Aquinas and modern consequentialism

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Abstract:

Because the moral philosophy of St Thomas Aquinas is egoistic while modern consequentialism is impartialistic, it might at first appear that the former cannot, while the latter can, provide a common value on the basis of which inter-personal conflicts may be settled morally. On the contrary, in this paper I intend to argue not only that Aquinas' theory does provide just such a common value, but that it is more true to say of modern consequentialism than of Thomism that it gives in to the partiality of different interests and fails to provide a robust common value on the basis of which disagreements may be settled morally. This is so primarily because the egoism of Aquinas represents a fundamental commitment to personal moral development which is absent from modern teleological theories.

Keywords: Aquinas; consequentialism; egoism; impartiality; utilitarianism; virtue

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0967255042000278058

Publication date: December 1, 2004

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