Is Prudence a Special Virtue?
Prudence is “right reason applied to action” (Purple Book, p. 99). More clearly, prudence is one’s ability to evaluate and act on a situation by the use of practical reason. There are three acts that define prudence: to take counsel, to judge, and to command. One takes counsel when he discovers the situation. One must then judge and evaluate the discovery using reason. Finally, a command or decision is made based on the counseled and judged. The display of prudence, or lack thereof, was made evident at the episode of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.
The Boston Marathon is an annual marathon hosted by numerous cities in Boston, Massachusetts, and attracts more than 500,000 spectators. The marathon is the world’s oldest marathon dating back to 1897. In the 2013 Boston Marathon, two bombs struck near the finish line turning a celebration into devastation. The blasts were about 50-100 yards apart, and sparked disorder in Copley Square. The bombing occurred at 2:45 pm, almost two hours after the first of the races 27,000 runners crossed the finish line. There were three casualties as a result of the bombing; one was reported to be an 8-year-old boy. Hospitals reported at least 144 people were treated, with at least 17 in critical condition and 25 in serious condition, and at least 10 people had limbs amputated (Levs, CNN article). Officials also found multiple unexploded devices near the site. The bombing was declared a “terrorist attack” and left the nation in sorrow. United States President Barack Obama made the statement, “Any responsible individuals, any responsible groups, will feel the full weight of justice.”
The chief act of prudence is in the command. If it were in judgment rather than command, he who sins voluntarily against his craft are reputed a better craftsman than he who does so involuntarily. The bombing in Boston was done so voluntarily, and if it were the case that judgment was the chief act of prudence, then no...
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