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Prudence is a trait that was recommended by scholastic philosophers onwards. One of the earliest of the philosophers who recommended it was Aristotle followed by St. Augustine. Aristotle saw prudence as practical wisdom and declared it to be one of the cardinal virtues. In fact, prudence is more than wisdom; it is wisdom as the skill of knowing what is right. Prudence entails making right decisions and implementing them effectively. Aristotle saw prudence as "living well as a whole" ([footnoteRef:1]). Aquinas defined prudence as the practice "through [which] we deliberate well about matters pertaining to the whole of human life and the ultimate end of human life." ([footnoteRef:2]). He also called it "simply right reason about what is to be done" ([footnoteRef:3].) Comment by Jeremy: This isn't really a definition of prudence -- it's a way prudence is put into practice. Clarify this sentence. Comment by Jeremy: It appears -- from this paragraph and the skimming thus far of those to follow -- that you're really just summarizing the chapters you've read rather than reflecting on them as the assignment asked. You need a basic summary of the points in order to create a basis for your reflection, but you do not need extensive quotes and restatements of all the points of the chapter. The goal here is to show what you take away from reading this chapter and how you see it applying in the world. Comment by Jeremy: At this point, there doesn't seem to be much organization to this section of the paper. For the section on each chapter, consider something like the following:Paragraph one (after the introduction paragraph): Summarize the main points of the first chapter on which you want to focus.Para. 2: Reflect on those points -- how they shape your perspective, how you seem them applying or how they ought to be applied, etc.Para 3. Summarize the main points of the first chapter on which you want to focus.Para. 4: Same as Para 2.Para. 5 Conclusion - tie together everything you've covered. If you're choosing two chapters, do so because they have something in common - either in topic or in how they affect you. This will help your paper to flow and maintain unified purpose and focus.In short, spend less time summarizing what the chapter says and lots more time reflecting. Unfortunately, that means most of what you've written needs to go or be condensed. [1: Forsythe, p.23] [2: ibid.] [3: ibid]
Reflecting on the concept of prudence, it is striking to note that although it has fallen out of disfavor today, it is still practiced in a very vibrant, albeit somewhat different, manner.
Leibniz may have been a thinker who bridged the transition. It was he who compared prudence to natural Law seeing it as the opposite of foolishness and foolishness as 'a negligence towards one's usefulness' ([footnoteRef:4]). Leibniz, for instance, has three degrees of utopian governorship. The first is commutative justice where: [4: Riley, 1988; Acad. Ed. VI, 431]
'The precept of bare Right or Right in the narrow sense [jus strictum] is that none is to be injured, lest if it be within the state the person should have ground for an action to law, or if it be without the state, he should have the right to make war'([footnoteRef:5]) . [5: Codex; Riley, 1988]
This, followed by the next, 'charity' or welfare' is symbiosis of Natural Law to Leibniz, of prudence, in that national and personal interests are to be subject to prudence, and priority should be accorded to one's lasting happiness rather than to immediate concerns. It is interesting to note that Leibniz's prudence is mercenary grounded and rests on rationalistic decision-making. We have to weigh our judgments.
This is the sense that prudence has come to take today.
In the essay, Forsythe muses that prudence has fallen into disfavor with contemporary people. It may, however, be more likely the case that 'prudence' is still there albeit in different terms. The economic theory and use of rationalism, for instance, has synonymous connotation to 'prudence'. The 'rational' man too tries to create decisions that would be best and most pragmatic for his particular situation. He weighs the potential loss and profit and decides which is the best step to take in this particular situation. Theories and usage of rationality are very common today crossing all fields from economic rationality to…[continue]
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