Chapter V

DETERMINANTS OF MORALITY Only human persons act for a reason, a purpose, an intention or a goal because only human persons are created with the intelligence to know and the free will to choose.

Many times, we find ourselves at the crossroad of choosing and deciding what is good, what is better, or what is best, what is evil or what is less evil for one particular situation.

Determinants are ´essential features of morality that point to the rightness or wrongness of an actionµ. They enable us to perceive the specificity of morality,
i.e., to evaluate the goodness or the badness of the actions that we do by taking into consideration ƒ the object (act itself), ƒ the end (intention of the agent/doer), ƒ and the circumstances that surround our action.

1. Object of the Act/End of the Act (Finis Operis) ² the act itself. The end by which the act naturally tends to.
The act is considered good when it is done in conformity with reason, which is the proximate norm of morality. ƒ Otherwise, it is evil. Right intention and workable means do not render an evil act good. e.g. murder is intrinsically evil regardless of situational factors.

. End of the agent (Finis Operantis) - The end of the doer / agent in performing the act independently, sometimes from the very end of the act.

An objectively good act may become morally evil.  An objectively evil act can never become good in spite of the good motive. 

3. Circumstances ² are the situational factors surrounding the concurrent of the act. These circumstances may either increase or diminish our responsibility in doing the act.

rinciples € Every agent acts for an end. € The end does not justify the means. € The end is always first in intention, last in execution.

1. What (Quid) - the nature of the act. 2. Who/Person/Doer (Quis) - the doer/agent and the recipient of the act. 3. Where/Place (Ubi) - the locus of the act or the place where the action took place. 4. By what means (Quidis Auxiliis) - the instrument used in the performance of the act. 5. Why (Cur) - the reason in doing the act. 6. How /Manner (Quomodo)- the process of performing the act. 7. When/Time (Quando) - the time element in the commission of the act.

Kinds of Circumstance 1. Aggravating - It intensifies the gravity of the act. 2. Mitigating - It lessens the culpability of the act. However, it is still culpable. 3. Exempting - There is culpability but not applicable for the given time. 4. Justifying - No more culpability involved.

Influences of circumstances of human acts: in positive sense, it can make better an act good or even indifferent in its object. In negative sense, it can also make worse an act evil or indifferent in its object. It can also make less good or less evil an act good in itself.

The act may be morally good, all three determinants must be without a flaw, according to the received axiom: "Bonum ex integra causa, malum ex quocumque defectu," ² " A thing to be good must be wholly so; it is vitiated by any defect."

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