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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[48] Out. Para. 1/1 - OF THE PARTS OF PRUDENCE (ONE ARTICLE)
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Aquin.: SMT SS Q[48] Out. Para. 1/1 - OF THE PARTS OF PRUDENCE (ONE ARTICLE)

We must now consider the parts of prudence, under which head there are
four points of inquiry:

(1) Which are the parts of prudence?

(2) Of its integral parts;

(3) Of its subjective parts;

(4) Of its potential parts.


Aquin.: SMT SS Q[48] A[1] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether three parts of prudence are fittingly assigned?

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[48] A[1] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that the parts of prudence are assigned
unfittingly. Tully (De Invent. Rhet. ii, 53) assigns three parts of
prudence, namely, "memory," "understanding" and "foresight." Macrobius
(In Somn. Scip. i) following the opinion of Plotinus ascribes to prudence
six parts, namely, "reasoning," "understanding," "circumspection,"
"foresight," "docility" and "caution." Aristotle says (Ethic. vi,
9,10,11) that "good counsel," "synesis" and "gnome" belong to prudence.
Again under the head of prudence he mentions "conjecture," "shrewdness,"
"sense" and "understanding." And another Greek philosopher [*Andronicus;
Cf. Q[80], OBJ[4]] says that ten things are connected with prudence,
namely, "good counsel," "shrewdness," "foresight," "regnative
[*Regnativa]," "military," "political" and "domestic prudence,"
"dialectics," "rhetoric" and "physics." Therefore it seems that one or
the other enumeration is either excessive or deficient.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[48] A[1] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, prudence is specifically distinct from science. But
politics, economics, logic, rhetoric, physics are sciences. Therefore
they are not parts of prudence.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[48] A[1] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, the parts do not exceed the whole. Now the intellective
memory or intelligence, reason, sense and docility, belong not only to
prudence but also to all the cognitive habits. Therefore they should not
be set down as parts of prudence.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[48] A[1] Obj. 4 Para. 1/1

OBJ 4: Further, just as counselling, judging and commanding are acts of
the practical reason, so also is using, as stated above (FS, Q[16], A[1]
). Therefore, just as "eubulia" which refers to counsel, is connected
with prudence, and "synesis" and "gnome" which refer to judgment, so also
ought something to have been assigned corresponding to use.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[48] A[1] Obj. 5 Para. 1/1

OBJ 5: Further, solicitude pertains to prudence, as stated above (Q[47],
A[9]). Therefore solicitude also should have been mentioned among the
parts of prudence.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[48] A[1] Body Para. 1/4

I answer that, Parts are of three kinds, namely, "integral," as wall,
roof, and foundations are parts of a house; "subjective," as ox and lion
are parts of animal; and "potential," as the nutritive and sensitive
powers are parts of the soul. Accordingly, parts can be assigned to a
virtue in three ways. First, in likeness to integral parts, so that the
things which need to concur for the perfect act of a virtue, are called
the parts of that virtue. In this way, out of all the things mentioned
above, eight may be taken as parts of prudence, namely, the six assigned
by Macrobius; with the addition of a seventh, viz. "memory" mentioned by
Tully; and {eustochia} or "shrewdness" mentioned by Aristotle. For the
"sense" of prudence is also called "understanding": wherefore the
Philosopher says (Ethic. vi, 11): "Of such things one needs to have the
sense, and this is understanding." Of these eight, five belong to
prudence as a cognitive virtue, namely, "memory," "reasoning,"
"understanding," "docility" and "shrewdness": while the three others
belong thereto, as commanding and applying knowledge to action, namely,
"foresight," "circumspection" and "caution." The reason of their
difference is seen from the fact that three things may be observed in
reference to knowledge. In the first place, knowledge itself, which, if
it be of the past, is called "memory," if of the present, whether
contingent or necessary, is called "understanding" or "intelligence."
Secondly, the acquiring of knowledge, which is caused either by teaching,
to which pertains "docility," or by "discovery," and to this belongs to
{eustochia}, i.e. "a happy conjecture," of which "shrewdness" is a part,
which is a "quick conjecture of the middle term," as stated in Poster. i,
9. Thirdly, the use of knowledge, in as much as we proceed from things
known to knowledge or judgment of other things, and this belongs to
"reasoning." And the reason, in order to command aright, requires to have
three conditions. First, to order that which is befitting the end, and
this belongs to "foresight"; secondly, to attend to the circumstances of
the matter in hand, and this belongs to "circumspection"; thirdly, to
avoid obstacles, and this belongs to "caution."

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[48] A[1] Body Para. 2/4

The subjective parts of a virtue are its various species. In this way
the parts of prudence, if we take them properly, are the prudence whereby
a man rules himself, and the prudence whereby a man governs a multitude,
which differ specifically as stated above (Q[47], A[11]). Again, the
prudence whereby a multitude is governed, is divided into various species
according to the various kinds of multitude. There is the multitude which
is united together for some particular purpose; thus an army is gathered
together to fight, and the prudence that governs this is called
"military." There is also the multitude that is united together for the
whole of life; such is the multitude of a home or family, and this is
ruled by "domestic prudence": and such again is the multitude of a city
or kingdom, the ruling principle of which is "regnative prudence" in the
ruler, and "political prudence," simply so called, in the subjects.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[48] A[1] Body Para. 3/4

If, however, prudence be taken in a wide sense, as including also
speculative knowledge, as stated above (Q[47], A[2], ad 2) then its parts
include "dialectics," "rhetoric" and "physics," according to three
methods of prudence in the sciences. The first of these is the attaining
of science by demonstration, which belongs to "physics" (if physics be
understood to comprise all demonstrative sciences). The second method is
to arrive at an opinion through probable premises, and this belongs to
"dialectics." The third method is to employ conjectures in order to
induce a certain suspicion, or to persuade somewhat, and this belongs to
"rhetoric." It may be said, however, that these three belong also to
prudence properly so called, since it argues sometimes from necessary
premises, sometimes from probabilities, and sometimes from conjectures.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[48] A[1] Body Para. 4/4

The potential parts of a virtue are the virtues connected with it, which
are directed to certain secondary acts or matters, not having, as it
were, the whole power of the principal virtue. In this way the parts of
prudence are "good counsel," which concerns counsel, "synesis," which
concerns judgment in matters of ordinary occurrence, and "gnome," which
concerns judgment in matters of exception to the law: while "prudence" is
about the chief act, viz. that of commanding.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[48] A[1] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: The various enumerations differ, either because different
kinds of parts are assigned, or because that which is mentioned in one
enumeration includes several mentioned in another enumeration. Thus Tully
includes "caution" and "circumspection" under "foresight," and
"reasoning," "docility" and "shrewdness" under "understanding."

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[48] A[1] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: Here domestic and civic prudence are not to be taken as
sciences, but as kinds of prudence. As to the other three, the reply may
be gathered from what has been said.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[48] A[1] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: All these things are reckoned parts of prudence, not by
taking them altogether, but in so far as they are connected with things
pertaining to prudence.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[48] A[1] R.O. 4 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 4: Right command and right use always go together, because the
reason's command is followed by obedience on the part of the lower
powers, which pertain to use.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[48] A[1] R.O. 5 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 5: Solicitude is included under foresight.





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