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”


For more information, contact:

UofT Media Relations