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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[49] Out. Para. 1/1 - OF EACH QUASI-INTEGRAL PART OF PRUDENCE (EIGHT ARTICLES)
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Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] Out. Para. 1/1 - OF EACH QUASI-INTEGRAL PART OF PRUDENCE (EIGHT ARTICLES)

We must now consider each quasi-integral part of prudence, and under this head there are eight points of inquiry:

(1) Memory;

(2) Understanding or Intelligence;

(3) Docility;

(4) Shrewdness;

(5) Reason;

(6) Foresight;

(7) Circumspection;

(8) Caution.


Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[1] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether memory is a part of prudence?

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[1] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that memory is not a part of prudence. For memory,
as the Philosopher proves (De Memor. et Remin. i), is in the sensitive
part of the soul: whereas prudence is in the rational part (Ethic. vi,
5). Therefore memory is not a part of prudence.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[1] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, prudence is acquired and perfected by experience,
whereas memory is in us from nature. Therefore memory is not a part of
prudence.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[1] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, memory regards the past, whereas prudence regards future
matters of action, about which counsel is concerned, as stated in Ethic.
vi, 2,7. Therefore memory is not a part of prudence.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[1] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, Tully (De Invent. Rhet. ii, 53) places memory among the
parts of prudence.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[1] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, Prudence regards contingent matters of action, as stated
above (Q[47], A[5]). Now in such like matters a man can be directed, not
by those things that are simply and necessarily true, but by those which
occur in the majority of cases: because principles must be proportionate
to their conclusions, and "like must be concluded from like" (Ethic. vi
[*Anal. Post. i. 32]). But we need experience to discover what is true in
the majority of cases: wherefore the Philosopher says (Ethic. ii, 1) that
"intellectual virtue is engendered and fostered by experience and time."
Now experience is the result of many memories as stated in Metaph. i, 1,
and therefore prudence requires the memory of many things. Hence memory
is fittingly accounted a part of prudence.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[1] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: As stated above (Q[47], AA[3],6), prudence applies
universal knowledge to particulars which are objects of sense: hence many
things belonging to the sensitive faculties are requisite for prudence,
and memory is one of them.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[1] R.O. 2 Para. 1/2

Reply OBJ 2: Just as aptitude for prudence is in our nature, while its
perfection comes through practice or grace, so too, as Tully says in his
Rhetoric [*Ad Herenn. de Arte Rhet. iii, 16,24], memory not only arises
from nature, but is also aided by art and diligence.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[1] R.O. 2 Para. 2/2

There are four things whereby a man perfects his memory. First, when a
man wishes to remember a thing, he should take some suitable yet somewhat
unwonted illustration of it, since the unwonted strikes us more, and so
makes a greater and stronger impression on the mind; the mind; and this
explains why we remember better what we saw when we were children. Now
the reason for the necessity of finding these illustrations or images, is
that simple and spiritual impressions easily slip from the mind, unless
they be tied as it were to some corporeal image, because human knowledge
has a greater hold on sensible objects. For this reason memory is
assigned to the sensitive part of the soul. Secondly, whatever a man
wishes to retain in his memory he must carefully consider and set in
order, so that he may pass easily from one memory to another. Hence the
Philosopher says (De Memor. et Remin. ii): "Sometimes a place brings
memories back to us: the reason being that we pass quickly from the one
to the other." Thirdly, we must be anxious and earnest about the things
we wish to remember, because the more a thing is impressed on the mind,
the less it is liable to slip out of it. Wherefore Tully says in his
Rhetoric [*Ad Herenn. de Arte Rhet. iii.] that "anxiety preserves the
figures of images entire." Fourthly, we should often reflect on the
things we wish to remember. Hence the Philosopher says (De Memoria i)
that "reflection preserves memories," because as he remarks (De Memoria
ii) "custom is a second nature": wherefore when we reflect on a thing
frequently, we quickly call it to mind, through passing from one thing to
another by a kind of natural order.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[1] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: It behooves us to argue, as it were, about the future from
the past; wherefore memory of the past is necessary in order to take good
counsel for the future.


Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[2] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether understanding* is a part of prudence? [*Otherwise intuition;
Aristotle's word is {nous}]

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[2] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that understanding is not a part of prudence. When
two things are members of a division, one is not part of the other. But
intellectual virtue is divided into understanding and prudence, according
to Ethic. vi, 3. Therefore understanding should not be reckoned a part of
prudence.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[2] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, understanding is numbered among the gifts of the Holy
Ghost, and corresponds to faith, as stated above (Q[8], AA[1],8). But
prudence is a virtue other than faith, as is clear from what has been
said above (Q[4], A[8]; FS, Q[62], A[2]). Therefore understanding does
not pertain to prudence.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[2] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, prudence is about singular matters of action (Ethic. vi,
7): whereas understanding takes cognizance of universal and immaterial
objects (De Anima iii, 4). Therefore understanding is not a part of
prudence.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[2] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, Tully [*De Invent. Rhet. ii, 53] accounts
"intelligence" a part of prudence, and Macrobius [*In Somn. Scip. i, 8]
mentions "understanding," which comes to the same.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[2] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, Understanding denotes here, not the intellectual power,
but the right estimate about some final principle, which is taken as
self-evident: thus we are said to understand the first principles of
demonstrations. Now every deduction of reason proceeds from certain
statements which are taken as primary: wherefore every process of
reasoning must needs proceed from some understanding. Therefore since
prudence is right reason applied to action, the whole process of prudence
must needs have its source in understanding. Hence it is that
understanding is reckoned a part of prudence.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[2] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: The reasoning of prudence terminates, as in a conclusion,
in the particular matter of action, to which, as stated above (Q[47],
AA[3],6), it applies the knowledge of some universal principle. Now a
singular conclusion is argued from a universal and a singular
proposition. Wherefore the reasoning of prudence must proceed from a
twofold understanding. The one is cognizant of universals, and this
belongs to the understanding which is an intellectual virtue, whereby we
know naturally not only speculative principles, but also practical
universal principles, such as "One should do evil to no man," as shown
above (Q[47], A[6]). The other understanding, as stated in Ethic. vi, 11,
is cognizant of an extreme, i.e. of some primary singular and contingent
practical matter, viz. the minor premiss, which must needs be singular in
the syllogism of prudence, as stated above (Q[47], AA[3],6). Now this
primary singular is some singular end, as stated in the same place.
Wherefore the understanding which is a part of prudence is a right
estimate of some particular end.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[2] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: The understanding which is a gift of the Holy Ghost, is a
quick insight into divine things, as shown above (Q[8], AA[1],2). It is
in another sense that it is accounted a part of prudence, as stated above.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[2] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: The right estimate about a particular end is called both
"understanding," in so far as its object is a principle, and "sense," in
so far as its object is a particular. This is what the Philosopher means
when he says (Ethic. v, 11): "Of such things we need to have the sense,
and this is understanding." But this is to be understood as referring,
not to the particular sense whereby we know proper sensibles, but to the
interior sense, whereby we judge of a particular.


Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[3] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether docility should be accounted a part of prudence?

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[3] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that docility should not be accounted a part of
prudence. For that which is a necessary condition of every intellectual
virtue, should not be appropriated to one of them. But docility is
requisite for every intellectual virtue. Therefore it should not be
accounted a part of prudence.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[3] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, that which pertains to a human virtue is in our power,
since it is for things that are in our power that we are praised or
blamed. Now it is not in our power to be docile, for this is befitting
to some through their natural disposition. Therefore it is not a part of
prudence.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[3] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, docility is in the disciple: whereas prudence, since it
makes precepts, seems rather to belong to teachers, who are also called
"preceptors." Therefore docility is not a part of prudence.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[3] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, Macrobius [*In Somn. Scip. i, 8] following the opinion
of Plotinus places docility among the parts of prudence.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[3] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, As stated above (A[2], ad 1; Q[47], A[3]) prudence is
concerned with particular matters of action, and since such matters are
of infinite variety, no one man can consider them all sufficiently; nor
can this be done quickly, for it requires length of time. Hence in
matters of prudence man stands in very great need of being taught by
others, especially by old folk who have acquired a sane understanding of
the ends in practical matters. Wherefore the Philosopher says (Ethic. vi,
11): "It is right to pay no less attention to the undemonstrated
assertions and opinions of such persons as are experienced, older than we
are, and prudent, than to their demonstrations, for their experience
gives them an insight into principles." Thus it is written (Prov. 3:5):
"Lean not on thy own prudence," and (Ecclus. 6:35): "Stand in the
multitude of the ancients" (i.e. the old men), "that are wise, and join
thyself from thy heart to their wisdom." Now it is a mark of docility to
be ready to be taught: and consequently docility is fittingly reckoned a
part of prudence

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[3] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: Although docility is useful for every intellectual virtue,
yet it belongs to prudence chiefly, for the reason given above.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[3] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: Man has a natural aptitude for docility even as for other
things connected with prudence. Yet his own efforts count for much
towards the attainment of perfect docility: and he must carefully,
frequently and reverently apply his mind to the teachings of the learned,
neither neglecting them through laziness, nor despising them through
pride.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[3] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: By prudence man makes precepts not only for others, but
also for himself, as stated above (Q[47], A[12], ad 3). Hence as stated
(Ethic. vi, 11), even in subjects, there is place for prudence; to which
docility pertains. And yet even the learned should be docile in some
respects, since no man is altogether self-sufficient in matters of
prudence, as stated above.


Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[4] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether shrewdness is part of prudence?

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[4] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that shrewdness is not a part of prudence. For
shrewdness consists in easily finding the middle term for demonstrations,
as stated in Poster. i, 34. Now the reasoning of prudence is not a
demonstration since it deals with contingencies. Therefore shrewdness
does not pertain to prudence.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[4] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, good counsel pertains to prudence according to Ethic.
vi, 5,7,9. Now there is no place in good counsel for shrewdness [*Ethic.
vi, 9; Poster. i, 34] which is a kind of {eustochia}, i.e. "a happy
conjecture": for the latter is "unreasoning and rapid," whereas counsel
needs to be slow, as stated in Ethic. vi, 9. Therefore shrewdness should
not be accounted a part of prudence.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[4] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, shrewdness as stated above (Q[48]) is a "happy
conjecture." Now it belongs to rhetoricians to make use of conjectures.
Therefore shrewdness belongs to rhetoric rather than to prudence.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[4] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, Isidore says (Etym. x): "A solicitous man is one who is
shrewd and alert [solers citus]." But solicitude belongs to prudence, as
stated above (Q[47], A[9]). Therefore shrewdness does also.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[4] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, Prudence consists in a right estimate about matters of
action. Now a right estimate or opinion is acquired in two ways, both in
practical and in speculative matters, first by discovering it oneself,
secondly by learning it from others. Now just as docility consists in a
man being well disposed to acquire a right opinion from another man, so
shrewdness is an apt disposition to acquire a right estimate by oneself,
yet so that shrewdness be taken for {eustochia}, of which it is a part.
For {eustochia} is a happy conjecture about any matter, while shrewdness
is "an easy and rapid conjecture in finding the middle term" (Poster. i,
34). Nevertheless the philosopher [*Andronicus; Cf. Q[48], OBJ[1]] who
calls shrewdness a part of prudence, takes it for {eustochia}, in
general, hence he says: "Shrewdness is a habit whereby congruities are
discovered rapidly."

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[4] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: Shrewdness is concerned with the discovery of the middle
term not only in demonstrative, but also in practical syllogisms, as, for
instance, when two men are seen to be friends they are reckoned to be
enemies of a third one, as the Philosopher says (Poster. i, 34). In this
way shrewdness belongs to prudence.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[4] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: The Philosopher adduces the true reason (Ethic. vi, 9) to
prove that {euboulia}, i.e. good counsel, is not {eustochia}, which is
commended for grasping quickly what should be done. Now a man may take
good counsel, though he be long and slow in so doing, and yet this does
not discount the utility of a happy conjecture in taking good counsel:
indeed it is sometimes a necessity, when, for instance, something has to
be done without warning. It is for this reason that shrewdness is
fittingly reckoned a part of prudence.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[4] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: Rhetoric also reasons about practical matters, wherefore
nothing hinders the same thing belonging both to rhetoric and prudence.
Nevertheless, conjecture is taken here not only in the sense in which it
is employed by rhetoricians, but also as applicable to all matters
whatsoever wherein man is said to conjecture the truth.


Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[5] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether reason should be reckoned a part of prudence?

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[5] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that reason should not be reckoned a part of
prudence. For the subject of an accident is not a part thereof. But
prudence is in the reason as its subject (Ethic. vi, 5). Therefore reason
should not be reckoned a part of prudence.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[5] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, that which is common to many, should not be reckoned a
part of any one of them; or if it be so reckoned, it should be reckoned a
part of that one to which it chiefly belongs. Now reason is necessary in
all the intellectual virtues, and chiefly in wisdom and science, which
employ a demonstrative reason. Therefore reason should not be reckoned a
part of prudence

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[5] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, reason as a power does not differ essentially from the
intelligence, as stated above (FP, Q[79], A[8]). If therefore
intelligence be reckoned a part of prudence, it is superfluous to add
reason.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[5] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, Macrobius [*In Somn. Scip. i], following the opinion of
Plotinus, numbers reason among the parts of prudence.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[5] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, The work of prudence is to take good counsel, as stated
in Ethic. vi, 7. Now counsel is a research proceeding from certain things
to others. But this is the work of reason. Wherefore it is requisite for
prudence that man should be an apt reasoner. And since the things
required for the perfection of prudence are called requisite or
quasi-integral parts of prudence, it follows that reason should be
numbered among these parts.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[5] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: Reason denotes here, not the power of reason, but its good
use.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[5] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: The certitude of reason comes from the intellect. Yet the
need of reason is from a defect in the intellect, since those things in
which the intellective power is in full vigor, have no need for reason,
for they comprehend the truth by their simple insight, as do God and the
angels. On the other hand particular matters of action, wherein prudence
guides, are very far from the condition of things intelligible, and so
much the farther, as they are less certain and fixed. Thus matters of
art, though they are singular, are nevertheless more fixed and certain,
wherefore in many of them there is no room for counsel on account of
their certitude, as stated in Ethic. iii, 3. Hence, although in certain
other intellectual virtues reason is more certain than in prudence, yet
prudence above all requires that man be an apt reasoner, so that he may
rightly apply universals to particulars, which latter are various and
uncertain.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[5] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: Although intelligence and reason are not different powers,
yet they are named after different acts. For intelligence takes its name
from being an intimate penetration of the truth [*Cf. SS, Q[8], A[1]],
while reason is so called from being inquisitive and discursive. Hence
each is accounted a part of reason as explained above (A[2]; Q[47], A[2]
,3).


Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[6] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether foresight* should be accounted a part of prudence?
[*"Providentia," which may be translated either "providence" or
"foresight."]

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[6] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that foresight should not be accounted a part of
prudence. For nothing is part of itself. Now foresight seems to be the
same as prudence, because according to Isidore (Etym. x), "a prudent man
is one who sees from afar [porro videns]": and this is also the
derivation of "providentia [foresight]," according to Boethius (De
Consol. v). Therefore foresight is not a part of prudence.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[6] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, prudence is only practical, whereas foresight may be
also speculative, because "seeing," whence we have the word "to foresee,"
has more to do with speculation than operation. Therefore foresight is
not a part of prudence.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[6] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, the chief act of prudence is to command, while its
secondary act is to judge and to take counsel. But none of these seems to
be properly implied by foresight. Therefore foresight is not part of
prudence.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[6] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary stands the authority of Tully and Macrobius, who number
foresight among the parts of prudence, as stated above (Q[48]).

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[6] Body Para. 1/2

I answer that, As stated above (Q[47], A[1], ad 2, AA[6],13), prudence
is properly about the means to an end, and its proper work is to set them
in due order to the end. And although certain things are necessary for an
end, which are subject to divine providence, yet nothing is subject to
human providence except the contingent matters of actions which can be
done by man for an end. Now the past has become a kind of necessity,
since what has been done cannot be undone. In like manner, the present as
such, has a kind of necessity, since it is necessary that Socrates sit,
so long as he sits.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[6] Body Para. 2/2

Consequently, future contingents, in so far as they can be directed by
man to the end of human life, are the matter of prudence: and each of
these things is implied in the word foresight, for it implies the notion
of something distant, to which that which occurs in the present has to be
directed. Therefore foresight is part of prudence.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[6] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: Whenever many things are requisite for a unity, one of
them must needs be the principal to which all the others are subordinate.
Hence in every whole one part must be formal and predominant, whence the
whole has unity. Accordingly foresight is the principal of all the parts
of prudence, since whatever else is required for prudence, is necessary
precisely that some particular thing may be rightly directed to its end.
Hence it is that the very name of prudence is taken from foresight
[providentia] as from its principal part.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[6] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: Speculation is about universal and necessary things, which,
in themselves, are not distant, since they are everywhere and always,
though they are distant from us, in so far as we fail to know them. Hence
foresight does not apply properly to speculative, but only to practical
matters.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[6] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: Right order to an end which is included in the notion of
foresight, contains rectitude of counsel, judgment and command, without
which no right order to the end is possible.


Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[7] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether circumspection can be a part of prudence?

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[7] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that circumspection cannot be a part of prudence.
For circumspection seems to signify looking at one's surroundings. But
these are of infinite number, and cannot be considered by the reason
wherein is prudence. Therefore circumspection should not be reckoned a
part of prudence.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[7] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, circumstances seem to be the concern of moral virtues
rather than of prudence. But circumspection seems to denote nothing but
attention to circumstances. Therefore circumspection apparently belongs
to the moral virtues rather than to prudence.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[7] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, whoever can see things afar off can much more see things
that are near. Now foresight enables a man to look on distant things.
Therefore there is no need to account circumspection a part of prudence
in addition to foresight.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[7] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary stands the authority of Macrobius, quoted above (Q[48]).

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[7] Body Para. 1/2

I answer that, As stated above (A[6]), it belongs to prudence chiefly to
direct something aright to an end; and this is not done aright unless
both the end be good, and the means good and suitable.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[7] Body Para. 2/2

Since, however, prudence, as stated above (Q[47], A[3]) is about
singular matters of action, which contain many combinations of
circumstances, it happens that a thing is good in itself and suitable to
the end, and nevertheless becomes evil or unsuitable to the end, by
reason of some combination of circumstances. Thus to show signs of love
to someone seems, considered in itself, to be a fitting way to arouse
love in his heart, yet if pride or suspicion of flattery arise in his
heart, it will no longer be a means suitable to the end. Hence the need
of circumspection in prudence, viz. of comparing the means with the
circumstances.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[7] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: Though the number of possible circumstances be infinite,
the number of actual circumstances is not; and the judgment of reason in
matters of action is influenced by things which are few in number

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[7] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: Circumstances are the concern of prudence, because prudence
has to fix them; on the other hand they are the concern of moral virtues,
in so far as moral virtues are perfected by the fixing of circumstances.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[7] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: Just as it belongs to foresight to look on that which is by
its nature suitable to an end, so it belongs to circumspection to
consider whether it be suitable to the end in view of the circumstances.
Now each of these presents a difficulty of its own, and therefore each is
reckoned a distinct part of prudence.


Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[8] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether caution should be reckoned a part of prudence?

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[8] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that caution should not be reckoned a part of
prudence. For when no evil is possible, no caution is required. Now no
man makes evil use of virtue, as Augustine declares (De Lib. Arb. ii,
19). Therefore caution does not belong to prudence which directs the
virtues.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[8] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, to foresee good and to avoid evil belong to the same
faculty, just as the same art gives health and cures ill-health. Now it
belongs to foresight to foresee good, and consequently, also to avoid
evil. Therefore caution should not be accounted a part of prudence,
distinct from foresight.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[8] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, no prudent man strives for the impossible. But no man
can take precautions against all possible evils. Therefore caution does
not belong to prudence.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[8] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, The Apostle says (Eph. 5:15): "See how you walk
cautiously [Douay: 'circumspectly']."

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[8] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, The things with which prudence is concerned, are
contingent matters of action, wherein, even as false is found with true,
so is evil mingled with good, on account of the great variety of these
matters of action, wherein good is often hindered by evil, and evil has
the appearance of good. Wherefore prudence needs caution, so that we may
have such a grasp of good as to avoid evil.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[8] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: Caution is required in moral acts, that we may be on our
guard, not against acts of virtue, but against the hindrance of acts of
virtue.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[8] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: It is the same in idea, to ensue good and to avoid the
opposite evil, but the avoidance of outward hindrances is different in
idea. Hence caution differs from foresight, although they both belong to
the one virtue of prudence.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[49] A[8] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: Of the evils which man has to avoid, some are of frequent
occurrence; the like can be grasped by reason, and against them caution
is directed, either that they may be avoided altogether, or that they may
do less harm. Others there are that occur rarely and by chance, and
these, since they are infinite in number, cannot be grasped by reason,
nor is man able to take precautions against them, although by exercising
prudence he is able to prepare against all the surprises of chance, so as
to suffer less harm thereby.





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