Vol 3, No 1, 2004

Truth in Life and Action

Brian Lewis


This article seeks to challenge the prevailing disillusionment with established structures and consequent emphasis on personal moral autonomy by recalling the meaning and function of personal responsibility in the context of prudence, the virtue of responsibility. Distinguishing responsibility for one's conscience from responsibility before one's conscience in making sound moral decisions, the author highlights two entirely distinct types of truth: objective truth belonging to conscience and consisting in conformity with reality and practical truth belonging to the virtue of prudence and consisting in conformity with the person's rightly disposed affective nature. For Aquinas this practical truth is moral truth in the strict sense and vital for living as a morally good person, even if one's conscience is in error.