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Virtue

"Virtuous" redirects here. For the 2014 Indian Christian drama film, see Virtuous (film).
For other uses, see Virtue (disambiguation).
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Virtue (Latin: virtus) 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. 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. Other examples of this notion include the concept of merit in Asian traditions as well as De (Chinese 德).

Cardinal and Theological Virtues by Raphael, 1511

The four classic cardinal virtues in Christianity are temperance, prudence, courage (or fortitude), and justice. Christianity derives the three theological virtues of faith, hope and love (charity) from 1 Corinthians 13. Together these make up the seven virtues. Buddhism's four brahmavihara ("Divine States") can be regarded as virtues in the European sense.

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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".

Maat, to ancient Egyptians, personified the virtue of truth and justice. Her feather represents truth.

Maat (or Ma'at) 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.

Personification of virtue (Greek Ἀρετή) in Celsus Library in Ephesos, Turkey
See also: Arete, Aretology, Hospitium, and Paideia

Platonic virtue

The four classic cardinal virtues are:

  • Prudence (φρόνησις, phrónēsis; Latin: prudentia; also Wisdom, Sophia, sapientia), the ability to discern the appropriate course of action to be taken in a given situation at the appropriate time.
  • Fortitude (ἀνδρεία, andreía; Latin: fortitudo): also termed courage, forbearance, strength, endurance, and the ability to confront fear, uncertainty, and intimidation.
  • Temperance (σωφροσύνη, sōphrosýnē; Latin: temperantia): also known as restraint, the practice of self-control, abstention, discretion, and moderation tempering the appetition. Plato considered Sōphrosynē, which may also be translated as sound-mindedness, to be the most important virtue.
  • Justice (δικαιοσύνη, dikaiosýnē; Latin: iustitia): also considered as fairness; the Greek word also having the meaning righteousness.

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.

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.

Aristotelian virtue

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.

Epicurean virtue

Epicurean ethics call for a rational pursuit of pleasure with the aid of the virtues. The Epicureans teach that the emotions, dispositions and habits related to virtue (and vice) have a cognitive component and are based on true (or false) beliefs. By making sure that his beliefs are aligned with nature and by getting rid of empty opinions, the Epicurean develops a virtuous character in accordance with nature, and this helps him to live pleasantly.

Pyrrhonist virtue

The Pyrrhonist philosopher Sextus Empiricus described Pyrrhonism as "a way of life that, in accordance with appearances, follows a certain rationale, where that rationale shows how it is possible to seem to live rightly ("rightly" being taken, not as referring only to virtue, but in a more ordinary sense) and tends to produce the disposition to suspend judgment...." In other words, by eschewing beliefs (i.e., dogmas) one would live in accordance with virtue.

Prudence and virtue

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".

Roman virtues

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:

  • Abundantia: "Abundance, Plenty" The ideal of there being enough food and prosperity for all segments of society. A public virtue.
  • Auctoritas – "spiritual authority" – the sense of one's social standing, built up through experience, Pietas, and Industria. This was considered to be essential for a magistrate's ability to enforce law and order.
  • Comitas – "humour" – ease of manner, courtesy, openness, and friendliness.
  • Constantia – "perseverance" – military stamina, as well as general mental and physical endurance in the face of hardship.
  • Clementia – "mercy" – mildness and gentleness, and the ability to set aside previous transgressions.
  • Dignitas – "dignity" – a sense of self-worth, personal self-respect and self-esteem.
  • Disciplina – "discipline" – considered essential to military excellence; also connotes adherence to the legal system, and upholding the duties of citizenship.
  • Fides – "good faith" – mutual trust and reciprocal dealings in both government and commerce (public affairs), a breach meant legal and religious consequences.
  • Firmitas – "tenacity" – strength of mind, and the ability to stick to one's purpose at hand without wavering.
  • Frugalitas – "frugality" – economy and simplicity in lifestyle, want for what we must have and not what we need, regardless of one's material possessions, authority or wants one has, an individual always has a degree of honour. Frugality is to eschew what has no practical use if it is in disuse and if it comes at the expense of the other virtues.
  • Gravitas – "gravity" – a sense of the importance of the matter at hand; responsibility, and being earnest.
  • Honestas – "respectability" – the image and honor that one presents as a respectable member of society.
  • Humanitas – "humanity" – refinement, civilization, learning, and generally being cultured.
  • Industria – "industriousness" – hard work.
  • Innocencia – "selfless" – Roman charity, always give without expectation of recognition, always give while expecting no personal gain, incorruptibility is aversion towards placing all power and influence from public office to increase personal gain in order to enjoy our personal or public life and deprive our community of their health, dignity and our sense of morality, that is an affront to every Roman.
  • Laetitia – "Joy, Gladness" – The celebration of thanksgiving, often of the resolution of crisis, a public virtue.
  • Nobilitas – "Nobility" – Man of fine appearance, deserving of honor, highly esteemed social rank, and, or, nobility of birth, a public virtue.
  • Justitia – "justice" – sense of moral worth to an action; personified by the goddess Iustitia, the Roman counterpart to the Greek Themis.
  • Pietas – "dutifulness" – more than religious piety; a respect for the natural order: socially, politically, and religiously. Includes ideas of patriotism, fulfillment of pious obligation to the gods, and honoring other human beings, especially in terms of the patron and client relationship, considered essential to an orderly society.
  • Prudentia – "prudence" – foresight, wisdom, and personal discretion.
  • Salubritas – "wholesomeness" – general health and cleanliness, personified in the deity Salus.
  • Severitas – "sternness" – self-control, considered to be tied directly to the virtue of gravitas.
  • Veritas – "truthfulness" – honesty in dealing with others, personified by the goddess Veritas. Veritas, being the mother of Virtus, was considered the root of all virtue; a person living an honest life was bound to be virtuous.
  • Virtus – "manliness" – valor, excellence, courage, character, and worth. 'Vir' is Latin for "man".

Seven heavenly virtues

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:

  • chastity
  • temperance
  • charity
  • diligence
  • patience
  • kindness
  • humility.

Valluvar

Valluvar (Statue at SOAS, University of London).

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. 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 many before his time opined that justice cannot be defined and that it was a divine mystery, 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."

Main article: Chivalry

In the 8th century, upon the occasion of his coronation as Holy Roman Emperor, Charlemagne published a list of knightly virtues:

  • Love God
  • Love your neighbour
  • Give alms to the poor
  • Entertain strangers
  • Visit the sick
  • Be merciful to prisoners
  • Do ill to no man, nor consent unto such
  • Forgive as ye hope to be forgiven
  • Redeem the captive
  • Help the oppressed
  • Defend the cause of the widow and orphan
  • Render righteous judgement
  • Do not consent to any wrong
  • Persevere not in wrath
  • Shun excess in eating and drinking
  • Be humble and kind
  • Serve your liege lord faithfully
  • Do not steal
  • Do not perjure yourself, nor let others do so
  • Envy, hatred and violence separate men from the Kingdom of God
  • Defend the Church and promote her cause.

Abrahamic religions

Bahá'í Faith

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The Baháʼí teachings speak of a "Greater Covenant", being universal and endless, and a "Lesser Covenant", being unique to each religious dispensation. At this time Baháʼís view Baháʼu'lláh's revelation as a binding lesser covenant for his followers; in the Baháʼí writings being firm in the covenant is considered a virtue to work toward.

Christianity

Virtues fighting vices, stained glass window (14th century) in the Niederhaslach Church

In Christianity, the three theological virtues are faith, hope and love, a list which comes from 1 Corinthians 13:13 (νυνὶ δὲ μένει πίστις pistis (faith),ἐλπίς elpis (hope),ἀγάπη agape (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.

(Sin) Latin Virtue Latin
Pride Superbia Humility Humilitas
Envy Invidia Kindness Benevolentia
Gluttony Gula Temperance Temperantia
Lust Luxuria Chastity Castitas
Wrath Ira Patience Patientia
Greed Avaritia Charity Caritas
Sloth Acedia Diligence Industria

Islam

Main articles: Islamic ethics and Thawab

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.

Judaism

Main article: Jewish ethics

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."

Eastern religions

Buddhism

Main article: Buddhist ethics
See also: Five precepts

Buddhist practice as outlined in the Noble Eightfold Path can be regarded as a progressive list of virtues.[citation needed]

  1. Right View – Realizing the Four Noble Truths (samyag-vyāyāma, sammā-vāyāma).
  2. Right Mindfulness – Mental ability to see things for what they are with clear consciousness (samyak-smṛti, sammā-sati).
  3. Right Concentration – Wholesome one-pointedness of mind (samyak-samādhi, sammā-samādhi).

Buddhism's four brahmavihara ("Divine States") can be more properly regarded as virtues in the European sense. They are:

  1. Metta/Maitri: loving-kindness towards all; the hope that a person will be well; loving kindness is the wish that all sentient beings, without any exception, be happy.
  2. Karuṇā: compassion; the hope that a person's sufferings will diminish; compassion is the wish for all sentient beings to be free from suffering.
  3. Mudita: altruistic joy in the accomplishments of a person, oneself or other; sympathetic joy is the wholesome attitude of rejoicing in the happiness and virtues of all sentient beings.
  4. Upekkha/Upeksha: equanimity, or learning to accept both loss and gain, praise and blame, success and failure with detachment, equally, for oneself and for others. Equanimity means not to distinguish between friend, enemy or stranger, but to regard every sentient being as equal. It is a clear-minded tranquil state of mind – not being overpowered by delusions, mental dullness or agitation.

There are also the Paramitas ("perfections"), which are the culmination of having acquired certain virtues. In Theravada Buddhism's canonical Buddhavamsa there 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.

Daoism

"Virtue", translated from Chinese de (), is also an important concept in Chinese philosophy, particularly Daoism. De (Chinese:; pinyin: ; 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.

There are symbols that represent virtue in Chinese Culture. Chinese classic paintings have many symbolic meaning representing virtue. Plum Blossom represents resilience and perseverance. Orchid represents elegance, gentleness and quietness. Bamboo represents loyalty, trust-worthiness and humility. chrysanthemum represents genuineness and simplicity.[citation needed]

Hinduism

Main article: Hindu ethics

Virtue is a much debated and 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 (patience and 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.

Jainism

Parshwanatha, the torch bearer of ahimsa.

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.

Sikhism

See also: Five Virtues

Sikh ethics emphasize the congruence between spiritual development and everyday moral conduct. Its founder Guru Nanak summarized this perspective:

Truth is the highest virtue, but higher still is truthful living.

René Descartes

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

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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

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)

Benjamin Franklin

Virtue, spear in hand, with her foot on the prostrate form of Tyranny on the Great Seal of Virginia

These are the virtues that 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.

  1. Temperance: Eat not to Dullness. Drink not to Elevation.
  2. Silence: Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself. Avoid trifling Conversation.
  3. Order: Let all your Things have their Places. Let each Part of your Business have its Time.
  4. Resolution: Resolve to perform what you ought. Perform without fail what you resolve.
  5. Frugality: Make no Expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e. Waste nothing.
  6. Industry: Lose no Time. Be always employed in something useful. Cut off all unnecessary Actions.
  7. Sincerity: Use no hurtful Deceit. Think innocently and justly; and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
  8. Justice: Wrong none, by doing Injuries or omitting the Benefits that are your Duty.
  9. Moderation: Avoid Extremes. Forbear resenting Injuries so much as you think they deserve.
  10. Cleanliness: Tolerate no Uncleanness in Body, Clothes or Habitation.
  11. Tranquility: Be not disturbed at Trifles, or at Accidents common or unavoidable.
  12. Chastity: Rarely use Venery but for Health or Offspring; Never to Dullness, Weakness, or the Injury of your own or another's Peace or Reputation.
  13. Humility: Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

Virtues as emotions

See also: Moral emotions

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.

In the Taoist traditions, emotions have been used as the excessive or deficient branch of its root virtue, through the study of the Wuxing (five elements). It has been said, Correct Actions lead to virtues intention, as Virtuous intentions lead to Correct Actions.

In Objectivism

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.

In modern psychology

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.

Main article: Vice
See also: List of virtues

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.

Within the Chinese Wuxing philosophy and Traditional Chinese Medicine vice and virture are expressed as excess or deficiency.

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    • Quote: "(In Hinduism), srutis did not pretend to deal with all situations or irregularities in the moral life, leaving these matters to human reasons (Mbh Xii.109); Accordingly, that again which is virtue may, according to time and place, be sin (...); Under certain conditions, acts that are apparently evil (such as violence) can be permitted if they produce consequences that are good (protection of children and women in self-defense when the society is attacked in war)
    • Quote: "(The Hindu scripture) notes the interrelationship of several virtues, consequentially. Anger springs from covetousness; (the vice of) envy disappears in consequence of (the virtues) of compassion and knowledge of self (Mbh Xii.163);
  33. Crawford, S. Cromwell (1982), The evolution of Hindu ethical ideals, Asian Studies Program, University of Hawaii Press
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    • Also see: Apastamba, Dharma Sutra, 1.20.6
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Virtue
Virtue Language Watch Edit Virtuous redirects here For the 2014 Indian Christian drama film see Virtuous film For other uses see Virtue disambiguation This article uncritically uses texts from within a religion or faith system without referring to secondary sources that critically analyze them Please help improve this article by adding references to reliable secondary sources with multiple points of view May 2016 Learn how and when to remove this template message Virtue Latin virtus 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 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 Other examples of this notion include the concept of merit in Asian traditions as well as De Chinese 德 Cardinal and Theological Virtues by Raphael 1511 The four classic cardinal virtues in Christianity are temperance prudence courage or fortitude and justice Christianity derives the three theological virtues of faith hope and love charity from 1 Corinthians 13 Together these make up the seven virtues Buddhism s four brahmavihara Divine States can be regarded as virtues in the European sense 1 2 Contents 1 Etymology 2 Ancient Egypt 3 Greco Roman antiquity 3 1 Platonic virtue 3 2 Aristotelian virtue 3 3 Epicurean virtue 3 4 Pyrrhonist virtue 3 5 Prudence and virtue 3 6 Roman virtues 3 7 Seven heavenly virtues 4 Ancient India 4 1 Valluvar 5 Chivalric virtues in medieval Europe 6 Religious traditions 6 1 Abrahamic religions 6 1 1 Baha i Faith 6 1 2 Christianity 6 1 3 Islam 6 1 4 Judaism 6 2 Eastern religions 6 2 1 Buddhism 6 2 2 Daoism 6 2 3 Hinduism 6 2 4 Jainism 6 2 5 Sikhism 7 Modern philosophers views 7 1 Rene Descartes 7 2 Immanuel Kant 7 3 Friedrich Nietzsche 7 4 Benjamin Franklin 8 Contemporary views 8 1 Virtues as emotions 8 2 In Objectivism 8 3 In modern psychology 9 Vice as opposite 10 See also 11 References 12 Further reading 13 External linksEtymology EditThe 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 3 Ancient Egypt Edit Maat to ancient Egyptians personified the virtue of truth and justice Her feather represents truth 4 Maat or Ma at 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 5 6 Greco Roman antiquity Edit Personification of virtue Greek Ἀreth in Celsus Library in Ephesos Turkey See also Arete Aretology Hospitium and Paideia Platonic virtue Edit The four classic cardinal virtues are 7 Prudence fronhsis phronesis Latin prudentia also Wisdom Sophia sapientia the ability to discern the appropriate course of action to be taken in a given situation at the appropriate time Fortitude ἀndreia andreia Latin fortitudo also termed courage forbearance strength endurance and the ability to confront fear uncertainty and intimidation Temperance swfrosynh sōphrosyne Latin temperantia also known as restraint the practice of self control abstention discretion and moderation tempering the appetition Plato considered Sōphrosyne which may also be translated as sound mindedness to be the most important virtue Justice dikaiosynh dikaiosyne Latin iustitia also considered as fairness 8 the Greek word also having the meaning righteousness This enumeration is traced to Greek philosophy and was listed by Plato in addition to piety ὁsioths hosiotes with the exception that wisdom replaced prudence as virtue 9 Some scholars 10 consider either of the above four virtue combinations as mutually reducible and therefore not cardinal It is unclear whether multiple virtues were of later construct and whether Plato subscribed to a unified view of virtues 11 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 Aristotelian virtue Edit See also Virtue ethics Lists of virtues In his work Nicomachean Ethics Aristotle defined a virtue as a point between a deficiency and an excess of a trait 12 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 13 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 Epicurean virtue Edit Epicurean ethics call for a rational pursuit of pleasure with the aid of the virtues The Epicureans teach that the emotions dispositions and habits related to virtue and vice have a cognitive component and are based on true or false beliefs By making sure that his beliefs are aligned with nature and by getting rid of empty opinions the Epicurean develops a virtuous character in accordance with nature and this helps him to live pleasantly 14 Pyrrhonist virtue Edit The Pyrrhonist philosopher Sextus Empiricus described Pyrrhonism as a way of life that in accordance with appearances follows a certain rationale where that rationale shows how it is possible to seem to live rightly rightly being taken not as referring only to virtue but in a more ordinary sense and tends to produce the disposition to suspend judgment 15 In other words by eschewing beliefs i e dogmas one would live in accordance with virtue Prudence and virtue Edit 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 Roman virtues Edit 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 Abundantia Abundance Plenty The ideal of there being enough food and prosperity for all segments of society A public virtue Auctoritas spiritual authority the sense of one s social standing built up through experience Pietas and Industria This was considered to be essential for a magistrate s ability to enforce law and order Comitas humour ease of manner courtesy openness and friendliness Constantia perseverance military stamina as well as general mental and physical endurance in the face of hardship Clementia mercy mildness and gentleness and the ability to set aside previous transgressions Dignitas dignity a sense of self worth personal self respect and self esteem Disciplina discipline considered essential to military excellence also connotes adherence to the legal system and upholding the duties of citizenship Fides good faith mutual trust and reciprocal dealings in both government and commerce public affairs a breach meant legal and religious consequences Firmitas tenacity strength of mind and the ability to stick to one s purpose at hand without wavering Frugalitas frugality economy and simplicity in lifestyle want for what we must have and not what we need regardless of one s material possessions authority or wants one has an individual always has a degree of honour Frugality is to eschew what has no practical use if it is in disuse and if it comes at the expense of the other virtues Gravitas gravity a sense of the importance of the matter at hand responsibility and being earnest Honestas respectability the image and honor that one presents as a respectable member of society Humanitas humanity refinement civilization learning and generally being cultured Industria industriousness hard work Innocencia selfless Roman charity always give without expectation of recognition always give while expecting no personal gain incorruptibility is aversion towards placing all power and influence from public office to increase personal gain in order to enjoy our personal or public life and deprive our community of their health dignity and our sense of morality that is an affront to every Roman Laetitia Joy Gladness The celebration of thanksgiving often of the resolution of crisis a public virtue Nobilitas Nobility Man of fine appearance deserving of honor highly esteemed social rank and or nobility of birth a public virtue Justitia justice sense of moral worth to an action personified by the goddess Iustitia the Roman counterpart to the Greek Themis Pietas dutifulness more than religious piety a respect for the natural order socially politically and religiously Includes ideas of patriotism fulfillment of pious obligation to the gods and honoring other human beings especially in terms of the patron and client relationship considered essential to an orderly society Prudentia prudence foresight wisdom and personal discretion Salubritas wholesomeness general health and cleanliness personified in the deity Salus Severitas sternness self control considered to be tied directly to the virtue of gravitas Veritas truthfulness honesty in dealing with others personified by the goddess Veritas Veritas being the mother of Virtus was considered the root of all virtue a person living an honest life was bound to be virtuous Virtus manliness valor excellence courage character and worth Vir is Latin for man Seven heavenly virtues Edit 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 chastity temperance charity diligence patience kindness humility 16 Ancient India EditValluvar Edit Valluvar Statue at SOAS University of London 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 17 For this reason Valluvar keeps aṟam as the cornerstone throughout the writing of the Kural literature 18 Valluvar considered justice as a facet or product of aram 17 While many before his time opined that justice cannot be defined and that it was a divine mystery Valluvar positively suggested that a divine origin is not required to define the concept of justice 17 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 17 Chivalric virtues in medieval Europe EditMain article Chivalry In the 8th century upon the occasion of his coronation as Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne published a list of knightly virtues Love God Love your neighbour Give alms to the poor Entertain strangers Visit the sick Be merciful to prisoners Do ill to no man nor consent unto such Forgive as ye hope to be forgiven Redeem the captive Help the oppressed Defend the cause of the widow and orphan Render righteous judgement Do not consent to any wrong Persevere not in wrath Shun excess in eating and drinking Be humble and kind Serve your liege lord faithfully Do not steal Do not perjure yourself nor let others do so Envy hatred and violence separate men from the Kingdom of God Defend the Church and promote her cause 19 Religious traditions EditSee also Religion virtue Abrahamic religions Edit Baha i Faith Edit This section needs expansion You can help by adding to it September 2020 The Bahaʼi teachings speak of a Greater Covenant 20 being universal and endless and a Lesser Covenant being unique to each religious dispensation At this time Bahaʼis view Bahaʼu llah s revelation as a binding lesser covenant for his followers in the Bahaʼi writings being firm in the covenant is considered a virtue to work toward 21 Christianity Edit Virtues fighting vices stained glass window 14th century in the Niederhaslach Church Main article Christian ethics Virtues and principles See also Seven virtues Evangelical counsels Catalogue of Vices and Virtues and Tree of virtues and tree of vices In Christianity the three theological virtues are faith hope and love a list which comes from 1 Corinthians 13 13 nynὶ dὲ menei pistis pistis faith ἐlpis elpis hope ἀgaph agape love tὰ tria taῦta meizwn dὲ toytwn ἡ ἀgaph 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 22 The medieval and renaissance periods saw a number of models of sin listing the seven deadly sins and the virtues opposed to each Sin Latin Virtue LatinPride Superbia Humility HumilitasEnvy Invidia Kindness BenevolentiaGluttony Gula Temperance TemperantiaLust Luxuria Chastity CastitasWrath Ira Patience PatientiaGreed Avaritia Charity CaritasSloth Acedia Diligence IndustriaIslam Edit Main articles Islamic ethics and Thawab 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 maʿruf wa n nahy ʿani l munkar in all spheres of life Quran 3 110 23 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 24 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 Sahih Muslim 32 6195 Sahih Muslim 32 6196 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 thawab spiritual merit or reward but there are other Islamic terms to describe virtue such as faḍl bounty taqwa piety and ṣalaḥ 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 Judaism Edit Main article Jewish ethics 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 25 Eastern religions Edit Buddhism Edit Main article Buddhist ethics See also Five precepts Buddhist practice as outlined in the Noble Eightfold Path can be regarded as a progressive list of virtues citation needed Right View Realizing the Four Noble Truths samyag vyayama samma vayama Right Mindfulness Mental ability to see things for what they are with clear consciousness samyak smṛti samma sati Right Concentration Wholesome one pointedness of mind samyak samadhi samma samadhi Buddhism s four brahmavihara Divine States can be more properly regarded as virtues in the European sense They are Metta Maitri loving kindness towards all the hope that a person will be well loving kindness is the wish that all sentient beings without any exception be happy 26 Karuṇa compassion the hope that a person s sufferings will diminish compassion is the wish for all sentient beings to be free from suffering 26 Mudita altruistic joy in the accomplishments of a person oneself or other sympathetic joy is the wholesome attitude of rejoicing in the happiness and virtues of all sentient beings 26 Upekkha Upeksha equanimity or learning to accept both loss and gain praise and blame success and failure with detachment equally for oneself and for others Equanimity means not to distinguish between friend enemy or stranger but to regard every sentient being as equal It is a clear minded tranquil state of mind not being overpowered by delusions mental dullness or agitation 27 There are also the Paramitas perfections which are the culmination of having acquired certain virtues In Theravada Buddhism s canonical Buddhavamsa 28 there are Ten Perfections dasa paramiyo In Mahayana Buddhism the Lotus Sutra Saddharmapundarika there are Six Perfections while in the Ten Stages Dasabhumika Sutra four more Paramitas are listed Daoism Edit See also Three Treasures Taoism Virtue translated from Chinese de 德 is also an important concept in Chinese philosophy particularly Daoism De Chinese 德 pinyin de 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 29 Some scholars consider the virtues identified in early Confucianism as non theistic philosophy 30 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 31 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 30 There are symbols that represent virtue in Chinese Culture Chinese classic paintings have many symbolic meaning representing virtue Plum Blossom represents resilience and perseverance Orchid represents elegance gentleness and quietness Bamboo represents loyalty trust worthiness and humility chrysanthemum represents genuineness and simplicity citation needed Hinduism Edit Main article Hindu ethics Virtue is a much debated 32 and an evolving concept in ancient scriptures of Hinduism 33 34 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 35 Virtues lead to punya Sanskrit प ण य 36 holy living in Hindu literature while vices lead to pap Sanskrit प प 37 sin Sometimes the word punya is used interchangeably with virtue 38 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 patience and 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 39 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 40 41 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 42 43 44 Jainism Edit Parshwanatha the torch bearer of ahimsa 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 45 Sikhism Edit See also Five Virtues Sikh ethics emphasize the congruence between spiritual development and everyday moral conduct Its founder Guru Nanak summarized this perspective 46 Truth is the highest virtue but higher still is truthful living Modern philosophers views EditRene Descartes Edit For the Rationalist philosopher Rene 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 47 Immanuel Kant Edit This section does not cite any sources Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources Unsourced material may be challenged and removed September 2020 Learn how and when to remove this template message 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 Edit 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 48 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 48 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 Benjamin Franklin Edit Virtue spear in hand with her foot on the prostrate form of Tyranny on the Great Seal of Virginia These are the virtues 49 that 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 Temperance Eat not to Dullness Drink not to Elevation Silence Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself Avoid trifling Conversation Order Let all your Things have their Places Let each Part of your Business have its Time Resolution Resolve to perform what you ought Perform without fail what you resolve Frugality Make no Expense but to do good to others or yourself i e Waste nothing Industry Lose no Time Be always employed in something useful Cut off all unnecessary Actions Sincerity Use no hurtful Deceit Think innocently and justly and if you speak speak accordingly Justice Wrong none by doing Injuries or omitting the Benefits that are your Duty Moderation Avoid Extremes Forbear resenting Injuries so much as you think they deserve Cleanliness Tolerate no Uncleanness in Body Clothes or Habitation Tranquility Be not disturbed at Trifles or at Accidents common or unavoidable Chastity Rarely use Venery but for Health or Offspring Never to Dullness Weakness or the Injury of your own or another s Peace or Reputation Humility Imitate Jesus and Socrates Contemporary views EditVirtues as emotions Edit See also Moral emotions 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 50 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 In the Taoist traditions emotions have been used as the excessive or deficient branch of its root virtue through the study of the Wuxing five elements It has been said Correct Actions lead to virtues intention as Virtuous intentions lead to Correct Actions In Objectivism Edit 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 51 These values are achieved by passionate and consistent action and the virtues are the policies for achieving those fundamental values 52 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 53 In modern psychology Edit 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 54 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 55 These six categories of virtue are courage justice humanity temperance transcendence and wisdom 56 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 57 Vice as opposite EditMain article Vice See also List of virtues 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 Within the Chinese Wuxing philosophy and Traditional Chinese Medicine vice and virture are expressed as excess or deficiency See also EditBushido Civic virtue Common good Consequentialism Defence mechanism Level 4 mature Epistemic virtue Evolution of morality Foresight psychology Humanity virtue Ideal ethics Intellectual virtues Moral character Nonviolence Prussian virtues Nine Noble Virtues Asatru and Odinism Teachings of the Seven Grandfathers Value theory Virtue nameReferences Edit Jon Wetlesen Did Santideva Destroy the Bodhisattva Path Jnl Buddhist Ethics Vol 9 2000 Archived 2007 02 28 at the Wayback Machine accessed March 2010 Bodhi Bhikkhu Abhidhammattha Sangaha A Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma BPS Pariyatti Editions 2000 p 89 The Merriam Webster New Book of Word Histories Merriam Webster Inc 1991 p 496 Karenga M 2004 Maat the moral ideal in ancient Egypt A study in classical African ethics Routledge Norman Rufus Colin Cohn 1993 Cosmos Caos and the World to Come The Ancient Roots of Apocalyptic Faith ISBN 978 0 300 05598 6 Jan Assmann Translated by Rodney Livingstone Religion and Cultural Memory Ten Studies Stanford University Press 2006 ISBN 0 8047 4523 4 Stanley B Cunningham 2002 Review of Virtues and Vices and Other Essays in Moral Philosophy Dialogue Volume 21 Issue 01 March 1982 pp 133 37 Cardinal Virtues of Plato Augustine and Confucius theplatonist com Archived from the original on 2016 03 04 Den Uyl D J 1991 The virtue of prudence P Lang in Studies in Moral Philosophy Vol 5 General Editor John Kekes Carr D 1988 The cardinal virtues and Plato s moral psychologym The Philosophical Quarterly 38 151 pp 186 200 Gregory Vlastos The Unity of the Virtues in the Protagoras The Review of Metaphysics Vol 25 No 3 Mar 1972 pp 415 458 Aristotle Sparknotes com Sparknotes com Retrieved 2014 01 01 Nicomachean Ethics Home wlu edu Archived from the original on 2013 10 04 Retrieved 2014 01 01 Philodemus Method of Studying and Cultivating the Virtues Retrieved 2020 05 26 Sextus Empiricus Outlines of Pyrrhonism Book I Chapter 8 Sections 16 17 Prudentius Seven Heavenly Virtues Changing Minds Retrieved 17 November 2018 a b c d N Sanjeevi 1973 First All India Tirukkural Seminar Papers 2nd ed Chennai University of Madras pp xxiii xxvii N Velusamy and Moses Michael Faraday Eds February 2017 Why Should Thirukkural Be Declared the National Book of India in Tamil and English First ed Chennai Unique Media Integrators p 55 ISBN 978 93 85471 70 4 CS1 maint extra text authors list link The origins of Chivalry Baronage Retrieved 17 November 2018 Balyuzi Hasan 2001 ʻAbdu l Baha The Centre of the Covenant of Bahaʼu llah Paperback ed Oxford UK George Ronald ISBN 0 85398 043 8 Momen Moojan 1995 The Covenant and Covenant breaker Retrieved 14 June 2006 Barbara Aland Kurt Aland Matthew Black Carlo M Martini Bruce M Metzger and Allen Wikgren The Greek New Testament 4th ed Federal Republic of Germany United Bible Societies 1993 1979 Quran 3 110 Bearman et al 2009 Akhlaqharvnb error no target CITEREFBearmanBianquisBosworthvan Donzel2009 help Babylonian Talmud tractate Shabbat 31a See also the ethic of reciprocity or The Golden rule a b c Buddhist Studies for Secondary Students Unit 6 The Four Immeasurables Buddhanet net Retrieved 2014 01 01 A View on Buddhism The four immeasurables Love Compassion Joy and Equanimity Archived from the original on 2006 08 19 Retrieved 2006 08 19 Buddhavamsa chapter 2 For an on line reference to the Buddhavamsa s seminality in the Theravada notion of parami see Bodhi 2005 In terms of other examples in the Pali literature Rhys Davids amp Stede 1921 25 p 454 entry for Parami retrieved 2007 06 24 cites Jataka i 73 and Dhammapada Atthakatha i 84 Bodhi 2005 also mentions Acariya Dhammapala s treatise in the Cariyapitaka Atthakatha and the Brahmajala Sutta subcommentary tika Lin Yu sheng The evolution of the pre Confucian meaning of jen and the Confucian concept of moral autonomy Monumenta Serica vol 31 1974 75 a b Yang C K 1971 Religion in Chinese society a study of contemporary social functions of religion and some of their historical factors University of California Press ISBN 978 0 88133 621 4 Lunyu 2 1 Archived 2007 09 27 at the Wayback Machine tr James Legge Roderick Hindery 2004 Comparative Ethics in Hindu and Buddhist Traditions ISBN 978 8120808669 pp 268 272 Quote In Hinduism srutis did not pretend to deal with all situations or irregularities in the moral life leaving these matters to human reasons Mbh Xii 109 Accordingly that again which is virtue may according to time and place be sin Under certain conditions acts that are apparently evil such as violence can be permitted if they produce consequences that are good protection of children and women in self defense when the society is attacked in war Quote The Hindu scripture notes the interrelationship of several virtues consequentially Anger springs from covetousness the vice of envy disappears in consequence of the virtues of compassion and knowledge of self Mbh Xii 163 Crawford S Cromwell 1982 The evolution of Hindu ethical ideals Asian Studies Program University of Hawaii Press Becker and Becker 2001 Encyclopedia of Ethics ISBN 978 0415936729 2nd Edition Routledge pp 845 848 Phillip Wagoner see Foreword in Srinivasan Dharma Hindu Approach to a Purposeful Life ISBN 978 1 62209 672 5 Also see Apastamba Dharma Sutra 1 20 6 puNya Spoken Sanskrit English Dictionary Germany 2010 search for pApa Monier Williams Sanskrit English Dictionary University of Koeln Germany 2008 What Is Hinduism Himalayan Academy 2007 ISBN 978 1 934145 00 5 p 377 Tiwari K N 1998 Classical Indian Ethical Thought A Philosophical Study of Hindu Jaina and Buddhist Morals Motilal Banarsidass Publishers ISBN 978 81 208 1608 4 pp 52 55 Gupta B 2006 Bhagavad Gita as Duty and Virtue Ethics Journal of Religious Ethics 34 3 373 395 Mohapatra amp Mohapatra Hinduism Analytical Study ISBN 978 8170993889 pp 37 40 Subedi S P 2003 The Concept in Hinduism of Just War Journal of Conflict and Security Law 8 2 pp 339 361 Klaus K Klostermaier 1996 in Harvey Leonard Dyck and Peter Brock Ed The Pacifist Impulse in Historical Perspective see Chapter on Himsa and Ahimsa Traditions in Hinduism ISBN 978 0802007773 University of Toronto Press pp 230 234 Bakker F L 2013 Comparing the Golden Rule in Hindu and Christian Religious Texts Studies in Religion Sciences Religieuses 42 1 pp 38 58 Sri Guru June 3 2017 5 Fundamentals of Jainism Sri medium com Retrieved 17 August 2021 Singh Pashaura and Louis E Fenech 2014 The Oxford Handbook of Sikh Studies p 234 Oxford University Press ISBN 978 0199699308 Blom John J Descartes His moral philosophy and psychology New York University Press 1978 ISBN 0 8147 0999 0 a b Leiter Brian 2021 Nietzsche s Moral and Political Philosophy The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Spring 2013 Edition Edward N Zalta ed Franklin s 13 Virtues Extract of Franklin s autobiography compiled by Paul Ford Marc Jackson 2010 Emotion and Psyche O books p 12 ISBN 978 1 84694 378 2 Rand Ayn The Virtue of Selfishness A New Concept of Egoism p 27 Gotthelf Allan On Ayn Rand p 86 Rand Ayn 1961 For the New Intellectual Galt s Speech For the New Intellectual The Philosophy of Ayn Rand pp 131 178 Peterson C amp Seligman M E P 2004 Character Strengths and Virtues A Handbook and Classification Oxford University Press ISBN 0 19 516701 5 Peterson C amp Seligman M E P 2004 Character Strengths and Virtues A Handbook and Classification Oxford University Press p 36 ISBN 0 19 516701 5 Peterson C amp Seligman M E P 2004 Character Strengths and Virtues A Handbook and Classification Oxford University Press pp 36 39 ISBN 0 19 516701 5 Jessica Shryack Michael F Steger Robert F Krueger Christopher S Kallie 2010 The structure of virtue An empirical investigation of the dimensionality of the virtues in action inventory of strengths Elsevier Further reading EditNewton John Ph D Complete Conduct Principles for the 21st Century 2000 ISBN 0967370574 Hein David Christianity and Honor The Living Church August 18 2013 pp 8 10 Den Uyl Douglas 2008 Virtue In Hamowy Ronald ed The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism Thousand Oaks CA SAGE Cato Institute pp 521 22 doi 10 4135 9781412965811 n318 ISBN 978 1412965804 LCCN 2008009151 OCLC 750831024 External links EditVirtueat Wikipedia s sister projects Definitions from Wiktionary Media from Wikimedia Commons Quotations from Wikiquote Resources from Wikiversity Data from Wikidata The Wikiversity course on virtues The Large Clickable List of Virtues at VirtueScience com An overview of Aristotle s ethics including an explanation and chart of virtues Virtue Epistemology Virtue a Catholic perspective Virtue a Buddhist perspective Greek Virtue quotations Peterson amp Seligman findings on virtues and strengths landmark psychological study Illustrated account of the images of the Virtues in the Thomas Jefferson Building Library of Congress Washington DC The Science of Virtues Project at the University of Chicago Roman virtues Virtue BBC Radio 4 discussion with Galen Strawson Miranda Fricker and Roger Crisp In Our Time Feb 28 2002 Retrieved from https en wikipedia org w index php title Virtue amp oldid 1053186139, wikipedia, wiki, book,

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