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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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Infidelitas and Final End Conceptions

Infidelitas and Final End Conceptions

(p.198) 8 Infidelitas and Final End Conceptions
Ethics as a Work of Charity

David Decosimo

Stanford University Press

This chapter explains what Thomas does not – how those who have not charity and are thus ordered to some other end than beatitude as final can nonetheless not only do good acts but do them with enough frequency to possess virtue. No act is good whose final end is not and, as Thomas has it, every unbeliever is implicated in infidelitas, false or incomplete belief about God(s) or the last end. Drawing on numerous texts, the chapter adduces two interpretive options and opts for a third that captures their strengths, avoids their weaknesses, and best honors the diverse passages and issues implicated. Drawing various distinctions among types of infidelitas and ways of thinking of final ends and their roles in action, and considering various concrete cases, the chapter present a model that allows believers and non-believers alike to welcome pagan virtue without compromising their convictions

Keywords:   weak infidelitas, accidental virtue, sola religio, strong infidelitas, truth suppression, final end conception, strong and weak salience, creation's enduring good, principle of charity, sheer absence

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