Summa Theologica- Second Part of the Second Part
Royal Roads University
January 23, 2013
Instructor Robert Aucoin
Table of Contents
Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) wrote about many virtues. In particular he wrote about “temperance, prudence, fortitude, and justice” (p 5). He wrote that he believed justice was the highest virtue and explained what justice was and why he believed justice to be the highest virtue. Aquinas (1225-1274) explained that virtues are behaviours. Virtues, other than justice, are self-serving, focusing only on one aspect of virtuous behavior. Aquinas (1225-1274) believed that justice covered all virtues. Aquinas (1225-1274) explained the virtues other than justice service one’s own self. An example of temperance (self-restraint) is avoiding or controlling alcohol consumption to benefit the self but not others. An example of prudence is looking at a situation in a certain way but another person could look at the situation in a different way (such as slavery during Thomas Aquinas Era). Saint Augustine approved slavery where Saint Thomas was against it. In this example we see how the virtue of prudence is pinpointed to one aspect of behaviour. Fortitude is the courage to do right even if it is out of the norm, such as a master defending a slave during Thomas’s era. This again only covers the one virtue of courage. Aquinas (1225-1274) understood justice as being a virtue covering all virtues under one umbrella. Aquinas (1225-1274) believed justice to be the cardinal (highest) virtue. He defined justice as a virtue, and as the act of treating others in a right, just, fair way. Aquinas (1225-1274) stated “all acts of virtue can pertain to justice, in so far as it directs man to the common good” (p. 6). This means that Aquinas believed justice to be the highest virtue because it directs man to act towards the common good of all people. He...
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