Reply Tue 24 Feb, 2009 10:42 pm
When a soldier charges bold-facedly towards the enemy, knowing that pain and death await him should he falter, we salute him for his "courage". When a special needs child refuses to let his "restrictions" keep him from attempting to lead a regular life, we call him "courageous." When Mrs. Dubose spent weeks bed-ridden and suffering from a morphine addiction, her only solace being the torture she inflicted on two children, Atticus told those children Mrs. Dubose had that special quality we call "courage".

For an assignment in my english class, we were asked to point out specific situations within a story (the one alluded to above) in which characters displayed courage, and to explain why their actions were courageous. Initially I believed this assignment would be exceedingly easy. However, when I sat down to do this assignment I found that I could not complete it because I could neither think of a definition of courage that'd been taught to me, or think of one that adequately suited my idea of what courage should be.

At first I considered the soldier charging towards the enemy. He is (quite arguably) courageous, and brave. But are the two synonymous? Bravery is acting even though you recognize that a significant, even overwhelming possibility of danger is present. Yet, you may judge the risk worth it. However, we only call the soldier courageous because we believe that he acts selflessly. Is courage, then, selfless bravery?

No. We call the boy in the wheelchair courageous as well, and his courage benefits himself. If, then, courage appears to be bravery, yet is not restriced to noble, selfless purposes, what is courage? How do we define it, and what actions truly are courageous (feel free to suggest the aforementioned ones are, indeed, not)?
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Theaetetus
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 Feb, 2009 10:54 pm
@Desiderus,
They are both courageous because the definition of courageous is the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain. The soldier faces danger and potential pain, and the boy in a wheelchair faces difficulty, and probably potential mental anguish caused by peers. Any action done in the face of difficulty, danger, and pain is done with courage.
0 Replies
 
Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 Feb, 2009 11:00 pm
@Desiderus,
To be courageous usually means that one tries to surmount something daunting, and something that has some risk. There is a moral undertone too, the act is one generally considered good.
0 Replies
 
Dewey phil
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Mar, 2009 12:22 am
@Desiderus,
Desiderus wrote:
How do we define it (courage), and what actions truly are courageous ....?



I don't think anyone can give you a better answer than Aristotle. He says courage is an ethical virtue. He defines ethical virtue as a condition intermediate between excess and deficiency. The courageous person judges that some dangers are worth facing and others not. He lies between the rash person who has little or no fear and the coward who flees every danger.

Now you have a good rule. But don't think it will be easy to pick out the truly courageous soldier. I soldiered for five years. had to face some danger, and to this day haven't the slightest idea as to whether I was rash or cowardly.
0 Replies
 
Caroline
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Mar, 2009 12:50 am
@Desiderus,
ahh i expect it was brave just signing up in the first place
0 Replies
 
nameless
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Mar, 2009 01:01 pm
@Desiderus,
The notion of 'courage' is another ego wank for people who believe in (the ego wank of) 'free-will' and 'choice'.
Theaetetus
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Mar, 2009 01:32 pm
@Desiderus,
Courage is a virtue as Aristotle noted 2500 years ago. I think your stance of courage as an ego wank, is your own version of an ego wank. I continually find it odd that you hold others to different standards than yourself nameless.
0 Replies
 
Caroline
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Mar, 2009 05:28 pm
@nameless,
nameless wrote:
The notion of 'courage' is another ego wank for people who believe in (the ego wank of) 'free-will' and 'choice'.

How would you describe a soldier facing certain violent death when facing the enemy on battle line?............................as an ego wank?
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Mar, 2009 07:49 pm
@Desiderus,
In Boswells life is a story of Richard the Lion Hearted coming across the grave of a man of whom it was said, that he had never known fear... Richard suggested that he must never have snuffed out a candle with his fingers....

If you know it will hurt, you feel fear... If you act to do right, as a moral choice, against the feeling of fear, then you have courage... Courage was easier for those who accepted the power of fate in their lives...As the Muslims accept both fate, Kismet, and salvation, facing death will always be easier...It can never be easy... Doubt attends all things human... But even the doubtful must admit that no one yet has lived forever, and in joint activity cowardice endangers all..So to stand fast is not just a point of courage, but also, of honor, as is all moral activity...I have faced death many times... Does that make me courageous??? My thought is that maybe I have used up my courage, and next time I might go yardbird and run away... Let's wait and see...Judging from the Muslims, one should fear God and not fear death...I fear rather to do wrong than specifically fearing God...If I live, fine...If I die, fine; but life would be immeasurably harder for me if I could not conceive of myself as honorable....Just like Huck Finn having the courage to face hell if it meant helping his Jim; so we must sometimes face death, as something near, and entirely likely, instead of remote and unlikely... Then, as that rich guy on the Titanic said to his wealthy friends: Gentlemen; let us die like men... It is possible that he redeemed himself at that moment, if the story is true...Quite possibly, life demands much more constant courage than death, which only demands courage once... Some people are terrified to cross a street, or leave their rooms... I worked with a man once who was clearly terrified...To cross the smallest stretch of joist, even to the safety of a ladder was sometimes beyond him... I could calm his fears with a touch, simply by reaching out my hand so he could use it as a rail... I told him, if it scared me I would not do it... My boss was paying me to get a job done, and if I had to be afraid to do it the pay would not have been enough...His doing that job clearly took more courage than it took me...The danger was the same for us both of us... But the task almost entirely dismissed the danger from my mind... I was afraid of losing my job, or making some gross or expensive mistake... And I have faced some hairy situations... When it is time to die; what are you going to do??? No one can truly conceive of death... The dishonor of cowardice is easily conceived of...I worked with some brave men, and I trust I held my own...
0 Replies
 
nameless
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Mar, 2009 03:23 am
@Caroline,
Caroline;55448 wrote:
How would you describe a soldier facing certain violent death when facing the enemy on battle line?............................as an ego wank?

No, as someone doing their job.
(Isn't that the new definition of 'hero'?)
And in such a situation, one does not philosophise about 'courage', one acts true to one's nature! If alive later, one can then, at one's leisure, so philosophise.
It's all in the eye of the beholder...

In my view, there are no such things as 'free-will' or 'choice', and so, the 'romantic' notions of courage and cowardice are meaningless. There is no blame, no taking credit...
Caroline
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Mar, 2009 04:58 am
@nameless,
nameless wrote:
No, as someone doing their job.
(Isn't that the new definition of 'hero'?)
And in such a situation, one does not philosophise about 'courage', one acts true to one's nature! If alive later, one can then, at one's leisure, so philosophise.
It's all in the eye of the beholder...

In my view, there are no such things as 'free-will' or 'choice', and so, the 'romantic' notions of courage and cowardice are meaningless. There is no blame, no taking credit...

I dont know about that, when someone has died in war when it's read out on the news the newesreader always says 'he died a hero' for example, not as someone as 'he was just doing his job' i've never heard them say that.
0 Replies
 
xris
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Mar, 2009 05:05 am
@nameless,
nameless wrote:
No, as someone doing their job.
(Isn't that the new definition of 'hero'?)
And in such a situation, one does not philosophise about 'courage', one acts true to one's nature! If alive later, one can then, at one's leisure, so philosophise.
It's all in the eye of the beholder...

In my view, there are no such things as 'free-will' or 'choice', and so, the 'romantic' notions of courage and cowardice are meaningless. There is no blame, no taking credit...
How can you refuse to accept the human condition? It could be argued on every account of human behaviour that it is not worthy of debate because we are robots performing our function.If you believe we have no say in our decisions ,i say your wrong because you are programmed to be wrong, so i am right.
nameless
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Mar, 2009 06:06 am
@xris,
xris;55499 wrote:
How can you refuse to accept the human condition?

And what 'condition' is that to which you refer??

Quote:
It could be argued on every account of human behaviour that it is not worthy of debate because we are robots performing our function.

Perhaps if you could restate? This sentence makes no sense to me. Are you saying that debate is trivial if we don't have any 'free-will/choices'? That makes no sense...

Quote:
If you believe we have no say in our decisions ,

No, I do not 'believe' it, that is what the evidence indicates, and the probabilities are extremely high that the notion of 'free-will/choice' is a vain egoic fantasy.

Quote:
i say your wrong because you are programmed to be wrong, so i am right.

Nothing is ever 'wrong' except in your mind, another feature of the 'vain fantasy'...
(Odd how even a ridiculous statement as yours above can, at times, find a meaningful and relevent reply.)
xris
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Mar, 2009 06:42 am
@nameless,
Its a matter of the human condition to be either a coward or a hero, you have reduced it to nothing more than reflex reaction brought about by the programme of life.If you maintain that we have no free will you have to prove that to my satisfaction, not yours .I say again if you debase every debate by making this claim then what is the point ever debating the human condition.We should only ever debate "have we free will". Funny how rhetoric questions such as yours can be replied to so succinctly.
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Mar, 2009 10:07 am
@Desiderus,
Living lives of quiet desparation, ya, a job....And heroic since no one ever learns to work until the heve wife and children depending upon them, and then they keep their heads down, and don't say **** if they have a mouth full... People should retire first and then work till they die because once they have you they have you, chained to a rock watching the vultures circle...
0 Replies
 
Theaetetus
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Mar, 2009 09:49 pm
@Desiderus,
nameless wrote:
In my view, there are no such things as 'free-will' or 'choice', and so, the 'romantic' notions of courage and cowardice are meaningless. There is no blame, no taking credit...


Good thing that most people do not share your view. Discussion of virtue would be nearly impossible in you views. It is not about blame or taking credit, it is about assigning value to action for discussion.
0 Replies
 
nameless
 
  1  
Reply Sun 29 Mar, 2009 04:06 am
@xris,
xris;55503 wrote:
Its a matter of the human condition to be either a coward or a hero,

No it isn't, if you are implying some broad-brush stroke over all humans, over every moment of their lives, declaring them either 'cowards' or 'heroes'. Whatever you might consider the appropriate behavior of either, it is certainly limited to a relatively few moments of 'their' lives. At any one particular moment, the incidences of either 'cowardice' or 'heroism' among the human population would be rather negligible, statistically.
The phrase "the human condition" is quite poetic and sentimental and all, but doesn't seem too meaningful philosophically, especially as related to this topic.

Quote:
you have reduced it to nothing more than reflex reaction brought about by the programme of life.

I don't mean to deflate your illusions, I'm offering 'this' Perspective for what it's worth to whomever. If it threatens your religion, dude, just ignore me. The validity of what I offer doesn't depend on your acceptance or approval or even your notice. Fertile ground is found where it is, when it is. The 'cementation/ossification' formed in our minds by 'beliefs' do not enhance the ability of any new thoughts and understandings to bloom and grow...

Quote:
If you maintain that we have no free will you have to prove that to my satisfaction, not yours

Hardly...
Worship whatever 'god' that you must (even if it's yourself!)! I'm not here to convince, I'm here to offer food for thought and to 'jump-start' some thought, perhaps. I can offer evidence in support of what I say, it is up to you to ignore and reject it. I can show logically a dozen different ways how the notion of 'free-will/choice' is not possible other than as a vain egoic belief; a religion. (It is the original sin fer crissakes! Of course the believers will justify and defend their error?sin?beliefs to the utmost.)
Every advance in neuroscience (any relevent science!) rejects the notion of 'free-will/choice'.
I well understand the futility of attempting to 'discuss', logically, with a 'believer', the subject of his 'belief'. Even if I desired you to agree or accept what i say (which I do not), true 'believers' are impervious to logic. The evidence will never be sufficient. Never. As long as the 'belief' serves the deep needs of the psyche (that it does), people kill and die and commit all sorts of atrocities to maintain (and spread) their beliefs.

Quote:
.I say again if you debase every debate by making this claim

First, it appears that you would be better served in ignoring those posts of mine that upset you so. I am not singling you out to attack your beliefs (even though it might feel that I am).
If your '(non)debate' (how could it be a debate when you limit Perspective to those with which you feel comfortable and deny/ignore any valid criticisms) is based on error and fallacy, and I should point that out while being able to logically and rationally and experimentally support that Perspective, to call that "debasing the debate" is tantamount to admitting that 'Truth/Reality' has no appeal or meaning to you relative to whatever 'feel good' fantasy you are stroking to. Which is not, need I remind you, the 'goals' of philosophy or science or logic...

Quote:
then what is the point ever debating the human condition.

First you would have to define and demonstrate such a claimed "human condition".
A truly 'human condition' that cannot be successfully refuted might be, for instance, being born in some fashion and dying in some fashion. That is the "human condition". With what would you debate? I think the first 'debate' is if there are common conditions to all humans and what they might be. You offer 'courage' and I refute it. We move on. There are those common conditions, such as described, that do not depend on the fantastically vain notions of 'free-will/choice', which is very refutable. The fantasy is at the bottom of a plethora of errors and fallacies and paradoxes (from a scientific and logical Perspective).

Quote:
We should only ever debate "have we free will".

Whatever the discussion, if we desire 'truth/reality' a reasonable path would be to weed out the false, not attach to it for it's emotional comfort, and let the chips fall where they may. Seeking and living truth is not a painless process. Dues must be paid along the way. We have to relinquish our illusions. Always a painful task. From your Perspective, it would take a brave person to tread such a path, to be willing to discard anything and everything for (the goal of) 'truth/reality'.
There is no stroking yourself into heaven!

Quote:
Funny how rhetoric questions such as yours can be replied to so succinctly.

If I ask a rhetorical question, I will make it clear that is what I'm doing.
xris
 
  1  
Reply Sun 29 Mar, 2009 05:05 am
@nameless,
Your debating is rhetoric it cries out this is a FACT for me or us to observe, you pile fact upon fact or your facts to give credence to your opinions.I have no religion! faith or knowledge driven, i have opinions that i hope are not dogmatic. I dont enter into one debate assuming all other debates have been won.The Human condition requires at times for us to be either a brave hero or shrink away and be a coward. I dont judge the action only observe it.I say again if you want to drag any debate back to the free will question then i suggest you prove that before you use it as a tool to debate every other human condition.
nameless
 
  1  
Reply Sun 29 Mar, 2009 05:10 am
@xris,
xris;55580 wrote:
Your debating is ... human condition.

You are correct.
You seem not to know the difference between 'evidence' and 'facts', and I, obviously, am wasting my time in logical explanation, considering your 'beliefs'...
Happy trails, cowboy...
xris
 
  1  
Reply Sun 29 Mar, 2009 05:24 am
@nameless,
nameless wrote:
You are correct.
You seem not to know the difference between 'evidence' and 'facts', and I, obviously, am wasting my time in logical explanation, considering your 'beliefs'...
Happy trails, cowboy...
I think its you that has a problem not understanding that evidence is a fact proving or not proving another proposed fact..As i have not got a horse i think your assumption im a cowboy is just as ill considered as your other views..
 

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