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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