Over time, new virtues were conceptualized and added by ancient Hindu scholars, some replaced, others merged. The Bhagavad Gita - considered one of the epitomes of historic Hindu discussion of virtues and an allegorical debate on what is right and what is wrong - argues some virtues are not necessarily always absolute, but sometimes relational; for example, it explains a virtue such as Ahimsa must be re-examined when one is faced with war or violence from the aggressiveness, immaturity or ignorance of others. In Islam, the Quran is believed to be the literal word of God, and the definitive description of virtue while Muhammad is considered an ideal example of virtue in human form.
The foundation of Islamic understanding of virtue was the understanding and interpretation of the Quran and the practices of Muhammad.
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Its meaning has always been in context of active submission to God performed by the community in unison. Another key factor is the belief that mankind has been granted the faculty to discern God's will and to abide by it. This faculty most crucially involves reflecting over the meaning of existence. Therefore, regardless of their environment, humans are believed to have a moral responsibility to submit to God's will.
Muhammad's preaching produced a "radical change in moral values based on the sanctions of the new religion and the present religion, and fear of God and of the Last Judgment". Later Muslim scholars expanded the religious ethics of the scriptures in immense detail. The Prophet Muhammad said, "Virtue is good manner, and sin is that which creates doubt and you do not like people to know it. Virtue is that which contents the soul and comforts the heart, and sin is that which causes doubts and perturbs the heart, even if people pronounce it lawful and give you verdicts on such matters again and again.
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For Muslims fulfilling the rights of others are valued as an important building block of Islam. According to Muslim beliefs, God will forgive individual sins but the bad treatment of people and injustice with others will only be pardoned by them and not by God.
In Jainism , attainment of enlightenment is possible only if the seeker possesses certain virtues. All Jains are supposed to take up the five vows of ahimsa non violence , satya truthfulness , asteya non stealing , aparigraha non attachment and brahmacharya celibacy before becoming a monk. These vows are laid down by the Tirthankaras. Other virtues which are supposed to be followed by both monks as well as laypersons include forgiveness, humility, self-restraint and straightforwardness.
These vows assists the seeker to escape from the karmic bondages thereby escaping the cycle of birth and death to attain liberation. Loving God and obeying his laws, in particular the Ten Commandments , are central to Jewish conceptions of virtue. Wisdom is personified in the first eight chapters of the Book of Proverbs and is not only the source of virtue but is depicted as the first and best creation of God Proverbs Renowned in the Jewish tradition as a sage and a scholar, he is associated with the development of the Mishnah and the Talmud and, as such, one of the most important figures in Jewish history.
Asked for a summary of the Jewish religion in the most concise terms, Hillel replied reputedly while standing on one leg : "That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow.
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That is the whole Torah. The rest is commentary; go and learn. In Hagakure , Yamamoto Tsunetomo encapsulates his views on 'virtue' in the four vows he makes daily: . If one dedicates these four vows to the gods and Buddhas every morning, he will have the strength of two men and never slip backward. One must edge forward like the inchworm, bit by bit. The gods and Buddhas, too, first started with a vow. Nedunchezhiyan , justice according to Valluvar "dwells in the minds of those who have knowledge of the standard of right and wrong; so too deceit dwells in the minds which breed fraud.
Men should seek the sovereign good that Descartes, following Zeno , identifies with virtue, as this produces a solid blessedness or pleasure. For Epicurus the sovereign good was pleasure, and Descartes says that in fact this is not in contradiction with Zeno's teaching, because virtue produces a spiritual pleasure, that is better than bodily pleasure. Regarding Aristotle 's opinion that happiness depends on the goods of fortune, Descartes does not deny that these goods contribute to happiness, but remarks that they are in great proportion outside one's own control, whereas one's mind is under one's complete control.
Immanuel Kant , in his Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and Sublime , expresses true virtue as different from what commonly is known about this moral trait. In Kant's view, to be goodhearted, benevolent and sympathetic is not regarded as true virtue. The only aspect that makes a human truly virtuous is to behave in accordance with moral principles. Kant presents an example for more clarification; suppose that you come across a needy person in the street; if your sympathy leads you to help that person, your response does not illustrate your virtue.
In this example, since you do not afford helping all needy ones, you have behaved unjustly, and it is out of the domain of principles and true virtue. Kant applies the approach of four temperaments to distinguish truly virtuous people. According to Kant, among all people with diverse temperaments, a person with melancholy frame of mind is the most virtuous whose thoughts, words and deeds are one of principles.
Friedrich Nietzsche 's view of virtue is based on the idea of an order of rank among people. For Nietzsche, the virtues of the strong are seen as vices by the weak and slavish, thus Nietzsche's virtue ethics is based on his distinction between master morality and slave morality.
Nietzsche promotes the virtues of those he calls "higher men", people like Goethe and Beethoven. According to Nietzsche these higher types are solitary, pursue a "unifying project", revere themselves and are healthy and life-affirming. The 'Higher type' also "instinctively seeks heavy responsibilities" WP in the form of an "organizing idea" for their life, which drives them to artistic and creative work and gives them psychological health and strength. Finally, a Higher type affirms life because he is willing to accept the eternal return of his life and affirm this forever and unconditionally.
In the last section of Beyond Good and Evil , Nietzsche outlines his thoughts on the noble virtues and places solitude as one of the highest virtues:. And to keep control over your four virtues: courage, insight, sympathy, solitude. These are the virtues  that Benjamin Franklin used to develop what he called 'moral perfection'. He had a checklist in a notebook to measure each day how he lived up to his virtues. They became known through Benjamin Franklin's autobiography. Marc Jackson in his book Emotion and Psyche puts forward a new development of the virtues.
He identifies the virtues as what he calls the good emotions "The first group consisting of love , kindness , joy , faith , awe and pity is good"  These virtues differ from older accounts of the virtues because they are not character traits expressed by action, but emotions that are to be felt and developed by feeling not acting.
Ayn Rand held that her morality, the morality of reason , contained a single axiom: existence exists, and a single choice: to live. All values and virtues proceed from these. To live, man must hold three fundamental values that one develops and achieves in life: Reason, Purpose, and Self-Esteem.
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The first three represent the three primary virtues that correspond to the three fundamental values, whereas the final four are derived from the virtue of rationality. She claims that virtue is not an end in itself, that virtue is not its own reward nor sacrificial fodder for the reward of evil, that life is the reward of virtue and happiness is the goal and the reward of life. Man has a single basic choice: to think or not, and that is the gauge of his virtue. Moral perfection is an unbreached rationality, not the degree of your intelligence but the full and relentless use of your mind, not the extent of your knowledge but the acceptance of reason as an absolute.
Christopher Peterson and Martin Seligman , two leading researchers in positive psychology , recognizing the deficiency inherent in psychology 's tendency to focus on dysfunction rather than on what makes a healthy and stable personality , set out to develop a list of " Character Strengths and Virtues ". The opposite of a virtue is a vice.
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