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THE MORALITY

OF HUMAN
ACTS
ARTICLE 1: MORALITY AND ITS NORM
ARTICLE 2: THE DETERMINANTS OF
MORALITY
ARTICLE 1:
A) Description B) Norm C) Definition D)
Division
Description of Morality
•Morality is that quality of human acts
which leads us to call some of them good
and some evil.
•A thing is good inasmuch as it can answer a
tendency, appetite, desire.
•In other words, it is good because it serves
as an end of such tendency.
•Thus, I call my pen a “good pen” because it
writes well.
•Yet, I call my pen a “bad pen” if it does not
write well on my paper.
•Hence, a thing is good or bad depending on
whether or not it meets its expectation.
•Now in the matter of human acts, moral
goodness or moral evilness is a question in
relation to the last end towards which the
action tends.
The Norm of Morality
•The Eternal Law is a plan which orders or
governs all acts and movements in the
universe, and this plan directs things
towards their last end.
•However, ,man is governed by the law with
freedom or known as governed by suasion
not by necessity.
The Eternal Law is the Remote and Ultimate
(yet Primary) Norm of Morality.
Conscience is the Proximate ( yet
Secondary) Norm of Morality.
Definition of Morality
•Morality is the relation of human acts to
their norm.
•Morality is that quality (or property) of a
human act whereby it measures up to what
it should be as a step towards the objective
last end of human action, or fails so to
measure up.
•The morality of an act, its character as
good or evil, is not a mere external
denomination or classification; it is not a
mere label pasted on arbitrarily.
•It is something that belong inevitably to
the human act as such, either to the act
considered objectively as a deed
performed, or to the act considered as
characterized by its circumstances,
particularly the circumstance of the end of
the agent.
•Some have place the essence of the
morality of human acts in freedom.
•This is a false doctrine.
•Although human acts are free, it does not
constitute morality because it instead
consists in the relation towards the norm or
measure of what its should be-towards the
Norm of Morality.
•Morality and Religion are also related.
Division of Morality
Material and Formal.
•A human act considered in itself as a deed
performed stands in relation to the Norm of
Morality is materially good or evil.
•A human act considered as conditioned by
the agent’s understanding and will, stands
in relation the Norm of Morality as formally
good or evil.
•Sometimes the terms objective and
subjective are used respectively for material
and formal in this connection.
Example:
A lie is materially evil as a deed done.
However, it may be a result of a person’s
mistaken judgment that it is permissible
due to the circumstances so that even if it
is materially evil, yet formally or
subjectively it is not evil.
Intrinsic and Extrinsic.
•As a deed done, it is intrinsic when the
human act performed stands by reason of
its very nature in relation to the Norm of
Morality as good or evil.
•It is extrinsic when the stand or relation of
an act to the Norm of Morality is
determined, not by the nature of the act
itself, but by the prescription of positive law.
Example:
Same sex marriage is unlawful because by
its very nature it defeats the purpose of
building a normal family. Hence, it is
intrinsically evil.
Yet, if a state law is passed allowing same
sex marriage, although it is intrinsically evil,
it becomes extrinsically good.
Remember that morality is more concerned
of the intrinsic rather than the extrinsic.
Article 2: The Determinants of Morality
a) The Object b) The End c) The
Circumstances
•A human act, to be morally good act, must
be found in agreement with the Norm of
Morality on all three points,i.e. it must be
good in itself or objectively, in its end, and in
its circumstances.
•“Bonum ex integra causa, malux ex
quocumque defectu.”
•“A thing to be good must be entirely good;
it is vitiated by any defect.”
a) The Object
•By the object is meant the human act
performed, the deed done.
•Morality here is intrinsic which means that
independent of the law, the act is morally
good or morally evil.
Example:
The act of stealing is always morally evil
even if has a convincing reason for doing the
act. It is evil even if it can save a life.
b) The End of the Agent
•The influence of the end of the agent can
be strong enough to bring a bad act into line
with reason.
•By the end of the agent we mean that
which the agent intends or wishes to
achieve by his act.
•It is the purpose or motive in performing
the act.
•An good act done may acquire a greater
merit due to its good intention. But, a good
act can become evil due to its evil
intention.
•However, a good intention can never make
an evil act good. Thus, it is said that “the
end does not justify the means”.
c) The Circumstances
•Circumstances are conditions that affect an
act- and may affect it morally- although they
do not belong to the essence of the act as
such.
•There are seven circumstances set forth in
the mnemonic Latin line: Quis, quid, ubi,
quibus, auxilius, cur, quomod, quando.
•The English equivalent of the mnemonics
are Who, what, where, with what ally, In
what condition, when, and why?
•Who?: Circumstance of Person.
•What?: Circumstance of Quantity or
Quality.
•Where?: Circumstance of Place
•With What Ally?: Circumstance of Means or
Instrument
•In What Condition? How?: Circumstance of
Manner ( Was the agent in good faith or
bad?)
•When?: Circumstance of Time
•Why?: Circumstance of end of the Agent