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COURAGE / Vol. 71, No. 1 (Spring 2004)

Arien Mack, Editor

Papers in this issue examine the idea of courage as a civic virtue, the classical understanding of courage as a virtue, and the need for courage in democracy.

The article reports on the arguments made by Susan Sontag on her contribution in the New Yorker and George Ochoa's letter of disagreement to Sontag's belief. This concern the anatomy of courage in connection with the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. It discusses how this disagreement turned into the disputed questions about courage and examines the idea of courage as a virtue. Sontag believes that the 9/11 hijackers were not cowards since they were willing to die for a cause they believed in while Ochoa cited Aristotle's analysis that a courageous person is one who faces fearful things as he ought and as reason directs "for the sake of what is noble."

The article reports the idea of intellectual courage, what consists it, what fosters it and if it is always a virtue. It offers an overview of the various ways on how intellectual courage is inculcated which includes the readiness to expose ideas to skeptical and critical audiences. It discusses how the intellectually courageous thinker responds to criticism and examines the beliefs of philosophers like Plato, Aristotle, and Socrates. It distinguishes the difference of intellectual courage and mere impulsiveness.

This article discusses the argument that courage is rarely expressed except where there is sufficient consensus to support it. It examines the importance of liberalism to civilization. Liberalism is essential to the sanity and humanity of civilization. It also presents a discussion on the capitulation of liberalism to illiberalism. Moreover, it analyzes some instances of coercions. Any specific instance is by no means as necessary as the larger truth that people deal in coercion. No one could really submit to unreasonable coercion by suppressing one's identity, one's thinking, and one's metaphysics without falling a little in one's own estimation.

This article examines various issues concerning courage as virtue. It discusses the definition given by Socrates for courage. Socrates defined courage as the "preservation of the belief inculcated by law through education about what things are to be feared." Courage is one of the principal virtues and as a major virtue, courage helps define the excellent person and is no mere optional trait. It also discusses the notions of courage which can be taken from Aristotle. Aristotle is concerned with battlefield courage. He suggests that war exists for the sake of courage and acting honorably or doing honorable deeds is an end itself.

This article examines the dark side of democratic courage. It discusses courage as a feature of political rhetoric and practice. More importantly, in the post September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, people are saturated with the images and rhetoric of courage. It also discusses the moral ambiguities of courage and the ethics of democratic imperialism. Courage was associated with freedom, resistance to oppression, and military glory in democratic history. Moreover, it explains the revision of the andreia and sophrosune problem.

This article discusses several topics regarding civil courage and human dignity to determine whether suicide attacks can be interpreted as a form of civil courage. It explains the definitions of courage in general and civil courage. Civil courage in a democracy does not have to confront the risk of state terror or oppression, but it does face threats from parts of society itself. It examines the application of the concepts and definitions to empirical historical and psychological findings from Germany under national socialism.

This article reports on the experiences of a man who was convicted for membership in a counterrevolutionary organization and how he faced the terror of death and found courage in himself. It discusses the fear of death and the life instinct. The life instinct is an element that is ruled by the primitive animal brain and which refuses to admit the idea of death. Above all, it includes the human love of life, which is the relationship that is created with the things of the world not only through the senses and body, but through the minds with the entire intellectual capacity, memory, imagination, emotional, idealistic, and creative faculties.

This article examines how courage and heroism were perceived by the citizens of those states of a central and eastern Europe that is described as post-Communist. Heroism is difficult to define in the post-Communist countries than it was under the old regime. During the totalitarian regime, it was dangerous to promote one's own views and there was an element of heroism in that day. At present, it is much more difficult in the post-Communist countries to find reasons for heroism and courage than it was in the past. Moreover, it presents ideas of heroism written by several philosophers.

This article discusses the psychological perspective on fear and courage. It presents examples of fearful people displaying courageous behavior. It explains the components of fear according to Peter Lang, a leading contributor in the field of fear. Lang stated that fear is not some hard phenomenal lump that lives inside people. He proposed a different construal, that there are three components of fear namely, physiological arousal, subjective reactivity, and behavioral avoidance. Moreover, it discusses on the generality of fearlessness and courage.

This article presents several arguments concerning the psychology of terrorists. In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, controversy erupted when some commentators argued that the Al Qaeda hijackers displayed courage in their actions. The comments provoked fierce and overwhelming criticism. It examines the elements to judging whether an individual is displaying courage. It also presents statements given by several terrorists regarding their feelings before terrorism attacks. Moreover, it provides an analysis of why people become involved in terrorism.


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