Whether human virtue is a habit
It should be said that virtue names a certain perfection of a power. Now the perfection of everything is found especially in reference to its end. But the end of a power is its act. Hence a power is said to be perfect, inasmuch as it is determined to its act.
Now there are some powers that are in themselves determined to their acts. Natural powers are of this sort, and so they are of themselves called virtues [virtutes]. But rational powers, which are proper to man, are not determined to one, but are indifferently open to many, and it is by means of habits that they are determined to particular acts, as is evident from what was said above. And therefore human virtues are habits.[Paraphrase: virtue is that which enables something to reach its goal. Now man can act in various ways, yet not every way of acting will bring him to his goal. Therefore man’s powers do not constitute his virtue. For example, to have strong legs and arms is not virtue, since man can have them, yet not use them in such a way as to attain his final goal. On the other hand, a man’s dispositions, or habits, do determine how he acts, and thus how effectively he can reach his goal. And so a man’s dispositions, or habits, are his virtue.]
Whether the usual definition of
It seems that this definition is not fitting...
3. For as Augustine says, “As soon as we find something that is not common to us and to brutes, that pertains to the mind.” But there are some virtues which belong to the irrational parts, as the Philosopher says in Ethics III, [and these irrational parts are common to us and to brutes]. Therefore not every virtue is a good quality of the mind.
It should be said that this definition completely covers the account of virtue. For we get the complete account of a thing from all of its causes together. And the aforesaid definition includes all the causes of virtue.
We get the formal cause, as in the case of other things, from the genus and the difference, in saying “a good quality”; for the genus of virtue is quality, while its difference is good. Nevertheless the definition would be even better, if we said “habit” instead of “quality,” since habit is the more specific genus of virtue.
Now virtue does not have matter out of which it is composed, just as other accidents do not; but it regards some matter, and there is matter in which it is, i.e., its subject. The matter that it regards is its object, and this could not be put in the definition, since the object of virtue determines it to a particular species, and this definition is a definition of virtue in general. And therefore the subject of virtue is given as the material cause, in saying that it is a good quality of the mind.
The end of virtue, since it is an habit of activity, is the activity itself. But we should consider that some habits of activity always tend to evil, such as habits of vice, while others tend sometimes to good and sometimes to evil, as an opinion may be either true or false. But virtue is a habit that always tends to good. And therefore, to distinguish virtue from habits that always tend to evil, we say “by which one lives rightly,” and to distinguish it from habits which tend sometimes to good and sometimes to evil, we say “which no one uses badly.”
The agent cause of infused virtue, for which this definition is given, is God. Hence it is said, “which God works in us without us.” If we remove this phrase, then the definition will be common to all virtues, both acquired and infused.
Replies to objections:
3. To the third it should be said that virtue can only be in the irrational part of the soul insofar as it partakes in reason, as is said in Ethics I. And therefore the reason, or the mind, is the proper subject of human virtue.
On the subject of virtue1
Whether one virtue can be in many powers
It seems that one virtue can be in two powers.
1. For habits are known through their acts. But one act proceeds in different ways from different powers, as walking proceeds from reason as directing it, from the will as moving, and from the motive power as carrying it out. Therefore also one habit of virtue can be in several powers.
2. Further, the Philosopher says (Ethics II, 4) that three things are required for virtue, namely: “to know, to will, and to act steadfastly.” But “to know” belongs to the intellect, and “to will” belongs to the will. Therefore virtue can be in several powers.
3. Further, prudence is in the reason since it is “right reason about doing things”2 (Ethics VI, 5). And it is also in the will, for it cannot exist together with a perverse will (Ethics VI, 12). Therefore one virtue can be in two powers.
On the contrary:
The subject of virtue is a power of the soul. But the same accident cannot be in several subjects. Therefore one virtue cannot be in several powers of the soul.
It should be said that there are two ways one thing can be in two things. First, in such a way as to be equally in both. In this way it is impossible for one virtue to be in two powers, since a difference of powers is found according to the general conditions of the objects, while a difference of habits is found according to their specific conditions, and so wherever there are different powers there are different habits, but not vice versa.
In another way one thing can be in two or more things, not equally, but in a certain order. And thus one virtue can belong to several powers in such a way that it is principally in one, while it extends to others by way of diffusion or of disposition, inasmuch as one power is moved by another, and one power receives from another.
Replies to objections:
1. To the first, therefore, it should be said that one act cannot belong to several powers equally, and in the same order, but only according to different accounts, and with a different order.
2. To the second it should be said that “to know” is required for moral virtue inasmuch as moral virtue acts according to right reason. But moral virtue is essentially in the appetite.
3. To the third it should be said that prudence is really in reason as its subject, but it presupposes as its principle rightness of will, as will be said below (a. 3; q. 57, a. 4).
Whether the intellect is the subject of virtue
[Two kinds of good habits: that which makes one able to do good, and that which makes one actually do good—the former is virtue in a certain respect, the latter is virtue simply.]
It should be said that as was said above, virtue is a habit by which someone acts well. Now a habit may be ordered to a good act in two ways. In one way, inasmuch as such a habit gives a man the ability to do the good act. E.g., the habit of grammar gives a man the ability to speak correctly. Yet grammar does not make a man always speak correctly, since a grammarian can imitate an uneducated person [barbarizare] or deliberately make a grammatical mistake. And the same thing applies to the other sciences and arts.
A habit may be ordered to a good act in another way, inasmuch as it gives not only the ability to act, but also makes someone use the ability rightly. Thus justice not only gives a man a ready will to act justly, but also makes him act justly. And since something is not called good, as neither is it called a being, insofar as it is in potency, but insofar as it is actual, a man is simply speaking said to do good, and to be good, on the basis of such habits: e.g., because he is just or temperate—and similarly with the other virtues. And since virtue is that which makes its possessor and his work good, habits of this kind are called virtues, since they make his work actually good, and make the one who has them, simply speaking good.
The first kind of habits, in contrast, are not called virtues simply speaking, since they do not make his work good except in the sense of giving him the ability to do good work, nor do they make their possessor good simply speaking. For a man is not called good simply speaking because he is knowledgeable or a craftsman, but is called good in a certain respect: e.g., a good grammarian, or a good carpenter. And for this reason, science and art are often distinguished from virtue, yet sometimes are called virtues, as is evident in Ethics VI.
[Only a habit in the will or in a power as moved by the will is virtue simply.]
Now the subject of a habit which is called virtue in a certain respect can be not only the practical intellect, but also the speculative intellect, without any reference to the will. For thus the Philosopher in Ethics VI lists knowledge, wisdom, understanding, and also art among the intellectual virtues. But the subject of a habit which is simply speaking called virtue can only be the will, or another power insofar as it is moved by the will. The reason for this is that all the other powers which are in some way rational, are moved to act by the will, as was shown above. And therefore a man’s actually acting well derives from his having a good will. Hence virtue, which makes someone actually act well, and not merely be able to act well, must either be in the will itself, or in another power insofar as it is moved by the will.
[Insofar as the intellect is moved by a good will, virtues may be in it: faith and prudence.]
Now the intellect may be moved by the will, just as the other powers are; for a man actually considers something, because he wants to. And therefore the intellect, insofar as it is moved by the will, can be the subject of virtue simply speaking. And in this way the speculative intellect, or reason, is the subject of faith; for the intellect is moved to assent to the things of faith by the command of the will, since “no one believes if he is not willing to.” The practical intellect, however, is the subject of prudence. For since prudence is right thinking about doing things [recta ratio agibilium], prudence requires that a man relate well to the principles of this thinking about what to do, namely the ends; and a man relates well to these principles by means of rightness of will, just as he relates to the principles of speculative matters by means of the natural light of the agent intellect. And therefore, as the subject of science, which is right thinking about speculative matters, is the speculative intellect in its relationship to the agent intellect, so the subject of prudence is the practical intellect in relationship to a right will.
Whether the irascible and concupiscible powers are the subject of virtue3
It should be said that the irascible and concupiscible powers can be considered in two ways. In one way, in themselves, insofar as they are parts of the sensitive appetite. And in this way they are not the subject of virtue. They can also be considered in another way insofar as they partake in reason, in that by nature they are able to be obedient to reason. And in this way the irascible or concupiscible power can be the subject of virtue; for insofar as it partakes in reason, it is the principle of a human act. And indeed, we must hold that there are virtues in these powers.
That there are virtues in the concupiscible and irascible powers is evident in the following way: an act which proceeds from one power insofar as it is moved by another power cannot be perfect unless both powers are well disposed towards the act, as the act of a craftsman cannot be fitting unless both the craftsman and his tool is well disposed towards the action. Therefore in those things which pertain to the irascible and concupiscible powers as moved by reason, there must be a habit perfecting them, disposing them to act well—not only a habit in the reason, but also a habit in the irascible and concupiscible powers. And since the good disposition of a moved moving power is found in its being in conformity with the power that moves it, the virtue which is in the irascible and concupiscible powers is nothing other than a certain habitual conformity of those powers to reason.
Whether the will is the subject of virtue
It seems that the will is not the subject of any virtue.
1. For a habit is not required for that which belongs to a power according to its very account. But since the will is in the reason, as is said in On the Soul III, it belongs to the account of the will to tend to that which is good according to reason, to which every virtue is ordered, since each thing naturally seeks its own good. For “virtue is a habit in the way of nature and in accordance with reason,” as Cicero says in his Rhetoric. Therefore the will is not the subject of virtue.
3. Further, all human acts, to which the virtues are ordered, are voluntary. Therefore if a virtue is in the will with respect to some human acts, for the same reason there will be a virtue in the will with respect to all human acts. Therefore either there will be virtue in no other power, or two virtues will be ordered to the same account, which seems unfitting. Therefore the will cannot be the subject of virtue.
On the contrary:
Greater perfection is required in the mover than in that which is moved. But the will moves the irascible and concupiscible powers. Much more, therefore, must there be a virtue in the will than in the irascible and concupiscible powers.
It should be said that since by a habit a power is perfected so that it can act well, a power needs a habit in order to act well—i.e., a virtue—when the proper nature of the power is not sufficient for the action in question. Now the proper nature of every power is found in relation to its object. Hence since the object of the will is the good of reason that is proportionate to the will, the will does not need a virtue to perfect it in relation to this good. But if there is a good that man must will which exceeds proportion to him, whether it exceeds proportion to the whole human species, as the divine good does, which transcends the limits of human nature, or whether it exceeds proportion to the individual, as the good of his neighbor does, then in this case the will needs a virtue. And therefore virtues like this, which order man’s affections towards God or towards his neighbor, are in the will as in their subject: e.g., charity, justice, and the like.
Replies to objections:
1. To the first, therefore, it should be said that that argument has a place concerning virtue that orders to the proper good of the one who wills, such as temperance and fortitude, which regard human passions and other such things, as is evident from what has been said.
3. To the third it should be said that certain virtues are ordered to the good of moderate passion, which is a proper good of this or that man, and in such things in it is not necessary for there to be a virtue in the will, as was said. But this is only necessary in those virtues that are ordered to an outside good.
On intellectual virtues
Whether speculative intellectual habits are virtues
It should be said that since virtue is always spoken of in reference to the good, as was said above, a habit may be called virtue in two ways, as was also said above: in one way, because it gives the ability to act well; in another way, because together with the ability, it also effects the good use of this ability. The latter, as was said above, belongs only to habits pertaining to the appetitive part of the soul, since the appetitive power is that which makes a person use all his powers and habits.
Now speculative intellectual habits do not perfect the appetite part—indeed, they do not relate to it at all, but only to the intellectual part. Hence they can be called virtues in the first way, insofar as they give the ability to do a good activity, namely considering the truth (for this activity is the good activity of the intellect). But they cannot be called virtues in the second way, as making one use a habit or power well. For by possessing a habit of speculative knowledge, someone is not inclined to the use of it, but merely becomes able to see the truth in the matters in which he has knowledge. It is the will which moves him to use the knowledge he possesses, and so the virtue which perfects the will, e.g., charity or justice, also makes him use such speculative habits well. And accordingly, there can be merit also in the acts of these habits, if they are done out of charity, as Gregory says that “the contemplative life has greater merit than the active life does.”
Whether prudence is a virtue distinct from art
[The basic difference between prudence and art]
It should be said that when there are different reasons for calling each of two things virtue, then these two virtues must be distinct from each other. Now it was said above that some habits we call virtues only because they give the ability to do good acts, while other habits we call virtues because they not only give the ability to do good acts, but also effect a good use of this ability. Art, then, only gives the ability to do good acts, since it does not regard the appetitive power. Prudence, on the other hand, not only gives a man the ability to do good acts, but also the use of this ability, since it regards the appetitive part, in that it presupposes the rightness of appetite.
[The explanation of this difference]
The reason for this difference is that art is “right thinking about making things,” while prudence is “right thinking about doing things.” Now making and doing differ in this way: making is an act that passes into external matter: e.g., building, cutting, and such things; doing is an act that remains in the agent: e.g., seeing, hearing, and such things. Thus prudence relates to human acts of this kind, i.e., to the use of the powers and habits, as art relates to external products; for both prudence and art are perfect thinking about the things to which they relate.
Now (1) in speculative matters the perfection and rightness of reason depends upon the principles, on the basis of which the reason forms arguments; thus it was said above that knowledge depends upon and presupposes simple understanding, which is the habit by which one knows the principles.
(2) In human acts, however, the ends are like the principles are in speculative matters, as is said in Ethics VII. And therefore in order to have prudence, which is right thinking about doing things, a man must be well disposed in regard to ends, and it is right appetite that gives him this good disposition. And therefore moral virtue, by which appetite is made right, is required for prudence.
But the good of (3) things made by art is not the good of the human appetite, but the good of those very things made by art. And therefore art does not presuppose right appetite. And for this reason a craftsman who voluntarily makes a mistake is praised more [as a good craftsman] than one who makes a mistake without wanting to; for rightness of will belongs to the account of prudence, while it does not belong to the account of art.
Thus it is evident that prudence is a virtue distinct from art.
Whether prudence is a virtue necessary for living well
It seems that prudence is not a virtue necessary for living well.
2. For “prudence is that through which we deliberate well,” as is said in Ethics VI, 5. But man can act not only from his own counsel, but also from that of another. Therefore in order to live well it is not necessary for a man to himself have prudence, but it is enough for him to follow the counsels of prudent men.
It should be said that prudence is a virtue most necessary for human life. For to live well consists in acting well. Now for someone to act well depends not only upon what he does, but also upon how he does it, i.e., he should act according to right choice, not merely by impulse or by passion. And since choice is of things that that ordered to an end, the rightness of choice requires two things: a suitable end, and that which is fittingly ordered to that suitable end.
Now man is rightly disposed to suitable ends by means of the virtue that perfects the appetitive part of the soul, the object of which is the good and the end. But for man to be rightly ordered to that which is fittingly ordered to a suitable end, man must be immediately disposed by a habit of the reason, since to deliberate and to choose, which are of the things that are ordered to the end, are acts of reason.4 And therefore it is necessary for there to be some intellectual virtue in the reason, by which reason is perfected so that it relates rightly to the things that are ordered to the end. Hence prudence is a virtue necessary for living well.
Replies to objections:
2. To the second it should be said that when man does good not according to his own reason, but moved by the counsel of another, his activity his not entirely perfect, with regard to reason directing, and with regard to the appetite moving. Hence if he does good, he does not do it well, simply speaking, which is what it means to live well.
On the moral virtues
Whether all virtue is moral virtue
[Summary of article]
“Moral” is derived from “mos,” which can signify either custom, or a natural or quasi-natural inclination to doing something.
Whether moral virtue is distinct from intellectual
It seems that moral virtue is not distinct from intellectual virtue.
1. For Augustine says in City of God that “virtue is the art of living rightly.” But art is an intellectual virtue. Therefore moral virtue does not differ from intellectual. ...
5. Further, every moral virtue consists in the mean. But the mean is determined according to right reason, as is said in Ethics II. Therefore since reason is made right by means of intellectual virtues, it seems that the intellectual virtues themselves are moral.5
It should be said that reason is the principle of all human works, and whatever other principles of human works there are, somehow obey reason, but they do not all do so in the same way. For some obey reason completely and instantly, without any contradiction: e.g., the limbs of the body, if they are complete in their own nature. Hence the Philosopher says in Politics I, “the soul rules the body with a dictatorial dominion,” i.e., as a master rules a slave, who does not have the right of contradicting. Some persons, then, held that all the active principles in man are related in this way to reason. And if this were true, then in order to act well it would be enough for the reason to be perfect. And so, since virtue is a habit by which we are perfected so that we act well, it would follow that virtue is only in the reason, and thus there would be no virtue other than intellectual virtue. And this was the opinion of Socrates, who said that “all virtues are prudence,” as is said in Ethics VI. Hence he held that when a man possesses knowledge he cannot sin, and that whoever sins, sins on account of ignorance.
But this position is based on a false supposition. For in fact, the appetitive part does not obey reason completely and instantly, but obeys with some contradiction. Hence the Philosopher says in Politics I, “reason commands the appetitive power with a political rule,” i.e., the rule by which someone is a governor of free men, who have the right of contradicting him on some point. Hence Augustine says in On the Psalms that “the intellect goes ahead, and the affection follows slowly or not at all,” to the extent that sometimes the passions or habits of the appetitive part cause the use of reason to be hindered in some particular matter. And in this way what Socrates said is in some way true, that a man does not sin when he has knowledge, if knowledge is understood widely, to include the use of reason in regard to a particular object of choice.
Thus, in order for man to act well, not only must the reason be well disposed by the habit of intellectual virtue, but also the appetitive power must be well disposed by the habit of moral virtue. Therefore as appetite is distinct from reason, so moral virtue is distinct from intellectual virtue. Hence as appetite is the principle of a human act insofar as appetite in a certain way partakes in reason, so a moral habit has the account of human virtue, insofar as it is conformed to reason.
Replies to objections:
1. To the first, therefore, it should be said that Augustine takes art in a general sense, for any right reasoning. And in this way, art includes prudence, which is right reasoning about doing things, as art [in the strict sense] is right reasoning about making things. And according to this sense of art, what he says about virtue, namely that it is the art of living rightly, belongs essentially to prudence, and by participation to the other virtues, inasmuch as they are directed by prudence.
5. To the fifth it should be said that the mean is determined through an intellectual virtue, namely prudence, and through moral virtue, but in different ways; for prudence determines the mean by directing to it and presenting it, but moral virtue by carrying out and inclining to the mean. Hence Cicero says that it acts in the way that nature does. And here Socrates erred, failing to distinguish moral from intellectual virtues; for he held that all virtues are certain sciences, as is said in Ethics VI.
Whether the division of virtue into moral and intellectual is a sufficient division
It seems that the division of virtue into moral and intellectual is not a sufficient division.
1. For prudence seems to be a mean between moral and intellectual virtue; for it is numbered among the intellectual virtues in Ethics VI, and everyone numbers it among the four cardinal virtues, which are moral, as will be evident below. Therefore the division of virtue into moral and intellectual, without a middle kind, is not a sufficient division.
2. Further, continence [or self-restraint] and perseverance, and also patience, are not numbered among the intellectual virtues; nor are they numbered among the moral virtues, since they do not maintain a mean in the passions, but rather, in them the passions are excessive. Therefore the division of virtue into moral and intellectual is not a sufficient division.
It should be said that human virtue is a habit that perfects man so that he acts well. Now in man there are only two kinds of principles of human acts, namely the understanding, or reason, and appetite; for these are the two movers in man, as is said in On the Soul III. Hence every human virtue must perfect one of these principles. Therefore if it perfects the speculative or practical intellect so that it produces a good human act, it will be intellectual virtue, while if it perfects the appetitive part, it will be moral virtue. And so it follows that every human virtue is either intellectual or moral.
Replies to objections:
1. To the first, therefore, it should be said that prudence according to its essence is an intellectual virtue. But its matter is common to it and the moral virtues, since it is right thinking about doing things, as was said above; and so it is numbered with the moral virtues on the basis of its matter.
2. To the second it should be said that continence and perseverance are not perfections of the appetitive sensitive power. This is evident from the fact that inordinate passions are plentiful in the continent and the persevering man, which would not happen, if the sensitive appetite were perfected by some habit that conformed it to reason. Rather, continence, or perseverance, is a perfection of the rational part, which holds itself fast against the passions, so that it is not led away by them. Yet it falls short of the account of virtue; for intellectual virtue, which makes the reason relate well to moral matters, presupposes right appetite for the end, so that it may relate well to the principles, i.e., the ends, on the basis of which it reasons; and the continent and persevering man lacks this right appetite. Again, an act that proceeds from two powers cannot be perfect unless both of those powers are perfected by an appropriate habit, as an agent that acts through an instrument, does not produce a perfect action if the instrument is not well disposed, no matter how perfect the primary agent is. Hence if the sensitive appetite, which the rational part moves, is not perfect, then no matter how perfect the rational part is, the following action will not be perfect. Hence neither will the principle of the action be virtue. And for this reason, continence from delights [that one would have in doing something bad], and perseverance in spite of the sadness [that one has in doing something good] are not virtues, but something less than virtue, as the Philosopher says in Ethics VIII.
Whether moral virtue can exist without intellectual virtue
It seems that moral virtue can exist without intellectual virtue.
2. For by intellectual virtue man attains the perfect use of reason. But it sometimes happens that persons who do not possess much ability to reason are virtuous and acceptable to God. Therefore it seems that moral virtue can exist without intellectual virtue.
3. Further, moral virtue gives one an inclination to act well. But some persons have a natural inclination to act well, even without the judgment of reason. Therefore the moral virtues can exist without intellectual virtue.
It should be said that moral virtue can indeed exist without certain intellectual virtues, e.g., without wisdom, knowledge, and art. But it cannot exist without simple understanding and prudence. Moral virtue cannot exist without prudence, since moral virtue is an elective habit, i.e., a habit that makes one choose well. Now in order to choose well, two things are required. First, a person must intend a suitable end; this is effected by moral virtue, which inclines the desiring power to a good that is fitting to reason, which is a suitable end. Secondly a person must rightly select the things that are ordered to the end, and this can only be done by reason which rightly counsels, judges, and commands; and this pertains to prudence and the virtues connected to it, as was said above. Hence moral virtue cannot exist without prudence.
Consequently, moral virtue can also not exist without simple understanding. For simple understanding is the knowledge of the principles that we know naturally, both in speculative matters and in practical matters. Hence as right thinking in speculative matters, inasmuch as it is based on principles naturally known, presupposes the simple understanding of these principles, so also prudence, which is right thinking about doing things, presupposes this simple understanding.
Replies to objections:
2. To the second it should be said that it is not necessary for the virtuous person to possess much ability to reason with respect to all things, only with respect to the things to be done in accordance with virtue. And in this way, all virtuous persons possess much ability to reason. Hence also those who seem to be simple, because they lack worldly cunning, can be prudent, according to Mt 10:16, “Be as prudent as serpents, and as simple as doves.”
3. To the third it should be said that a natural inclination to the good of a virtue is a certain beginning of virtue, but it is not perfect virtue. For the stronger that this kind of inclination is, the more dangerous it can be, if it is not joined with right reason, which makes a person rightly choose the things that are appropriate for the suitable end—just as if a running horse is blind, then the more vigorously it runs, the more vigorously it strikes an obstacle and is injured. And therefore, even if moral virtue is not right reason, as Socrates said, it is also not merely according to right reason, in that it inclines to what is in accordance with right reason, as the Platonists said; but must also be with right reason, as Aristotle says in Ethics VI. [In other words, moral virtue does not blindly aim at something which in fact is in accordance with reason; moral virtue must always be governed and guided by reason, either explicitly or implicitly.]
Whether intellectual virtue can exist without moral virtue
It seems that intellectual virtue can exist without moral virtue.
1. For the perfection of that which is prior does not depend on the perfection of that which is posterior. But reason is prior to the sensitive appetite, and moves it. Therefore intellectual virtue, which is the perfection of the reason, does not depend on moral virtue, which is the perfection of the appetitive part. Therefore it can exist without it.
3. Further, “prudence deliberates well,” as is said in Ethics VI. But many people deliberate well while lacking moral virtues. Therefore prudence can exist without moral virtues.
It should be said that the other intellectual virtues can exist without moral virtue, but prudence cannot. The reason for this is that prudence is right thinking about doing things, not only in a general way, but also in regard to particular matters, since actions take place in particular matters. Now right thinking requires principles on which the thinking is based. Now reason in regard to particulars must proceed not only from universal principles, but also from particular principles. In regard to the universal principles of doing things man is related rightly either by means of the natural understanding of the principles, through which man knows that [good should be done and that] no evil should be done, or else by means of some practical science [such as ethics]. But this is not enough for reasoning rightly in regard to particular matters. For sometimes it happens that this kind of universal principle known by simple understanding or by science is corrupted in a particular case by some passion. For example, to a man in a state of desire, when the desire conquers, the thing he desires seems good, even though it is against the universal judgment of reason. And therefore, just as man is disposed by natural understanding or by the habit of science so that he relates rightly to the universal principles, so in order for him to relate rightly to the particular principles of acting, which are the ends, he must be perfected by habits that enable him to judge as it were naturally about an end. And this is done by moral virtue; for the virtuous person judges rightly about the end of virtue, since “as each person is, so the end seems to him,” as is said in Ethics III. And therefore for right thinking about doing things, which is prudence, it is necessary for man to have moral virtue.
Replies to objections:
1. To the first, therefore, it should be said that reason insofar as it apprehends the end precedes desire for the end, but desire for the end precedes reason reasoning about choosing things that are ordered to the end, which pertains to prudence. So also in speculative matters, the understanding of the principles is the principle of reason making arguments.
3. To the third it should be said that prudence not only deliberates well, but also judges and commands well. And this cannot happen unless the impediment of the passions that corrupt the judgment and command of prudence is removed, and this is done by moral virtue.6
On moral virtue in relation to passion
Whether moral virtue can exist with sorrow
It seems that virtue cannot exist together with sorrow.
2. For sorrow is a hindrance to activity, as the Philosopher states (Ethics VII, 13; X, 5). But a hindrance to good activities is incompatible with virtue. Therefore sorrow is incompatible with virtue.
On the contrary:
Christ was perfect in virtue. But there was sorrow in Him, for he said (Mt. 26:38): “My soul is sorrowful even unto death.” Therefore sorrow is compatible with virtue.
It should be said that as Augustine says (City of God XIV, 8), the Stoics held that in the mind of the wise man there are three eupatheiai, i.e. “three good passions,” in place of the three disturbances: namely instead of covetousness, “desire”; instead of mirth, “joy”; instead of fear, “caution.” But they denied that anything corresponding to sorrow could be in the mind of a wise man, for two reasons.
First, because sorrow is for an evil that is already present. Now they held that no evil can happen to a wise man: for they thought that, just as man’s only good is virtue, and bodily goods are no good to man; so man’s only evil is vice, which cannot be in a virtuous man. But this is unreasonable. For, since man is composed of soul and body, whatever conduces to preserve the life of the body, is some good to man; yet not his supreme good, because he can abuse it. Consequently the evil which is contrary to this good can be in a wise man, and can cause him moderate sorrow. Again, although a virtuous man can be without grave sin, yet no man is to be found to live without committing slight sins, according to 1 John. 1:8: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves.” A third reason is because a virtuous man, though not actually in a state of sin, may have been so in the past. And he is to be commended if he sorrow for that sin, according to 2 Cor. 7:10: “The sorrow that is according to God works penance steadfast unto salvation.” Fourthly, because he may praise-worthily sorrow for another’s sin. Therefore sorrow is compatible with moral virtue in the same way as the other passions are when moderated by reason.
Their second reason for holding this opinion was that sorrow is about present evil, whereas fear is for evil to come, even as pleasure is about a present good, while desire is for a future good. Now the enjoyment of a good possessed, or the desire to have good that one possesses not, may be consistent with virtue, but depression of the mind resulting from sorrow for a present evil, is altogether contrary to reason: wherefore it is incompatible with virtue. But this is unreasonable. For there is an evil which can be present to the virtuous man, as we have just stated; which evil is rejected by reason. Wherefore the sensitive appetite follows reason’s rejection by sorrowing for that evil, yet moderately, according as reason dictates. Now it pertains to virtue that the sensitive appetite be conformed to reason, as stated above (a. 1, ad 2). Wherefore moderated sorrow for an object which ought to make us sorrowful, is a mark of virtue; as also the Philosopher says (Ethics II, 6,7). Moreover, this proves useful for avoiding evil, since, just as good is more readily sought for the sake of pleasure, so is evil more undauntedly shunned on account of sorrow.
Accordingly we must allow that sorrow for things pertaining to virtue is incompatible with virtue: since virtue rejoices in its own. On the other hand, virtue sorrows moderately for all that thwarts virtue, no matter how.
Replies to objections:
2. To the second it should be said that sorrow hinders the activity that makes us sorrowful: but it helps us to do more readily whatever banishes sorrow.
Whether every moral virtue regards passions
It should be said that moral virtue perfects the appetitive part of the soul, ordering it to the good of reason. Now the good of reason is that which is moderated or ordered according to reason. Hence moral virtue can regard everything that can be ordered and moderated by reason. Now reason ordains not only the passions of the sensitive appetite, but also the actions of the intellectual appetite, which is the will, which is not the subject of passion, as was said above. And therefore not every moral virtue regards the passions, but some regard the passions, and others regard actions.
Whether any moral virtue can exist without passion
It seems that moral virtue can exist without passion.
1. For the more perfect moral virtue is, the more it overcomes the passions. Therefore when it is most perfect it is completely without passion.
2. Further, a thing is perfect when it is separated from its contrary, and from the things that tend to its contrary. But passions tend to sin, which is contrary to virtue; hence they are called “passions of sins” (Rom 7:5). Therefore perfect virtue is completely without passion.
On the contrary:
“No one is just, who does not rejoice in just activity,” as is said in Ethics I. But joy is a passion. Therefore justice cannot exist without passion. And much less can the other virtues exist without them.
It should be said that if “passions” refers to disordered affections, as the Stoics thought, then it is manifest that perfect virtue is without passions. But if “passions” refers to all the movements of the sensitive appetite, then it is evident that the moral virtues which have the passions as their proper matter cannot exist without passions. For if they did, that would mean that the virtues made the sensitive appetite totally inert. But virtue does not make the things subject to virtue lose their proper activity, but makes them follow the act of reason precisely in doing their proper activity. Hence as virtue orders the body’s limbs to suitable external acts, so it orders the sensitive appetite to its proper ordered movements.
The moral virtues (such as justice) that do not directly regard the passions, but actions, can exist without the passions; for these virtues apply the will to its proper act, which is not a passion. Nevertheless the act of justice produces joy, at least in the will. This kind of joy is not itself a passion, but if this joy is multiplied by the perfection of justice, then the joy will overflow into the sensitive appetite, insofar as lower powers follow the movement of higher powers, as was said above. And thus, by this kind of overflow, the more perfect virtue is, so much the more does it cause passion.
Replies to objections:
1. To the first, therefore, it should be said that virtue overcomes disordered passions, but it produces moderate passions.
2. To the second it should be said that disordered passions induce one to sin, but ordered passions do not.
On the distinction of moral virtues from one other
Whether the moral virtues that regard actions are distinct from those that regard passions
It should be said that action and passion stand in a twofold relation to virtue. First, as its effect; and in this way every moral virtue has some good actions that it produces, and a certain pleasure or sorrow which are passions, as was said above (q. 59, a. 4, ad 1).
Secondly, action may be related to moral virtue as the matter that it regards, and in this sense those moral virtues which regard actions must differ from those that regard passions. The reason for this is that good and evil in certain actions, are taken from the very nature of those actions, no matter how man’s affection towards them is, inasmuch as good and evil in them depend on their being commensurate with someone else. In actions of this kind there must be some virtue to regulate the actions in themselves, such are buying and selling, and all such actions in which there is an element of something due or undue to another. For this reason justice and its parts are properly about actions as their proper matter. On the other hand, in some actions, good and evil depend only on commensuration with the agent. Consequently good and evil in these actions depend on what sort man’s affection towards them is. And for this reason in such actions virtue must primarily regard internal emotions which are called the passions of the soul, as is evidently the case with temperance, fortitude and the like.
It happens, however, in operations that are directed to another, that the good of virtue is overlooked by reason of some inordinate passion of the soul. In such cases justice is destroyed insofar as the due measure of the external act is destroyed, while some other virtue is destroyed insofar as the internal passions exceed their due measure. Thus when through anger, one man strikes another, justice is destroyed in the undue blow, while gentleness is destroyed by the immoderate anger. And the same thing is evident in the case of the other virtues.
Whether there is only one moral virtue regarding actions
It seems that there is only one moral virtue that regards actions
2. For the greatest difference between actions seems to be that between those which are ordered to the good of the individual, and those which are ordered to the good of the many. But this difference does not cause a difference of moral virtues, for the Philosopher says (Ethics V, 1) that legal justice, which directs human acts to the common good, does not differ from the virtue which directs a man’s actions to one man only, except according to the consideration of reason. Therefore a difference of actions does not cause a difference of moral virtues.
It should be said that all moral virtues that regard actions have something in common in a general way, on the basis of which they are all called justice: they all regard something due to another. But they differ from one another in the specific reason why they are called justice.
The reason for this is as follows: in external actions the order of reason is not established in relationship to man’s feelings, but in relationship to what is in itself appropriate. On the basis of this appropriateness we get the idea of something due, and from this we get the idea of justice. For justice seems to imply that a person give what is due. Hence all the virtues that regard actions, in some way have the account of justice.
But “that which is due” does not apply equally in all cases; for something is due to a superior in a different way than it is due to an equal, and it is due in yet another way to an inferior. Similarly something is due in a different way depending on whether it is due on the basis of an agreement, a promise, or some benefit received. And according to these different ways of being due, there are different virtues. E.g., religion is the virtue by which we give God what is due to him; piety is the virtue by which we give our parents or fatherland what is due to them; gratitude is the virtue by which we give benefactors what is due to them, and so forth.7
Replies to objections:
2. To the second it should be said that the justice which intends the common good is another virtue from that which is ordered to the private good of an individual, wherefore common right differs from private right; and Cicero (De Inventione II) gives as a special virtue piety, which directs man to the good of his country. But that justice which directs man to the common good is a general virtue by way of command, since it directs all the acts of the virtues to its own end, namely the common good. And the virtues, insofar as they are commanded by that justice, receive the name of justice, so that virtue does not differ from legal justice, except according to reason, just as there is only a difference of reason between a virtue that is active of itself, and a virtue that is active through the command of another virtue.
Whether for the different passions, there are different moral virtues8
It should be said that we cannot say that there is only one moral virtue for all the passions, since not all passions belong to the same power: some belong to the irascible, others to the desiring power.
On the other hand, it is not necessary for every difference of passions to make a difference of moral virtues. The first reason for this is that some passions are opposed as contraries: e.g., joy and sadness, fear and boldness, and other such passions. And in regard to such contrary passions, there must be one and the same virtue. For since moral virtue consists in a certain mean, it places a mean in the contrary passions through one and the same thing, just as in natural things there is one mean between contraries, as between white and black. [The same gray color is simultaneously half white and half black.]
The second reason why it is not necessary for every difference of passions to make a difference of moral virtues, is that different passions can be opposed to reason in the same way, when one passion inclines one to something that is contrary to reason, and another passion repels one from something that is in accordance with reason. And therefore the different passions of desiring do not pertain to different moral virtues, since their motions follow one another in a certain order, because they are all related to the same thing: to attain good, or to flee evil. Thus from love comes desire, and from desire one arrives at delight. And the same thing applies to their opposites; for from hate comes flight or abhorrence, which leads to sorrow.
The irascible passions, however, do not all belong to one order, but are related to different things; for boldness and fear relate to some great danger; hope and despair relate to some difficult good; and anger relates to overcoming some contrary which has inflicted harm.
And therefore different virtues are related to these passions: temperance regards the passions of desiring; fortitude regards fears and boldness; magnanimity regards hope and despair; gentleness regards anger.
Whether for the different objects of passions, there are different moral virtues9
[General discussion of the relation between the objects of passions and the virtues: since virtues depend on reason, while passions depend on appetite, a single object of passion can relate to many virtues, and a single virtue can relate to many objects of passion.]
It should be said that the perfection of virtue depends on reason, while the perfection of appetite depends on the sensitive appetite. Hence virtues must differ according to their relationship to reason, while passions differ according to their relationship to appetite. Thus the objects of the passions in relationship to the sensitive appetite cause different kinds of passions, while in relationship to reason they cause different kinds of virtues. Now the movement of reason is not the same as the movement of the sensitive appetite. Hence nothing prevents a difference of objects from causing a difference of passions without causing a difference of virtues, as when one virtue regards several passions, as was said above; and again, nothing prevents a difference of objects from causing a difference of virtues without causing a difference of passions, when different virtues are related to the same passion, such as delight.
[Three principles by which virtues may be distinguished]
Now since different passions pertaining to different powers always pertain to different virtues, as was said, (1) a difference of objects that entails a difference of powers always makes virtues that differ in species: e.g., the difference between something which is good absolutely (which pertains to the desiring power), and something good with some difficulty (which pertains to the irascible power, makes virtues that differ in species).
Moreover, reason governs man’s lower parts in a certain order, and even extends to external things. And therefore an object of the passions, depending on (2) whether it is apprehended by sense, imagination, or reason, and again, whether it (3) belongs to the soul, body, or external things, is related in different ways to reason, and thus is such as to cause different virtues.
Therefore man’s good, which is the object of love, desire, or delight, can be taken as pertaining either to bodily sensation or to the interior apprehension of the soul. And in each case the good thing can be ordered to man’s good in himself, either with respect to the body or with respect to the soul; or it can be ordered to man’s good in relationship to others. And every such difference, on account of the different relationship to reason, results in a different virtue.
[Bodily goods, perceived by sense]
Thus if we consider a good that is apprehended by the sense of touch, pertaining to the preservation of human life, either in the individual or in the species, it will pertain to the virtue of temperance: e.g., the pleasures of food and of sexual matters. The pleasures of the other senses, however, because they are not vehement, do not present any difficulty to reason, and therefore no virtue is set down in regard to them, because virtue “regards that which is difficult, just as art does,” as is said in Ethics II.
[Goods perceived by imagination or reason]
Then there are goods not apprehended by sense, but by an internal power, pertaining to man in himself: e.g., money and honor; money is in itself capable of being ordered to bodily good, while honor consists in the apprehension of the soul. These goods can either be considered absolutely, and thus as pertaining to simple desire [the concupiscible appetite], or they can be considered together with some difficulty, and thus as pertaining to the irascible appetite. (This distinction has no place in regard to the goods which delight by way of bodily contact, for such bodily goods are the lowest goods, and belong to man according to that which he has in common with beasts.)
In regard to the good of money taken absolutely, as the object of desire or delight or love, there is the virtue of liberality. In regard to this good understood as entailing some difficulty, as the object of hope, there is the virtue of magnificence.
In regard to the good of honor, taken absolutely, as the object of love, there is a certain virtue which is called philotimia, i.e., love of honor. But taken with difficulty, and so as the object of hope, then there is the virtue of magnanimity. Hence liberality and magnanimity seem to be in the desiring power, while magnificence and magnanimity are in the irascible.
[Goods in relationship to other persons]
The good of man in relationship to another does not seem to have difficulty, but it is understood absolutely, and so as the object of the desiring passions. This kind of good can be delightful to someone in his behavior towards another in a serious matter, i.e., in actions directed by reason to a suitable end; or it can be delightful to someone in things which are done in play, i.e., in actions directed simply to delight. The latter kind of actions do not relate to reason in the same way as the first kind do, [and therefore pertain to a different virtue.]
In serious matters, one man behaves towards another in two ways: first, by being pleasant through appropriate words and deeds, and this pertains to a certain virtue which Aristotle calls friendship, and which may be called amiability. Secondly, a man behaves towards another man by showing himself as he is, through words and deeds, and this pertains to another virtue, which he calls truthfulness. For showing oneself to another is closer to reason than delight is, [and due to this different relation to reason, it pertains to a different virtue]. Similarly, serious things are closer to reason than play is, and so there is another virtue that regards the pleasures of play, which the Philosopher calls eutrapelia.
Thus it is evident that according to the Philosopher, there are ten moral virtues that regard passions: fortitude, temperance, liberality, magnificence, magnanimity, philotimia, gentleness, amiability, truthfulness, and eutrapelia. These are distinguished by having different matter: either they pertain to different passions, or to different objects of passions. Therefore if we add justice, which regards actions, then altogether there will be eleven.10
On the cardinal virtues
Whether there are four cardinal11 virtues
It should be said that when we count things, we can count either according to the formal principles of the things, or we can count according to the subjects in which those things are found. In either way, there are four cardinal virtues.
The formal principle of the virtue about which we are now speaking [i.e., moral virtue] is the good of reason. This good can be considered in two ways. First, in itself. In this way there is one principal virtue, which is called prudence. Secondly, the good of reason can be considered insofar as reason puts its order into something else. Now reason either puts order into actions, and then there is justice, or it puts order into passions, and then there must be two virtues. For the order of reason must be put into the passions insofar as the passions oppose reason, and they can oppose it in two ways. First, the passions can incite us to something contrary to reason, and then the passions must be restrained, and from this we get the name temperance. Secondly, the passions, such as fear of danger or of toil, can pull us back from doing what reason indicates. And then man must be strengthened for doing what reason indicates, lest he turn back. And from this we get the name fortitude.
We similarly find four virtues if we consider the subjects of virtues. For there are four subjects of the virtue about which we are now speaking: that which is essentially rational, which is perfected by prudence; and that which is rational by participation. But there are three powers that are rational by participation: the will, which is the subject of justice; the desiring power, which is the subject of temperance; and the irascible power, which is the subject of fortitude.
Whether other virtues should be called principal rather than these ones
It should be said that as was said above, these four cardinal virtues are gotten on the basis of the formal accounts of the virtue about which we are now speaking. These accounts are found primarily in certain kinds of acts or passions. Thus, as was said above, (1) the good that consists in reason’s consideration is found primarily in reason’s command, not in its counsel or judgment. Similarly (2) the good of reason as found in actions insofar as they contain something right and something due is found primarily in exchanges or distributions to another person on a basis of equality. Again, (3) the good of restraining the passions is found primarily in the passions which it is most difficult to restrain, namely in the pleasures involving touch. And (4) the good of being firm in holding fast to the good of reason despite the impulse of passion is found especially in dangers of death, against which it is most difficult to stand firm.
Thus we can consider the aforesaid four virtues in two ways. In one way, as relating to common formal accounts, [i.e., general descriptions of good acts]. And in this way, they are called principal because they are general in relation to all other virtues. Thus every virtue that makes reason’s consideration good we would call prudence; every virtue that establishes in actions the good of what is right and due, we would call justice; every virtue that holds back and restrains the passions we would call temperance, and every virtue that strengthens the mind against any passions whatsoever we would call fortitude. And many persons speak in this way about these virtues, both holy doctors of the Church, and philosophers. And thus other virtues are contained under them.
We can understand these virtues in another way, to name virtues pertaining to that which is greatest in a specific matter. And in this way they are specific virtues, distinct from others. Nevertheless they are called principal in comparison with others, on account of the greatness of their matter. Thus we would call prudence that virtue which commands; justice, that virtue which regards due actions between equals; temperance, that virtue which restrains desires pertaining to pleasures involving touch; fortitude, that virtue which strengthens us against dangers of death.
Whether the four cardinal virtues are distinct from one another
It seems that the aforesaid virtues are not distinct from one another.
1. For Gregory says, “Prudence which is not just, temperate, and brave, is not true prudence; nor is that perfect temperance, which is not brave, just, and prudent; nor that complete fortitude, which is not prudent, temperate, and just; nor is that true justice, which is not prudent, brave, and temperate.” (Moralia) But this would not be true, if there aforesaid virtues were distinct from one another; for different species of the same genus are not used to name one another. Therefore the aforesaid virtues are not distinct from one another.
It should be said that as was said above, different people understand these four virtues in different ways. For some understand them as signifying general conditions of the human soul which are found in all virtues: thus prudence is nothing other than a certain rightness of discernment in any actions or matters; justice a certain rightness of soul, by which man does what is due in any matter; temperance, a certain disposition of soul which gives a measure to any passions or actions; fortitude a certain disposition of soul which strengthens it in that which is according to reason, against any impulses of passions or difficulties of actions.
Distinguished in this way, these four virtues do not entail a distinction of virtuous habits with respect to justice, temperance, and fortitude. For any moral virtue, in being a habit, possesses a certain firmness, to remain unmoved by the contrary; and this was said to pertain to fortitude. In being a virtue, it has the character of being ordered to the good, in which the account of something right or due is implied; this was said to pertain to justice. In being a moral virtue, which partakes in reason, it has the character of keeping the measure of reason in all things, and not extending beyond it; this was said to pertain to temperance. Only the possession of discernment, which was attributed to prudence, seems to be distinct from the other three, inasmuch as this belongs essentially to reason, whereas the other three imply a certain participation in reason, by way of a certain application of reason to passions or actions. Therefore according to this understanding of the cardinal virtues, prudence would be a virtue distinct from the other three, but the other three would not be virtues distinct from one another; for it is evident that one and the same virtue is a habit, is a virtue, and is moral.
Other people more fittingly understand these four virtues as being defined by specific matter, each of them by that matter in which that general condition from which the virtue derives its name is primarily praised, as was said above. And according to this understanding, it is evident that these virtues are distinct habits, according to the distinct objects that they have.
Replies to objections:
1. To the first, therefore, it should be said that Gregory is speaking about the aforesaid four virtues in the first way of understanding them. Or it can be said that these four virtues receive the names of the others by reason of a certain overflow. For that which belongs to prudence overflows to the other virtues, insofar as they are directed from prudence. And each of the other virtues overflows to the others for the following reason: he who can do what is more difficult, can also do what is less difficult. Therefore when someone has the ability to restrain within appropriate bounds his desires for the pleasures involving touch, which are the most difficult thing to restrain, he is by that very fact made more capable of doing what is much easier, namely restraining his daring in dangers of death, so that it does not go too far. And in this way fortitude is said to be temperate. Temperance is also called brave, insofar as fortitude overflows into temperance; for he who by fortitude keeps his soul firm against dangers of death, which is most difficult, is more capable of keeping his soul firm against the impulse of pleasures; for as Cicero says, “it would be inconsistent for him who is not broken by fear, to be broken by desire; or for him who shows himself unconquered by toil, to be conquered by pleasure.” (On Duties)
Whether the cardinal virtues are fittingly divided into political virtues, cleansing virtues, virtues of the cleansed soul, and exemplar virtues
It should be said that as Augustine says, “the soul needs to follow something in order to give birth to virtue. This something is God: if we follow him we shall live rightly.” (De Moribus Ecclesiae) Hence the exemplar of human virtue must preexist in God, just as the ideas of all things preexist in him. We can therefore consider virtue insofar as it is in God as the exemplar of all other virtues, and thus we speak of “exemplar” virtues. In this way, the divine mind itself may be called prudence, while temperance is the turning of the divine intention upon himself, as in us temperance is that which conforms desire to reason. God’s fortitude is his unchangeableness; his justice is the observance of the eternal law in his works, as Plotinus said.
[Political, or social virtues]
Again, since man by his nature is a political animal, these virtues, insofar as they are in him according to the condition of his nature, are called “political” virtues; since it is by means of them that man behaves well in the conduct of human affairs. It is in this way that we have been speaking of these virtues until now.
But since a man should strive onward to divine things as far as he is able to do so, as even the Philosopher say in Ethics X, and as Scripture often commends to us—e.g., “Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt. 5:48), there must be some virtues between the political, i.e., human virtues, and the exemplar virtues which are divine virtues. There are two kinds of intermediate virtues, distinguished according to whether they are in movement, or have reached the term of movement.
The first intermediate kind of virtues are the virtues of men who are on their way towards and striving for likeness to God; and these are called “cleansing” virtues. Thus prudence, by contemplating the things of God, considers all worldly things as of little account, and directs all the thoughts of the mind to God alone; temperance forsakes the needs of the body, so far as nature allows; fortitude keeps the soul from being afraid of leaving the body and advancing to heavenly things; and justice consists in the soul giving complete consent to follow the way thus proposed.
The second intermediate virtues are the virtues of those who have already attained likeness to God: these are called the “virtues of the cleansed soul.” Thus prudence sees nothing but the things of God; temperance knows no earthly desires; fortitude has no knowledge of passion; and justice, by imitating the divine mind, is united to it in an everlasting covenant. These virtues we attributed to the blessed, or, in this life, to some who have reached the height of perfection.
On the theological virtues
Whether there are theological virtues
It seems that there are no theological virtues.
3. For “theological virtues” refers to virtues by which we are directed to God, who is the first principle and the last end of all things. But simply by the nature of man’s reason and will, he is directed to his first beginning and last end. Therefore there is no need for any habits of theological virtue, to direct the reason and will to God.
It should be said that virtue perfects man so that he can do the acts by which he is directed to happiness, as is evident from what was said above. Now there are two kinds of happiness, or beatitude, that man can have. One kind is proportionate to human nature, being a happiness that man can attain by means of his natural principles. The other kind of happiness surpasses man’s nature, and he can obtain it only by God’s power, through a certain participation in the divinity, as it is said that through Christ we have become “partakers of the divine nature.” (2 Pt. 1:4) And because this kind of happiness is not proportionate to human nature, man’s natural principles, which enable him to act well in a way that is proportionate to his nature, do not suffice to direct man to this happiness. Hence man must receive from God some additional principles, by which he may be directed to supernatural happiness, just as he is directed to his natural end by means of his natural principles, though not without God’s help. These additional principles are called “theological virtues” for three reasons: (1) because their object is God, insofar as they direct us rightly to God, (2) because they are infused in us by God alone, (3) and because we only learn about this kind of virtue by the divine revelation in sacred scripture.
Replies to objections:
3. To the third it should be said that reason and will are naturally directed to God insofar as he is the principle and end of nature, yet in a way that is proportionate to nature; they are not by nature sufficiently directed to God insofar as he is the object of supernatural happiness.
Whether the theological virtues are distinct from the intellectual and moral virtues
It should be said that as was said above, habits are distinguished into their various species according to the formal differences of their objects. Now the object of the theological virtues is God himself, the last end of all things, insofar as he surpasses the knowledge of our reason, [i.e., insofar as he reveals and gives himself to us.] The object of the intellectual and moral virtues, on the other hand, is something that human reason can comprehend. Hence the theological virtues are distinct in species from the moral and intellectual virtues.
Whether faith, hope, and charity are fittingly set down as theological virtues
It seems that faith, hope, and charity are not fittingly set down as theological virtues.
2. For the theological virtues are more perfect than the intellectual and moral virtues. But faith is not set down as one of the intellectual virtues, but is something less than virtue, since it is imperfect knowledge. Similarly, hope is not set down as one of the moral virtues, but is something less than virtue, since it is a passion. Therefore much less should they be set down as theological virtues.
3. Further, the theological virtues order man’s soul to God. But man’s soul can only be ordered to God with respect to the intellectual part, in which are intellect and will. Therefore there should only be two theological virtues: one which perfects the intellect, and another which perfects the will.
It should be said that as was said above, the way that the theological virtues order man to supernatural happiness corresponds to the way that man’s natural inclination orders him to the end natural to him. Now this happens in two ways. First, according to reason or intellect, insofar as the intellect contains the first universal principles, which are known to us by the natural light of the intellect, and which are reason’s starting-point, both in speculative and in practical matters. Secondly, through the rightness of the will, which tends naturally to that which is good according to reason.
But both the intellect and the will fall short of the order of supernatural happiness, according to 1 Cor. 2:9: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him.” Hence with respect both to intellect and to will, man had to receive something more, something supernatural to order him to a supernatural end. And first, as regards the intellect, man receives certain supernatural principles, which are grasped by means of a divine light: these are the articles of faith, which faith concerns. Secondly, the will is ordered to this end, both by the movement of intention, tending to that end as something attainable, which pertains to hope, and again by a certain spiritual union, through which the will is in a certain manner transformed into that end, and this union is accomplished by charity. For the natural movement and tendency of a thing’s appetite towards its natural end arises from a certain conformity of the thing with its end; [the same thing will apply to man’s supernatural end: the motion and tendency towards it will arise from a certain conformity with it.]
Replies to objections:
2. To the second it should be said that faith and hope imply a certain imperfection; for faith is of things that are not seen, and hope is of things that are not possessed. Hence to have faith and hope about things that are subject to human power falls short of the account of virtue. But to have faith and hope in things that are above the ability of human nature surpasses all virtue that is in proportion to man, according to 1 Cor. 1:25: “The weakness of God is stronger than men.”
3. To the third it should be said that two things pertain to the appetite: movement to the end, and conformity with the end by means of love. Hence there must be two theological virtues in the human appetite, namely hope and charity.
Whether faith precedes hope, and hope charity
It seems that this is not the order of the theological virtues, that faith precedes hope, and hope charity.
2. For Augustine says: “A man cannot love what he does not believe to exist. But if he believes and loves, by doing good works he ends in hoping.” (On Christian Doctrine) Therefore it seems that faith precedes charity, and charity hope.
3. Further, love is the principle of every affection, as was said above. But hope is a certain affection, since it is a passion, as was said above. Therefore charity, which is love, precedes hope.
On the contrary:
Is the order in which the Apostle enumerates them: “Now there remain faith, hope, charity.” (1 Cor. 13:13)
It should be said that there are two kinds of order: the order of generation, and the order of perfection. In the order of generation, matter precedes form in a given subject, and likewise the imperfect precedes the perfect. In this order, faith precedes hope, and hope charity—with respect to their acts, since the habits are all infused together. For the movement of the appetite cannot tend to anything, either by hoping or by loving, unless that thing is apprehended by sense or by intellect. But it is by faith that the intellect apprehends that which it hopes for and loves. Hence in the order of generation, faith precedes hope and charity. Similarly, a man loves a thing because he apprehends it as his good. Now when a man hopes to be able to obtain some good through someone, he for that very reason regards that man, in whom he hopes, as a certain good of his own. Hence precisely by hoping in someone, a man proceeds to love him. And thus, in the order of generation, hope precedes charity, with respect to their acts.
But in the order of perfection, charity precedes faith and hope; for both faith and hope are formed by charity, and by it are made virtues in the full sense of the term. For thus charity is the mother and the root of all the virtues, insofar as it is the form of them all, as will be said below.
Replies to objections:
2. To the second it should be said that Augustine is speaking of the hope whereby a man hopes to obtain beatitude through the merits which he already has; this hope is the act of hope formed by charity, and therefore follows charity. But a man can also hope before he has charity, not through merits which he has, but which he hopes that he will have.
3. To the third it should be said that as was said above, when speaking about the passions, hope regards two things. One is its principal object, namely the good hoped for. In this regard, love always precedes hope; for we never hope for a good unless we desire and love it. Hope also regards the person from whom one hopes to be able to obtain some good. With regard to this, hope precedes love at first; although afterwards hope is increased by love. For by thinking that one can obtain a good through someone, one begins to love him; and because one loves him, one then hopes even more strongly in him.12
1See the parallel texts In III Sent., d. 33, q. 2, a. 4, qa. 2-4.
2recta ratio agibilium
3See the parallel text In III Sent. d. 33, q. 2, a. 1, qa. 2.
4Choice is not in itself an act of reason, but of the will, yet it depends directly upon an act of reason, namely deliberating or making a judgment about what is to be done. So in order to choose well, one has to deliberate or judge well, and this requires an intellectual virtue.
5This objection and reply is actually taken from the commentary on the sentences.
6An important implication of the distinction made between deliberating well and judging well is this: sometimes an excessive desire or attachment to something prevents people from thinking clearly or correctly about a situation. But other times people think clearly and correctly about a situation, but their thinking about it isn’t enough to rouse them to action (or to restrain them from action, in the case of bad actions), because the appropriate behavior is against their inclinations.
7This article contains substantial paraphrase.
8Is there, for example, one virtue that regulates love, and another that regulates hate, or does the same virtue do both? Is there one virtue that regulates desire, and another that regulates delight, or does the same virtue do both?
9Is there, for example, one virtue that regulates desire of food, another that regulates desire of alcohol, another that regulates desire of fun, etc., or does one virtue do all of these?
10Fortitude and gentleness were only mentioned in the previous article.
11“Cardinal” here means that which has primacy as regards moving one to the goal of virtue.
12Note that the love which precedes hope is love for God as good for us, while the love that follows hope is love for God for his own sake.
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