Aquinas' Summa Theologica

Aquinas' Summa Theologica - Question 18. The good and evil...

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Question 18. The good and evil of human acts, in general 1. Is every human action good, or are there evil actions? 2. Is the good or evil of a human action derived from its object? 3. Is it derived from a circumstance? 4. Is it derived from the end? 5. Is a human action good or evil in its species? 6. Does an action have the species of good or evil from its end? 7. Is the species derived from the end, contained under the species derived from the object, as under its genus, or conversely? 8. Is any action indifferent in its species? 9. Can an individual action be indifferent? 10. Does a circumstance place a moral action in the species of good or evil? 11. Does every circumstance that makes an action better or worse, place the moral action in the species of good or evil? Article 1. Whether every human action is good, or are there evil actions? Objection 1. It would seem that every human action is good , and that none is evil . For Dionysius says (Div. Nom. iv) that evil acts not, save in virtue of the good . But no evil is done in virtue of the good . Therefore no action is evil . Objection 2. Further, nothing acts except in so far as it is in act. Now a thing is evil , not according as it is in act, but according as its potentiality is void of act; whereas in so far as its potentiality is perfected by act, it is good , as stated in Metaph. ix, 9. Therefore nothing acts in so far as it is evil , but only according as it is good . Therefore every action is good , and none is evil . Objection 3. Further, evil cannot be a cause , save accidentally , as Dionysius declares (Div. Nom. iv). But every action has some effect which is proper to it. Therefore no action is evil , but every action is good . On the contrary, Our Lord said ( John 3:20 ): "Every one that doth evil , hateth the light." Therefore some actions of man are evil . I answer that, We must speak of good and evil in actions as of good and evil in things: because such as everything is, such is the act that it produces. Now in things, each one has so much good as it has being: since good and being are convertible, as was stated in the I, 5, 1,3. But God alone has the whole plenitude of His Being in a certain unity: whereas every other thing has its proper fulness of being in a certain multiplicity. Wherefore it happens with some things, that they have being in some respect, and yet they are lacking in the fulness of being due to them. Thus the fulness of human being requires a compound of soul and body, having all the powers and instruments of knowledge and movement: wherefore if any man be lacking in any of these, he is 1
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lacking in something due to the fulness of his being. So that as much as he has of being, so much has he of goodness : while so far as he is lacking in goodness , and is said to be evil : thus a blind man is possessed of goodness inasmuch as he lives; and of evil , inasmuch as he lacks sight. That, however, which has nothing of being or goodness
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This note was uploaded on 06/02/2010 for the course ETC ETC taught by Professor Michael during the Spring '10 term at Tampa.

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Aquinas' Summa Theologica - Question 18. The good and evil...

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