Journal of Moral Theology, Volume 3, Number 1
270 Pages

Journal of Moral Theology, Volume 3, Number 1



Volume 3, Number 1, January 2014
Edited by David Cloutier and William C. Mattison III
Moral Reason, Person and Virtue: The Aristotelian-Thomistic Perspective in the Face of Current Challenges from Neurobiology
Martin Rhonheimer
The Desire for Happiness and the Virtues of the Will
Jean Porter
Elevating and Healing: Reflections on Summa Theologiae I-II q. 109, a. 2
John R. Bowlin
The Case for an Exemplarist Approach to Virtue in Catholic Moral Theology
Patrick M. Clark
After White Supremacy? The Viability of Virtue Ethics for Racial Justice
Maureen H. O'Connell
Ends and Virtues
Angela Knobel
Virtue, Action, and the Human Species
Charles R. Pinches
Progress in the Good: A Defense of the Thomistic Unity Thesis
Andrew Kim
Teresa of Avila's Liberative Humility
Lisa Fullam
Faith, Love, and Stoic Assent: Reconsidering Virtue in the Reformed Tradition
Elizabeth Agnew Cochran
Review Essay: The Resurgence of Virtue in Recent Moral Theology
David Cloutier and William C. Mattison III



Published by
Published 20 December 2013
Reads 0
EAN13 9781725249318
Language English
Document size 2 MB

Legal information: rental price per page €. This information is given for information only in accordance with current legislation.

Volume 3, Number 1 January 2014 VIRTUEEdited byDavid Cloutier and William C. Mattison III Moral Reason, Person and Virtue: The Aristotelian-Thomistic Perspective in the Face of Current Challenges from Neurobiology.....................1 Martin Rhonheimer The Desire for Happiness and the Virtues of the Will ..................... 18 Jean Porter Elevating and Healing: Reflections onSumma TheologiaeI-II q. 109, a. 2 ...................... 39 John R. Bowlin The Case for an Exemplarist Approach to Virtue in Catholic Moral Theology.......................................................... 54Patrick M. Clark After White Supremacy? The Viability of Virtue Ethics for Racial Justice ........................ 83 Maureen H. O’Connell
Ends and Virtues............................................................................. 105 Angela Knobel Virtue, Action, and the Human Species ......................................... 118 Charles R. Pinches Progress in the Good: A Defense of the Thomistic Unity Thesis ................................... 147 Andrew Kim Teresa of Avila’s Liberative Humility............................................ 175 Lisa Fullam Faith, Love, and Stoic Assent: Reconsidering Virtue in the Reformed Tradition........................ 199 Elizabeth Agnew Cochran Review Essay: The Resurgence of Virtue in Recent Moral Theology ................ 228 David Cloutier and William C. Mattison III Contributors.................................................................................... 260
EDITOR David M. McCarthy,Mount St. Mary’s UniversityEDITORIAL BOARD Melanie Barrett,University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein SeminaryJana M. Bennett,University of DaytonMara Brecht,St. Norbert CollegeJoseph Capizzi,The Catholic University of AmericaDavid Cloutier,Mount St. Mary's UniversityChristopher Denny,St. John's UniversityMari Rapela Heidt,University of DaytonKelly Johnson,University of DaytonJason King,St. Vincent CollegeRamon Luzarraga,Benedictine University, MesaM. Therese Lysaught,Loyola University ChicagoRev. Bryan Massingale,Marquette UniversityWilliam C. Mattison III,The Catholic University of AmericaMatthew Shadle,Loras CollegeMsgr. Stuart Swetland,Mount St. Mary's UniversityChristopher P. Vogt,St. Johns UniversityBrian Volck,University of Cincinnati College of MedicinePaul Wadell,St. Norbert CollegeGreg Zuschlag,Oblate School of Theology Journal of Moral Theology is a peer-reviewed scholarly journal focusing on Catholic moral theology. It is concerned with contemporary issues as well as our deeply rooted tradition of inquiry about the moral life. Our mission is to publish scholarly articles in the field of moral theology, as well as theological treatments of related topics in philosophy, economics, political philosophy, and psychology.Journal of Moral Theologyis published semiannually, with Janu-ary and July issues. Articles published in theJournal of Moral Theology will undergo at least two peer reviews. Authors are asked to submit articles electronically to and will be informed about the review process by e-mail. Submissions should be prepared for blind review and conform toChicago Manual of Style. Microsoft Word format preferred. Editors assume that submissions are not being simultaneously considered for publication in another venue. ISSN 2166-2851 (print), ISSN 2166-2118 (online).Journal of Moral Theologyis published by Mount St. Mary’s University, 16300 Old Emmitsburg Road, Emmitsburg, MD 21727.Copyright © 2013individual authors and Mount St. Mary’s University.All rights reserved. Except for brief quotations in critical publications or reviews, no part of this book may be reproduced in any manner without prior written permission from the publisher. Write: Permis sions. Wipf and Stock Publishers, 199 W. 8th Ave., Suite 3, Eugene, OR 97401. Pickwick Publications, An Imprint of Wipf and Stock Publishers, 199 W. 8th Ave., Suite 3, Eugene, OR 97401. 13: 978162564-620-0
Early in 2012, as the first issue of theJournal of Moral Theology had just appeared in print, general editor David McCarthy asked us to edit an issue on the topic of virtue. We reflected on the various purposes such an issue could serve, purposes which would determine what sort of essays we would seek. We initially considered an issue that would offer comprehensive “coverage” of the topic, with articles organized either by specific virtues or by key figures chronologically through history. We also considered soliciting essays on certain overarching themes, such as Scripture and virtue, or virtue and the sciences. However, given both the existence of other fine collections of writings on virtue, and our context of a scholarly journal, we de-cided to seek essays that made technical arguments that advance our understanding of virtue. We decided to target scholars who had al-ready published on virtue, and who continue to do research on virtue in the context of constructive moral theology. We hoped to offer readers of this volume, not a comprehensive overview of virtue in moral theology, but rather a sampling of some cutting-edge argu-ments that develop new paths in virtue ethics. Though our list of eight contributors is not meant to be exhaustive, it is certainly a theo-logically diverse line-up of people working at a high level of scholar-ship on virtue today. We are most grateful for their work in provid-ing our readers with exactly the sort of cutting edge research that we hoped would fill this issue. It has become customary in these opening pages of theJMTto re-view briefly each of the enclosed essays. That task is held in abey-ance here, largely due to the role played by these essays in the re-view essay that concludes this issue. In that review essay we provide an account of the resurgence of virtue in moral theology over the past few decades. We review a set of books, each of which is not only representative of but also a reason for that resurgence. We iden-tify several consistent themes in these books on virtue, and go on to demonstrate how the essays published in this issue, along with a se-lection of other monographs on specific topics germane to virtue eth-ics, continue to evidence attention to these foundational themes. Once we began to write our own review essay narrating the re-surgence of virtue, we decided not only to use these essays as part of our narrative, but also to solicit essays from two of the most promi-nent scholars in that recent resurgence of scholarship on virtue, Jean Porter and Martin Rhonheimer. We are particularly grateful to Jean and Martin for their typical generosity in agreeing to contribute, and their unsurprising diligence in offering original essays to headline the volume.
We would also like to thank David McCarthy for his strong lead-ership on the project that is theJournal of Moral Theology, as well as the countless hours of editing and proofreading that he has done in service to that project. We thank Gloria Balsley for her shepherding of emails and manuscripts in multiple directions. Finally, we also thank Andrew Whitmore, Tatyana Turner, Anthony Ward, and members of JMT editorial board for their careful work in helping to proofread these essays. David Cloutier and William C. Mattison III
Journal of Moral Theology, Vol. 3, No. 1 (2014): 1-17
Moral Reason, Person and Virtue: The Aristotelian-Thomistic Perspective in the Face of Current Challenges from Neurobiology Martin Rhonheimer Translated by William Neu EPRESENTATIVES OF TODAYS COGNITIVE SCIENCES and neurosciences usually consider man as a mere organism indeeRd havetheir home there. According to this view, it is the brain whose cognitive functions are not onlyregulated through the brain or, respectively, the central nervous system, but that feels, thinks, and decides. Conscience or freedom are supposed to be mere subjective epiphenomena or modes of perception of what happened before and was locked in the brain in the form of neural connections. But the idea that the brain feels, thinks, or decides is nothing other than an absolutization of a partial scientific knowledge. The part comes to be seen as the whole and in this way one loses 1 sight of the whole which is the human person. Human persons are not just organisms. They are also organisms, but they cannot be re-duced to this. Modern, materialist neuro-biological reductionism is an advanced stage of the Cartesian dualism that split the substantial unity of the person into two substances. From this followed two directions, both erroneous, oscillating between spiritualistic and materialistic inter-pretations. The interpretation of spiritual phenomena as a superior form of biological structures comes from a certain tradition. In his later work,The Descent of Man, Darwin already asserts that human intelligence is distinguished from animal intelligence only in a grad-ual way, but not specifically. Everything would be a problem of the brain. Darwin argues as follows: unlike animals, the human brain is ca-pable of memorizing the sensory perceptions. Its memory is more developed. Since sensory perceptions stay in the brain, man must
1  See T. Fuchs,Das Gehirnein Beziehungsorgan. Eine phänomenologisch-ökologische Konzeption (Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 2009); see also M.R. Bennet and P.M.S. Hacker,Philosophical Foundations of Neuroscience (Oxford: Blackwell, 2003).
2Martin Rhonheimer look back, but also ahead; at the same time he reflects on these per-ceptions and compares past impulses to his social instincts. Reflect-ing on the past, he becomes capable of controlling his behaviorjudging it, improving it and adapting it to the future. According to Darwin, this is the basis of human intelligence and freedom. This is how morality and the conscience are born, and so these formulate sentences like: “I shouldn’t have,” or “I should.” Darwin says that all that is caused solely by the growing volume of the brain and the re-2 sulting greater memory capacity. The reduction of manof his conscience, his thinking, feeling and wantingto the brain, and neuron processes within the brain, is for the moment the last step of this development. This is why it seems urgent to recover the classical Aristotelian-Thomistic perspec-tive of the corporal-spiritual unity of the human person, of practical reason and the moral virtues. CLASSICALANTHROPOLOGY OF THEPERSONIN THEFACE OFNEUROBIOLOGYSCHALLENGESThe classical position has no reason to fear the modern neurosci-ences. For example, the thesis that without the brain’s activity, not only is there no sensorial activity, but not even thought or spiritual consciousness, is perfectly Aristotelian; it was already known by Medieval Scholasticism, for example by Thomas Aquinas.But no neuroscientist ever proposed an argument to demonstrate that the brain’s neuron activity is asufficientexplanation for spiritual acts. Instead there are good arguments to support the contrary. That is very important for a classical kind of ethics of the virtues. As I would like to demonstrate, today’s neurosciences not only are not a danger or enemy for the classical virtue ethics; but rather they come to its aid. Obviously, the brain’s development was a decisive and absolutely necessary prerequisite for the advent of spiritual functions in pri-mates likeHomo sapiensand perhaps, starting with a certain mo-ment, it was also a consequence. But when Darwin reduced human intelligence to a greater memory capacity (because ofHomo sapiensbigger brain), he forgot his premise for holding such a position: the fact that, as he said, we canreflecton the past and therefore think and judge in anticipation of the future: Hence after some temporary desire or passion has mastered his so-cial instincts,he reflects and compares the now weakened impres-sion with the ever present social instincts; and he then feels that sense of dissatisfaction which all unsatisfied instincts leave behind 2  See C. Darwin,The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex(London: Penguin Classics, 2004), 680.
Moral Reason, Person and Virtue 3 them, he therefore resolves to act differently for the futureand this is conscience.… A pointer dog, if ableto reflecton his past conduct, would say to himself, I ought (as we indeed say of him) to have pointed at that hare and not have yielded to the passing temptation of 3 hunting it. Now, reflection is not only an index of consciousness, but also of self-consciousness. Notwithstanding how great the human brain’s capacity may be to memorize sensory perceptions and to hold them for long periods in such a way that they are available for reflexive judgment, this is not the true capacity; instead the true capacity is precisely that about which Darwin says nothingthe ability to re-flect and self-consciousness. Reflection and self-consciousness cannot simply be explained through the brain’s greater volume. No organ, nothing corporeal and linked to matter has the ability to reflect; in other words; these do not have the ability to make oneself object to him/herself. Sight cannot see itself; hearing cannot listen to itself; touch cannot touch itself. But reason can make its acts the object of its own thoughtin other words reflect on themand the will can once again want or not want what it wants (and this kind of reflection is the basis of freedom); reason can even render sensory perceptions the object of its evalua-4 tion. According to classical philosophical anthropology, reflection pre-supposes what is immaterial and is the foundation of self-awareness. The cognitive indeterminacy and openness implied in the immaterial nature of spiritual acts are diverse aspects of the root of freedom and the capacity for abstraction of what is conceptual. In other words, they are root aspects of the capacity to draw the universal from the particular, and vice versa, to consider the particular in turn in the light of the universal, in light of the “essence of things,” which then is the foundation of science, art, and culture. This particular characteristic of the spiritual, namely, the ability to reflect, is more than the mere awareness of the self, which was also experimentally observed in apes. The spiritual awareness of the self can be found at an irreducibly higher level. It is not only the ca-pacity to place oneself at a cognitive distance in the context of the surrounding world and to perceive in this sense “myself,” or my “ego,” as something different (like my image in a mirror for exam-pleeven apes can do this); but it is also the capacity to put myself in relationship with myself and not only with my reflected image, or my image in relationship with me. In other words, I can possess a 3 Darwin,The Descent of Man,680. 4  Cf. M. Rhonheimer,The Perspective of Morality. Philosophical Foundations of Thomistic Virtue Ethics (Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 2011), 175-182.
4Martin Rhonheimer mental representation of myself. Nothing makes us think that other higher primates, except forHomo sapiens, are able to do this. Exper-5 iments with apes seem rather to prove the contrary. Consequently, can the specifically human consciousness of the self, in other words self-consciousness, be traced causally to neural processes that are carried on in the brain, and thus be definitively explained through merely neurobiological categories? According to the late neurobiologist and physiologist of animals, Gerhard Neu-weiler, that is impossible. Self-awareness escapes neurobiological analysis for more than one reason.... [Because] if the concept of spirit, expressed in all the cul-tural activities, is translated into neurobiological concepts, one enters into an inescapable entanglement of conscious mental processes, of emotional worlds and of motivations and fields of unconscious forc-es that, not the least of which, are reflections of our past experiences and their emotional values. For the spiritual life and especially for man’s linguistic capacity however, it is possible “to identify some minimal condition.” Even in animals and above all in anthropoids, there would be a “thinking” and a linguistic communication; however “no biologist until now has been able to demonstrate the spirit in any animal as it is manifested even in non-linguistic modes through artifacts in human beings.” And Neuweiler concludes: “The attempt to locate self-awareness and the spirit in some part of the brain would be absurd. Nevertheless every neurobiologist agrees with the thesis that neither self-6 awareness nor spiritual life can exist without the prefrontalcortex.”In other words, neurobiology can only make some affirmations about neurobiolgical conditions and about physiological presuppositions that are necessary for spiritual and cultural activity, but it cannot reach asufficientexplanation of these phenomena. These are precisely the distinctions missing for neurobiologists like Gerhard Roth and Wolf Singer. So, for example, the latter as-serts the following (italics are mine): The only really significant difference among the brains of different mammal species is the quantitative differentiation of the cerebral cortex. Compared with other animals, and even only with respect to the size of the body, wehomo sapienshave more neurons in the cerebral cortex. This brings us to the unpleasant conclusion thateve-rything whichconstitutes us and distinguishes us from animals,and
5  See, for this, D. J. Povinelli,Folk Physics for Apes. The Chimpanzee’s Theory ofHow the World Works(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008). 6  G. Neuweiler,Und wir sind es dochdie Krone der EvolutionVerlag (Berlin: Klaus Wagenbach, 2009), 196-98.