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articles
1. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 96 > Issue: 3
Catherine A. Nolan A Functional Alternative to Radical Capacities: Critiquing Lee and Grisez
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Among those who adopt Aristotle’s definition of the human person as a rational animal, Patrick Lee and Germain Grisez argue that whole brain death is the death of the human person. Even if a living organism remains, it is no longer a human person. They argue this because they define natural kinds by their radical capacities (the capacity to act or the capacity to develop a further capacity). A human person is therefore a being with a capacity for rational acts, and an individual having suffered whole brain death no longer has any such capacity. I present two objections to the radical capacities argument: first, that it fails in defining natural kinds, and second, that it misrepresents Aristotle. Aristotle defines natural kinds not by their capacities but by their functions. A brain-dead individual, I argue, is still a rational animal, but an unhealthy one that is unable to function.
2. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 96 > Issue: 3
Agustín Echavarría Can a Metaphysically Perfect God Have Moral Virtues and Duties? Re-reading Aquinas
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Contemporary philosophers of religion usually depict God as a responsible moral agent with virtues and obligations. This picture seems to be incompatible with the metaphysically perfect being of classical theism. In this paper I will defend the claim, based on a reading of Thomas Aquinas’s thought, that there is no such incompatibility. I will present Aquinas’s arguments that show that we can attribute to God not only moral goodness in general, but also some moral virtues in a strict sense, such as justice and mercy. I will show why for Aquinas we can say that God has moral duties toward Himself and toward creatures. I will explain how for Aquinas God’s moral duties are not absolute, but conditionally necessitated. Finally, I will show how on Aquinas’s view there is no contradiction in saying that every act of God is, simultaneously, an act of justice and a supererogatory act of mercy.
3. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 96 > Issue: 3
Tucker Sigourney The Charity Account of Forgiving
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In this paper, I argue that the dominant contemporary accounts of forgiving do not capture what forgiving most centrally is. I spend the first parts of the paper trying to elucidate what it is that these accounts miss about forgiving, and to explain why I think they miss it. I spend the latter parts of the paper suggesting an alternative, which I call “the charity account.” This account draws much of its theoretical framing from the work of Thomas Aquinas, presenting forgiving as something importantly volitional and essentially loving.
4. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 96 > Issue: 3
R. James Lisowski To Pardon what Conscience Dreads: Revisiting Max Scheler’s Phenomenology of Repentance
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This article will examine the religious phenomenology of Max Scheler as it is found in his essay on repentance. In outlining Scheler’s understanding of repentance, I shall note his attempt at defining the phenomenon, as well as the presuppositions to and outcomes of this religious act. With this foundation laid, I shall then offer two critiques. First, Scheler’s rendering of repentance limps in not accounting for the cyclical and repeatable nature of repentance, to which human experience and Scheler’s own broader philosophy attest. Second, Scheler’s essay does not consider the role of other persons both in leading one to repentance and in completing the process. As with the first critique, both human experience and Scheler’s own personalist philosophy testify to the necessary role of other persons. These lacunae detract from the otherwise rich phenomenological account.
5. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 96 > Issue: 3
Nathaniel B. Taylor Substances in Subjects: Instantiation and Existence in Avicenna
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In an effort to refute Avicenna’s real distinction between essence and existence, Averroes argues for an Instantiation Analysis of existence which thinks of existence not as an accidental addition to an essence, but rather as the recognition that there is an instance in extramental reality which matches a concept in the mind of a knower. In this study, I argue that Averroes’s Instantiation Analysis fails to refute Avicenna’s real distinction by showing that Avicenna himself endorses the Instantiation Analysis and, in fact, makes use of it to motivate his real distinction. To show this, I review several texts where Avicenna makes the puzzling claim that substances are found to be in subjects. These texts reveal how Avicenna discovers the real distinction with Aristotle’s help—not, as Averroes relates, against the view of Aristotle.
disputed questions
6. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 96 > Issue: 3
Paul A. Macdonald Jr. Expanding the Domain of Justice to Include Animals and Animal Rights
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7. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 96 > Issue: 3
William Matthew Diem Why Animals Have No Rights
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8. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 96 > Issue: 3
Paul A. Macdonald Jr. Animal Subjects and Animal Rights: A Response to William Matthew Diem
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9. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 96 > Issue: 3
William Matthew Diem Reply to Macdonald
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book reviews
10. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 96 > Issue: 3
John Macias Love And Politics: Persistent Human Desires as a Foundation for Liberation
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11. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 96 > Issue: 3
Allison Krile Thornton Atonement and the Death of Christ: An Exegetical, Historical, and Philosophical Exploration
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12. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 96 > Issue: 3
Charles Duke Believing Philosophy: A Guide to Becoming a Christian Philosopher
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introduction
13. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 96 > Issue: 2
Brandon Dahm, Alina Beary Introduction: Special Issue on Contemporary Thomistic Psychology
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articles
14. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 96 > Issue: 2
Daniel D. De Haan A Heuristic for Thomist Philosophical Anthropology: Integrating Commonsense, Experiential, Experimental, and Metaphysical Psychologies
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In this study, I outline a heuristic for Thomist philosophical anthropology. In the first part, I introduce the major heuristics employed by Aquinas to establish the objects, operations, powers, and nature of his anthropology. I then identity major lacunae in his anthropology. In the second part, I show how an integrated approach to commonsense, experiential, experimental, and metaphysical psychologies can fill these lacunae and contribute to the enquiries of a contemporary Thomist philosophical anthropology.
15. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 96 > Issue: 2
Timothy Pawl, Sarah Schnitker Christian Moral Wisdom, Character Formation, and Contemporary Psychology
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Consider the advice for growth in virtue from the Christian Moral Wisdom tradition and contemporary psychology. What is the relation between the outputs of these sources? We present some of the common moral wisdom from the Christian tradition, spelling out the nuance and justification given for the suggestions. We next canvas contemporary psychological findings to discover the evidential relation they bear toward such advice. Although numerous psychological studies might be provided as evidence, we have chosen literatures we believe are most relevant, primarily from personality, social, and positive psychology. Is current evidence set against these old exhortations? Moreover, if contemporary psychology does support Christian Moral Wisdom, does it support it for the same reasons as given by the proponents of Christian Moral Wisdom? We conclude that contemporary psychology does generally support ancient Christian Moral Wisdom in the instances we discuss but with some important caveats or conditions.
16. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 96 > Issue: 2
Heidi M. Giebel What Moral Exemplars Can Teach Us About Virtue, Psychology, and Ourselves
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In this article, I discuss ethical lessons we can learn from the stories and beliefs of moral exemplars—and how these insights can complement and extend the knowledge we gain through theoretical study. First, exemplars teach us psychological lessons about the way in which virtue is developed and expressed: e.g., about role modeling and post-traumatic growth. Second, they teach us philosophical lessons about the nature of virtue itself and of particular ethical virtues: e.g., about how virtuous people deliberate and how they perceive the mean of virtue. Third, exemplars’ stories teach us personal lessons about our own lives and character: e.g., about how far we are from acting or even thinking like virtuous people—and how much better our lives would be if we were genuinely virtuous. I conclude by discussing an ethical puzzle moral exemplars have not helped me solve: apparent disunity of the virtues.
17. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 96 > Issue: 2
Anne Jeffrey, Krista Mehari Surprising Empirical Directions for Thomistic Moral Psychology: Social Information Processing and Aggression Research
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One of the major contemporary challenges to Thomistic moral psychology is that it is incompatible with the most up-to-date psychological science. Here Thomistic psychology is in good company, targeted along with most virtue-ethical views by philosophical Situationism, which uses replicated psychological studies to suggest that our behaviors are best explained by situational pressures rather than by stable traits (like virtues and vices). In this essay we explain how this body of psychological research poses a much deeper threat to Thomistic moral psychology in particular. For Thomistic moral psychology includes descriptive claims about causal connections between certain cognitive processes and behaviors, even independent of whether those processes emerge from habits like virtues. Psychological studies of correlations between these can provide evidence against those causal claims. We offer a new programmatic response to this deeper challenge: empirical studies are relevant only if they investigate behaviors under intentional descriptions, such that the correlations discovered are between cognition and what Aquinas calls human acts. Psychological research on aggression already emphasizes correlations between cognition and intentional behavior, or human acts, and so is positioned to shed light on how well Thomistic moral psychology fits with empirical data. Surprisingly, Aquinas’s views have quite a lot in common with a leading model of aggression, the social information processing (SIP) model. We close by suggesting how we might examine claims of Thomistic moral psychology from an empirical perspective further using research on social information processing and aggression.
18. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 96 > Issue: 2
Brandon Dahm, Matthew Breuninger Virtue and the Psychology of Habit
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An exciting trend in virtue ethics is its engagement with empirical psychology. Virtue theorists have connected virtue to various constructs in empirical psychology. The strategy of grounding virtue in the psychological theory of habit, however, has yet to be fully explored. Recent decades of psychological research have shown that habits are an indispensable feature of human life, and virtues and habits have a number of similarities. In this paper, we consider whether virtues are psychological habits (i.e., habits as understood by the field of psychology). After some background to frame the interaction between the two disciplines, we explain the predominant account of habit in psychology, which we call “standard psychological habit,” in the next section. We then consider Servais Pinckaers’s objections that virtue cannot be a habit and conclude that standard psychological habits cannot be virtues. Finally, we argue that another psychological account of habits, goal-directed habits, withstand Pinckaers’s objections and provide a promising construct for understanding virtue.
19. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 96 > Issue: 2
Alina Beary Dual Process Theory: A Philosophical Review
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From experience, we know that some cognitive processes are effortless and automatic (or nearly automatic), while others are hard and deliberate. Dual process (DP) accounts of human cognition explain these differences by positing two qualitatively distinct types of cognitive processes within the human mind—types that cannot be reduced to each other. Because DP constructs are bound to show up in discourse on human cognition, decision-making, morality, and character formation, moral philosophers should take DP accounts seriously. Here, I provide an overview of the current state of DP accounts—their basic tenets, major concepts, and the various models of the DP framework—and note some of its more salient criticisms from the psychological research community. Finally, I show that DP accounts’ commitment to a real qualitative distinction between rational and non-rational human behavior puts them at odds with a Thomistic/Aristotelian view of practical rationality.
20. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 96 > Issue: 2
Ezra Sullivan The Aims and Arguments of Habits and Holiness: A Précis
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