The flow of virtues

Virtues are an unusual subject to research. That is, virtues are usually taken for granted when in common use by people in a community.  However, a lack of virtues is very visible, such as in the case of deception or corruption. Virtues have historically been discussed by philosophers because of the works of Plato and Socrates. In recent years, though psychology has also been paying attention to virtues, especially in terms of how to teach them to clients in clinical settings. 

Virtues can be thought of as epistemic behavioural goals that may have different values in different cultures, but these are not generally of great variation. Virtues are generally considered human universals and essential epistemes for all members of communities to hold, learn and do, if communities of cultures are to be successful in terms of quality of life and continuity. 

Specific virtues like truthfulness and honesty need to be constant and consistent to enable genuineness, transparency, trustworthiness and integrity and these attributes further lend dignity to those people who attain these abilities because virtues are abilities and attributes and character strengths. They are not something that can be faked, though some worry about doing so. 

People are either not educated in virtues or they choose to be 

non-virtuous. Denials of reality are the truth, for example, is called by psychology gaslighting, a common tool of psychopaths. 

Those who have mastered virtues necessarily coordinate them so that they interact and are balanced. This is how the virtue of justice is used, that is it balances the boundaries of each virtue between others, for example to balance generosity with moderation (actually, moderation could be used a lot more by all 

of us). 

I’ve been researching virtues as part of my research into the deep Aboriginal past, part of Professor Ann McGrath’s Deep History project. I grew up with three virtues uppermost after truthfulness, those being sharing, responsibility and obligation.