The Non-Aristotelian Virtue of Truth from the Second-Person Perspective

European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 5 (4):87--104 (2013)
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The claim has been made that when Aquinas speaks about the virtue of truth and its opposing vices in the Summa theologiae 2-2.109-113, he regards himself as speaking of the same virtue of truth as found in the Nicomachean Ethics 4.7. In this paper, I dispute this claim, showing how Aquinas’s account cannot be Aristotelian and, in particular, that the possibility of forfeiting the virtue of truth by one serious lie cannot be explained by habituation. I argue instead that Aquinas’s account can be better understood by reference to the kind of embodied experience most commonly encountered in joint attention or second-person relatedness, an approach that may offer new ways to address broader moral questions regarding truth.

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Andrew Pinsent
Oxford University


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