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61. 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.
62. 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.
63. 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.
64. 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.
65. 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.
66. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 96 > Issue: 2
Ezra Sullivan The Aims and Arguments of Habits and Holiness: A Précis
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67. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 96 > Issue: 1
David Svoboda Formal Abstraction and its Problems in Aquinas
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Formal abstraction is a key instrument Aquinas employs to secure the possibility of mathematics conceived as a theoretical Aristotelian science. In this concept, mathematics investigates quantitative beings, which are grasped by means of formal abstraction in their necessary, universal, and changeless properties. Based on this, the paper divides into two main parts. In the first part (section II) I explicate Aquinas’s conception of (formal) abstraction against the background of the Aristotelian theory of science and mathematics. In the second part (section III) I present and critically assess the problems associated with formal abstraction in mathematics. With all due respect to Aquinas’s genius, I find his conception of formal abstraction (as well as mathematics) unsatisfactory and list the main reasons for its failure in the conclusion.
68. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 96 > Issue: 1
Elliot Polsky Secondary Substance and Quod Quid Erat Esse: Aquinas on Reconciling the Divisions of “Substance” in the Categories and Metaphysics
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Modern commentators recognize the irony of Aristotle’s Categories becoming a central text for Platonic schools. For similar reasons, these commentators would perhaps be surprised to see Aquinas’s In VII Metaphysics, where he apparently identifies the secondary substance of Aristotle’s Categories with a false Platonic sense of “substance” as if, for Aristotle, only Platonists would say secondary substances are substances. This passage in Aquinas’s commentary has led Mgr. Wippel to claim that, for Aquinas, secondary substance and essence are not the same thing and that Aristotle’s notion of essence is absent from the Categories. This paper—by closely analyzing the apparently contradictory divisions of “substance” in Aquinas’s In V and VII Metaphysics—shows that essence and secondary substance are not altogether distinct for Aquinas. Moreover, when the Categories is viewed by Aquinas as a work of logic, it is found largely to cut across the disputes between Platonism and Aristotelianism.
69. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 96 > Issue: 1
William Matthew Diem Just Pain: Aquinas on the Necessity of Retribution and the Nature of Obligation
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Although it is common in the Catholic moral tradition to hear punishment spoken of as “just” and demanded by reason, it is remarkably difficult to say why reason demands that malefactors suffer or to articulate what is rendered to whom in punishment. The present essay seeks to fill this lacuna by examining Aquinas’s treatment of punishment. After examining several themes found in his work, the paper will conclude that the conceptual key to the reasonableness of punishment is to be found in the norm that demands contrapassum and that this norm is immediately derived from the same moral insight as the Golden Rule. Thus, the paper concludes, the notion of retribution is intimately and inextricably bound up in insights that are foundational to any coherent Christian ethics.
70. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 96 > Issue: 1
Alex Plato, Jonathan Reibsamen The Five Characters at Essay’s End: Re-examining Anscombe’s “Modern Moral Philosophy”
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Anscombe ends her seminal 1958 essay “Modern Moral Philosophy” with a presentation of five characters, each answering an ancient (and contemporary) question as to “whether one might ever need to commit injustice, or whether it won’t be the best thing to do?” Her fifth character is the execrated consequentialist who “shows a corrupt mind.” But who are the first four characters? Do they “show a mind”? And what precisely is the significance (if any) of her presenting those five just then? In this paper, we interpret Anscombe’s essay with an eye to making sense of her character presentation. We argue that the first four characters can be seen to embody the chief negative and positive doctrines of the essay and to thereby represent and charter a pluralistic school of anti-consequentialist ethics. The upshot is something exegetically interesting yet of broader philosophical importance.
71. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 96 > Issue: 1
Jacob J. Andrews Conformed by Praise: Xunzi and William of Auxerre on the Ethics of Liturgy
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The classical Confucian philosopher Xunzi proposed a naturalistic virtue ethics account of ritual: rituals are practices that channel human emotion and desire so that one develops virtues. In this paper I show that William of Auxerre’s Summa de Officiis Ecclesiasticis can be understood as presenting a similar account of ritual. William places great emphasis on the emotional power of the liturgy, which makes participants like the blessed in heaven by developing virtue. In other words, he has a virtue ethics of ritual closely aligned with that of Xunzi. Xunzi’s writings on ritual illuminate and enrich one’s reading of the Summa de Officiis. But unlike Xunzi, William is not a naturalist with regard to ritual: although much of William’s language about the causal power of liturgy can be explained in Xunzian terms, Christian liturgy has an irreducible supernatural element.
book review
72. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 96 > Issue: 1
Bonaventure Chapman Free Will And The Rebel Angels In Medieval Philosophy
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73. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 96 > Issue: 1
Philip J. Harold Phenomenology
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74. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 96 > Issue: 1
David Hershenov The Nature Of Human Persons: Metaphysics and Bioethics
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75. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 96 > Issue: 1
Glenn B. Siniscalchi Taking God Seriously: Two Different Voices
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76. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 96 > Issue: 1
Daniel John Sportiello Beyond The Self: Virtue Ethics And The Problem Of Culture: Essays In Honor Of W. David Solomon
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77. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 96 > Issue: 1
Joshua Taccolini Being Unfolded: Edith Stein On The Meaning Of Being
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78. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 95 > Issue: 4
Gaven Kerr A Reconsideration of Aquinas’s Fourth Way
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Attitudes towards the fourth way differ from incredulity and embarrassment to seeing it as a profound demonstration of God’s existence. Aside from general treatments on all the five ways, the fourth way has received little by way of direct commentary in comparison to the other better known (and arguably better appreciated) ways. In this article I seek to present Aquinas’s fourth way as a way to God which makes use of his general and more familiar metaphysical reasoning. This serves to give the reading of the fourth way as a profound argument for God’s existence, and also to integrate it with the other four ways given the common metaphysical backdrop.
79. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 95 > Issue: 4
Dennis Bray Bonaventure’s I Sentence Argument for the Trinity from Beatitude
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Bonaventure’s Sentence Commentary provides the most comprehensive set of trinitarian arguments to date. This article focuses on just one of them, the one from beatitude. Roughly, beatitude can be thought of as God’s enjoyment of his own, supreme goodness. After a brief rationale of Bonaventure’s speculative project, I assay the concept of beatitude and exposit his four-stage argument. Bonaventure reasons: (i) for a single supreme substance; (ii) for at least two divine persons; (iii) against the possibility for an infinite number of divine persons; (iv) for at least three, and against the possibility of four (or more) divine persons. I show how this line of reasoning is significantly more complex than Bonaventure’s terse summaries initially indicate. My main goal is to explicate the four steps and unpack their main support. Along the way I attend to the argument’s sources, logical progression, and I respond to several concerns.
80. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 95 > Issue: 4
Lawrence Masek The Strict Definition of Intended Effects and Two Questions for Critics
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I present the strict definition of intended effects and pose two questions for its critics: (1) Apart from rationalizing moral intuitions about the craniotomy and other controversial cases, why classify an effect as intended if it does not explain the action? (2) What definition of intended effects can people use to guide their actions? These questions show that broad definitions of intended effects have no basis in action theory and are too vague to guide people’s actions. I suggest that broad definitions seem plausible because people confuse what someone intends and what someone is responsible for causing.