Volume 1, 2007
Two Concepts of Courage
In this paper I intend to present two concepts of courage, with the purpose of introducing two different ways in which the classical virtue of courage may serve goals of personal achievement and goals of collective flourishing respectively. The two forms of courage that I will distinguish are the courage of creativity and the courage of conviction, respectively. The courage of creativity is the ability to confront the fear of failure, this ability being directed by the agent's will to achieve, while the courage of conviction is the ability to confront the fear of personal transience, this ability being directed by the agent's sense of moral responsibility. While not necessarily being a moral virtue, courage in the first of its two forms constitutes an important component of the agent's capacity for self-fulfilment. In its other form it enables the agent to confront the fears of meaninglessness and of being a social outcast, involving her in a quest for objectivity and in doing the right thing rather than giving in to conventions.