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The Development of Ethics: Volume 1From Socrates to the Reformation$
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Terence Irwin

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780198242673

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198242673.001.0001

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Aquinas: The Ultimate End

Aquinas: The Ultimate End

Chapter:
(p.492) (p.493) 19 Aquinas: The Ultimate End
Source:
The Development of Ethics: Volume 1
Author(s):

TERENCE IRWIN

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198242673.003.0019

Thomas Aquinas' claim that the will necessarily takes the ultimate end as its object is not simply a statement of psychological necessity; it is not comparable. Aquinas' description of an ultimate end offers a partial definition of a will. If one could show that an agent's desires were not arranged and modified in the light of some conception of an ultimate end, one would thereby have shown that the agent is not rational and has no will. Aquinas' claim that human beings have wills, therefore, does not follow from the mere fact that human beings have desires, or even from the fact that human beings are capable of influencing them in some ways by deliberation. In claiming that one has will, he claims that one's desire and deliberation have the structure that relies on a comprehensive ultimate end.

Keywords:   Thomas Aquinas, ultimate end, will, desires, deliberation, rationality, human beings

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