Courage is the ability to confront fear in the face of pain, danger, uncertainty or intimidation. As a virtue, courage is covered extensively in Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, its vice of deficiency being cowardice, and its vice of excess being recklessness.
The precise view of what constitutes courage not only varies among cultures, but among individuals. For instance, some define courage as lacking fear in a situation that would normally generate it. Others, in contrast, hold that courage requires one to have fear and then overcome it.
There are also more subtle distinctions in the definition of courage. For example, some distinguish between courage and foolhardiness in that a courageous person overcomes a justifiable fear for an even more noble purpose. If the fear is not justifiable or the purpose not noble, then the courage is either false, or foolhardy.
The philosopher Michael E. Berumen states that courage is a personality trait, and, considered alone, it is not a moral virtue, for courage can be used in the service of either moral or immoral ends. Berumen says that simply knowing what ought to be done is insufficient from a moral standpoint, for one must actually put what is right into action, and, when the circumstances one faces are difficult (e.g., unpopular or dangerous), courage can make all the difference.
See also Virtue, Bushido, Chivalry.
Courage is also the brand name of a British brewery company
Courage may also refer to the animated cartoon character, Courage the Cowardly Dog
Last updated: 02-08-2005 11:44:59
Last updated: 04-25-2005 03:06:01