Prudence  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Prudence (lat.:prudentia) is classically considered to be a virtue, and indeed, one of the Cardinal Virtues. The word comes from Old French prudence (13th century), from Latin prudentia foresight, sagacity, contraction of providentia foresight. It is often associated with Wisdom, Insight, and Knowledge. In this case, the virtue is the ability to judge between virtuous and vicious actions, not only in a general sense, but with regard to appropriate actions at a given time and place. Although prudence itself does not perform any actions, and is concerned solely with knowledge, all virtues had to be regulated by it. Distinguishing when acts are courageous, as opposed to reckless or cowardly, for instance, was an act of prudence. This is why it is classified as a cardinal which is to say pivotal virtue.

Although prudence would be applied to any such judgment, the more difficult tasks, which distinguish a person as prudent, are those in which various goods have to be weighed against each other, as when a person is determining what would be best to give charitable donations, or how to punish a child so as to prevent repeating an offense.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Prudence" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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