The Cardinal Virtues: Prudence, Justice, Fortitude, and Temperance

The Cardinal Virtues: Prudence, Justice, Fortitude, and Temperance

The Cardinal Virtues: Prudence, Justice, Fortitude, and Temperance

The Cardinal Virtues: Prudence, Justice, Fortitude, and Temperance


This newly translated and streamlined compilation of the texts on prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance from the Summa Theologica II-II follows the question-and-answer format of the original while omitting almost all appeals to authority. Minor objections and replies have also been omitted. A general Introduction to the moral thought of Thomas Aquinas, introductory notes on the texts, an extensive glossary of key terms, and a selective bibliography supplement the texts.


Several years ago, I translated and edited an anthology of Thomas Aquinas' texts of philosophical importance in ST I and I-II (A Summary of Philosophy, cited in the Select Bibliography). This work extends that effort to Aquinas' treatment of the cardinal virtues in ST II-II. The book is chiefly designed for undergraduate courses in ethics or moral theology. It complements his treatment of human acts, virtue, and law in ST I-II, which was translated amply in Virtue: Way to Happiness and fully in the Treatise on Law, both cited in the Select Bibliography. Instructors of such courses may wish to combine consideration of Aquinas' ethical views with those of other philosophers or theologians. The book will also be useful as a reader for nonacademics and a reference source for nonspecialists.

I have followed the question-and-answer format of Aquinas. The answers are in his own words, although I have edited the texts to delete almost all citations of Scripture and other philosophers and theologians. I otherwise fully provide his answers to the questions and his arguments to support his answers. I have retained only the objections and his replies to them that I deem most important. The numbering of the objections is mine, not that of Aquinas in the Summa. I have placed the selected objections and his replies to them after the answers to the questions. I have added italicized introductory notes to the chapter sections, and these notes aim to provide the reader with helpful guidance. The Glossary explains key terms to assist the reader, and the Select Bibliography directs the reader to important works on Aquinas' thought.

The Latin text on which I based my translation is the 1952 Marietti recension of the Leonine text. The University of Scranton Press has graciously granted permission to adapt part of the introduction to Virtue: Way to Happiness for use in the Introduction to this work. I am indebted to Douglas Kries of Gonzaga University for his thorough review of the manuscript and many helpful suggestions. I am also most grateful to Brian Rak of Hackett Publishing Company for his encouragement and careful attention to the manuscript.


Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.