Utrum prudentia sit virtus
Whether prudence is a virtue?
Ad quartum sic proceditur. Videtur quod prudentia non sit virtus. Dicit enim Augustinus, in I de Lib. Arb., quod prudentia est appetendarum et vitandarum rerum scientia. Sed scientia contra virtutem dividitur; ut patet in praedicamentis. Ergo prudentia non est virtus.
Objection 1: It would seem that prudence is not a virtue. For Augustine says (De Lib. Arb. i, 13) that prudence is the science of what to desire and what to avoid. Now science is condivided with virtue, as appears in the Predicaments (vi). Therefore prudence is not a virtue.
Praeterea, virtutis non est virtus. Sed artis est virtus; ut Philosophus dicit, in VI Ethic. Ergo ars non est virtus. Sed in arte est prudentia, dicitur enim II Paral. II de Hiram quod sciebat caelare omnem sculpturam, et adinvenire prudenter quodcumque in opere necessarium est. Ergo prudentia non est virtus.
Obj. 2: Further, there is no virtue of a virtue: but there is a virtue of art, as the Philosopher states (Ethic. vi, 5): wherefore art is not a virtue. Now there is prudence in art, for it is written (2 Chr 2:14) concerning Hiram, that he knew to grave all sort of graving, and to devise ingeniously (prudenter) all that there may be need of in the work. Therefore prudence is not a virtue.
Praeterea, nulla virtus potest esse immoderata. Sed prudentia est immoderata, alioquin frustra diceretur in Prov. XXIII, prudentiae tuae pone modum. Ergo prudentia non est virtus.
Obj. 3: Further, no virtue can be immoderate. But prudence is immoderate, else it would be useless to say (Prov 23:4): Set bounds to thy prudence. Therefore prudence is not a virtue.
Sed contra est quod Gregorius, in II Moral., prudentiam, temperantiam, fortitudinem et iustitiam dicit esse quatuor virtutes.
On the contrary, Gregory states (Moral. ii, 49) that prudence, temperance, fortitude and justice are four virtues.
Respondeo dicendum quod, sicut supra dictum est cum de virtutibus in communi ageretur, virtus est quae bonum facit habentem et opus eius bonum reddit. Bonum autem potest dici dupliciter, uno modo, materialiter, pro eo quod est bonum; alio modo, formaliter, secundum rationem boni. Bonum autem, inquantum huiusmodi, est obiectum appetitivae virtutis. Et ideo si qui habitus sunt qui faciant rectam considerationem rationis non habito respectu ad rectitudinem appetitus, minus habent de ratione virtutis, tanquam ordinantes ad bonum materialiter, idest ad id quod est bonum non sub ratione boni, plus autem habent de ratione virtutis habitus illi qui respiciunt rectitudinem appetitus, quia respiciunt bonum non solum materialiter, sed etiam formaliter, idest id quod est bonum sub ratione boni.
I answer that, As stated above (I-II, Q. 55, A. 3; Q. 56, A. 1) when we were treating of virtues in general, virtue is that which makes its possessor good, and his work good likewise. Now good may be understood in a twofold sense: first, materially, for the thing that is good, second, formally, under the aspect of good. Good, under the aspect of good, is the object of the appetitive power. Hence if any habits rectify the consideration of reason, without regarding the rectitude of the appetite, they have less of the nature of a virtue since they direct man to good materially, that is to say, to the thing which is good, but without considering it under the aspect of good. On the other hand those virtues which regard the rectitude of the appetite, have more of the nature of virtue, because they consider the good not only materially, but also formally, in other words, they consider that which is good under the aspect of good.
Ad prudentiam autem pertinet, sicut dictum est, applicatio rectae rationis ad opus, quod non fit sine appetitu recto. Et ideo prudentia non solum habet rationem virtutis quam habent aliae virtutes intellectuales; sed etiam habet rationem virtutis quam habent virtutes morales, quibus etiam connumeratur.
Now it belongs to prudence, as stated above (A. 1, ad 3; A. 3) to apply right reason to action, and this is not done without a right appetite. Hence prudence has the nature of virtue not only as the other intellectual virtues have it, but also as the moral virtues have it, among which virtues it is enumerated.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod Augustinus ibi large accepit scientiam pro qualibet recta ratione.
Reply Obj. 1: Augustine there takes science in the broad sense for any kind of right reason.
Ad secundum dicendum quod philosophus dicit artis esse virtutem, quia non importat rectitudinem appetitus, et ideo ad hoc quod homo recte utatur arte, requiritur quod habeat virtutem, quae faciat rectitudinem appetitus. Prudentia autem non habet locum in his quae sunt artis, tum quia ars ordinatur ad aliquem particularem finem; tum quia ars habet determinata media per quae pervenitur ad finem. Dicitur tamen aliquis prudenter operari in his quae sunt artis per similitudinem quandam, in quibusdam enim artibus, propter incertitudinem eorum quibus pervenitur ad finem, necessarium est consilium, sicut in medicinali et in navigatoria, ut dicitur in III Ethic.
Reply Obj. 2: The Philosopher says that there is a virtue of art, because art does not require rectitude of the appetite; wherefore in order that a man may make right use of his art, he needs to have a virtue which will rectify his appetite. Prudence however has nothing to do with the matter of art, because art is both directed to a particular end, and has fixed means of obtaining that end. And yet, by a kind of comparison, a man may be said to act prudently in matters of art. Moreover in certain arts, on account of the uncertainty of the means for obtaining the end, there is need for counsel, as for instance in the arts of medicine and navigation, as stated in Ethic. iii, 3.
Ad tertium dicendum quod illud dictum sapientis non est sic intelligendum quasi ipsa prudentia sit moderanda, sed quia secundum prudentiam est aliis modus imponendus.
Reply Obj. 3: This saying of the wise man does not mean that prudence itself should be moderate, but that moderation must be imposed on other things according to prudence.
Utrum prudentia sit specialis virtus
Whether prudence is a special virtue?
Ad quintum sic proceditur. Videtur quod prudentia non sit specialis virtus. Nulla enim specialis virtus ponitur in communi definitione virtutis. Sed prudentia ponitur in communi definitione virtutis, quia in II Ethic. definitur virtus habitus electivus in medietate existens determinata ratione quoad nos, prout sapiens determinabit; recta autem ratio intelligitur secundum prudentiam, ut dicitur in VI Ethic. Ergo prudentia non est specialis virtus.
Objection 1: It would seem that prudence is not a special virtue. For no special virtue is included in the definition of virtue in general, since virtue is defined (Ethic. ii, 6) an elective habit that follows a mean appointed by reason in relation to ourselves, even as a wise man decides. Now right reason is reason in accordance with prudence, as stated in Ethic. vi, 13. Therefore prudence is not a special virtue.
Praeterea, philosophus dicit, in VI Ethic., quod virtus moralis recte facit operari finem, prudentia autem ea quae sunt ad finem. Sed in qualibet virtute sunt aliqua operanda propter finem. Ergo prudentia est in qualibet virtute. Non est ergo virtus specialis.
Obj. 2: Further, the Philosopher says (Ethic. vi, 13) that the effect of moral virtue is right action as regards the end, and that of prudence, right action as regards the means. Now in every virtue certain things have to be done as means to the end. Therefore prudence is in every virtue, and consequently is not a special virtue.
Praeterea, specialis virtus habet speciale obiectum. Sed prudentia non habet speciale obiectum, est enim recta ratio agibilium, ut dicitur in VI Ethic.; agibilia autem sunt omnia opera virtutum. Ergo prudentia non est specialis virtus.
Obj. 3: Further, a special virtue has a special object. But prudence has not a special object, for it is right reason applied to action (Ethic. vi, 5); and all works of virtue are actions. Therefore prudence is not a special virtue.
Sed contra est quod condividitur et connumeratur aliis virtutibus, dicitur enim Sap. VIII. Sobrietatem et prudentiam docet, iustitiam et virtutem.
On the contrary, It is distinct from and numbered among the other virtues, for it is written (Wis 8:7): She teacheth temperance and prudence, justice and fortitude.
Respondeo dicendum quod cum actus et habitus recipiant speciem ex obiectis, ut ex supradictis patet, necesse est quod habitus cui respondet speciale obiectum ab aliis distinctum specialis sit habitus, et si est bonus, est specialis virtus. Speciale autem obiectum dicitur non secundum materialem considerationem ipsius, sed magis secundum rationem formalem, ut ex supradictis patet, nam una et eadem res cadit sub actu diversorum habituum, et etiam diversarum potentiarum, secundum rationes diversas. Maior autem diversitas obiecti requiritur ad diversitatem potentiae quam ad diversitatem habitus, cum plures habitus inveniantur in una potentia, ut supra dictum est. Diversitas ergo rationis obiecti quae diversificat potentiam, multo magis diversificat habitum.
I answer that, Since acts and habits take their species from their objects, as shown above (I-II, Q. 1, A. 3; Q. 18, A. 2; Q. 54, A. 2), any habit that has a corresponding special object, distinct from other objects, must needs be a special habit, and if it be a good habit, it must be a special virtue. Now an object is called special, not merely according to the consideration of its matter, but rather according to its formal aspect, as explained above (I-II, Q. 54, A. 2, ad 1). Because one and the same thing is the subject matter of the acts of different habits, and also of different powers, according to its different formal aspects. Now a yet greater difference of object is requisite for a difference of powers than for a difference of habits, since several habits are found in the same power, as stated above (I-II, Q. 54, A. 1). Consequently any difference in the aspect of an object, that requires a difference of powers, will a fortiori require a difference of habits.
Sic igitur dicendum est quod cum prudentia sit in ratione, ut dictum est, diversificatur quidem ab aliis virtutibus intellectualibus secundum materialem diversitatem obiectorum. Nam sapientia, scientia et intellectus sunt circa necessaria; ars autem et prudentia circa contingentia; sed ars circa factibilia, quae scilicet in exteriori materia constituuntur, sicut domus, cultellus et huiusmodi; prudentia autem est circa agibilia, quae scilicet in ipso operante consistunt, ut supra habitum est. Sed a virtutibus moralibus distinguitur prudentia secundum formalem rationem potentiarum distinctivam, scilicet intellectivi, in quo est prudentia; et appetitivi, in quo est virtus moralis. Unde manifestum est prudentiam esse specialem virtutem ab omnibus aliis virtutibus distinctam.
Accordingly we must say that since prudence is in the reason, as stated above (A. 2), it is differentiated from the other intellectual virtues by a material difference of objects. Wisdom, knowledge and understanding are about necessary things, whereas art and prudence are about contingent things, art being concerned with things made, that is, with things produced in external matter, such as a house, a knife and so forth; and prudence, being concerned with things done, that is, with things that have their being in the doer himself, as stated above (I-II, Q. 57, A. 4). On the other hand prudence is differentiated from the moral virtues according to a formal aspect distinctive of powers, i.e., the intellective power, wherein is prudence, and the appetitive power, wherein is moral virtue. Hence it is evident that prudence is a special virtue, distinct from all other virtues.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod illa definitio non datur de virtute in communi, sed de virtute morali. In cuius definitione convenienter ponitur virtus intellectualis communicans in materia cum ipsa, scilicet prudentia, quia sicut virtutis moralis subiectum est aliquid participans ratione, ita virtus moralis habet rationem virtutis inquantum participat virtutem intellectualem.
Reply Obj. 1: This is not a definition of virtue in general, but of moral virtue, the definition of which fittingly includes an intellectual virtue, viz., prudence, which has the same matter in common with moral virtue; because, just as the subject of moral virtue is something that partakes of reason, so moral virtue has the aspect of virtue, insofar as it partakes of intellectual virtue.
Ad secundum dicendum quod ex illa ratione habetur quod prudentia adiuvet omnes virtutes, et in omnibus operetur. Sed hoc non sufficit ad ostendendum quod non sit virtus specialis, quia nihil prohibet in aliquo genere esse aliquam speciem quae aliqualiter operetur in omnibus speciebus eiusdem generis; sicut sol aliqualiter influit in omnia corpora.
Reply Obj. 2: This argument proves that prudence helps all the virtues, and works in all of them; but this does not suffice to prove that it is not a special virtue; for nothing prevents a certain genus from containing a species which is operative in every other species of that same genus, even as the sun has an influence over all bodies.
Ad tertium dicendum quod agibilia sunt quidem materia prudentiae secundum quod sunt obiectum rationis, scilicet sub ratione veri. Sunt autem materia moralium virtutum secundum quod sunt obiectum virtutis appetitivae, scilicet sub ratione boni.
Reply Obj. 3: Things done are indeed the matter of prudence, insofar as they are the object of reason, that is, considered as true: but they are the matter of the moral virtues, insofar as they are the object of the appetitive power, that is, considered as good.
Utrum prudentia praestituat finem virtutibus moralibus
Whether prudence appoints the end to moral virtues?
Ad sextum sic proceditur. Videtur quod prudentia praestituat finem virtutibus moralibus. Cum enim prudentia sit in ratione, virtus autem moralis in vi appetitiva, videtur quod hoc modo se habeat prudentia ad virtutem moralem sicut ratio ad vim appetitivam. Sed ratio praestituit finem potentiae appetitivae. Ergo prudentia praestituit finem virtutibus moralibus.
Objection 1: It would seem that prudence appoints the end to moral virtues. Since prudence is in the reason, while moral virtue is in the appetite, it seems that prudence stands in relation to moral virtue, as reason to the appetite. Now reason appoints the end to the appetitive power. Therefore prudence appoints the end to the moral virtues.
Praeterea, homo excedit res irrationales secundum rationem, sed secundum alia cum eis communicat. Sic igitur se habent aliae partes hominis ad rationem sicut se habent creaturae irrationales ad hominem. Sed homo est finis creaturarum irrationalium ut dicitur in I Politic. ergo omnes aliae partes hominis ordinantur ad rationem sicut ad finem. Sed prudentia est recta ratio agibilium, ut dictum est. Ergo omnia agibilia ordinantur ad prudentiam sicut ad finem. Ipsa ergo praestituit finem omnibus virtutibus moralibus.
Obj. 2: Further, man surpasses irrational beings by his reason, but he has other things in common with them. Accordingly the other parts of man are in relation to his reason, what man is in relation to irrational creatures. Now man is the end of irrational creatures, according to Polit. i, 3. Therefore all the other parts of man are directed to reason as to their end. But prudence is right reason applied to action, as stated above (A. 2). Therefore all actions are directed to prudence as their end. Therefore prudence appoints the end to all moral virtues.
Praeterea, proprium est virtutis vel artis seu potentiae ad quam pertinet finis ut praecipiat aliis virtutibus seu artibus ad quas pertinent ea quae sunt ad finem. Sed prudentia disponit de aliis virtutibus moralibus et praecipit eis. Ergo praestituit eis finem.
Obj. 3: Further, it belongs to the virtue, art, or power that is concerned about the end, to command the virtues or arts that are concerned about the means. Now prudence disposes of the other moral virtues, and commands them. Therefore it appoints their end to them.
Sed contra est quod philosophus dicit, in VI Ethic., quod virtus moralis intentionem finis facit rectam, prudentia autem quae ad hanc. Ergo ad prudentiam non pertinet praestituere finem virtutibus moralibus, sed solum disponere de his quae sunt ad finem.
On the contrary, The Philosopher says (Ethic. vi, 12) that moral virtue ensures the rectitude of the intention of the end, while prudence ensures the rectitude of the means. Therefore it does not belong to prudence to appoint the end to moral virtues, but only to regulate the means.
Respondeo dicendum quod finis virtutum moralium est bonum humanum. Bonum autem humanae animae est secundum rationem esse; ut patet per Dionysium, IV cap. de Div. Nom. Unde necesse est quod fines moralium virtutum praeexistant in ratione.
I answer that, The end of moral virtues is human good. Now the good of the human soul is to be in accord with reason, as Dionysius declares (Div. Nom. iv). Wherefore the ends of moral virtue must of necessity pre-exist in the reason.
Sicut autem in ratione speculativa sunt quaedam ut naturaliter nota, quorum est intellectus; et quaedam quae per illa innotescunt, scilicet conclusiones, quarum est scientia, ita in ratione practica praeexistunt quaedam ut principia naturaliter nota, et huiusmodi sunt fines virtutum moralium, quia finis se habet in operabilibus sicut principium in speculativis, ut supra habitum est; et quaedam sunt in ratione practica ut conclusiones, et huiusmodi sunt ea quae sunt ad finem, in quae pervenimus ex ipsis finibus. Et horum est prudentia, applicans universalia principia ad particulares conclusiones operabilium. Et ideo ad prudentiam non pertinet praestituere finem virtutibus moralibus, sed solum disponere de his quae sunt ad finem.
Now, just as, in the speculative reason, there are certain things naturally known, about which is understanding, and certain things of which we obtain knowledge through them, viz. conclusions, about which is science, so in the practical reason, certain things pre-exist, as naturally known principles, and such are the ends of the moral virtues, since the end is in practical matters what principles are in speculative matters, as stated above (Q. 23, A. 7, ad 2; I-II, Q. 13, A. 3); while certain things are in the practical reason by way of conclusions, and such are the means which we gather from the ends themselves. About these is prudence, which applies universal principles to the particular conclusions of practical matters. Consequently it does not belong to prudence to appoint the end to moral virtues, but only to regulate the means.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod virtutibus moralibus praestituit finem ratio naturalis quae dicitur synderesis, ut in primo habitum est, non autem prudentia, ratione iam dicta.
Reply Obj. 1: Natural reason known by the name of synderesis appoints the end to moral virtues, as stated above (I, Q. 79, A. 12): but prudence does not do this for the reason given above.
Et per hoc etiam patet responsio ad secundum.
This suffices for the Reply to the Second Objection.
Ad tertium dicendum quod finis non pertinet ad virtutes morales tanquam ipsae praestituant finem, sed quia tendunt in finem a ratione naturali praestitutum. Ad quod iuvantur per prudentiam, quae eis viam parat, disponendo ea quae sunt ad finem. Unde relinquitur quod prudentia sit nobilior virtutibus moralibus, et moveat eas. Sed synderesis movet prudentiam, sicut intellectus principiorum scientiam.
Reply Obj. 3: The end concerns the moral virtues, not as though they appointed the end, but because they tend to the end which is appointed by natural reason. In this they are helped by prudence, which prepares the way for them, by disposing the means. Hence it follows that prudence is more excellent than the moral virtues, and moves them: yet synderesis moves prudence, just as the understanding of principles moves science.
Utrum ad prudentiam pertineat invenire medium in virtutibus moralibus
Whether it belongs to prudence to find the mean in moral virtues?
Ad septimum sic proceditur. Videtur quod ad prudentiam non pertineat invenire medium in virtutibus moralibus. Consequi enim medium est finis moralium virtutum. Sed prudentia non praestituit finem moralibus virtutibus, ut ostensum est. Ergo non invenit in eis medium.
Objection 1: It would seem that it does not belong to prudence to find the mean in moral virtues. For the achievement of the mean is the end of moral virtues. But prudence does not appoint the end to moral virtues, as shown above (A. 6). Therefore it does not find the mean in them.