Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association

Volume 93, 2019

M. T. Lu
Pages 253-262

Is Piety a Natural Virtue?

Notwithstanding Aristotle’s own relative silence on the matter, in this paper I argue that piety is a natural (not supernatural) virtue of the Aristotelian kind. I begin with St. Thomas’s discussion of the virtues of religion and piety in which he shows how they both involve a recognition of human contingency and our radically dependent nature. Building off of this Thomistic analysis, I offer both an account of Aristotelian virtue in general and a phenomenological analysis of piety in particular, in which I situate piety with respect to the other Aristotelian virtues. Finally, I close with a discussion of a few natural objections, including questions about the limits of natural reason as well as considering why Aristotle himself did not explicitly treat piety as a moral virtue.