Metaphysics and Ethics: Reopening the Question of the Ontology of the Good
Keywords:Thomas Aquinas, Ethics, Good, David Hume, Immanuel Kant, Metaphysics, Naturalism, Ontology
Since Hume there has been broad consensus that if the notion of the good has any intelligible foundation, it is not “ontological”, in the natures of things. Today however this view is being challenged. After a sketch of the positions of Kant and Hume, and a glance at some of the recent challenges, the paper examines a key element in Thomas Aquinas’s ontology of the good : the notion of final causality. For Thomas final causality presupposes formal and efficient causality. Hume’s denial of the intelligibility of the good, it is suggested, presupposes his denial of that of these other causes.