Moral Science; a Compendium of Ethics eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 487 pages of information about Moral Science; a Compendium of Ethics.
of the operation of our faculties, as their employment by the will for good ends, it may be used in the first sense, and thus the intellectual virtues will be the habits of intelligence that procure the truest knowledge.  The well-known division of the cardinal virtues is his next theme; and it is established as complete and satisfactory by a twofold deduction.  But a still higher and more congenial view is immediately afterwards adopted from Plotinus.  This is the Neo-Platonic description of the four virtues as politicae, purgatoriae, and purgati animi, according to the scale of elevation reached by the soul in its efforts to mount above sense.  They are called by Thomas also exemplares, when regarded at once as the essence of the Deity, and as the models of human perfections.

This mystical division, not unsupported by philosophical authority, smooths the way for his account of the highest or theological virtues.  These bear upon the vision of Deity, which was recognized above as the highest good of humanity, and form an order apart.  They have God for their object, are altogether inspired by God (hence called infusae), and are taught by revelation.  Given in connection with the natural faculties of intellect and will, they are exhibited in the attainment of the supernatural order of things.  With intellect goes Faith, as it were the intellect applied to things not intelligible; with Will go Hope and Charity or Love:  Hope being the Will exercised upon things not naturally desired, and Love the union of Will with what is not naturally brought near to us.

Aquinas then passes to politics, or at least the discussion of the political ideas of law, right, &c.

Coming now to modern thinkers, we begin with

THOMAS HOBBES. [1588-1679.]

The circumstances of Hobbes’s life, so powerful in determining the nature of his opinions, had an equally marked effect on the order and number of expositions that he gave to the psychological and political parts of his system.  His ethical doctrines, in as far as they can be dissociated from, his politics, may be studied in no less than three distinct forms; either in the first part of the Leviathian (1651); or in the De Cive (1647), taken along-with the De Homine (1658); or in the Treatise of Human Nature (1650, but written ten years earlier), coupled with the De Corpore Politico (also 1650).  But the same result, or with only unimportant variations, being obtained from all, we need not here go beyond the first-mentioned.

Project Gutenberg
Moral Science; a Compendium of Ethics from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook