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What is your favorite virtue?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Gori the Grey, Nov 8, 2013.

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What is your favorite virtue?

  1. Prudence

    4 vote(s)
    9.1%
  2. Temperance

    3 vote(s)
    6.8%
  3. Fortitude

    4 vote(s)
    9.1%
  4. Justice

    10 vote(s)
    22.7%
  5. Faith

    1 vote(s)
    2.3%
  6. Hope

    3 vote(s)
    6.8%
  7. Charity

    8 vote(s)
    18.2%
  8. Other

    11 vote(s)
    25.0%
  1. Darkflight

    Darkflight Prince

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    All of them are good in moderation, like most of everything in the world.
     
  2. MagisterCultuum

    MagisterCultuum Great Sage

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    The traditional view is that the Cardinal Virtues of Prudence, Temperance, Fortitude, and Justice not only are only good in moderation, but cannot exist otherwise. They are considered golden means between opposing vices. Courage is a state between the vices of cowardice and recklessness.

    The theological Virtues of Faith, Hope, and Love/Charity are said not to require moderation, but to be greatest in the highest degree. However, the value of these virtues depends entirely on the character of their object. Having limitless faith in God was considered a virtue, because God is considered perfectly faithful. Having even a little faith in the devil would not be a virtue at all.
     
  3. Borachio

    Borachio Way past lunacy

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    What's the difference between kindness and compassion?
     
  4. Mechanicalsalvation

    Mechanicalsalvation -

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    Thats a good question. My take on this is that kidness is something happening relatively on the surface - its heart to heart feeling simple and pure but for compassion one needs deeper understanding or heighten sense of identification of some other reality to which one expresses compassion. You express compassion since you feel psychic oneness and love for something rather then using justice since you have faith it may be as efficient or perhapes even more.
     
  5. Mise

    Mise isle of lucy

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    My favourite is charity. The following is a train of thought that probably leads nowhere. I recommend changing at the next station for a faster train; it'll still get you nowhere, but at least it will get you there quickly.

    It seems the premise of most people's response is that you have to pick your favourite and then imagine that you have this favourite in abundance and none of the others. That seems like a silly premise. If that were the case, then my favourite food would be bread, my favourite drink would be water, and my favourite hobby would be breathing. Rather, my favourite food is the one I enjoy eating the most, my favourite drink is the one I enjoy drinking the most, and my favourite hobby is the one I enjoy doing the most. So my favourite virtue is the one that I enjoy the most, and that is clearly charity. I enjoy charity much more than I enjoy those other dull things like prudence and temperance.

    But perhaps that's a reductionist take on the question. Perhaps, by "what is your favourite?", the OP means something else. Afterall, it's a strange question to ask of virtues. You don't live virtuously because you enjoy them, you live virtuously because it is the right thing to do. So perhaps what the OP is asking is which virtue is the most virtuous? This seems like a difficult question to answer. How do we go about answering it? What does "virtuous" mean? Is "virtuous" even ordinal (things can be more virtuous than other things), or is it simply binary (i.e. a thing is either virtuous or it is not, and one can't order them)?

    On the face of it, all of those things are virtuous; that is the premise of the question. I can stop there, and say that all of them are virtuous, and asking which is more virtuous than the others is nonsensical, akin to asking which tree in a forest is the most tree-like.

    But that seems unsatisfactory. After all, we have a special word, "virtuous", which seems to imply that it is not binary, and that things can be "more virtuous" or "less virtuous" than other things. Indeed, we can prove this straightforwardly. Take charity. If I give £10 to charity, then this is less charitable than if I give £100 to charity. The more I give to charity, the more charitable I am, the more virtuous I am. I can be more or less prudent, or more or less faithful, or more or less just, and so on. So virtue can be judged ordinally.

    But that isn't enough to answer the question. Perhaps each virtue represents a different axes of virtue, independent from one another, and not comparable to one another. Perhaps, while you can order virtue along each axis, you can't order each axis with respect to the other axes. Metatron would interject at this point and say, "but they're not independent! You can derive the other axes from 1 single axis!" Well, I agree with Borachio here: I think Metatron is cherry-picking his definitions. I think you can couch each other virtue in terms of prudence. But I also think you can couch prudence in terms of all the others. I agree that prudence implies rationality, and I agree that those other things are all prudent. But I don't agree that prudence implies those other things. It might do, or it might not. A great many things are prudent, but not all of them are charitable, temperant, just, etc etc. A great many things are charitable, but not prudent. A great many things are just, but not charitable. And so on. I would argue that each axis is independent, because none of them logically imply the others.

    But even if our axes are independent, it doesn't mean that our "virtue function" weights each axis equally. It might be that the "coefficient of prudence" is greater than the "coefficient of justice" or the "coefficient of charity". Fine, I agree: some things might have a greater coefficient than others. But, to me, that isn't necessarily important. Let's say that justice, which is currently winning in the poll, has the highest coefficient in our virtue function. So we would say that justice is the most important virtue. Or would we? Imagine if the entire world was filled with people with an incredibly strong sense of justice, to the point where literally everybody has a high score on the justice axis of virtue. Would justice be important in such a world? Perhaps, in a world where there is plenty of justice, it is more important to exhibit the other virtues instead, even if they don't contribute so much to the virtue function?

    So what does the world need more of? What does this country need more of? What do I need more of? Prudence? Maybe. Justice? Perhaps. Charity? I think so. I think that the world needs more charitable people, people who are kinder and more thoughtful. And I think that we all, as individuals, could stand to be a little more charitable. I think we've spent a lot of time over the past 400 years or so putting in place institutions, structures, checks and balances to ensure that we live in a just, prudent society. And over the past 100 years or so, we've worked hard to make this country a more charitable place, in some ways compensating for our individual lack of charity. But whereas those structures for justice and prudence have been getting stronger and stronger, our welfare state is being rolled back every year, our taxes are becoming more regressive every year, our society is getting more unequal, not less. This is the crux, the point where justice, prudence and charity converge. And right now, justice and prudence are winning. It is prudent, they say, to cut spending on welfare and pay down the national debt. It is just, they say, to cut spending on welfare at a time when working families are being squeezed. It is just and prudent, they say, to be less charitable at times like these.

    But I say that at times like these, we need to be more charitable, not less. And if the government won't do it, then it's up to individuals to pick up the slack. The most important virtue, the virtue this world needs more of, is not prudence or justice. We seem to have that in spades. What we need is charity. We don't do nearly enough of that.
     
  6. Cheezy the Wiz

    Cheezy the Wiz Socialist In A Hurry

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    I believe that it is held as an ideal. One strives to be supremely prudent, but one always falls short. I would argue that perhaps prudence in the exercise of prudence is sometimes called for? :mischief:
     
  7. Gori the Grey

    Gori the Grey The Poster

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    Well, Mise, here is the "original poster":



    I have no idea what Justin means by "what's your favourite virtue?" I thought it was a silly question and said so in the "Is this sexist?" thread.

    Insofar as I am the "original poster" (of this thread), I meant only to mock the, to me, simple-minded notions that 1) people have favorite virtues and 2) that's how virtue works, that one picks a favorite. (Or, I guess, favourite, as you ritely spell it). I haven't been unhappy, though, to have people consider the question seriously. Is there one virtue from which the others fundamentally derive? Or is there a greatest virtue? What people have made of my question is more interesting than my initial flippancy.

    But you've come closest to answering in the spirit in which I thought I was asking the question when you report which one of them you most enjoy practicing. Also, the one you settle on has been labeled the greatest, by one authority, and perhaps for the reason that you say. It's the one that's in shortest supply, the one we most need more of.

    And maybe I've underestimated Justin. Maybe he has more curiosity-inducing ideas than I gave him credit for. Humility. Maybe that's one virtue this mocker could use more of.
     
  8. downtown

    downtown Crafternoon Delight

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    I'm not sure what's best or anything, but I am most drawn to people with high degrees of compassion and humility.
     
  9. timtofly

    timtofly One Day

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    One uses a smaller hammer?

    Both are useful, even if they are refused by the intended.
     
  10. strijder20

    strijder20 Wallowing in irony

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    Prudence is something I generally show, and which I guess others think I always show, but I actually enjoy jumping in things headfirst. However, as a virtue, I can't exactly say people are much of a better person by showing prudence. Surely, it makes things easier and avoids problems, but it is only faintly related to a more moral stance on 'what is the best virtue'.

    Temperance is strong in me. I'm rather hard to upset, and extremely hard to upset longterm. It doesn't really go the other way: positive events usually have a mid-long effect of happiness on me even when they're really not that important. I always have a certain degree of control over emotions, actions and definitely words. I'm not that good at analysing people so I actually don't really like temperate people as I have trouble reading their thoughts and emotions.

    Fortitude I keep calm in upsetting situations, but more because I only rarely experience fear than because I'm actually brave (facing your fears is heroism, having no fears is recklessness). I'm kind of a martyr type actually (feeling some kind of enjoyment from having to endure pain, as long as it improves something else/someone else's life), and do not bother when others are complaining in hard situations, so while I value fortitude, I do not value it that highly.

    Justice is important, but overrated. Sometimes you have to realise it's better to bear injustice than to make a hassle about it - injustice always hurts, but justice almost always comes at a price. Still, I tend to complain about injust situations when I encounter them.

    Faith is something from which it is easier to have too much than too little, whether we're talking about the religious or the social sense. It actually conflicts with prudence: blindly trusting your ideology/friends can lead you to blindly walk into a situation you don't want to be in.

    Hope while it is certainly nice to enjoy, I don't rate it high as a virtue.

    Charity gets the first price from me, but only because of the lack of competition in this list.
     
  11. JollyRoger

    JollyRoger Slippin' Jimmy Supporter

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    Seems that brevity isn't a virtue for some.
     
  12. Borachio

    Borachio Way past lunacy

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    Brevity is the soul of wit, I've heard.
     
  13. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Alien spiral maker

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    Always hated that english term ('wit'). A bit too close to another formed with a letter added before the stable three...

    Being laconic is being philosophical- Chilon of Spara
     
  14. Vylinius

    Vylinius College Student

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    Empathy.
     
  15. strijder20

    strijder20 Wallowing in irony

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    Seems that any kind of human compassion and abstinence from scorning the greatest writer in this thread who spent literally two hours to share you his all-important thoughts on the virtues mentioned by the original poster of this thread aren't virtues for others.

    You are the one to be scorned, as your lack of respect for high-standing literary works such as the fore-mentioned which you have shown nothing but contempt for is a part of the global descent into cultural oblivion and barbarism.

    The discussion of the virtues is a most philosophical and time-worthy debate; people who do not have the patience to read these long, elaborate but certainly stunning arguments like the one your most humble servant is writing now should be purged from this public forum thread.

    Furthermore, you seem to have utterly ignored the original post and annexed poll in this department of the Civfanatics Forums. Otherwise, you would not have stated that 'Brevity' is a virtue, but would have written it in the proper notation 'Other: Brevity', just as the poll options suggest to them who take the time to properly examine the opening of this thread.

    Finally, you should not assume things about me (because your allusion, although you apparently tried to be witty and hide it, was obviously about me) that I do not value brevity from my most succinct summary of my stance on the seven virtues - such a conclusion is obviously not well though over, considering I tried to make my previous post as short as possible. Still, some apparently are never content.

    I salute you, preacher of extravagant brevity.

    TL; DR:

    Seems that any kind of human compassion and abstinence from scorning the greatest writer in this thread who spent literally two hours to share you his all-important thoughts on the virtues mentioned by the original poster of this thread aren't virtues for others.

    You are the one to be scorned, as your lack of respect for high-standing literary works such as the fore-mentioned which you have shown nothing but contempt for is a part of the global descent into cultural oblivion and barbarism.

    The discussion of the virtues is a most philosophical and time-worthy debate; people who do not have the patience to read these long, elaborate but certainly stunning arguments like the one your most humble servant is writing now should be purged from this public forum thread.

    Furthermore, you seem to have utterly ignored the original post and annexed poll in this department of the Civfanatics Forums. Otherwise, you would not have stated that 'Brevity' is a virtue, but would have written it in the proper notation 'Other: Brevity', just as the poll options suggest to them who take the time to properly examine the opening of this thread.

    Finally, you should not assume things about me (because your allusion, although you apparently tried to be witty and hide it, was obviously about me) that I do not value brevity from my most succinct summary of my stance on the seven virtues - such a conclusion is obviously not well though over, considering I tried to make my previous post as short as possible. Still, some apparently are never content.

    I salute you, preacher of extravagant brevity.
     
  16. Borachio

    Borachio Way past lunacy

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    Kindness uses a smaller hammer than compassion? Or vice versa?

    And how does a kind person use a hammer? Tappity tap, tap, tap, perhaps?
     
  17. Tahuti

    Tahuti Writing Deity

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    I think forgiveness is a virtue that is underrated big-time. Since almost everyone almost certainly has once committed acts that do not seem to be justified in under any circumstance, forgiveness is an important virtue that has made life as we know it possible. This is especially important in ending wars: In war, both sides are almost certainly bound to commit war crimes under their flag, and it is pointless to seek retribution for every wrong that has begone, for the simple reason it invites for more bloodshed.
     
  18. strijder20

    strijder20 Wallowing in irony

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    Why can forgiveness in that case not be replaced by pure, cold rationality? You could also rationally derive that there is nothing to be gained by retribution and stop the war.
     
  19. Tahuti

    Tahuti Writing Deity

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    Except that it doesn't make explicitly clear that a wrong has begone and constitutes willful ignorance. You could say we should end a war because we have nothing to gain, but if that it is the reasoning, we deprive ourselves and our former enemies of the ability to acknowledge we have committed crimes and thus we are enticed to commit them again. That's why forgiveness is distinct from willful ignorance, forgetfullness and justification.
     
  20. JollyRoger

    JollyRoger Slippin' Jimmy Supporter

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    There is a brief saying about the word assume that is applicable here. Based on the target I hit, I should have aimed higher. I guess misery loves company.
     

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