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St. Thomas Aquinas
Summa Theologica

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  • SECOND PART
    • Aquin.: SMT FS Prologue Para. 1/1 - FIRST PART OF THE SECOND PART (FS) (QQ[1]-114)
      • Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] Out. Para. 1/3 - OF THE GOOD AND EVIL OF HUMAN ACTS, IN GENERAL (ELEVEN ARTICLES)
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Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] Out. Para. 1/3 - OF THE GOOD AND EVIL OF HUMAN ACTS, IN GENERAL (ELEVEN ARTICLES)

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.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] Out. Para. 2/3

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.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] Out. Para. 3/3

Concerning the first there are eleven points of inquiry:

(1) Whether every human action is good, or are there evil actions?

(2) Whether the good or evil of a human action is derived from its
object?

(3) Whether it is derived from a circumstance?

(4) Whether it is derived from the end?

(5) Whether a human action is good or evil in its species?

(6) Whether an action has the species of good or evil from its end?

(7) Whether the species derived from the end is contained under the
species derived from the object, as under its genus, or conversely?

(8) Whether any action is indifferent in its species?

(9) Whether an individual action can be indifferent?

(10) Whether a circumstance places a moral action in the species of good
or evil?

(11) Whether every circumstance that makes an action better or worse,
places the moral action in the species of good or evil?


Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[1] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether every human action is good, or are there evil actions?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[1] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1
OBJ 1: It would seem that every human action is good, and that none is
evil. For Dionysius says (Div. Nom. iv) that evil acts not, save in
virtue of the good. But no evil is done in virtue of the good. Therefore
no action is evil.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[1] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, nothing acts except in so far as it is in act. Now a
thing is evil, not according as it is in act, but according as its
potentiality is void of act; whereas in so far as its potentiality is
perfected by act, it is good, as stated in Metaph. ix, 9. Therefore
nothing acts in so far as it is evil, but only according as it is good.
Therefore every action is good, and none is evil.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[1] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, evil cannot be a cause, save accidentally, as Dionysius
declares (Div. Nom. iv). But every action has some effect which is proper
to it. Therefore no action is evil, but every action is good.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[1] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, Our Lord said (Jn. 3:20): "Every one that doth evil,
hateth the light." Therefore some actions of man are evil.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[1] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, We must speak of good and evil in actions as of good and
evil in things: because such as everything is, such is the act that it
produces. Now in things, each one has so much good as it has being: since
good and being are convertible, as was stated in the FP, Q[5], AA[1],3.
But God alone has the whole plenitude of His Being in a certain unity:
whereas every other thing has its proper fulness of being in a certain
multiplicity. Wherefore it happens with some things, that they have being
in some respect, and yet they are lacking in the fulness of being due to
them. Thus the fulness of human being requires a compound of soul and
body, having all the powers and instruments of knowledge and movement:
wherefore if any man be lacking in any of these, he is lacking in
something due to the fulness of his being. So that as much as he has of
being, so much has he of goodness: while so far as he is lacking in
goodness, and is said to be evil: thus a blind man is possessed of
goodness inasmuch as he lives; and of evil, inasmuch as he lacks sight.
That, however, which has nothing of being or goodness, could not be said
to be either evil or good. But since this same fulness of being is of the
very essence of good, if a thing be lacking in its due fulness of being,
it is not said to be good simply, but in a certain respect, inasmuch as
it is a being; although it can be called a being simply, and a non-being
in a certain respect, as was stated in the FP, Q[5], A[1], ad 1. We must
therefore say that every action has goodness, in so far as it has being;
whereas it is lacking in goodness, in so far as it is lacking in
something that is due to its fulness of being; and thus it is said to be
evil: for instance if it lacks the quantity determined by reason, or its
due place, or something of the kind.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[1] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: Evil acts in virtue of deficient goodness. For it there
were nothing of good there, there would be neither being nor possibility
of action. On the other hand if good were not deficient, there would be no evil. Consequently the action done is a deficient good, which is good
in a certain respect, but simply evil.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[1] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: Nothing hinders a thing from being in act in a certain
respect, so that it can act; and in a certain respect deficient in act,
so as to cause a deficient act. Thus a blind man has in act the power of
walking, whereby he is able to walk; but inasmuch as he is deprived of
sight he suffers a defect in walking by stumbling when he walks.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[1] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: An evil action can have a proper effect, according to the
goodness and being that it has. Thus adultery is the cause of human
generation, inasmuch as it implies union of male and female, but not
inasmuch as it lacks the order of reason.


Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[2] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether the good or evil of a man's action is derived from its object?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[2] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that the good or evil of an action is not derived
from its object. For the object of any action is a thing. But "evil is
not in things, but in the sinner's use of them," as Augustine says (De
Doctr. Christ. iii, 12). Therefore the good or evil of a human action is
not derived from their object.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[2] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, the object is compared to the action as its matter. But
the goodness of a thing is not from its matter, but rather from the form,
which is an act. Therefore good and evil in actions is not derived from
their object.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[2] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, the object of an active power is compared to the action
as effect to cause. But the goodness of a cause does not depend on its
effect; rather is it the reverse. Therefore good or evil in actions is
not derived from their object.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[2] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, It is written (Osee 9:10): "They became abominable as
those things which they loved." Now man becomes abominable to God on
account of the malice of his action. Therefore the malice of his action
is according to the evil objects that man loves. And the same applies to
the goodness of his action.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[2] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, as stated above (A[1]) the good or evil of an action, as
of other things, depends on its fulness of being or its lack of that
fulness. Now the first thing that belongs to the fulness of being seems
to be that which gives a thing its species. And just as a natural thing
has its species from its form, so an action has its species from its
object, as movement from its term. And therefore just as the primary
goodness of a natural thing is derived from its form, which gives it its
species, so the primary goodness of a moral action is derived from its
suitable object: hence some call such an action "good in its genus"; for
instance, "to make use of what is one's own." And just as, in natural
things, the primary evil is when a generated thing does not realize its
specific form (for instance, if instead of a man, something else be
generated); so the primary evil in moral actions is that which is from
the object, for instance, "to take what belongs to another." And this
action is said to be "evil in its genus," genus here standing for
species, just as we apply the term "mankind" to the whole human species.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[2] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: Although external things are good in themselves,
nevertheless they have not always a due proportion to this or that
action. And so, inasmuch as they are considered as objects of such
actions, they have not the quality of goodness.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[2] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: The object is not the matter "of which" (a thing is made),
but the matter "about which" (something is done); and stands in relation
to the act as its form, as it were, through giving it its species.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[2] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: The object of the human action is not always the object of
an active power. For the appetitive power is, in a way, passive; in so
far as it is moved by the appetible object; and yet it is a principle of
human actions. Nor again have the objects of the active powers always the
nature of an effect, but only when they are already transformed: thus
food when transformed is the effect of the nutritive power; whereas food
before being transformed stands in relation to the nutritive power as the
matter about which it exercises its operation. Now since the object is in
some way the effect of the active power, it follows that it is the term
of its action, and consequently that it gives it its form and species,
since movement derives its species from its term. Moreover, although the
goodness of an action is not caused by the goodness of its effect, yet an
action is said to be good from the fact that it can produce a good
effect. Consequently the very proportion of an action to its effect is
the measure of its goodness.



Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[3] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether man's action is good or evil from a circumstance?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[3] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that an action is not good or evil from a
circumstance. For circumstances stand around [circumstant] an action, as
being outside it, as stated above (Q[7], A[1]). But "good and evil are in
things themselves," as is stated in Metaph. vi, 4. Therefore an action
does not derive goodness or malice from a circumstance.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[3] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, the goodness or malice of an action is considered
principally in the doctrine of morals. But since circumstances are
accidents of actions, it seems that they are outside the scope of art:
because "no art takes notice of what is accidental" (Metaph. vi, 2).
Therefore the goodness or malice of an action is not taken from a
circumstance.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[3] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, that which belongs to a thing, in respect of its
substance, is not ascribed to it in respect of an accident. But good and
evil belong to an action in respect of its substance; because an action
can be good or evil in its genus as stated above (A[2]). Therefore an
action is not good or bad from a circumstance.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[3] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, the Philosopher says (Ethic. ii, 3) that a virtuous man
acts as he should, and when he should, and so on in respect of the other
circumstances. Therefore, on the other hand, the vicious man, in the
matter of each vice, acts when he should not, or where he should not, and
so on with the other circumstances. Therefore human actions are good or
evil according to circumstances.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[3] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, In natural things, it is to be noted that the whole
fulness of perfection due to a thing, is not from the mere substantial
form, that gives it its species; since a thing derives much from
supervening accidents, as man does from shape, color, and the like; and
if any one of these accidents be out of due proportion, evil is the
result. So it is with action. For the plenitude of its goodness does not
consist wholly in its species, but also in certain additions which accrue
to it by reason of certain accidents: and such are its due circumstances.
Wherefore if something be wanting that is requisite as a due circumstance
the action will be evil.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[3] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: Circumstances are outside an action, inasmuch as they are
not part of its essence; but they are in an action as accidents thereof.
Thus, too, accidents in natural substances are outside the essence.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[3] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: Every accident is not accidentally in its subject; for some
are proper accidents; and of these every art takes notice. And thus it is
that the circumstances of actions are considered in the doctrine of morals.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[3] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: Since good and being are convertible; according as being
is predicated of substance and of accident, so is good predicated of a
thing both in respect of its essential being, and in respect of its
accidental being; and this, both in natural things and in moral actions.


Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[4] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether a human action is good or evil from its end?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[4] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that the good and evil in human actions are not
from the end. For Dionysius says (Div. Nom. iv) that "nothing acts with a
view to evil." If therefore an action were good or evil from its end, no
action would be evil. Which is clearly false.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[4] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, the goodness of an action is something in the action.
But the end is an extrinsic cause. Therefore an action is not said to be
good or bad according to its end.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[4] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, a good action may happen to be ordained to an evil end,
as when a man gives an alms from vainglory; and conversely, an evil
action may happen to be ordained to a good end, as a theft committed in
order to give something to the poor. Therefore an action is not good or
evil from its end.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[4] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, Boethius says (De Differ. Topic. ii) that "if the end
is good, the thing is good, and if the end be evil, the thing also is
evil."

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[4] Body Para. 1/2

I answer that, The disposition of things as to goodness is the same as
their disposition as to being. Now in some things the being does not
depend on another, and in these it suffices to consider their being
absolutely. But there are things the being of which depends on something
else, and hence in their regard we must consider their being in its
relation to the cause on which it depends. Now just as the being of a
thing depends on the agent, and the form, so the goodness of a thing
depends on its end. Hence in the Divine Persons, Whose goodness does not
depend on another, the measure of goodness is not taken from the end.
Whereas human actions, and other things, the goodness of which depends on
something else, have a measure of goodness from the end on which they
depend, besides that goodness which is in them absolutely.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[4] Body Para. 2/2

Accordingly a fourfold goodness may be considered in a human action.
First, that which, as an action, it derives from its genus; because as
much as it has of action and being so much has it of goodness, as stated
above (A[1]). Secondly, it has goodness according to its species; which
is derived from its suitable object. Thirdly, it has goodness from its
circumstances, in respect, as it were, of its accidents. Fourthly, it has
goodness from its end, to which it is compared as to the cause of its
goodness.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[4] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: The good in view of which one acts is not always a true
good; but sometimes it is a true good, sometimes an apparent good. And in
the latter event, an evil action results from the end in view.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[4] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: Although the end is an extrinsic cause, nevertheless due
proportion to the end, and relation to the end, are inherent to the
action.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[4] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: Nothing hinders an action that is good in one of the way
mentioned above, from lacking goodness in another way. And thus it may
happen that an action which is good in its species or in its
circumstances is ordained to an evil end, or vice versa. However, an
action is not good simply, unless it is good in all those ways: since
"evil results from any single defect, but good from the complete cause,"
as Dionysius says (Div. Nom. iv).


Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[5] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether a human action is good or evil in its species?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[5] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that good and evil in moral actions do not make a
difference of species. For the existence of good and evil in actions is
in conformity with their existence in things, as stated above (A[1]). But
good and evil do not make a specific difference in things; for a good man
is specifically the same as a bad man. Therefore neither do they make a
specific difference in actions.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[5] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, since evil is a privation, it is a non-being. But
non-being cannot be a difference, according to the Philosopher (Metaph.
iii, 3). Since therefore the difference constitutes the species, it seems
that an action is not constituted in a species through being evil.
Consequently good and evil do not diversify the species of human actions.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[5] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, acts that differ in species produce different effects.
But the same specific effect results from a good and from an evil action:
thus a man is born of adulterous or of lawful wedlock. Therefore good and
evil actions do not differ in species.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[5] Obj. 4 Para. 1/1

OBJ 4: Further, actions are sometimes said to be good or bad from a
circumstance, as stated above (A[3]). But since a circumstance is an
accident, it does not give an action its species. Therefore human actions
do not differ in species on account of their goodness or malice.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[5] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, According to the Philosopher (Ethic ii. 1) "like habits
produce like actions." But a good and a bad habit differ in species, as
liberality and prodigality. Therefore also good and bad actions differ in
species.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[5] Body Para. 1/2

I answer that, Every action derives its species from its object, as
stated above (A[2]). Hence it follows that a difference of object causes
a difference of species in actions. Now, it must be observed that a
difference of objects causes a difference of species in actions,
according as the latter are referred to one active principle, which does
not cause a difference in actions, according as they are referred to
another active principle. Because nothing accidental constitutes a
species, but only that which is essential; and a difference of object may
be essential in reference to one active principle, and accidental in
reference to another. Thus to know color and to know sound, differ
essentially in reference to sense, but not in reference to the intellect.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[5] Body Para. 2/2

Now in human actions, good and evil are predicated in reference to the
reason; because as Dionysius says (Div. Nom. iv), "the good of man is to
be in accordance with reason," and evil is "to be against reason." For
that is good for a thing which suits it in regard to its form; and evil,
that which is against the order of its form. It is therefore evident that
the difference of good and evil considered in reference to the object is
an essential difference in relation to reason; that is to say, according
as the object is suitable or unsuitable to reason. Now certain actions
are called human or moral, inasmuch as they proceed from the reason.
Consequently it is evident that good and evil diversify the species in
human actions; since essential differences cause a difference of species.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[5] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: Even in natural things, good and evil, inasmuch as
something is according to nature, and something against nature, diversify
the natural species; for a dead body and a living body are not of the
same species. In like manner, good, inasmuch as it is in accord with reason, and evil, inasmuch as it is against reason, diversify the moral
species.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[5] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: Evil implies privation, not absolute, but affecting some
potentiality. For an action is said to be evil in its species, not
because it has no object at all; but because it has an object in
disaccord with reason, for instance, to appropriate another's property.
Wherefore in so far as the object is something positive, it can
constitute the species of an evil act.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[5] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: The conjugal act and adultery, as compared to reason,
differ specifically and have effects specifically different; because the
other deserves praise and reward, the other, blame and punishment. But as
compared to the generative power, they do not differ in species; and thus
they have one specific effect.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[5] R.O. 4 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 4: A circumstance is sometimes taken as the essential
difference of the object, as compared to reason; and then it can specify
a moral act. And it must needs be so whenever a circumstance transforms
an action from good to evil; for a circumstance would not make an action
evil, except through being repugnant to reason.


Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[6] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether an action has the species of good or evil from its end?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[6] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that the good and evil which are from the end do
not diversify the species of actions. For actions derive their species
from the object. But the end is altogether apart from the object.
Therefore the good and evil which are from the end do not diversify the
species of an action.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[6] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, that which is accidental does not constitute the
species, as stated above (A[5]). But it is accidental to an action to be
ordained to some particular end; for instance, to give alms from
vainglory. Therefore actions are not diversified as to species, according
to the good and evil which are from the end.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[6] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, acts that differ in species, can be ordained to the same
end: thus to the end of vainglory, actions of various virtues and vices
can be ordained. Therefore the good and evil which are taken from the
end, do not diversify the species of action.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[6] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, It has been shown above (Q[1], A[3]) that human actions
derive their species from the end. Therefore good and evil in respect of
the end diversify the species of actions.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[6] Body Para. 1/2

I answer that, Certain actions are called human, inasmuch as they are
voluntary, as stated above (Q[1], A[1]). Now, in a voluntary action,
there is a twofold action, viz. the interior action of the will, and the
external action: and each of these actions has its object. The end is
properly the object of the interior act of the will: while the object of
the external action, is that on which the action is brought to bear.
Therefore just as the external action takes its species from the object
on which it bears; so the interior act of the will takes its species from the end, as from its own proper object.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[6] Body Para. 2/2

Now that which is on the part of the will is formal in regard to that
which is on the part of the external action: because the will uses the
limbs to act as instruments; nor have external actions any measure of
morality, save in so far as they are voluntary. Consequently the species
of a human act is considered formally with regard to the end, but
materially with regard to the object of the external action. Hence the
Philosopher says (Ethic. v, 2) that "he who steals that he may commit
adultery, is strictly speaking, more adulterer than thief."

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[6] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: The end also has the character of an object, as stated
above.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[6] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: Although it is accidental to the external action to be
ordained to some particular end, it is not accidental to the interior act
of the will, which act is compared to the external act, as form to matter.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[6] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: When many actions, differing in species, are ordained to
the same end, there is indeed a diversity of species on the part of the
external actions; but unity of species on the part of the internal action.



Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[7] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether the species derived from the end is contained under the species
derived from the object, as under its genus, or conversely?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[7] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that the species of goodness derived from the end
is contained under the species of goodness derived from the object, as a
species is contained under its genus; for instance, when a man commits a
theft in order to give alms. For an action takes its species from its
object, as stated above (AA[2],6). But it is impossible for a thing to be
contained under another species, if this species be not contained under
the proper species of that thing; because the same thing cannot be
contained in different species that are not subordinate to one another.
Therefore the species which is taken from the end, is contained under the
species which is taken from the object.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[7] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, the last difference always constitutes the most specific
species. But the difference derived from the end seems to come after the
difference derived from the object: because the end is something last.
Therefore the species derived from the end, is contained under the
species derived from the object, as its most specific species.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[7] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, the more formal a difference is compared to genus, as
form to matter. But the species derived from the end, is more formal than
that which is derived from the object, as stated above (A[6]). Therefore
the species derived from the end is contained under the species derived
from the object, as the most specific species is contained under the
subaltern genus.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[7] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, Each genus has its determinate differences. But an
action of one same species on the part of its object, can be ordained to
an infinite number of ends: for instance, theft can be ordained to an
infinite number of good and bad ends. Therefore the species derived from
the end is not contained under the species derived from the object, as
under its genus.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[7] Body Para. 1/2

I answer that, The object of the external act can stand in a twofold
relation to the end of the will: first, as being of itself ordained
thereto; thus to fight well is of itself ordained to victory; secondly,
as being ordained thereto accidentally; thus to take what belongs to
another is ordained accidentally to the giving of alms. Now the
differences that divide a genus, and constitute the species of that
genus, must, as the Philosopher says (Metaph. vii, 12), divide that genus
essentially: and if they divide it accidentally, the division is
incorrect: as, if one were to say: "Animals are divided into rational and
irrational; and the irrational into animals with wings, and animals
without wings"; for "winged" and "wingless" are not essential
determinations of the irrational being. But the following division would
be correct: "Some animals have feet, some have no feet: and of those that
have feet, some have two feet, some four, some many": because the latter
division is an essential determination of the former. Accordingly when
the object is not of itself ordained to the end, the specific difference
derived from the object is not an essential determination of the species
derived from the end, nor is the reverse the case. Wherefore one of these
species is not under the other; but then the moral action is contained
under two species that are disparate, as it were. Consequently we say
that he that commits theft for the sake of adultery, is guilty of a
twofold malice in one action. On the other hand, if the object be of
itself ordained to the end, one of these differences is an essential
determination of the other. Wherefore one of these species will be
contained under the other.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[7] Body Para. 2/2

It remains to be considered which of the two is contained under the
other. In order to make this clear, we must first of all observe that the
more particular the form is from which a difference is taken, the more
specific is the difference. Secondly, that the more universal an agent
is, the more universal a form does it cause. Thirdly, that the more
remote an end is, the more universal the agent to which it corresponds;
thus victory, which is the last end of the army, is the end intended by
the commander in chief; while the right ordering of this or that regiment
is the end intended by one of the lower officers. From all this it
follows that the specific difference derived from the end, is more
general; and that the difference derived from an object which of itself
is ordained to that end, is a specific difference in relation to the
former. For the will, the proper object of which is the end, is the
universal mover in respect of all the powers of the soul, the proper
objects of which are the objects of their particular acts.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[7] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: One and the same thing, considered in its substance, cannot
be in two species, one of which is not subordinate to the other. But in
respect of those things which are superadded to the substance, one thing
can be contained under different species. Thus one and the same fruit, as
to its color, is contained under one species, i.e. a white thing: and, as
to its perfume, under the species of sweet-smelling things. In like
manner an action which, as to its substance, is in one natural species,
considered in respect to the moral conditions that are added to it, can
belong to two species, as stated above (Q[1], A[3], ad 3).

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[7] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: The end is last in execution; but first in the intention of
the reason, in regard to which moral actions receive their species.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[7] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: Difference is compared to genus as form to matter, inasmuch
as it actualizes the genus. On the other hand, the genus is considered as
more formal than the species, inasmuch as it is something more absolute
and less contracted. Wherefore also the parts of a definition are reduced
to the genus of formal cause, as is stated in Phys. ii, 3. And in this
sense the genus is the formal cause of the species; and so much the more
formal, as it is more universal.


Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[8] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether any action is indifferent in its species?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[8] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that no action is indifferent in its species. For
evil is the privation of good, according to Augustine (Enchiridion xi).
But privation and habit are immediate contraries, according to the
Philosopher (Categor. viii). Therefore there is not such thing as an
action that is indifferent in its species, as though it were between good
and evil.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[8] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, human actions derive their species from their end or
object, as stated above (A[6]; Q[1], A[3]). But every end and every
object is either good or bad. Therefore every human action is good or
evil according to its species. None, therefore, is indifferent in its
species.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[8] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, as stated above (A[1]), an action is said to be good,
when it has its due complement of goodness; and evil, when it lacks that
complement. But every action must needs either have the entire plenitude
of its goodness, or lack it in some respect. Therefore every action must
needs be either good or bad in its species, and none is indifferent.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[8] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, Augustine says (De Serm. Dom. in Monte ii, 18) that
"there are certain deeds of a middle kind, which can be done with a good
or evil mind, of which it is rash to form a judgment." Therefore some
actions are indifferent according to their species.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[8] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, As stated above (AA[2],5), every action takes its species
from its object; while human action, which is called moral, takes its
species from the object, in relation to the principle of human actions,
which is the reason. Wherefore if the object of an action includes
something in accord with the order of reason, it will be a good action
according to its species; for instance, to give alms to a person in want.
On the other hand, if it includes something repugnant to the order of
reason, it will be an evil act according to its species; for instance, to
steal, which is to appropriate what belongs to another. But it may happen
that the object of an action does not include something pertaining to the
order of reason; for instance, to pick up a straw from the ground, to
walk in the fields, and the like: and such actions are indifferent
according to their species.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[8] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: Privation is twofold. One is privation "as a result"
[privatum esse], and this leaves nothing, but takes all away: thus
blindness takes away sight altogether; darkness, light; and death, life.
Between this privation and the contrary habit, there can be no medium in
respect of the proper subject. The other is privation "in process"
[privari]: thus sickness is privation of health; not that it takes health
away altogether, but that it is a kind of road to the entire loss of
health, occasioned by death. And since this sort of privation leaves
something, it is not always the immediate contrary of the opposite habit.
In this way evil is a privation of good, as Simplicius says in his
commentary on the Categories: because it does not take away all good, but
leaves some. Consequently there can be something between good and evil.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[8] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: Every object or end has some goodness or malice, at least
natural to it: but this does not imply moral goodness or malice, which is
considered in relation to the reason, as stated above. And it is of this
that we are here treating.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[8] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: Not everything belonging to an action belongs also to its
species. Wherefore although an action's specific nature may not contain
all that belongs to the full complement of its goodness, it is not
therefore an action specifically bad; nor is it specifically good. Thus a
man in regard to his species is neither virtuous nor wicked.


Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[9] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether an individual action can be indifferent?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[9] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that an individual action can be indifferent. For
there is no species that does not, cannot, contain an individual. But an
action can be indifferent in its species, as stated above (A[8]).
Therefore an individual action can be indifferent.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[9] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, individual actions cause like habits, as stated in
Ethic. ii, 1. But a habit can be indifferent: for the Philosopher says
(Ethic. iv, 1) that those who are of an even temper and prodigal
disposition are not evil; and yet it is evident that they are not good,
since they depart from virtue; and thus they are indifferent in respect
of a habit. Therefore some individual actions are indifferent.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[9] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, moral good belongs to virtue, while moral evil belongs
to vice. But it happens sometimes that a man fails to ordain a
specifically indifferent action to a vicious or virtuous end. Therefore
an individual action may happen to be indifferent.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[9] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, Gregory says in a homily (vi in Evang.): "An idle word
is one that lacks either the usefulness of rectitude or the motive of
just necessity or pious utility." But an idle word is an evil, because
"men . . . shall render an account of it in the day of judgment" (Mt.
12:36): while if it does not lack the motive of just necessity or pious
utility, it is good. Therefore every word is either good or bad. For the
same reason every other action is either good or bad. Therefore no
individual action is indifferent.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[9] Body Para. 1/2

I answer that, It sometimes happens that an action is indifferent in its
species, but considered in the individual it is good or evil. And the
reason of this is because a moral action, as stated above (A[3]), derives
its goodness not only from its object, whence it takes its species; but
also from the circumstances, which are its accidents, as it were; just as
something belongs to a man by reason of his individual accidents, which
does not belong to him by reason of his species. And every individual
action must needs have some circumstance that makes it good or bad, at
least in respect of the intention of the end. For since it belongs to the
reason to direct; if an action that proceeds from deliberate reason be
not directed to the due end, it is, by that fact alone, repugnant to
reason, and has the character of evil. But if it be directed to a due
end, it is in accord with reason; wherefore it has the character of good.
Now it must needs be either directed or not directed to a due end.
Consequently every human action that proceeds from deliberate reason, if
it be considered in the individual, must be good or bad.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[9] Body Para. 2/2
If, however, it does not proceed from deliberate reason, but from some
act of the imagination, as when a man strokes his beard, or moves his
hand or foot; such an action, properly speaking, is not moral or human;
since this depends on the reason. Hence it will be indifferent, as
standing apart from the genus of moral actions.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[9] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: For an action to be indifferent in its species can be
understood in several ways. First in such a way that its species demands
that it remain indifferent; and the objection proceeds along this line.
But no action can be specifically indifferent thus: since no object of
human action is such that it cannot be directed to good or evil, either
through its end or through a circumstance. Secondly, specific
indifference of an action may be due to the fact that as far as its
species is concerned, it is neither good nor bad. Wherefore it can be
made good or bad by something else. Thus man, as far as his species is
concerned, is neither white nor black; nor is it a condition of his
species that he should not be black or white; but blackness or whiteness
is superadded to man by other principles than those of his species.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[9] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: The Philosopher states that a man is evil, properly
speaking, if he be hurtful to others. And accordingly, because he hurts
none save himself. And the same applies to all others who are not hurtful
to other men. But we say here that evil, in general, is all that is
repugnant to right reason. And in this sense every individual action is
either good or bad, as stated above.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[9] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: Whenever an end is intended by deliberate reason, it
belongs either to the good of some virtue, or to the evil of some vice.
Thus, if a man's action is directed to the support or repose of his body,
it is also directed to the good of virtue, provided he direct his body
itself to the good of virtue. The same clearly applies to other actions.


Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[10] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether a circumstance places a moral action in the species of good or
evil?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[10] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that a circumstance cannot place a moral action in
the species of good or evil. For the species of an action is taken from
its object. But circumstances differ from the object. Therefore
circumstances do not give an action its species.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[10] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, circumstances are as accidents in relation to the moral
action, as stated above (Q[7], A[1]). But an accident does not constitute
the species. Therefore a circumstance does not constitute a species of
good or evil.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[10] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, one thing is not in several species. But one action has
several circumstances. Therefore a circumstance does not place a moral
action in a species of good or evil.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[10] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, Place is a circumstance. But place makes a moral action
to be in a certain species of evil; for theft of a thing from a holy
place is a sacrilege. Therefore a circumstance makes a moral action to be
specifically good or bad.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[10] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, Just as the species of natural things are constituted by
their natural forms, so the species of moral actions are constituted by
forms as conceived by the reason, as is evident from what was said above
(A[5]). But since nature is determinate to one thing, nor can a process
of nature go on to infinity, there must needs be some ultimate form,
giving a specific difference, after which no further specific difference
is possible. Hence it is that in natural things, that which is accidental
to a thing, cannot be taken as a difference constituting the species. But
the process of reason is not fixed to one particular term, for at any
point it can still proceed further. And consequently that which, in one
action, is taken as a circumstance added to the object that specifies the
action, can again be taken by the directing reason, as the principal
condition of the object that determines the action's species. Thus to
appropriate another's property is specified by reason of the property
being "another's," and in this respect it is placed in the species of
theft; and if we consider that action also in its bearing on place or
time, then this will be an additional circumstance. But since the reason
can direct as to place, time, and the like, it may happen that the
condition as to place, in relation to the object, is considered as being
in disaccord with reason: for instance, reason forbids damage to be done
to a holy place. Consequently to steal from a holy place has an
additional repugnance to the order of reason. And thus place, which was
first of all considered as a circumstance, is considered here as the
principal condition of the object, and as itself repugnant to reason. And
in this way, whenever a circumstance has a special relation to reason,
either for or against, it must needs specify the moral action whether
good or bad.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[10] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: A circumstance, in so far as it specifies an action, is
considered as a condition of the object, as stated above, and as being,
as it were, a specific difference thereof.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[10] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: A circumstance, so long as it is but a circumstance, does
not specify an action, since thus it is a mere accident: but when it
becomes a principal condition of the object, then it does specify the
action.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[10] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: It is not every circumstance that places the moral action
in the species of good or evil; since not every circumstance implies
accord or disaccord with reason. Consequently, although one action may
have many circumstances, it does not follow that it is in many species.
Nevertheless there is no reason why one action should not be in several,
even disparate, moral species, as said above (A[7], ad 1; Q[1], A[3], ad
3).


Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[11] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether every circumstance that makes an action better or worse, places a
moral action in a species of good or evil?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[11] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that every circumstance relating to good or evil,
specifies an action. For good and evil are specific differences of moral
actions. Therefore that which causes a difference in the goodness or
malice of a moral action, causes a specific difference, which is the same
as to make it differ in species. Now that which makes an action better or
worse, makes it differ in goodness and malice. Therefore it causes it to
differ in species. Therefore every circumstance that makes an action
better or worse, constitutes a species.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[11] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, an additional circumstance either has in itself the
character of goodness or malice, or it has not. If not, it cannot make
the action better or worse; because what is not good, cannot make a
greater good; and what is not evil, cannot make a greater evil. But if it
has in itself the character of good or evil, for this very reason it has
a certain species of good or evil. Therefore every circumstance that
makes an action better or worse, constitutes a new species of good or
evil.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[11] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, according to Dionysius (Div. Nom. iv), "evil is caused
by each single defect." Now every circumstance that increases malice, has
a special defect. Therefore every such circumstance adds a new species of
sin. And for the same reason, every circumstance that increases goodness,
seems to add a new species of goodness: just as every unity added to a
number makes a new species of number; since the good consists in "number,
weight, and measure" (FP, Q[5], A[5]).

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[11] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, More and less do not change a species. But more and
less is a circumstance of additional goodness or malice. Therefore not
every circumstance that makes a moral action better or worse, places it
in a species of good or evil.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[11] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, As stated above (A[10]), a circumstance gives the species
of good or evil to a moral action, in so far as it regards a special
order of reason. Now it happens sometimes that a circumstance does not
regard a special order of reason in respect of good or evil, except on
the supposition of another previous circumstance, from which the moral
action takes its species of good or evil. Thus to take something in a
large or small quantity, does not regard the order of reason in respect
of good or evil, except a certain other condition be presupposed, from
which the action takes its malice or goodness; for instance, if what is
taken belongs to another, which makes the action to be discordant with
reason. Wherefore to take what belongs to another in a large or small
quantity, does not change the species of the sin. Nevertheless it can
aggravate or diminish the sin. The same applies to other evil or good
actions. Consequently not every circumstance that makes a moral action
better or worse, changes its species.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[11] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: In things which can be more or less intense, the difference
of more or less does not change the species: thus by differing in
whiteness through being more or less white a thing is not changed in
regard to its species of color. In like manner that which makes an action
to be more or less good or evil, does not make the action differ in
species.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[11] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: A circumstance that aggravates a sin, or adds to the
goodness of an action, sometimes has no goodness or malice in itself, but
in regard to some other condition of the action, as stated above.
Consequently it does not add a new species, but adds to the goodness or
malice derived from this other condition of the action.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[18] A[11] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: A circumstance does not always involve a distinct defect of
its own; sometimes it causes a defect in reference to something else. In
like manner a circumstance does not always add further perfection, except
in reference to something else. And, for as much as it does, although it
may add to the goodness or malice, it does not always change the species
of good or evil.





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