HUMAN ACTS A. Definition 1. Actions a. performed by man KNOWINGLY and FREELY. b. proper to man as MAN ( as rational and moral) 2. Human acts are moral acts. 3. It is only with human acts that man is RESPONSIBLE for his actions. 4. The DEGREE of responsibility depends on the degree of knowledge and deliberation. 5. not ACTS of MAN ( done WITHOUT full knowledge and/ or full deliberation) HUMAN ACTS B. Kinds ( Paul Glenn, ETHICS, A CLASS MANUAL IN MORAL PHILOSOPHY, Herder Book Co., reprint National Bookstore, Inc., Mla, 1965, pp. 7-8) Human Acts are either ELICITED acts or COMMANDED acts. ELICITED ACTS are those performed by the will. 1. WISH - the tendency of the will towards something, whether this be realizable or not. - Its object may include the impossible, or, that which is remotely possible. 2. INTENTION - the tendency of the will towards something attainable but without necessarily committing oneself to attain it. 3. CONSENT - the acceptance of the will of those needed to carry out the intention. 4. ELECTION - the selection of the will of those means effective enough to carry out the intention. 5. USE - the command of the will to make use of those means elected to carry out the intention. 6. FRUITION - the enjoyment (satisfaction) of the will derived from the attainment or the thing he had desired earlier. HUMAN ACTS B. Kinds COMMANDED ACTS are those done by man’s mental or bodily powers under the command of the will. 1. INTERNAL ACTIONS eg. Conscious reasoning, recalling something, encouraging oneself, controlling aroused emotions 2. EXTERNAL ACTIONS eg. Walking, eating, dancing, laughing, listening, reading Some actions are combinations of internal and external movements, such as, listening, studying, reading, driving a car, writing a letter or playing chess HUMAN ACTS C. Moral Distinctions 1. MORAL ACTIONS 2. IMMORAL ACTIONS 3. AMORAL ACTIONS D. Extrinsic and Intrinsic Evil E. Sanctions and Penalties 1. Imputability doer is either deserving a reward or punishment ( basic requirement of justice) HUMAN ACTS F. Constituents 1. KNOWLEDGE a. A human act as a deliberate act is a KNOWING ACT. b. It is knowing what one is doing. c. No human act is possible without knowledge. d. The will is a blind faculty in itself. e. The will cannot choose unless it SEES to choose: the POWER to SEE is through intellectual knowledge. 2. FREEDOM a. The CAPACITY or POWER to choose between two or more courses of actions WITHOUT being forced to take one or the other by anything except our own will. b. An act which the will DOES or LEAVES UNDONE is properly a FREE act. c. All human acts must be FREE ACTS. HUMAN ACTS F. Constituents 3. VOLUNTARINESS a. From Latin word: VOLUNTAS ( will) b. A human act is a WILL- ACT. c. A voluntary act is different: i. from what is merely WILLED and cannot be controlled by the will, as good or bad weather ex. Good weather is agreeable or willed by a group of students during an outing day. But to have a good weather is not voluntary since the will of the students is not the cause of a good weather. ii. from what is VIOLENT or ARTIFICIAL because these acts are caused by some external agents. iii. from what is NATURAL because nature acts without knowledge of the end. HUMAN ACTS F. Constituents 3. VOLUNTARINESS d. Without it, an act is a mere act of man. e. Kinds and Degrees of Voluntariness i. PERFECT - is present in a person who fully knows and fully intends an act. ii. IMPERFECT - is present in a person who acts without fully realizing what he means to do, or without fully intending the act. iii. CONDITIONAL - is present in a person who is forced by circumstances beyond his control to perform an act which he would not do under normal conditions. - The FREEDOM is impaired. iv. DIRECT - accompanies an act which is primarily intended by the doer, either as an end in itself or as a means to achieve something else. v. INDIRECT - accompanies an act or situation which is the mere result of a directly willed act. HUMAN ACTS F. Constituents 3. VOLUNTARINESS f. A person is accountable for his actions and their consequences. But is he also accountable for results not directly intended? g. Paul Glenn considers a person accountable for indirectly voluntary results of his acts when: - The doer is able to foresee the evil result or effect, at least, in a general way; - The doer is free to refrain from doing that which would produce the unforeseen evil; - The doer has moral obligation not to do that which produces an evil effect. h. Alfredo Panizo cites these principles: - A person is held morally responsible for any evil effect - A human act from which two effects may result, one good and one is evil (PRINCIPLE OF DOUBLE EFFECT) HUMAN ACTS F. Constituents Examples that will illustrate the distinction of the three constituents or principles of the human act: EX. 1. To study for an exam: KNOWLEDGE: The student knows that he has an exam. FREEDOM: The student has the option to study or not to study. VOLUNTARINESS: The student wills to study for his exam. HUMAN ACTS F. Constituents EX. 2. Reading a book KNOWLEDGE: A Catholic student is aware of the regulations of the Church concerning the reading of a certain book contained in the Index of Forbidden Books. FREEDOM: He is free (physically) to buy and to read the book or to obey the Church’s order. VOLUNTARINESS: He reads the book and consequently disobeys the regulations of the Church. You cannot will something unless you know and have the freedom to do or not to do.
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