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Aquinas, Ethics, and Philosophy of Religion

Metaphysics and Practice

Thomas Hibbs

In Aquinas, Ethics, and Philosophy of Religion, Thomas Hibbs recovers the notion of practice to develop a more descriptive account of human action and knowing, grounded in the venerable vocabulary of virtue and vice. Drawing on Aquinas, who believed that all good works originate from virtue, Hibbs postulates how epistemology, ethics, metaphysics, and theology combine into a set of contemporary philosophical practices that remain open to metaphysics. Hibbs brings Aquinas into conversation with analytic and Continental philosophy and suggests how a more nuanced appreciation of his thought enriches contemporary debates. This book offers readers a new appreciation of Aquinas and articulates a metaphysics integrally related to ethical practice.

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Aquinas on Virtue

A Causal Reading

Nicholas Austin, SJ

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Aquinas's Ethics

Metaphysical Foundations, Moral Theory, and Theological Context

Revecca Konyndyk DeYoung, Colleen McCluskey, Christina Van Dyke

The purpose of Aquinas's Ethics is to place Thomas Aquinas's moral theory in its full philosophical and theological context and to do so in a way that makes Aquinas (1224/5-1274) readily accessible to students and interested general readers, including those encountering Aquinas for the first time. Rebecca Konyndyk DeYoung, Colleen McCluskey, and Christina Van Dyke begin by explaining Aquinas's theories of the human person and human action, since these ground his moral theory. In their interpretation, Aquinas's theological commitments crucially shape his account of the human person, human capacities for action, and human flourishing. The authors develop a comprehensive picture of Aquinas's thought, which is designed to help students understand how his concept of happiness and the good life are part of a coherent, theologically-informed worldview. Many studies of Aquinas naturally focus on certain areas of his thought and tend to assume a general knowledge of the whole. Aquinas's Ethics takes the opposite approach: it intentionally links his metaphysics and anthropology to his action theory and ethics to illuminate how the moral theory is built on foundations laid elsewhere. The authors emphasize the integration of concepts of virtue, natural law, and divine grace within Aquinas's ethics, rather than treating such topics in isolation or opposition. Their approach, presented in clear and deliberately non-specialist language, reveals the coherent nature of Aquinas's account of the moral life and of what fulfills us as human beings. The result is a rich and engaging framework for further investigation of Aquinas's thought and its applications.

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Arendt and Heidegger

The Fate of the Political

Dana Villa

Theodor Adorno once wrote an essay to "defend Bach against his devotees." In this book Dana Villa does the same for Hannah Arendt, whose sweeping reconceptualization of the nature and value of political action, he argues, has been covered over and domesticated by admirers (including critical theorists, communitarians, and participatory democrats) who had hoped to enlist her in their less radical philosophical or political projects. Against the prevailing "Aristotelian" interpretation of her work, Villa explores Arendt's modernity, and indeed her postmodernity, through the Heideggerian and Nietzschean theme of a break with tradition at the closure of metaphysics.

Villa's book, however, is much more than a mere correction of misinterpretations of a major thinker's work. Rather, he makes a persuasive case for Arendt as the postmodern or postmetaphysical political theorist, the first political theorist to think through the nature of political action after Nietzsche's exposition of the death of God (i.e., the collapse of objective correlates to our ideals, ends, and purposes). After giving an account of Arendt's theory of action and Heidegger's influence on it, Villa shows how Arendt did justice to the Heideggerian and Nietzschean criticism of the metaphysical tradition while avoiding the political conclusions they drew from their critiques. The result is a wide-ranging discussion not only of Arendt and Heidegger, but of Aristotle, Kant, Nietzsche, Habermas, and the entire question of politics after metaphysics.

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Aristotle's Ethics

Writings from the Complete Works

Aristotle

Aristotle’s moral philosophy is a pillar of Western ethical thought. It bequeathed to the world an emphasis on virtues and vices, happiness as well-being or a life well lived, and rationally motivated action as a mean between extremes. Its influence was felt well beyond antiquity into the Middle Ages, particularly through the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas. In the past century, with the rise of virtue theory in moral philosophy, Aristotle’s ethics has been revived as a source of insight and interest. While most attention has traditionally focused on Aristotle’s famous Nicomachean Ethics, there are several other works written by or attributed to Aristotle that illuminate his ethics: the Eudemian Ethics, the Magna Moralia, and Virtues and Vices.

This book brings together all four of these important texts, in thoroughly revised versions of the translations found in the authoritative complete works universally recognized as the standard English edition. Edited and introduced by two of the world’s leading scholars of ancient philosophy, this is an essential volume for anyone interested in the ethical thought of one of the most important philosophers in the Western tradition.

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Aspects of Alterity

Levinas, Marcel, and the Contemporary Debate

Brian Treanor

Every other is truly other, but no other is wholly other.This is the claim that Aspects of Alterity defends. Taking up the question of otherness that so fascinates contemporary continental philosophy, this book asks what it means for something or someone to be other than the self. Levinas and those influenced by him point out that the philosophical tradition of the West has generally favored the self at the expense of the other. Such a self-centered perspective never encounters the other qua other, however. In response, postmodern thought insists on the absolute otherness of the other, epitomized by the deconstructive claim every other is wholly other.But absolute otherness generates problems and aporias of its own. This has led some thinkers to reevaluate the notion of relative otherness in light of the postmodern critique, arguing for a chiastic account that does justice to both the alterity and the similitude of the other. These latter two positions-absolute otherness and a rehabilitated account of relative otherness-are the main contenders in the contemporary debate.The philosophies of Emmanuel Levinas and Gabriel Marcel provide the point of embarkation for coming to understand the two positions on this question. Levinas and Marcel were contemporaries whose philosophies exhibit remarkably similar concern for the other but nevertheless remain fundamentally incompatible. Thus, these two thinkers provide a striking illustration of both the proximity of and the unbridgeable gap between two accounts of otherness.Aspects of Alterity delves into this debate, first in order understand the issues at stake in these two positions and second to determine which description better accounts for the experience of encountering the other.After a thorough assessment and critique of otherness in Levinas's and Marcel's work, including a discussion of the relationship of ethical alterity to theological assumptions, Aspects of Alterity traces the transmission and development of these two conceptions of otherness. Levinas's version of otherness can be seen in the work of Jacques Derrida and John D. Caputo, while Marcel's understanding of otherness influences the work of Paul Ricoeur and Richard Kearney.Ultimately, Aspects of Alterity makes a case for a hermeneutic account of otherness. Otherness itself is not absolute, but is a chiasm of alterity and similitude. Properly articulated, such an account is capable of addressing the legitimate ethical and epistemological concerns that lead thinkers to construe otherness in absolute terms, but without the absolute aporiasthat accompany such a characterization.

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Awakening Warrior

Revolution in the Ethics of Warfare

Awakening Warrior argues for a revolution in the ethics of warfare for the American War Machine—those political and military institutions that engage the world with physical force. Timothy L. Challans focuses on the systemic, institutional level of morality rather than bemoaning the moral shortcomings of individuals. He asks: What are the limits of individual moral agency? What kind of responsibility do individuals have when considering institutional moral error? How is it that neutral or benign moral actions performed by individuals can have such catastrophic morally negative effects from a systemic perspective? Drawing upon and extending the ethical theories of Kant, Dewey, and Rawls, Challans makes the case for an original set of moral principles to guide ethical action on the battlefield. “…[Challans’s] call for reformation combined with a demand for a new set of moral principles to govern the ethical behavior on the battlefield is certain to garner the attention and ire of many readers and military leaders.” — Parameters “This is an important book that needs to be read and taken seriously. If it is, it could be as revolutionary as its subtitle suggests.” — CHOICE

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Back to the Rough Ground

Practical Judgment and the Lure of Technique

Joseph Dunne

Back to the Rough Ground is a philosophical investigation of practical knowledge, with major import for professional practice and the ethical life in modern society. Its purpose is to clarify the kind of knowledge that informs good practice in a range of disciplines such as education, psychotherapy, medicine, management, and law. Through reflection on key modern thinkers who have revived cardinal insights of Aristotle, and a sustained engagement with the Philosopher himself, it presents a radical challenge to the scientistic assumptions that have dominated how these professional domains have been conceived, practiced, and institutionalized.

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