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Displaying: 11-20 of 28 documents

session iii: virtue and politics
11. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association: Volume > 88
Michael P. Krom Civic Virtue: Aquinas on Piety, Observance, and Religion
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This paper articulates Aquinas’s account of the duties citizens have toward the nation, focused specifically on the virtues of piety and observance. In the first section, I discuss justice as the foundation of good citizenship. In the second, I delineate the acts of justice which primarily orient citizens toward serving the nation, focusing specifically on piety and observance. Finally, in the third section I reflect on how religion, or the virtue by which humans render proper worship to God, has a moderating effect on what we owe to the nation. Reverence for political authorities easily becomes state idolatry unless a strong religious commitment to loving God first and neighbor second is present among the citizenry. Thus, religion is shown to be a bulwark of freedom from tyranny.
12. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association: Volume > 88
Mary Elizabeth Tetzlaff The Peculiar Virtues of the Rulers and the Ruled in Politics III.4
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At the end of Book III, chapter 4 of Aristotle’s Politics, Aristotle identifies the virtue peculiar to the excellent ruler as prudence. The ruled’s complementary virtue is true opinion. All the other virtues are held in common, albeit in different forms. Why these habits? The answer to this question lies in Aristotle’s discussion of the good man and the serious citizen in III.4, and of the rule of law in III.16.
session iv: history of philosophy
13. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association: Volume > 88
Mark K. Spencer Habits, Potencies, and Obedience: Experiential Evidence for Thomistic Hylomorphism
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Thomistic hylomorphism holds that human persons are composed of matter and a form that is also a subsistent entity. Some object that nothing can be both a form and a subsistent entity, and some proponents of Thomistic hylomorphism respond that our experience, as described by phenomenology, provides us with evidence that this theory is true. Some might object that that would be more easily seen to be a good way to defend Thomistic hylomorphism if the scholastics themselves had provided such evidence. I show how some scholastics do give evidence for Thomistic hylomorphism from their descriptions of our experience of forming and using habits. I consider their account of experiences of different acts of habit formation and exercise, and of experiences founded upon different kinds of potencies and obedience to reason that underlie their habits. Then I show that these experiences, when reasoned about in an effect to cause manner, provide evidence for Thomistic hylomorphism, and that the objection fails.
14. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association: Volume > 88
M. V. Dougherty Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, Concordia, and the Canon Law Tradition: On the Habits and Dispositions of Renaissance Exegetes
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Giovanni Pico della Mirandola (1463–1494) is best known for his Oratio, one of many works containing his promise to prove that the philosophies of Plato and Aristotle are in agreement. Pico never fulfilled this promise, however, and commentators have at times derided Pico’s concordist project. The present paper argues that Pico’s notion of concordia was at least partly inspired by a jurisprudential habit derived from his early training in canon law. After examining Pico’s explicit but dispersed statements on concordia, I then consider the circumstantial evidence for a jurisprudential origin to Pico’s project. As the habits and dispositions of Renaissance exegetes differed significantly from those of present-day interpreters of the history of philosophy, there is merit in looking beyond traditional disciplinary boundaries to understand Pico’s attempted concordia of Plato and Aristotle. An appreciation of this context mitigates the negative assessments of his enterprise.
session v: habit and ethics
15. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association: Volume > 88
Mathew. T. Lu Hexis within Aristotelian Virtue Ethics
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In Book II, Chapter 5 of the Nicomachean Ethics Aristotle famously identifies the virtues as hexeis (sing. hexis). Like so many Greek philosophical terms of art, hexis admits of many translations; recent scholarly choices have included “habit,” “disposition,” “state,” “active condition.” In this paper, I argue that some of these translations have tended to obscure the active and causal role that hexeis play in Aristotle’s theory of moral action. This, in turn, has led at least some critics to misunderstand the Aristotelian virtue ethics tradition and mischaracterize virtue ethics as not properly action guiding. Ultimately, seeing the true significance of Aristotle’s claim that the virtues, both moral and intellectual, are hexeis helps us recognize just how radically different the Aristotelian conceptions of practical reason and moral action are from with those typically held by adherents of the alternative theories of normative ethics.
16. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association: Volume > 88
Paul Kucharski On the Habit of Seeing Persons
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In Existence and the Existent, Jacques Maritain speaks about the difficulty of knowing persons as subjects. Typically we know persons as objects, or “from without,” and this explains why we describe people as instantiations of various qualities that can be shared in common with others. But according to Maritain, “To be known as object . . . is to be severed from oneself and wounded in one’s identity. It is to always be unjustly known.” In this paper, I consider the epistemological means by which knowing persons as subjects is possible. I argue that we can find parallels between knowing persons and what Maritain refers to as the “intuition of being” (the appreciation of existence as a distinct metaphysical principle), and that reflecting on these parallels can help us to see a solution to the problem of knowing persons—just as the act of existence (or esse) is not known through a concept, but through a judgment that separates what a thing is from the act by which it exists, so too, I argue, one’s subjectivity is known not through a concept but through a judgment that separates one’s shareable qualities from the self/person underlying these qualities.
session vi: passions in morality
17. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association: Volume > 88
Elizabeth A. Murray Compunction and Passion: Two Moments of Moral Conversion
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This paper is a critical examination of Lonergan’s notion of moral conversion. Conversion in general is described as a mode of self-transcendence and distinguished from development. Then moral conversion is contrasted with the two other basic forms of conversion, intellectual and religious. Next, I propose that there are two distinct moments of moral conversion: a negative moment of rational compunction, which is more Kantian in nature, and a positive moment of passionate transcendence, which is consonant with Scheler’s value ethics. I draw on philosophical accounts of the initial awakening of moral consciousness, and argue that it is possible to make this first movement yet fail to make the second movement.
18. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association: Volume > 88
Leonard Ferry Sorting Out Reason’s Relation to the Passions in the Moral Theory of Aquinas
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This essay challenges a growing consensus among Aquinas scholars who attribute to him a pro-passion attitude, linking his virtue theory to accounts of emotion that see the emotions in a primarily positive light. There are good reasons for thinking Aquinas far more skeptical of the role to be played by emotion in the virtuous life—indeed, one can safely argue, in agreement with Aquinas, that the emotions are often threats to and so in need of control by the virtues (rather than as merely their supports). I focus on the ideal of reason’s control (IRC) over the emotions in the essay in contrast with the work of Robert Miner whose understanding of Aquinas on the passions and virtues tends to downplay the dominating role that reason plays in the moral theory of Aquinas. For Aquinas IRC is central to the normativity of the virtues that relate to the emotions. In contrast, Miner appears to minimize the need for the emotions to be controlled, which entails a certain elevation of the emotions to a nearly co-equal status with reason in Aquinas’s moral theory. Miner adopts two argumentative strategies to achieve this valorization of emotion in Aquinas, but I find both exegetically inaccurate and experientially deficient.
session vii: two defenses of virtue
19. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association: Volume > 88
Justin Matchulat Defending Virtue against the Situationist Challenge: Aristotle, Aquinas, and Contemporary Metaphysicians on Degreed Traits
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My essay addresses the situationist critique of virtue ethics. I defend a rarity of virtue response to this critique, but blunt its tip by developing an account of degrees of virtue. On this account, full virtue will indeed be a statistical rarity, but lesser degrees of virtue more common. I argue for this degreed conception of virtue both on historical and systematic grounds: historically, I show that Aristotle and especially Aquinas thought of virtue as being the sort of property that admits of degrees; and systematically, I draw from recent work in metaphysics on dispositions that challenges a simple counterfactual account of dispositions, and allows for gradable dispositions.
20. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association: Volume > 88
Lindsay K. Cleveland A Defense of Aristotelian Magnanimity against the Pride Objection with the Help of Aquinas
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I defend a broadly Aristotelian account of the virtue of magnanimity against the objection that Aristotelian magnanimity is an expression of the vice of pride and so cannot be a virtue. I identify the essential features of magnanimity on Aristotle’s account and argue that Aquinas preserves these essential features while identifying additional necessary conditions of the virtue of magnanimity that illuminate the virtue and show it to be incompatible with pride. I also show where two other attempts to defend Aquinas’s development of Aristotelian magnanimity against the pride objection fail.