consequences, excepting so far as there is a strongly felt nobility (Aristotle, Eth. Nic., III, 5-9) in the self-sacrifice.

(3) St. Thomas keeps as close to Aristotle as he may, departing from him as to the dignity, perhaps, which is to be found in the passive martyr's death, as to the hope of future life, and as to the character of virtue as a matter mainly of fine conduct aesthetically. He calls the specific virtue of fortitude that which braves the greatest dangers and therefore that which meets the risk of life in battle. Fortitude is concerned not so much with audacia as with timor: not so much with aggredi (attack) as with sustinere (endurance): which means that the courageous man has to attend rather to bearing up against terrifying circumstances than to mastering his impetuosity or else to arousing it to the requisite degree: principalior actus fortitudinis est sustinere, immobiliter sistere in periculis, quam aggredi. Seneca as a Stoic also attacks Aristotle's use of anger as an instrument in the hand of virtue; he treats the passion as bad and to suppressed. In the onslaught is displayed the animal excitement, the battle rage, which St. Thomas calls the irascible passion: and of this St. Thomas says, what Aristotle says of thymos, that it is an agency to be used by the rational will within due limits. Anything like a malignant desire to slaughter a hated enemy out of vengeance or out of savage delight in blood-shedding should be excluded. For the endurance (sustinere), says St. Thomas, the irascible part is not demanded, since the reasonable will suffice, "as the act of endurance rests only with the reason per se". As a cardinal virtue, which is a consideration not taken up by Aristotle, fortitude is treated by St. Thomas from the aspect of its need for ensuring the stability of the virtues in general: Cardinales principales ****** virtutes, quoe proecipue sibi vindicant id quod pertinet communiter ad virtutes. Virtues in general must act with that firmness which fortitude bestows (II-II, Q, cxxiii).

(4) Fortitude as one of the gifts from the Holy Ghost is a supernatural virtue, and passes beyond the Aristotelian range. It is what, as Christians, we must always have in mind in order to make our actions acceptable for eternal life. But we still keep hold upon the natural principles of fortitude as those whereon grace has to build. In the spiritual life of the ordinary Christian much that Aristotle has said remains in its own degree true, though we have to depart especially from the master's insistence upon the field of battle. Our exercise is mainly not in war strictly so-called, but in moral courage against the evil spirit of the times, against improper fashions, against human respect, against the common tendency to seek at least the comfortable, if not the voluptuous. We need courage also to be patient under poverty or privation, and to make laudable struggles to rise in the social scale. I requires fortitude to mount above the dead level of average Christianity into the region of magnanimity, and if opportunity allow it, of magnificence, which are the allied virtues of fortitude, while another is perseverance, which tolerates no occasional remissness, still less occasional bouts of dissipation to relieve the strain of high-toned morality and religion.

(5) The physical conditions of fortitude are treated for instance by Bain in "The Emotions and the Will", and they are such as these: "goodness of nervous tone which keeps all the currents in their proper courses with a certain robust persistence; health and freshness; tonic coolness; light and buoyant spirit; elate and sanguine temperament; acquired mastery over terror, as when the soldier gets over the cannon fever of his first engagement, and the public speaker over the nervousness of his first speech" (Chap V, no. 17). These physical matters, though not directly moral, are worthy of attention; there is much interaction between moral and physical qualities, and our duty is to cultivate the two departments of Fortitude conjointly
Looks like the evil-doers are ahead for the time being. Go us! Twisted Evil
Being evil is just more fun. Twisted Evil

P.S. I hope you didnt expect me to read all that.
justice >_> i dont even know what i am doing here
Whoa man, how many points didja get for THAT!
aalmighty wrote:
Whoa man, how many points didja get for THAT!

2.5 the most you can get for any post no matter how long it is, is 2.5 plus in the 'Qoutes' tags are ignored so you do not get given any points/Frih$ for the text inside them.
where did all the good people go?
Probably the rapture or something. Happened while us sinners weren't looking.
The rapture is NOT biblical. As such it is more likely to rain chocolate covered kittens.
Chocolate covered kittens plz... btw im one of the 2 people who clicked on 4.. whats wrong with this picture?
Loafer357 wrote:
Chocolate covered kittens plz

My money is on the cats.

im one of the 2 people who clicked on 4.. whats wrong with this picture?

tolerance of evil
Sadly I think a lot of people feel obliged to deny morality in order to deny religion and assert individuality. I think it's time we came up with a discretely secularized notion of morality. Oh and I wouldn't mind one of those chocolate kittens too!
hades9366 wrote:
I wouldn't mind one of those chocolate kittens too!

In your purely secularized world there's nothing stopping you from dipping your own and flinging them
I follow the seven deadly sins, erm, I mean to say that I follow their counter virtue.

The Sin - What I try to do
Pride - Humility
Greed - Generosity
Envy - Love (big problem for me)
Wrath and Anger - Kindness (another problem area...)
Lust - Self Control (Okay, so I like girls?)
Gluttony - Temperence
Sloth - Zeal

Again, no one's perfect, I say I try to follow them - that doesn't mean I always do.
While I would love to follow all four of the virtues, I would have to say that my life is currently not in harmony.

Does it help that I am striving towards them?
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