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Aquinas Seminar Series: Prof Ed Feser on Cooperation with Sins against Prudence and Chastity
17th January: 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm
In modern times there is a tendency to pit morality against intelligence, either in a voluntarist way that makes morality primarily a matter of the will or in a sentimentalist way that makes it primarily a matter of feeling. From the Thomist point of view, this is a mistake. Morality is an essentially cognitive enterprise, and hinges on the virtue of prudence – the habit of knowing the right thing to do and the right way of doing it. One cooperates with sins against prudence when one either encourages voluntarist and sentimentalist tendencies, or fails to discourage them when one has a special obligation to do so. In this paper I set out Aquinas’s account of the nature of prudence and of the vices opposed to it. It turns out that there is a special connection between these vices and sins against chastity. Aquinas’s account can in turn be developed into an account of the various ways one might fall into cooperating with sins against prudence. And it turns out that there is also a special connection between such cooperation and cooperation with sins against chastity. The key to understanding the special connection between sins against prudence and sins against chastity lies in Aquinas’s account of the “blindness of mind” that is among what he calls the “daughters of lust.”
Venue: Blackfriars - St Giles Oxford, OX1 3LY United Kingdom