Narrative, Casuistry, and the Function of Conscience in Thomas Aquinas
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Both the function of one’s conscience, as Thomas Aquinas understands it, and the work of casuistry in general involve deliberating about which universal moral principles are applicable in particular cases. Thus, understanding how conscience can function better also indicates how casuistry might be done better – both on Thomistic terms, at least. I claim that, given Aquinas’ descriptions of certain parts of prudence (synesis and gnome) and the role of moral virtue in practical knowledge, understanding particular cases more as narratives, or parts of narratives, likely will result, all else being equal, in more accurate moral judgments of particular cases. This is especially important in two kinds of cases: first, cases in which Aquinas recognizes universal moral principles do not specify the means by which they are to be followed; second, cases in which the type-identity of an action – and thus the norms applicable to it – can be mistaken.
- Thomas Aquinas, Quaestiones disputate de veritate, translated by James V. McGlynn, S.J., Henry Regnery Company, Chicago 1953.
- Thomas Aquinas, Sententia libri Ethicorum, translated by C.I. Litzinger, O.P. (2 vols.), Henry Regnery Co., Chicago 1964, URL = http://dhspriory.org/ thomas/Ethics.htm (4.3.2016).
- Thomas Aquinas, Sententia libri Metaphysicae, translated by John P. Rowan, Henry Regnery Company, Chicago 1953; URL = http://dhspriory.org/ thomas/Metaphysics.htm (4.3.2016).
- Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae, translated by Fathers of the English Dominican Province, 2nd ed., Benziger Brothers, New York 1947.
- John D. Arras, “Principles and Particularity: The Roles of Cases in Bioethics,” Indiana Law Journal 69 (4) 1994, p. 983–1014.
- Mark Barker, “Aquinas on Internal Sensory Intentions: Nature and Classification,” International Philosophical Quarterly 52 (2) 2012, p. 199–226.
- Noël Carroll, “On the Narrative Connection,” [in:] Willie can Peer and Seymour Chatman (eds.), New Perspectives on Narrative Perspective, SUNY Press, Albany, NY 2001.
- Romanus Cessario and Edouard Hamel, “Casuistry,” [in:] New Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, 2nd ed., Detroit, Gale 2003.
- Daniel D. DeHaan, “Linguistic Apprehension as Incidental Sensation in Thomas Aquinas,” Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 84, 2010, p. 179–196.
- Daniel D. DeHaan, “Moral Perception and the Function of the Vis Cogitativa in Thomas Aquinas’s Doctrine of Antecedent and Consequent Passions,” Documenti e studi sulla Tradizione filosofica medievale (25) 2014, p. 289–330.
- Michael R. Depaul, “Argument and Perception: The Role of Literature in Moral Inquiry,” The Journal of Philosophy 85 (10) 1988, p. 552–565.
- Anna Gotlib, “Feminist Ethics and Narrative Ethics,” Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2014, URL = http://www.iep.utm.edu/fem-e-n/ (4.3.2016).
- Kathryn Montgomery Hunter, “Narrative, Literature, and the Clinical Exercise of Practical Reason,” Journal of Medicine and Philosophy (21) 1996, p. 303–320.
- Albert R. Jonsen and Stephen Edelston Toulmin, The Abuse of Casuistry: A History of Moral Reasoning, University of California Press, Berkeley, CA 1988.
- Jacques Maritain, “On Knowledge through Connaturality,” The Review of Metaphysics 4 (4) 1951, p. 473–481.
- Martha Nussbaum, Love’s Knowledge: Essays on Philosophy and Literature, Oxford University Press, New York and Oxford 1990.
- Eleonore Stump, Wandering in Darkness: Narrative and the Problem of Suffering, Oxford University Press, New York 2010.
- Sarah Worth, “Storytelling and Narrative Knowing: An Examination of the Epistemic Benefits of Well-Told Stories,” Journal of Aesthetic Education 42 (3) 2008, p. 42–56.
- Sara Worth, “Narrative Knowledge: Knowing through Storytelling,” Conference paper delivered at Media in Transition Conference 4: The Work of Stories, Cambridge, MA, May 6–8, 2005, URL = http://web.mit.edu/comm-forum/mit4/ papers/worth.pdf (4.3.2016).
Special Topic - Thomas Aquinas' Theory of Conscience and Contemporary Debates on Conscientious Objection
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