Good and Evil Actions: A Journey through Saint Thomas Aquinas

Good and Evil Actions: A Journey through Saint Thomas Aquinas

by Steven J. Jensen
     
 

*Tackles the Thomistic debate surrounding the inherent good and evil of human actions*

Modern philosophy has long dismissed the traditional moral notion that some actions are inherently good or evil, claiming rather that actions lack clear boundaries and have no set nature, whether good, evil, or anything else. We might expect to find resources to rebut

Overview

*Tackles the Thomistic debate surrounding the inherent good and evil of human actions*

Modern philosophy has long dismissed the traditional moral notion that some actions are inherently good or evil, claiming rather that actions lack clear boundaries and have no set nature, whether good, evil, or anything else. We might expect to find resources to rebut these consequentialist assertions in the perennial philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas. Unfortunately, the analysis of the moral species within Aquinas confounds even the most resolute. Thomists are far from unanimity on the very questions at issue, such as the role of intention in moral judgment and the importance of the exterior or "physical" act. One influential reading of Aquinas assigns intention a central role; another extols a return to teleology and to the physical nature of the action.
In Good and Evil Actions, Steven J. Jensen navigates a path through the debate, retrieving what is of value from each interpretation. Intention receives its proper due, while leaving room for physical causality and teleology. Jensen provides a novel explanation of self-defense and develops a much needed account of the dignity of the human person. With exceptional clarity, he identifies the essential issues, resolves conflicting views, and reveals the truth as conveyed by Aquinas.
In his foreword, Ralph McInerny praises the book as "a remarkable compendium of the status quaestionis of a large number of prickly issues associated with Thomas Aquinas's theory of human action, a fair look at proposed solutions, and finally Jensen's own best thought on the matter."

Steven J. Jensen is associate professor of philosophy at theUniversity of St. Thomas in Houston and specializes in the areas of ethics and medieval philosophy.

Advance Praise for the Book:

"An extraordinarily clear and complete synthesis of the philosophy involved in St. Thomas's understanding of the specification of human acts. Jensen delivers a compact presentation both of Thomas's thought on the topic and of the main current interpretations thereof."—Stephen L. Brock, Professor of Medieval Philosophy, Pontifical University of the Holy Cross

"A significant original contribution to a currently robust conversation in contemporary ethical debates. Jensen offers a novel interpretation of Aquinas's position on how to define an act as good or bad."—Thomas A. Cavanaugh, Professor of Philosophy, University of San Francisco

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780813217277
Publisher:
Catholic University of America Press
Publication date:
04/14/2010
Pages:
324
Sales rank:
1,004,852
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.10(d)

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