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The Specification of Human Actions in St Thomas Aquinas - Oxford Scholarship Online
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The Specification of Human Actions in St Thomas Aquinas

Joseph Pilsner


Thomas Aquinas believed that human actions have kinds or species. He divided human actions into good, evil, or indifferent, and subdivided them into more particular kinds such as almsgiving, murder, fraternal correction, or theft. From his earliest consideration of this topic in the Commentary on the Sentences to his latest in the Summa Theologiae, he used five different terms — end, object, matter, circumstance, and motive — to identify what gives species to human actions. Some difficulties have been noted with respect to his thinking on this subject. A first such difficulty is that his teach ... More

Keywords: circumstance, end, human action, matter, motive, object, proximate end, remote end, species, specification

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2006 Print ISBN-13: 9780199286058
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2006 DOI:10.1093/0199286051.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Joseph Pilsner, author
Assistant Professor of Theology, University of St Thomas, Houston
Author Webpage