Courage as a Struggle Against Fear
Q&A Radio: 23 November 2014, Question 2
I answered a question on courage as a struggle against fear on 23 November 2014. You can listen to or download the podcast of just this question below – or check out the whole episode of Philosophy in Action Radio.
Does the virtue of courage require struggling against the temptation to succumb to fear? In your 16 September 2012 show, you argued that "it is far better for a person to cultivate a virtuous moral character so that right actions are easy for him, rather than constantly struggling against temptation." How does this apply to the virtue of courage? The common understanding of courage is that it requires acting rightly in spite of fear. So the courageous person struggles to do the right thing in face of the temptation to retreat in fear. Is this a correct formulation? If so, wouldn't that mean that a courageous person must constantly struggle against fear, not overcome it? If this view of courage is wrong, how would you define the virtue and its relation to fear?
My Answer, In Brief: The virtue of courage is not about struggling against fear, but rather about overcoming fear to act in your own best interests. By doing that, you gain the requisite skills and confidence to move on to new (and often harder) challenges.
- Duration: 17:08
- Download: MP3 Segment (5.9 MB)
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- Philosophy in Action: Judging People Struggling with Temptations
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About Philosophy in Action
I'm Dr. Diana Brickell. I'm a philosopher specializing in the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. I received my Ph.D in philosophy from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2009. My book, Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame, is available for purchase in paperback and Kindle. The book defends the justice of moral praise and blame of persons using an Aristotelian theory of moral responsibility, thereby refuting Thomas Nagel's "problem of moral luck."
My radio show, Philosophy in Action Radio, broadcasts live over the internet on most Sunday mornings and some Thursday evenings. On Sunday mornings, I answer questions applying rational principles to the challenges of real life in a live hour-long show. Greg Perkins of Objectivist Answers co-hosts the show. On Thursday evenings, I interview an expert guest or discuss a topic of interest.
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