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Philosophy Walk: On Courage

July 14 @ 9:00 am - 12:00 pm MDT


Walk Details

Most of us are inclined to praise courage in a variety of contexts, from soldiers and first responders going boldly into danger of death; to the moral courage of speaking out, at great personal cost, in the face of social injustice; to confidently facing the dangers and uncertainties of daily life.  But taken as whole, what is courage?  What unites all (or most) of the people or actions that we commonly describe as courageous?  And why are they worthy of our praise and admiration?

In this walk, we’ll unite conceptual analysis — figuring out what courage is, and what its value is — with practical reflection on cultivating courage as part of a flourishing human life.  We’ll look at the interplay between knowledge, judgment, and action in cases of courageous people or moments, and well as the relationship between individual actions and lifelong character.

Taking a cue from Aristotle, we’ll examine various phenomena which are not quite courage, but which resemble courage in some ways, while nonetheless falling short of it.  For example: the “liquid courage” of the drunk person, the false hope of someone who truly doesn’t believe he can fail, and the especially interesting case of a person who acts in ways that appear courageous, but who does so purely from love of honor or fear of shame, rather than a genuine response to the situation at hand.  As we explore these “near misses,” we’ll see how each of them can illuminate some aspect of a genuine courage that would be, without reservation, part of a deep human good.

And finally, we’ll reflect on the place of courage in relation to other basic virtues, as part of a larger vision of human excellence.  This will include some practical reflections on how and why we might cultivate courage in our own lives.

When & Where

This philosophy walk will be led by community philosopher David Nowakowski.


Date: Sunday, July 14th 
Time: 9am – 12pm
Where: At the intersection of S. Raleigh St. & Hillsdale St. (We’ll head out on some connecting trails from there!)

Registration Info

RSVP: RSVP here!
Cost: Free (Donations Appreciated)
Other: Wear weather appropriate attire & comfortable shoes

Walk Leader

David Nowakowski is a philosopher and educator in the Helena area whose professional work is dedicated to helping people of all ages and backgrounds access, understand, and apply the traditions of ancient philosophy to their own lives.  David began studying ancient philosophies and classical languages in 2001, and has continued ever since.  A scholar of the philosophical traditions of the ancient Mediterranean (Greece, Rome, and North Africa) and of the Indian subcontinent, reading Sanskrit, Latin, and classical Greek, he earned his Ph.D. in philosophy from Princeton University in 2014.  His work has appeared in a variety of scholarly journals, including Philosophy East & WestAsian Philosophy, and the Journal of Indian Philosophy, as well as in presentations to academic audiences at Harvard, Columbia University, the University of Toronto, Yale-NUS College in Singapore, and elsewhere. 

After half a decade teaching at liberal arts colleges in the northeast, David chose to leave the academy in order to focus his energies on the transformative value of these ancient philosophical and spiritual traditions in his own life and practice, and on building new systems of education and community learning that will make this rich heritage alive and available to others.


Community Sponsor


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Our philosophy activities are FREE to the community.  While donations are never expected, they are always appreciated and help to keep programs like these going. Donations help to cover activity leader honorariums, implementation, and resource archiving, and more!   If you would like to make a tax-deductible contribution you can do so by clicking here or on the button above.  For those facing more challenging financial circumstances, we ask that you please try to “pay it forward” with acts of kindness for your neighbors and community. 


July 14
9:00 am - 12:00 pm MDT
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S. Raleigh St. & Hillsdale St.
Intersection of S. Raleigh St. & Hillsdale St.
Helena, 59601 United States


Marisa Diaz-Waian
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