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  • Cited by 11
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    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Cleveland, W. Scott 2015. The Emotions of Courageous Activity. Res Philosophica, Vol. 92, Issue. 4, p. 855.

    Schilpzand, Pauline Hekman, David R. and Mitchell, Terence R. 2015. An Inductively Generated Typology and Process Model of Workplace Courage. Organization Science, Vol. 26, Issue. 1, p. 52.

    Perez, Oren 2014. Courage, regulatory responsibility, and the challenge of higher-order reflexivity. Regulation & Governance, Vol. 8, Issue. 2, p. 203.

    Pianalto, Matthew 2012. Moral Courage and Facing Others. International Journal of Philosophical Studies, Vol. 20, Issue. 2, p. 165.

    Sekerka, Leslie E. and Stimel, Derek 2012. Environmental sustainability decision-making: clearing a path to change. Journal of Public Affairs, Vol. 12, Issue. 3, p. 195.

    Dhir, Krishna 2007. Encyclopedia of Public Administration and Public Policy, Second Edition (Print Version).

    Sekerka, Leslie E. and Bagozzi, Richard P. 2007. Moral courage in the workplace: moving to and from the desire and decision to act. Business Ethics: A European Review, Vol. 16, Issue. 2, p. 132.

    White, Patricia 1999. Political Education in the Early Years: The place of civic virtues. Oxford Review of Education, Vol. 25, Issue. 1-2, p. 59.

    Corlett, John 1996. The Role of Sport Pedagogy in the Preservation of Creativity, Exploration of Human Limits, and Traditional Virtue. Quest, Vol. 48, Issue. 4, p. 442.

    Corlett, John 1996. Virtue Lost: Courage in Sport. Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, Vol. 23, Issue. 1, p. 45.

    Corlett, John 1996. More Thoughts About Sport Pedagogy. Quest, Vol. 48, Issue. 4, p. 457.


The Two Faces of Courage

  • Amélie Oksenberg Rorty (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 January 2009

Courage is dangerous. If it is defined in traditional ways, as a set of dispositions to overcome fear, to oppose obstacles, to perform difficult or dangerous actions, its claim to be a virtue is questionable. Unlike the virtue of justice, or a sense of proportion, traditional courage does not itself determine what is to be done, let alone assure that it is worth doing. If we retain the traditional conception of courage and its military connotations–overcoming and combat–we should be suspicious of it. Instead of automatically classifying it as a virtue, attempting to develop and exercise it, we should become alert to its dangers. And yet and yet. There is an aspect of traditional courage that serves us: we require the capacities and traits that enable us to persist in acting well under stress, to endure hardships when following our judgments about what is best is difficult or dangerous. If courage is checked, redefined as the virtue that enables virtue–the various sets of dispositions, whatever they may be, that make us resolute in worthy, difficult action–then we need not fear the dangers of courage. We need rather to reform it by diversifying it, as a heterogeneous variety of traits that enable us to act well under stress, against the natural movements of self-protection.

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  • ISSN: 0031-8191
  • EISSN: 1469-817X
  • URL: /core/journals/philosophy
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