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Temperance is the virtue that moderates the desire for pleasure. It regulates every form of enjoyment that comes from the exercise of human volition, and includes all those virtues, especially humility, that restrain the inordinate movements of our desires or appetites.
In particular, temperance is the obverse of fortitude. Where fortitude limits rashness and fear in the case of major pain that threatens to unbalance human nature, temperance limits inordinate desire for major pleasures. Since pleasure follows from all natural activity, the most intense pleasure follows from the most natural activities, particularly the pleasures of food and drink, and of the marital act.
Temperance is one of the four cardinal virtues; the others are prudence, justice, and fortitude.
Temperance is also is one of the seven capital virtues. The others are humility, liberality, brotherly love, meekness, chastity, and diligence. They are called capital because all the virtues we strive to practice are said to flow from these seven capital virtues. Temperance is opposed to the capital sin of gluttony.
Temperance is also related to the virtue of continence.
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