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 Post subject: Ends in Themselves
PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2019 1:45 pm 
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According to Thomism,

Are human beings in any sense ends in themselves?

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Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am weak: heal me, O Lord, for my bones are troubled.
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 Post subject: Re: Ends in Themselves
PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2019 2:16 pm 
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ForeverFaithful wrote:
According to Thomism,

Are human beings in any sense ends in themselves?

What does the phrase even mean?

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 Post subject: Re: Ends in Themselves
PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2019 2:23 pm 
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Pro Ecclesia Dei wrote:
ForeverFaithful wrote:
According to Thomism,

Are human beings in any sense ends in themselves?

What does the phrase even mean?


I suppose it's the foundation of the Kantian obligation "You can not treat people as mere means, as only of instrumental goods"

Certainly it must have some wider implications as well.

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In Te speravi, Domine: dixi: Tu es Deus meus, in manibus Tuis tempora mea.
Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am weak: heal me, O Lord, for my bones are troubled.
All that the Father giveth to me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me, I will not cast out.
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 Post subject: Re: Ends in Themselves
PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2019 4:16 pm 
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MacIntyre attributes to Maritain the belief that God created human beings for their own purposes.

I am wondering in what sense that could be true.

Also VII in one document claims humans are the end of lower parts of creation.

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In Te speravi, Domine: dixi: Tu es Deus meus, in manibus Tuis tempora mea.
Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am weak: heal me, O Lord, for my bones are troubled.
All that the Father giveth to me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me, I will not cast out.
Tiber swim team '13


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 Post subject: Re: Ends in Themselves
PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2019 4:36 pm 
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I still do not know what the phrase means. I would like to go from the more known to the less known, rather than trying (e.g by appealing to Kant) to explain by the even more obscure. Forget Kant (he is wrong anyways) who does it mean for something to be an end in itself?

Or better, to be an end. And an end for what?

I am not trying to be a jerk here, but answering these more foundational questions are more helpful then flitting about Kant and other places.

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 Post subject: Re: Ends in Themselves
PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2019 7:18 pm 
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Pro Ecclesia Dei wrote:
I still do not know what the phrase means. I would like to go from the more known to the less known, rather than trying (e.g by appealing to Kant) to explain by the even more obscure. Forget Kant (he is wrong anyways) who does it mean for something to be an end in itself?

Or better, to be an end. And an end for what?

I am not trying to be a jerk here, but answering these more foundational questions are more helpful then flitting about Kant and other places.


Well to be honest that I do not what it means is the issue. Would it ever be the case that we can properly describe created things as ends in themselves?

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In Te speravi, Domine: dixi: Tu es Deus meus, in manibus Tuis tempora mea.
Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am weak: heal me, O Lord, for my bones are troubled.
All that the Father giveth to me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me, I will not cast out.
Tiber swim team '13


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 Post subject: Re: Ends in Themselves
PostPosted: Tue Jun 04, 2019 3:40 am 
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ForeverFaithful wrote:
Pro Ecclesia Dei wrote:
I still do not know what the phrase means. I would like to go from the more known to the less known, rather than trying (e.g by appealing to Kant) to explain by the even more obscure. Forget Kant (he is wrong anyways) who does it mean for something to be an end in itself?

Or better, to be an end. And an end for what?

I am not trying to be a jerk here, but answering these more foundational questions are more helpful then flitting about Kant and other places.


Well to be honest that I do not what it means is the issue. Would it ever be the case that we can properly describe created things as ends in themselves?

That is a good question!
I
Let us say that I take end to be a final cause, an ultimate purpose of something or action. To be an end would entail, then, that such is a sufficient good for the thing or action, without need of a further purpose (and if an end also serves some other purpose, that must be incidental to it being an end)

It would seem that created things could not be ends, in themselves, for, if everything both has God as an end and is only good in reference to this end (a big assumption, but I think right) then no other intermediate intention could be a proper end.... So the rest of creation could be ordered to man, but still its end would be God, as man is ordered to God.

But this seems too restrictive of the term. Granted God alone is an absolute good, and hence alone could be an absolute end, but just as created things can be good by participation, it seems they can likewise be ends.

So I eat with the end of sustaining life. It seems life, taken in itself, is a good and hence a sufficient reason for the action of eating. So I can call it an end.

But life, and other created goods, are not absolutes, so it would seem neither are they absolute ends, but are always ordered to other ends.

So the good of eating is nutrition. Nutrition is an end of eating. But the good of nutrition is life. But the end of life is to know, love and serve God. And only God, then, is an absolute end. Indeed, if, in a given case, a created ends, even one normally good in itself, is against serving God, then it would not be a good end.

Does all that sound reasonable?

It seems that we can say something is an end in itself the same way we say something is good in itself. Hence food is, in itself good. But this does not entail they are absolutes. They are good antecedently to consideration of particular cases. The way a judge holds liberty is a good for all men, as men, but wills that this man be locked up.

So it would mean that an end in itself only means that something has some intrinsic or normative good desired as perfective (for I desire not so much the cheeseburger but the perfection of me + cheeseburger), but not that it could not or is not ordered as a means to some other end.

So if we reject a Kantian interpretation, perhaps we could say the good of man is an end, in itself, for lesser creation, but, in turn, both man and lesser creation is order to God as an end, and indeed man as end is good and an end insofar as he is ordered to God, and so not absolutely. He is not a final end.

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