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The Specification of Human Actions in St Thomas Aquinas$
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Joseph Pilsner

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199286058

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2006

DOI: 10.1093/0199286051.001.0001

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Human Actions and Aquinas's Moral Theory

Human Actions and Aquinas's Moral Theory

Chapter:
(p.9) 2 Human Actions and Aquinas's Moral Theory
Source:
The Specification of Human Actions in St Thomas Aquinas
Author(s):

Joseph Pilsner (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0199286051.003.0002

The importance of specification of human actions in Aquinas becomes clearer when one recognizes the indispensable role that human actions play in his moral theory as a whole. For Aquinas, human actions come to be through a human agent’s free self-determination; a human agent has mastery over these actions and bears responsibility for them. The goal of all human life is happiness, and this consists in a perpetual human action of knowing God ‘as he is’ in heaven. In this life, a person can share in the happiness found in God — though imperfectly — by the human actions of hope, faith, contemplation, and charity. Created goods can contribute to temporal happiness in their own way, so long as the human actions by which these goods are used or enjoyed accord with God’s will.

Keywords:   charity, choice, contemplation, enjoyment, faith, happiness, hope, human action, intention, will

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