Growing in Virtue: Aquinas on Habit (Moral Traditions) (Paperback)
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A compelling analysis tying the work of Aquinas to contemporary literature on virtue
Despite heightened attention to virtue, contemporary philosophical and theological literature has failed to offer detailed analysis of how people attain and grow in the good habits we know as the virtues. Though popular literature provides instruction on attaining and growing in virtue, it lacks careful scholarly analysis of what exactly these good habits are in which we grow.
Growing in Virtue is the only comprehensive account of growth in virtue in the thought of Thomas Aquinas. Mattison offers a robust account of habits, including what habits are, why they are needed, and what they supply once possessed. He draws on Aquinas to carefully delineate the commonalities and differences between natural (acquired) virtues and graced (infused) virtues. Along the way, Mattison discusses the distinction between disposition and habit; the role of "custom" in virtue formation; the nature of virtuous passions; the distinct contribution of the gifts of the Holy Spirit to graced life; explanations for persistent activity after the loss of virtue; and the possibility of coexistence of the infused and acquired virtues in the same person.
For readers interested in virtue and morality from a philosophical perspective and scholars of theological ethics and moral theology in particular, Mattison offers compelling arguments from the work of Aquinas explicitly connected to contemporary scholarship in philosophical virtue ethics.
About the Author
William C. Mattison III is the Wilsey Family Associate Professor of Theology at Notre Dame. He is the author of Introducing Moral Theology: True Happiness and the Virtues and The Sermon on the Mount and Natural Theology: A Virtue Perspective.