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Res Philosophica

Volume 92, Issue 4, October 2015

Virtue and the Emotions

W. Scott Cleveland
Pages 855-882
DOI: 10.11612/resphil.2015.92.4.11

The Emotions of Courageous Activity

An apparent paradox concerning courageous activity is that it seems to require both fear and fearlessness—on the one hand, mastering one’s fear, and, on the other, eliminating fear. I resolve the paradox by isolating three phases of courageous activity: the initial response to the situation, the choice of courageous action, and the execution of courageous action. I argue that there is an emotion that is proper to each of these phases and that each emotion positively contributes to the performance of courageous activity in each of its phases. More specifically, I argue that fear, hope, and daring are necessary for complete courageous activity. My model of courageous activity explains why courage is a virtue that requires excellent emotion dispositions and resolves the paradox concerning the apparent need for both fear and fearlessness. Fear is required in the first phase and fearless daring in the third phase of courageous activity.

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