Aquinas on Moral Progress

Tobias Hoffmann (Catholic University of America)

Date & Time:

Wednesday, November 4, 2015
3:30 PM - 5:00 PM


JRC 247
University of St. Thomas
2115 Summit Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55105

(aimed at upper level philosophy majors and minors)

In the Secunda pars of the Summa theologiae, Aquinas describes in remarkable detail the characteristics of numerous moral virtues. He says quite little, however, about how the virtues are attained. How can the vicious, who are content with their lifestyle, even start wanting to become virtuous? How can the morally weak, who are aware of the moral ideal but fail to act accordingly, overcome their weakness? To what extent can they be assisted in making moral progress? How can the vicious and the morally weak attain correct practical knowledge, and how efficient is it in making them act accordingly? Aquinas’s answers are found throughout the Secunda pars, for example in his discussions of law, fraternal correction, prudence, the connection of the virtues, and free choice.

(A research paper, in preparation of a Critical Guide to the Summa theologiae)

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