Thomas M. Osborne Jr. ... Vivarium 32 (1994): 62–71. te Velde, Rude A. “Natura in se ipsa recurva est: Duns Scotus and Aquinas on the Relationship between Nature and Will.” In John Duns Scotus: ... “William of Ockham's Theological Ethics .
Although Elizabeth Anscombe’s work on causation is frequently cited and anthologized, her main arguments have been ignored or misunderstood as havingtheir basis in quantum mechanics or a particular theory of perception. I examine her main arguments and show that they not only work against the Humean causaltheories of her time, but also against contemporary attempts to analyze causation in terms of laws and causal properties. She shows that our ordinary usage does not connect causation with laws, and suggests that philosophers (...) emphasize laws for mostly historical reasons. Moreover, she argues that the core of causation is derivativeness, which is as neglected now as when she wrote. Her focus on derivativeness indicates to us how we can both avoid the position that the causal “because” is truth-functional and yet still hold that causal statements are really explanatory. (shrink)
When viewed in its historical context, Ockham’s moral psychology is distinctive and novel. First, Ockham thinks that the will is free to will for or against any object, and can choose something that is in some sense not even apparently good. The will is free from the intellect’s dictates and from natural inclinations. Second, he emphasizes the will’s independence not only with respect to passions and habits, but also with respect to knowledge, the effects of original sin, grace, and God. (...) Third, Ockham consequently argues that someone is even able to will to be unhappy, and can will another’s happiness more than or even instead of his own. (shrink)
This Element provides an account of Thomas Aquinas's moral philosophy that emphasizes the intrinsic connection between happiness and the human good, human virtue, and the precepts of practical reason. Human beings by nature have an end to which they are directed and concerning which they do not deliberate, namely happiness. Humans achieve this end by performing good human acts, which are produced by the intellect and the will, and perfected by the relevant virtues. These virtuous acts require that the (...) agent grasps the relevant moral principles and uses them in particular cases. (shrink)
Alasdair MacIntyre’s criticism of contemporary politics rests in large part on the way in which the political communities of advanced modernity do not recognize common goals and practices. I shall argue that although MacIntyre explicitly recognizes the influence of Jacques Maritain on his own thought, MacIntyre’s own views are incompatible not only with Maritain’s attempt to develop a Thomistic theory which is compatible with liberal democracy, but also relies on a view of the individual as a part which is related (...) to the whole in a way that is incompatible with Maritain’s understanding of the spiritual individual or person. (shrink)
Although this thesis is denied by much recent scholarship, Ockham holds that the ultimate ground of a moral judgement's truth is a divine command, rather than natural or non-natural properties. God could assign a different moral value not only to every exterior act, but also to loving God. Ockham does allow that someone who has not had access to revelation can make correct moral judgements. Although her right reason dictates what God in fact commands, she need not know that God (...) so commands. Ockham's divine-command theory plays an important role in the shift away from a nature-based ethics, and it anticipates contemporary problems concerning truth in meta-ethics. (shrink)
I argue that Diego Alvarez and Thomas de Lemos through their participation in the De auxiliis controversy developed and defended Cajetan’s view of the causation of sin in such a way that they were able to defend the predetermination of the material aspect of sin while at the same time assimilating important aspects from his critics. It is important to recognize that Lemos and his associates hold both that the premotion of sin’s material aspect is not necessarily connected with (...) the Catholic faith and that it is knowable by natural reason. Even though they argued that other Molinist theses should be condemned as heretical, they held that this rejection of the Dominican thesis concerning sin is simply wrong but not heretical. First, I consider Cajetan’s position. Second, I consider the reception of this position by Medina, Zumel, and Báñez. Third, I show that Alvarez and Lemos make distinctions that allow them to incorporate the insights of both Cajetan and his critics. (shrink)
The proliferation of new accounts of infused and acquired virtue in Thomas has brought much welcome attention to his understanding of the relationship between nature and grace. But the very originality of these interpretations has raised a multitude of unanswered questions and difficulties. For any of these accounts to be plausible, they must be accompanied by an account of the way in which Thomas thinks that the specifically one virtue of prudence considers the matter of all virtues, and (...) his statement that such prudence depends on a correct order to the ultimate end. The current disagreement over acquired moral virtue cannot be resolved until these related disagreements are adequately addressed. (shrink)
I argue that the essence that is actualized by existence is the essence that is a determinate nature in an individual and not the essence absolutely considered. This essence in individuals has a potential being that is actualized by existence. This thesis has important consequences for the essence/existence distinction in Thomas Aquinas.
James of Viterbo’s ethical writings focus mostly upon happiness and virtue. His basic approach is Aristotelian. Although he is not a Thomist in the sense that some of his contemporary Dominicans were, he frequently quotes or paraphrases Thomas while arguing for his own positions, especially in response to views defended by such figures as Giles of Rome, Godfrey of Fontaines, and Henry of Ghent. James departs from Thomas by arguing that all acquired virtue is based on an ordered (...) self-love. James’s emphasis on self-love is in turn supported by his own understanding of willing and happiness, which involves a Neoplatonic account of the ratio boni as consisting in unity. Consequently, many aspects of James’s Aristotelian moral thought are ultimately based upon an understanding of the good that has roots in Neoplatonic authors. (shrink)
Thomas Aquinas (d. 1274) held two theses that might seem incompatible to contemporary readers, namely 1) that an act of faith is reasonable even by the standards of human reason without grace, and 2) that this act surpasses the power of such unaided human reason. In the later Middle Ages, many theologians who were not Thomists held that someone who performs acts of infused faith must also perform such acts through an acquired faith that is based on natural reason. (...) I argue that debates with Protestants and Jesuits caused Dominican Thomists to clarify and develop Thomas Aquinas’s understanding of the traditional position that acts of faith surpass natural human abilities in such a way as to reject the older non-Thomistic understanding of acquired faith. This enquiry will show that major early modern disputes over the authority of Scripture and the source of faith are at least partially rooted in differences among medieval scholastic theologians. Although the Protestants and the Jesuits adhere to distinct confessions, their theological views on faith are based in part on an acceptance of or reaction to Scotistic and nominalist medieval views. Thomists drew on the same resources to respond to non-Thomistic medieval theologians, Protestants, and Jesuits. (shrink)
Some philosophers seem to argue that faith is or should be produced by arguments, whereas others describe faith as non-rational or even irrational. In the Summa Theologiae, Thomas states that arguments and miracles can show that faith is reasonable, even though unaided reason on its own cannot produce an act of faith. The insufficiency of reason for faith is a necessary condition of faith’s freedom and merit. The explanation of this insufficiency lies in the formal object of faith, which (...) makes the virtue and its acts essentially supernatural. Faith’s principles, namely the articles of faith, are seen to be true only by God and the blessed in heaven. Those who have faith assent to these revealed principles not though their natural ability, but through the “light of faith,” which is somehow similar to the “light of reason” by which humans assent to principles that are known through their terms. Faith’s supernatural character explains why reason is properly applied to faith only after one already possesses faith. It also explains how faith can be more certain than other intellectual habits, even though great uncertainty might arise on account of the believer’s imperfection. (shrink)
This dissertation uses the context of the thirteenth-century debate about the natural love of God over self to clarify the difference between the ethical system of Thomas Aquinas and that of John Duns Scotus. Although Thomas and Scotus both believe that such love is possible, they disagree about the reasons for this position. ;Early thirteenth-century thinkers, such as William of Auxerre and Philip the Chancellor, were the first to distinguish between a natural love of God and charity, which (...) is a love assisted by grace. Thomas Aquinas' approach to the issue is original. According to Thomas, since human beings are part of a political whole and also part of a whole whose good is God, it follows that they have a natural inclination to love the common good and God more than themselves. Although Thomas' position and his corresponding interpretation of Aristotle were upheld by Godfrey of Fontaines and Giles of Rome, it was severely criticized by James of Viterbo, who argued that the part always seeks its own good. ;John Duns Scotus makes the same criticism of the part/whole argument, although Scotus emphasizes that the human will is free to act against the natural inclination for self-perfection. Scotus clearly distinguishes between the will and nature. ;The conclusion of the dissertation argues that the debate prefigures the modern shift sway from an ethics based upon natural inclination along with the modern tendency to understand morality as a limitation of self-interest. Moreover, it is argued that modern Thomists need to take into account Thomas' original emphasis on natural inclination and the priority of the common good. (shrink)
The essay on thirteenth-century ethics will trace the history of three major themes in moral philosophy and theology, namely the morality of individual acts, virtue, and happiness. Both Peter Lombard’s rejection of Abelard’s focus on intention and the Fourth Lateran Council’s remarks on confession caused thinkers such as William of Auvergne and Philip the Chancellor to develop a way of classifying acts and determining responsibility for such acts. Thomas Aquinas and clarified and changed the technical vocabulary but adopted much (...) from their views on knowledge and moral responsibility. A similar development took place in the understanding of virtue. Philip and others discussed the nature and unity of the virtues in the context of a patristic inheritance that was largely influence by Stoicism. Thomas Aquinas was among the first to discuss the connection between specifically distinct virtues, bringing to bear Aristotle’s description of prudence in Book VI of the Nicomachean Ethics. Moreover, whereas previous thinkers had primarily distinguished between political and theological virtues, Thomas distinguished more carefully between both infused and acquired moral virtues, and theological virtues that are only infused. He explained that the intellectual virtues, although better in themselves, are inferior to the moral virtues when it comes to making a good human being. Debates over the role of happiness in ethics were related to such distinctions. Early generations had focused primarily on the role that moral and theological virtue plays in its role as leading to happiness in heaven. In contrast, some Aristotelians seem to emphasize the priority of intellectual virtue over moral virtue, and consequently the life of the philosopher over the life of the citizen. Thomas Aquinas distinguished between the different perfections of intellectual and moral virtue, and distinguished carefully between the imperfect happiness of this life and the perfect happiness of the next. Although Thomas brought these issues together in an admirable synthesis, few of his contemporaries thought that he had successfully addressed these issues. (shrink)
_The Structures of the Life-World _is the final focus of twenty-seven years of Alfred Schutz's labor, encompassing the fruits of his work between 1932 and his death in 1959. This book represents Schutz's seminal attempt to achieve a comprehensive grasp of the nature of social reality. Here he integrates his theory of relevance with his analysis of social structures. Thomas Luckmann, a former student of Schutz's, completed the manuscript for publication after Schutz's untimely death.