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VIRTUE. MIDN 1/C Smetana MIDN 1/C Stanton. VIRTUE. “Bravery to endure and bear up against evil and danger, as well as to go forth and face them.” “The brave man us not he who feels no fear, but he whose noble mind its fear subdues.” Admiral Karl Claussen, German Navy. Moral Virtues.

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MIDN 1/C Smetana

MIDN 1/C Stanton



“Bravery to endure and bear up against evil and danger, as well as to go forth and face them.”

“The brave man us not he who feels no fear, but he whose noble mind its fear subdues.”

Admiral Karl Claussen, German Navy

What is a virtue?
      • Aristotle defines a virtue as a capacity that enable a thing or being to function well.
      • For Aristotle, functioning well is exercising our capacity to reason in accordance with virtue.
      • In essence, reason allows human beings to direct a course between two extremes
      • Aristotle’s system is one of means, excesses, and deficiencies
why be virtuous
Why be virtuous?
  • Virtue will lead to happiness because it is an exercise of reason
  • The function of man is a certain form of life, namely an activity of the soul exercised in combination with a rational principle or reasonable ground of action. The function of a good man is to exert such activity well.”
aristotle s caution
Aristotle’s Caution
  • Though virtue observes the mean in actions and passions, this is not true for all acts and feelings
  • Some acts are inherently evil (adultery, theft, murder, etc.).
  • Goodness is one, evil is multiform
  • It’s tough to hit the mark!
how do we become virtuous
How do we become virtuous?
  • “The true determinant of the mean is not the geometer’s rod, but the guiding principle in the good man’s soul.”
  • “Thus a brave man appears rash when set beside a coward, and cowardly when set beside a rash man.”
  • Aristotle gives the following guiding principles:
    • Keep away from the extreme which is more opposed to the mean. (One extreme is always more dangerous than the other)
    • Note errors into which we personally are most liable to fall
    • Always be particularly on your guard against pleasure and pleasant things
virtue comes about not by a process of nature but by habituation
Virtue comes about, not by a process of nature, but by habituation
  • Humans are not virtuous by nature, but possess the capacity for virtue
  • We become virtuous by performing virtuous acts repeatedly until such acts become second nature
what is the right sort of habituation
What is the right sort of habituation?
  • The right sort of habituation must avoid excess and deficiency
  • The anorexic who habituates him/herself to eating can be prone to gluttony
virtue s concern with pleasure and pain
Virtue’s concern with pleasure and pain
  • Action is not merely enough; a person’s pleasure or pain in consequence of action must be taken into account (Kant?)
  • “The just and temperate person is not the one who [merely] does these actions, but the one who also does them in the way in which just or temperate people do them.”
  • Courage is concerned with the feelings of fear and confidence (i.e. death in battle).
  • The motive of courage is the sense of honor.
  • Courage is a mean with respect to things that inspire confidence or fear (mean balance).
  • Five kinds of courage improperly so called:
    • .Courage vs. Applied Compulsion (citizen-soldier)
    • .Experience (the professional soldier)
    • .Passion (anger, etc.)
    • .Sanguinity (I can suffer nothing – beer muscles)
    • .Ignorance (situationally unaware)
  • Friends are a necessary part of life (a virtue).
  • To be friends, then, they [individuals] must be mutually recognized as bearing goodwill and wishing well to each other. (i.e. you have to know your friends)
  • Three kinds of friendship
    • .Utility (good for themselves)
    • .Pleasure (pleasant to themselves)
    • .Friendship by reason of nature (alike in virtue)
  • The first two types of friendship dissolve easily, whereas the third is enduring
  • The man who is happy will need virtuous friends
what is character
What is character?
  • Nancy Sherman says character “has to do with a person’s traits; that is with attitudes, sensibilities, and beliefs that affect how a person sees, acts, and indeed lives.”
  • Explains the present actions of individuals and what actions they can be counted on to do (“accountability and pattern to action”).
  • “To act rightly is to act rightly in effect and conduct. It is to be emotionally engaged, and not merely to have the affect as accompaniment or instrument.”
  • “An action motivated by the right principle but lacking in the right gesture or feeling falls short of the mean.”
archilles in vietnam

Archilles in Vietnam

Jonathan Shay M.D.

jonathan shay
Psychiatrist working with Vietnam Veterans who suffered from PTSD

Discovered similarities in Veterans war experiences and Homer’s account of Archilles in the Iliad

Knowledge could flow both ways: Scholars could better understand the Iliad from listening to veterans; Psychiatrist better understand veterans from reading it

Jonathan Shay
homer in iliad
Homer in Iliad

What are the two aspects that homer emphasized in Iliad common in heavy and continuous fighting?

homer in iliad cont
Homer in Iliad (cont)
  • Betrayal of “what’s right by a commander
  • Onset of the Berserk State
Loss of Memory and Trust

Explosive Violence


Alcohol and Drug Abuse



Sit in corner of restaurant

Choked daughter

Hit the deck at work

Drink to sleep

Didn’t car if he lived

Leave family for weeks at a time

soldier s love
Soldier’s Love
  • War brings special bond between comrades
  • Extreme Loyalty between soldiers
  • Evident in relationship between Achilles and Patroklos
  • Misunderstood by the General Public
  • Many Veterans hide this compassion
  • Consider themselves dead after friend dies
communalization of grief
Communalization of Grief
  • Arises from unit cohesion
  • In Vietnam; Duty ends, sent home
  • Soldiers did not have opportunity to talk about trauma, and express emotions
  • May lead to more prolonged and serious emotional consequences
grief vietnam iliad
Rare truces, Used dead as booby traps

Tears sign of weakness

Strangers prepared body for return

Truces for funerals and mourning

Tears acceptable for mourning friend

Restorative period of grief, Friends mourned over body and prepared for burial

importance of grief
Military that sends soldiers to battle and tells them that love and grief do not matter; should not be shocked by their inhumanity when they return to civilian lifeImportance of Grief
the ee cheating case at usna

The EE Cheating Case at USNA

Jeffery Gantor, Michael O’Donnell,

and Tom Patton

  • Test stolen given to numerous students convinced that it was a gouge test.
  • Cover-up begins, Mids remain silent protect classmates
  • NDIC charge a few individuals, not directly responsible for and a few are kicked out
  • Superintendent covers-up football players involvement
  • Did the Academy atmosphere support or cause this behavior?
  • Where was the loyalty of the Mids? The Superintendent?
  • How should this have been handled?
reading assignment
Reading Assignment

Fundamentals of Naval Leadership

Lesson 9

Naval Leadership Voices of Experience

The Components of Integrity