Summa Th. II-II EN Qu.49

Q49: OF EACH QUASI-INTEGRAL PART OF PRUDENCE (EIGHT ARTICLES)




We must now consider each quasi-integral part of prudence, and under this head there are eight points of inquiry:

(1) Memory;

(2) Understanding or Intelligence;

(3) Docility;

(4) Shrewdness;

(5) Reason;

(6) Foresight;

(7) Circumspection;

(8) Caution.



Whether memory is a part of prudence?


Objection: 1. It would seem that memory is not a part of prudence. For memory, as the Philosopher proves (De Memor. et Remin. i), is in the sensitive part of the soul: whereas prudence is in the rational part (Ethic. vi, 5). Therefore memory is not a part of prudence.
2. Further, prudence is acquired and perfected by experience, whereas memory is in us from nature. Therefore memory is not a part of prudence.
3. Further, memory regards the past, whereas prudence regards future matters of action, about which counsel is concerned, as stated in Ethic. vi, 2,7. Therefore memory is not a part of prudence.

On the contrary Tully (De Invent. Rhet. ii, 53) places memory among the parts of prudence.
I answer that Prudence regards contingent matters of action, as stated above (Question [47], Article [5]). Now in such like matters a man can be directed, not by those things that are simply and necessarily true, but by those which occur in the majority of cases: because principles must be proportionate to their conclusions, and "like must be concluded from like" (Ethic. vi [*Anal. Post. i. 32]). But we need experience to discover what is true in the majority of cases: wherefore the Philosopher says (Ethic. ii, 1) that "intellectual virtue is engendered and fostered by experience and time." Now experience is the result of many memories as stated in Metaph. i, 1, and therefore prudence requires the memory of many things. Hence memory is fittingly accounted a part of prudence.

Reply to Objection: 1. As stated above (Question [47], Articles [3],6), prudence applies universal knowledge to particulars which are objects of sense: hence many things belonging to the sensitive faculties are requisite for prudence, and memory is one of them.
2. Just as aptitude for prudence is in our nature, while its perfection comes through practice or grace, so too, as Tully says in his Rhetoric [*Ad Herenn. de Arte Rhet. iii, 16,24], memory not only arises from nature, but is also aided by art and diligence.There are four things whereby a man perfects his memory. First, when a man wishes to remember a thing, he should take some suitable yet somewhat unwonted illustration of it, since the unwonted strikes us more, and so makes a greater and stronger impression on the mind; the mind; and this explains why we remember better what we saw when we were children. Now the reason for the necessity of finding these illustrations or images, is that simple and spiritual impressions easily slip from the mind, unless they be tied as it were to some corporeal image, because human knowledge has a greater hold on sensible objects. For this reason memory is assigned to the sensitive part of the soul. Secondly, whatever a man wishes to retain in his memory he must carefully consider and set in order, so that he may pass easily from one memory to another. Hence the Philosopher says (De Memor. et Remin. ii): "Sometimes a place brings memories back to us: the reason being that we pass quickly from the one to the other." Thirdly, we must be anxious and earnest about the things we wish to remember, because the more a thing is impressed on the mind, the less it is liable to slip out of it. Wherefore Tully says in his Rhetoric [*Ad Herenn. de Arte Rhet. iii.] that "anxiety preserves the figures of images entire." Fourthly, we should often reflect on the things we wish to remember. Hence the Philosopher says (De Memoria i) that "reflection preserves memories," because as he remarks (De Memoria ii) "custom is a second nature": wherefore when we reflect on a thing frequently, we quickly call it to mind, through passing from one thing to another by a kind of natural order.
3. It behooves us to argue, as it were, about the future from the past; wherefore memory of the past is necessary in order to take good counsel for the future.



Whether understanding* is a part of prudence? [*Otherwise intuition; Aristotle's word is (nous)]



Objection: 1. It would seem that understanding is not a part of prudence. When two things are members of a division, one is not part of the other. But intellectual virtue is divided into understanding and prudence, according to Ethic. vi, 3. Therefore understanding should not be reckoned a part of prudence.
2. Further, understanding is numbered among the gifts of the Holy Ghost, and corresponds to faith, as stated above (Question [8], Articles [1],8). But prudence is a virtue other than faith, as is clear from what has been said above (Question [4], Article [8]; I-II 62,2). Therefore understanding does not pertain to prudence.
3. Further, prudence is about singular matters of action (Ethic. vi, 7): whereas understanding takes cognizance of universal and immaterial objects (De Anima iii, 4). Therefore understanding is not a part of prudence.

On the contrary Tully [*De Invent. Rhet. ii, 53] accounts "intelligence" a part of prudence, and Macrobius [*In Somn. Scip. i, 8] mentions "understanding," which comes to the same.
I answer that Understanding denotes here, not the intellectual power, but the right estimate about some final principle, which is taken as self-evident: thus we are said to understand the first principles of demonstrations. Now every deduction of reason proceeds from certain statements which are taken as primary: wherefore every process of reasoning must needs proceed from some understanding. Therefore since prudence is right reason applied to action, the whole process of prudence must needs have its source in understanding. Hence it is that understanding is reckoned a part of prudence.

Reply to Objection: 1. The reasoning of prudence terminates, as in a conclusion, in the particular matter of action, to which, as stated above (Question [47], Articles [3],6), it applies the knowledge of some universal principle. Now a singular conclusion is argued from a universal and a singular proposition. Wherefore the reasoning of prudence must proceed from a twofold understanding. The one is cognizant of universals, and this belongs to the understanding which is an intellectual virtue, whereby we know naturally not only speculative principles, but also practical universal principles, such as "One should do evil to no man," as shown above (Question [47], Article [6]). The other understanding, as stated in Ethic. vi, 11, is cognizant of an extreme, i.e. of some primary singular and contingent practical matter, viz. the minor premiss, which must needs be singular in the syllogism of prudence, as stated above (Question [47], Articles [3],6). Now this primary singular is some singular end, as stated in the same place. Wherefore the understanding which is a part of prudence is a right estimate of some particular end.
2. The understanding which is a gift of the Holy Ghost, is a quick insight into divine things, as shown above (Question [8], Articles [1],2). It is in another sense that it is accounted a part of prudence, as stated above.
3. The right estimate about a particular end is called both "understanding," in so far as its object is a principle, and "sense," in so far as its object is a particular. This is what the Philosopher means when he says (Ethic. v, 11): "Of such things we need to have the sense, and this is understanding." But this is to be understood as referring, not to the particular sense whereby we know proper sensibles, but to the interior sense, whereby we judge of a particular.



Whether docility should be accounted a part of prudence?



Objection: 1. It would seem that docility should not be accounted a part of prudence. For that which is a necessary condition of every intellectual virtue, should not be appropriated to one of them. But docility is requisite for every intellectual virtue. Therefore it should not be accounted a part of prudence.
2. Further, that which pertains to a human virtue is in our power, since it is for things that are in our power that we are praised or blamed. Now it is not in our power to be docile, for this is befitting to some through their natural disposition. Therefore it is not a part of prudence.
3. Further, docility is in the disciple: whereas prudence, since it makes precepts, seems rather to belong to teachers, who are also called "preceptors." Therefore docility is not a part of prudence.

On the contrary Macrobius [*In Somn. Scip. i, 8] following the opinion of Plotinus places docility among the parts of prudence.
I answer that As stated above (Article [2], ad 1; Question [47], Article [3]) prudence is concerned with particular matters of action, and since such matters are of infinite variety, no one man can consider them all sufficiently; nor can this be done quickly, for it requires length of time. Hence in matters of prudence man stands in very great need of being taught by others, especially by old folk who have acquired a sane understanding of the ends in practical matters. Wherefore the Philosopher says (Ethic. vi, 11): "It is right to pay no less attention to the undemonstrated assertions and opinions of such persons as are experienced, older than we are, and prudent, than to their demonstrations, for their experience gives them an insight into principles." Thus it is written (Pr 3,5): "Lean not on thy own prudence," and (Si 6,35): "Stand in the multitude of the ancients" (i.e. the old men), "that are wise, and join thyself from thy heart to their wisdom." Now it is a mark of docility to be ready to be taught: and consequently docility is fittingly reckoned a part of prudence

Reply to Objection: 1. Although docility is useful for every intellectual virtue, yet it belongs to prudence chiefly, for the reason given above.
2. Man has a natural aptitude for docility even as for other things connected with prudence. Yet his own efforts count for much towards the attainment of perfect docility: and he must carefully, frequently and reverently apply his mind to the teachings of the learned, neither neglecting them through laziness, nor despising them through pride.
3. By prudence man makes precepts not only for others, but also for himself, as stated above (Question [47], Article [12], ad 3). Hence as stated (Ethic. vi, 11), even in subjects, there is place for prudence; to which docility pertains. And yet even the learned should be docile in some respects, since no man is altogether self-sufficient in matters of prudence, as stated above.



Whether shrewdness is part of prudence?



Objection: 1. It would seem that shrewdness is not a part of prudence. For shrewdness consists in easily finding the middle term for demonstrations, as stated in Poster. i, 34. Now the reasoning of prudence is not a demonstration since it deals with contingencies. Therefore shrewdness does not pertain to prudence.
2. Further, good counsel pertains to prudence according to Ethic. vi, 5,7,9. Now there is no place in good counsel for shrewdness [*Ethic. vi, 9; Poster. i, 34] which is a kind of (eustochia), i.e. "a happy conjecture": for the latter is "unreasoning and rapid," whereas counsel needs to be slow, as stated in Ethic. vi, 9. Therefore shrewdness should not be accounted a part of prudence.
3. Further, shrewdness as stated above (Question [48]) is a "happy conjecture." Now it belongs to rhetoricians to make use of conjectures. Therefore shrewdness belongs to rhetoric rather than to prudence.

On the contrary Isidore says (Etym. x): "A solicitous man is one who is shrewd and alert [solers citus]." But solicitude belongs to prudence, as stated above (Question [47], Article [9]). Therefore shrewdness does also.
I answer that Prudence consists in a right estimate about matters of action. Now a right estimate or opinion is acquired in two ways, both in practical and in speculative matters, first by discovering it oneself, secondly by learning it from others. Now just as docility consists in a man being well disposed to acquire a right opinion from another man, so shrewdness is an apt disposition to acquire a right estimate by oneself, yet so that shrewdness be taken for (eustochia), of which it is a part. For (eustochia) is a happy conjecture about any matter, while shrewdness is "an easy and rapid conjecture in finding the middle term" (Poster. i, 34). Nevertheless the philosopher [*Andronicus; Cf. Question [48], Objection [1]] who calls shrewdness a part of prudence, takes it for (eustochia), in general, hence he says: "Shrewdness is a habit whereby congruities are discovered rapidly."

Reply to Objection: 1. Shrewdness is concerned with the discovery of the middle term not only in demonstrative, but also in practical syllogisms, as, for instance, when two men are seen to be friends they are reckoned to be enemies of a third one, as the Philosopher says (Poster. i, 34). In this way shrewdness belongs to prudence.
2. The Philosopher adduces the true reason (Ethic. vi, 9) to prove that (euboulia), i.e. good counsel, is not (eustochia), which is commended for grasping quickly what should be done. Now a man may take good counsel, though he be long and slow in so doing, and yet this does not discount the utility of a happy conjecture in taking good counsel: indeed it is sometimes a necessity, when, for instance, something has to be done without warning. It is for this reason that shrewdness is fittingly reckoned a part of prudence.
3. Rhetoric also reasons about practical matters, wherefore nothing hinders the same thing belonging both to rhetoric and prudence. Nevertheless, conjecture is taken here not only in the sense in which it is employed by rhetoricians, but also as applicable to all matters whatsoever wherein man is said to conjecture the truth.



Whether reason should be reckoned a part of prudence?



Objection: 1. It would seem that reason should not be reckoned a part of prudence. For the subject of an accident is not a part thereof. But prudence is in the reason as its subject (Ethic. vi, 5). Therefore reason should not be reckoned a part of prudence.
2. Further, that which is common to many, should not be reckoned a part of any one of them; or if it be so reckoned, it should be reckoned a part of that one to which it chiefly belongs. Now reason is necessary in all the intellectual virtues, and chiefly in wisdom and science, which employ a demonstrative reason. Therefore reason should not be reckoned a part of prudence
3. Further, reason as a power does not differ essentially from the intelligence, as stated above (I 79,8). If therefore intelligence be reckoned a part of prudence, it is superfluous to add reason.

On the contrary Macrobius [*In Somn. Scip. i], following the opinion of Plotinus, numbers reason among the parts of prudence.
I answer that The work of prudence is to take good counsel, as stated in Ethic. vi, 7. Now counsel is a research proceeding from certain things to others. But this is the work of reason. Wherefore it is requisite for prudence that man should be an apt reasoner. And since the things required for the perfection of prudence are called requisite or quasi-integral parts of prudence, it follows that reason should be numbered among these parts.

Reply to Objection: 1. Reason denotes here, not the power of reason, but its good use.
2. The certitude of reason comes from the intellect. Yet the need of reason is from a defect in the intellect, since those things in which the intellective power is in full vigor, have no need for reason, for they comprehend the truth by their simple insight, as do God and the angels. On the other hand particular matters of action, wherein prudence guides, are very far from the condition of things intelligible, and so much the farther, as they are less certain and fixed. Thus matters of art, though they are singular, are nevertheless more fixed and certain, wherefore in many of them there is no room for counsel on account of their certitude, as stated in Ethic. iii, 3. Hence, although in certain other intellectual virtues reason is more certain than in prudence, yet prudence above all requires that man be an apt reasoner, so that he may rightly apply universals to particulars, which latter are various and uncertain.
3. Although intelligence and reason are not different powers, yet they are named after different acts. For intelligence takes its name from being an intimate penetration of the truth [*Cf. SS, Question [8], Article [1]], while reason is so called from being inquisitive and discursive. Hence each is accounted a part of reason as explained above (Article [2]; Question [47], Article [2],3).


Whether foresight* should be accounted a part of prudence? [*"Providentia," which may be translated either "providence" or "foresight."]



Objection: 1. It would seem that foresight should not be accounted a part of prudence. For nothing is part of itself. Now foresight seems to be the same as prudence, because according to Isidore (Etym. x), "a prudent man is one who sees from afar [porro videns]": and this is also the derivation of "providentia [foresight]," according to Boethius (De Consol. v). Therefore foresight is not a part of prudence.
2. Further, prudence is only practical, whereas foresight may be also speculative, because "seeing," whence we have the word "to foresee," has more to do with speculation than operation. Therefore foresight is not a part of prudence.
3. Further, the chief act of prudence is to command, while its secondary act is to judge and to take counsel. But none of these seems to be properly implied by foresight. Therefore foresight is not part of prudence.

On the contrary On the contrary stands the authority of Tully and Macrobius, who number foresight among the parts of prudence, as stated above (Question [48]).
I answer that As stated above (Question [47], Article [1], ad 2, Articles [6],13), prudence is properly about the means to an end, and its proper work is to set them in due order to the end. And although certain things are necessary for an end, which are subject to divine providence, yet nothing is subject to human providence except the contingent matters of actions which can be done by man for an end. Now the past has become a kind of necessity, since what has been done cannot be undone. In like manner, the present as such, has a kind of necessity, since it is necessary that Socrates sit, so long as he sits.Consequently, future contingents, in so far as they can be directed by man to the end of human life, are the matter of prudence: and each of these things is implied in the word foresight, for it implies the notion of something distant, to which that which occurs in the present has to be directed. Therefore foresight is part of prudence.

Reply to Objection: 1. Whenever many things are requisite for a unity, one of them must needs be the principal to which all the others are subordinate. Hence in every whole one part must be formal and predominant, whence the whole has unity. Accordingly foresight is the principal of all the parts of prudence, since whatever else is required for prudence, is necessary precisely that some particular thing may be rightly directed to its end. Hence it is that the very name of prudence is taken from foresight [providentia] as from its principal part.
2. Speculation is about universal and necessary things, which, in themselves, are not distant, since they are everywhere and always, though they are distant from us, in so far as we fail to know them. Hence foresight does not apply properly to speculative, but only to practical matters.
3. Right order to an end which is included in the notion of foresight, contains rectitude of counsel, judgment and command, without which no right order to the end is possible.



Whether circumspection can be a part of prudence?



Objection: 1. It would seem that circumspection cannot be a part of prudence. For circumspection seems to signify looking at one's surroundings. But these are of infinite number, and cannot be considered by the reason wherein is prudence. Therefore circumspection should not be reckoned a part of prudence.
2. Further, circumstances seem to be the concern of moral virtues rather than of prudence. But circumspection seems to denote nothing but attention to circumstances. Therefore circumspection apparently belongs to the moral virtues rather than to prudence.
3. Further, whoever can see things afar off can much more see things that are near. Now foresight enables a man to look on distant things. Therefore there is no need to account circumspection a part of prudence in addition to foresight.

On the contrary On the contrary stands the authority of Macrobius, quoted above (Question [48]).
I answer that As stated above (Article [6]), it belongs to prudence chiefly to direct something aright to an end; and this is not done aright unless both the end be good, and the means good and suitable.Since, however, prudence, as stated above (Question [47], Article [3]) is about singular matters of action, which contain many combinations of circumstances, it happens that a thing is good in itself and suitable to the end, and nevertheless becomes evil or unsuitable to the end, by reason of some combination of circumstances. Thus to show signs of love to someone seems, considered in itself, to be a fitting way to arouse love in his heart, yet if pride or suspicion of flattery arise in his heart, it will no longer be a means suitable to the end. Hence the need of circumspection in prudence, viz. of comparing the means with the circumstances.

Reply to Objection: 1. Though the number of possible circumstances be infinite, the number of actual circumstances is not; and the judgment of reason in matters of action is influenced by things which are few in number
2. Circumstances are the concern of prudence, because prudence has to fix them; on the other hand they are the concern of moral virtues, in so far as moral virtues are perfected by the fixing of circumstances.
3. Just as it belongs to foresight to look on that which is by its nature suitable to an end, so it belongs to circumspection to consider whether it be suitable to the end in view of the circumstances. Now each of these presents a difficulty of its own, and therefore each is reckoned a distinct part of prudence.



Whether caution should be reckoned a part of prudence?



Objection: 1. It would seem that caution should not be reckoned a part of prudence. For when no evil is possible, no caution is required. Now no man makes evil use of virtue, as Augustine declares (De Lib. Arb. ii, 19). Therefore caution does not belong to prudence which directs the virtues.
2. Further, to foresee good and to avoid evil belong to the same faculty, just as the same art gives health and cures ill-health. Now it belongs to foresight to foresee good, and consequently, also to avoid evil. Therefore caution should not be accounted a part of prudence, distinct from foresight.
3. Further, no prudent man strives for the impossible. But no man can take precautions against all possible evils. Therefore caution does not belong to prudence.

On the contrary The Apostle says (Ep 5,15): "See how you walk cautiously [Douay: 'circumspectly']."
I answer that The things with which prudence is concerned, are contingent matters of action, wherein, even as false is found with true, so is evil mingled with good, on account of the great variety of these matters of action, wherein good is often hindered by evil, and evil has the appearance of good. Wherefore prudence needs caution, so that we may have such a grasp of good as to avoid evil.

Reply to Objection: 1. Caution is required in moral acts, that we may be on our guard, not against acts of virtue, but against the hindrance of acts of virtue.
2. It is the same in idea, to ensue good and to avoid the opposite evil, but the avoidance of outward hindrances is different in idea. Hence caution differs from foresight, although they both belong to the one virtue of prudence.
3. Of the evils which man has to avoid, some are of frequent occurrence; the like can be grasped by reason, and against them caution is directed, either that they may be avoided altogether, or that they may do less harm. Others there are that occur rarely and by chance, and these, since they are infinite in number, cannot be grasped by reason, nor is man able to take precautions against them, although by exercising prudence he is able to prepare against all the surprises of chance, so as to suffer less harm thereby.



Q50: OF THE SUBJECTIVE PARTS OF PRUDENCE (FOUR ARTICLES)




We must, in due sequence, consider the subjective parts of prudence. And since we have already spoken of the prudence with which a man rules himself (Question [47], seqq.), it remains for us to discuss the species of prudence whereby a multitude is governed. Under this head there are four points of inquiry:

(1) Whether a species of prudence is regnative?

(2) Whether political and (3) domestic economy are species of prudence?

(4) Whether military prudence is?



Whether a species of prudence is regnative?



Objection: 1. It would seem that regnative should not be reckoned a species of prudence. For regnative prudence is directed to the preservation of justice, since according to Ethic. v, 6 the prince is the guardian of justice. Therefore regnative prudence belongs to justice rather than to prudence.
2. Further, according to the Philosopher (Polit. iii, 5) a kingdom [regnum] is one of six species of government. But no species of prudence is ascribed to the other five forms of government, which are "aristocracy," "polity," also called "timocracy" [*Cf. Ethic. viii, 10], "tyranny," "oligarchy" and "democracy." Therefore neither should a regnative species be ascribed to a kingdom.
3. Further, lawgiving belongs not only to kings, but also to certain others placed in authority, and even to the people, according to Isidore (Etym. v). Now the Philosopher (Ethic. vi, 8) reckons a part of prudence to be "legislative." Therefore it is not becoming to substitute regnative prudence in its place.

On the contrary The Philosopher says (Polit. iii, 11) that "prudence is a virtue which is proper to the prince." Therefore a special kind of prudence is regnative.
I answer that As stated above (Question [47], Articles [8],10), it belongs to prudence to govern and command, so that wherever in human acts we find a special kind of governance and command, there must be a special kind of prudence. Now it is evident that there is a special and perfect kind of governance in one who has to govern not only himself but also the perfect community of a city or kingdom; because a government is the more perfect according as it is more universal, extends to more matters, and attains a higher end. Hence prudence in its special and most perfect sense, belongs to a king who is charged with the government of a city or kingdom: for which reason a species of prudence is reckoned to be regnative.

Reply to Objection: 1. All matters connected with moral virtue belong to prudence as their guide, wherefore "right reason in accord with prudence" is included in the definition of moral virtue, as stated above (Question [47], Article [5], ad 1; I-II 58,2, ad 4). For this reason also the execution of justice in so far as it is directed to the common good, which is part of the kingly office, needs the guidance of prudence. Hence these two virtues---prudence and justice---belong most properly to a king, according to Jr 23,5: "A king shall reign and shall be wise, and shall execute justice and judgment in the earth." Since, however, direction belongs rather to the king, and execution to his subjects, regnative prudence is reckoned a species of prudence which is directive, rather than to justice which is executive.
2. A kingdom is the best of all governments, as stated in Ethic. viii, 10: wherefore the species of prudence should be denominated rather from a kingdom, yet so as to comprehend under regnative all other rightful forms of government, but not perverse forms which are opposed to virtue, and which, accordingly, do not pertain to prudence.
3. The Philosopher names regnative prudence after the principal act of a king which is to make laws, and although this applies to the other forms of government, this is only in so far as they have a share of kingly government.



Whether political prudence is fittingly accounted a part of prudence?


Objection: 1. It would seem that political prudence is not fittingly accounted a part of prudence. For regnative is a part of political prudence, as stated above (Article [1]). But a part should not be reckoned a species with the whole. Therefore political prudence should not be reckoned a part of prudence.
2. Further, the species of habits are distinguished by their various objects. Now what the ruler has to command is the same as what the subject has to execute. Therefore political prudence as regards the subjects, should not be reckoned a species of prudence distinct from regnative prudence.
3. Further, each subject is an individual person. Now each individual person can direct himself sufficiently by prudence commonly so called. Therefore there is no need of a special kind of prudence called political.

On the contrary The Philosopher says (Ethic. vi, 8) that "of the prudence which is concerned with the state one kind is a master-prudence and is called legislative; another kind bears the common name political, and deals with individuals."
I answer that A slave is moved by his master, and a subject by his ruler, by command, but otherwise than as irrational and inanimate beings are set in motion by their movers. For irrational and inanimate beings are moved only by others and do not put themselves in motion, since they have no free-will whereby to be masters of their own actions, wherefore the rectitude of their government is not in their power but in the power of their movers. On the other hand, men who are slaves or subjects in any sense, are moved by the commands of others in such a way that they move themselves by their free-will; wherefore some kind of rectitude of government is required in them, so that they may direct themselves in obeying their superiors; and to this belongs that species of prudence which is called political.

Reply to Objection: 1. As stated above, regnative is the most perfect species of prudence, wherefore the prudence of subjects, which falls short of regnative prudence, retains the common name of political prudence, even as in logic a convertible term which does not denote the essence of a thing retains the name of "proper."
2. A different aspect of the object diversifies the species of a habit, as stated above (Question [47], Article [5]). Now the same actions are considered by the king, but under a more general aspect, as by his subjects who obey: since many obey one king in various departments. Hence regnative prudence is compared to this political prudence of which we are speaking, as mastercraft to handicraft.
3. Man directs himself by prudence commonly so called, in relation to his own good, but by political prudence, of which we speak, he directs himself in relation to the common good.



Whether a part of prudence should be reckoned to be domestic?



Objection: 1. It would seem that domestic should not be reckoned a part of prudence. For, according to the Philosopher (Ethic. vi, 5) "prudence is directed to a good life in general": whereas domestic prudence is directed to a particular end, viz. wealth, according to Ethic. i, 1. Therefore a species of prudence is not domestic.
2. Further, as stated above (Question [47], Article [13]) prudence is only in good people. But domestic prudence may be also in wicked people, since many sinners are provident in governing their household. Therefore domestic prudence should not be reckoned a species of prudence.
3. Further, just as in a kingdom there is a ruler and subject, so also is there in a household. If therefore domestic like political is a species of prudence, there should be a paternal corresponding to regnative prudence. Now there is no such prudence. Therefore neither should domestic prudence be accounted a species of prudence.

On the contrary The Philosopher states (Ethic. vi, 8) that there are various kinds of prudence in the government of a multitude, "one of which is domestic, another legislative, and another political."
I answer that Different aspects of an object, in respect of universality and particularity, or of totality and partiality, diversify arts and virtues; and in respect of such diversity one act of virtue is principal as compared with another. Now it is evident that a household is a mean between the individual and the city or kingdom, since just as the individual is part of the household, so is the household part of the city or kingdom. And therefore, just as prudence commonly so called which governs the individual, is distinct from political prudence, so must domestic prudence be distinct from both.

Reply to Objection: 1. Riches are compared to domestic prudence, not as its last end, but as its instrument, as stated in Polit. i, 3. On the other hand, the end of political prudence is "a good life in general" as regards the conduct of the household. In Ethic. i, 1 the Philosopher speaks of riches as the end of political prudence, by way of example and in accordance with the opinion of many.
2. Some sinners may be provident in certain matters of detail concerning the disposition of their household, but not in regard to "a good life in general" as regards the conduct of the household, for which above all a virtuous life is required.
3. The father has in his household an authority like that of a king, as stated in Ethic. viii, 10, but he has not the full power of a king, wherefore paternal government is not reckoned a distinct species of prudence, like regnative prudence.




Summa Th. II-II EN Qu.49