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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: Moral Virtue

Aquinas: Moral Virtue

(p.516) 20 Aquinas: Moral Virtue
The Development of Ethics: Volume 1


Oxford University Press

Thomas Aquinas' account of the will, freedom, and happiness makes room for virtues as expressions of free will. Rational agents share a schematic conception of the end. Deliberation must consider the different ends that constitute the ultimate end. These are questions to which virtuous and vicious people give different answers that explain their different choices. These features of the will and of freedom explain why the virtues involve practical reason and deliberation. Aquinas also appeals to his conception of the will to explain why the virtues involve more than rational desire. Once one understands the nature of the passions and the will, one can see how the passions may agree or disagree with the will, and how the will may guide or neglect the passions. The right form of agreement and guidance depends on the moral virtues.

Keywords:   Thomas Aquinas, will, freedom, happiness, free will, rationality, moral virtues, practical reason, deliberation

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