To govern oneself with careful regard to the best course of action to reach wisely-acquired goals.

Complementary virtues

This one has undergone some linguistic shifts:

  • The virtue of phrónēsis (practical wisdom) is often translated to the English word “prudence” in older works.
  • The Latin prudentia (one of the four Cardinal Virtues) can be something like rationality or foresight or wisdom.
  • In current popular use, “prudence” more resembles caution or a conservative skepticism towards innovation (and sometimes even the vice of overcautiousness).

Contrasting vices

  • carelessness
  • cunning (a sort of false prudence)
  • imprudence
  • recklessness

Virtues possibly in tension


How to acquire or strengthen it


Notes and links

Mentioned elsewhere

Inspirational quotes

  • “A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.” (Proverbs 22:3)
  • “The most decisive actions of our life — I mean those that are most likely to decide the whole course of our future — are, more often than not, unconsidered.” —Andre Gide