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Is there a Foundation Virtue?Many people interested in the virtues, ethics and morality etc have put forth ideas that a particular virtue is the base of all the others. Study these quotes to see what I mean:
"I think the first virtue is to restrain the tongue; he approaches nearest to gods who knows how to be silent, even though he is in the right. "
Cato the Elder (234 BC - 149 BC)
"Courage is the ladder on which all the other virtues mount."
Clare Booth Luce(1903 - 1987)
"Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others."
Cicero(106 BC - 43 BC)
"Self-respect is the cornerstone of all virtue."
John Herschel (1792 - 1871)
"Patience is the greatest of all virtues."
Cato the Elder(234 BC - 149 BC)
"One isn't necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest."
Maya Angelou(1928 - )
"Hope is both the earliest and the most indispensable virtue inherent in the state of being alive. If life is to be sustained hope must remain, even where confidence is wounded, trust impaired."
Erik H. Erikson
"Only the brave know how to forgive; it is the most refined and generous pitch of virtue human nature can arrive at."
"No virtue is safe that is not enthusiastic."
Sir J. R. Seeley
"There are many shining qualities on the mind of man; but none so useful as discretion. It is this which gives a value to all the rest, and sets them at work in their proper places, and turns them to the advantage of their possessor. Without it, learning is pedantry; wit, impertinence; virtue itself looks like weakness; and the best parts only qualify a man to be more sprightly in errors, and active to his own prejudice. Though a man has all other perfections and wants discretion, he will be of no great consequence in the world; but if he has this single talent in perfection, and but a common share of others, he may do what he pleases in his station of life."
Joseph Addison(1672 - 1719)
"The most eminent virtue is doing simply what we have to do."
Jose Maria Peman, Spanish writer, El Divino Impaciente
"Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point."
Clive Staples Lewis
"Fortitude is the guard and support of the other virtues."
"In justice is all virtues found in sum"
An Aristotle proverb.
"Humility is the solid foundation of all virtues."
Kong Fu Zi
In contrast to this VirtueScience perceives every virtue to support (and be supported by) every other virtue.
Each of the quotes above is true to a certain extent but they miss the holistic picture. Each is an insight into a particular relationship within the matrix of virtues. Probably due to personal & cultural influences they have looked through the lens of a particular virtue and seen it as superior or more profound than the other virtues. This is a distortion.