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WILLIAM FLEMING - 1890 - Table of contents

A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H- I - J - K - L - M - N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - V - W  

Diccionario filosófico
Complete edition

Diccionario de Filosofía
Brief definition of the most important concepts of philosophy.


A Dictionary of English Philosophical Terms Francis Garden


Vocabulary of Philosophy, Psychological, Ethical, Metaphysical
William Fleming

Biografías y semblanzas Biographical references and lives of philosophers

Brief introduction to the thought of Ortega y Gasset

History of Philosophy Summaries

Historia de la Filosofía
Explanation of the thought of the great philosophers; summaries, exercises...

Historia de la Filosofía
Digital edition of the History of Philosophy by Jaime Balmes

Historia de la Filosofía
Digital edition of the History of Philosophy by Zeferino González

Vidas, opiniones y sentencias de los filósofos más ilustres
Complete digital edition of the work of Diogenes Laertius

Compendio de las vidas de los filósofos antiguos

A brief history of Greek Philosophy
B. C. Burt


A Short History of Philosophy





CARDINAL (cardo, a hinge).—The Cardinal Virtues of Ancient Philosophy are Wisdom, Fortitude, Temperance, and Justice (Plato's Republic, bk. IV. pp. 428-443; Jowett's Plato, 1st ed., II. 255). These four virtues were so named because they were the hinges on which other virtues turned. Each one of them was a fons et principium, from which other virtues took their rise.


The division of the virtues is as old as moral philosophy. It is found in the teaching of Socrates as recorded by Xenophon, with this difference, that εὐσέβεια, or regard to the Deity, holds the place of prudence or wisdom (σοφία), which, united to virtue, forms true wisdom. Plato notices prudence, fortitude, and temperance, and in connection with or arising out of these, justice, which he considers not as the single virtue of giving all their due, but as the perfection of human nature and of human society.

The term justice had been employed in the same large sense by Pythagoras. According to the representations of Plato, prudence is the governing virtue; courage is the right kind of fear, on guard against the real dangers; temperance is the harmony of desires with intelligence; and justice is every man doing his proper work.

"The four cardinal virtues are rather the necessary and essential conditions of virtue, than each individually a virtue. For no one can by itself be manifested as a virtue, without the other three" (Thurot, De l'Entendement, tom. I. p. 162).

"Justice, temperance, fortitude, and prudence, the old heads of the family of virtues, give us a division, which fails altogether; since the parts are not distinct, and the whole is not complete. The portions of morality so laid out, both overlap one another, or are undistinguishable; and also leave parts of the subject which do not appear in the distribution at all" (Whewell, Systemat. Mor., lect. IV.).

Clodius, De Virtutibus quas Cardinales Appellant, 4to, Leips., 1815; Plethon, De Quatuor Virtutibus Cardinalibus 8vo, Bash, 1552.



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