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Ethics as a Work of CharityThomas Aquinas and Pagan Virtue$
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David Decosimo

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780804790635

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804790635.001.0001

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Honest Goods

Honest Goods

Chapter:
(p.177) 7 Honest Goods
Source:
Ethics as a Work of Charity
Author(s):

David Decosimo

Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:10.11126/stanford/9780804790635.003.0008

Aside from Summa Theologiae I.II 65.2, II.II 23.7, this chapter’s focus, is the most important text for grasping Thomas’s account of pagan virtue. In 23.7, Thomas grounds his affirmation of pagan virtue in the notion that certain ends, even certain final ends, are “intrinsically ordainable” to beatitude. To be authentic, pagan virtue must orient one to such ends. Unpacking these points requires elucidating Thomas’s notion of “honest goods.” Turning to Thomas’s theory of human action, this chapter shows how Thomas imagines that in ordering oneself to certain goods one is necessarily made open to beatitude. The chapter argues for the compatibility of infused moral virtue with acquired virtue and elucidates a kind of perfection-by-participation open to acquired virtue when possessed with infused. The chapter culminates with a synthesis that gives unity and coherence to the diverse texts that together comprise Thomas’s reflections on pagan virtue.

Keywords:   Joseph Pilsner, honest good, intrinsically ordainable, act specification, proximate end, compatibility of infused and acquired virtue, true but imperfect virtue, debitum end, common political good, remote reference

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