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Gerly Telebanco

on 17 October 2013

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Chapter 4
is a science that investigates the nature of the human conduct.
Human Act & Act of Man
I. Nature of the Human Act
Human Acts
are actions that proceed from the deliberate free will of man.
Human acts are characterized as :
The free and voluntary acts of man
Acts done with knowledge and consent
Acts which are proper to man as rational being since man has been gifted with rationality and freedom of will
Acts which are conscious and under our control and for which we are responsible.
Acts of man
refer to a certain types of actions that are naturally exhibited by man and such as they are morally indifferent (or neutral) because we cannot judge them to be either ethical or unethical.
Categories of voluntary actions :
Perfect voluntariness
Imperfect voluntariness
Direct voluntary
Indirect voluntary
1. Natural involuntary actions
- these are actions of man that are performed intuitively or involuntarily, e.g., blinking of the eyes, metabolism, perspiration, beating of the heart.
Two categories of acts of man
2. Natural voluntary actions
- are actions that are within the control of man's will but only for some period of time, e.g., breathing, sleeping, eating, walking.
Human Acts in relation to reason
Good acts are those done by man in harmony with the dictates of right reason.
Evil acts are those actions done by man in contradiction to the dictates of right reason.
Indifferent acts are those acts that are neither good nor evil.
The Voluntariness of the Human Acts
We are responsible for the consequences of our actions even if these are not intended.
Causa causae est etiam causa causati which means " the cause of the cause is also the cause of the thing caused."
The Moral Principle Involved in Actions Having Two Effects (The Indirect Voluntary Act)
A difficult question sometimes arises as to whether it would be morally right to do certain actions from which good as well as bad effects follow ; meaning is it morally right to do an act which entails good as well as bad consequences?
Answer to this question is Yes, provided one follows the following conditions
1. The action must be morally good in itself, or at least morally indifferent.
2. The good effect of the act must precede the evil effect. The evil effect is morally allowed to happen as a regrettable consequence.
3. There must be a grave or sufficient reason in doing the act.
4. The evil effect should not outweigh the good effect or, at least, the good effect should be equivalent in importance to the evil act.
The factors that link human acts with their norms.
As the link, the determinants of morality serve as the measure of the goodness and the evilness of the human act.
The Determinants of Morality
Three determinants of morality
1. The End of the Action - this refers to the natural purpose of the act or that in which the act in its very nature terminates or results, thus, the end of the action of studying is learning.
2. The End of the Actor - this refers to the intention or the movie of the doer of the act. This is to be distinguished from the end of the action. The motive of the agent varies with different individuals, while the end of the act is always the same.
3. Circumstances of the Act - refer to the conditions that affect the human act by increasing or decreasing the responsibility of the actor.
The following are considered the circumstances of the act because they can either aggravate or mitigate the culpability of the actor :
Who - refers to the person or the one to whom the act is ascribed.
What - refers to the quality or the quantity of the object of the act.
Where - refers to the place where the act is performed.
How - refers to the manner or mode by which the act is performed.
By what means - refers to the means employed by the actor.
When - refers to the circumstances of time.
Why - refers to the circumstances of end or intention of the act.
The Principles Involved in the Circumstances of the Action
Paul Glenn (1968) writes five principles involving the implications of the circumstances of the act :

1. An indifferent act can become good or evil through circumstances, e.g., eating meat is indifferent, However, eating meat on Good Friday intentionally is evil.
2. A good act can become evil through circumstances, e.g., giving money to poor people is a good action. However, giving money to same poor people to buy votes during elections is evil.
3. An intrinsically good act can become better or an intrinsically evil act can become worse through circumstances, e.g., visiting a sick person to comfort him is a good action. However, not visiting a mother who is sick in the hospital out of hatred is worse.
4. An evil act can never become good through circumstance, e.g., stealing money to buy food cannot make the action of stealing good.
5. A good act done with evil means destroys the entire objective goodness of the act, e.g., giving food to the hungry is a good action. However, giving money to the hungry through robbery is evil.


First Reporter : Gerly L. Telebanco
second Reporter : Sheryl Ann F. de Jongoy
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