Date of Award

Spring 1959

Document Type




First Advisor

Rev. Cornelius Kelly


The title of this thesis indicates that the proof attempted herein is of the superiority of Thomistic prudence over the prudence of Aristotle. To understand the discussion of the second and third chapters, we have felt it necessary to include by way of background the Thomistic and Aristotelian concepts of man's ultimate end and virtue. Lest criticism arise in regard to our handling of the teaching of St. Thomas on these matters and on prudence itself, a few points must be made clear from the start.

First, we are speaking only of the natural virtue of prudence. Therefore, we have left unconsidered such matters as the gift of counsel or anything else which is properly treated only in theology. Because of this, we have not treated in full the "ultimately ultimate" end of man, which is supernatural, but have confined our considerations to a purely natural ultimate end. The objection may be raised that, since man elevated by grace has no natural ultimate end, the treatment afforded here is valueless. But this objection does not stand for several reasons. First, in any instance where a specific treatment of St. Thomas' philosophy is made, it must be artificial to a degree, because of the close interconnection between philosophy and theology in the mind and writings of St. Thomas. Hence, by treating the Angelic Doctor as a philosopher alone we are lifting him out of context, divorcing a section from the unified totality of his work. But we think it is justifiable as a means to appreciate the ability and scope of unaided human reason. Also, this treatment of prudence was undertaken by the writer for personal information, and to fulfill a desire to know more about the virtue which is basic to all other moral virtues. Further, it was undertaken to add weight to the already-existing criticism of the view that St. Thomas merely "baptized" Aristotle.