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The Morality of Human Acts

Human Acts
These are actions specific to human beings alone. The act that proceeds from the knowing and free willing of human beings These are sometimes referred to as Voluntary Acts

Acts of Man
These are actions which human beings share with other living beings. acts performed without the intervention of intellect and free will
all spontaneous biological and sensual processes acts performed by those who have not the use of reason all spontaneous reactions which precede the activity of intellect and will

Constituents of Human Acts

consciousness of what is being done and the consequences or implications of the action

the power to choose between two or more courses of action

consent of the will

Perfect and Imperfect Human Acts

Perfect Human Acts
performed with full knowledge and full consent of the will

Imperfect Human Acts

when there is no full knowledge and will or partial knowledge and will

Modifiers of Voluntariness
Impairments of Required Knowledge
Ignorance Error Inattention

Impairments of Free Consent

Passion Fear or Social Pressure Disposition and Habits Violence

Impairments of Required Knowledge

No knowledge of that which should be known.

Wrong beliefs arising from deficient education, influence of bad company, reading of misleading books, papers, wrong influence of mass media, etc.

Momentary absence of knowledge absent-minded

Impairments of Required Knowledge

Invincible Ignorance
When the lack or absence of knowledge is through no fault of the individual since reasonable diligence was exercised. inculpable

Vincible Ignorance
When the lack or absence of knowledge could have been prevented through the exercise of reasonable diligence by the agent. culpable

Affected Ignorance
When the agent deliberately wills to remain ignorant fully culpable

Impairments of Free Consent

A movement of the sensitive appetite which is produced by good or evil as apprehended by the imagination (St. Thomas Aquinas). The shrinking back of the mind on account of an impending evil. Dispositions: unconscious patterns of behavior and motivations which exert psychic pressure upon the person. Habit: a facility and readiness of acting in a certain manner acquired by repeated acts. a force brought upon a person against his will by some extrinsic agent.

Fear or Social Pressure Disposition and Habits


Impairments of Free Consent

Antecedent passion
precedes the action of the will and at the same time induces the will to consent. Lessens voluntariness

Consequent passion
follows the free determination of the will and is either freely admitted and consented to, or deliberately aroused. Does not lessen voluntariness

Impairments of Free Consent

Absolute violence
if the will opposes totally and resists as best it can and is meaningful. no voluntariness regarding the forced action

Relative violence
if the will opposes only partially or weakly and is perhaps deficient in its external resistance. no impairment of voluntariness since it is accepted

Impairments of Free Consent

Deliberately acquired habit
does not lessen voluntariness and actions resulting therefrom are voluntary in their source

Opposed habit
lessens voluntariness if an action is done out of habit in the sense of the absence of attention it is considered an involuntary act.

Panizo, Alfredo (1964). Moral Philosophy. Manila: UST Publishing Peschke, Karl (1996). Christian Ethics. Manila: Logos Publication.