Ancient philosophers agreed that there were four 'cardinal' virtues: justice, wisdom, courage and moderation.
   There was disagreement, however, on quite how they were related: was it possible to have one without having the others or were they all really identical? There was also disagreement on whether the virtues could be taught, with Plato arguing in Meno that they could not. In medieval philosophy the three 'theological virtues' of faith, hope and charity (1 Corinthians 13: 13) were added to the four cardinal virtues. All the philosophers of this period assumed that the virtues were objective, accessible to reason, and not determined by anything (except perhaps God). Some modern philosophers, notably Hume, have rejected this tradition, holding that virtues are determined by human society. There is much philosophical discussion over the place of the virtues in the best theory of ethics; virtue ethics is the theory that the virtues are fundamental to our moral thinking. There is also theological discussion over the relationship between virtue and salvation: those from the Protestant tradition have tended to the view that salvation is gratuitous, that is, irrespective of the virtue or vice of the saved, whereas the Roman-Catholic tradition has typically wanted to allow for virtue's accruing some merit to make one less unworthy of salvation in the eyes of God, while always acknowledging that the source of this human virtue is God's grace.
   See ethics, virtue
   Further reading: Dent 1984; Foot 1978; Geach 1977a

Christian Philosophy . . 2015.

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