From a Theological Frame to a Secular Frame

Mary L. Hirschfeld

in The True Wealth of Nations

Published in print July 2010 | ISBN: 9780199739813
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199866120 | DOI:
From a Theological Frame to a Secular Frame

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This chapter examines the fundamental hypothesis of the True Wealth of Nations project—that the economic and cultural criteria identified in the tradition of Catholic social thought provide an effective path to sustainable prosperity for all—from a Thomistic perspective. After pointing out some key features of Thomas's theological framework and contrasting it with the modern day more secular perspective, it focuses on three issues. First, it discusses how Thomas understood the end of this-worldly (earthly) human flourishing in relationship to our final end, which for Thomas lies in the beatific vision. Second, turning to the question of how prosperity is understood, it discusses Thomas's understanding of the relationship between material well-being and virtue, which Thomas identifies with human flourishing. Third, it examines Thomas's understanding of material well-being in itself. The chapter concludes with an assessment of the degree to which we could or should incorporate Thomas' s perspective.

Keywords: Catholic social thought; True Wealth of Nations; Thomas Aquinas; human flourishing; prosperity; material well-being

Chapter.  16170 words. 

Subjects: Christianity

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