Ends of the Moral Virtues and the First Principles of Practical Reason in Thomas Aquinas (Analecta Gregoriana)

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9788878392304: Ends of the Moral Virtues and the First Principles of Practical Reason in Thomas Aquinas (Analecta Gregoriana)

How do ordinary people come to know what is virtuous? Do our moral convictions merely reflect our cultural background and upbringing, or do we somehow understand what is virtuous by ourselves and in a failsafe manner? Thomas Aquinas believes that we do. In his view practical reason is guided by our natural knowledge of the end of the moral virtues. The ends of the moral virtues pre-exist in practical reason (Summa theologiae II-II.47.6-7). This book delves into this argument, its historical background, and its implications for Aquinas' account of the cognitive foundations of deliberation. For Thomas the naturally known, overarching ends of the moral virtues and human life are love for God, self and others. They are first principles of practical reason. This order of love determines the content, logic and workings of natural law. In this way, Aquinas not only develops a compelling account of natural law, but also bridges the gap between natural law and virtue. The fundamental content of natural law is tied up with the shape and structure of the moral virtues. Aquinas' innovative wedding of Aristotelian and Augustinian accounts of deliberation constitutes an important chapter within mediaeval moral philosophy. It can also contribute much to contemporary reflection on practical reason, natural law and virtue ethics.

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Farrell, D.
Published by Gregorian Univ Pr (2012)
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