Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Announcement of Public Doctoral Dissertation Defense


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Author:
Francisco Romero Carrasquillo, PhD Cand.

Title: The Finality of the Religion in Aquinas’ Theory of Human Acts

Defense Location:
Alumni Memorial Union, 254
Marquette University
1442 West Wisconsin Avenue
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53201-1881

Date/Time: Fri., May 22, 2009 @ 9:30 a.m.

Dissertation Committee:
Director: David B. Twetten (Philosophy Department)
Readers: Fr. Roland Teske (Philosophy Dept.), Richard Taylor (Philosophy Dept), Mark Johnson (Theology Dept).

Dissertation Abstract: The study examines the end or purpose of the acts of the virtue of religion within Thomas Aquinas’ ethics of human action. What is the end of religious worship? Is it God, or is it the worshippers themselves? On the one hand, one would presume that God cannot be the end of religion because, from the perspective of Classical Theism (of which Aquinas is a main proponent), God cannot benefit from the activity of creatures. But on the other hand, if the worshipper is the end of religious acts, would not worship be a self-centered or an egotistic act? The standard Thomistic account of the problem, first laid out by Cajetan and later adopted by countless followers, is that God is the finis cuius (‘the aim toward which’) of the acts of the virtue of religion, whereas the religious worshipper is the finis quo (the beneficiary) of the acts. I argue that this solution, which is based on a single text of Aquinas (ST II-II.81.7c), is insufficient. After examining Aquinas' theory of action (the doctrine of object, end, and circumstances presented in ST I-II.18), I show how the object of a particular human act can be interpreted as the finis operis (the end of the agent’s act). Utilizing this principle of the identity between the object and the finis operis, I argue that the finis operis of religion can be summed up as a threefold sequence of ends: the honor, reverence, and glory of God. As a result, the ultimate beneficiary of acts of religious worship is neither God nor the individual worshipper, but rather the totality of the universe, encapsulated by Aquinas in his notion of divine ‘glory’, i.e., the extrinsic manifestation of God’s intrinsic goodness within the universe.


Note: Event is open to the general public.
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