Aristotle & Aquinas

Updated: 9/9/2020
Aristotle & Aquinas

Storyboard Text

  • Good day to all!
  • And like I say every week on this show, I hope all of you will be able to learn a lot from our guests.
  • For today’s episode on PHILOSOPHY TALKS, we’ll be having 2 well known philosophers as our guests.
  • Enjoy the show everybody and let us all welcome, Aristotle and Aquinas!
  • They'll be discussing and comparing their respective theories that revolve around ethics.
  • Of course! Virtue Ethics focuses more on moral character development instead of rules and laws.
  • Hello everyone! The name’s Aristotle and my theory's called Virtue Ethics.
  • It’s nice to meet you all! My name's Thomas Aquinas and I'm most known for my Natural Law Theory.
  • Speaking of theories, Aristotle, would you kindly share to our audience the definition of your theory?
  • Could you elaborate?
  • No, it does not. It doesn’t look at the actions or consequences, rather it makes us ask ‘what kind of person should I be?’ or ‘how should I live?’.
  • Correct! How about your theory, Thomas?
  • So it prioritizes right character before right behavior?
  • Unlike your theory, mine has moral rules or principles that were legislated by God.
  • It doesn’t try to define good or bad?
  • God created us with the instinct and ability to seek and recognize what is good for us. But, instinct and reason should come together to point us to the natural law.
  • Well in my theory, moral virtues are learned through habit and practice instead of through reasoning and instruction.
  • A virtue is a character trait that makes a person a good person. I theorized that there are 12 moral virtues that are balanced between 2 extremes or vices which are excess and deficiency.
  • Yes, because even if we are naturally suited to moral goodness, like in your theory, we don’t automatically develop the virtues. We need to practice being virtuous and make it a habit to deliberately choose the mean or virtue between 2 extremes.
  • What do you mean by virtues and extremes in your theory?
  • It’s not something one can instantly pick up?
  • My theory has something similar to your 12 moral virtues but they’re not about balancing. I call them the basic goods, and there are 7 of them, which is where we derive the natural laws.
  • In short, right acts are in accordance with the natural law?
  • I see, but what exactly are basic goods? Are they like a goal or a purpose? Because in virtue ethics, the highest goal, or what I call telos, is eudaimonia or happiness. And to fulfill our purpose of eudaimonia, I believe we must live a virtuous life.
  • That’s right! We must not forget to do right acts and be good even though we are already made to be good by our God who is good, because being a good person is a vital part of God’s plan for each of us.
  • And with reason, like I said before, one can realize that an act is either in accordance or violating the natural law.
  • The basic goods are the things that we are designed to seek. I agree with you on the concept of purposes and goals or telos, but I believe it was God who created these. I also believe in the concept of eudaimonia but I theorized that it’s actually achieved in the afterlife.
  • I respect that. It seems our time is almost up so I would just like to say that I am very happy to have had this discussion with you.
  • I also enjoyed our mini discussion as it was very educating and I hope our audience was educated as well!
  • Thank you for coming, Aristotle and Aquinas. And to the audience, thank you for watching! See you next week!