Stanley reminds us that curiosity isn’t a virtue. For Pascal, it’s nothing more than the vanity of beings in love with their own capabilities. It distracts us from the duties that should flow from love of God and each other. Curiosity can easily morph into love of diversity or losing oneself in the pursuit of endless mental diversions. Curiosity properly channeled, though, can lead us to think about who we are and what we’re supposed to do. But the idea that “there’s always more to know” can also lead us to conclude it’s never time to do. The postmodern, conservative view is that curiosity—being a natural capability—could hardly be merely a vice, but it isn’t the true foundation of even intellectual virtue.

Articles by Peter Lawler

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