Courage and Its Vices

Topics: Virtue, Vice, Courage Pages: 2 (405 words) Published: February 11, 2011
Courage and its vices
Aristotle says that there two kinds of virtue: intellectual and moral virtue. Intellectual virtues are learnt by instruction and moral virtues by habit and constant practice. Aristotle’s definition of virtue is: virtue is a mean state between excess and deficiency. Virtue is a disposition rather than an activity. He discusses about various types of virtues and its corresponding vices like courage: rashness and cowardice, liberality: prodigality and illiberality, magnificence: gaudiness and chintziness, etc. He says that we do take on the virtues by first being at work in them.

Courage is a mean condition between the excess of rashness and deficiency of cowardice. Aristotle explains that a rash person seems to be a braggart who makes pretense of courage and a rash person mimics courage in those situations in which he can. Whereas a coward is someone with faint hope, since such a person is afraid of everything. Rash people are usually brash cowards because though they make a show of boldness where they can, but they do not stand up to frightening things. Courage does not mean total fearlessness because there are certain things that we ought to fear for in life, like loss of reputation and according to Aristotle it would be a shameful thing not to fear it. He says that one does not need to fear anything that does not result from vice or not caused by oneself like poverty or disease. But to die as a way of running away from poverty or something painful is not courageous because running from painful things is cowardice.

Furthermore Aristotle defines courage in five ways. He says courage comes from citizenship, experience, ignorance etc. For instance citizens seem to endure dangers on account of the penalties that come from the laws. He also says that experience related to certain situations is also courage. Courageous people act on the account of the beautiful. So people who endure painful things are called courageous. Aristotle says that...
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