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Lecture 8: Virtue and The Happy Life Dr. Ann T. Orlando 30 October 2008.

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1 Lecture 8: Virtue and The Happy Life Dr. Ann T. Orlando 30 October 2008

2 Outline Augustine – The Happy Life – Virtue Aquinas on virtue Calvin on Virtue John Stuart Mill Spe Salvi

3 Background: Virtue Plato – Happiness is the perfect state, not sullied by material concerns – The virtues are those qualities which make us excellent and perfected – Human soul is a reflection of the ‘world-soul’ – Not clear if virtues can be learned (acquired) or are a gift of God Aristotle – Happiness is a self-sufficient active individual – Virtue is mean between two extremes – Emphasis on practical reasoning – Virtues can be learned, but to do so must be practiced as habits

4 Background: Hellenistic Philosophy Stoics – Happiness is living according to nature (God is nature; Logos, Providence) – Virtue is conformity to accepting circumstances of nature – Passions are to be suppressed (indifference) – Nature is found in Providential law – Epictitus, Virtue and the Happy Life Epicureans – Happiness is found in pleasant life of peaceful tranquility – Gods are not concerned with us; no immortality of soul – Virtues as means to a pleasant life – Epicurus’ philosophical starting point, “How can there be evil and a good omnipotent God” Neoplatonists – Happiness is contemplation of the One – Virtues change and improve as one progresses closer to contemplation of the One

5 Early Christianity and Virtue Virtue not Biblical – Greek philosophical concept of ethics – Biblical ethics is law and the right path Early Greek theologians, especially Clement of Alexandria, introduce the idea of ‘virtue’ into Christian ethics But Tertullian in “What has Athens to do with Jerusalem” was specifically targeting the use of virtue as a basis for ethics in Christianity Stoicism and Neoplatonism provides philosophical mechanism for combination of virtue and Christian ethics

6 Augustine and Happiness How to be happy is the driving force in many of Augustine’s works – Arguably Confessions is at root his personal search for happiness – The City of God arguably is at root the corporate search for happiness

7 On The Happy (Blessed) Life “The Happiness of Hope” Written in 386, shortly after his conversion while at Cassiciacum – Before Baptism The soul is happy only in the comprehensive understanding of Truth – Truth is found only in the Trinity Monica plays crucial role, – As the one who intuitively understands that life in God is the happy life – As model for Catholic spirituality

8 On Free Choice of the Will Dialog with friend (and future bishop) Evodius – Began Book I in Rome in 387, completed in North Africa in 388 – Completed Books II and III around 395 Book I Outline – Where does evil come from – Suffering and sin – Civil and eternal law Book II Outline – Why did God give us free will if we use it to choose sin? – That we can know there is a God, immutable and eternal truth, who is Good Argued by analogy – Free choice is a good – Happy life is to choose the good, highest good for man on earth in virtue – Sin is the turning away from God (opposite of virtue) Book III Outline – If God knows all, how can we have free will? – Our free choice guaranteed because it si a gift of God who does know all – Difference between ignorance and sin – Through Adam’s sin, both ignorance and sin entered

9 Augustine and Virtue In Book II, Augustine gives a definition of virtue, “right reason whereby life is lived rightly” – Focus on cardinal virtues – Especially justice In later thought, Augustine begins to shift to love as the primary, indeed only, virtue – Love becomes the only measure of morality (right action) “Love and do what you will” Tractates on Epistle of St. John, Homily VII – “Virtue consists in nothing else but in loving what is worthy of love; it is prudence to choose this, fortitude to be turned from it by no obstacle, temperance to be enticed by no allurements, and justice to be diverted by no pride[… “good or bad love makes good or bad conduct”. [1] Augustine, Letter 155 to Macedonius[… [1] “The best brief description of virtue is the ordering of love” City of God 15.22

10 City of God XIX.1-8 Starts with how to be happy An examination, based on Varro ( BC, friend of Cicero, wrote extensively on philosophy), of different philosophical approaches to happiness, virtue, evil That the happy life is a social life The calamity of our ignorance – How a human judge is different form God the all-knowing judge Friendship the highest good on earth – But can only be imperfectly lived on earth

11 Aquinas and Happiness Ia IIae begins with a discussion of happiness Q1 a1-8 reconciling Aristotle and Augustine on human purpose and happiness Q3 what is happiness – The role of virtue in human happiness – Happiness as the vision of God

12 Aquinas on Virtue ST Ia IIae Q55-67 Q55 Definition of virtue – Virtue as a good habit (a1-3) – Augustine’s definition of virtue a4 The end of virtue as an operative habit Theological virtues as infused, different from acquired virtues Q62 a2 Are cardinal (acquired virtues) different from infused (theological) virtues? – Distinguish between virtues associated with our nature (cardinla virtues) and virtues beyond our nature (theological virtues) – Distinguish between love (amor) and charity (caritas) Q64 Mean of virtues – Cardinal virtues have a mean – Theological virtues do not have a mean Q 65 Connection among virtues – a2 The ways in which the acquired (cardinal) virtues are not connected to charity as the natural end fo man, and the way in which they are connected to charity as the eternal end of man – a3 relationship between infused cardinal virtues and charity

13 Reformation Suspicion of Scholastic Philosophy Return to Scripture without philosophical intermediaries Deeply question whether virtues can be acquired Fall precludes any sense of happiness on earth

14 Calvin and Happiness Man without grace does live in a degenerate and deformed state In this life, true happiness is not possible and should not be sought The Fall precludes man being able to work toward his own happiness

15 Calvin Institutes 3.6 Reaction against ‘philosophy’ Points to sermons of Fathers Importance of Bible, especially Decalogue, as way of morality The paramount importance of righteousness, not virtue – Righteousness as conformity to will of God – Righteousness as rule for conduct Where is Augustine in this? Why does he seem to have no significance for Calvin’s arguments?

16 Modernity: Happiness and Virtue Without Religion Enlightenment belief in human progress – Happiness within man’s grasp on earth – Individuals and society can created their own happiness – Life, Liberty, Pursuit of Happiness Ethics based on social contract – Rational Individuals and Societies can figure out for themselves what is ‘right’ Voltaire Philosophical Dictionary, Virtue,

17 John Stuart Mill ( ) Father, James Mill, was an historian and student of Jeremy Bentham – John raised without any religious instruction – Was instructed in classical Greek and Roman literature – Studied in France and became part of French liberal philosophical scene Elected to House of Commons in 1865 as a liberal – Champion of women’s rights Philosophical works include – Logic and language – Scientific method – Psychology – Politics – Moral philosophy of Utilitarianism

18 Utilitarianism Based on work by Jeremy Bentham to find a new basis for morality after the ‘overthrow’ of religion Utility is equated with Epicurean happiness – Maximize pleasure for greatest numbers, minimize pain – Actions should be governed by “The Greatest Happiness” as their ends Read Chapters 1, 2 of Utilitarianism – What is the significance of the classical Christian (Augustine) tradition – Compare structure and arguments with City of God XIX. However do not assume that Mill read it – Available at

19 Modern Return to Aristotle G.E.M. Anscombe, “Modern Moral Philosophy” 1958 available at mmp.html mmp.html Student of Wittgenstein Convert to Catholicism Set the path for MacIntyre

20 A Return to Augustine Spe Salvi (Para 10-34) Where is the happy life found Is virtue the end or the way Can man save himself What is role of human freedom Available at vi/encyclicals/documents/hf_ben- xvi_enc_ _spe-salvi_en.html vi/encyclicals/documents/hf_ben- xvi_enc_ _spe-salvi_en.html

21 Bonus: Darrin McMahon “From the happiness of virtue to the virtue of happiness: 400 B.C.-A.D. 1780” Daedelus, 133:2, pp 5 – 13 (Mar 22, 2004) Traces the change in the relationship between virtue and happiness in the Enlightenment

22 Assignments Augustine – On Free Choice of the Will Book II – City of God, XIX.1-8 Aquinas – ST Ia IIae Q1, Q3 – St Ia IIae Q55, Q62-65 Calvin, Institutes 3.6 Voltaire Philosophical Dictionary, Virtue, John Stuart Mill, Utilitarianism, Ch 1, 3, G.E.M. Anscombe, “Modern Moral Philosophy” 1958 available at (optional) Benedict XVI, Spe Salvi Para Available at hf_ben-xvi_enc_ _spe-salvi_en.html hf_ben-xvi_enc_ _spe-salvi_en.html


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