Aristotle’s 4 Cardinal Virtues

Hello everyone,

Just wanted to write a short summary about the four key virtues that Aristotle had spoke about over 2,400 years ago. It’s incredible that he mentioned these ideas so long ago, yet they are still highly applicable to our lives today.


The most important of the virtues for Aristotle, prudence is the idea of possessing practical wisdom. Prudence gives us the ability to correctly understand what is good & what is evil. If necessary, we should consult with morally sound people to ensure we have the proper conclusion for a given situation.


Aristotle’s definition of courage is slightly different then how we view courage today. He described courage as something that allows us to overcome fear and remain steady in our willingness to face obstacles in a rational & reasonable manner; the individual performing a courageous act is not acting this way for the sake of seeking out danger.


Aristotle believed that justice is when a person can recognize what is good for the community and then takes a good course of action accordingly. Moreover, justice is considered “blind”  for Aristotle as we need to remain impartial, regardless of what we think of a person; if we owe someone something, we must recompense what we owe.


This was was simply explained by Aristotle as self-control. This is the virtue that helps maintain a balance in life without doing things excessively. In other words, we need to balance our desire to do certain things against the necessity of doing those things.

So there you have it; Aristotle’s four key virtues of prudence, courage, justice and  temperance. As it might already be evident, his ethical model is exceptionally open to interpretation as there is no clear answer to the four virtues. With that being said, how do you think that these virtues apply to your life?


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