Treatise on Virtue

Question 55: The essence of virtue Question 63: The cause of virtue
Question 56: The subject of virtue Question 64: The mean of virtue
Question 57: The distinction among the intellectual virtues Question 65: The connection of the virtues
Question 58: The distinction of the moral virtues from the intellectual virtues Question 66: The equality of the virtues
Question 59: The relations of the moral virtues to the passions Question 67:  The duration of the virtues after this life
Question 60: The distinction of the moral virtues from one another Question 68:  The gifts of the Holy Spirit
Question 61: The cardinal virtues Question 69:  The beatitudes
Question 62: The theological virtues Question 70:  The fruits of the Holy Spirit

Taxonomy of virtues in relation to the passions

Question 55: The essence of the virtue
    55,1: 'Virtus' denominates the perfection of a power or faculty with respect to its act. Some powers (active natural powers) are determined to their acts by their nature and so are called 'virtutes' in themselves. But others (rational powers) are not determined to one act, and so they are subject to habits which provide them with perfecting "second natures," as we say. These are called virtues. 

    See ad 2: "The act of a virtue is nothing other than the good use of free choice." That is, every virtue as a determined power is ordered toward a good use of free choice. The fact is, of course, that because the rational soul has various powers, there will be many habits (virtues) so ordered. 

    55,2: There are two kinds of power or potentiality: potentiality with respect to esse and potentiality with respect to agere. Properly human virtues are perfective of the works or operations of our rational powers. 

    55,3: Human virtues are good habits that (i) perfect the powers in which they are seated and (ii) effect the good for those powers. 

    55,4: Definition of properly human virtue: A good quality--specifically, a good habit--of the soul, by which one lives (acts) well and never badly. The last two points distinguish virtue both from vice and from a habit which can be directed either toward the good or the evil, e.g., a skill or art. 

    [Note the reference to infused virtue, which God "effects in us without us"; and also note ad 3: Virtue can exist in the non-rational part of the soul only insofar as that non-rational part participates in reason.]

Question 56: The subject of virtue

    56,1: Virtue as defined above has as its subject a power of the soul. This is clear from the following facts: (i) a virtue perfects the soul; (ii) a virtue is that by which one acts well, and every act is from the soul; (iii) a virtue disposes one toward the best, i.e., the end, which is itself either an operation or something that follows upon the operation of the perfected potentiality. 

    56,2: A single virtue cannot have more than one power as its principal subject. However, a single virtue can, while seated principally in one power, yet "extend itself to other powers in the manner of diffusion [insofar as the power in question moves another] or in the manner of a disposition [insofar as the power in question receives or presupposes something from another]." For example, prudence has the intellect as its principle subject, and yet since it presupposes rectitude of the will and of the sentient appetite, it is in the will and sentient appetite in the manner of a disposition

    56,3: A habit is ordered toward good action in two ways: (i) by providing one with a facility for good acts and (ii) by not only providing a facility for good acts but by making it the case that one is using that facility correctly. The moral virtues have both (i) and (ii).  That is, to exercise a moral virtue is to act well, absolutely speaking, whereas this is not necessarily true for other habits.

    More specifically, the intellect has proper habits that meet condition (i), viz., knowledge (in the strict sense), wisdom, understanding, and various arts or skills. These can be had without (ii), i.e., without any essential ordering to the will as morally rectified.  So one can use these intellectual habits in a morally bad way.  Of the two main intellective faculties, a rectified will must be in play in order for there to be a habit that meets both conditions; and faculties other than the will can have virtues in the strict sense only insofar as they are moved by the will. So the intellect, taken by itself and without reference to the will, can have virtues properly speaking only in an extended sense. However, insofar as a virtue's act involves or presupposes a rectified movement on the part of the will, the intellect can have virtues strictly speaking, e.g., faith (speculative intellect as moved to assent by a rectified will) and prudence (practical intellect as illuminated by rectitude of will). 

      Interesting analogy: Rectitude of will is to prudence (= right reason with respect to things to be done) as the natural light of the agent intellect is to scientia (= right reason with respect to things to be known). That is, just as the agent intellect illuminates the first principles of speculative reasoning, so too rectitude of will illumines the first principles of practical reasoning (i.e., the ends).

      This point has a deep and significant consequence, viz., that those lacking rectitude of will cannot generally be expected to perceive all the facts about a practical situation in the same way as those who do have rectitude of will. Hence, epistemic disagreements can have deep moral roots. 

    56,4: The irascible and concupiscible appetites are the subjects of virtue insofar as they are subject to (or moved by) reason. "So a virtue that is in the irascible or concupiscible part is nothing other than a certain habitual conformity of those powers to reason." Think of the passions as instruments of reason and will, and think of the virtues of temperance and fortitude as rendering the sentient appetite fit to play this role of instrument in the way that sharpening a knife makes it fit to carry out the command of reason. 
      Note the reference to the fomes peccati in ad 2. In ST 3, 27, 3, St. Thomas says: "The fomes is nothing other than the disordered concupiscence of the sentient appetite--specifically, disordered habitual concupiscence, since actual concupiscence of sensuality is a sinful movement. Now the concupiscence of sensuality is said to be disordered insofar as it is repugnant to reason, i.e., insofar as it inclines one to evil or makes it difficult to do good." 

      Note obj. 3: only the rational part of the soul can be the subject of virtue because it is the soul that rules the body in the way that the rider rules the horse. But St. Thomas distinguishes between the way the soul rules the body and the way it rules the sentient appetite. Because the sentient appetite, unlike the body, does not obey the soul spontaneously, it must be taught or trained to act well in a way analogous to that in which potentially rebellious subjects are taught or trained by the wise ruler. 

      Also, see ad 4: "The fact that one has a correct intending of the end with regard to the passions of the soul arises from the good disposition of the irascible and concupiscible parts." Thus, St. Thomas associates (i) the virtues of the sentient appetite with good intending of ends associated with the passions and (ii) prudence with good choosing of means to the end. If we do not have temperance and fortitude, we will find ourselves adopting inappropriate ends. 

    56,5: There are no virtues, even in the extended sense, in the sentient cognitive powers, though there are certain habits that are preparatory for the intellectual virtues. 

    56,6: The will is the subject of virtues, since its own nature is not sufficient for acting well with respect to God and one's neighbor, which constitutes the fulfillment of the two great commandments of the law. So virtues which order our affections toward God or our neighbor (chiefly, charity and justice) are in the will as a subject. Here is what St. Thomas says in ad 3: "Some virtues are ordered to the good of a moderate passion, which is proper to this or that human being. And in such cases it is not necessary that there should be a virtue in the will, since the nature of the faculty is sufficient for this. Rather, this is necessary only in those virtues that are ordered to some extrinsic good." That is, we naturally will our own good, and so we don't need a special habit of the will in order to will that which we perceive as our own good; however, we do need virtues in the concupiscible and irascible appetites in order to have a non-distorted notion of what is in our own good. Without temperance and fortitude, we end up intending disordered ends. By contrast, we do need special habits of the will in order to will the good for others, both God (charity and the part of justice related to God) and neighbor (charity and the part of justice related to neighbor).

Question 57: The distinction among the intellectual virtues

    57,1-3: St. Thomas here distinguishes the intellectual virtues (broad sense: aptitudes) according to their objects: Intellectus has as its object what is knowable per se as a principle; scientia has as its objects conclusions demonstrated from what is known per se; sapientia has as its objects the highest causes and judges with respect to all sciences. An art (skill, craft), "which is nothing other than right (practical) reason with respect to things to be made," is an operative habit which gives a facility for making things well rather than a rooted disposition that makes the agent himself good simpliciter. Thus, like other intellectual virtues, an art can be put to morally bad use.  By the same token, however, acts of the intellectual virtues can be meritorious if motivated by charity. 

    57,4-5: Prudence is right (practical) reason with respect to what is doable, and it gives not only facility but correct use, since it is moved by appetitive powers that have rectitude. In this it is unlike an art. (An artisan who does a bad job on purpose is more praiseworthy qua artisan than one who does a bad job unwittingly, whereas the opposite is the case with prudence, precisely because prudence presupposes rectitude of appetite.) Prudence is especially necessary for living well, since it is required not only that what we do is right, but also how we do it, e.g., that we act from choice and not just by impulse or out of passion. But rectitude of choice requires both (i) a fitting end and (ii) means that are appropriately ordered to that end. (i) requires virtues of the appetitive parts of the soul, while (ii) requires prudence. 

    57,6: Good inquiry or deliberation (eubulia) and good judgment (gnome and synesis) are potential parts of prudence (good command).

Question 58: The distinction of the moral virtues from the intellectual virtues.

    58,1-3: Socrates thought that all virtues are forms of prudence (since no one knowingly does evil). But this is wrong, because it presupposes that the appetitive powers obey reason spontaneously. Rather, the appetitive powers must themselves be well-disposed through habits, i.e., the moral virtues. (Read response to 58,2.) The division between moral and intellectual virtues is exhaustive insofar as every virtue perfects either the intellect or the appetitive part of the soul. See 58, 3, ad 2 for why continence and perseverance are not themselves virtues. 

    58,4: Moral virtue cannot exist without intellectual virtue, viz., without understanding (intellectus) with respect to practical principles or without prudence--the latter because good choices cannot be consistently made without prudence, and the moral virtues have to do with making good choices. Pay special attention to obj. 2 and the reply to it. 

    58,5: Intellectual virtue in general can exist without moral virtue, but prudence cannot exist without the moral virtues because the moral virtues are necessary if one is to be related correctly with respect to the particular principles of doable things, viz., particular ends. But these principles, correctly intended only by one with moral virtue, are the starting point for the sort of deliberation and judgments that prudence involves. (Read the response.) 

Question 59: The relations of the moral virtues to the passions

    59,1-2: Moral virtue is not a passion, but certain moral virtues are principles with respect to the passions. In particular, there are moral virtues with respect to the passions. Mark the definition of a moral virtue that St. Thomas cites from Aristotle: "a habit of consistently choosing the mean as determined by reason, and as a prudent man would determine it." 

    59,3: Contrary to what the Stoics held, bad things can happen to the wise, and so moral virtue can exist along with pain, sadness, and sorrow. A wise man can be saddened by certain evils: by physical evils, even more by one's present venial sins and one's past sins, and also by the sins of others. 

    59,4-5: Some, but not all, moral virtues have the passions as their object. The others could exist in the absence of the passions--though in our present state acts of, say, justice can make us joyful to such an extent that this spills over into the sentient appetite as sensed delight.

Question 60: The distinction of the moral virtues from one another

    60,1: Moral virtues are distinct from one another according to the diverse ways in which desired goods are related to reason. For reason informs the appetitive powers in different ways according to the differences among the objects of the appetitive powers. 

    60,2: Even though every moral virtue has certain good operations as an effect, not every virtue has good operations as its primary object. Thus we can distinguish moral virtues that in themselves have to do with operations from those that in themselves have to do with the passions. For there are some operations, e.g., buying and selling, in which goodness and badness attend the operations themselves, regardless of the agent's affective state with respect to them. These operations pertain in general to justice, which has the will as its subject. However, there are other operations in which the goodness and badness attend the agent's affections, i.e., their goodness or badness depends on whether or not the agent has the appropriate affections. These pertain in general to fortitude and temperance.   

    Note: Things can get complicated here. Look at St. Thomas's example: Because of anger one person strikes another. In the inappropriate striking itself there is a corruption of the virtue of justice; but in the immoderate anger there is a violation of the virtue of mildness. So one virtue is corrupted because the exterior act is not ordered to right reason, whereas another virtue is corrupted because the interior passion is not ordered to right reason. So here an unjust act is traced back to an immoderate passion. 

    60,3-4: All virtues pertaining to operations fall under the generic notion of justice, which has to do with acting in appropriate ways with respect to others, by rendering them what is due them. Still, justice is realized in different ways depending on the different relationships that we bear to others (e.g., creature, parent, child, spouse, citizen, student, professor, professional colleague, friend, benefactor, recipient of benefaction, etc.) For virtues pertaining to the passions, there is no one-to-one correspondence between virtues and passions. The key is that passions can be repugnant to reason in different ways: either by impelling one toward that which is contrary to reason or by pulling one back from what is in accord with reason. 

    60,5: For a rough taxonomy of moral virtues according to diverse objects of the passions, see below.

Question 61: The cardinal virtues

    61,1-2: The cardinal virtues can be so-called for either of two reasons: 
      a. their formal principles, i.e., the good determined by reason: 
      • i. the good of reason as consisting in reason's own consideration of things: prudence
      • ii. the good of reason with respect to operations: justice
      • iii. the good of reason with respect to the passions that impel one toward what is contrary to reason: temperance
      • iv. the good of reason with respect to the passions that pull one back from what is in accord with reason: fortitude

      b. their subjects, i.e., the powers or faculties in which they inhere: 
      • i. the power that is rational by essence, viz., the intellect: prudence
      • ii. the powers that are rational by participation:
        • a. the will: justice
        • b. the concupiscible appetite: temperance
        • c. the irascible appetite: fortitude
    61,3: These four virtues are considered the main virtues in one of two ways: 
      a. if we look at their formal principles, we can think of the four names as designating groups of virtues which share something in common: 
      • i. any virtue that brings about good in reason's deliberation, judgment, and command = prudence
      • ii. any virtue that brings about good is what is due and right in operations = justice
      • iii. any virtue that curbs and restrains the passions = temperance
      • iv. any virtue that strengthens the soul in the face of passions = fortitude 
      b. alternatively, we can think of them as four particular virtues which are paradigmatic with respect to their particular subject matter, so that other similar virtues are related to them as the imperfect in a given domain is related to what is perfect in that domain: 
      • i. the intellectual virtue which is preceptive, i.e. commands = prudence
      • ii. the moral virtue having to do with what is due among equals = justice
      • iii. the moral virtue that controls desire for the pleasures of touch = temperance
      • iv. the moral virtue that fortifies one against the danger of death = fortitude 
      St. Thomas likes (b) better than (a) in characterizing the cardinal virtues themselves and their subjective parts, though in the ST 2-2 his division of the potential parts of the cardinal virtues follows (a) rather than (b).  For instance, mildness, which controls the passion of anger, is treated under temperance rather than fortitude, even though anger is a passion of the irascible appetite, which is the seat of fortitude.  Similar examples abound.
    61,4-5: Different authors understand the cardinal virtues in different ways and thus understand the differences among them in correspondingly different ways: 
      If, with some authors, we think of the cardinal virtues as four general conditions that are found in any successful morally good action, then prudence is good reasoning and command with respect to that action, justice is good operation, temperance is the curbing of passion necessary for success, and fortitude is the overcoming of difficulties related to the action. St. Thomas doesn't like this way of distinguishing the four cardinal virtues themselves, since in that case every morally good action would be an action of each of the cardinal virtues.  So he here falls back on the division according to subjects and formal principals.

Question 62: The theological virtues

    62,1: The theological virtues are proportioned to our ultimate end, the attainment of which  exceeds our natural powers. They give us the capability of participating in the divine nature in such a way as to have an accurate (if not wholly evident) conception of what our true ultimate end is (the supernatural light of faith), the desire to attain it as an arduous but possible end (hope), and the beginnings of supernatural "rectitude of will" (charity or love of God in friendship rather than as a mere creature). They are called theological because they have God as their object, because they are infused in us by God, and because we know of them only by divine revelation. Ponder ad 1: the theological virtues flow from a participation in God's nature (grace) which is analogous to burning wood's participation in the nature of fire.  (There are disanalogies here too, of course, since the fire destroys the wood's nature whereas grace heals and elevates our fallen nature.) 

    62,2: Even though they have as their subjects the same faculties that the moral and intellectual virtues perfect, they perfect them in a supernatural way (see above). So they are distinct from the moral and intellectual virtues, given that they have for their object God insofar as God exceeds the grasp of natural reason.

    62,3-4: The theological virtues in themselves:

Faith is an intellectual virtue by which supernatural principles are given to us, viz., speculative and practical principles which are grasped by a certain divine light illuminating our intellects--just as natural speculative and practical principles are known to us by the natural light of reason.

Hope is a virtue of the will by which our will is ordered toward our supernatural ultimate end in the manner of intending that end as something possible to attain. 

Charity is a virtue of the will which brings about a certain spiritual union through our being conformed to that end.   Charity is the measure of our participation in the inner life of the Triune God.  As St. Thomas later puts it, "This fellowship (societas) of man with God, which is a sort of intimate living (familiaris conversatio) with Him, begins here in the present through grace and will be perfected in the future through glory" (q. 65, art. 5).

Natural faith and natural hope fall short of being natural virtues, since natural faith is less perfect than knowledge (scientia) and prudence, whereas hope falls short of possession of the good hoped for. However, supernatural faith and supernatural hope exceed all natural virtue. But faith and hope, even though prior in the order of generation, will not last in the beatific vision, where the ultimate end is known and possessed. Only charity remains. And hence charity is in this sense prior to and more perfect than faith and hope. Also, faith and hope must be "informed by" charity in order for them to be virtues in the strict sense. 

Question 63: The cause of virtue
    63,1: Nature: By nature we have a certain aptitude for, or inception of, virtue. By dint of our common nature we have certain naturally known speculative and practical principles that are the seeds of the intellectual and moral virtues, as well as a certain natural desire for whatever good is in accord with reason. By our individual natures we have differing dispositions with respect to different virtues depending on our temperament, strength of memory, intelligence, etc. However, these aptitudes are not the fullness of the virtues. (The theological virtues, along with the infused moral virtues, are completely from the outside.) 

    63,2: Habituation: Human acts cause virtues that are ordered to that good which is regulated by the rule of human reason insofar as they proceed from reason. According to an interesting suggestion by Brian Shanley, O.P. ("Aquinas on Pagan Virtue," The Thomist 63 (1999, 553-577), these acquired "pagan" virtues are ordered to the good of a life of political virtue within the polis.  This means that the key acquired virtue is "general (or legal) justice," i.e., an habitual inclination toward righteousness, and so the deep motivation for all the moral virtues is to make us fit participants in the life of the community (or fit for friendship, one might say) and persons who see the good of the community (the common good) as constitutive of their own good as individuals.  (This is similar to what Socrates means in the Republic by diakosune, which is probably best translated as 'moral uprightness'.)

    However, human acts cannot cause those virtues which order us to the good insofar as that good is included under divine law as a standard and not under human reason as a standard.   

    Note ad 2: The acquired habits that constitute virtues can exist in someone who is in the state of mortal sin, and, as we find out later, a person cannot without grace avoid all mortal sin. (This helps us to understand a bit better how to think about the relation between an acquired moral virtue and the corresponding infused virtue.) 

    63,3-4: Infusion: The really interesting claim here is that in addition to the theological virtues, there are infused moral virtues which accompany the theological virtues and which orient those in the state of grace toward their supernatural end vis-a-vis the subject matters of the acquired moral virtues. In general, St. Thomas's claim is that the three theological virtues stand to the infused moral virtues as natural principles inclining us toward the good stand to the acquired moral virtues, i.e., they serve as the "seeds" or sources of these virtues. Hence, the infused moral virtues bring to perfection in our actions and passions the seeds planted by the theological virtues.  (They do this with the help of the Holy Spirit, whose promptings we are disposed to discern and follow by the gifts of the Holy Spirit.)  These are virtues in the most proper sense of the term, according to St. Thomas.

    One argument for the necessity of such infused virtues is that in the moral virtues seated in appetitive powers such as the will and sentient appetite, the mean dictated by divine revelation is different from that dictated by unaided human reason. A second argument is that the infused virtues order us toward a supernatural end, viz., sanctity (i.e., intimate friendship with the triune God and participation in God's inner life) as citizens of the heavenly kingdom, whereas the corresponding acquired virtues order us toward natural ends such as friendship within a polis and philosophical contemplation.

    Here is an interesting example from art. 4: By the acquired virtue of temperance I modify my intake of food so that it promotes and does not harm my health, and so that it does not impede my use of reason. So, for instance, if I'm putting on too much weight, I undertake a diet with the hope of improving my health and thereby exercising more control over my behavior. So the acquired virtue of temperance is oriented toward a good (health) that is regulated by right reason. Now think of a Lenten fast (perhaps it's better to think of a really extreme Lenten fast). Such a fast, undertaken in a spirit of penance for the sake of the love of God and neighbor, goes beyond anything that right reason (in the narrow sense) could dictate or even recommend--so much so that, according to St. Thomas, it requires infused temperance and infused prudence. And later on St. Thomas goes so far as to claim that it is only the infused moral virtues that are moral virtues in the fullest sense: "Thus, it is clear from what has been said that only the infused virtues are perfect virtues, and only the infused virtues should be called virtues absolutely speaking, since they order a man in the right way, absolutely speaking, toward his ultimate end. The other virtues, i.e., the acquired virtues, are virtues in a certain respect and not virtues absolutely speaking, since they order a man in the right way with respect to the ultimate end in a certain genus, but not with respect to the ultimate end absolutely speaking.  Hence, Augustine’s Gloss on Romans 14:23 ('All that is not of faith is sin') says, 'Where cognition ofthe truth is lacking, there is false virtue even in good behavior'." (65,2). But this raises the question of just what the relation is between infused temperance and acquired temperance. Can the former exist without the latter? St. Thomas's most interesting remarks on this topic occur in 65,3 -- which we will be looking at later in the course.

Question 64: The mean of virtue

    64,1: The replies to the last two objections are especially illuminating and should be read carefully. In general, achieving the mean is a matter of doing the right thing in the right circumstances for the right motive. There is excess when one tends toward the right object in inappropriate circumstances or for the wrong reason, whereas there is defect when one does not tend toward the right object when circumstances dictate it. The mean observed by the infused virtues of virginity and poverty is illuminated by the reply to obj. 3. 
    64,2-4: These articles explain in some detail how a mean is observed (or not observed) in the moral, intellectual, and theological virtues.

Question 65: The connectedness of the virtues
    65,1: The question here is whether one can have the moral virtues in a piecemeal fashion, having some without having others. Or are they connected with one another so intimately that in order to have one, it is necessary to have all of them, or at least all of the principal ones? St. Thomas first distinguishes perfect or complete virtue from what we might call "virtuous inclinations," which can arise either from temperament or habituation, but which have as their objects only the doing of good works and not, as with perfect virtue, doing them well. Such inclinations may be had piecemeal, so that someone might--like, say, Ebeneezer Scrooge--be generally good with respect to certain aspects of his or life (e.g., sobriety or chastity) but not others (e.g., treating others with the respect due them). 

    But it is different with the virtues, properly speaking. Now if we think of the cardinal virtues as general conditions for successful morally good actions, then it is obvious that they are connected, since any virtuous act must involve discretion, firmness, moderation, and rectitude of will. However, one can muster a strong argument even if we think of the cardinal virtues more appropriately according to their matter (the passions for temperance and fortitude, and our treatment of others for justice). The key claim is that prudence is required for every virtue, since every virtue is a habit that is ordered toward right choices--and right choices depend upon appropriate means-ends reasoning. By the same token, one cannot have prudence without the other moral virtues, since they incline us to intend good ends and thus set the context within which prudence must operate if it is to generate good choices of means.  So the moral virtues are connected because of their relation to prudence.

    65,2-3: The infused moral virtues are all connected not only in prudence but also in charity, because charity alone provides the correct appetitive orientation to our true ultimate end. Hence, the acquired moral virtues are virtues only in an extended sense, because they do not of themselves give us the correct affective orientation to the ultimate end, even though they might orient us toward that end per accidens, as it were. (Note the reply to obj. 2 in 65,3.) And just as prudence stands in a relation of mutual dependence with the other cardinal virtues, so charity stands in a relation of mutual dependence with the infused moral virtues, since without those virtues charity could not effect meritorious acts. 

    65,4-5: Likewise, the theological virtues are connected in charity, even though imperfect counterparts of faith and hope can exist without charity.

Question 66: The equality of the virtues
    66,1-6:  In general, there are two ways in which one virtue might be greater than another:  (a) because of its species or (b) because it is had more intensely by some subject than the other is had either by the same subject or another subject.  

    (a) In the first way, prudence is greater than the moral virtues because it perfects reason directly, whereas the virtues seated in the appetites do so only indirectly.  Among the latter, justice is superior to fortitude and temperance because it perfects a higher appetite, viz., the will.  Likewise, fortitude is greater than temperance because the perfection of the irascible appetite, as witnessed by acts of courage, is more praiseworthy than the (mere) perfection of the concupiscible appetites.  Likewise, in this sense charity is the greatest of the theological virtues and wisdom is the greatest of the intellectual virtues.

    (b) As for the second way, there are two senses.  The second sense is the one that concerns us here.  (Actually, the first sense helps St. Thomas to find a way to agree with the Stoics' insistence that moral virtue cannot be greater or lesser whereas art and science can be -- this has to do, claims St. Thomas, with the fact that a virtue had by a subject extends to all the objects it can extend to, whereas this is not the case with the art and science.)  The second sense is in the intensity with which the subject has the virtue -- or, in St. Thomas's more technical language -- the degree to which the subject participates in the virtue.  On this score, he insists (66,1, corpus), against the Stoics, that the virtues can be had in different degrees. Thus, it is not necessary, in order for one to be virtuous, that all virtues be possessed to the highest degree. Further, in 66,2 he claims that in any given virtuous individual, the virtues, like the fingers on one's hand, grow in proportion to one another even if some are greater, i.e., had more intensely, than others; note the last paragraph of the response.

Question 67:  The duration of the virtues after this life

67,1:  The moral virtues remain in the pre-resurrection life of glory to the extent that their formal element, the measure determined by reason, remains.  However, their material element, i.e., inclinations toward experiencing the passions in the right way (fortitude and temperance) or acting in the right way (justice), does not remain.  In the glorified life there will be no occasions for exercising these virtues as we do in this life:  (a) we will not have disordered desires for food or drink or sexual pleasure, and (b) there will be no mortal dangers threatening us, either physical or spiritual, and (c) there will be no call to implement distributive or commutative justice.  However, in the state of glory our reason will still have rectitude and (in the post-resurrection period -- see ad 3) our appetitive powers will move us "wholly in conformity with the order of reason in matters pertaining to that state."

67,2:  In the pre-resurrection state of glory the intellectual virtues remain in the sense that we retain our intelligible species and concepts and hence are able to exercise these virtues in part.

67,3-6:  These articles deal with the theological virtues.  Faith is by its nature an imperfect cognition, since it is defined in part as assent to what is not evident to one. However, this does not itself settle the issue of whether faith continues to exist in the state of glory.  Angels, for instance, have evening knowledge by their nature and morning knowledge through the light of glory, and both coexist in the state of glory.  (Actually, what St. Thomas says here about angelic knowledge provides a key to understanding the relationship between theology and the "philosophical sciences," but I won't go into that here.)

Question 68:  The gifts of the Holy Spirit

Question 69:  The beatitudes

Question 70:  The fruits of the Holy Spirit

An Aristotelian taxonomy of virtues in relation to the different objects of the passions (cf. Nicomachean Ethics 2): 
  • 1. with respect to goods which are apprehended by the sense of touch and which pertain to the maintainence of human life either in the species (sexual pleasure) or the individual (pleasure of food and drink): temperance
  • 2. with respect to goods which are apprehended by an interior sense and which pertain to a human being personally, e.g., money and honor:
    • a. money insofar as it is an object of desire or love or pleasure: liberality
    • b. money insofar as it is an object of hope (involving difficulty): magnificence 
    • c. honor insofar as it is an object of desire or love or pleasure: reasonable love of honor
    • d. honor insofar as it is an object of hope (involving difficulty): magnanimity
  • 3. with respect to goods ordered to someone else:
    • a. the pleasure involved in disposing oneself to another in serious matters:
      • i. being agreeable through fitting words and actions: affability
      • ii. being frank in words and actions: truthfulness
    • b. the pleasure involved in diversions: wittiness
    In the list which comes after this discussion St. Thomas also mentions fortitude, mildness, and justice.