virtue


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virtue

[Lat.,=manliness], in philosophy, quality of good in human conduct. The cardinal virtues, as presented by Plato, were wisdom (or prudence), courage, temperance, and justice. They are to be interpreted as descriptive of conduct rather than innate qualities and are achieved through proper training and discipline. They have been called natural virtues, as contrasted with the Christian theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity. As early as the 14th cent. the Christian virtues were combined with the Platonic virtues and called the seven cardinal virtues, figuring largely, with the opposing seven deadly sins, in such medieval literature as Dante's Divine Comedy. Some contemporary philosophers, such as Alasdair MacIntyreMacIntyre, Alasdair C.
, 1929–, American philosopher. He teaches at the Univ. of Notre Dame in Indiana. His major contributions have come in ethics. In his highly influential book After Virtue
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, have argued that traditional notions of virtue provide the best framework for reflection in ethics.
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virtue

any of the cardinal virtues (prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance) or theological virtues (faith, hope, and charity)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in classic literature ?
Virtue is knowledge, and therefore virtue can be taught.
To the doctrine that virtue is knowledge, Plato has been constantly tending in the previous Dialogues.
He would not have preferred the poet or man of action to the philosopher, or the virtue of custom to the virtue based upon ideas.
Characteristic also of the temper of the Socratic enquiry is, (4) the proposal to discuss the teachableness of virtue under an hypothesis, after the manner of the mathematicians; and (5) the repetition of the favourite doctrine which occurs so frequently in the earlier and more Socratic Dialogues, and gives a colour to all of them--that mankind only desire evil through ignorance; (6) the experiment of eliciting from the slave-boy the mathematical truth which is latent in him, and (7) the remark that he is all the better for knowing his ignorance.
However that may be, it is an incontrovertible fact that the things which in virtue of these qualities are said to be what they are vary in the degree in which they possess them; for one man is said to be better versed in grammar, or more healthy or just, than another, and so on.
The things, also, which are said to be such and such in virtue of these qualities, may be contrary the one to the other; for that which is unjust is contrary to that which is just, that which is white to that which is black.
For instance, the name given to the runner or boxer, who is so called in virtue of an inborn capacity, is not derived from that of any quality; for lob those capacities have no name assigned to them.
I mean such conditions as insanity, irascibility, and so on: for people are said to be mad or irascible in virtue of these.
Half an hour later, the Rhetor returned to inform the seeker of the seven virtues, corresponding to the seven steps of Solomon's temple, which every Freemason should cultivate in himself.
And even if one have all the virtues, there is still one thing needful: to send the virtues themselves to sleep at the right time.
It disliketh to be summoned--sleep, the lord of the virtues!
Thus pondering, and cradled by forty thoughts, it overtaketh me all at once--sleep, the unsummoned, the lord of the virtues.