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Reframing Catholic Theological Ethics$

Joseph A. Selling

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198767121

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198767121.001.0001

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(p.218) Appendix 5 Prologues of the Treatise on Human Acts, ST I-II,1–21

(p.218) Appendix 5 Prologues of the Treatise on Human Acts, ST I-II,1–21

Source:
Reframing Catholic Theological Ethics
Author(s):

Joseph A. Selling

Publisher:
Oxford University Press

Since, as Damascene states (De Fide Orthod. ii. 12), man is said to be made to God’s image, in so far as the image implies an intelligent being endowed with free-will and self-movement: now that we have treated of the exemplar, i.e. God, and of those things which came forth from the power of God in accordance with His will; it remains for us to treat of His image, i.e. man, inasmuch as he too is the principal of his actions, as having free-will and control of his actions.

Prologue to Questions 1

In this matter we shall consider first the last end of human life; and secondly, those things by means of which man may advance towards this end, or stray from the path: for the end is the rule of whatever is ordained to the end. And since the last end of human life is stated to be happiness, we must consider (1) the last end in general; (2) Happiness.

Under the first head there are eight points of inquiry:…

Prologue to Questions 2–5

We have now to consider…Under this heading, there are…points of inquiry.

Prologue to Question 6

Since therefore Happiness is to be gained by means of certain acts, we must in due sequence consider human acts, in order to know by what acts we may obtain Happiness, and by what acts we are prevented from obtaining it. But because operations and acts are concerned with things singular, consequently all practical knowledge is incomplete unless it take account of things in detail. The study of morals, therefore, since it treats of human acts, should consider first the general principles; and secondly matters of detail.

In treating of the general principles, the points that offer themselves for our consideration are—(1) human acts themselves; (2) their principles. Now of human acts some are proper to man; others are common to man and animals. And since Happiness is man’s proper good, those acts which are proper to man have a closer connection with Happiness than have those which are common to man and the other animals. First, then, we must consider those acts which are proper to man; secondly, those acts which are common to man and the other animals, and are called Passions. The first of these points offers a twofold consideration: (1) What makes a human act? (2) What distinguishes human acts?

(p.219) And since those acts are properly called human, which are voluntary, because the will is the rational appetite, which is proper to man, we must consider acts in so far as they are voluntary.

First, then, we must consider the voluntary and involuntary in general; secondly those acts which are voluntary as being elicited by the will, and as issuing from the will immediately; thirdly those acts which are voluntary, as being commanded by the will, which issue from the will through the medium of the other powers.

And because voluntary acts have certain circumstances, according to which we form our judgment concerning them, we must first consider the voluntary and the involuntary, and afterwards, the circumstances of those acts which are found to be voluntary or involuntary.

Under the first head there are eight points of inquiry….

Prologue to Question 7

We must now consider the circumstances of human acts. Under this head there are four points of inquiry….

Prologue to Question 8

We must now consider the different acts of the will; and in the first place, those acts which belong to the will itself immediately, as being elicited by the will; secondly, those acts which are commanded by the will.

Now the will is moved to the end, and to those things in service to the end; we must therefore consider—(1) Those acts of the will whereby it is moved to the end; and (2) those whereby it is moved to those things in service to the end. And since it seems that there are three acts of the will in reference to the end; namely, volition, enjoyment, and intention; we must consider—(1) volition; (2) enjoyment; (3) intention.

Concerning the first, three things must be considered: (1) of what things is the will? (2) By what is the will moved? (3) How it is moved?

Under the first head there are three points of inquiry….

Prologue to Questions 9–12

We have now to consider…Under this heading, there are…points of inquiry.

Prologue to Question 13

Following (what has been said), we must now consider the acts of the will with regard to those things that are in service to the end [means]. There are three of them: to choose, to consent, and to use. And choice is preceded by counsel. First of all, then, we must consider choice; secondly, counsel; thirdly, consent; fourthly use. Concerning choice, there are six points of inquiry….

Prologue to Questions 14–17

We have now to consider…Under this heading, there are…points of inquiry.

(p.220) Prologue to Question 18

We must now consider the good and evil of human acts. First, how a human act is good or evil; secondly, what results from the good or evil of a human act, as merit or demerit, sin and guilt.

Under the first head there will be a threefold consideration: the first will be of the good and evil of human acts, in general; the second, of the good and evil of internal acts; the third, of the good and evil of external acts.

Considering the first of these, there are eleven points of inquiry….

Prologue to Questions 19–21

We have now to consider…Under this heading, there are…points of inquiry.