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Analysis of the moral act. A proposal

III. Conclusion

In the Thomistic study of the moral act, recently endorsed by the encyclical Veritatis Splendor, acts of the will, which we have been mentioning throughout this analysis, are not "something", as essentialism wants to assert, but immanent activity of the agent who moves himself in his acting. The will is not a factory of moral ends and objectives but rather a motor for vital human activity which orients human acting towards certain ends and actions, but which also links it to other aspects which must be taken into account. If these aspects are added to those which are normally mentioned in the study of the moral act (object, end and circumstances), and the terminology is adjusted to adapt itself better to the common meaning of the terms, then in order to examine the morality of an action we have to evaluate the following:

1. Whether there has been adequate foresight (act of prudence prevailed upon by the will).

2. Whether the intention is good.

3. Whether the decision-action is good.

4. Whether the tolerated effects are proportional to what is intended.

5. Whether the secondary effects are proportional to what is intended, or, if they were unknown, whether it has been sought to reduce the number of innovations to the minimum.

All of these conditions must simultaneously be met for an action to be good. If as few as a single one of them is missing, the action, globally speaking, will be evil.


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