Media Releases

U of T professor talks about the necessity of virtue in televised lecture on TVO’s “Big Ideas”

January 12, 2011

TORONTO, ON – A lec­ture enti­tled “The Neces­si­ty of Virtue” by behav­ioral expert Pro­fes­sor Jor­dan Peter­son of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to will be aired on TVO’s “Big Ideas” pro­gram this Sat­ur­day and Sun­day.

Virtue and ethics is not a field of study; it is a mode of being upon which all fields of study – indeed, all human endeav­our – rests. To the degree that indi­vid­u­als are involved in net­works of rela­tion­ships where virtue is absent, they are tor­tured and tor­ment­ed and unable to find firm ground. Lack of virtue makes peo­ple ill. Vir­tu­ous rela­tion­ships, includ­ing clin­i­cal rela­tion­ships, pro­vide a forum where peo­ple can tell the truth, and this can be cura­tive, psy­cho­log­i­cal­ly and phys­i­cal­ly. Virtue helps peo­ple deal with the most fun­da­men­tal fea­ture of being: suf­fer­ing.

It is dif­fi­cult for mod­ern peo­ple to believe that virtue, as such, exists, because of the meta­phys­i­cal and even reli­gious over­tones asso­ci­at­ed with term. It is per­haps eas­i­er to believe in evil, par­tic­u­lar­ly giv­en the hor­ri­fy­ing geno­ci­dal events of the twen­ti­eth cen­tu­ry. How­ev­er, if the nature of evil is ana­lyzed in suf­fi­cient depth, the oppo­site, the nature of virtue, can be seen to stand out in stark con­trast. Evil is the desire to pro­duce suf­fer­ing for its own sake. Virtue, by con­trast, is the attempt to live a life that elim­i­nates the temp­ta­tion towards that venge­ful desire, by jus­ti­fy­ing the suf­fer­ing lim­it­ed human being nec­es­sar­i­ly engen­ders.


WHAT: The Neces­si­ty of Virtue: a lec­ture by Pro­fes­sor Jor­dan Peter­son

WHEN: Sat­ur­day, Jan­u­ary 15, 5 p.m., and Sun­day, Jan­u­ary 16 at 5 p.m.

WHERE: Air­ing on the TVO pro­gram “Big Ideas”


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