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St. Thomas Aquinas
Summa Theologica

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  • SECOND PART
    • Aquin.: SMT SS Q[1] Out. Para. 1/4 - SECOND PART OF THE SECOND PART (SS) (QQ[1]-189)
      • Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] Out. Para. 1/2 - TREATISE ON THE CARDINAL VIRTUES (QQ[47]-170)
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Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] Out. Para. 1/2 - TREATISE ON THE CARDINAL VIRTUES (QQ[47]-170)


ON PRUDENCE (QQ[47]-56)


OF PRUDENCE, CONSIDERED IN ITSELF (SIXTEEN ARTICLES)

After treating of the theological virtues, we must in due sequence
consider the cardinal virtues. In the first place we shall consider
prudence in itself; secondly, its parts; thirdly, the corresponding gift;
fourthly, the contrary vices; fifthly, the precepts concerning prudence.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] Out. Para. 2/2

Under the first head there are sixteen points of inquiry:

(1) Whether prudence is in the will or in the reason?

(2) If in the reason, whether it is only in the practical, or also in
the speculative reason?

(3) Whether it takes cognizance of singulars?

(4) Whether it is virtue?

(5) Whether it is a special virtue?

(6) Whether it appoints the end to the moral virtues?

(7) Whether it fixes the mean in the moral virtues?

(8) Whether its proper act is command?

(9) Whether solicitude or watchfulness belongs to prudence?

(10) Whether prudence extends to the governing of many?

(11) Whether the prudence which regards private good is the same in
species as that which regards the common good?

(12) Whether prudence is in subjects, or only in their rulers?

(13) Whether prudence is in the wicked?

(14) Whether prudence is in all good men?

(15) Whether prudence is in us naturally?

(16) Whether prudence is lost by forgetfulness ?


Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[1] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether prudence is in the cognitive or in the appetitive faculty?

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[1] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that prudence is not in the cognitive but in the
appetitive faculty. For Augustine says (De Morib. Eccl. xv): "Prudence is
love choosing wisely between the things that help and those that hinder."
Now love is not in the cognitive, but in the appetitive faculty.
Therefore prudence is in the appetitive faculty.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[1] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, as appears from the foregoing definition it belongs to
prudence "to choose wisely." But choice is an act of the appetitive
faculty, as stated above (FS, Q[13], A[1]). Therefore prudence is not in
the cognitive but in the appetitive faculty.
Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[1] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, the Philosopher says (Ethic. vi, 5) that "in art it is
better to err voluntarily than involuntarily, whereas in the case of
prudence, as of the virtues, it is worse." Now the moral virtues, of
which he is treating there, are in the appetitive faculty, whereas art is
in the reason. Therefore prudence is in the appetitive rather than in the
rational faculty.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[1] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, Augustine says (QQ. lxxxiii, qu. 61): "Prudence is the
knowledge of what to seek and what to avoid."

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[1] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, As Isidore says (Etym. x): "A prudent man is one who sees
as it were from afar, for his sight is keen, and he foresees the event of
uncertainties." Now sight belongs not to the appetitive but to the
cognitive faculty. Wherefore it is manifest that prudence belongs
directly to the cognitive, and not to the sensitive faculty, because by
the latter we know nothing but what is within reach and offers itself to
the senses: while to obtain knowledge of the future from knowledge of the
present or past, which pertains to prudence, belongs properly to the
reason, because this is done by a process of comparison. It follows
therefore that prudence, properly speaking, is in the reason.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[1] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: As stated above (FP, Q[82], A[4]) the will moves all the
faculties to their acts. Now the first act of the appetitive faculty is
love, as stated above (FS, Q[25], AA[1],2). Accordingly prudence is said
to be love, not indeed essentially, but in so far as love moves to the
act of prudence. Wherefore Augustine goes on to say that "prudence is
love discerning aright that which helps from that which hinders us in
tending to God." Now love is said to discern because it moves the reason
to discern.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[1] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: The prudent man considers things afar off, in so far as
they tend to be a help or a hindrance to that which has to be done at the
present time. Hence it is clear that those things which prudence
considers stand in relation to this other, as in relation to the end. Now
of those things that are directed to the end there is counsel in the
reason, and choice in the appetite, of which two, counsel belongs more
properly to prudence, since the Philosopher states (Ethic. vi, 5,7,9)
that a prudent man "takes good counsel." But as choice presupposes
counsel, since it is "the desire for what has been already counselled"
(Ethic. iii, 2), it follows that choice can also be ascribed to prudence
indirectly, in so far, to wit, as prudence directs the choice by means of
counsel.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[1] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: The worth of prudence consists not in thought merely, but
in its application to action, which is the end of the practical reason.
Wherefore if any defect occur in this, it is most contrary to prudence,
since, the end being of most import in everything, it follows that a
defect which touches the end is the worst of all. Hence the Philosopher
goes on to say (Ethic. vi, 5) that prudence is "something more than a
merely rational habit," such as art is, since, as stated above (FS, Q[57]
, A[4]) it includes application to action, which application is an act of
the will.


Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[2] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether prudence belongs to the practical reason alone or also to the
speculative reason?

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[2] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that prudence belongs not only to the practical,
but also to the speculative reason. For it is written (Prov. 10:23):
"Wisdom is prudence to a man." Now wisdom consists chiefly in
contemplation. Therefore prudence does also.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[2] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, Ambrose says (De Offic. i, 24): "Prudence is concerned
with the quest of truth, and fills us with the desire of fuller
knowledge." Now this belongs to the speculative reason. Therefore
prudence resides also in the speculative reason.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[2] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, the Philosopher assigns art and prudence to the same
part of the soul (Ethic. vi, 1). Now art may be not only practical but
also speculative, as in the case of the liberal arts. Therefore prudence
also is both practical and speculative.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[2] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, The Philosopher says (Ethic. vi, 5) that prudence is
right reason applied to action. Now this belongs to none but the
practical reason. Therefore prudence is in the practical reason only.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[2] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, According to the Philosopher (Ethic. vi, 5) "a prudent
man is one who is capable of taking good counsel." Now counsel is about
things that we have to do in relation to some end: and the reason that
deals with things to be done for an end is the practical reason. Hence it
is evident that prudence resides only in the practical reason.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[2] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: As stated above (Q[45], AA[1],3), wisdom considers the
absolutely highest cause: so that the consideration of the highest cause
in any particular genus belongs to wisdom in that genus. Now in the genus
of human acts the highest cause is the common end of all human life, and
it is this end that prudence intends. For the Philosopher says (Ethic.
vi, 5) that just as he who reasons well for the realization of a
particular end, such as victory, is said to be prudent, not absolutely,
but in a particular genus, namely warfare, so he that reasons well with
regard to right conduct as a whole, is said to be prudent absolutely.
Wherefore it is clear that prudence is wisdom about human affairs: but
not wisdom absolutely, because it is not about the absolutely highest
cause, for it is about human good, and this is not the best thing of all.
And so it is stated significantly that "prudence is wisdom for man," but
not wisdom absolutely.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[2] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: Ambrose, and Tully also (De Invent. ii, 53) take the word
prudence in a broad sense for any human knowledge, whether speculative or
practical. And yet it may also be replied that the act itself of the
speculative reason, in so far as it is voluntary, is a matter of choice
and counsel as to its exercise; and consequently comes under the
direction of prudence. On the other hand, as regards its specification in
relation to its object which is the "necessary true," it comes under
neither counsel nor prudence.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[2] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: Every application of right reason in the work of production
belongs to art: but to prudence belongs only the application of right
reason in matters of counsel, which are those wherein there is no fixed
way of obtaining the end, as stated in Ethic. iii, 3. Since then, the
speculative reason makes things such as syllogisms, propositions and the
like, wherein the process follows certain and fixed rules, consequently
in respect of such things it is possible to have the essentials of art,
but not of prudence; and so we find such a thing as a speculative art,
but not a speculative prudence.


Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[3] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether prudence takes cognizance of singulars?

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[3] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that prudence does not take cognizance of
singulars. For prudence is in the reason, as stated above (AA[1],2). But
"reason deals with universals," according to Phys. i, 5. Therefore
prudence does not take cognizance except of universals.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[3] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, singulars are infinite in number. But the reason cannot
comprehend an infinite number of things. Therefore prudence which is
right reason, is not about singulars.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[3] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, particulars are known by the senses. But prudence is not
in a sense, for many persons who have keen outward senses are devoid of
prudence. Therefore prudence does not take cognizance of singulars.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[3] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, The Philosopher says (Ethic. vi, 7) that "prudence
does not deal with universals only, but needs to take cognizance of
singulars also."

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[3] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, As stated above (A[1], ad 3), to prudence belongs not
only the consideration of the reason, but also the application to action,
which is the end of the practical reason. But no man can conveniently
apply one thing to another, unless he knows both the thing to be applied,
and the thing to which it has to be applied. Now actions are in singular
matters: and so it is necessary for the prudent man to know both the
universal principles of reason, and the singulars about which actions are
concerned.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[3] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: Reason first and chiefly is concerned with universals, and
yet it is able to apply universal rules to particular cases: hence the
conclusions of syllogisms are not only universal, but also particular,
because the intellect by a kind of reflection extends to matter, as
stated in De Anima iii.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[3] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: It is because the infinite number of singulars cannot be
comprehended by human reason, that "our counsels are uncertain" (Wis.
9:14). Nevertheless experience reduces the infinity of singulars to a
certain finite number which occur as a general rule, and the knowledge of
these suffices for human prudence.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[3] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: As the Philosopher says (Ethic. vi, 8), prudence does not
reside in the external senses whereby we know sensible objects, but in
the interior sense, which is perfected by memory and experience so as to
judge promptly of particular cases. This does not mean however that
prudence is in the interior sense as in its principle subject, for it is
chiefly in the reason, yet by a kind of application it extends to this
sense.


Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[4] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether prudence is a virtue?

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[4] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that prudence is not a virtue. For Augustine says
(De Lib. Arb. i, 13) that "prudence is the science of what to desire and
what to avoid." Now science is condivided with virtue, as appears in the
Predicaments (vi). Therefore prudence is not a virtue.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[4] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, there is no virtue of a virtue: but "there is a virtue
of art," as the Philosopher states (Ethic. vi, 5): wherefore art is not a
virtue. Now there is prudence in art, for it is written (2 Paralip. ii,
14) concerning Hiram, that he knew "to grave all sort of graving, and to
devise ingeniously [prudenter] all that there may be need of in the
work." Therefore prudence is not a virtue.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[4] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, no virtue can be immoderate. But prudence is immoderate,
else it would be useless to say (Prov. 23:4): "Set bounds to thy
prudence." Therefore prudence is not a virtue.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[4] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, Gregory states (Moral. ii, 49) that prudence,
temperance, fortitude and justice are four virtues.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[4] Body Para. 1/2

I answer that, As stated above (FS, Q[55], A[3]; FS, Q[56], A[1]) when
we were treating of virtues in general, "virtue is that which makes its
possessor good, and his work good likewise." Now good may be understood
in a twofold sense: first, materially, for the thing that is good,
secondly, formally, under the aspect of good. Good, under the aspect of
good, is the object of the appetitive power. Hence if any habits rectify
the consideration of reason, without regarding the rectitude of the
appetite, they have less of the nature of a virtue since they direct man to good materially, that is to say, to the thing which is good, but
without considering it under the aspect of good. On the other hand those
virtues which regard the rectitude of the appetite, have more of the
nature of virtue, because they consider the good not only materially, but
also formally, in other words, they consider that which is good under the
aspect of good.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[4] Body Para. 2/2

Now it belongs to prudence, as stated above (A[1], ad 3; A[3]) to apply
right reason to action, and this is not done without a right appetite.
Hence prudence has the nature of virtue not only as the other
intellectual virtues have it, but also as the moral virtues have it,
among which virtues it is enumerated.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[4] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: Augustine there takes science in the broad sense for any
kind of right reason.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[4] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: The Philosopher says that there is a virtue of art, because
art does not require rectitude of the appetite; wherefore in order that a
man may make right use of his art, he needs to have a virtue which will
rectify his appetite. Prudence however has nothing to do with the matter
of art, because art is both directed to a particular end, and has fixed
means of obtaining that end. And yet, by a kind of comparison, a man may
be said to act prudently in matters of art. Moreover in certain arts, on
account of the uncertainty of the means for obtaining the end, there is
need for counsel, as for instance in the arts of medicine and navigation,
as stated in Ethic. iii, 3.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[4] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: This saying of the wise man does not mean that prudence
itself should be moderate, but that moderation must be imposed on other
things according to prudence.


Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[5] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether prudence is a special virtue?

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[5] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that prudence is not a special virtue. For no
special virtue is included in the definition of virtue in general, since
virtue is defined (Ethic. ii, 6) "an elective habit that follows a mean
appointed by reason in relation to ourselves, even as a wise man
decides." Now right reason is reason in accordance with prudence, as
stated in Ethic. vi, 13. Therefore prudence is not a special virtue.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[5] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, the Philosopher says (Ethic. vi, 13) that "the effect of
moral virtue is right action as regards the end, and that of prudence,
right action as regards the means." Now in every virtue certain things
have to be done as means to the end. Therefore prudence is in every
virtue, and consequently is not a special virtue.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[5] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, a special virtue has a special object. But prudence has
not a special object, for it is right reason "applied to action" (Ethic.
vi, 5); and all works of virtue are actions. Therefore prudence is not a
special virtue.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[5] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, It is distinct from and numbered among the other
virtues, for it is written (Wis. 8:7): "She teacheth temperance and
prudence, justice and fortitude."

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[5] Body Para. 1/2

I answer that, Since acts and habits take their species from their
objects, as shown above (FS, Q[1], A[3]; FS, Q[18], A[2]; FS, Q[54], A[2]
), any habit that has a corresponding special object, distinct from other
objects, must needs be a special habit, and if it be a good habit, it
must be a special virtue. Now an object is called special, not merely
according to the consideration of its matter, but rather according to its
formal aspect, as explained above (FS, Q[54], A[2], ad 1). Because one
and the same thing is the subject matter of the acts of different habits,
and also of different powers, according to its different formal aspects.
Now a yet greater difference of object is requisite for a difference of
powers than for a difference of habits, since several habits are found in
the same power, as stated above (FS, Q[54], A[1]). Consequently any
difference in the aspect of an object, that requires a difference of
powers, will "a fortiori" require a difference of habits.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[5] Body Para. 2/2

Accordingly we must say that since prudence is in the reason, as stated
above (A[2]), it is differentiated from the other intellectual virtues by
a material difference of objects. "Wisdom," "knowledge" and
"understanding" are about necessary things, whereas "art" and "prudence"
are about contingent things, art being concerned with "things made," that
is, with things produced in external matter, such as a house, a knife and
so forth; and prudence, being concerned with "things done," that is, with
things that have their being in the doer himself, as stated above (FS,
Q[57], A[4]). On the other hand prudence is differentiated from the moral
virtues according to a formal aspect distinctive of powers, i.e. the
intellective power, wherein is prudence, and the appetitive power,
wherein is moral virtue. Hence it is evident that prudence is a special
virtue, distinct from all other virtues.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[5] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: This is not a definition of virtue in general, but of moral
virtue, the definition of which fittingly includes an intellectual
virtue, viz., prudence, which has the same matter in common with moral virtue; because, just as the subject of moral virtue is something that
partakes of reason, so moral virtue has the aspect of virtue, in so far
as it partakes of intellectual virtue.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[5] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: This argument proves that prudence helps all the virtues,
and works in all of them; but this does not suffice to prove that it is
not a special virtue; for nothing prevents a certain genus from
containing a species which is operative in every other species of that
same genus, even as the sun has an influence over all bodies.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[5] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: Things done are indeed the matter of prudence, in so far as
they are the object of reason, that is, considered as true: but they are
the matter of the moral virtues, in so far as they are the object of the
appetitive power, that is, considered as good.


Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[6] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether prudence appoints the end to moral virtues?

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[6] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that prudence appoints the end to moral virtues.
Since prudence is in the reason, while moral virtue is in the appetite,
it seems that prudence stands in relation to moral virtue, as reason to
the appetite. Now reason appoints the end to the appetitive power.
Therefore prudence appoints the end to the moral virtues.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[6] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, man surpasses irrational beings by his reason, but he
has other things in common with them. Accordingly the other parts of man
are in relation to his reason, what man is in relation to irrational
creatures. Now man is the end of irrational creatures, according to
Polit. i, 3. Therefore all the other parts of man are directed to reason
as to their end. But prudence is "right reason applied to action," as
stated above (A[2]). Therefore all actions are directed to prudence as
their end. Therefore prudence appoints the end to all moral virtues.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[6] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, it belongs to the virtue, art, or power that is
concerned about the end, to command the virtues or arts that are
concerned about the means. Now prudence disposes of the other moral
virtues, and commands them. Therefore it appoints their end to them.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[6] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, The Philosopher says (Ethic. vi, 12) that "moral virtue
ensures the rectitude of the intention of the end, while prudence ensures
the rectitude of the means." Therefore it does not belong to prudence to
appoint the end to moral virtues, but only to regulate the means.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[6] Body Para. 1/2

I answer that, The end of moral virtues is human good. Now the good of
the human soul is to be in accord with reason, as Dionysius declares
(Div. Nom. iv). Wherefore the ends of moral virtue must of necessity
pre-exist in the reason.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[6] Body Para. 2/2

Now, just as, in the speculative reason, there are certain things
naturally known, about which is "understanding," and certain things of
which we obtain knowledge through them, viz. conclusions, about which is
"science," so in the practical reason, certain things pre-exist, as
naturally known principles, and such are the ends of the moral virtues,
since the end is in practical matters what principles are in speculative
matters, as stated above (Q[23], A[7], ad 2; FS, Q[13], A[3]); while
certain things are in the practical reason by way of conclusions, and
such are the means which we gather from the ends themselves. About these
is prudence, which applies universal principles to the particular
conclusions of practical matters. Consequently it does not belong to
prudence to appoint the end to moral virtues, but only to regulate the
means.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[6] R.O. 1 Para. 1/2

Reply OBJ 1: Natural reason known by the name of "synderesis" appoints
the end to moral virtues, as stated above (FP, Q[79], A[12]): but
prudence does not do this for the reason given above.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[6] R.O. 1 Para. 2/2

This suffices for the Reply to the Second Objection.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[6] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: The end concerns the moral virtues, not as though they
appointed the end, but because they tend to the end which is appointed by
natural reason. In this they are helped by prudence, which prepares the
way for them, by disposing the means. Hence it follows that prudence is
more excellent than the moral virtues, and moves them: yet "synderesis"
moves prudence, just as the understanding of principles moves science.


Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[7] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether it belongs to prudence to find the mean in moral virtues?

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[7] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that it does not belong to prudence to find the
mean in moral virtues. For the achievement of the mean is the end of
moral virtues. But prudence does not appoint the end to moral virtues, as
shown above (A[6]). Therefore it does not find the mean in them.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[7] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, that which of itself has being, would seem to have no
cause, but its very being is its cause, since a thing is said to have
being by reason of its cause. Now "to follow the mean" belongs to moral
virtue by reason of itself, as part of its definition, as shown above
(A[5], OBJ[1]). Therefore prudence does not cause the mean in moral
virtues.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[7] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, prudence works after the manner of reason. But moral
virtue tends to the mean after the manner of nature, because, as Tully
states (De Invent. Rhet. ii, 53), "virtue is a habit like a second nature
in accord with reason." Therefore prudence does not appoint the mean to
moral virtues.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[7] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, In the foregoing definition of moral virtue (A[5],
OBJ[1]) it is stated that it "follows a mean appointed by reason . . .
even as a wise man decides."

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[7] Body Para. 1/3

I answer that, The proper end of each moral virtue consists precisely
in conformity with right reason. For temperance intends that man should
not stray from reason for the sake of his concupiscences; fortitude, that
he should not stray from the right judgment of reason through fear or
daring. Moreover this end is appointed to man according to natural
reason, since natural reason dictates to each one that he should act
according to reason.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[7] Body Para. 2/3

But it belongs to the ruling of prudence to decide in what manner and by
what means man shall obtain the mean of reason in his deeds. For though
the attainment of the mean is the end of a moral virtue, yet this mean is
found by the right disposition of these things that are directed to the
end.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[7] Body Para. 3/3

This suffices for the Reply to the First Objection.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[7] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: Just as a natural agent makes form to be in matter, yet
does not make that which is essential to the form to belong to it, so
too, prudence appoints the mean in passions and operations, and yet does
not make the searching of the mean to belong to virtue.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[7] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: Moral virtue after the manner of nature intends to attain
the mean. Since, however, the mean as such is not found in all matters
after the same manner, it follows that the inclination of nature which
ever works in the same manner, does not suffice for this purpose, and so
the ruling of prudence is required.


Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[8] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether command is the chief act of prudence?

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[8] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that command is not the chief act of prudence. For
command regards the good to be ensued. Now Augustine (De Trin. xiv, 9)
states that it is an act of prudence "to avoid ambushes." Therefore
command is not the chief act of prudence.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[8] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, the Philosopher says (Ethic. vi, 5) that "the prudent
man takes good counsel." Now "to take counsel" and "to command" seem to
be different acts, as appears from what has been said above (FS, Q[57],
A[6]). Therefore command is not the chief act of prudence.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[8] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, it seems to belong to the will to command and to rule,
since the will has the end for its object, and moves the other powers of
the soul. Now prudence is not in the will, but in the reason. Therefore
command is not an act of prudence.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[8] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, The Philosopher says (Ethic. vi, 10) that "prudence
commands."

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[8] Body Para. 1/2

I answer that, Prudence is "right reason applied to action," as stated
above (A[2]). Hence that which is the chief act of reason in regard to
action must needs be the chief act of prudence. Now there are three such
acts. The first is "to take counsel," which belongs to discovery, for
counsel is an act of inquiry, as stated above (FS, Q[14], A[1]). The
second act is "to judge of what one has discovered," and this is an act
of the speculative reason. But the practical reason, which is directed to
action, goes further, and its third act is "to command," which act
consists in applying to action the things counselled and judged. And
since this act approaches nearer to the end of the practical reason, it
follows that it is the chief act of the practical reason, and
consequently of prudence.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[8] Body Para. 2/2

In confirmation of this we find that the perfection of art consists in
judging and not in commanding: wherefore he who sins voluntarily against
his craft is reputed a better craftsman than he who does so
involuntarily, because the former seems to do so from right judgment, and
the latter from a defective judgment. On the other hand it is the reverse
in prudence, as stated in Ethic. vi, 5, for it is more imprudent to sin
voluntarily, since this is to be lacking in the chief act of prudence,
viz. command, than to sin involuntarily.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[8] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: The act of command extends both to the ensuing of good and
to the avoidance of evil. Nevertheless Augustine ascribes "the avoidance
of ambushes" to prudence, not as its chief act, but as an act of prudence
that does not continue in heaven.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[8] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: Good counsel is required in order that the good things
discovered may be applied to action: wherefore command belongs to
prudence which takes good counsel.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[8] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: Simply to move belongs to the will: but command denotes
motion together with a kind of ordering, wherefore it is an act of the
reason, as stated above (FS, Q[17], A[1]).


Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[9] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether solicitude belongs to prudence?

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[9] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that solicitude does not belong to prudence. For
solicitude implies disquiet, wherefore Isidore says (Etym. x) that "a
solicitous man is a restless man." Now motion belongs chiefly to the
appetitive power: wherefore solicitude does also. But prudence is not in
the appetitive power, but in the reason, as stated above (A[1]).
Therefore solicitude does not belong to prudence.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[9] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, the certainty of truth seems opposed to solicitude,
wherefore it is related (1 Kgs. 9:20) that Samuel said to Saul: "As for
the asses which were lost three days ago, be not solicitous, because they
are found." Now the certainty of truth belongs to prudence, since it is
an intellectual virtue. Therefore solicitude is in opposition to prudence
rather than belonging to it.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[9] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, the Philosopher says (Ethic. iv, 3) the "magnanimous man
is slow and leisurely." Now slowness is contrary to solicitude. Since
then prudence is not opposed to magnanimity, for "good is not opposed to
good," as stated in the Predicaments (viii) it would seem that solicitude
does not belong to prudence.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[9] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, It is written (1 Pt. 4:7): "Be prudent . . . and watch
in prayers." But watchfulness is the same as solicitude. Therefore
solicitude belongs to prudence.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[9] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, According to Isidore (Etym. x), a man is said to be
solicitous through being shrewd [solers] and alert [citus], in so far as
a man through a certain shrewdness of mind is on the alert to do whatever
has to be done. Now this belongs to prudence, whose chief act is a
command about what has been already counselled and judged in matters of
action. Hence the Philosopher says (Ethic. vi, 9) that "one should be
quick in carrying out the counsel taken, but slow in taking counsel."
Hence it is that solicitude belongs properly to prudence, and for this
reason Augustine says (De Morib. Eccl. xxiv) that "prudence keeps most
careful watch and ward, lest by degrees we be deceived unawares by evil
counsel."

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[9] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: Movement belongs to the appetitive power as to the
principle of movement, in accordance however, with the direction and
command of reason, wherein solicitude consists.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[9] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: According to the Philosopher (Ethic. i, 3), "equal
certainty should not be sought in all things, but in each matter
according to its proper mode." And since the matter of prudence is the
contingent singulars about which are human actions, the certainty of
prudence cannot be so great as to be devoid of all solicitude.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[9] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: The magnanimous man is said to be "slow and leisurely" not
because he is solicitous about nothing, but because he is not
over-solicitous about many things, and is trustful in matters where he
ought to have trust, and is not over-solicitous about them: for over-much
fear and distrust are the cause of over-solicitude, since fear makes us
take counsel, as stated above (FS, Q[44], A[2]) when we were treating of
the passion of fear.


Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[10] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether solicitude belongs to prudence?

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[10] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that prudence does not extend to the governing of
many, but only to the government of oneself. For the Philosopher says
(Ethic. v, 1) that virtue directed to the common good is justice. But
prudence differs from justice. Therefore prudence is not directed to the
common good.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[10] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, he seems to be prudent, who seeks and does good for
himself. Now those who seek the common good often neglect their own.
Therefore they are not prudent.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[10] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, prudence is specifically distinct from temperance and
fortitude. But temperance and fortitude seem to be related only to a
man's own good. Therefore the same applies to prudence.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[10] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, Our Lord said (Mt. 24:45): "Who, thinkest thou, is a
faithful and prudent [Douay: 'wise'] servant whom his lord hath appointed
over his family?"

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[10] Body Para. 1/2

I answer that, According to the Philosopher (Ethic. vi, 8) some have
held that prudence does not extend to the common good, but only to the
good of the individual, and this because they thought that man is not
bound to seek other than his own good. But this opinion is opposed to
charity, which "seeketh not her own" (1 Cor. 13:5): wherefore the Apostle
says of himself (1 Cor. 10:33): "Not seeking that which is profitable to
myself, but to many, that they may be saved." Moreover it is contrary to
right reason, which judges the common good to be better than the good of
the individual.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[10] Body Para. 2/2

Accordingly, since it belongs to prudence rightly to counsel, judge, and
command concerning the means of obtaining a due end, it is evident that
prudence regards not only the private good of the individual, but also
the common good of the multitude.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[10] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: The Philosopher is speaking there of moral virtue. Now just
as every moral virtue that is directed to the common good is called
"legal" justice, so the prudence that is directed to the common good is
called "political" prudence, for the latter stands in the same relation
to legal justice, as prudence simply so called to moral virtue.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[10] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: He that seeks the good of the many, seeks in consequence
his own good, for two reasons. First, because the individual good is
impossible without the common good of the family, state, or kingdom.
Hence Valerius Maximus says [*Fact. et Dict. Memor. iv, 6] of the ancient
Romans that "they would rather be poor in a rich empire than rich in a
poor empire." Secondly, because, since man is a part of the home and
state, he must needs consider what is good for him by being prudent about
the good of the many. For the good disposition of parts depends on their
relation to the whole; thus Augustine says (Confess. iii, 8) that "any
part which does not harmonize with its whole, is offensive."

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[10] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: Even temperance and fortitude can be directed to the common
good, hence there are precepts of law concerning them as stated in Ethic.
v, 1: more so, however, prudence and justice, since these belong to the
rational faculty which directly regards the universal, just as the
sensitive part regards singulars.


Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[11] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether prudence about one's own good is specifically the same as that
which extends to the common good?

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[11] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It seems that prudence about one's own good is the same
specifically as that which extends to the common good. For the
Philosopher says (Ethic. vi, 8) that "political prudence, and prudence
are the same habit, yet their essence is not the same."

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[11] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, the Philosopher says (Polit. iii, 2) that "virtue is the
same in a good man and in a good ruler." Now political prudence is
chiefly in the ruler, in whom it is architectonic, as it were. Since then
prudence is a virtue of a good man, it seems that prudence and political
prudence are the same habit.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[11] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, a habit is not diversified in species or essence by
things which are subordinate to one another. But the particular good,
which belongs to prudence simply so called, is subordinate to the common
good, which belongs to political prudence. Therefore prudence and
political prudence differ neither specifically nor essentially.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[11] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, "Political prudence," which is directed to the common
good of the state, "domestic economy" which is of such things as relate
to the common good of the household or family, and "monastic economy"
which is concerned with things affecting the good of one person, are all
distinct sciences. Therefore in like manner there are different kinds of
prudence, corresponding to the above differences of matter.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[11] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, As stated above (A[5]; Q[54], A[2], ad 1), the species of
habits differ according to the difference of object considered in its
formal aspect. Now the formal aspect of all things directed to the end,
is taken from the end itself, as shown above (FS, Prolog.; FS, Q[102],
A[1]), wherefore the species of habits differ by their relation to
different ends. Again the individual good, the good of the family, and
the good of the city and kingdom are different ends. Wherefore there must
needs be different species of prudence corresponding to these different
ends, so that one is "prudence" simply so called, which is directed to
one's own good; another, "domestic prudence" which is directed to the
common good of the home; and a third, "political prudence," which is
directed to the common good of the state or kingdom.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[11] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: The Philosopher means, not that political prudence is
substantially the same habit as any kind of prudence, but that it is the
same as the prudence which is directed to the common good. This is called
"prudence" in respect of the common notion of prudence, i.e. as being
right reason applied to action, while it is called "political," as being
directed to the common good.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[11] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: As the Philosopher declares (Polit. iii, 2), "it belongs to
a good man to be able to rule well and to obey well," wherefore the
virtue of a good man includes also that of a good ruler. Yet the virtue
of the ruler and of the subject differs specifically, even as the virtue
of a man and of a woman, as stated by the same authority (Polit. iii, 2).

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[11] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: Even different ends, one of which is subordinate to the
other, diversify the species of a habit, thus for instance, habits
directed to riding, soldiering, and civic life, differ specifically
although their ends are subordinate to one another. In like manner,
though the good of the individual is subordinate to the good of the many,
that does not prevent this difference from making the habits differ
specifically; but it follows that the habit which is directed to the last
end is above the other habits and commands them.


Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[12] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether prudence is in subjects, or only in their rulers?

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[12] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that prudence is not in subjects but only in their
rulers. For the Philosopher says (Polit. iii, 2) that "prudence alone is
the virtue proper to a ruler, while other virtues are common to subjects
and rulers, and the prudence of the subject is not a virtue but a true
opinion."

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[12] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, it is stated in Polit. i, 5 that "a slave is not
competent to take counsel." But prudence makes a man take good counsel
(Ethic. vi, 5). Therefore prudence is not befitting slaves or subjects.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[12] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, prudence exercises command, as stated above (A[8]). But
command is not in the competency of slaves or subjects but only of
rulers. Therefore prudence is not in subjects but only in rulers.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[12] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, The Philosopher says (Ethic. vi, 8) that there are two
kinds of political prudence, one of which is "legislative" and belongs to
rulers, while the other "retains the common name political," and is about
"individual actions." Now it belongs also to subjects to perform these
individual actions. Therefore prudence is not only in rulers but also in
subjects.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[12] Body Para. 1/2

I answer that, Prudence is in the reason. Now ruling and governing
belong properly to the reason; and therefore it is proper to a man to
reason and be prudent in so far as he has a share in ruling and
governing. But it is evident that the subject as subject, and the slave
as slave, are not competent to rule and govern, but rather to be ruled
and governed. Therefore prudence is not the virtue of a slave as slave,
nor of a subject as subject.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[12] Body Para. 2/2

Since, however, every man, for as much as he is rational, has a share in
ruling according to the judgment of reason, he is proportionately
competent to have prudence. Wherefore it is manifest that prudence is in
the ruler "after the manner of a mastercraft" (Ethic. vi, 8), but in the
subjects, "after the manner of a handicraft."

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[12] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: The saying of the Philosopher is to be understood strictly,
namely, that prudence is not the virtue of a subject as such.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[12] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: A slave is not capable of taking counsel, in so far as he
is a slave (for thus he is the instrument of his master), but he does
take counsel in so far as he is a rational animal.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[12] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: By prudence a man commands not only others, but also
himself, in so far as the reason is said to command the lower powers.


Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[13] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether prudence can be in sinners?

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[13] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that there can be prudence in sinners. For our Lord
said (Lk. 16:8): "The children of this world are more prudent [Douay:
'wiser'] in their generation than the children of light." Now the
children of this world are sinners. Therefore there be prudence in
sinners.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[13] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, faith is a more excellent virtue than prudence. But
there can be faith in sinners. Therefore there can be prudence also.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[13] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, according to Ethic. vi, 7, "we say that to be of good
counsel is the work of prudent man especially." Now many sinners can take
good counsel. Therefore sinners can have prudence.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[13] OTC Para. 1/1
On the contrary, The Philosopher declares (Ethic. vi, 12) that "it is
impossible for a man be prudent unless he be good." Now no inner is a
good man. Therefore no sinner is prudent.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[13] Body Para. 1/3

I answer that, Prudence is threefold. There is a false prudence, which
takes its name from its likeness to true prudence. For since a prudent
man is one who disposes well of the things that have to be done for a
good end, whoever disposes well of such things as are fitting for an evil
end, has false prudence, in far as that which he takes for an end, is
good, not in truth but in appearance. Thus man is called "a good robber,"
and in this way may speak of "a prudent robber," by way of similarity,
because he devises fitting ways of committing robbery. This is the
prudence of which the Apostle says (Rm. 8:6): "The prudence [Douay:
'wisdom'] of the flesh is death," because, to wit, it places its ultimate
end in the pleasures of the flesh.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[13] Body Para. 2/3

The second prudence is indeed true prudence, because it devises fitting
ways of obtaining a good end; and yet it is imperfect, from a twofold
source. First, because the good which it takes for an end, is not the
common end of all human life, but of some particular affair; thus when a
man devises fitting ways of conducting business or of sailing a ship, he
is called a prudent businessman, or a prudent sailor; secondly, because
he fails in the chief act of prudence, as when a man takes counsel
aright, and forms a good judgment, even about things concerning life as a
whole, but fails to make an effective command.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[13] Body Para. 3/3

The third prudence is both true and perfect, for it takes counsel,
judges and commands aright in respect of the good end of man's whole
life: and this alone is prudence simply so-called, and cannot be in
sinners, whereas the first prudence is in sinners alone, while imperfect
prudence is common to good and wicked men, especially that which is
imperfect through being directed to a particular end, since that which is
imperfect on account of a failing in the chief act, is only in the wicked.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[13] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: This saying of our Lord is to be understood of the first
prudence, wherefore it is not said that they are prudent absolutely, but
that they are prudent in "their generation."

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[13] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: The nature of faith consists not in conformity with the
appetite for certain right actions, but in knowledge alone. On the other
hand prudence implies a relation to a right appetite. First because its
principles are the ends in matters of action; and of such ends one forms
a right estimate through the habits of moral virtue, which rectify the
appetite: wherefore without the moral virtues there is no prudence, as
shown above (FS, Q[58], A[5]); secondly because prudence commands right
actions, which does not happen unless the appetite be right. Wherefore
though faith on account of its object is more excellent than prudence,
yet prudence, by its very nature, is more opposed to sin, which arises
from a disorder of the appetite.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[13] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: Sinners can take good counsel for an evil end, or for some
particular good, but they do not perfectly take good counsel for the end
of their whole life, since they do not carry that counsel into effect.
Hence they lack prudence which is directed to the good only; and yet in
them, according to the Philosopher (Ethic. vi, 12) there is "cleverness,"
[*{deinotike}] i.e. natural diligence which may be directed to both good
and evil; or "cunning," [*{panourgia}] which is directed only to evil,
and which we have stated above, to be "false prudence" or "prudence of
the flesh."


Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[14] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether prudence is in all who have grace?

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[14] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that prudence is not in all who have grace.
Prudence requires diligence, that one may foresee aright what has to be
done. But many who have grace have not this diligence. Therefore not all
who have grace have prudence.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[14] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, a prudent man is one who takes good counsel, as stated
above (A[8], OBJ[2]; A[13], OBJ[3]). Yet many have grace who do not take
good counsel, and need to be guided by the counsel of others. Therefore
not all who have grace, have prudence

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[14] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, the Philosopher says (Topic. iii, 2) that "young people
are not obviously prudent." Yet many young people have grace. Therefore
prudence is not to be found in all who have grace.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[14] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, No man has grace unless he be virtuous. Now no man can
be virtuous without prudence, for Gregory says (Moral. ii, 46) that "the
other virtues cannot be virtues at all unless they effect prudently what
they desire to accomplish." Therefore all who have grace have prudence.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[14] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, The virtues must needs be connected together, so that
whoever has one has all, as stated above (FS, Q[65], A[1]). Now whoever
has grace has charity, so that he must needs have all the other virtues,
and hence, since prudence is a virtue, as shown above (A[4]), he must, of
necessity, have prudence also.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[14] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: Diligence is twofold: one is merely sufficient with regard
to things necessary for salvation; and such diligence is given to all who
have grace, whom "His unction teacheth of all things" (1 Jn. 2:27). There
is also another diligence which is more than sufficient, whereby a man is
able to make provision both for himself and for others, not only in
matters necessary for salvation, but also in all things relating to human
life; and such diligence as this is not in all who have grace.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[14] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: Those who require to be guided by the counsel of others,
are able, if they have grace, to take counsel for themselves in this
point at least, that they require the counsel of others and can discern
good from evil counsel.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[14] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: Acquired prudence is caused by the exercise of acts,
wherefore "its acquisition demands experience and time" (Ethic. ii, 1),
hence it cannot be in the young, neither in habit nor in act. On the
other hand gratuitous prudence is caused by divine infusion. Wherefore,
in children who have been baptized but have not come to the use of
reason, there is prudence as to habit but not as to act, even as in
idiots; whereas in those who have come to the use of reason, it is also
as to act, with regard to things necessary for salvation. This by
practice merits increase, until it becomes perfect, even as the other
virtues. Hence the Apostle says (Heb. 5:14) that "strong meat is for the
perfect, for them who by custom have their senses exercised to the
discerning of good and evil."


Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[15] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether prudence is in us by nature?

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[15] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that prudence is in us by nature. The Philosopher
says that things connected with prudence "seem to be natural," namely
"synesis, gnome" [*{synesis} and {gnome}, Cf. FS, Q[57], A[6]] and the
like, but not those which are connected with speculative wisdom. Now
things belonging to the same genus have the same kind of origin.
Therefore prudence also is in us from nature.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[15] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, the changes of age are according to nature. Now prudence
results from age, according to Job 12:12: "In the ancient is wisdom, and
in length of days prudence." Therefore prudence is natural.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[15] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, prudence is more consistent with human nature than with
that of dumb animals. Now there are instances of a certain natural
prudence in dumb animals, according to the Philosopher (De Hist. Anim.
viii, 1). Therefore prudence is natural.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[15] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, The Philosopher says (Ethic. ii, 1) that "intellectual
virtue is both originated and fostered by teaching; it therefore demands
experience and time." Now prudence is an intellectual virtue, as stated
above (A[4]). Therefore prudence is in us, not by nature, but by teaching
and experience.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[15] Body Para. 1/3

I answer that, As shown above (A[3]), prudence includes knowledge both
of universals, and of the singular matters of action to which prudence
applies the universal principles. Accordingly, as regards the knowledge
of universals, the same is to be said of prudence as of speculative
science, because the primary universal principles of either are known
naturally, as shown above (A[6]): except that the common principles of
prudence are more connatural to man; for as the Philosopher remarks
(Ethic. x, 7) "the life which is according to the speculative reason is
better than that which is according to man": whereas the secondary
universal principles, whether of the speculative or of the practical
reason, are not inherited from nature, but are acquired by discovery
through experience, or through teaching.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[15] Body Para. 2/3

On the other hand, as regards the knowledge of particulars which are the
matter of action, we must make a further distinction, because this matter
of action is either an end or the means to an end. Now the right ends of
human life are fixed; wherefore there can be a natural inclination in
respect of these ends; thus it has been stated above (FS, Q[51], A[1];
FS, Q[63], A[1]) that some, from a natural inclination, have certain
virtues whereby they are inclined to right ends; and consequently they
also have naturally a right judgment about such like ends.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[15] Body Para. 3/3

But the means to the end, in human concerns, far from being fixed, are
of manifold variety according to the variety of persons and affairs.
Wherefore since the inclination of nature is ever to something fixed, the
knowledge of those means cannot be in man naturally, although, by reason
of his natural disposition, one man has a greater aptitude than another
in discerning them, just as it happens with regard to the conclusions of
speculative sciences. Since then prudence is not about the ends, but
about the means, as stated above (A[6]; FS, Q[57], A[5]), it follows that
prudence is not from nature.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[15] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: The Philosopher is speaking there of things relating to
prudence, in so far as they are directed to ends. Wherefore he had said
before (Ethic. vi, 5,11) that "they are the principles of the {ou
heneka}" [*Literally, 'for the sake of which' (are the means)], namely,
the end; and so he does not mention {euboulia} among them, because it
takes counsel about the means.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[15] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: Prudence is rather in the old, not only because their
natural disposition calms the movement of the sensitive passions, but
also because of their long experience.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[15] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: Even in dumb animals there are fixed ways of obtaining an
end, wherefore we observe that all the animals of a same species act in
like manner. But this is impossible in man, on account of his reason,
which takes cognizance of universals, and consequently extends to an
infinity of singulars.


Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[16] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether prudence can be lost through forgetfulness?

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[16] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that prudence can be lost through forgetfulness.
For since science is about necessary things, it is more certain than
prudence which is about contingent matters of action. But science is lost
by forgetfulness. Much more therefore is prudence.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[16] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, as the Philosopher says (Ethic. ii, 3) "the same things,
but by a contrary process, engender and corrupt virtue." Now the
engendering of prudence requires experience which is made up "of many
memories," as he states at the beginning of his Metaphysics (i, 1).
Therefore since forgetfulness is contrary to memory, it seems that
prudence can be lost through forgetfulness.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[16] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, there is no prudence without knowledge of universals.
But knowledge of universals can be lost through forgetfulness. Therefore
prudence can also.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[16] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, The Philosopher says (Ethic. vi, 5) that "forgetfulness
is possible to art but not to prudence."

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[16] Body Para. 1/2

I answer that, Forgetfulness regards knowledge only, wherefore one can
forget art and science, so as to lose them altogether, because they
belong to the reason. But prudence consists not in knowledge alone, but
also in an act of the appetite, because as stated above (A[8]), its
principal act is one of command, whereby a man applies the knowledge he
has, to the purpose of appetition and operation. Hence prudence is not
taken away directly by forgetfulness, but rather is corrupted by the
passions. For the Philosopher says (Ethic. vi, 5) that "pleasure and
sorrow pervert the estimate of prudence": wherefore it is written (Dan.
13:56): "Beauty hath deceived thee, and lust hath subverted thy heart,"
and (Ex. 23:8): "Neither shalt thou take bribes which blind even the
prudent [Douay: 'wise']."

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[16] Body Para. 2/2

Nevertheless forgetfulness may hinder prudence, in so far as the
latter's command depends on knowledge which may be forgotten.
Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[16] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: Science is in the reason only: hence the comparison fails,
as stated above [*Cf. FS, Q[53], A[1]].

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[16] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: The experience required by prudence results not from memory
alone, but also from the practice of commanding aright.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[47] A[16] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: Prudence consists chiefly, not in the knowledge of
universals, but in applying them to action, as stated above (A[3]).
Wherefore forgetting the knowledge of universals does not destroy the
principal part of prudence, but hinders it somewhat, as stated above.





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