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The Human Acts

Report in Moral Theology
by

Eric Paulin

on 11 January 2013

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Transcript of The Human Acts

The Human Acts Definition The human act is one that is proper to a human being, an act that proceeds from the free will of a man. A human act is an act that is deliberately performed by one possessed of the use of reason. Deliberately performed means that it is done freely and knowingly.
CLASSIFICATIONS OF HUMAN ACTS -The Adequate Cause of Human Acts

-Their Relation to the Dictates of Reason
VOLUNTARINESS OF A HUMAN ACT a.) Degrees of Voluntariness

Perfect – it is present in the human act when the performer fully knows and fully intends the act.

Imperfect – it is present when there is some defect in the agent’s knowledge, intention, or in both
Knowledge – a human act proceeds from the deliberate will.

Freedom – a human act is an act determined by the will and by nothing else.

Voluntariness – the formal essential quality of the human act. Both knowledge and freedom are present.
ESSENTIAL ATTRIBUTES Elicited Acts – These are human acts which find their adequate cause in the will alone.

Commanded Acts – Human acts that do not find their adequate cause in the simple-will act, but are perfected by the action of mental or bodily powers under the control of will.
Wish – the simple love of anything.

Intention – the purposive tendency of the will towards a thing.

Consent – the acceptance by the will of the means necessary to carry out intention.

Election – the selection by the will of the precise means to be employed in carrying out an intention.

Use – the employment by the will of powers to carry out its intention by the means elected.
Fruition – the enjoyment of a thing willed and done.
TYPES OF ELICITED ACTS Internal – acts done by internal mental powers under command of the will.
External – acts affected by bodily powers under command of the will
Mixed – acts that involve the employment of bodily powers and mental powers.
TYPES OF COMMANDED ACTS Good – when they are in harmony with the dictates of right reason.
Evil – when they are in opposition to these dictates
Indifferent – when they stand in no positive relation to the dictates of reason.
THE RELATION OF HUMAN ACTS TO REASON Ignorance – in general, it is the lack of knowledge regarding a certain thing.

Emotion – is a feeling, such as anger, of fear, of joy, or of despair.

Fear – is a mental agitation brought on by the apprehension of some present or imminent danger.

Habits – is a constant disposition that tends to influence one to perform repeatedly similar actions.

Violence – is a force exerted on a person by another in order to compel him to perform a certain action against his will.



HINDRANCES TO
FULL IMPUTABILITY The object of a human act is that which the one acting sets out to do as distinguished from his ultimate purpose in doing it.
The circumstances – are the element which are distinct from the act itself but which change or modify its morality.
The purpose (or end) of a human act – is the intention which prompts one to perform such an act.
MORAL DISTINCTION Simple – it is present in a human act performed, whether the agent likes or dislikes doing it.

Conditional – is present in the agent’s wish to do something other than which he is actually doing.

Direct – is present in a human act willed in itself.

Indirect – is present in that human act which is the foreseen result of another act directly willed.

Positive – is present in a human act of doing, performing.
Negative – is present in a human act of omitting, refraining from doing.
b.) Indirect Voluntariness – is present in that human act which is an effect, foreseen or foreseeable, of another act directly willed. PRINCIPLE OF DOUBLE EFFECT An action that is good in itself that has two effects--an intended and otherwise not reasonably attainable good effect, and an unintended yet foreseen evil effect--is licit, provided there is a due proportion between the intended good and the permitted evil. The object of the act must not be intrinsically contradictory to one's fundamental commitment to God and neighbor (including oneself), that is, it must be a good action judged by its moral object (in other words, the action must not be intrinsically evil); The direct intention of the agent must be to achieve the beneficial effects and to avoid the foreseen harmful effects as far as possible, that is, one must only indirectly intend the harm; The foreseen beneficial effects must not be achieved by the means of the foreseen harmful effects, and no other means of achieving those effects are available; The foreseen beneficial effects must be equal to or greater than the foreseen harmful effects (the proportionate judgment);

The beneficial effects must follow from the action at least as immediately as do the harmful effects. SOURCES:

Very Rev. Francis J. Connell, Outlines of Moral Theology, (The Bruce Publishing Company: Milwaukee)

Right Rev. Msgr. Paul J. Glenn, Ethics: A Class Manual in Moral Philosophy, (B. Herder Book Company: Philippine Copyright, 1968)

Edwin F. Healy, Moral Guidance, (Loyola University Press: Chicago, 1960)
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