Against the Permissibility of Attempted Wife-Poisoning

The Aristotelian-Thomist claim is that external actions can be morally evaluated when they are voluntary (which includes being based on reasonably accurate knowledge of what an agent is doing), absent which, in effect, we evaluate outcomes, not acts. Also, in the Aristotelian-Thomist tradition the i...

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Main Author: White, Craig M. (Author)
Format: Electronic Article
Language: English
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Published: [2019]
In: American catholic philosophical quarterly
Year: 2019, Volume: 93, Issue: 1, Pages: 53-74
Further subjects: B IGNORANCE (Theory of knowledge)
B THOMSON, Judith Jarvis
B ARISTOTELIANISM (Philosophy)
B THOMISTS
B THOMAS, Aquinas, Saint, ca. 1225-1274
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Summary: The Aristotelian-Thomist claim is that external actions can be morally evaluated when they are voluntary (which includes being based on reasonably accurate knowledge of what an agent is doing), absent which, in effect, we evaluate outcomes, not acts. Also, in the Aristotelian-Thomist tradition the internal act of the will is paramount. These claims contrast with some current theorizing, e.g., by Judith Jarvis Thomson, that morally evaluates actions separately from agents, downplaying the internal act. Taking cases from current authors that revolve around ignorance of key facts, I critique their theorizing on the basis of the nature of agency, the nature of abstraction, the moral language we use in describing acts, the need for reasonably complete descriptions of acts, and the tendency of act evaluations to "leak" into agent evaluations in objective theories. I then describe how Thomas Aquinas's account of moral evaluation avoids these problems and provides a superior, multi-dimensional framework for moral evaluation.
ISSN: 2153-8441
DOI: 10.5840/acpq20181128164
Persistent identifiers: DOI "10.5840/acpq20181128164"