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cardinal virtues

Subject Philosophy

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405106795.2004.x


E thics [from Latin cardo , hinge] Cardinal virtues are presented as the highest ideals or forms of conduct for human life. Plato in his Republic listed four cardinal virtues: temperance , courage , wisdom , and justice . This doctrine is associated with his theory of the tripartite soul. Temperance is the virtue of appetite, courage is the virtue of emotion, and wisdom is the virtue of reason. If each of the three parts of soul realizes its respective virtue, the whole soul has the virtue of justice. In medieval philosophy, Thomas Aquinas called these virtues natural or human virtues and added three other theological virtues: faith , hope, and love . Together they form seven cardinal virtues. In modern time, philosophers such as Schopenhauer claimed that there are only two cardinal virtues: benevolence and justice. This diversity raises questions concerning why different cardinal virtues have been recognized in different times and circumstances and concerning the kinds of justification that are appropriate in distinguishing cardinal virtues from other virtues. “By a set of cardinal virtues is meant a set of virtues such that (1) they cannot be derived from one another and (2) all other moral virtues can be derived from or shown to be forms of them.” Frankena, Ethics ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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