Edition: 2018
Pages: 82
Series: EL
ISBN: 9788858132845

The cardinal virtues. Prudence, Temperance, Fortitude, Justice

Remo Bodei - Giulio Giorello - Michela Marzano - Salvatore Veca



How did Greek and Christian philosophers describe man’s cardinal sins? How have they been reinterpreted in modern times and how can we do so ourselves, in light of current events? Four prominent Italian philosophical voices lead us on a voyage of discovery through present and past. 

Remo Bodei, Prudence “its etymological root (which also produced the word ‘providence’), suggests human foresight and caution. Someone is ‘providens’ – contracted to produce ‘prudens’ – if they are able to avoid danger or damage. Prudence, then, is the foremost deliberative virtue, which allows those who practice it to distinguish good from evil and to make plans for the future in a present that has taken to heart the lessons of the past.”

Giulio Giorello,, Temperance “What does it mean to be ‘temperate’, according to Milton? Defending one’s autonomy and the autonomy of one’s fellow citizens and ensuring that women and men can live together in a society where words are never in thrall to an imperious, uncontrollable will. Each of us should behave as we see fit – says Milton – without trying to impose our rules on others.”

Michela Marzano, Fortitude “the brave person feels fear but does not hesitate to face and overcome it. The cowardly, the daring, the brave all have to confront their fears, but they all react differently. This is why we can’t speak of bravery without first understanding the fear we all experience, which the brave are able to overcome. Without fear, we would never have the chance to prove our courage. Courage cannot exist without fear because courage consists in the ability to overcome fear.”

Salvatore Veca, Justice “Globalisation leads us to reflect on a relatively original, or at least recent, question, which has no easy answers: what would a just world look like? Since the ‘90s, research in the field of political philosophy, justice theory and moral philosophy has tended to focus on the characteristics of a global justice theory. “Can we accept the fact that justice, law and rights are still fixed within closed political communities, while a vast array of other powers cross borders, shaping the lives and prospects of people around the world without their consent? How much importance should we attribute to borders when we talk about justice?”

The authors

Remo Bodei

Remo Bodei is professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Los Angeles, prior to which he taught for many years at the Scuola Normale Superiore and the University of Pisa. His most recent works, which have been widely translated, include: with Mulino, Ordo amoris(1991), The Forms of Beauty (1995), Pyramids of Time. The history and theory of déjà vu (2006), Anger. The furious passion (2011); with Feltrinelli, Geometry of Passions (1991), Personal Destinies. The age of the colonization of minds (2002); with Donzelli, Philosophy in the Twentieth Century (1997), Doctor Freud and the Soul’s Nerves (2001); with Zanichelli, A Spark of Fire. Invitation to Philosophy (2005); with Bompiani, Sublime Landscapes (2008). With Laterza he published The Logic of Delirium (20023) and The Life of Objects (20126).

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Giulio Giorello

Giulio Giorello insegna Filosofia della scienza all’Università degli Studi di Milano. Ha pubblicato, tra l’altro: Filosofia della scienza (Milano 1992); Pierre de Fermat (con C. Sinigaglia, Milano 1992); Giordano Bruno (con M. Ciliberto, Milano 2004); Prometeo, Ulisse, Gilgamesh. Figure del mito (Milano 2004).

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Michela Marzano

Salvatore Veca

Salvatore Veca (b. Rome 1943) teaches Philosophy at the University Institute of Higher Studies of Pavia. His latest publications include The Idea of Incompleteness. Four lessons (Milan 2011), The Philosophical Imagination and Other Essays (Milan 2012) and On Secularity (Bologna 2013). With Laterza he published, The Last-But-One Word and Other Enigmas (2001), Political Philosophy (revised edition, 2010) and The Idea of Justice from Plato to Rawls (with S. Maffettone, 2012).

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