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Virtue ( la,
virtus ''Virtus'' () was a specific virtue in Ancient Rome. It carries connotations of valor, manliness, excellence, courage, character, and worth, perceived as masculine strengths (from Latin ''vir'', "man"). It was thus a frequently stated virtue o ...
) is
moral A moral (from Latin ''morālis'') is a message that is conveyed or a lesson to be learned from a narrative, story or wikt:event, event. The moral may be left to the hearer, reader, or viewer to determine for themselves, or may be explicitly enca ...
excellence. A virtue is a trait or quality that is deemed to be morally
good In most contexts, the concept of good denotes the conduct that should be preferred when posed with a choice between possible actions. Good is generally considered to be the opposite of evil and is of interest in the study of ethics, morality, ph ...
and thus is valued as a foundation of
principle A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law, it is a Legal rule, rule that has to be or usually is to be followed. It can be desirably followed, or it can be an inevitable consequence of something, suc ...
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 A vice is a practice, behaviour, or Habit (psychology), habit generally considered immorality, immoral, sinful, crime, criminal, rude, taboo, depraved, degrading, deviant or perverted in the associated society. In more minor usage, vice can refe ...
. Other examples of this notion include the concept of merit in Asian traditions as well as '' De'' ( Chinese 德). Buddhism's four
brahmavihara The ''brahmavihārās'' (sublime attitudes, lit. "abodes of brahma") are a series of four Buddhism, Buddhist virtues and the meditation practices made to cultivate them. They are also known as the four immeasurables (Sanskrit: अप्रमा ...
("Divine States") can be regarded as virtues in the European sense.


Etymology

The ancient Romans used the Latin word ''
virtus ''Virtus'' () was a specific virtue in Ancient Rome. It carries connotations of valor, manliness, excellence, courage, character, and worth, perceived as masculine strengths (from Latin ''vir'', "man"). It was thus a frequently stated virtue o ...
'' (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".


Ancient Egypt

Maat Maat or Maʽat ( Egyptian: mꜣꜥt /ˈmuʀʕat/, Coptic: ⲙⲉⲓ) refers to the ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization in Northeast Africa situated in the Nile Valley. Ancient Egyptian civilization followed prehistoric ...
(or Ma'at) was the
ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization in Northeast Africa situated in the Nile Valley. Ancient Egyptian civilization followed prehistoric Egypt and coalesced around 3100Anno Domini, BC (according to conventional Egyptian chronology) with the ...
ian goddess of
truth Truth is the property of being in accord with fact or reality.Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionarytruth 2005 In everyday language, truth is typically ascribed to things that aim to represent reality or otherwise correspond to it, such as beliefs, ...
,
balance Balance or balancing may refer to: Common meanings * Balance (ability) in biomechanics * Balance (accounting) * Balance or weighing scale * Equality (mathematics), Balance as in equality or equilibrium Arts and entertainment Film * Balance (1983 ...
, order,
law Law is a set of rules that are created and are law enforcement, enforceable by social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior,Robertson, ''Crimes against humanity'', 90. with its precise definition a matter of longstanding debate. ...
,
morality Morality () is the differentiation of intentions, decisions and actions between those that are distinguished as proper (right) and those that are improper (wrong). Morality can be a body of standards or principles derived from a code of co ...
, and
justice Justice, in its broadest sense, is the principle that people receive that which they deserve, with the interpretation of what then constitutes "deserving" being impacted upon by numerous fields, with many differing viewpoints and perspective ...
. The word maat was also used to refer to these concepts. Maat was also portrayed as 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 Chaos or CHAOS may refer to: Arts, entertainment and media Fictional elements * Chaos (Kinnikuman), Chaos (''Kinnikuman'') * Chaos (Sailor Moon), Chaos (''Sailor Moon'') * Chaos (Sesame Park), Chaos (''Sesame Park'') * Chaos (Warhammer), Cha ...
, lies, and injustice.


Greco-Roman antiquity


Platonic virtue

The four classic
cardinal virtues The cardinal virtues are four virtues of mind and character in both classical philosophy and Christian theology. They are prudence, Justice (virtue), justice, Courage, fortitude, and Temperance (virtue), temperance. They form a Virtue ethics, vi ...
are: *
Prudence Prudence ( la, prudentia, Contraction (grammar), contracted from meaning "seeing ahead, sagacity") is the ability to govern and discipline oneself by the use of reason. It is classically considered to be a virtue, and in particular one of th ...
(, ''phrónēsis''; la, prudentia; also
Wisdom Wisdom, sapience, or sagacity is the ability to contemplate and act using knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense and insight. Wisdom is associated with attributes such as unbiased judgment, compassion, Experiential learning, experie ...
, '' Sophia'', ''sapientia''), the ability to discern the appropriate course of action to be taken in a given situation at the appropriate time. * Fortitude (, ''andreía''; la, fortitudo): also termed courage, forbearance, strength, endurance, and the ability to confront fear, uncertainty, and intimidation. * Temperance (, ''sōphrosýnē''; la, temperantia): also known as restraint, the practice of self-control, abstention, discretion, and moderation tempering the
appetition In philosophy, desire has been identified as a recurring philosophical problem. It has been variously interpreted as what compels someone towards the highest state of human nature or consciousness, as well as being posited as either something to be ...
. Plato considered ''Sōphrosynē'', which may also be translated as sound-mindedness, to be the most important virtue. *
Justice Justice, in its broadest sense, is the principle that people receive that which they deserve, with the interpretation of what then constitutes "deserving" being impacted upon by numerous fields, with many differing viewpoints and perspective ...
(, ''dikaiosýnē''; la, 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 Plato ( ; grc-gre, wikt:Πλάτων, Πλάτων ; 428/427 or 424/423 – 348/347 BC) was a Greeks, Greek philosopher born in Athens during the Classical Greece, Classical period in Ancient Greece. He founded the Platonist school of thou ...
in addition to
piety Piety is a virtue which may include religion, religious devotion or spirituality. A common element in most conceptions of piety is a duty of respect. In a religious context piety may be expressed through pious activities or devotions, which may va ...
: (hosiotēs), with the exception that
wisdom Wisdom, sapience, or sagacity is the ability to contemplate and act using knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense and insight. Wisdom is associated with attributes such as unbiased judgment, compassion, Experiential learning, experie ...
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 Protagoras (; el, Πρωταγόρας; )Guthrie, p. 262–263. was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher A philosopher is a person who practices or investigates philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the systematized study of general and ...
'' and ''
Meno ''Meno'' (; grc-gre, wikt:Μένων, Μένων, ''Ménōn'') is a Socratic dialogue by Plato. Meno (general), Meno begins the dialogue by asking Socrates whether virtue is taught, acquired by practice, or comes by nature. In order to determ ...
'', 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 The ''Nicomachean Ethics'' (; ; grc, Ἠθικὰ Νικομάχεια, ) is Aristotle's best-known work on ethics, the science of the good for human life, which is Teleology, the goal or end at which all our actions aim. (I§2) The aim of the i ...
'',
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher and polymath during the Classical Greece, Classical period in Ancient Greece. Taught by Plato, he was the founder of the Peripatet ...
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 Self-deprecation is the act of reprimanding oneself by belittling, undervaluing, disparaging oneself, or being excessively modest. It can be used as a way to make complaints, express modesty, invoke optimal reactions or add humour. It may also be u ...
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 Sextus Empiricus ( grc-gre, Σέξτος Ἐμπειρικός, ; ) was a Greek Pyrrhonist philosopher and Empiric school physician A physician (American English), medical practitioner (English in the Commonwealth of Nations, Comm ...
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
belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the case, or that some proposition is truth, true. In epistemology, philosophers use the term "belief" to refer to attitudes about the world which can be either truth value, true o ...
s (i.e.,
dogma Dogma is a belief or set of beliefs that is accepted by the members of a group without being questioned or doubted. It may be in the form of an official system of principles or doctrines of a religion, such as Catholic Church, Roman Catholicism, ...
s) 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. The same rationale was expressed by Plato in ''
Protagoras Protagoras (; el, Πρωταγόρας; )Guthrie, p. 262–263. was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher A philosopher is a person who practices or investigates philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the systematized study of general and ...
'', 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 ''Virtus'' () was a specific virtue in Ancient Rome. It carries connotations of valor, manliness, excellence, courage, character, and worth, perceived as masculine strengths (from Latin ''vir'', "man"). It was thus a frequently stated virtue o ...
" (the personification of which was the deity
Virtus ''Virtus'' () was a specific virtue in Ancient Rome. It carries connotations of valor, manliness, excellence, courage, character, and worth, perceived as masculine strengths (from Latin ''vir'', "man"). It was thus a frequently stated virtue o ...
), and had connotations of "
manliness Masculinity (also called manhood or manliness) is a set of attributes, behaviors, and roles associated with men and boys. Masculinity can be theoretically understood as Social construction of gender, socially constructed, and there is also ev ...
", "
honour Honour (British English) or honor (American English; American and British English spelling differences#-our, -or, see spelling differences) is the idea of a bond between an individual and a society as a quality of a person that is both of socia ...
", 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 The ''mos maiorum'' (; "ancestral custom" or "way of the ancestors," plural ''mores'', cf. English "mores"; ''maiorum'' is the Genitive case, genitive plural of "greater" or "elder") is the unwritten code from which the Ancient Rome, ancient Roma ...
''; 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 The ''pater familias'', also written as ''paterfamilias'' (plural ''patres familias''), was the head of a Roman family. The ''pater familias'' was the oldest living male in a household, and could legally exercise autocratic authority over his ext ...
), and those expected of an upstanding Roman
citizen Citizenship is a "relationship between an individual and a state to which the individual owes allegiance and in turn is entitled to its protection". Each state determines the conditions under which it will recognize persons as its citizens, and ...
. Most Roman concepts of virtue were also personified as a numinous deity. The primary Roman virtues, both public and private, were:


Ancient India


Valluvar

While religious scriptures generally consider ''
dharma Dharma (; sa, धर्म, dharma, ; pi, dhamma, italic=yes) is a key concept with multiple meanings in Indian religions, such as Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religions, Indian religion or ''dharma'', a religious and univers ...
'' or ''aṟam'' (the Tamil term for virtue) as a divine virtue,
Valluvar Thiruvalluvar (Tamil language, Tamil: திருவள்ளுவர்), commonly known as Valluvar, was a celebrated Tamil people, Tamil poet and philosopher. He is best known as the author of the ''Tirukkuṟaḷ'', a collection of coup ...
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 Justice, in its broadest sense, is the principle that people receive that which they deserve, with the interpretation of what then constitutes "deserving" being impacted upon by numerous fields, with many differing viewpoints and perspective ...
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."


Chivalric virtues in medieval Europe

In the 8th century, upon the occasion of his coronation as
Holy Roman Emperor The Holy Roman Emperor, originally and officially the Emperor of the Romans ( la, Imperator Romanorum, german: Kaiser der Römer) during the Middle Ages, and also known as the Roman-German Emperor since the early modern period ( la, Imperator ...
,
Charlemagne Charlemagne ( , ) or Charles the Great ( la, Carolus Magnus; german: Karl der Große; 2 April 747 – 28 January 814), a member of the Carolingian dynasty, was King of the Franks from 768, King of the Lombards from 774, and the first Holy ...
published a list of
knightly virtues Chivalry, or the chivalric code, is an informal and varying code of conduct developed in Europe between 1170 and 1220. It was associated with the medieval Christianity, Christian institution of knighthood; knights' and gentlemen's behaviours we ...
: * Love God * Love your neighbor * 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.


Religious traditions


Abrahamic religions


Bahá'í Faith

The Baháʼí teachings speak of a "Greater
Covenant Covenant may refer to: Religion * Covenant (religion), a formal alliance or agreement made by God with a religious community or with humanity in general ** Covenant (biblical), in the Hebrew Bible ** Covenant in Mormonism, a sacred agreement ...
", 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

In
Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth. It is the Major religious groups, world's ...
, the three
theological virtues Theological virtues are virtues associated in Christian theology and Christian philosophy, philosophy with Salvation in Christianity, salvation resulting from the Grace (Christianity), grace of God in Christianity, God. Virtues are traits or qual ...
are
faith Faith, derived from Latin ''fides'' and Old French ''feid'', is confidence or trust in a person, thing, or In the context of religion, one can define faith as "belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion". Religious people often ...
,
hope Hope is an Optimism, optimistic state of mind that is based on an wikt:expectation, expectation of positive outcomes with respect to events and circumstances in one's life or the world at large. As a verb, its definitions include: "expect with ...
and
love Love encompasses a range of strong and positive emotional and mental states, from the most sublime virtue or good habit, the deepest Interpersonal relationship, interpersonal affection, to the simplest pleasure. An example of this range of ...
, a list which comes from 1 Corinthians 13:13 ( ''pistis'' (faith), ''elpis'' (hope), ''agape'' (love), ). 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 In Christianity, agape (; ) is "the highest form of Greek words for love, love, Charity (virtue), charity" and "the love of God for man and of man for God". This is in contrast to philia, Brotherly love (philosophy), brotherly love, or philautia ...
'' 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 classic
cardinal virtues The cardinal virtues are four virtues of mind and character in both classical philosophy and Christian theology. They are prudence, Justice (virtue), justice, Courage, fortitude, and Temperance (virtue), temperance. They form a Virtue ethics, vi ...
(prudence, justice, temperance, and courage) to the theological virtues to give the seven heavenly virtues; for example, these seven are the ones described in the ''
Catechism of the Catholic Church The ''Catechism of the Catholic Church'' ( la, Catechismus Catholicae Ecclesiae; commonly called the ''Catechism'' or the ''CCC'') is a catechism A catechism (; from grc, κατηχέω, "to teach orally") is a summary or exposition of doct ...
'', sections 1803–1829. The Bible mentions additional virtues, such as in the "
Fruit of the Holy Spirit The Fruit of the Holy Spirit (sometimes, incorrectly, referred to as the Fruits of the Holy Spirit) is a biblical term that sums up nine attributes of a person or community living in accord with the Holy Spirit In Judaism Judaism ( he ...
," 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." In 410 CE, Aurelius Prudentius Clemens listed seven "heavenly virtues" in his book
Psychomachia The ''Psychomachia'' (''Battle of Spirits'' or ''Soul War'') is a poem by the Late Antiquity, Late Antique Latin poet Prudentius, from the early fifth century AD. It has been considered to be the first and most influential "pure" medieval allego ...
(Battle of Souls) which is an allegorical story of conflict between vices and virtues. These virtues (later called the seven capital virtues) depicted were: *
Chastity Chastity, also known as purity, is a virtue related to Temperance (virtue), temperance. Someone who is ''chaste'' refrains either from sexual activity considered immoral or any sexual activity, according to their state of life. In some contexts, ...
* Temperance * Charity *
Diligence Diligence—carefulness and persistent effort or work—is one of the seven Seven virtues#Seven Capital Virtues and the Seven Capital Sins, heavenly virtues. It is indicative of a work ethic, the belief that work is good in itself. In student ...
*
Patience Patience (or forbearance Forbearance, in the context of a Mortgage loan, mortgage process, is a special agreement between the Creditor, lender and the Debtor, borrower to delay a foreclosure. The literal meaning of forbearance is "holding ba ...
*
Kindness Kindness is a type of behavior marked by acts of generosity, consideration, rendering assistant or concern for others, without expecting praise or reward in return. Kindness is a topic of interest in philosophy, religion, and psychology. Kin ...
*
Humility Humility is the quality of being humble. Dictionary definitions accentuate humility as a low self-regard and sense of unworthiness. In a religious context humility can mean a recognition of self in relation to a deity (i.e. God), and subsequent ...
. The medieval and renaissance periods saw a number of models of sin listing the
seven deadly sins The seven deadly sins, also known as the capital vices or cardinal sins, is a grouping and classification of vices within Christian teachings. Although they are not directly mentioned in the Bible, there are parallels with the seven things ...
and the seven capital virtues opposed to each.


Islam

In Islam, the
Quran The Quran (, ; Standard Arabic: , Classical Arabic, Quranic Arabic: , , 'the recitation'), also romanized Qur'an or Koran, is the central religious text of Islam, believed by Muslims to be a revelation in Islam, revelation from God in Islam, ...
is believed to be the literal word of God, and the definitive description of virtue while
Muhammad Muhammad ( ar, مُحَمَّد;  570 – 8 June 632 Common Era, CE) was an Arab religious, social, and political leader and the founder of Islam. According to Muhammad in Islam, Islamic doctrine, he was a prophet Divine inspiration, di ...
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 In philosophy, moral responsibility is the status of morality, morally desert (philosophy), deserving praise, blame, reward (psychology), reward, or punishment for an act or omission in accordance with one's moral obligations. Deciding what (if a ...
to submit to God's will. Muhammad's preaching produced a "radical change in
moral value In ethics and the social sciences, Value (ethics and social sciences), value theory involves various approaches that examine how, why, and to what degree humans value things and whether the object or subject of valuing is a person, idea, object, o ...
s 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 Ḥadīth ( or ; ar, حديث, , , , , , , literally "talk" or "discourse") or Athar ( ar, أثر, , literally "remnant"/"effect") refers to what the majority of Muslims believe to be a record of the words, actions, and the silent approva ...
(Islamic traditions), it is reported by An-Nawwas bin Sam'an: Wabisah bin Ma’bad reported: 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

Loving God and obeying his laws, in particular the
Ten Commandments The Ten Commandments (Biblical Hebrew עשרת הדברים \ עֲשֶׂרֶת הַדְּבָרִים, ''aséret ha-dvarím'', lit. The Decalogue, The Ten Words, cf. Mishnaic Hebrew עשרת הדיברות \ עֲשֶׂרֶת הַדִּבְ ...
, are central to Jewish conceptions of virtue. Wisdom is personified in the first eight chapters of the
Book of Proverbs The Book of Proverbs ( he, מִשְלֵי, , "Proverbs (of Solomon Solomon (; , ),, ; ar, سُلَيْمَان, ', , ; el, Σολομών, ; la, Salomon also called Jedidiah (Hebrew language, Hebrew: , Modern Hebrew, Modern: , Tiberia ...
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 The Mishnah or the Mishna (; he, מִשְׁנָה, "study by repetition", from the verb ''shanah'' , or "to study and review", also "secondary") is the first major written collection of the Jewish oral traditions which is known as the Oral Tor ...
and the
Talmud The Talmud (; he, , Talmūḏ) is the central text of Rabbinic Judaism and the primary source of Jewish religious law (''halakha'') and Jewish theology. Until the advent of modernity, in nearly all Jewish communities, the Talmud was the center ...
and, as such, one of the most important figures in
Jewish history Jewish history is the history of the Jews, and their nation, Judaism, religion, and Jewish culture, culture, as it developed and interacted with other peoples, religions, and cultures. Although Judaism as a religion first appears in Greek reco ...
. 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

Buddhist practice as outlined in the
Noble Eightfold Path The Noble Eightfold Path ( Pali: ; Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South ...
can be regarded as a progressive list of virtues. # Right View – Realizing the
Four Noble Truths In Buddhism, the Four Noble Truths (Sanskrit: ; pi, cattāri ariyasaccāni; "The four Arya satyas") are "the truths of the Arhat, Noble Ones", the truths or realities for the "spiritually worthy ones". brahmavihara_ The_''brahmavihārās''_(sublime_attitudes,_lit._"abodes_of_brahma")_are_a_series_of_four_Buddhism,_Buddhist_virtues_and_the_meditation_practices_made_to_cultivate_them._They_are_also_known_as_the_four_immeasurables_(Sanskrit:_अप्रमा_...
''_("Divine_States")_can_be_more_properly_regarded_as_virtues_in_the_European_sense._They_are: #_Maitrī.html" ;"title="Four Noble Truths: BUDDHIST PHILOSOPHY ...
(samyag-vyāyāma, sammā-vāyāma). # Right Mindfulness – Mental ability to see things for what they are with clear consciousness (samyak-smṛti, sammā-sati). # Right Concentration – Wholesome one-pointedness of mind (samyak-samādhi, sammā-samādhi). Buddhism's four ''
brahmavihara The ''brahmavihārās'' (sublime attitudes, lit. "abodes of brahma") are a series of four Buddhism, Buddhist virtues and the meditation practices made to cultivate them. They are also known as the four immeasurables (Sanskrit: अप्रमा ...
'' ("Divine States") can be more properly regarded as virtues in the European sense. They are: # Maitrī">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. # Karuṇā: compassion; the hope that a person's sufferings will diminish; compassion is the wish for all sentient beings to be free from suffering. # 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. # Upekkha/ Upeksha: equanimity, or learning to accept both loss and gain,
praise Praise as a form of social interaction expresses recognition, reassurance or admiration. Praise is expressed verbally as well as by body language (facial expression and gestures). Verbal praise consists of a positive evaluations of another's att ...
and
blame Blame is the act of censuring, holding responsible, or making negative statements about an individual or group that their actions or inaction are socially or morally irresponsible, the opposite of praise. When someone is morally responsible for d ...
, 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 ''Theravāda'' () ( si, ථේරවාදය, my, ထေရဝါဒ, th, เถรวาท, km, ថេរវាទ, lo, ເຖຣະວາດ, pi, , ) is the most commonly accepted name of Buddhism's oldest existing school. The school' ...
Buddhism Buddhism ( , ), also known as Buddha Dharma and Dharmavinaya (), is an Indian religions, Indian religion or Indian philosophy#Buddhist philosophy, philosophical tradition based on Pre-sectarian Buddhism, teachings attributed to the Buddha. ...
's
canonical The adjective canonical is applied in many contexts to mean "according to the canon (basic principle), canon" the standard (metrology), standard, rule or primary source that is accepted as authoritative for the body of knowledge or literature in t ...
Buddhavamsa there are Ten Perfections (''dasa pāramiyo''). In
Mahayana ''Mahāyāna'' (; "Great Vehicle") is a term for a broad group of Buddhism, Buddhist traditions, Buddhist texts#Mahāyāna texts, texts, Buddhist philosophy, philosophies, and practices. Mahāyāna Buddhism developed in India (c. 1st century BC ...
Buddhism, the
Lotus Sutra The ''Lotus Sūtra'' ( zh, 妙法蓮華經; sa, सद्धर्मपुण्डरीकसूत्रम्, translit=Saddharma Puṇḍarīka Sūtram, lit=Sūtra on the White Lotus of the True Dharma, italic=) is one of the most influ ...
(''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 Chinese philosophy originates in the Spring and Autumn period () and Warring States period The Warring States period () was an era in History of China#Ancient China, ancient Chinese history characterized by warfare, as wel ...
, particularly
Daoism Taoism (, ) or Daoism () refers to either a school of Philosophy, philosophical thought (道家; ''daojia'') or to a religion (道教; ''daojiao''), both of which share ideas and concepts of China, Chinese origin and emphasize living in harmo ...
. ''De'' () 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 Virtue ( la, virtus) is morality, moral excellence. A virtue is a trait or quality that is deemed to be morally good and thus is Value (ethics), valued as a foundation of principle and good moral being. In other words, it is a behavior that sh ...
'', with an archaic meaning of "inner potency; divine power" (as in "by virtue of") and a modern one of "moral excellence; goodness". In early periods of
Confucianism Confucianism, also known as Ruism or Ru classicism, is a system of thought and behavior originating in ancient China. Variously described as tradition, a philosophy, a Religious Confucianism, religion, a humanistic or rationalistic religion, ...
, moral manifestations of "virtue" include ''ren'' (" humanity"), ''xiao'' ("
filial piety In Confucian ethics, Confucianism, Chinese Buddhist ethics, Buddhism, and Daoism, Daoist ethics, filial piety (, ''xiào'') (Latin: pietas) is a virtue of respect for one's parents, elders, and ancestors. The Confucian ''Classic of Filial Piety ...
"), and ''li'' (" proper behavior, performance of rituals"). The notion of
ren Ren or REN may refer to: Abbreviations * Orenburg Tsentralny Airport : ''Tsentraly may also refer to airports in Spilve Airport, Riga, Khodynka Aerodrome, Moscow, Omsk Tsentralny Airport, Omsk, or Saratov Tsentralny Airport, Saratov.'' Oren ...
– according to Simon Leys – means "humanity" and "goodness".
Ren Ren or REN may refer to: Abbreviations * Orenburg Tsentralny Airport : ''Tsentraly may also refer to airports in Spilve Airport, Riga, Khodynka Aerodrome, Moscow, Omsk Tsentralny Airport, Omsk, or Saratov Tsentralny Airport, Saratov.'' Oren ...
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.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, 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 The ''Analects'' (; ; Old Chinese: '' ŋ(r)aʔ''; meaning "Selected Sayings"), also known as the ''Analects of Confucius'', the ''Sayings of Confucius'', or the ''Lun Yu'', is an ancient Chinese book composed of a large collection of say ...
'',
Confucius Confucius ( ; zh, s=, p=Kǒng Fūzǐ, "Master Kǒng"; or commonly zh, s=, p=Kǒngzǐ, labels=no; – ) was a Chinese philosopher and politician of the Spring and Autumn period who is traditionally considered the paragon of Chinese sages. Co ...
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.


Hinduism

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 Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South Asia after its predecessor languages had Trans-cul ...
: 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 Dharma (; sa, wikt:धर्म#Sanskrit, धर्म, dharma, ; pi, dhamma, italic=yes) is a key concept with multiple meanings in Indian religions, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism and others. Although there is Untranslatabili ...
life – that is a moral, ethical, virtuous life – evolve in
veda FIle:Atharva-Veda samhita page 471 illustration.png, upright=1.2, The Vedas are ancient Sanskrit texts of Hinduism. Above: A page from the ''Atharvaveda''. The Vedas (, , ) are a large body of religious texts originating in ancient India. Co ...
s and
upanishad The Upanishads (; sa, उपनिषद् ) are late Vedic Sanskrit texts that supplied the basis of later Hindu philosophy.Wendy Doniger (1990), ''Textual Sources for the Study of Hinduism'', 1st Edition, University of Chicago Press, , ...
s. Over time, new virtues were conceptualized and added by ancient Hindu scholars, some replaced, others merged. For example,
Manusamhita The ''Manusmṛiti'' ( sa, मनुस्मृति), also known as the ''Mānava-Dharmaśāstra'' or Laws of Manu, is one of the many legal texts and constitution among the many ' of Hinduism. In ancient India, the Rishi, sages often wrot ...
initially listed ten virtues necessary for a human being to live a ''dharmic'' life: '' Dhriti'' (courage), '' Kshama'' (
patience Patience (or forbearance Forbearance, in the context of a Mortgage loan, mortgage process, is a special agreement between the Creditor, lender and the Debtor, borrower to delay a foreclosure. The literal meaning of forbearance is "holding ba ...
and
forgiveness Forgiveness, in a psychology, psychological sense, is the intentional and voluntary process by which one who may initially feel victimized or wronged, goes through a change in feelings and attitude regarding a given offender, and overcomes the ...
), '' Dama'' ( temperance), ''
Asteya ''Achourya'' (Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South Asia after its predecesso ...
'' (Non-covetousness/Non-stealing), '' Saucha'' (inner purity), ''Indriyani-graha'' (control of senses), '' dhi'' (reflective prudence), '' vidya'' (wisdom), ''
satya ''Satya'' (Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South Asia after its predecessor ...
m'' (truthfulness), ''
akrodha Akrodha (Sanskrit: अक्रोध) literally means "free from anger". It's considered an important virtue in Indian philosophy and Hindu ethics. Etymology ''Akrodha'' is a fusion word between the Sanskrit prefix ''a'' (Sanskrit: अ; "without ...
'' (freedom from anger). In later verses, this list was reduced to five virtues by the same scholar, by merging and creating a broader concept. The shorter list of virtues became: ''Ahimsa'' (
Non-violence Nonviolence is the personal practice of not causing harm to others under any condition. It may come from the belief that hurting people, animals and/or the environment is unnecessary to achieve an outcome and it may refer to a general philosoph ...
), ''Dama'' (self restraint), ''Asteya'' (Non-covetousness/Non-stealing), ''Saucha'' (inner purity), ''Satyam'' (truthfulness). The
Bhagavad Gita The Bhagavad Gita (; sa, श्रीमद्भगवद्गीता, lit=The Song by God, translit=śrīmadbhagavadgītā;), often referred to as the Gita (), is a 700-Sanskrit prosody, verse Hindu texts, Hindu scripture that is part o ...
– 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 Ahimsa (, IAST: ''ahiṃsā'', ) is the ancient Indian principle of nonviolence which applies to all living beings. It is a key virtue in most Indian religions: Jainism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Hinduism.Bajpai, Shiva (2011). The History of In ...
must be re-examined when one is faced with war or violence from the aggressiveness, immaturity or ignorance of others. 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'', , University of Toronto Press, pp. 230–234


Jainism

In
Jainism Jainism ( ), also known as Jain Dharma, is an Indian religions, Indian religion. Jainism traces its spiritual ideas and history through the succession of twenty-four tirthankaras (supreme preachers of ''Dharma''), with the first in the current ...
, attainment of enlightenment is possible only if the seeker possesses certain virtues. All
Jains Jainism ( ), also known as Jain Dharma, is an Indian religions, Indian religion. Jainism traces its spiritual ideas and history through the succession of twenty-four tirthankaras (supreme preachers of ''Dharma''), with the first in the current ...
are supposed to take up the five vows of
ahimsa Ahimsa (, IAST: ''ahiṃsā'', ) is the ancient Indian principle of nonviolence which applies to all living beings. It is a key virtue in most Indian religions: Jainism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Hinduism.Bajpai, Shiva (2011). The History of In ...
(non violence),
satya ''Satya'' (Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South Asia after its predecessor ...
(truthfulness),
asteya ''Achourya'' (Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South Asia after its predecesso ...
(non stealing),
aparigraha Non-possession (aparigraha ( sa, अपरिग्रह)) is a philosophy that holds that no one or anything possesses anything. ln Jainism Jainism ( ), also known as Jain Dharma, is an Indian religions, Indian religion. Jainism traces it ...
(non attachment) and
brahmacharya ''Brahmacharya'' (; sa, wikt:ब्रह्मचर्य, ब्रह्मचर्य ) is a concept within Indian religions that literally means to stay in conduct within one's own Ātman (Hinduism), Self. In Yoga, Hinduism, Buddhism ...
(celibacy) before becoming a monk. These vows are laid down by the
Tirthankaras In Jainism, a ''Tirthankara'' (Sanskrit: '; English language, English: literally a 'Ford (crossing), ford-maker') is a saviour and spiritual teacher of the ''Dharma (Jainism), dharma'' (righteous path). The word ''tirthankara'' signifies the ...
. 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

Sikh Sikhs ( or ; pa, ਸਿੱਖ, ' ) are people who adhere to Sikhism (Sikhi), a monotheistic religion that originated in the late 15th century in the Punjab region of the Indian subcontinent, based on the revelation of Guru Nanak. The ter ...
ethics emphasize the congruence between spiritual development and everyday moral conduct. Its founder
Guru Nanak Gurū Nānak (15 April 1469 – 22 September 1539; Gurmukhi: ਗੁਰੂ ਨਾਨਕ; pronunciation: , ), also referred to as ('father Nānak'), was the founder of Sikhism and is the first of the ten Sikh gurus, Sikh Gurus. His birth is ce ...
summarized this perspective:Singh, Pashaura, and Louis E. Fenech. 2014.
The Oxford Handbook of Sikh Studies
'' p. 234. Oxford University Press. .
Truth is the highest virtue, but higher still is truthful living.
The Five Virtues of Sikhism are
Sat The SAT ( ) is a standardized test widely used for college admissions in the United States. Since its debut in 1926, its name and Test score, scoring have changed several times; originally called the Scholastic Aptitude Test, it was later calle ...
(truth), Daya (compassion), Santokh (contentment), Nimrata (humility), and Pyaar (love).


Modern philosophers' views


René Descartes

For the Rationalist philosopher
René Descartes René Descartes ( or ; ; Latinisation of names, Latinized: Renatus Cartesius; 31 March 1596 – 11 February 1650) was a French people, French philosopher, scientist, and mathematician, widely considered a seminal figure in the emergence of m ...
, 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 Epicurus (; grc-gre, wikt:Ἐπίκουρος, Ἐπίκουρος ; 341–270 BC) was an Greek philosophy, ancient Greek philosopher and sage (philosophy), sage who founded Epicureanism, a highly influential school of philosophy. He was born ...
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 Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher and polymath during the Classical Greece, Classical period in Ancient Greece. Taught by Plato, he was the founder of the Peripatet ...
'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.Blom, John J., ''Descartes. His moral philosophy and psychology''. New York University Press. 1978.


Immanuel Kant

Immanuel Kant Immanuel Kant (, , ; 22 April 1724 – 12 February 1804) was a German Philosophy, philosopher and one of the central Age of Enlightenment, Enlightenment thinkers. Born in Königsberg, Kant's comprehensive and systematic works in epistemolo ...
, 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 Sympathy is the perception of, understanding of, and reaction to the distress or need of another life form. According to David Hume, this sympathetic concern is driven by a switch in viewpoint from a personal perspective to the perspective of ano ...
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 The four temperament theory is a proto-psychological theory which suggests that there are four fundamental personality types: sanguine, choleric, melancholic, and phlegmatic. Most formulations include the possibility of mixtures among the types w ...
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 Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (; or ; 15 October 1844 – 25 August 1900) was a German philosopher, Prose poetry, prose poet, cultural critic, Philology, philologist, and composer whose work has exerted a profound influence on contemporary philo ...
'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 Eternal return (german: Ewige Wiederkunft; also known as eternal recurrence) is a concept that the universe and all existence and energy has been recurring, and will continue to recur in a self similar form an infinity, infinite number of times ...
of his life and affirm this forever and unconditionally. In the last section of ''
Beyond Good and Evil ''Beyond Good and Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future'' (german: Jenseits von Gut und Böse: Vorspiel einer Philosophie der Zukunft) is a book by philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche that covers ideas in his previous work ''Thus Spoke Zarathu ...
'', Nietzsche outlines his thoughts on the noble virtues and places
solitude Solitude is a state of seclusion or isolation, meaning lack of socialisation. Effects can be either positive or negative, depending on the situation. Short-term solitude is often valued as a time when one may work, think, or rest without distur ...
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

These are the virtues that
Benjamin Franklin Benjamin Franklin ( April 17, 1790) was an American polymath who was active as a writer, scientist, Invention, inventor, Statesman (politician), statesman, diplomat, printer (publishing), printer, publisher, and Political philosophy, politi ...
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 Frugality is the quality of being frugal, sparing, thrifty, prudent or economical in the consumption of consumable resources Resource refers to all the materials available in our environment which are Technology, technologically accessible, ...
: 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 Sincerity is the virtue of one who communicates and acts in accordance with the entirety of their feelings, beliefs, thoughts, and desires in a manner that is honest and genuine. Etymology The Oxford English Dictionary and most scholars state ...
: Use no hurtful Deceit. Think innocently and justly; and, if you speak, speak accordingly. #
Justice Justice, in its broadest sense, is the principle that people receive that which they deserve, with the interpretation of what then constitutes "deserving" being impacted upon by numerous fields, with many differing viewpoints and perspective ...
: 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 Cleanliness is both the state of being clean and free from Germ (microorganism), germs, dirt, Trash (garbage), trash, or waste, and the habit of achieving and maintaining that state. Cleanliness is often achieved through cleaning. Culturally, cle ...
: Tolerate no Uncleanness in Body, Clothes or Habitation. #
Tranquility Tranquillity (also spelled tranquility) is the quality or state of being tranquil; that is, calm, serene, and worry-free. The word tranquillity appears in numerous texts ranging from the religious writings of Buddhism, where the term '' passaddhi'' ...
: Be not disturbed at Trifles, or at Accidents common or unavoidable. #
Chastity Chastity, also known as purity, is a virtue related to Temperance (virtue), temperance. Someone who is ''chaste'' refrains either from sexual activity considered immoral or any sexual activity, according to their state of life. In some contexts, ...
: Rarely use
Venery Venery may refer to: * Venery (hunting) or medieval hunting * Terms of venery or collective nouns {{disambiguation ...
but for Health or Offspring; Never to Dullness, Weakness, or the Injury of your own or another's Peace or Reputation. #
Humility Humility is the quality of being humble. Dictionary definitions accentuate humility as a low self-regard and sense of unworthiness. In a religious context humility can mean a recognition of self in relation to a deity (i.e. God), and subsequent ...
: Imitate Jesus and Socrates.


Contemporary views


Virtues as 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 Love encompasses a range of strong and positive emotional and mental states, from the most sublime virtue or good habit, the deepest Interpersonal relationship, interpersonal affection, to the simplest pleasure. An example of this range of ...
,
kindness Kindness is a type of behavior marked by acts of generosity, consideration, rendering assistant or concern for others, without expecting praise or reward in return. Kindness is a topic of interest in philosophy, religion, and psychology. Kin ...
, joy, faith,
awe Awe is an emotion comparable to wonder but less joyous. On Robert Plutchik's wheel of emotions awe is modeled as a combination of surprise and fear. One dictionary definition is "an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, fear, e ...
and
pity Pity is a sympathetic sorrow evoked by the suffering Suffering, or pain in a broad sense, may be an experience of unpleasantness or aversion, possibly associated with the perception of harm or threat of harm in an individual. Suffering is ...
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 Taoism (, ) or Daoism () refers to either a school of Philosophy, philosophical thought (道家; ''daojia'') or to a religion (道教; ''daojiao''), both of which share ideas and concepts of China, Chinese origin and emphasize living in harmo ...
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. Immanuel Kant, in his ''Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and Sublime'', predicts and replies to Marc Johnson's view of emotions as virtues. To be goodhearted, benevolent and sympathetic is not regarded as true virtue, for one acts merely episodically, motivated by appeasing those naturally limited feelings, such as in the presence, for example, of a needy person in the street: in such a case, we do not act for a universal motive but simply as a response to end with a particular, individual, personal distress raised on us by our own sentiments.


In modern psychology

Christopher Peterson and
Martin Seligman Martin Elias Peter Seligman (; born August 12, 1942) is an American psychologist A psychologist is a professional who practices psychology and studies mental states, perceptual, cognitive, emotional, and social processes and behavior. Their ...
, two leading researchers in
positive psychology Positive psychology is the scientific study of what makes life most worth living, focusing on both individual and societal well-being. It studies "positive subjective experience, positive individual traits, and positive institutions...it aims t ...
, recognizing the deficiency inherent in
psychology Psychology is the science, scientific study of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the study of consciousness, conscious and Unconscious mind, unconscious phenomena, including feelings and thoughts. It is an academic discipline of immens ...
's tendency to focus on dysfunction rather than on what makes a healthy and stable
personality Personality is the characteristic sets of behaviors, cognitions, and emotional patterns that are formed from biological and environmental factors, and which change over time. While there is no generally agreed-upon definition of personality, mos ...
, 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 nga 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.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.


Vice as opposite

The opposite of a virtue is a
vice A vice is a practice, behaviour, or Habit (psychology), habit generally considered immorality, immoral, sinful, crime, criminal, rude, taboo, depraved, degrading, deviant or perverted in the associated society. In more minor usage, vice can refe ...
. Vice is a habitual, repeated practice of wrongdoing. One way of organizing the vices is as the corruption of the virtues. As
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher and polymath during the Classical Greece, Classical period in Ancient Greece. Taught by Plato, he was the founder of the Peripatet ...
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 Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is an alternative medicine, alternative medical practice drawn from traditional medicine in China. It has been described as "fraught with pseudoscience", with the majority of its treatments having no logica ...
vice and virture are expressed as excess or deficiency.


See also

*
Bushido is a moral code concerning samurai attitudes, behavior and lifestyle. There are multiple bushido types which evolved significantly through history. Contemporary forms of bushido are still used in the social and economic organization of Japan. ...
*
Civic virtue Civic virtue is the harvesting of habit (psychology), habits important for the success of a society. Closely linked to the concept of citizenship, civic virtue is often conceived as the dedication of citizens to the common welfare of each other e ...
*
Common good In philosophy, economics, and political science, the common good (also commonwealth, general welfare, or public benefit) is either what is shared and beneficial for all or most members of a given community, or alternatively, what is achieved by c ...
*
Consequentialism In ethical philosophy, consequentialism is a class of normative ethics, normative, Teleology, teleological ethical theories that holds that the wikt:consequence, consequences of one's Action (philosophy), conduct are the ultimate basis for judgm ...
* Defence mechanism#Level 4: mature * Epistemic virtue *
Evolution of morality The concept of the evolution of morality refers to the emergence of human moral behavior over the course of human evolution Human evolution is the evolutionary process within the Primate evolution, history of primates that led to the emergence ...
* Foresight (psychology) *
Humanity (virtue) Humanity is a virtue Virtue ( la, virtus) is morality, moral excellence. A virtue is a trait or quality that is deemed to be morally good and thus is Value (ethics), valued as a foundation of principle and good moral being. In other words, it ...
*
Ideal (ethics) An ideal is a principle or Value (personal and cultural), value that one actively pursues as a goal, usually in the context of ethics, and one's prioritization of ideals can serve to indicate the extent of one's dedication to each. The belief in ...
* Intellectual virtues * List of virtues *
Moral character Moral character or character (derived from charaktêr) is an analysis of an individual's steady Morality, moral qualities. The concept of ''character'' can express a variety of attributes, including the presence or lack of virtues such as empat ...
*
Nonviolence Nonviolence is the personal practice of not causing harm to others under any condition. It may come from the belief that hurting people, animals and/or the environment is unnecessary to achieve an outcome and it may refer to a general philosoph ...
* Prussian virtues * Nine Noble Virtues (Asatru and Odinism) * Teachings of the Seven Grandfathers *
Value theory In ethics Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy that "involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of morality, right and wrong action (philosophy), behavior".''Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy'' The field of ...
* Virtue name *
Virtue signalling Virtue signalling is the expression of a moral A moral (from Latin ''morālis'') is a message that is conveyed or a lesson to be learned from a narrative, story or wikt:event, event. The moral may be left to the hearer, reader, or viewer to de ...


References


Further reading

* * * Newton, John, Ph.D. ''Complete Conduct Principles for the 21st Century'', 2000. . * James Hankins. 2019. ''Virtue Politics: Soulcraft and Statecraft in Renaissance Italy''. Harvard University Press. * Hein, David. "Christianity and Honor." ''The Living Church'', August 18, 2013, pp. 8–10. * *


External links

* The Wikiversity course on virtues
The Large Clickable List of Virtues at VirtueScience.com


* ttp://plato.stanford.edu/entries/epistemology-virtue/ Virtue Epistemology
Virtue, a Buddhist perspective


(quotations)

* [https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=w7kFcRH4wDsC&pg=PA83&lpg=PA83&dq=library+of+congress+gutherz&source=bl&ots=ngYhR0T_W8&sig=v9nxkrjpSRcXNyBF2fqC7XIia3E&hl=en&ei=rbIwSpXpGo6ZjAeWvcm5Bw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=5#PPA91,M1 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

Roman virtues - Roman Republic Cultural Group

"Virtue"
BBC Radio 4 discussion with Galen Strawson, Miranda Fricker and Roger Crisp (''In Our Time'', Feb. 28, 2002) {{Authority control Concepts in ethics Morality Personality traits Philosophy of Aristotle Pyrrhonism Virtue ethics