TED Conversations

Brittney Stewart

Special Education Aide, education

This conversation is closed. Start a new conversation
or join one »

What is the most important virtue to Americans today?

According to a recent article in the NYtimes, charter schools are trying to implement character building into their schools as part of their curriculum. What virtue is the most important to instill in our children?

+1
Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Oct 7 2011: Truth.
    • thumb
      Oct 8 2011: Truth in general or the pursuit of it? It appears to come in many forms.
      • thumb
        Oct 8 2011: The truth in general will lead us to understand that the pursuit of the truth is good. So they seems to be, essentially, the same thing - at least, that's how I understand it, and the reason why I now pursue philosophy.
    • thumb
      Oct 8 2011: I agree Cameron. We live in a society and in a world where telling the truth appears to be some optional or quaint antiquated notion. In reality lies are a heinous thing to do to another person. In a world where we are all trying to navigate through life and count on the feedback from others to help us do that , liars distort the world, undermine choices and can even lead ships of state badly off course.

      Telling the truth is a fundamental responsibility or should be - to your fellow human beings.
      • thumb
        Oct 8 2011: "Fundamental responsibility." That reminds me of Kant's Categorical Imperative - basing moral choice on 'duty':
        "Act only according to that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law."

        If lying is to be accepted, then we accept it as how it should be done.
    • Oct 10 2011: hum, u think so. i acctualy like when people lie....it speaks so much more about who and what they are than a truth. besides what is truth? whose truth? perception of truth....hum, good one though.
      • thumb
        Oct 10 2011: Lying, to me, shows that someone can't handle things that are beyond their own desires - something very selfish. I think telling people the truth shows more about the person than lying.

        However, this conversation isn't about whether or not it opens people up to others, but whether or not it is valuable to the American society.
      • Oct 12 2011: @ Ilijana -

        From the ever quotable Colonel Landa,

        "Facts can be misleading, whereas rumors, true or false, are often very revealing."

        As Nietzsche says, there are "virtues for which we hold our grandfathers in honor -- and at arm's length." Perhaps always telling the truth is one such virtue. Those who insist on being told the truth must not have the eyes to see it for themselves.

        & @ Cameron

        "I think telling people the truth shows more about the person than lying."

        How now?

        Telling the truth is akin to making a photograph of a scene and passing it along untouched. Lying is akin to painting an entirely different scene than reality portrays. Surely, SURELY, you agree that an artist puts more of himself in a painting than in a photograph, no? Truth - as the masses behold it - is actually the elimination of individual input. Think about it - what aspect of yourself could you include in an account of the truth? Conversely - what aspect of yourself could you NOT betray in the web of lies you spin?

        I am supposing you are in favor of the Imperative - being that your arguments seem to be in line with its eradication of subjectivity. Is this the case? I, for one, find it to be the most chaotic and nonsensical dictum ever expressed, even by a German. Consider the third formulation (my absolute favorite) - "Therefore, every rational being must so act as if he were through his maxim always a legislating member in the universal kingdom of ends." What is this man even talking about? And isn't he, in effect, telling you to lie to yourself? For there is no 'universal kingdom of ends' and even if there were, you will never act as a 'legislating member' of it. To pretend otherwise is a contradiction of reality and therefore - a lie. And believe me, such a lie says A LOT about Kant, more so that any 'truth' he ever uttered.

        SEP

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.