Friday, March 18, 2016

Fearless Courage

I'm writing an article for publication on courage and fear. The part of the article I'm currently working on is to do with 'fearless courage.'

The phrase 'fearless courage' is often used. Many recipients of military honours are awarded their medals for fearless courage and exalted as examples of fearless courage. One of the members of St Kilda's hall of fame is described as possessing fearless courage.

'Fearless' and 'courage' are often used synonymously, so is 'fearless courage' a redundancy?

If courage is defined as acting in spite of fear, how can you have fearless courage when 'fearless' means to have no fear?

William Ian Miller in The Mystery of Courage says that 'it is striking how many of those uses of the word 'fearless' do not pretend to describe the inner state of the actor. They are meant rather to register the awe of the observer.' The same can be said of the word 'courage.'

How many recipients of bravery awards have been asked if they were scared at the time of their 'brave' act?

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