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Title: Object, End and Moral Species in S.T., I-II, 1-21
Author(s): SELLING, Joseph A.
Journal: Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses
Volume: 84    Issue: 4   Date: 2008   
Pages: 363-407
DOI: 10.2143/ETL.84.4.2033452

Abstract :
The dominant model used by most moral theologians and philosophers to interpret Aquinas’ action theory in the first twenty-one questions of S.T., I-II has been the so-called three sources of morality: object – circumstances – end. This article suggests that such an interpretation is anachronistic, that it ignores Aquinas’ appreciation of the human act as an integral whole (8,3; 12,4), and that it fails to distinguish the multiple meanings of the word “object” in the text. Multiple and close readings of the text, concentrating on every occurrence of the words “object” and “end”, reveal that the focus of Aquinas’ theory is on the end of human (voluntary) action and not on the external act, the object. While the external event may be evaluated according to its natural species, it is the end that plays the primary role in determining the moral species of human action.

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