Philosophy and Theology

Volume 32, Issue 1/2, 2020

Augusto Trujillo Werner
Pages 173-191

Possible Thomistic Response to Hume’s Law and to Moore’s Open-Question Argument

This article concerns Aquinas’s practical doctrine on two philosophical difficulties underlying much contemporary ethical debate. One is Hume’s Is-ought thesis and the other is its radical consequence, Moore’s Open-question argument. These ethical paradoxes appear to have their roots in epistemological scepticism and in a deficient anthropology. Possible response to them can be found in that Aquinas’s human intellect (essentially theoretical and practical at the same time) naturally performs three main operations: 1º) To apprehend the intellecta and universal notions ens, verum and bonum. 2º) To formulate the first theoretical and practical principles. 3º) To order that the intellectum and universal good be done and the opposite avoided. Thomistic philosophical response to both predicaments will not be exclusively ethical, but will harmonically embrace ontology, anthropology and epistemology.