Courageous activity and the virtue of courage.




Cleveland, William Scott.

Access rights

Worldwide access.
Access changed 1/27/17.

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Chapter one uses vignettes to illustrate a set of distinctions central to this work. I claim that the full exercise of the virtue of courage, what I call paradigmatic courageous activity, is exhibited only when a courageous action is performed with a courageous manner for an appropriate reason. Chapter two engages and criticizes rival accounts of courage that reduce the virtue of courage to good dispositions regarding some but not all of the excellences of courage identified above. For example, I discuss views on which paradigmatic courageous activity involves, on the one hand, overcoming one’s emotions by means of will-power and, on the other, emotionlessness. Chapter three employs an account of emotion to argue that a courageous manner of acting requires the contributions of the emotions of fear, hope, and daring. Fear is necessary for properly responding to a significant threat, hope is necessary for properly pursuing a significant but obstacle-laden goal, and daring is necessary for properly confronting the significant threat as a means to attaining the significant goal. Each emotion principally assists at a stage of courageous activity. An advantage of my view is that it can account for how courageous activity requires both fear, an emotion of suspect value to some, and fearless daring, a common view of courage, and how the transition from fear to fearless daring is both good and accomplished without suppressing fear by means of will-power. Chapter four lays the groundwork for defending the counterintuitive claim that courageous activity requires pleasure. This groundwork consists in a general account of pleasure, an account of courageous action, and a defense of my way of distinguishing naturally virtuous agents from continent agents on the basis of the distinction I made above between a reason for action and a manner of action. I further defend the difference between naturally virtuous and continent agents on the basis of their experiencing different kinds of pleasure in the choice of their actions. I apply these accounts to defend the surprising claim that courageous activity requires at least two kinds of pleasure: the pleasure of the naturally virtuous and the pleasure of the continent. Chapter five develops the claim of chapter four that courage requires two kinds of pleasure and evaluates other candidate pleasures that may be required for courageous activity. While I identify an additional pleasure that is characteristically present, I argue that no other pleasure is required.



Courage., Virtue., Virtue theory., Pleasure and virtue., Virtuous action., Virtue and continence., Natural virtue., Courageous action., Virtue and emotion., Emotions of courage., Courage and pleasure.