Oct 7, 2009

Philosophical Phun - Poison :o)

We might think of words such as ‘courage’ as naming characteristics of human beings in respect of a certain power, as words such as ‘poison’ and ‘solvent’ and ‘corrosive’ so name the properties of physical things. I would add the word Toxic here, we all know some people that meet that definition :o) I think we can all relate to people in our lives that are poison, or are toxic, resulting in the net result of leaving a dead zone around themselves.

The power to which virtue-words are so related is the power of producing good action, and good desires. But just as poisons, solvents and corrosives do not always operate characteristically, so it could be with virtues.

If P (say arsenic) is a poison it does not follow that P acts as a poison wherever it is found. It is quite natural to say on occasion ‘P does not act as a poison here’ though P is a poison and it is P that is acting here. Similarly courage is not operating as a virtue when the murderer turns his courage, which is a virtue, to bad ends. Not surprisingly the resistance that some of us registered was not to the expression ‘the courage of the murderer’ or to the assertion that what he did ‘took courage’ but rather to the description of that action as an act of courage or a courageous act. It is not that the action could not be so described, but that the fact that courage does not here have its characteristic operation is a reason for finding the description strange.-- Philippa Foot, 'Virtues and Vices', p.16.

Source of this entry: Click here.

For this entry, the thought process that comes to mind for me is fundamental Christianity. It is so easy to profess your beliefs, but the question I have for you is, do you live your life as a virtuous person, or as poisonous person? Can you reconcile your actions with your belief's???


  1. To me it depends. You see I wish i could say that I am always virtuous in my actions, but my actions some times responds to the actions of others. And I have learned that with some people you can not act nice, you have to bit them at their own game. Woa this entry brings me back to something that beth has on her post about relationships. Yes I know now I respond to people differently. And some of them can said that I have acted towards them corrosively, others may even say toxically but believe me when I go that route they had it coming. And I do not believe in christianity, so the christian codes of ethics of eye for an eye does me any good. I believe that you should always outsmart your opponents, and be humble to your love ones.

  2. I struggle with that every day. I believe at the end of each day that I come out on the plus side of things, and can live with my choices. One of the phrases that I use with people is that I mean what I say and I say what I mean.

    For me, that goes for the positive words I use as well as the harsh words I may say. I find it laughable for someone to say that they are a 'harda$$' and for someone to TREAT them like that, only to reveal how sensitive they are. They create an environment that would invite the very treatment that they give out to other, to be visited upon themselves.

    The words you use attract a certain energy to you and your life. If you are often saying negative things then negative things will happen in your life. I have never thought that it happened any other way.

  3. That last line of thinking said it all. Well said dear friend. (Hugs)Indigo

  4. I like the phrase "leaving a dead zone around themselves." There are definitely people who are sort of the black holes of humanity, and I think much of it is related to what Mark wrote about negativity. If a person is so filled with bitterness and anger and hatred, it seems to come off of them in waves...it can infect others around them (and they seem to enjoy sharing the misery), and it can be horrible to be around someone like that. I try my best not to!

  5. I for one, hide, run, resist and shy away from toxic people. I have a tendency to try to help the broken wing people and have learned it sucks the life out of me~
    Your thoughts about Christians are valid with a bit of a double exclamation point at the end~

  6. Mahatma Gandhi was right when he said we need to be the change we want to see in life. Toxins or poisons are not inherently bad, but the effect they have on things around them is destructive, at the very least to biological life. Toxic or poisonous people bring and collect those negative elements to their life for good or ill. The true travesty is the damage they inflict on themselves and others, which is absolutely unnecessary, since human beings are neither toxic nor poisonous at birth.

  7. I have NO TOLERANCE for people who 'talk the talk' of Christianity but do not 'walk the walk'.

    be well...


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