The Parts of Prudence and Scientific Solutions for Weakness of Will

Christopher Kaczor

About author

Christopher Kaczor
Professor of Philosophy
Department of Philosophy
University Hall, Suite 3600
Loyola Marymount University
One LMU Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90045-8415


This essay outlines a view of practical wisdom drawing on the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas. In it, I discuss the presuppositions of practical wisdom, namely the ordering to the end of true human happiness. Next, the focus shifts to the “parts” or elements of practical wisdom in order to highlight the intellectual aspects of practical wisdom as a cognitive perfection. Finally, the essay addresses prudence as practical, the actual carrying out of the right deed, at the right time and in the right way. Here, the conclusion of the essay considers the findings of contemporary science in the search for remedies for weakness of will.

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  1. Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, trans. W.D. Ross, Oxford University Press, Oxford 2009.
  2. McGonigal Kelly, The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do To Get More of It, Avery, New York 2011.
  3. Plato, Protagoras, trans. S. Lombardo, K. Bell, Hackett Publishing Company, Indianapolis 1992.
  4. Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae, available at


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