Four Cardinal Virtues, The. Additional Information. Four Cardinal Virtues, The: Human Agency, Intellectual Traditions, and Responsible Knowledge; Josef Pieper. Results 1 – 30 of 40 The Four Cardinal Virtues by Josef Pieper and a great selection of related books, art and collectibles available now at In The Four Cardinal Virtues, Josef Pieper delivers a stimulating quartet of essays on the four cardinal virtues. He demonstrates the unsound overvaluation of.

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Pieper encountered the clash of the Christian worldview with competing ideologies in the 20th caddinal, and saw what was truly at stake: It is the kind of book on virtue which I would wish to write myself. He often includes Latin phrases without translation, so that may be frustrating to some readers.

On the contrary, its aim is to clear a trail, to open a way. But am I not doing my duty whenever, in general terms, I fulfill a moral obligation?

That something belongs to a man inalienably means this: The phrase that comes to our minds in this connection is that of “energetic promptness,” and we are not inclined to feel it as blameworthy. Man can have no other standard and signpost than things as they are and the truth which makes manifest things as they are; and there can be no higher standard than the God who is and His truth. There can be an obligation, in the fullest sense of the term, invulnerable and inalienable, only if the bearer of this mum is of such a kind that he can claim what is due to him as his right.

Citation Styles for “The four cardinal virtues: Prudence, Justice, Fortitude, Temperance.”

In all, temperance in action is self-preservation, whereas intemperance in action is self-degradation and self-destruction. This peculiarity of justice, however, that it should first and foremost be realized in an external act arising, as it does, from my discharging my obligations whether I do so readily or not, whether I am in need or not, whether my creditor is rich or poor; Kant says: Here a person has a clear vision iosef the situation at hand, foresees the goal and consequences of an action, considers the special circumstances involved, and overcomes the temptation of injustice, cowardice, or intemperance.

How much wine should I drink without violating the virtue piepeg temperance? For how can human nature be the ultimate basis when it is not founded upon itself! It has, I hope, become clear by now that we are not con- cerned with some vague need for piepeg trimmings, or with mere edification, but rather with the sober reflective will not to shirk “embarrassing” conclusions and to carry the ques- tion through to its ultimate meaning, the question, namely: Prudence cardnal, that is, accords with reality.


Artifacts, technical and artistic, are the “works” of making.

We may venture to assert that expres- sions like “calumny,” “malign aspersion,” “backbiting,” “slan- der,” “talebearing” are now in their proper meanings scarcely intelligible to most people to say nothing of their essential flavor and expressiveness having long since grown stale and flat. Since this is so, there is virtuues larger significance in the fact that people today can respond to this assertion of the pre-eminence of prudence only with incomprehension and uneasiness.

It is the moment with which the possible bursts pieeper a roar into the radiant dawn of its first realization: Is not an act of fortitude or restraint of desire a “realization of the good,” too? All of these except purity appear to be sub-sets of temperance, and purity appears to be a fruit of temperance. The content of prudent decision is, rather, determined by the ipsa res, by reality, which is the “measure” of all cognition and decision.

The formal “mechanism” of that transformation of true knowledge into prudent decisions is cadrinal matter I have dealt with elsewhere.

The Four Cardinal Virtues Prudence Justice Fortitude Temperance

It is not by chance that in everyday talk the ideas of partiality and injus- tice come to almost the same thing. Is not the restraining of fear and desire, as in courage and temperance, likewise “doing good”? No one can be deputized to make them. In similar fashion, the free activity of man is good by its correspondence with the pattern of prudence. That is how strongly the inalienability of the right asserts itself! It holds within virtuez the humility of silent, that is to say, of unbiased perception; the trueness-to-being of memory; the art of receiving counsel; alert, composed readiness for the unex- pected.

In his time, jsef more so in ours, these four virtues have become empty concepts to us, overly familiar or misunderstood. Perhaps this will be my task in and pieepr the future. Nor does it stand in a superior manner above real things, like a general holding in- spection.

Find in a library : The four cardinal virtues: Prudence, Justice, Fortitude, Temperance.

Thomas raises the question as to whether or not fortitude is the highest of the cardinal virtues. Thomas is so emphatic on this point.

We ought to be prepared to find that the most powerful embodiment of evil in human history, the Antichrist, might well appear in the guise of a great ascetic. For we think of prudence as far more akin to the idea of mere utility, the bommi utile, than to the ideal of nobility, the bomcm honestum. Memoria memory here means more than the capacity fo recollection which we have, so to speak, by nature. Therefore, and for that very reason, something is due to man in the fullest sense, for that reason he does inalienably have a sicum, a “right” which he can plead against everyone else, a right which imposes upon every one of his partners the obligation at least not to violate it.


Above all, no private relations between individuals exist. Hoc non te moveat Don’t let this trou- ble you; if “act” means the same as “external act,” then it is related to the other person of itself, by the very fact that it is an external act. For whatever is good must first have been prudent.

He alone can do good who knows what things are like and what their situa- tion is. Of course, this does not imply that there are no external acts of fortitude, temperance, wantonness as well.

In his treatise of prudence, for example, Pieper explains the primacy of prudence in relation to the moral virtues and the ethics of man.

Only then did I understand, and for the first time, why in the Summa Theologica a question, “On Right,” issuing from the systematic order that preceded it, came be- fore the treatise on justice.

Pieper does provide an excellent foundation for how to think about virtue in an age of shifting and increasingly demanding moral standards that are often at odds with each other. It is well, therefore, to remember, as we consider the forego- ing and the following comments, that the word “conscience” is intimately related to and well-nigh interchangeable with the word “prudence.

He will often call lies and cowardice prudent, truthfulness and courageous sacrifice imprudent. In the receptive-perceptive attitude of deliberation and judgment is represented the cognitive charac- ter of prudence prudentia sectmdwn quod est cognoscitivawhile the last stage represents the imperative character secun- dum quod est praeceptiva.

On this point Cicero is cited in the Swnma Theological “Good men are so called chiefly from their justice,” “the luster of virtue appears above all in justice. Thus all the knowledge of casuists, and the knowledge of moral theology in general, by no means suffice to guarantee the goodness of a concrete action.

The profundity of this concept is expressed in the strange statement of Thomas Aquinas that in prudence, the commanding virtue of the “con- duct” of life, the happiness of active life is essentially com- prised.

Astonishing, as we have said, and of a profundity scarcely to be plumbed, is the statement of Thomas Aquinas that all these false prudences and superprudences arise from covetousness and are by nature akin to it.