Thomistic Eudaimonism, Virtue, and Well-Being

Southwest Philosophy Review 33 (1):173-185 (2017)
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Abstract

In contemporary discussions of human well-being, well-being is typically understood in secular terms. Analogously, most contemporary discussions of eudaimonistic virtue ethics, influenced by Aristotle, take human flourishing to be a matter of living virtuously, where flourishing and virtue are both secular notions. For many religious believers, however, well-being and virtuous activity involve not just ethical dispositions and actions, but primarily relationship to God. In this paper, I present an alternative eudaimonistic account of well-being that is theological in nature. This view, which I call Thomistic eudaimonism, makes a strong connection between flourishing, virtuous activity, and relationship with God. What is worth considering about this account is that it is able to avoid one of the worst problems for secular, Aristotelian eudaimonism, namely that flourishing and virtue seem to come apart. This is a major strength of Thomistic eudaimonism and a reason to consider it as a theory of well-being.

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Matthew Shea
Franciscan University of Steubenville

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