Physiological and Psychological Foundation of Virtues: Thomas Aquinas and Modern Challenges of Neurobiology
Keywords: 
virtue ethics
brain
neuronal connections
Issue Date: 
2018
Publisher: 
Universidad Nicolás Copérnico de Torun
ISSN: 
2300-7648
Citation: 
Mróz, M. (Miroslaw). "Physiological and Psychological Foundation of Virtues: Thomas Aquinas and Modern Challenges of Neurobiology". Scientia et Fides. 6 (2), 2018, 115 - 128
Abstract
This article regards the field of neuroscience and indicates on the proper or erroneous functioning of the human brain. Intellectual virtues, especially practical wisdom (prudence/ prudentia) play a significant role in capturing the truth and implementing it in life. The agile formation of the cognitive function of man encompasses both his reason as well as the sensual judgment of utility with all the bodily backup (vis cogitativa). The brain possesses great plasticity in the production of neuronal connections. Habit as a permanent wont utilizes the reactions being developed to the construction of often inappropriate mechanisms, that in turn are not easy or completely impossible to eliminate. When practical reason is introduced into a false ethos, the brain responds by forming “ruts” of neuronal connections which seem difficult to consider as something appropriate. The reparation of the existing situation and the removal of the wrong habit require relevant virtues so as to unblock the psychological resistance that is deeply rooted within the physiological neuronal substrate. The learning about the virtues of St. Thomas Aquinas is the best warranty not only for theoretical explanations, but also for the practical application of virtues in dealing with the arised situation. Only well-formed virtues give the opportunity to correct the false instinctive cognition and liberate from erroneous actions.

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