The Table Video
Curiosity: Virtue or Vice?
Classic Christian thinkers like St. Augustine rejected curiosity as an intellectual and spiritual vice. But contemporary philosophers and educators often praise it as a virtue. Well, which is it? A virtue or a vice? Philosopher Robert C. Roberts explains one way of looking at curiosity.
Transcript: Curiosity—Virtue or Vice?
If you look at the reasons that the classic, Christian thinkers had for rejecting curiosity as a virtue, you see that they are actually moral, kind of moral criteria. So for example, Augustine thought of curiosity as just a kind of, indiscriminate desire for sensory stimulation and sensational knowledge, maybe gossip and kinds of knowledge that we think are, actually degrade us or are at best, are unimportant, trivial or something.
And so, one of the virtues that an intellectually competent person needs is an ability to discriminate the important matters to know and understand from the unimportant or even corrupting matters.