Virtue In Bonaventure: A Study In Bonaventurean Ethics
Bonaventure's moral philosophy centers around his discussion of the virtues, with the most significant text being found in the third book of his Commentary on Lombard's Sentences. Using this as the primary source, the dissertation considers Bonaventure's moral philosophy from the standpoint of intellectual history, and then explores ways in which his ideas might usefully intersect with or contribute to contemporary philosophical discussions. The dissertation opens with an examination of the role the virtues play in heaven, noting that Bonaventure (unlike Aquinas) understands the cardinal virtues to be focused (in Heaven as on earth) on natural, created goods. Moving on to questions concerning the will, the dissertation considers Bonaventure's argument that free will is itself a habit or disposition, which arises in some way through the cooperation of will and intellect. In exploring the virtue of faith, Bonaventure naturally broaches questions about the nature of belief, and about the kinds of ethical constraints that should govern the formation of beliefs. The distinctive features of Bonaventure's view are illustrated through an extended comparison to the work of Alvin Plantinga. This leads into a discussion of authority and the unity of the virtues, and here I acknowledge that, for all his elegance and subtlety, most contemporary thinkers will find Bonaventure's views on this subject to be unacceptable. Hope is a perplexing virtue for several reasons. The faculty to which it corresponds (i.e. the spirited part of the soul) has no obvious corollary within contemporary moral philosophy, but my treatment shows how, for Bonaventure, this virtue is an important tool for explaining human motivation. Bonaventure's discussion of charity is mainly focused on the formal role that this virtue plays in regulating the others. Some explanation is offered as to why this might be an issue of such importance for Bonaventure, and finally, in the concluding pages, brief mention is given to some later thinkers whose views seem to be broadly consonant with Bonaventure's while at the same time offering the kind of nuanced treatment of love that is lacking in Bonaventure's own work.
Bonaventure; virtue ethics; unity of the virtues
MacDonald, Scott C.
Brennan, Theodore R.; Chignell, Andrew
Ph. D., Philosophy
Doctor of Philosophy
dissertation or thesis