Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Courage is the mother of all virtues because without it you cannot
consistently perform the others. Aristotle

If we are to live good lives we have to have a degree of courage. We have to
stand by our convictions and be impeccable with our word. Do our best, and act on our well-chosen values. We will demonstrate a commitment to good causes by active participation. We will refuse the temptation to comply with, assist with, or ignore dishonest, coercive, cruel, bigoted, wasteful, or deceptive words or practices encountered during our everyday activities. We will be willing to speak truth to power to right a wrong. Doing the right thing may be a defining moment in our lives. We may courageously overcome or at least control bad habits and addictions.

That is a tall order and none of us will probably be consistently courageous
in everything we do. We will make mistakes of judgment.  We will believe things that are not true and may even feel others have no right to their opinion if they do not believe what we believe. Even though we won’t be perfect we will lead better lives if we are more courageous than if we are not.

We may truly believe we are doing the right thing and be wrong. We may find as life goes forward that going with accepted beliefs is not correct. Who do we listen to when deciding what the right course of action is?

There is so much information on so many topics we may not know what to believe or who to listen to. Epistemology: How do you know that what you know is true? How do we know what someone tells us is true, or what we read or listen to is true? What about conflicting stories, news reports, and biased arguments that may be based on a kernel of truth?

It isn’t what we don’t know that gives us trouble; it is what we know that
ain’t so. Will Rogers

The sincerity of one’s belief, the volume or frequency with which it is stated, or assurances to “believe me” should not be rationally persuasive. It is hard to sift through everything we know, hear, and read. Is it possible to get comfortable with uncertainty and knowing we don’t know, instead of thinking we know things, we can’t know?

Even when we don’t know for sure what the truth is, can we be courageous in
our questions and our actions?

By what criteria do we evaluate reasons? How are those criteria themselves
evaluated? What is it for a belief to be justified? What is the relationship
between justification and truth? Harvey Siegel

There are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics. Mark Twain

I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know
nothing. Socrates

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