Quaestio 55Question 55De virtutibus, quantum ad suas essentiasOf the Virtues, as to Their EssenceConsequenter considerandum est de habitibus in speciali. Et quia habitus, ut dictum est, distinguuntur per bonum et malum, primo dicendum est de habitibus bonis, qui sunt virtutes et alia eis adiuncta, scilicet dona, beatitudines et fructus; secundo, de habitibus malis, scilicet de vitiis et peccatis. Circa virtutes autem quinque consideranda sunt, primo, de essentia virtutis; secundo, de subiecto eius; tertio, de divisione virtutum; quarto, de causa virtutis; quinto, de quibusdam proprietatibus virtutis.We come now to the consideration of habits specifically. And since habits, as we have said (Q54, A3), are divided into good and bad, we must speak in the first place of good habits, which are virtues, and of other matters connected with them, namely the Gifts, Beatitudes and Fruits; in the second place, of bad habits, namely of vices and sins. Now five things must be considered about virtues: (1) the essence of virtue; (2) its subject; (3) the division of virtue; (4) the cause of virtue; (5) certain properties of virtue.Circa primum quaeruntur quatuor.Under the first head, there are four points of inquiry:Primo, utrum virtus humana sit habitus.(1) Whether human virtue is a habit?Secundo, utrum sit habitus operativus.(2) Whether it is an operative habit?Tertio, utrum sit habitus bonus.(3) Whether it is a good habit?Quarto, de definitione virtutis.(4) Of the definition of virtue.Articulus 1Article 1Utrum virtus humana sit habitusWhether human virtue is a habit?Ad primum sic proceditur. Videtur quod virtus humana non sit habitus. Virtus enim est ultimum potentiae, ut dicitur in I de caelo. Sed ultimum uniuscuiusque reducitur ad genus illud cuius est ultimum, sicut punctum ad genus lineae. Ergo virtus reducitur ad genus potentiae, et non ad genus habitus.Objection 1: It would seem that human virtue is not a habit: For virtue is the limit of power (De Coelo i, text. 116). But the limit of anything is reducible to the genus of that of which it is the limit; as a point is reducible to the genus of line. Therefore virtue is reducible to the genus of power, and not to the genus of habit.Praeterea, Augustinus dicit, in II de libero Arbit., quod virtus est bonus usus liberi arbitrii. Sed usus liberi arbitrii est actus. Ergo virtus non est habitus, sed actus.Obj. 2: Further, Augustine says (De Lib. Arb. ii) that virtue is good use of free-will. But use of free-will is an act. Therefore virtue is not a habit, but an act.Praeterea, habitibus non meremur, sed actibus, alioquin homo mereretur continue, etiam dormiendo. Sed virtutibus meremur. Ergo virtutes non sunt habitus, sed actus.Obj. 3: Further, we do not merit by our habits, but by our actions: otherwise a man would merit continually, even while asleep. But we do merit by our virtues. Therefore virtues are not habits, but acts.Praeterea, Augustinus dicit, in libro de moribus Eccles., quod virtus est ordo amoris. Et in libro octoginta trium quaest., dicit quod ordinatio quae virtus vocatur, est fruendis frui, et utendis uti. Ordo autem, seu ordinatio, nominat vel actum, vel relationem. Ergo virtus non est habitus, sed actus vel relatio.Obj. 4: Further, Augustine says (De Moribus Eccl. xv) that virtue is the order of love, and (QQ. lxxxiii, qu. 30) that the ordering which is called virtue consists in enjoying what we ought to enjoy, and using what we ought to use. Now order, or ordering, denominates either an action or a relation. Therefore virtue is not a habit, but an action or a relation.Praeterea, sicut inveniuntur virtutes humanae, ita et virtutes naturales. Sed virtutes naturales non sunt habitus, sed potentiae quaedam. Ergo etiam neque virtutes humanae.Obj. 5: Further, just as there are human virtues, so are there natural virtues. But natural virtues are not habits, but powers. Neither therefore are human virtues habits.Sed contra est quod philosophus, in libro Praedicament., scientiam et virtutem ponit esse habitus.On the contrary, The Philosopher says (Categor. vi) that science and virtue are habits.Respondeo dicendum quod virtus nominat quandam potentiae perfectionem. Uniuscuiusque autem perfectio praecipue consideratur in ordine ad suum finem. Finis autem potentiae actus est. Unde potentia dicitur esse perfecta, secundum quod determinatur ad suum actum.I answer that, Virtue denotes a certain perfection of a power. Now a thing’s perfection is considered chiefly in regard to its end. But the end of power is act. Wherefore power is said to be perfect, according as it is determinate to its act.Sunt autem quaedam potentiae quae secundum seipsas sunt determinatae ad suos actus; sicut potentiae naturales activae. Et ideo huiusmodi potentiae naturales secundum seipsas dicuntur virtutes. Potentiae autem rationales, quae sunt propriae hominis, non sunt determinatae ad unum, sed se habent indeterminate ad multa, determinantur autem ad actus per habitus, sicut ex supradictis patet. Et ideo virtutes humanae habitus sunt.Now there are some powers which of themselves are determinate to their acts; for instance, the active natural powers. And therefore these natural powers are in themselves called virtues. But the rational powers, which are proper to man, are not determinate to one particular action, but are inclined indifferently to many: and they are determinate to acts by means of habits, as is clear from what we have said above (Q49, A4). Therefore human virtues are habits.Ad primum ergo dicendum quod quandoque virtus dicitur id ad quod est virtus, scilicet vel obiectum virtutis, vel actus eius, sicut fides dicitur quandoque id quod creditur, quandoque vero ipsum credere, quandoque autem ipse habitus quo creditur. Unde quando dicitur quod virtus est ultimum potentiae, sumitur virtus pro obiecto virtutis. Id enim in quod ultimo potentia potest, est id ad quod dicitur virtus rei, sicut si aliquis potest ferre centum libras et non plus, virtus eius consideratur secundum centum libras, non autem secundum sexaginta. Obiectio autem procedebat ac si essentialiter virtus esset ultimum potentiae.Reply Obj. 1: Sometimes we give the name of a virtue to that to which the virtue is directed, namely, either to its object, or to its act: for instance, we give the name Faith, to that which we believe, or to the act of believing, as also to the habit by which we believe. When therefore we say that virtue is the limit of power, virtue is taken for the object of virtue. For the furthest point to which a power can reach, is said to be its virtue; for instance, if a man can carry a hundredweight and not more, his virtue is put at a hundredweight, and not at sixty. But the objection takes virtue as being essentially the limit of power.Ad secundum dicendum quod bonus usus liberi arbitrii dicitur esse virtus, secundum eandem rationem, quia scilicet est id ad quod ordinatur virtus sicut ad proprium actum. Nihil est enim aliud actus virtutis quam bonus usus liberi arbitrii.Reply Obj. 2: Good use of free-will is said to be a virtue, in the same sense as above (ad 1); that is to say, because it is that to which virtue is directed as to its proper act. For the act of virtue is nothing else than the good use of free-will.Ad tertium dicendum quod aliquo dicimur mereri dupliciter. Uno modo, sicut ipso merito, eo modo quo dicimur currere cursu, et hoc modo meremur actibus. Alio modo dicimur mereri aliquo sicut principio merendi, sicut dicimur currere potentia motiva, et sic dicimur mereri virtutibus et habitibus.Reply Obj. 3: We are said to merit by something in two ways. First, as by merit itself, just as we are said to run by running; and thus we merit by acts. Second, we are said to merit by something as by the principle whereby we merit, as we are said to run by the motive power; and thus are we said to merit by virtues and habits.Ad quartum dicendum quod virtus dicitur ordo vel ordinatio amoris, sicut id ad quod est virtus, per virtutem enim ordinatur amor in nobis.Reply Obj. 4: When we say that virtue is the order or ordering of love, we refer to the end to which virtue is ordered: because in us love is set in order by virtue.Ad quintum dicendum quod potentiae naturales sunt de se determinatae ad unum, non autem potentiae rationales. Et ideo non est simile, ut dictum est.Reply Obj. 5: Natural powers are of themselves determinate to one act: not so the rational powers. And so there is no comparison, as we have said.Articulus 2Article 2Utrum sit de ratione virtutis humanae quod sit habitus operativusWhether it is essential to human virtue to be an operative habit?Ad secundum sic proceditur. Videtur quod non sit de ratione virtutis humanae quod sit habitus operativus. Dicit enim Tullius, in IV de Tuscul. quaest., quod sicut est sanitas et pulchritudo corporis, ita est virtus animae. Sed sanitas et pulchritudo non sunt habitus operativi. Ergo neque etiam virtus.Objection 1: It would seem that it is not essential to human virtue to be an operative habit. For Tully says (Tuscul. iv) that as health and beauty belong to the body, so virtue belongs to the soul. But health and beauty are not operative habits. Therefore neither is virtue.Praeterea, in rebus naturalibus invenitur virtus non solum ad agere, sed etiam ad esse, ut patet per philosophum, in I de caelo, quod quaedam habent virtutem ut sint semper, quaedam vero non ad hoc quod sint semper, sed aliquo tempore determinato. Sed sicut se habet virtus naturalis in rebus naturalibus, ita se habet virtus humana in rationalibus. Ergo etiam virtus humana non solum est ad agere, sed etiam ad esse.Obj. 2: Further, in natural things we find virtue not only in reference to act, but also in reference to being: as is clear from the Philosopher (De Coelo i), since some have a virtue to be always, while some have a virtue to be not always, but at some definite time. Now as natural virtue is in natural things, so is human virtue in rational beings. Therefore also human virtue is referred not only to act, but also to being.Praeterea, philosophus dicit, in VII Physic., quod virtus est dispositio perfecti ad optimum. Optimum autem ad quod hominem oportet disponi per virtutem, est ipse Deus, ut probat Augustinus in libro II de moribus Eccles.; ad quem disponitur anima per assimilationem ad ipsum. Ergo videtur quod virtus dicatur qualitas quaedam animae in ordine ad Deum, tanquam assimilativa ad ipsum, non autem in ordine ad operationem. Non igitur est habitus operativus.Obj. 3: Further, the Philosopher says (Phys. vii, text. 17) that virtue is the disposition of a perfect thing to that which is best. Now the best thing to which man needs to be disposed by virtue is God Himself, as Augustine proves (De Moribus Eccl. 3,6, 14) to Whom the soul is disposed by being made like to Him. Therefore it seems that virtue is a quality of the soul in reference to God, likening it, as it were, to Him; and not in reference to operation. It is not, therefore, an operative habit.Sed contra est quod philosophus dicit, in II Ethic., quod virtus uniuscuiusque rei est quae opus eius bonum reddit.On the contrary, The Philosopher (Ethic. ii, 6) says that virtue of a thing is that which makes its work good.Respondeo dicendum quod virtus, ex ipsa ratione nominis, importat quandam perfectionem potentiae, ut supra dictum est. Unde, cum duplex sit potentia, scilicet potentia ad esse et potentia ad agere, utriusque potentiae perfectio virtus vocatur. Sed potentia ad esse se tenet ex parte materiae, quae est ens in potentia, potentia autem ad agere se tenet ex parte formae, quae est principium agendi, eo quod unumquodque agit inquantum est actu.I answer that, Virtue, from the very nature of the word, implies some perfection of power, as we have said above (A1). Wherefore, since power is of two kinds, namely, power in reference to being, and power in reference to act; the perfection of each of these is called virtue. But power in reference to being is on the part of matter, which is potential being, whereas power in reference to act, is on the part of the form, which is the principle of action, since everything acts insofar as it is in act.In constitutione autem hominis, corpus se habet sicut materia, anima vero sicut forma. Et quantum quidem ad corpus, homo communicat cum aliis animalibus; et similiter quantum ad vires quae sunt animae et corpori communes; solae autem illae vires quae sunt propriae animae, scilicet rationales, sunt hominis tantum. Et ideo virtus humana, de qua loquimur, non potest pertinere ad corpus; sed pertinet tantum ad id quod est proprium animae. Unde virtus humana non importat ordinem ad esse, sed magis ad agere. Et ideo de ratione virtutis humanae est quod sit habitus operativus.Now man is so constituted that the body holds the place of matter, the soul that of form. The body, indeed, man has in common with other animals; and the same is to be said of the forces which are common to the soul and body: and only those forces which are proper to the soul, namely, the rational forces, belong to man alone. And therefore, human virtue, of which we are speaking now, cannot belong to the body, but belongs only to that which is proper to the soul. Wherefore human virtue does not imply reference to being, but rather to act. Consequently it is essential to human virtue to be an operative habit.Ad primum ergo dicendum quod modus actionis sequitur dispositionem agentis, unumquodque enim quale est, talia operatur. Et ideo, cum virtus sit principium aliqualis operationis, oportet quod in operante praeexistat secundum virtutem aliqua conformis dispositio. Facit autem virtus operationem ordinatam. Et ideo ipsa virtus est quaedam dispositio ordinata in anima, secundum scilicet quod potentiae animae ordinantur aliqualiter ad invicem, et ad id quod est extra. Et ideo virtus, inquantum est conveniens dispositio animae, assimilatur sanitati et pulchritudini, quae sunt debitae dispositiones corporis. Sed per hoc non excluditur quin virtus etiam sit operationis principium.Reply Obj. 1: Mode of action follows on the disposition of the agent: for such as a thing is, such is its act. And therefore, since virtue is the principle of some kind of operation, there must needs pre-exist in the operator in respect of virtue some corresponding disposition. Now virtue causes an ordered operation. Therefore virtue itself is an ordered disposition of the soul, insofar as, to wit, the powers of the soul are in some way ordered to one another, and to that which is outside. Hence virtue, inasmuch as it is a suitable disposition of the soul, is like health and beauty, which are suitable dispositions of the body. But this does not hinder virtue from being a principle of operation.Ad secundum dicendum quod virtus quae est ad esse, non est propria hominis, sed solum virtus quae est ad opera rationis, quae sunt propria hominis.Reply Obj. 2: Virtue which is referred to being is not proper to man; but only that virtue which is referred to works of reason, which are proper to man.Ad tertium dicendum quod, cum Dei substantia sit eius actio, summa assimilatio hominis ad Deum est secundum aliquam operationem. Unde, sicut supra dictum est, felicitas sive beatitudo, per quam homo maxime Deo conformatur, quae est finis humanae vitae, in operatione consistit.Reply Obj. 3: As God’s substance is His act, the highest likeness of man to God is in respect of some operation. Wherefore, as we have said above (Q3, A2), happiness or bliss by which man is made most perfectly conformed to God, and which is the end of human life, consists in an operation.Articulus 3Article 3Utrum sit de ratione virtutis quod sit habitus bonusWhether is essential to human virtue to be a good habit?