L8 ethics of thomas aquinas and augustine


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L8 ethics of thomas aquinas and augustine

  1. 1. Lesson 8 – Origin of GOOD and EVIL Presented by: Arnel O. Rivera LPU-Cavite Based on the presentation of: Mr. Alexander Rodis
  2. 2. ST. AUGUSTINE(354-430CE)  Augustine fashioned a philosophical framework for Christian thought that was essentially Platonic THE ABSENCE THEORY OF EVIL  He also saw in Platonic and Neoplatonic doctrines the solution to the problem of evil.  This problem can be expressed in a very simple question: HOW COULD EVIL HAVE ARISEN IN A WORLD CREATED BY A PERPECTLY GOOD GOD?
  3. 3. HOW COULD EVIL HAVE ARISEN IN A WORLD CREATED BY A PERPECTLY GOOD GOD?  One solution to this problem that Augustine considered was that evil is the result of creative force other than God, a force of darkness.  But isn’t it there supposed to be just one and only one creator?
  4. 4.  For Plato, the FORM OF THE GOOD was the source of all reality, and from this principle it follows that all that is real is good. Thus given Plato’s principle, EVIL IS NOT REAL.  Because evil is not something, it was not created by God.  This theory of evil is plausible enough as long as you are thinking of certain “physical evil”.  However the absence theory of evil does not plausibly explain MORAL EVIL, the evil that is the wrong doing of man.
  5. 5. HOW DID ST. AGUSUTINE ACCOUNT FOR MORAL EVIL?  His explanation of moral evil was a variation of another idea of Plato’s, the idea that a person never knowingly does wrong, that evil actions are the result of ignorance of the good, of misdirected education,  Augustine added a new twist to this idea. Moral evil, he said, is not exactly a case of misdirected education but instead, a case of misdirected love.
  6. 6. NATURAL LAW  For St. Augustine, natural law governs all morality and human behavior must conform to it.  Augustinian natural law is the eternal law of God as it is written in the heart of man and woman and is apprehended by them in their conscience; and the eternal law is the “reason and will of GOD”  Thus, the ultimate source of all good is God and God alone is intrinsically GOOD.  Our overriding moral imperative is therefore to love God.  The individual virtues are simply different aspects of the love of GOD.
  7. 7.  For Augustine, although there is nothing wrong with loving things other than God, you must not love them as if they were good in themselves for only God is intrinsically good.  To love things other than God as if they were inherently good is disordered love: it is to turn away from God, and moral evil consists in just this disordered love.
  8. 8. HAPPINESS  Happiness consists in having all you want and wanting not evil.  In any event, the only conceivable way to have all you want and to want no evil, is to make God the supreme object of your love.  For Augustine, MORAL EVIL arises when man turns away from God. Thus, God, is not the creator or moral evil; it is we who create evil.  But does it not then follow that we can create good?  No, because God is the source of all that is good. We can do good only through GOD.
  9. 9. ST. THOMAS AQUINAS (1255-1274)  He christianized the philosophy of Aristotle.  Aristotle said that the good of each kind of thing is defined with reference to the function or the nature of that kind of thing and is in fact the goal or purpose of that kind of thing. In the case of humans, goodness is happiness.  Aquinas agreed that the natural (moral) law, which is God’s eternal law as it is applied to man on earth, is apprehended by us in the dictates of our conscience and practical reasoning, which guide us to our natural goal, happiness on earth.  But there is also, according to Aquinas, an eternal, a temporal good – namely, happiness everlasting. That law that directs us to that end is God’s divine law, which the creator reveals to us through his grace.  The natural law of Aquinas is the law of reason, which leads us to our natural end insofar as we follow it.  The divine law is God’s gift to us, revealed through his grace.
  10. 10. According to Aquinas, there are two sets of virtues:  The higher virtues of faith, love, and hope  Natural virtues, such as fortitude and prudence, which are achieved when the will, directed the intellect, moderates our natural drives, impulses, and inclinations.
  11. 11.  Although Aquinas’ ethics are thus type of virtue ethics, he treats the moral goodness of an action.  “When evaluating an act, and only voluntary acts are subject to moral evaluation, we must consider not only what was done but also why it was done and the circumstances under which it was done.”  Now supposed someone does something, or refrains to doing it, because the person’ conscience tells him or her that this would be the morally proper thing to do or refrain from doing.  And suppose further that in this case the individual’s conscience is mistaken. Yes, an erring conscience is possible, according to Aquinas, despite the fact that it is through conscience that we become aware of natural law. In such case, if the person acts as he or she honestly thinks is morally right, and the mistake in thinking is due to involuntary ignorance on the person’s part, the person has not really sinned. 