Moral courage involves acting in the service of one’s convictions, in spite of risks of social punishment. I suggest that moral courage also involves a capacity to face others as moral agents, and thus in a manner that does not objectify them. A moral stand can only be taken toward another moral agent. Often, we find ourselves unable to face others in this way, because to do so is frightening, or because we are consumed by blinding anger. But without facing others as moral subjects, we risk moral cowardice on the one hand and moral fanaticism on the other.Comments appreciated, though several people who comment here have already helped a lot, so thanks for the ideas, examples, and references!
I've become increasingly interested in the question of revenge (there are a couple mostly passing references to this in the paper), so I might try to do some more thinking about courage and revenge soon. Stay tuned.
[UPDATE: Minor changes/fixes made 8.11.11. Thanks, DR.]