James of Viterbo's Ethics

In Antoine Côté & Martin Pickavé (eds.), A Companion to James of Viterbo. Leiden: Brill. pp. 306-330 (2018)

Thomas M. Osborne
University of St. Thomas, Texas
James of Viterbo’s ethical writings focus mostly upon happiness and virtue. His basic approach is Aristotelian. Although he is not a Thomist in the sense that some of his contemporary Dominicans were, he frequently quotes or paraphrases Thomas while arguing for his own positions, especially in response to views defended by such figures as Giles of Rome, Godfrey of Fontaines, and Henry of Ghent. James departs from Thomas by arguing that all acquired virtue is based on an ordered self-love. James’s emphasis on self-love is in turn supported by his own understanding of willing and happiness, which involves a Neoplatonic account of the ratio boni as consisting in unity. Consequently, many aspects of James’s Aristotelian moral thought are ultimately based upon an understanding of the good that has roots in Neoplatonic authors.
Keywords Ethics  Virtue  Love  James of Viterbo  Thomas Aquinas  Henry of Ghent  Godfrey of Fontaines  Justice  Aristotle  happiness
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