Action's Most Ultimate End

John Finnis

in Reason in Action

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199580057
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729379 | DOI:
Action's Most Ultimate End

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What is the role of eudaimonia in Aristotle's ethics and of beatitudo in Aquinas's ethics? None of the basic goods can count as fully satisfying. But can the whole set of them somehow count as that? Aquinas holds that in this life we are oriented by a less than fully satisfying beatitudo, which he calls imperfecta beatitudo and says (in his main account) consists in the workings of moral virtue. His other account holds that it consists in contemplation. But what is to be made of his thesis that beatitudo perfecta consists in the vision of God? It must be taken with his thesis that perfect beatitude (fulfilment, flourishing) includes friendship with human neighbours in the heavenly household. And with his thesis that it is a matter of sharing in God's creative, practical understanding, and thus is a kind of extending of practical reason's operations in this life's engagements with the complex of intelligible human goods. More like playing in an orchestra than gazing at a scene.

Keywords: Aquinas; Aristotle; eudaimonia; beatitudo perfecta and imperfecta; fulfilment; contemplation; practical understanding

Chapter.  6914 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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