Perfection of Desire
Habit, Reason, and Virtue in Aquinas's Summa theologiae
Marquette University Press
Aquinas claims that the virtues are habits, that is to say, stable dispositions oriented towards desires of a certain kind. As such, like all habits they presuppose rationality and enable a distinctively human way of feeling and acting. Thus, if we want to make sense of what Aquinas says about rationality and the virtues, it makes sense to turn first to the more fundamental ways in which habits generally speaking are shaped by, and responsive to reason.
Jean Porter is the John A. O’Brien Professor of Theological Ethics at the University of Notre Dame. She is the author of over thirty articles and six books on the history of the Christian moral tradition and contemporary Christian ethics. She has a particular interest in the moral theology of Thomas Aquinas and the moral and legal thought of his scholastic predecessors and contemporaries.