Moral Action as Human Action: End and Object in Aquinas in Comparison with Abelard, Lombard, Albert, and Scotus
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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The Thomist 67 (1):73–94 (2003)
This article examines different medieval explanations of the causes of moral goodness, principally the end of the agent and the object of the action. Special attention is given to Thomas Aquinas, who considers the end (that which is willed) to be not only the origin of moral goodness, but also its main criterion. Peter Abelard, whose ethics I argue to be non-subjectivist, had developed a similar theory, though the vocabulary he uses is not very refined. By contrast, for Albert and Duns Scotus, the end is accidental to the moral act. The importance of this study is to shed light on the subjective and objective criteria by which to evaluate the morality of actions.
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