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Thread: It is virtuous if you're actually just inclined to that virtue?

  1. #31
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    I guess the word virtue is a little problematic, but mostly I don't believe what one's inclinations are has anything whatsoever to do with whether an act is ethical or not. I think it's 100% irrelevant. So no I don't relate to this discussion in discussing whether a person was ethical.

    But what about doing things that go against one's nature etc.? Look the word for that might be personal growth if that's indeed what it is in any given case (and not just a desire for self-punishment). And yes a growth oriented life may be admirable and deeply meaningful in it's own way, however I don't really think it's an *ethical* issue. Some definitions of ethics (mostly Aristotelian I guess) might disagree but so be it.

    Maybe being ethical is hard (sometimes too hard for most people to do - wasn't Viktor Frankl off on how the most moral inmates died in the concentration camps) and maybe it's not .... in any given situation, but that doesn't bear on whether it's ethical or not IMO.
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  2. #32
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    If you choose your life and actions according to the best values as you see and define them, you live with the consequences. Others may see them as virtues or vices.

    If you choose to live your life according to others' sense of values using Catherine's multiple options for virtues vs vices, are you being your unique self or someone's else's pawn which will change as the public will dictates?

    Using a classic example that has lasted for centuries, if a young girl is raped, she is tarnished goods, filled with sin and rejected and ejected by societies. The male that raped her has little negative thought about him. Today it is sex-texing images in our society. For the Rohingya, it is annihilation committed by police and soldiers with the support of government and monks. For the Greeks in their war with the Turks, it was destruction.

    Personal integrity or being true to one's highest sense of oneself is a value. How/when others perceive it, it might be a virtue or a vice. Which is it for you?

    Personally, I think you are confusing values (judged by the self) with virtues (judged by others).

    From my online dictionary:
    2 (values) principles or standards of behaviour; one's judgement of what is important in life: they internalize their parents' rules and values.

    Virtues noun
    1 [mass noun] behaviour showing high moral standards: paragons of virtue.
    [count noun] a quality considered morally good or desirable in a person: patience is a virtue.
    [count noun] a good or useful quality of a thing: Mike was extolling the virtues of the car | [mass noun] : there's no virtue in suffering in silence.
    [mass noun] archaic virginity or chastity, especially of a woman.
    2 (virtues) (in traditional Christian angelology) the seventh-highest order of the ninefold celestial hierarchy.
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

  3. #33
    Senior Member Ultralight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Williamsmith View Post
    I dont have an opinion either way. But I will admit that I mostly dont like anything that starts with a v. I would not want, He was a virtuous man. on my tombstone.
    There is one thing that starts with a "v" that I like very much, but it ain't got nothing to do with being virtuous!
    I came from a real tough neighborhood. I put my hand in some cement and felt another hand." -- Rodney Dangerfield

  4. #34
    Senior Member Ultralight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JaneV2.0 View Post
    I like the secular list; it seems to me to be a set of practical guidelines for living--without a lot of judgment.

    The idea that constant self-denial is someyhing to be desired seems very puritanical to me; I can almost see Cotton Mather looming in the background. That's what the word "virtue" says to me.
    "
    Self-denial can be a really, really good thing. For instance, the more I deny myself slices of pepperoni pizza the healthier I will be.

    Back in college, I denied myself to a certain degree when it came to promiscuity. Had a indulged as much as I wanted I would probably have gotten a bunch of STDs!
    I came from a real tough neighborhood. I put my hand in some cement and felt another hand." -- Rodney Dangerfield

  5. #35
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ultralight View Post
    There is one thing that starts with a "v" that I like very much, but it ain't got nothing to do with being virtuous!
    Snort!

  6. #36
    Senior Member Ultralight's Avatar
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    I have known, and still know, many men who I literally call "men of vice."

    These men live their lives for and around then vices. I have a colleague who is really cruising-for-a-bruisin' at work. He goes to these outdoor rock festivals and gets obliterated. This is his main hobby! So when he comes back to work he is totally scatter-brained. He is also a big smoker -- cigars, vapes, etc.

    Anyway, at work, during really important meetings he pulls out that little vape device and inhales it. It looks like a pen so most people don't notice. But I make an effort to be observant. So I see it. If he gets caught, he'll be fired.

    I know other guys who have let alcohol or drugs or gambling -- vices -- take over their lives.
    I came from a real tough neighborhood. I put my hand in some cement and felt another hand." -- Rodney Dangerfield

  7. #37
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    In this sad age of moral relativism and deconstructed ideals, it's understandable so many are uncomfortable with the concept of virtue. Mossback that I am, I define it as the pursuit of moral excellence even if it comes at a cost.

    It's the difference between the French Resistance and the Trump Resistance. It's the difference between Thomas More standing before King Henry and Robert Di Niro shouting obscenities before a crowd of expensively dressed twits.

  8. #38
    Senior Member JaneV2.0's Avatar
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    Isn't modesty considered a virtue?

    I would think boasting about one's own virtuousness would be oxymoronic. Or something.

    Some would call it "virtue signaling."

    I'm all for people embracing honesty, kindness, thrift, and all that. You can aspire to goodness without making a fetish of it.

  9. #39
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    yea being a generally good person, even sacrificing for your principles when appropriate fine. I just find whatever kind of virtue simple living could address being issues too large to really fit into any kind of individualist virtue framework. Global environmental issues .. uh. Yea. And I know we have had this discussion on here before.

    Unless it's purely some kind of inward "virtue" one is seeking like simple living to focus on human relationships instead, all well and good I suppose (but not an ethical issue because even if one say avoided human relationships, it isn't immoral).
    If you want something to get done, ask a busy person. If you want them to have a nervous breakdown that is.

  10. #40
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LDAHL View Post
    In this sad age of moral relativism and deconstructed ideals, it's understandable so many are uncomfortable with the concept of virtue. Mossback that I am, I define it as the pursuit of moral excellence even if it comes at a cost.

    It's the difference between the French Resistance and the Trump Resistance. It's the difference between Thomas More standing before King Henry and Robert Di Niro shouting obscenities before a crowd of expensively dressed twits.
    I agree with the part about virtue being the pursuit of moral excellence, but I don't think you have to be Thomas More. That's a high bar. IMHO, virtues are the simple guideposts by which we live our lives.

    Personally, I think you are confusing values (judged by the self) with virtues (judged by others).
    I don't agree at all. In fact I think the opposite. Like LDAHL, I also define virtue as moral excellence--to me virtues are the ingredients that make up your moral compass, and definitely are not external.

    I'm really surprised by the antipathy toward the idea of virtue--and I'm assuming it's just a semantic issue. I really don't think people object to the pursuit of qualities like kindness, fortitude, or prudence. Side note: Prudence was the very first word I learned the definition of. When I was about 8, my father asked me to define a word one day, and I said, "I know what it means, but I can't explain it." He said "If you can't explain it, you don't know what it means." So he took me to the dictionary and made me memorize "prudence"--"The ability to make sound judgements in practical matters." I've never forgotten it.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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