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  2. Copyright Act No (as at 30 December ), Public Act – New Zealand Legislation
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Article 5.

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Whether the will is evil when it is at variance with erring reason? It would seem that the will is not evil when it is at variance with erring reason. Because the reason is the rule of the human will, in so far as it is derived from the eternal law , as stated above Article 4. But erring reason is not derived from the eternal law.

Therefore erring reason is not the rule of the human will. Therefore the will is not evil , if it be at variance with erring reason. Further, according to Augustine , the command of a lower authority does not bind if it be contrary to the command of a higher authority: for instance, if a provincial governor command something that is forbidden by the emperor. But erring reason sometimes proposes what is against the command of a higher power, namely, God Whose power is supreme. Therefore the decision of an erring reason does not bind. Consequently the will is not evil if it be at variance with erring reason.

Further, every evil will is reducible to some species of malice.


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But the will that is at variance with erring reason is not reducible to some species of malice. For instance, if a man's reason err in telling him to commit fornication, his will in not willing to do so, cannot be reduced to any species of malice. Therefore the will is not evil when it is at variance with erring reason. On the contrary, As stated in the I , conscience is nothing else than the application of knowledge to some action.

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Now knowledge is in the reason. Therefore when the will is at variance with erring reason, it is against conscience. But every such will is evil ; for it is written Romans : "All that is not of faith "—i. I answer that, Since conscience is a kind of dictate of the reason for it is an application of knowledge to action, as was stated in the I , to inquire whether the will is evil when it is at variance with erring reason, is the same as to inquire "whether an erring conscience binds.

And they say that if reason or conscience tell us to do something which is good generically, there is no error : and in like manner if it tell us not to do something which is evil generically; since it is the same reason that prescribes what is good and forbids what is evil. On the other hand if a man's reason or conscience tells him that he is bound by precept to do what is evil in itself; or that what is good in itself, is forbidden, then his reason or conscience errs. In like manner if a man's reason or conscience tell him, that what is indifferent in itself, for instance to raise a straw from the ground, is forbidden or commanded, his reason or conscience errs.

Copyright Act No (as at 30 December ), Public Act – New Zealand Legislation

They say, therefore, that reason or conscience when erring in matters of indifference, either by commanding or by forbidding them, binds: so that the will which is at variance with that erring reason is evil and sinful. But they say that when reason or conscience errs in commanding what is evil in itself, or in forbidding what is good in itself and necessary for salvation , it does not bind; wherefore in such cases the will which is at variance with erring reason or conscience is not evil. But this is unreasonable. For in matters of indifference, the will that is at variance with erring reason or conscience , is evil in some way on account of the object, on which the goodness or malice of the will depends; not indeed on account of the object according as it is in its own nature ; but according as it is accidentally apprehended by reason as something evil to do or to avoid.

And since the object of the will is that which is proposed by the reason, as stated above Article 3 , from the very fact that a thing is proposed by the reason as being evil , the will by tending thereto becomes evil. And this is the case not only in indifferent matters, but also in those that are good or evil in themselves.

For not only indifferent matters can received the character of goodness or malice accidentally ; but also that which is good , can receive the character of evil , or that which is evil , can receive the character of goodness , on account of the reason apprehending it as such. For instance, to refrain from fornication is good : yet the will does not tend to this good except in so far as it is proposed by the reason.

If, therefore, the erring reason propose it as an evil , the will tends to it as to something evil. Consequently the will is evil , because it wills evil , not indeed that which is evil in itself, but that which is evil accidentally , through being apprehended as such by the reason.

In like manner, to believe in Christ is good in itself, and necessary for salvation : but the will does not tend thereto, except inasmuch as it is proposed by the reason. Consequently if it be proposed by the reason as something evil , the will tends to it as to something evil : not as if it were evil in itself, but because it is evil accidentally , through the apprehension of the reason. Hence the Philosopher says Ethic. Although the judgment of an erring reason is not derived from God , yet the erring reason puts forward its judgment as being true , and consequently as being derived from God , from Whom is all truth.

The saying of Augustine holds good when it is known that the inferior authority prescribes something contrary to the command of the higher authority. But if a man were to believe the command of the proconsul to be the command of the emperor, in scorning the command of the proconsul he would scorn the command of the emperor.

In like manner if a man were to know that human reason was dictating something contrary to God's commandment, he would not be bound to abide by reason: but then reason would not be entirely erroneous.

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But when erring reason proposes something as being commanded by God , then to scorn the dictate of reason is to scorn the commandment of God. Whenever reason apprehends something as evil , it apprehends it under some species of evil ; for instance, as being something contrary to a divine precept, or as giving scandal , or for some such like reason.

And then that evil is reduced to that species of malice. Article 6. Whether the will is good when it abides by erring reason? It would seem that the will is good when it abides by erring reason. For just as the will , when at variance with the reason, tends to that which reason judges to be evil ; so, when in accord with reason, it tends to what reason judges to be good. But the will is evil when it is at variance with reason, even when erring. Therefore even when it abides by erring reason, the will is good. Further, the will is always good , when it abides by the commandment of God and the eternal law.

But the eternal law and God's commandment are proposed to us by the apprehension of the reason, even when it errs. Therefore the will is good , even when it abides by erring reason.

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Further, the will is evil when it is at variance with erring reason. If, therefore, the will is evil also when it abides by erring reason, it seems that the will is always evil when in conjunction with erring reason: so that in such a case a man would be in a dilemma, and, of necessity , would sin : which is unreasonable. Therefore the will is good when it abides by erring reason. On the contrary, The will of those who slew the apostles was evil. And yet it was in accord with the erring reason, according to John : "The hour cometh, that whosoever killeth you, will think that he doth a service to God.

I answer that, Whereas the previous question is the same as inquiring "whether an erring conscience binds"; so this question is the same as inquiring "whether an erring conscience excuses. For it was said I-II that ignorance sometimes causes an act to be involuntary, and sometimes not. And since moral good and evil consist in action in so far as it is voluntary , as was stated above Article 2 ; it is evident that when ignorance causes an act to be involuntary, it takes away the character of moral good and evil ; but not, when it does not cause the act to be involuntary.

Again, it has been stated above I-II that when ignorance is in any way willed, either directly or indirectly, it does not cause the act to be involuntary. And I call that ignorance "directly" voluntary , to which the act of the will tends: and that, "indirectly" voluntary , which is due to negligence, by reason of a man not wishing to know what he ought to know , as stated above I-II If then reason or conscience err with an error that is voluntary, either directly, or through negligence, so that one errs about what one ought to know ; then such an error of reason or conscience does not excuse the will , that abides by that erring reason or conscience , from being evil.

But if the error arise from ignorance of some circumstance, and without any negligence, so that it cause the act to be involuntary, then that error of reason or conscience excuses the will , that abides by that erring reason, from being evil.

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For instance, if erring reason tell a man that he should go to another man's wife, the will that abides by that erring reason is evil ; since this error arises from ignorance of the Divine Law, which he is bound to know. But if a man's reason, errs in mistaking another for his wife, and if he wish to give her her right when she asks for it, his will is excused from being evil : because this error arises from ignorance of a circumstance, which ignorance excuses, and causes the act to be involuntary.

As Dionysius says Div. But in order for it to be good , it must be good in both ways. The eternal law cannot err , but human reason can. Consequently the will that abides by human reason , is not always right, nor is it always in accord with the eternal law. Just as in syllogistic arguments, granted one absurdity, others must needs follow; so in moral matters, given one absurdity, others must follow too.

Thus suppose a man to seek vainglory, he will sin , whether he does his duty for vainglory or whether he omit to do it. Nor is he in a dilemma about the matter : because he can put aside his evil intention. In like manner, suppose a man's reason or conscience to err through inexcusable ignorance , then evil must needs result in the will.

Nor is this man in a dilemma: because he can lay aside his error , since his ignorance is vincible and voluntary. Article 7.

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Whether the goodness of the will, as regards the means, depends on the intention of the end? It would seem that the goodness of the will does not depend on the intention of the end. For it has been stated above Article 2 that the goodness of the will depends on the object alone. But as regards the means, the object of the will is one thing, and the end intended is another.

Therefore in such matters the goodness of the will does not depend on the intention of the end. Further, to wish to keep God's commandment, belongs to a good will. But this can be referred to an evil end, for instance, to vainglory or covetousness , by willing to obey God for the sake of temporal gain. Therefore the goodness of the will does not depend on the intention of the end. Further, just as good and evil diversify the will , so do they diversify the end. But malice of the will does not depend on the malice of the end intended; since a man who wills to steal in order to give alms , has an evil will, although he intends a good end.

Therefore neither does the goodness of the will depend on the goodness of the end intended. On the contrary, Augustine says Confess. But God rewards a thing because it is good. Therefore the goodness of the will depends on the intention of the end. I answer that, The intention may stand in a twofold relation to the act of the will ; first, as preceding it, secondly as following [Leonine edn.

The intention precedes the act of the will causally , when we will something because we intend a certain end. And then the order to the end is considered as the reason of the goodness of the thing willed: for instance, when a man wills to fast for God's sake; because the act of fasting is specifically good from the very fact that it is done for God's sake. Wherefore, since the goodness of the will depends on the goodness of the thing willed, as stated above Articles 1 and 2 , it must, of necessity , depend on the intention of the end. On the other hand, intention follows the act of the will , when it is added to a preceding act of the will ; for instance, a man may will to do something, and may afterwards refer it to God.