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    Prudence in Aristotle and ST. Thomas Aquinas

    Roche, Donal (2005) Prudence in Aristotle and ST. Thomas Aquinas. Masters thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    For Aristotle, prudence or practical wisdom is a virtue of thought that is practical rather than theoretical and deliberative rather than intuitive. It is the intellectual virtue that perfects reasoning in regard to decision making in the realm of human action. To have this virtue is to be good at thinking about how to live a fulfilled life as a whole, and to be successful in so doing. The prudent person is the only one who is truly just, courageous and temperate, and the good person is truly good only if he is prudent. According to Aristotle, there is a fundamental connection between prudence and moral virtue. This connection depends on the pre-existence of certain natural qualities. Although Aristotle stresses the importance of prudence and the ethical life, he holds that the human person - endowed as he is with the divine element of reason - is capable of an even higher way of life. This is the life of contemplation, the life dedicated to the appreciation of truth, the life that is closest to the way of life of the gods. For St. Thomas Aquinas, Aristotle is the Philosopher. In treating of prudence, Aquinas follows Aristotle very closely especially in his Commentary on Aristotle’s 'Nicomachean Ethics He teaches that prudence is a virtue of the practical intellect that is related in a particularly close way to the moral virtues. In order to be morally good, a person needs the moral virtues, and these in turn need the judgment of prudence. Aquinas’s interpretations of Aristotle’s notion of prudence are more accurate than, and indeed represent improvements on, those advanced by other leading authorities ofh;s time, including St. Albert the Great in his Super Ethica. In ways that are significant, he changes and develops some of Aristotle’s teachings on prudence in both his Commentary on Aristotle’s ‘Nicomachean Ethics ’ and in some of his more theological works, e.g., his Summa Theologiae. For example, Aquinas holds that Aristotle’s conception of ultimate end or human flourishing - by Aristotle’s own statement - can only be realized in an imperfect way in this life.

    Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
    Keywords: Aristotle; ST. Thomas Aquinas;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Arts & Humanities > Philosophy
    Item ID: 5204
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 23 Jul 2014 10:28
      Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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