“There are no more current topics of ethical debate than euthanasia, assisted suicide and abortion, more generally, the taking of innocent human life, as well as the morality of capital punishment. Professor Doyle has made Vitoria’s thorough analyses of this basic moral topic, still so much debated in our own times and so central to the Catholic moral tradition, available in Latin and in an accurate translation, along with a brief biography and a very helpful commentary. Certainly Vitoria did not say the last word on these issues. Some of his opinions suffer from his historical limits. For example, he discusses whether the state might permit a husband to kill his adulterous wife, but not whether it might permit a wife to kill an adulterous husband! On a few points he seems to have changed his own mind. Nevertheless, the penetrating clarity of his moral reasoning is for the most part still valid and highly instructive.
“What is especially noteworthy is that Vitoria, although he had studied with the famous nominalist John Major, is genuinely a Thomist, not a nominalist, a voluntarist, or legalist. Although he does not neglect the role played by positive law in moral decision, he seeks always to ground his reasoning in the natural law as a participation in the Divine Law, that is, in the reasoned conformity of human action to the requirements of God-given human nature.
“Professor Doyle has not merely contributed to historical scholarship by this fine publication, but to the solution of the grave moral problems of our times by making available to us this model of sound ethical reasoning.” — From the Foreword by Benedict M. Ashley, OP, STM.
After 40 years teaching graduate courses in Latin Scholasticism at St. Louis University, John P. Doyle retired as Professor Emeritus of Philosophy. He is now Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in Shrewsbury, Missouri. In addition to the present volumes, he has published six more volumes of translations and has produced over 50 articles, essays, and encyclopedia entries, all dealing with figures and themes in medieval and post-medieval philosophy.