A cogent argument for justice as a personal rather than a social virtue. Thoughtfully reviewing Thomas Aquinas's ideas as set forth in Summa Theologiae, Porter contends that the medieval theologian conceives of justice as a perfection of the will; develops a constructive expansion of Aquinas's work; and resolves tension in his thought to highlight contemporary applications. 336 pages, softcover from Eerdmans.
"Aquinas," says Jean Porter, "gets justice right." In this book she shows that Aquinas offers us a cogent and illuminating account of justice as a personal virtue rather than a virtue of social institutions, as John Rawls and his interlocutors have described it and as most people think of it today.
Porter presents a thoughtful interpretation of Aquinass account of the complex virtue of justice as set forth in the Summa theologiae, focusing on his key claim that justice is a perfection of the will. Building on her interpretation of Aquinas on justice, Porter also develops a constructive expansion of his work, illuminating major aspects of Aquinass views and resolving tensions in his thought so as to draw out contemporary implications of his account of justice that he could not have anticipated.
Jean Porter is John A. OBrien Professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame. Her other books include Ministers of the Law, Natural and Divine Law, and Nature as Reason.
"It is very difficult to bring a historical philosopher into dialogue with present-day philosophers without evident signs of strain. Jean Porter brings off this difficult feat with aplomb in Justice as a Virtue: A Thomistic Perspective. She moves back and forth with ease between an exhaustive knowledge and penetrating interpretation of Thomas's texts and the discussions taking place in philosophy today on the same and related topics. A very impressive achievement."
University of Colorado
"An elegant, deeply learned book on the foundations of Aquinas's moral theory. Jean Porter mixes, as few scholars can, a broad historical perspective and a serious engagement with contemporary problems in philosophy and theology."
Stephen J. Pope
"This is a must-read for anyone who wants to think deeply about our obligations to one another, the roles of both nature and nurture in moral formation, and the centrality of justice to the good life."
Edward L. Krasevac, OP
Dominican School of Philosophy & Theology
"A clear, cogent analysis. . . . Porter continues her magisterial reflections begun in Nature as Reason on natural law and its relation to the cardinal virtues, but now with a focus on justice. Her analysis of the structural dynamics of the will and how they illuminate the character of justice is one of the most illuminating parts of this book."