Vol. 38 No. 2 (2018): Virtue Ethics

Why Wisdom needs Fortitude (and viceversa)

Angelo Campodonico
Università di Genova

Published 2018-12-18


  • Practical wisdom,
  • fortitude,
  • virtues,
  • Thomas Aquinas

How to Cite

Campodonico, A. (2018). Why Wisdom needs Fortitude (and viceversa). Teoria. Rivista Di Filosofia, 38(2), 67–77. https://doi.org/10.4454/teoria.v38i2.45


Although fortitude is primarily about confronting the danger of death, it makes the brave person firm and constant in other situations as well. Fortitude acts directly on temperance and therefore indirectly on practical wisdom. But the lack of fortitude may also directly affect practical wisdom when dreadful aspects of life shock us. Fortitude operates on the capacity of practical wisdom to direct actions in context, judging with openness of mind and choosing and acting bravely. Practical wisdom acts on the irascible part of the soul aiming it toward the golden mean of fortitude and against both weakness of character and stubbornness. The phronimos must develop the virtue of fortitude. But this requires a strong motivation related to the answer to the question of happiness and the meaning of life. And this question is strictly related to the topic of recognition. All that suggests that the lack of or deficiency of fortitude may be one of the main causes of the transformation of the meaning of prudence from the virtue of moral decision, personal responsibility and risk to the virtue of those who are careful and avoid risks.