An expansion of the discipline of ethics demonstrates that Aquinas’s “infusing of virtue” makes better sense of the moral life than finding a method to guide action
While teaching ethics is universally applauded, how one goes about it is much more difficult and contested than is often recognized.
On Teaching and Learning Christian Ethics addresses what it means to teach and learn ethics through a thorough comparison of two ethicists, Henry Sidgwick and F. D. Maurice. Where Sidgwick understood ethics as developing a method for guiding voluntary action to what is right, Maurice maintained that ethics concerns life as a whole, and that requires placing it within a metaphysical and theological realm in which the good is much more definitive than right. This comparative history argues that Maurice’s use of Thomas Aquinas’s “infusing of virtue” makes better sense of the moral life of ordinary persons than the specialized, academic discipline Sidgwick bequeathed. Long expands the discipline of ethics through the central theme of his work: that moral life is a gift rather than an achievement. He provides a clear argument in favor of a more holistic approach to teaching ethics.
D. Stephen Long is the Cary M. Maguire University Professor of Ethics at Southern Methodist University. He is the author of nineteen books, including Christian Ethics: A Very Short Introduction; The Divine Economy: Theology and the Market; and The Perfectly Simple Triune God: Aquinas and His Legacy. He is currently serving as the President of the Society of Christian Ethics.
360 pp., 6 x 9
360 pp., 6 x 9
Moral Traditions series
David Cloutier, Darlene Weaver, and Andrea Vicini, SJ