Sunday, July 10, 2022

Cooperation with sins against prudence and chastity

Here’s another unpublished talk which I’ve posted at my main website.  It’s titled “Cooperation with Sins against Prudence and Chastity,” and I presented it at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C. in March of 2018, and at Blackfriars Hall at the University of Oxford in January of 2019.  The lecture discusses Aquinas’s account of the nature of prudence or practical wisdom, and of sexual immorality as more corrosive of prudence than any other sin.  It then applies this account to a critique of the pastoral advice given by some churchmen in the wake of Pope Francis’s Amoris Laetitia.  That advice, I argue, amounts to cooperation with sins against chastity, and against prudence more generally.  You can listen to an audio version of the lecture here.

9 comments:

  1. This seems to be your blog of
    http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2018/04/cooperation-with-sins-against-prudence.html

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    1. Yes, it's the same lecture, but I hadn't posted the text of it until now.

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  2. Laurentius Oktavian ZamoyskiJuly 12, 2022 at 5:44 AM

    Nice.

    This essay addresses, among other things, what we might call the psychic effects of lust and a disordered sexual appetite (the so-called "daughers of lust"). As a followup, what might we say about its cultural encouragements? You've mentioned some of that already, and you've already written about how the logic of liberalism is playing out over history (which I agree with; the consequences of ideas play out over time). Might we also speak of a weaponization of this insight? That is, might there be an intentional use of lust to produce precisely the effects you mentioned for the purposes of, say, social control? Might propaganda and various media intentionally exploit lust to achieve certain (or desire to achieve) certain social ends? Could greater sexual permissiveness, sexual "liberation", be a method to acclimate a populace to tightening control, for instance? If so, could that also be an element of not only historical developments, but the current developments vis-a-vis the aggressive imposition of gender ideology and LGBT ideology in general in schools? (Obviously, in quotidian ways, sex is used to sell, as the saying goes.) Or would it be more accurate to entirely attribute the developments of recently history as merely the unfolding of depraved beliefs and attitudes in the vein of Plato's Republic?

    I suppose the question can be reduced to the following: are the motives of those who push ideologies of sexual liberation entirely motivated by a belief in sexual liberation as liberation, or is there also a component of intentional instrumentalization of the daughters of lust?

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    1. Maybe not originally the intention but opportunistic.

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    2. Laurentius Oktavian ZamoyskiJuly 13, 2022 at 7:35 PM

      Indeed, that one is clear. The pandemic was such an occasion to point to one recent and tangible example (a la Rahm Emanuel's never letting a serious crisis go to waste).

      What I have in mind is something like Aldous Huxley's famous quote from "Brave New World" where he claims that sexual liberation tends to coincide with greater political and economic restrictions but in a manner that happens to profit those putting in these restrictions.

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  3. Thoroughly enjoyed the article. Have you previously posted ones specifically devoted to the other three cardinal virtues: courage, temperance and justice?

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  4. I need to catch up on these practical applications after reading Abp Luis Martinez on the Holy Spirit

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  5. Very informative lecture, one can really see how much a disordened will easily makes the intellect go wrong when dealing with certain moral questions.

    I guess than a very important part of the modern emphasis on feelings is that, thanks to the demise of both teleology and his classical natural law and of the christian worldview in general we just lost a rational basis for ethics. The supposed non-existence of these being the basis of our tolerance also does not help. Since the intellect can't choose this or that, we have to guide our action with something else, and feelings will do it, for they need no justification to choose.

    Also on the subject of feelings: I missed on the lecture some time about the habits, virtues and ordered feelings on morality. Sure, the focus was to combat sentimentalism, voluntarism etc, but having so much emphasis on reason left things a bit dry.

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  6. I would note that many so called civilized western governments practice active approbation of all manner of sexual activity in order to distract the populace from their primary purpose of control of the people and maintenance of their own power.

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