Aquinas’s Virtues of Acknowledged Dependence

Faith and Philosophy 21 (2):214-227 (2004)
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Abstract

This paper compares Aristotle’s and Aquinas’s accounts of the virtue of magnanimity specifically as a corrective to the vice of pusillanimity. After definingpusillanimity and underscoring key features of Aristotelian magnanimity, I explain how Aquinas’s account of Christian magnanimity, by making humandependence on God fundamental to this virtue, not only clarifies the differences between the vice of pusillanimity and the virtue of humility, but also showswhy only Christian magnanimity can free us from improper and damaging forms of dependence on the opinions and standards of others, enabling us toavoid the moral pitfalls of both pusillanimity and presumption.

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Rebecca DeYoung
Calvin University

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