fortitude n : strength of mind that enables one to endure adversity with courage
EtymologyFrom < fortitudo < fortis.
- a RP /ˈfɔːtɪtjuːd/
Courage, also known as bravery, will and fortitude, is the ability to confront fear, pain, risk/danger, uncertainty, or intimidation. "Physical courage" is courage in the face of physical pain, hardship, or threat of death, while "moral courage" is the courage to act rightly in the face of popular opposition, shame, scandal, or discouragement.
Discussion in religionsThe Tao Te Ching states that courage is derived from love ("慈 loving 故 causes 能 ability 勇 brave") and explains: "One of courage, with audacity, will kill. One of courage, but gentle,, spares life. From these two kinds of courage arise harm and benefit."
In Roman Catholicism, courage is one of the four cardinal virtues, along with prudence, justice, and temperance. ("Cardinal" in this sense means "pivotal"; it is one of the four cardinal virtues because to possess any virtue, a person must be able to sustain it in the face of difficulty.) In both Catholicism and Anglicanism, courage is also one of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Discussion in philosophyAs a virtue, courage is discussed extensively in Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, where its vice of deficiency is cowardice and its vice of excess is recklessness.
Søren Kierkegaard opposed courage to angst, while Paul Tillich opposed an existential courage to be to non-being, fundamentally equating it with religion:
- "Courage is the self-affirmation of being in spite of the fact of non-being. It is the act of the individual self in taking the anxiety of non-being upon itself by affirming itself ... in the anxiety of guilt and condemnation. ... every courage to be has openly or covertly a religious root. For religion is the state of being grasped by the power of being itself."
Discussion in literatureJ.R.R. Tolkien identified in his 1936 lecture "Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics" a "Northern 'theory of courage'"—the heroic or "virtuous pagan" insistence to do the right thing even in the face of certain defeat without promise of reward or salvation: Virtuous pagan heroism or courage in this sense is "trusting in your own strength," as observed by Jacob Grimm in his Teutonic Mythology,
Civil courageCivil courage (sometimes also referred to as "Social courage") is defined by many different standards, but the term is usually referred to when civilians stand up against something that is deemed unjust and evil, knowing that the consequences of their action might lead to their death, injury, or any other negative effect.
In many countries, such as Brazil, France and Germany, civil courage is enforced by law; this means that if a crime is committed in public, the public is obliged to act, either by alerting the authorities, or by intervening in the conflict. If the crime is committed in a private environment, those who witness the crime are either to report it, or try to stop it.
SymbolismIts accompanying animal is the lion. Often, Fortitude is depicted as having tamed the ferocious lion. Cf. e.g. the Tarot trump called Strength. It is sometimes seen as a depiction of the Catholic Church's triumph over sin. It also is a symbol in some cultures as a savior of the people who live in a community with sin and a corrupt church or religious body.
- Catholic Encyclopedia "Fortitude"
- Summa Theologica "Second Part of the Second Part" See Questions 123-140
- Ernest Becker, The Denial of Death (New York: The Free Press, 1973).
- Douglas N. Walton, Courage: A philosophical investigation (Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1986).
- Stephen Palmquist, Angst and the Paradox of Courage (2000) http://www.hkbu.edu.hk/~ppp/tp4/top12.html
fortitude in German: Tapferkeit
fortitude in Spanish: Valor
fortitude in Esperanto: Kuraĝo
fortitude in French: Courage
fortitude in Interlingua (International Auxiliary Language Association): Corage
fortitude in Italian: Coraggio
fortitude in Hebrew: אומץ
fortitude in Dutch: Moed
fortitude in Norwegian: Mot
fortitude in Japanese: 勇気
fortitude in Polish: Męstwo
fortitude in Portuguese: Coragem
fortitude in Russian: Доблесть
fortitude in Swedish: Mod
fortitude in Ukrainian: Хоробрість
fortitude in Vlaams: Kroaizje
fortitude in Chinese: 勇氣
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