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Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas
Tomas ethics was built upon Aristoles ethics
Like Aristotle, he considered ethics as a quest
for happiness
Aquinas argued that happiness is connected
with persons end or purpose
To achieve happiness one must fulfill ones
If we go back at Aristotles, people could
achieve virtue and happiness by fulfilling their
natural capacities or ends
Aquinas added his concept of persons
supernatural end
The goal and fulfillment of reason lies in the
direction of moral and intellectual virtues of
as in Aristotle
Consider: how might one
commonly define what is
natural or unnatural?
Natural or Unnatural
Eating insects
Picking ones nose (pangungulangot)
Mixed martial arts (combat sports)
Plastic surgery
Eating raw food
Cross dressing
IUD (intra-uterine device)
Male on male sex
Male infidelity (pambababe)
In Thomas, these virtues which are the very
ends of morality for Aristotle, are only means
to the ultimate/final end of man which is God
God is not only the final end, but also the very
ground of being of man and of the world
One God is that of which everything is but a
participation and imitation, from all things
proceeds and to whom all things return
Moral end for man is not simply a natural end
toward which man by nature tends
It is the Good which man in his innermost being
yearns for
It is made manifest to him in synderesis and
Conscience for Thomas is the concrete particular
judgment by which, in a given particular
situation, man knows what he ought to do
Synderesis is more general
It is the intellectual habit or disposition by
which man, in any given situation, as reason
or spirit and as exigency for the absolute
good, is in possession of the fundamental
principles of morality
In our experience, man is in possession of
atleast the first principles of morality, which is
to do good and avoid evil
The first principle of action or morality is to Do
good and avoid evil
Act in such a way that you become what your
very beings demands to be
Act in such a way that in acting you do not
violate your own being
In concrete context, such fundamental self-
evident principle translates itself into precepts
like Thou shalt not kill thou shalt not commit
Morality then is not simply a matter of
attaining the end and fulfillment of ones
It is a matter of an absolute exigency or
demand of the human spirit as manifested in
synderesis and in conscience
Thomas says that the norm of morality is right
reason (recta ratio), which is mans rational
nature ordained to its final end
In this perspective, morality becomes a matter of
absolute obligation rather than merely a question
of attaining our natural goals of following our
natural tendencies and specific activities to their
natural factual end
Thomas is able to keep morality not merely a
matter of purely internal conscience, but one of
conformity to a universal Natural Law inherent in
mans own nature insofar as human nature is
necessarily ordained to its final end
Thomas through synderesis and conscience
turns morality into a matter of absolute
obligation vis-a-vis the absolute good
Syndereis and conscience are viewed as the
expression and resonance in man of this
process by which God as the Good, creating
man and the world and drawing them all back
to Him
Moral fault is not merely a matter of
ignorance and error of judgment but sin, the
act by which man freely chooses a lower or
lesser good instead of the absolute Good
It degrades his own being
The moral end is not some immanent activity
of contemplation nor the immanent
perfection consequent upon such activity
The object of the activity which perfects and
achieves the activity
From this presence to man of what is other
than the transcendent to him, which Thomas
calls beatific vision, come true fulfillment,
happiness and repose