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The Harmony of Goodness

Mutuality and Moral Living According to John Duns Scotus

Mary Beth Ingham, C.S.J.

Publication Year: 1996

In The Harmony of Goodness, Ingham presents the ethical vision of John Duns Scotus (1265-1308) in an integrated manner, bringing together aspects of virtue, moral reasoning, free choice, rational judgment, and spirituality as parts of a whole human life. This work examines the ethical thought of Scotus according to his notion of mutuality or relationship. This study brings to light Scotus’ integrated vision of human moral living.

Published by: Franciscan Institute Publications

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

The closing years of the 20th century have been an important time for the study of medieval thought. The rediscovery of key insights, the development of techniques and methods for study of manuscripts, the publication of critical editions: all these elements have contributed to a better understanding of the philosophical insights and historical...

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pp. xi-xix

John Duns Scotus belongs to the second generation of philosopher-theologians who worked to integrate Aristotelian insights with hristian revelation (sacra doctrina). Writing after the Condemnations of 1277 (Paris) and 1284 (Oxford), Scotus pursued a relentless analysis of...

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1. A Structure for Mutuality

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pp. 1-24

Any discussion of Scotist ethical insights must take into account the stereotype of this Franciscan which exists in the minds of many students of history. It is true that Scotus is often judged against the imposing figure of Thomas Aquinas and found wanting. Aquinas has...

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2. Rational Freedom and The Will's Moral Affections

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pp. 25-45

The key piece in any wind chime is the center disk. This must be adequately weighted to hang in a straight manner. It must also be light enough to be moved by the wind. The disk anchors the balance of the chime and makes possible the beautiful music. Like the disk, the will is...

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3. Mutuality and Harmony: Moral Goodness

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pp. 47-72

While love is clearly at the heart of Scotus's philosophical enterprise, it is ordered and rational loving which constitutes the moral goal. Scotus clearly distinguishes between desire and love, stating that desire, while also an experience of the will, is not always...

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4. Virtue: Integrity of Character

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pp. 73-95

I n 1981 Alasdaire MacIntyre revitalized moral discussion with his insightful work, After Virtue.1 MacIntyre explains contemporary moral fragmentation in light of a loss of virtue, that is, a lost understanding of the nature and function of virtue and the virtues in moral...

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5. Moral Reasoning and Discernment: Prudence

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pp. 97-116

To this point, the discussion has focused on moral goodness as it appears in actions and on virtues as they influence decisions. The present chapter intensifies this reflection with a focus on the person in the activity of moral decision-making. Prudence is a key virtue for...

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6. Charity: Mutuality with God

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pp. 117-135

Scotus's presentation of moral living and the perfection of human nature culminates in the supreme act of charity: love for God. This act, whereby God becomes my good in friendship, fulfills the, movement which began with divine initiative in creation and self-revelation...

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7. The Harmony of Goodness

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pp. 137-151

In this final chapter we reprise the elements of Scotus's moral vision and reflect upon its significance for contemporary ethical discussion. It does little good to examine the thoughts of the past if we do not consider how they might influence present-day concerns...


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pp. 153-155


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pp. 157-159

E-ISBN-13: 9781576593240
E-ISBN-10: 157659324X
Print-ISBN-13: 9780819909695

Page Count: 180
Publication Year: 1996

Edition: First