Desirable characteristics of a human being; that by which something or someone
does or may do good.
counts as a virtue may vary with persons, cultures and civilizations.
For Aristotle, the main virtues were the capacity
and willingness to reason and the possession of
rationally ordered habits; for
the Romans, virtue was strength or virility (manliness) and
strength of character; while
Machiavelli considered what he called 'virtu' in
political leaders, and seems to have identified this with strength,
shrewdness, boldness and courage.
The cardinal virtues are the main
virtues in some culture, civilization or faith. For the ancient Greeks, these
were wisdom, courage,
justice. The Christians agreed, but added
the three Christian virtues of faith, hope and
(also sometimes called love), whence 'the seven
cardinal virtues', often opposed to 'the seven cardinal sins'.
It seems to me that the Greek list (also to
be found in Aristotle) is sufficient, in as much as faith, in so far as it
makes sense, would follow from wisdom; hope from courage; and charity from
justice or wisdom.