Why courage is critical to morality

The cave you fear to enter...

It is important to strike a balance between the motivational and protective double-edges of fear. Individuals must not push themselves or be pushed to do the thing they fear prematurely. However, more than anything, moral courage requires the ability and willingness to risk doing the right thing even though others might disapprove of or exclude you, writes Dr Stephanie Fagin-Jones.

 

One of the main findings of my research on the personalities of the non-Jewish rescuers of Jews during the Holocaust was that one of the significant traits that distinguished these heroic individuals from a group of verified, passive bystanders was a willingness to undertake risk. This was in addition to the highest levels of empathy, social responsibility, and moral reasoning. Moreover, I discovered that this dispositional tendency characterized by care-based moral courage likely emerged via socialization experiences in the rescuers’ childhood, often under the guidance of a mora

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