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342 BOOK REVIEWS (5) What follows for the " critical " and " systematic " dimensions of theology, if, accepting Balthasar's centering of thought in (the paradoxes of) love and beauty, one sees mystery, metaphor, concrete imagery, and indeed "myth" as essential and not "accidental" to all theological meaning? In opening up these questions, O'Hanlon's important book identifies the areas where dialogue with Balthasar's work might best begin, even as it makes its own constructive contribution to theology. John Paul II Institute Washington, D.C. DAVID L. SCHINDLER Goodness and Rightness in Thomas Aquinas's Summa Theologiae. By JAMES F. KEENAN, S.J. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 1992. Pp. xii + 212. $25.00 (paper). James Keenan says that he began his work on this book " believing the simple presupposition that goodness describes persons and rightness describes actions" (p. ix). The main focus of the study is the question of whether and to what extent this distinction can be found in the work of Aquinas. The author holds that the understanding of the relation of reason and will in the early work of Aquinas precludes the distinction of goodness and rightness held by the author and other contemporary moralists. Keenan claims, however, to find in the Prima Secundae of the Summa Theologiae a significant shift in Aquinas's notion of the will and its relation to reason, a shift toward an " autonomous will." Keenan states in the Introduction: "The will's autonomy is a necessary condition for understanding moral goodness "; indeed he proceeds to note that " without it there can be no distinction " between goodness and rightness (pp. ix-x). Before commenting on Keenan's work I will first briefly summarize the basic points of the book. The book is divided into four parts. In the first part we see the distinction between goodness and rightness. Keenan explains the distinction: Goodness and badness describe whether or not we strive to the extent we are able to attain rightness in our lives and actions. Rightness and wrongness describe whether or not we attain the end that reason dictates is proper and necessary for our lives and actions (p. ix). Keenan finds the foundation for this distinction in the reasoning of G. E. Moore. A person's actions can he judged right or wrong independently of a consideration of the person's motives. For instance, a BOOK REVIEWS 343 right action might be performed by a good person or by a bad person, the goodness or badness being determined by the motive. There are, then, two distinct moral descriptions; one, goodness or badness, pertains to persons and the other, rightness and wrongness, pertains to actions. Keenan joins several contemporary moral theologians in claiming something which Moore did not, namely, that " a person who performs a wrong action can be called good for performing the action" (p. 6). This assertion is based upon an understanding of goodness as determined " antecedent to action " (p. 15) , and likewise as " antecedent to and distinct from rightness" (p. 7). Moral goodness is determined by the motivation, and motivation alone, of the person acting (p. 14). For example, does the person act out of love for God and neighbor, or rather out of a desire for self-aggrandizement? Jn question here is what Keenan calls the " fundamental, formal self-movement of the agent" (p. 14). Rightness on the other hand is a moral description determined by the measure of reason. It describes actions, and can also describe the agent, in terms of right order in relation to the end of human life. In Part II (the second and third chapters) Keenan turns to the supposed shift in the thought of Aquinas regarding reason and will. Keenan finds the early position of Aquinas incompatible with the distinction of goodness and rightness, but the later position compatible with the distinction. Keenan also presents Aquinas's distinction between specification and exercise in the act of the will as crucial to the distinction between goodness and rightness. I will return to this point shortly. Part III (the fourth and fifth chapters) considers Aquinas's treatises on the human act and moral virtue found in Summa Theologiae I-II. Keenan holds that...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2473-3725
Print ISSN
0040-6325
Pages
pp. 342-348
Launched on MUSE
2017-04-05
Open Access
No
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