virtue [Lat.,=manliness], in philosophy, quality of good in human conduct. The cardinal virtues, as presented by Plato, were wisdom (or prudence), courage, temperance, and justice. They are to be interpreted as descriptive of conduct rather than innate qualities and are achieved through proper training and discipline. They have been called natural virtues, as contrasted with the Christian theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity. As early as the 14th cent. the Christian virtues were combined with the Platonic virtues and called the seven cardinal virtues, figuring largely, with the opposing seven deadly sins, in such medieval literature as Dante's Divine Comedy. Some contemporary philosophers, such as Alasdair MacIntyre, have argued that traditional notions of virtue provide the best framework for reflection in ethics.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Virtue: Selected full-text books and articles

The Definition of Moral Virtue
Yves R. Simon; Vukan Kuic.
Fordham University Press, 1986
The Theory and Practice of Virtue
Gilbert C. Meilaender.
University of Notre Dame Press, 1984
How Should One Live? Essays on the Virtues
Roger Crisp.
Oxford University Press, 1998
Virtue Ethics
Roger Crisp; Michael Slote.
Oxford University Press, 1997
The Rehabilitation of Virtue: Foundations of Moral Education
Robert T. Sandin.
Praeger, 1992
Uneasy Virtue
Julia Driver.
Cambridge University Press, 2001
Plato's Craft of Justice
Richard D. Parry.
State University of New York Press, 1996
The Fabric of Character: Aristotle's Theory of Virtue
Nancy Sherman.
Clarendon Press, 1989
Edmund Burke and the Discourse of Virtue
Stephen H. Browne.
University of Alabama Press, 1993
Does Kantian Virtue Amount to More Than Continence?
Baxley, Anne Margaret.
The Review of Metaphysics, Vol. 56, No. 3, March 2003
The Moral Virtues and Theological Ethics
Romanus Cessario.
University of Notre Dame Press, 1991
Civic Virtues: Rights, Citizenship, and Republican Liberalism
Richard Johnson Dagger.
Oxford University Press, 1997
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