The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the process of moral questioning and to guide them in the understanding of the answers that can be given to these questions. In order to do this, Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics is used, where Aristotle considers the nature of practical reasoning, friendship, the role of passions and the importance of the moral virtues to get entelechia, excellence, in the best life. Aristotle examines the nature of happiness, defined as a specially good kind of life. Aquinas goes further examining moral psychology, virtues, passions, the building of personality. In last two decades interesting discussions are developing among philosophers and theologians on the role of ethics and the search for universal norms, with a new look at the concept of natural law, virtues, friendship, moral phychology. We will examine the main themes discussed by Aquinas in the Disputed Questions on the Virtues making references to the Secunda Pars of the Summa Theologiae and other works.
Ethics I is dedicated to building a conceptual framework for ethical reasoning examining the possible concepts of good life, happiness, moral reasoning, discussing the concepts of person, telos and virtues from a fundamental perspective.
In Ethics II, the virtues are studied as well as the themes of passions, pleasure and theory of action and practical reasoning, along with friendship and contemplation, comparing the perspective developed by Aquinas with ethical theory as it was framed and examinated by Aristotle and Kant.