Virtue, Morality, Ethics, Knowledge, Belief

April 23, 2013


Virtue (Latin: virtus, Ancient Greek: ἀρετή “arete“) is moral excellence. A virtue is a positive trait or quality deemed to be morally goodand thus is valued as a foundation of principle and good moral being. Personal virtues are characteristics valued as promoting collective and individual greatness. The opposite of virtue is vice.

Morality (from the Latin moralitas “manner, character, proper behavior”) is the differentiation of intentions, decisions, and actions between those that are “good” (or right) and those that are “bad” (or wrong). The philosophy of morality is ethics. A moral code is a system of morality (according to a particular philosophyreligionculture, etc.) and a moral is any one practice or teaching within a moral code.

Ethics, also known as moral philosophy, is a branch of philosophy that involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong conduct. The term comes from the Greek word ethos, which means “character”.

Knowledge is a familiarity with someone or something, which can include factsinformationdescriptions, or skills acquired through experienceor education. It can refer to the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject. It can be implicit (as with practical skill or expertise) or explicit (as with the theoretical understanding of a subject); it can be more or less formal or systematic. In philosophy, the study of knowledge is calledepistemology; the philosopher Plato famously defined knowledge as “justified true belief.” However, no single agreed upon definition of knowledge exists, though there are numerous theories to explain it. The following quote from Bertrand Russell’s “Theory of Knowledge” illustrates the difficulty in defining knowledge: “The question how knowledge should be defined is perhaps the most important and difficult of the three with which we shall deal. This may seem surprising: at first sight it might be thought that knowledge might be defined as belief which is in agreement with the facts. The trouble is that no one knows what a belief is, no one knows what a fact is, and no one knows what sort of agreement between them would make a belief true. Let us begin with belief.”

Belief is the psychological state in which an individual holds a proposition or premise to be trueDispositional and occurrent belief concerns the contextual activation of the belief into thoughts (reactive of propositions) or ideas (based on the belief’s premise).

Philosopher’s Chart

January 7, 2013

Philosopher's Chart

Chart courtesy Dr. Lee Honeycutt