Questions about Ranking the Virtues
July 12, 2006 — 11:59

Author: Kevin Timpe  Category: Virtue  Comments: 12

One of my projects for this summer is to prepare a new (for me) course: Virtues and Vices. I’m taking a largely historical approach to the course. The three major texts that I’m using are Aquinas’ The Cardinal Virtues, Stephen Pope (ed.) The Ethics of Aquinas and Dante’s Purgatorio. I have found reading this material and preparing for the course to be fascinating and stimulating. It has raised a number of questions. For instance, why would Aquinas say “since human beings cannot use reason apart from sense powers, which need bodily organs, human beings need to sustain their bodies in order to use their reason”? This seems to contradict what he says elsewhere about the possibltiy of disembodied human intellect and will. But the question I want to ask about today concerns how Aquinas and Dante rank the virtues and their corresponding vices.
More below the fold.