On a mission to determine the difference between courage and moral courage, I discovered differing opinions and a wealth of information. This research project was based on already published information about courage, moral, physical or otherwise. The search for information began because I heard the founder of the Moral Courage Project* Irshad Manji on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher tonight and began wondering exactly how moral courage is defined.
Is having the “courage of our convictions” moral courage? Can someone have immoral courage? My belief that I am acting with the courage of MY convictions might not be moral courage to someone who disagrees with me. The definition of immoral**is to act outside acceptable moral behaviors. Who decides what moral behavior is acceptable? Who are the morality police? Amoral**means neither right nor wrong, outside of the moral arena; science falls in this category. Who decides amorality?
According to wikipedia.com “Moral courage is the courage to take action for moral reasons despite the risk of adverse consequences. Courage is required to take action when one has doubts or fears about the consequences. Moral courage therefore involves deliberation or careful thought. Reflex action or dogmatic fanaticism does not involve moral courage because such impulsive actions are not based upon moral reasoning. Moral courage may also require physical courage when the consequences are punishment or other bodily peril.”
Now I have more questions than answers. I do have a lot of research……..
- ^ P. Aarne Vesilind, “The Courage To Do The Right Thing”, The right thing to do: an ethics guide for engineering students, http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=s6cXR36GYA4C&pg=PA55
- ^ Douglas N. Walton, “Moral Deliberation and Conduct”, Courage, a philosophical investigation, http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=AIKS-59iyxwC&pg=PA116
- ^ Daniel A. Putman, Psychological courage
©2011 Susan Kendall. All rights reserved