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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[20] Out. Para. 1/1 - OF GOODNESS AND MALICE IN EXTERNAL HUMAN AFFAIRS (SIX ARTICLES)
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Aquin.: SMT FS Q[20] Out. Para. 1/1 - OF GOODNESS AND MALICE IN EXTERNAL HUMAN AFFAIRS (SIX ARTICLES)

We must next consider goodness and malice as to external actions: under
which head there are six points of inquiry:

(1) Whether goodness and malice is first in the act of the will, or in
the external action?

(2) Whether the whole goodness or malice of the external action depends
on the goodness of the will?

(3) Whether the goodness and malice of the interior act are the same as
those of the external action?

(4) Whether the external action adds any goodness or malice to that of
the interior act?

(5) Whether the consequences of an external action increase its goodness
or malice?

(6) Whether one and the same external action can be both good and evil?


Aquin.: SMT FS Q[20] A[1] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether goodness or malice is first in the action of the will, or in the
external action?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[20] A[1] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that good and evil are in the external action prior
to being in the act of the will. For the will derives goodness from its
object, as stated above (Q[19], AA[1],2). But the external action is the
object of the interior act of the will: for a man is said to will to
commit a theft, or to will to give an alms. Therefore good and evil are
in the external action, prior to being in the act of the will.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[20] A[1] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, the aspect of good belongs first to the end: since what
is directed to the end receives the aspect of good from its relation to
the end. Now whereas the act of the will cannot be an end, as stated
above (Q[1], A[1], ad 2), the act of another power can be an end.
Therefore good is in the act of some other power prior to being in the
act of the will.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[20] A[1] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, the act of the will stands in a formal relation to the
external action, as stated above (Q[18], A[6]). But that which is formal
is subsequent; since form is something added to matter. Therefore good
and evil are in the external action, prior to being in the act of the
will.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[20] A[1] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, Augustine says (Retract. i, 9) that "it is by the will
that we sin, and that we behave aright." Therefore moral good and evil
are first in the will.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[20] A[1] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, External actions may be said to be good or bad in two
ways. First, in regard to their genus, and the circumstances connected
with them: thus the giving of alms, if the required conditions be
observed, is said to be good. Secondly, a thing is said to be good or
evil, from its relation to the end: thus the giving of alms for vainglory
is said to be evil. Now, since the end is the will's proper object, it is
evident that this aspect of good or evil, which the external action
derives from its relation to the end, is to be found first of all in the
act of the will, whence it passes to the external action. On the other
hand, the goodness or malice which the external action has of itself, on
account of its being about due matter and its being attended by due
circumstances, is not derived from the will, but rather from the reason.
Consequently, if we consider the goodness of the external action, in so
far as it comes from reason's ordination and apprehension, it is prior to
the goodness of the act of the will: but if we consider it in so far as
it is in the execution of the action done, it is subsequent to the
goodness of the will, which is its principle.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[20] A[1] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: The exterior action is the object of the will, inasmuch as
it is proposed to the will by the reason, as good apprehended and
ordained by the reason: and thus it is prior to the good in the act of
the will. But inasmuch as it is found in the execution of the action, it
is an effect of the will, and is subsequent to the will.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[20] A[1] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: The end precedes in the order of intention, but follows in
the order of execution.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[20] A[1] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: A form as received into matter, is subsequent to matter in
the order of generation, although it precedes it in the order of nature:
but inasmuch as it is in the active cause, it precedes in every way. Now
the will is compared to the exterior action, as its efficient cause.
Wherefore the goodness of the act of the will, as existing in the active
cause, is the form of the exterior action.


Aquin.: SMT FS Q[20] A[2] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether the whole goodness and malice of the external action depends on
the goodness of the will?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[20] A[2] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that the whole goodness and malice of the external
action depend on the goodness of the will. For it is written (Mt. 7:18):
"A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can an evil tree
bring forth good fruit." But, according to the gloss, the tree signifies
the will, and fruit signifies works. Therefore, it is impossible for the
interior act of the will to be good, and the external action evil, or
vice versa.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[20] A[2] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, Augustine says (Retract. i, 9) that there is no sin
without the will. If therefore there is no sin in the will, there will be
none in the external action. And so the whole goodness or malice of the
external action depends on the will.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[20] A[2] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, the good and evil of which we are speaking now are
differences of the moral act. Now differences make an essential division
in a genus, according to the Philosopher (Metaph. vii, 12). Since
therefore an act is moral from being voluntary, it seems that goodness
and malice in an act are derived from the will alone.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[20] A[2] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, Augustine says (Contra Mendac. vii), that "there are
some actions which neither a good end nor a good will can make good."

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[20] A[2] Body Para. 1/2

I answer that, As stated above (A[1]), we may consider a twofold
goodness or malice in the external action: one in respect of due matter
and circumstances; the other in respect of the order to the end. And that
which is in respect of the order to the end, depends entirely on the
will: while that which is in respect of due matter or circumstances,
depends on the reason: and on this goodness depends the goodness of the
will, in so far as the will tends towards it.
Aquin.: SMT FS Q[20] A[2] Body Para. 2/2

Now it must be observed, as was noted above (Q[19], A[6], ad 1), that
for a thing to be evil, one single defect suffices, whereas, for it to be
good simply, it is not enough for it to be good in one point only, it
must be good in every respect. If therefore the will be good, both from
its proper object and from its end, if follows that the external action
is good. But if the will be good from its intention of the end, this is
not enough to make the external action good: and if the will be evil
either by reason of its intention of the end, or by reason of the act
willed, it follows that the external action is evil.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[20] A[2] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: If the good tree be taken to signify the good will, it must
be in so far as the will derives goodness from the act willed and from
the end intended.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[20] A[2] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: A man sins by his will, not only when he wills an evil end;
but also when he wills an evil act.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[20] A[2] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: Voluntariness applies not only to the interior act of the
will, but also to external actions, inasmuch as they proceed from the
will and the reason. Consequently the difference of good and evil is
applicable to both the interior and external act.


Aquin.: SMT FS Q[20] A[3] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether the goodness and malice of the external action are the same as
those of the interior act?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[20] A[3] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that the goodness and malice of the interior act of
the will are not the same as those of the external action. For the
principle of the interior act is the interior apprehensive or appetitive
power of the soul; whereas the principle of the external action is the
power that accomplishes the movement. Now where the principles of action
are different, the actions themselves are different. Moreover, it is the
action which is the subject of goodness or malice: and the same accident
cannot be in different subjects. Therefore the goodness of the interior
act cannot be the same as that of the external action.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[20] A[3] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, "A virtue makes that, which has it, good, and renders
its action good also" (Ethic. ii, 6). But the intellective virtue in the
commanding power is distinct from the moral virtue in the power
commanded, as is declared in Ethic. i, 13. Therefore the goodness of the
interior act, which belongs to the commanding power, is distinct from the
goodness of the external action, which belongs to the power commanded.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[20] A[3] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, the same thing cannot be cause and effect; since nothing
is its own cause. But the goodness of the interior act is the cause of
the goodness of the external action, or vice versa, as stated above
(AA[1],2). Therefore it is not the same goodness in each.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[20] A[3] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, It was shown above (Q[18], A[6]) that the act of the
will is the form, as it were, of the external action. Now that which
results from the material and formal element is one thing. Therefore
there is but one goodness of the internal and external act.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[20] A[3] Body Para. 1/2

I answer that, As stated above (Q[17], A[4]), the interior act of the
will, and the external action, considered morally, are one act. Now it
happens sometimes that one and the same individual act has several
aspects of goodness or malice, and sometimes that it has but one. Hence
we must say that sometimes the goodness or malice of the interior act is
the same as that of the external action, and sometimes not. For as we have already said (AA[1],2), these two goodnesses or malices, of the
internal and external acts, are ordained to one another. Now it may
happen, in things that are subordinate to something else, that a thing is
good merely from being subordinate; thus a bitter draught is good merely
because it procures health. Wherefore there are not two goodnesses, one
the goodness of health, and the other the goodness of the draught; but
one and the same. On the other hand it happens sometimes that that which
is subordinate to something else, has some aspect of goodness in itself,
besides the fact of its being subordinate to some other good: thus a
palatable medicine can be considered in the light of a pleasurable good,
besides being conducive to health.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[20] A[3] Body Para. 2/2

We must therefore say that when the external action derives goodness or
malice from its relation to the end only, then there is but one and the
same goodness of the act of the will which of itself regards the end, and
of the external action, which regards the end through the medium of the
act of the will. But when the external action has goodness or malice of
itself, i.e. in regard to its matter and circumstances, then the goodness
of the external action is distinct from the goodness of the will in
regarding the end; yet so that the goodness of the end passes into the
external action, and the goodness of the matter and circumstances passes
into the act of the will, as stated above (AA[1],2).

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[20] A[3] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: This argument proves that the internal and external actions
are different in the physical order: yet distinct as they are in that
respect, they combine to form one thing in the moral order, as stated
above (Q[17], A[4]).

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[20] A[3] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: As stated in Ethic. vi, 12, a moral virtue is ordained to
the act of that virtue, which act is the end, as it were, of that virtue;
whereas prudence, which is in the reason, is ordained to things directed
to the end. For this reason various virtues are necessary. But right
reason in regard to the very end of a virtue has no other goodness than
the goodness of that virtue, in so far as the goodness of the reason is
participated in each virtue.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[20] A[3] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: When a thing is derived by one thing from another, as from
a univocal efficient cause, then it is not the same in both: thus when a
hot thing heats, the heat of the heater is distinct from the heat of the
thing heated, although it be the same specifically. But when a thing is
derived from one thing from another, according to analogy or proportion,
then it is one and the same in both: thus the healthiness which is in
medicine or urine is derived from the healthiness of the animal's body;
nor is health as applied to urine and medicine, distinct from health as
applied to the body of an animal, of which health medicine is the cause,
and urine the sign. It is in this way that the goodness of the external
action is derived from the goodness of the will, and vice versa; viz.
according to the order of one to the other.


Aquin.: SMT FS Q[20] A[4] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether the external action adds any goodness or malice to that of the
interior act?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[20] A[4] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that the external action does not add any goodness
or malice to that of the interior action. For Chrysostom says (Hom. xix
in Mt.): "It is the will that is rewarded for doing good, or punished for
doing evil." Now works are the witnesses of the will. Therefore God seeks
for works not on His own account, in order to know how to judge; but for
the sake of others, that all may understand how just He is. But good or
evil is to be estimated according to God's judgment rather than according
to the judgment of man. Therefore the external action adds no goodness or
malice to that of the interior act.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[20] A[4] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, the goodness and malice of the interior and external
acts are one and the same, as stated above (A[3]). But increase is the
addition of one thing to another. Therefore the external action does not
add to the goodness or malice of the interior act.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[20] A[4] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, the entire goodness of created things does not add to
the Divine Goodness, because it is entirely derived therefrom. But
sometimes the entire goodness of the external action is derived from the
goodness of the interior act, and sometimes conversely, as stated above
(AA[1],2). Therefore neither of them adds to the goodness or malice of
the other.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[20] A[4] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, Every agent intends to attain good and avoid evil. If
therefore by the external action no further goodness or malice be added,
it is to no purpose that he who has a good or an evil will, does a good
deed or refrains from an evil deed. Which is unreasonable.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[20] A[4] Body Para. 1/2

I answer that, If we speak of the goodness which the external action
derives from the will tending to the end, then the external action adds
nothing to this goodness, unless it happens that the will in itself is
made better in good things, or worse in evil things. This, seemingly, may
happen in three ways. First in point of number; if, for instance, a man
wishes to do something with a good or an evil end in view, and does not
do it then, but afterwards wills and does it, the act of his will is
doubled and a double good, or a double evil is the result. Secondly, in
point of extension: when, for instance, a man wishes to do something for
a good or an evil end, and is hindered by some obstacle, whereas another
man perseveres in the movement of the will until he accomplish it in
deed; it is evident that the will of the latter is more lasting in good
or evil, and in this respect, is better or worse. Thirdly, in point of
intensity: for these are certain external actions, which, in so far as
they are pleasurable, or painful, are such as naturally to make the will
more intense or more remiss; and it is evident that the more intensely
the will tends to good or evil, the better or worse it is.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[20] A[4] Body Para. 2/2

On the other hand, if we speak of the goodness which the external action
derives from its matter and due circumstances, thus it stands in relation
to the will as its term and end. And in this way it adds to the goodness
or malice of the will; because every inclination or movement is perfected
by attaining its end or reaching its term. Wherefore the will is not
perfect, unless it be such that, given the opportunity, it realizes the
operation. But if this prove impossible, as long as the will is perfect,
so as to realize the operation if it could; the lack of perfection
derived from the external action, is simply involuntary. Now just as the
involuntary deserves neither punishment nor reward in the accomplishment
of good or evil deeds, so neither does it lessen reward or punishment, if
a man through simple involuntariness fail to do good or evil.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[20] A[4] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: Chrysostom is speaking of the case where a man's will is
complete, and does not refrain from the deed save through the
impossibility of achievement.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[20] A[4] R.O. 2 Para. 1/2

Reply OBJ 2: This argument applies to that goodness which the external
action derives from the will as tending to the end. But the goodness
which the external action takes from its matter and circumstances, is
distinct from that which it derives from the end; but it is not distinct
from that which it has from the very act willed, to which it stands in
the relation of measure and cause, as stated above (AA[1],2).

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[20] A[4] R.O. 2 Para. 2/2

From this the reply to the Third Objection is evident.


Aquin.: SMT FS Q[20] A[5] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether the consequences of the external action increase its goodness or
malice?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[20] A[5] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that the consequences of the external action
increase its goodness or malice. For the effect pre-exists virtually in
its cause. But the consequences result from the action as an effect from
its cause. Therefore they pre-exist virtually in actions. Now a thing is
judged to be good or bad according to its virtue, since a virtue "makes
that which has it to be good" (Ethic. ii, 6). Therefore the consequences
increase the goodness or malice of an action.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[20] A[5] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, the good actions of his hearers are consequences
resulting from the words of a preacher. But such goods as these redound
to the merit of the preacher, as is evident from Phil. 4:1: "My dearly
beloved brethren, my joy and my crown." Therefore the consequences of an
action increase its goodness or malice.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[20] A[5] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, punishment is not increased, unless the fault increases:
wherefore it is written (Dt. 25:2): "According to the measure of the sin
shall the measure also of the stripes be." But the punishment is
increased on account of the consequences; for it is written (Ex. 21:29):
"But if the ox was wont to push with his horn yesterday and the day
before, and they warned his master, and he did not shut him up, and he
shall kill a man or a woman, then the ox shall be stoned, and his owner
also shall be put to death." But he would not have been put to death, if
the ox, although he had not been shut up, had not killed a man. Therefore
the consequences increase the goodness or malice of an action.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[20] A[5] Obj. 4 Para. 1/1

OBJ 4: Further, if a man do something which may cause death, by
striking, or by sentencing, and if death does not ensue, he does not
contract irregularity: but he would if death were to ensue. Therefore the
consequence of an action increase its goodness or malice.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[20] A[5] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, The consequences do not make an action that was evil,
to be good; nor one that was good, to be evil. For instance, if a man
give an alms to a poor man who makes bad use of the alms by committing a
sin, this does not undo the good done by the giver; and, in like manner,
if a man bear patiently a wrong done to him, the wrongdoer is not thereby
excused. Therefore the consequences of an action doe not increase its
goodness or malice.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[20] A[5] Body Para. 1/2

I answer that, The consequences of an action are either foreseen or not.
If they are foreseen, it is evident that they increase the goodness or
malice. For when a man foresees that many evils may follow from his
action, and yet does not therefore desist therefrom, this shows his will
to be all the more inordinate.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[20] A[5] Body Para. 2/2

But if the consequences are not foreseen, we must make a distinction.
Because if they follow from the nature of the action and in the majority
of cases, in this respect, the consequences increase the goodness or
malice of that action: for it is evident that an action is specifically
better, if better results can follow from it; and specifically worse, if
it is of a nature to produce worse results. On the other hand, if the
consequences follow by accident and seldom, then they do not increase the
goodness or malice of the action: because we do not judge of a thing
according to that which belongs to it by accident, but only according to
that which belongs to it of itself.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[20] A[5] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: The virtue of a cause is measured by the effect that flows
from the nature of the cause, not by that which results by accident.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[20] A[5] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: The good actions done by the hearers, result from the
preacher's words, as an effect that flows from their very nature. Hence
they redound to the merit of the preacher: especially when such is his
intention.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[20] A[5] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: The consequences for which that man is ordered to be
punished, both follow from the nature of the cause, and are supposed to
be foreseen. For this reason they are reckoned as punishable.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[20] A[5] R.O. 4 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 4: This argument would prove if irregularity were the result
of the fault. But it is not the result of the fault, but of the fact, and
of the obstacle to the reception of a sacrament.


Aquin.: SMT FS Q[20] A[6] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether one and the same external action can be both good and evil?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[20] A[6] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that one and the same external action can be both
good and evil. For "movement, if continuous, is one and the same" (Phys.
v, 4). But one continuous movement can be both good and bad: for
instance, a man may go to church continuously, intending at first
vainglory, and afterwards the service of God. Therefore one and the same
action can be both good and bad.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[20] A[6] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, according to the Philosopher (Phys. iii, 3), action and
passion are one act. But the passion may be good, as Christ's was; and
the action evil, as that of the Jews. Therefore one and the same act can
be both good and evil.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[20] A[6] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, since a servant is an instrument, as it were, of his
master, the servant's action is his master's, just as the action of a
tool is the workman's action. But it may happen that the servant's action
result from his master's good will, and is therefore good: and from the
evil will of the servant, and is therefore evil. Therefore the same
action can be both good and evil.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[20] A[6] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, The same thing cannot be the subject of contraries. But
good and evil are contraries. Therefore the same action cannot be both
good and evil.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[20] A[6] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, The same thing cannot be the subject of contraries. But
good and evil are contraries. Therefore the same action cannot be both
good and evil.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[20] A[6] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, Nothing hinders a thing from being one, in so far as it
is in one genus, and manifold, in so far as it is referred to another
genus. Thus a continuous surface is one, considered as in the genus of
quantity; and yet it is manifold, considered as to the genus of color, if
it be partly white, and partly black. And accordingly, nothing hinders an
action from being one, considered in the natural order; whereas it is not
one, considered in the moral order; and vice versa, as we have stated
above (A[3], ad 1; Q[18], A[7], ad 1). For continuous walking is one
action, considered in the natural order: but it may resolve itself into
many actions, considered in the moral order, if a change take place in
the walker's will, for the will is the principle of moral actions. If
therefore we consider one action in the moral order, it is impossible for
it to be morally both good and evil. Whereas if it be one as to natural
and not moral unity, it can be both good and evil.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[20] A[6] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: This continual movement which proceeds from various
intentions, although it is one in the natural order, is not one in the
point of moral unity.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[20] A[6] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: Action and passion belong to the moral order, in so far as
they are voluntary. And therefore in so far as they are voluntary in
respect of wills that differ, they are two distinct things, and good can
be in one of them while evil is in the other.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[20] A[6] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: The action of the servant, in so far as it proceeds from
the will of the servant, is not the master's action: but only in so far
as it proceeds from the master's command. Wherefore the evil will of the
servant does not make the action evil in this respect.





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