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Chapter Summary

The history of the cardinal virtues in the Middle Ages that has been written in the previous chapters allows two negative conclusions which are worth stating before proceeding with a more positive evaluation of the presented material. First, medieval moral thought did not progressively develop toward a Thomastic synthesis of faith and reason which gradually disintegrated near the end of the Middle Ages - a view inspired by a neo-scholastic outlook on medieval intellectual history which colours many older as well as a number of more recent studies on medieval virtue ethics. Second, the history of medieval moral thought is not to be seen as a steady process of secularization boosted by an expanding lay culture - a traditional, liberally inspired view which in current scholarship on medieval virtue ethics may take the moderated form of the search for philosophy's gradual emancipation from theology.

Keywords: medieval virtue ethics; Middle Ages; theology; Thomastic synthesis



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