Evil is Necessary

Published on 19 August 2023 at 15:24

 The Paradox of Virtue: Exploring the Theory that Being Capable of Danger is Necessary for Virtuousness




Virtue, often defined as the moral excellence of an individual, has been a subject of philosophical discourse for centuries. From Aristotle's virtue ethics to modern discussions on moral character, the concept of virtue remains a central pillar in the realm of ethical philosophy. One intriguing theory that challenges conventional notions is the idea that being capable of danger is essential for one to truly embody virtuousness. In this blog post, we will delve into this paradoxical theory, exploring its foundations, implications, and potential insights into understanding human morality.


The Foundation of Virtue


Before we dive into the theory itself, let's briefly revisit the foundations of virtue ethics. Virtue ethics places an emphasis on developing moral character and cultivating virtues such as courage, compassion, honesty, and justice. This approach differs from other ethical frameworks, such as consequentialism or deontology, which focus on the morality of actions or adherence to rules.


The Theory: Being Capable of Danger and Virtuousness


At first glance, the theory that being capable of danger is necessary for virtuousness might seem counterintuitive. After all, virtuous individuals are often associated with qualities like compassion and kindness, which seem far removed from situations involving danger or harm. However, proponents of this theory argue that true virtue requires not only possessing these positive qualities but also the willingness and ability to confront and navigate dangerous situations.


1. Courage and Moral Challenges

One of the central virtues that supports this theory is courage. Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the ability to act rightly in the face of fear. Virtuous individuals must possess the strength to stand up for their values even when doing so puts them in potentially dangerous or uncomfortable situations.


2. Balance and Temperance

Another aspect of this theory is the idea of balance and temperance. Virtuous individuals are not extreme in their behaviors but find a harmonious middle ground. This means that they have the capacity to engage with challenging situations without succumbing to recklessness or undue caution.


3. Responsibility and Compassion

Being capable of danger also ties into the responsibility that virtuous individuals feel toward their communities and fellow beings. They are willing to put themselves at risk to protect others, showcase empathy, and contribute to the greater good.


Implications and Insights


1. Authenticity of Virtue

This theory challenges us to examine the authenticity of our virtues. Are we truly virtuous if we avoid potentially dangerous situations out of self-preservation? Can we claim to possess courage if we never face circumstances that truly test it?


2. Complexity of Moral Character

Embracing this theory underscores the complexity of moral character. Virtuousness isn't a simple checklist of traits but a dynamic interplay between qualities and the willingness to engage with challenging circumstances.


3. Development of Virtue

If we accept that being capable of danger is necessary for virtue, it follows that individuals should actively seek opportunities to test and develop their virtues. This might involve stepping out of comfort zones, engaging in difficult conversations, or taking principled stands in contentious situations.



The theory that being capable of danger is necessary to be virtuous challenges conventional notions of virtue by emphasizing the importance of confronting challenges and dangers head-on. This perspective encourages us to reevaluate our understanding of virtues such as courage, temperance, and compassion. While the theory might be paradoxical on the surface, it sheds light on the intricate nature of moral character and the role that challenging situations play in its development. In a world where ethical decisions are often complex, exploring this theory can offer valuable insights into becoming truly virtuous individuals who not only possess positive qualities but also have the strength to act upon them in the face of danger.

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