Sunday, April 28, 2019
While this book is an excellent work crafted by a first-rate scholar, this reader has a minor quibble about an omission rather than a commission. In this volume Porter does not address the issue of “burdened virtue” raised by Lisa Tessman in her 2005 Burdened Virtues (Oxford University Press). Since Porter discusses with nuance the complicated relationship between justice and eudaemonia in chapter 5, it is a little bit of a surprise that Tessman’s well-noted challenge to the Aristotelian moral tradition is entirely absent in this chapter. To what extent would Aquinas acknowledge the contingent connection between virtue and flourishing? Is it legitimate to see the virtue of justice as a mean in an Aristotelian sense, given that there seems to be no mean for an intense sensitivity to others’ suffering in this tragic world? Would Aquinas’s emphasis on supernatural grace and his eschatology based upon the Exitus-Reditus framework somehow help resolve this tension? These questions deserve a serious response from Porter, especially when her work implicitly touches upon the issues treated with care by Tessman.