Repeated instances of corporate and institutional neglect should evoke better attentiveness toward a reconsideration of authentic responsibility. With respect to long‐standing historical acceptance, an appreciation for the traditional four cardinal virtues should be freshly reconsidered as well. But this is not as direct and simple as it may seem.
One standing source of inspiration may be found in the work of Josef Pieper, who was already an accomplished young author in Germany during the earlier part of the Twentieth Century, before his works were condemned and confiscated by the Nazi Regime. Stationed with the military during World War II, he returned to writing and teaching as a professor at a German University after the defeat of the Third Reich and the restoration of peace. His experience would enforce a depth of commitment and conviction. And, his explanations about The Four Cardinal Virtues appeared in English over fifty years ago. These concerns would precede and pre‐configure the more current trends in Virtue Ethics and Positive Psychology.
Prudence: The meaning of the virtue of prudence, however, is primarily this: that not only the end of human action but also the means for its realization shall be in keeping with the truth of real things. This in turn necessitates that the egocentric "interests" of man be silenced in order that he may perceive the truth of real things, and so that reality itself may guide him to the proper means for realizing his goal. (4V P. 20)
Justice: To be just means to recognize the other as other; it means to give acknowledgment even where one cannot love. Justice says: That is another person, who is other than I, and who nevertheless has his own peculiar due. A just man is just, therefore, because he sanctions another person in his very separateness and helps him to receive his due. (4V PP. 54‐5)
Fortitude: Pericles, in the lofty words of his speech for the fallen heroes, expressed . . . "For this too is our way: to dare most liberally where we have reflected best. With others, only ignorance begets fortitude; and reflection but begets hesitation." – Pericles, as cited by Thucydides, Peloponnesian War, Book II – (4V P. 124)
Temperance: It is always the decisive center of the whole, indivisible person by which the inner order is upheld or upset. (4V PP. 148‐9)
The Four Cardinal Virtues (4V) is apparently now in the public domain, and the full text is freely and openly available through archival Internet sources.