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Aquinas The Cardinal Virtues Essay

Aquinas’ four cardinal virtues are the four principle hinges relevant to the human moral life. The term “cardinal” originates from the Latin word “cardo” that means “hinge”. The four virtues can be exercised by any individual as they represent the foundation of natural morality. The main objective of this paper is to explore Aquinas' four cardinal virtues.

According to St. Thomas Aquinas, prudence is the first main virtue. Prudence assists individuals in making effectual judgments between right and wrong. Furthermore, it is described as “recta ratio agibilium”meaning the “right reason applied to practice”. Consequently, it may require the individuals to seek for counsel and guidance because of easiness to succumb evil.      

Undoubtedly, justice, the second virtue, centers on will. Hardon describes justice as a constant and permanent determination to offer each individual his or her rightful due. On the other hand, injustice denotes the acts that result in undeserved loss due to the violation of the individual’s rights. Besides, injustice can refer to the unfair treatments of other individuals. Consequently, the legal rights may in most instances outweigh the natural rights (Dalai Lama n.pag.)

Fortitude, on the other hand, is a gift of the Holy Spirit. It helps individuals overcome fear and stand firm to one’s faith. Undoubtedly, an individual’s courage has to be reasonable and reasoned. Prudence and justice assist in making correct decisions giving people the strength to implement them.

Nevertheless, temperance entails the restraint of our passions and desires. It deals with self-control, an ability to resist one’s desires. Additionally, temperance assists individuals in balancing their legitimate goods and inordinate ones.

 The four cardinal virtues are paramount for human morality and should be the basis of each modern society as well as the pillars of human relations.

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Virtue of Aquinas and Machiavelli

2506 WordsApr 28th, 200711 Pages

The Virtue of Thomas Aquinas and Machiavelli
An investigation and exposition

The author's goal in this essay is to evaluate the definition of virtue according to Aquinas and compare/contrast that with Machiavellian virtue. Following this evaluation the author will attempt to discredit Machiavellian virtue as being shallow and impossible. Relying on question 55 from the Summa Theologiae and various chapters from The Prince, the author hopes to lay a solid and concrete argument against Machiavelli.
It is insufficient to write of Aquinas without first mentioning Aristotle and the relationship Thomas Aquinas had with his work. Aristotle writes at great length of the human good. The good for man, according to Aristotle, is an active use of…show more content…

The principle act of Prudence is the execution of right or good reason, Prudence guides our reason. Examples of this are good judgment and the ability to deal with the unexpected in a good way. Fortitude is concerned with the ability to deal with what is painful or unpleasant. Temperance is associated with the urges and cravings for what is pleasurable and finally Justice towards the will of people.
Emphasis must be made on the fundamental difference between the two types of virtues. Theological virtues (dealing with the supernatural) and Cardinal virtues (concerned with the natural). A moral virtue by definition avoids extremes by way of the use of human reason, the theological virtues transcend reason. The supernatural and natural virtues are interconnected as Aquinas explains: "Grace (the supernatural) does not destroy but builds upon nature". Ultimately mortal man's faculties can be described as having reason which is enlightened by faith; this elevates man into infinitely higher plains than other creatures.
After sufficient discourse and explanation about Aquinas and virtue we come to a crossroads. Some four hundred years later a new thought emerges with the deep and fractured (some would say deeply fractured) mind of Machiavelli, a man who continues to offer so much too so many slimey politicians across the globe. Machiavelli and his view on the human condition and more specifically

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