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The Fundamental Principles of Christian Ethics

The Fundamental Principles of Christian Ethics

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  • ISBN-13: 9781482651126
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Release Date: Feb 27, 2013
  • Pages: 284 pages
  • Dimensions: 0.64 x 9.0 x 6.0 inches


Let us consider the definition of ethics: “Ethics, Moral Philosophy, or the Science of Natural Law-all designations of the same study--is that science of moral rectitude, which is gathered from and based upon the principles of Natural Reason. It is, first of all, justly denominated a science, because it is a knowledge acquired from first principles. It is, in the second place, properly termed the Science of Moral Rectitude; and this for two reasons: primarily, because its material object, as we say, or subject-matter, is the moral constant, the human act; and because, secondly, its formal or specifying object is the ordination or correct adjustment of human activity to the attainment of man's final end, or destiny. Like every other department of philosophy, it is of course occupied with the pursuit of truth. But, differently from other philosophical studies, its special aim is practical, not speculative truth; that is, it seeks to establish and codify the true principles upon which human conduct should be invariably formed and regulated. It is, finally, a science based upon principles of Natural Reason, to distinguish it, in the first instance, from :Moral Theology. For Moral Theology also deals, like Moral Philosophy, with the right adjustment of human actions to man's final end, but, differently from Ethics, it deals with this adjustment upon the principles of revealed religion and ecclesiastical legislation, rather than upon principles of merely Natural Reason. Ethics is, for this reason, distinguished in the second place from every form of modern moral empiricism. These theories of moral science are built exclusively upon the laws, customs, traditions, and social features of nations, peoples, tribes, families, and not, accordingly, upon reason and the created nature of things. Finally, the Science of Ethics is based upon Natural Reason, to distinguish it from the moral conclusions gathered from any feature of exaggerated Rationalism, such as the Moral Purism ofKant, the Pessimism of Hartmann and Schopenhauer, the Moral AEstheticism of Herhart, and the Cresarism and Moral Pantheism of the Hegelian School of Ethical Science.” And let us summarize: “Ethics, thus defined as the Science of Moral Rectitude upon principles of Natural Reason, is divided primarily into General Ethics and Special Ethics.” We continue on into the Ethical Standard. This is followed by a consideration of the Natural Law, which is written on our hearts. Then the Tribunal of Conscience is considered. Father Conway closes with a lecture on the Rights of Man.

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