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Proof of Courage Essay

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The problem with the definitions of courage that we covered through the course of this semester is that they are very narrow yet the basic definitions are too broad. As a result of this, each needs to limit the scope of the definition at length. Do we really separate definition of courage for each specific circumstance? Just to name a few, we have battlefield valor, political courage, courage to partake in burdened virtues, religious courage (martyrdom), and fortitude. If a supposed self-evident truth does not hold true in all situations and cannot be aptly summarized in brevity, it is often because of a flaw.
Another reason for the multitude of definitions is that each author defines courage from the individual's perspective. This results in a bias towards defining courageous circumstances rather than courageous action.
Every paper, film, and novel covered during the course, without a doubt, depicted courageous individuals. Yet many of them would only fall under one or two labels of courage. The solution to the conundrum is simple. Courage needs to be defined by way of mathematical proof (regarding the approach, not the content) rather than from the subject's actions. Through an indirect approach it becomes easy to differentiate courage from similar falsities. Courage is a person's ability to knowingly surpass expectations in the process of overcoming an obstacle, to achieve a goal that is greater than one's self.
Aristotle places ample restrictions on what courage meant to him. Subjugated people were not able to demonstrate such a virtue. True courage can only be demonstrated on the battlefield by a fully informed individual. He states that women, children, slaves, and the diseased are unable to express ...


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...to better one's self. Goals are a per-requisite to achievement (not limited to achievement in the public's eye). Conceptions of what it means to go beyond what society has set in place, to achieve a goal greater than one's self, allows us to act in a better manner than otherwise. The problem with most definitions of courage is that they spend more time detailing what is not courage than what is. That is to say, they exclude entire groups of people based on current societal standards. That is rather counter intuitive considering that some of the greatest examples of courage were hated individuals in their time. A definition should not be based on period-reliant measures, but on the outcome of their actions and for what they sought to achieve (regardless of success). Every example of courage within the curriculum neatly falls under the definition I described.


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