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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[51] Out. Para. 1/1 - OF THE VIRTUES WHICH ARE CONNECTED WITH PRUDENCE (FOUR ARTICLES)
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Aquin.: SMT SS Q[51] Out. Para. 1/1 - OF THE VIRTUES WHICH ARE CONNECTED WITH PRUDENCE (FOUR ARTICLES)

In due sequence, we must consider the virtues that are connected with
prudence, and which are its quasi-potential parts. Under this head there
are four points of inquiry:

(1) Whether {euboulia}, is a virtue?

(2) Whether it is a special virtue, distinct from prudence?

(3) Whether {synesis} is a special virtue?

(4) Whether {gnome} is a special virtue?

[*These three Greek words may be rendered as the faculties of
deliberating well {euboulia}, of judging well according to common law
{synesis}, and of judging well according to general law {gnome},
respectively.]


Aquin.: SMT SS Q[51] A[1] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether {euboulia} (deliberating well) is a virtue?

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[51] A[1] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that {euboulia} (deliberating well) is not a
virtue. For, according to Augustine (De Lib. Arb. ii, 18,19) "no man
makes evil use of virtue." Now some make evil use of {euboulia}
(deliberating well) or good counsel, either through devising crafty
counsels in order to achieve evil ends, or through committing sin in
order that they may achieve good ends, as those who rob that they may
give alms. Therefore {euboulia} (deliberating well) is not a virtue.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[51] A[1] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, virtue is a perfection, according to Phys. vii. But
{euboulia} (deliberating well) is concerned with counsel, which implies
doubt and research, and these are marks of imperfection. Therefore
{euboulia} (deliberating well) is not a virtue.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[51] A[1] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, virtues are connected with one another, as stated above
(FS, Q[65]). Now {euboulia} (deliberating well) is not connected with the
other virtues, since many sinners take good-counsel, and many godly men
are slow in taking counsel. Therefore {euboulia} (deliberating well) is
not a virtue.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[51] A[1] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, According to the Philosopher (Ethic. vi, 9) {euboulia}
(deliberating well) "is a right counselling." Now the perfection of
virtue consists in right reason. Therefore {euboulia} (deliberating well)
is a virtue.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[51] A[1] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, As stated above (Q[47], A[4]) the nature of a human
virtue consists in making a human act good. Now among the acts of man, it
is proper to him to take counsel, since this denotes a research of the
reason about the actions he has to perform and whereof human life
consists, for the speculative life is above man, as stated in Ethic. x.
But {euboulia} (deliberating well) signifies goodness of counsel, for it
is derived from the {eu}, good, and {boule}, counsel, being "a good
counsel" or rather "a disposition to take good counsel." Hence it is
evident that {euboulia} (deliberating well) is a human virtue.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[51] A[1] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: There is no good counsel either in deliberating for an evil
end, or in discovering evil means for attaining a good end, even as in
speculative matters, there is no good reasoning either in coming to a
false conclusion, or in coming to a true conclusion from false premisses
through employing an unsuitable middle term. Hence both the aforesaid
processes are contrary to {euboulia} (deliberating well), as the
Philosopher declares (Ethic. vi, 9).

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[51] A[1] R.O. 2 Para. 1/2

Reply OBJ 2: Although virtue is essentially a perfection, it does not
follow that whatever is the matter of a virtue implies perfection. For
man needs to be perfected by virtues in all his parts, and this not only
as regards the acts of reason, of which counsel is one, but also as
regards the passions of the sensitive appetite, which are still more
imperfect.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[51] A[1] R.O. 2 Para. 2/2

It may also be replied that human virtue is a perfection according to
the mode of man, who is unable by simple insight to comprehend with
certainty the truth of things, especially in matters of action which are
contingent.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[51] A[1] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: In no sinner as such is {euboulia} (deliberating well) to
be found: since all sin is contrary to taking good counsel. For good
counsel requires not only the discovery or devising of fit means for the
end, but also other circumstances. Such are suitable time, so that one be
neither too slow nor too quick in taking counsel, and the mode of taking
counsel, so that one be firm in the counsel taken, and other like due
circumstances, which sinners fail to observe when they sin. On the other
hand, every virtuous man takes good counsel in those things which are
directed to the end of virtue, although perhaps he does not take good
counsel in other particular matters, for instance in matters of trade, or
warfare, or the like.


Aquin.: SMT SS Q[51] A[2] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether {euboulia} (deliberating well) is a special virtue, distinct from
prudence?

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[51] A[2] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that {euboulia} (deliberating well) is not a
distinct virtue from prudence. For, according to the Philosopher (Ethic.
vi, 5), the "prudent man is, seemingly, one who takes good counsel." Now
this belongs to {euboulia} (deliberating well) as stated above. Therefore
{euboulia} (deliberating well) is not distinct from prudence.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[51] A[2] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, human acts to which human virtues are directed, are
specified chiefly by their end, as stated above (FS, Q[1], A[3]; FS,
Q[18], AA[4],6). Now {euboulia} (deliberating well) and prudence are
directed to the same end, as stated in Ethic. vi, 9, not indeed to some
particular end, but to the common end of all life. Therefore {euboulia}
(deliberating well) is not a distinct virtue from prudence.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[51] A[2] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, in speculative sciences, research and decision belong to
the same science. Therefore in like manner these belong to the same
virtue in practical matters. Now research belongs to {euboulia}
(deliberating well), while decision belongs to prudence. There {euboulia}
(deliberating well) is not a distinct virtue from prudence.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[51] A[2] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, Prudence is preceptive, according to Ethic. vi, 10. But
this does not apply to {euboulia} (deliberating well). Therefore
{euboulia} (deliberating well) is a distinct virtue from prudence.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[51] A[2] Body Para. 1/2

I answer that, As stated above (A[1]), virtue is properly directed to
an act which it renders good; and consequently virtues must differ
according to different acts, especially when there is a different kind of
goodness in the acts. For, if various acts contained the same kind of
goodness, they would belong to the same virtue: thus the goodness of
love, desire and joy depends on the same, wherefore all these belong to
the same virtue of charity.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[51] A[2] Body Para. 2/2

Now acts of the reason that are ordained to action are diverse, nor have
they the same kind of goodness: since it is owing to different causes
that a man acquires good counsel, good judgment, or good command,
inasmuch as these are sometimes separated from one another. Consequently
{euboulia} (deliberating well) which makes man take good counsel must
needs be a distinct virtue from prudence, which makes man command well.
And since counsel is directed to command as to that which is principal,
so {euboulia} (deliberating well) is directed to prudence as to a
principal virtue, without which it would be no virtue at all, even as
neither are the moral virtues without prudence, nor the other virtues
without charity.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[51] A[2] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: It belongs to prudence to take good counsel by commanding
it, to {euboulia} (deliberating well) by eliciting it.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[51] A[2] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: Different acts are directed in different degrees to the one
end which is "a good life in general" [*Ethic. vi, 5]: for counsel comes
first, judgment follows, and command comes last. The last named has an
immediate relation to the last end: whereas the other two acts are
related thereto remotely. Nevertheless these have certain proximate ends
of their own, the end of counsel being the discovery of what has to be
done, and the end of judgment, certainty. Hence this proves not that
{euboulia} (deliberating well) is not a distinct virtue from prudence,
but that it is subordinate thereto, as a secondary to a principal virtue.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[51] A[2] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: Even in speculative matters the rational science of
dialectics, which is directed to research and discovery, is distinct from
demonstrative science, which decides the truth.


Aquin.: SMT SS Q[51] A[3] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether {synesis} (judging well according to common law) is a virtue?

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[51] A[3] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that {synesis} is not a virtue. Virtues are not in
us by nature, according to Ethic. ii, 1. But {synesis} (judging well
according to common law) is natural to some, as the Philosopher states
(Ethic. vi, 11). Therefore {synesis} (judging well according to common
law) is not a virtue.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[51] A[3] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, as stated in the same book (10), {synesis} (judging well
according to common law) is nothing but "a faculty of judging." But
judgment without command can be even in the wicked. Since then virtue is
only in the good, it seems that {synesis} (judging well according to
common law) is not a virtue.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[51] A[3] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, there is never a defective command, unless there be a
defective judgment, at least in a particular matter of action; for it is
in this that every wicked man errs. If therefore {synesis} (judging well
according to common law) be reckoned a virtue directed to good judgment,
it seems that there is no need for any other virtue directed to good
command: and consequently prudence would be superfluous, which is not
reasonable. Therefore {synesis} (judging well according to common law) is
not a virtue.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[51] A[3] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, Judgment is more perfect than counsel. But {euboulia},
or good counsel, is a virtue. Much more, therefore, is {synesis} (judging
well according to common law) a virtue, as being good judgment.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[51] A[3] Body Para. 1/2

I answer that, {synesis} (judging well according to common law)
signifies a right judgment, not indeed about speculative matters, but
about particular practical matters, about which also is prudence. Hence
in Greek some, in respect of {synesis} (judging well according to common
law) are said to be {synetoi}, i.e. "persons of sense," or {eusynetoi},
i.e. "men of good sense," just as on the other hand, those who lack this
virtue are called {asynetoi}, i.e. "senseless."

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[51] A[3] Body Para. 2/2

Now, different acts which cannot be ascribed to the same cause, must
correspond to different virtues. And it is evident that goodness of
counsel and goodness of judgment are not reducible to the same cause, for
many can take good counsel, without having good sense so as to judge
well. Even so, in speculative matters some are good at research, through
their reason being quick at arguing from one thing to another (which
seems to be due to a disposition of their power of imagination, which has
a facility in forming phantasms), and yet such persons sometimes lack
good judgment (and this is due to a defect in the intellect arising
chiefly from a defective disposition of the common sense which fails to
judge aright). Hence there is need, besides {euboulia} (deliberating
well), for another virtue, which judges well, and this is called
{synesis} (judging well according to common law).

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[51] A[3] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: Right judgment consists in the cognitive power apprehending
a thing just as it is in reality, and this is due to the right disposition of the apprehensive power. Thus if a mirror be well disposed
the forms of bodies are reflected in it just as they are, whereas if it
be ill disposed, the images therein appear distorted and misshapen. Now
that the cognitive power be well disposed to receive things just as they
are in reality, is radically due to nature, but, as to its consummation,
is due to practice or to a gift of grace, and this in two ways. First
directly, on the part of the cognitive power itself, for instance,
because it is imbued, not with distorted, but with true and correct
ideas: this belongs to {synesis} (judging well according to common law)
which in this respect is a special virtue. Secondly indirectly, through
the good disposition of the appetitive power, the result being that one
judges well of the objects of appetite: and thus a good judgment of
virtue results from the habits of moral virtue; but this judgment is
about the ends, whereas {synesis} (judging well according to common law)
is rather about the means.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[51] A[3] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: In wicked men there may be right judgment of a universal
principle, but their judgment is always corrupt in the particular matter
of action, as stated above (Q[47], A[13]).

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[51] A[3] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: Sometimes after judging aright we delay to execute or
execute negligently or inordinately. Hence after the virtue which judges
aright there is a further need of a final and principal virtue, which
commands aright, and this is prudence.


Aquin.: SMT SS Q[51] A[4] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether {gnome} (judging well according to general law) is a special
virtue?

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[51] A[4] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that {gnome} (judging well according to general
law) is not a special virtue distinct from {synesis} (judging well
according to common law). For a man is said, in respect of {synesis}
(judging well according to common law), to have good judgment. Now no man
can be said to have good judgment, unless he judge aright in all things.
Therefore {synesis} (judging well according to common law) extends to all
matters of judgment, and consequently there is no other virtue of good
judgment called {gnome} (judging well according to general law).

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[51] A[4] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, judgment is midway between counsel and precept. Now
there is only one virtue of good counsel, viz. {euboulia} (deliberating
well) and only one virtue of good command, viz. prudence. Therefore there
is only one virtue of good judgment, viz. {synesis} (judging well
according to common law).

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[51] A[4] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, rare occurrences wherein there is need to depart from
the common law, seem for the most part to happen by chance, and with such
things reason is not concerned, as stated in Phys. ii, 5. Now all the
intellectual virtues depend on right reason. Therefore there is no
intellectual virtue about such matters.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[51] A[4] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, The Philosopher concludes (Ethic. vi, 11) that {gnome}
(judging well according to general law) is a special virtue.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[51] A[4] Body Para. 1/2

I answer that cognitive habits differ according to higher and lower
principles: thus in speculative matters wisdom considers higher
principles than science does, and consequently is distinguished from it;
and so must it be also in practical matters. Now it is evident that what
is beside the order of a lower principle or cause, is sometimes reducible
to the order of a higher principle; thus monstrous births of animals are
beside the order of the active seminal force, and yet they come under the
order of a higher principle, namely, of a heavenly body, or higher still,
of Divine Providence. Hence by considering the active seminal force one
could not pronounce a sure judgment on such monstrosities, and yet this
is possible if we consider Divine Providence.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[51] A[4] Body Para. 2/2

Now it happens sometimes that something has to be done which is not
covered by the common rules of actions, for instance in the case of the
enemy of one's country, when it would be wrong to give him back his
deposit, or in other similar cases. Hence it is necessary to judge of
such matters according to higher principles than the common laws,
according to which {synesis} (judging according to common law) judges:
and corresponding to such higher principles it is necessary to have a
higher virtue of judgment, which is called {gnome} (judging according to
general law), and which denotes a certain discrimination in judgment.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[51] A[4] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: {Synesis} (judging well according to common law) judges
rightly about all actions that are covered by the common rules: but
certain things have to be judged beside these common rules, as stated
above.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[51] A[4] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: Judgment about a thing should be formed from the proper
principles thereof, whereas research is made by employing also common
principles. Wherefore also in speculative matters, dialectics which aims
at research proceeds from common principles; while demonstration which
tends to judgment, proceeds from proper principles. Hence {euboulia}
(deliberating well) to which the research of counsel belongs is one for
all, but not so {synesis} (judging well according to common law) whose
act is judicial. Command considers in all matters the one aspect of good,
wherefore prudence also is only one.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[51] A[4] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: It belongs to Divine Providence alone to consider all
things that may happen beside the common course. On the other hand, among
men, he who is most discerning can judge a greater number of such things
by his reason: this belongs to {gnome} (judging well according to general
law), which denotes a certain discrimination in judgment.





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