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himself to be neither more nor less than they are. But this
is not always praiseworthy — neither in good things, since
according to Prov. xxvii. 2, Let another praise thee, and not
thy own mouth — nor even in evil things, because it is written
in condemnation of certain people (Isa. iii. 9): They have
proclaimed abroad their sin as Sodom, and they have not hid
it. Therefore truth is not a virtue.

Obj. 3. Further, Every virtue is either theological, or
intellectual, or moral. Now truth is not a theological virtue,
because its object is not God but temporal things. For
TuUy says {De Inv. Rhet. ii.) that by truth we faithfully repre-
sent things as they are, were, or will be. Likewise it is not one

76



77 TRUTH Q. 109. Art. i

of the intellectual virtues, but their end. Nor again is it a
moral virtue, since it is not a mean between excess and
deficiency, for the more one tells the truth, the better it is.
Therefore truth is not a virtue.

On the contrary, The Philosopher both in the Second and
in the Fourth Book of Ethics places truth among the other
virtues.

/ answer that, Truth can be taken in two ways. First, for
that by reason of which a thing is said to be true, and thus
truth is not a virtue, but the object or end of a virtue:
because, taken in this way, truth is not a habit, which is
the genus containing virtue, but a certain equality between
the understanding or sign and the thing understood or signi-
fied, or again between a thing and its rule, as stated in the
First Part (Q. XVL, A. i: Q. XXL, A. 2). Secondly, truth
may stand for that by which a person says what is true, in
which sense one is said to be truthful. This truth or truth-
fulness must needs be a virtue, because to say what is true
is a good act : and virtue is that which makes its subject good,
and renders his action good.

Reply Obj. i. This argument takes truth in the first sense.

Reply Obj. 2. To state that which concerns oneself, in so
far as it is a statement of what is tnie, is good generically.
Yet this does not suffice for it to be an act of virtue, since it
is requisite for that purpose that it should also be clothed
with the due circumstances, and if these be not observed,
the act will be sinful. ^Accordingly it is sinful to praise one-
self without due cause even for that which is true : and it is
also sinful to publish one's sin, by praising oneself on that
account, or in any way proclaiming it uselessly.

Reply Obj. 3. A person who ssys what is true, utters
certain signs which are in conformity with things; and such
signs are either words, or external actions, or any external
thing. Now these external things are the subject-matter
of the moral virtues alone, for the latter are concerned
with the use of the external members, in so far as this use
is put into effect at the command of the will. Wherefore
truth is neither a theological, nor an intellectual, but a moral



Q. I09.ART.2 THE "SUMMA THEOLOGICA" 78

virtue. And it is a mean between excess and deficiency
in two ways. First, on the part of the object, secondly, on
the part of the act. On the part of the object, because the
true essentially denotes a kind of equality, and equal is a
mean between more and less. Hence for the very reason
that a man says what is true about himself, he observes the
mean between one that says more than the truth about
himself, and one that says less than the truth. On the part
of the act, to observe the mean is to tell the truth, when one
ought, and as one ought. Excess consists in making known
one's own affairs out of season, and deficiency in hiding
them when one ought to make them known.

Second Article,
whether truth is a special virtue ?

We proceed thus to the Second Article : —

Objection i. It seems that truth is not a special virtue.
For the true and the good are convertible. Now goodness
is not a special virtue, in fact every virtue is goodness,
because it makes its subject good. Therefore truth is not a
special virtue.

Obj. 2. Further, To make known what belongs to oneself
is an act of truth as we understand it here. But this belongs
to every virtue, since every virtuous habit is made known
by its own act. Therefore truth is not a special virtue.

Obj. 3. Further, The truth of life is the truth whereby one
Hves aright, and of which it is written (Isa. xxxviii. 3): /
beseech Thee . . remember how I have walked before Thee in
truth, and with a perfect heart. Now one lives aright by any
virtue, as follows from the definition of virtue given above
(I. -II., Q. LV., A. 4). Therefore truth is not a special
virtue.

Obj. 4. Further, Truth seems to be the same as simplicity,
since hypocrisy is opposed to both. But simplicity is not a
special virtue, since it rectifies the intention, and that is
required in every virtue. Therefore neither is truth a
special virtue.



79 TRUTH Q. 109. Art. 2

On the contrary, It is numbered together with other virtues
(Ethic, ii. 7).

/ answer that. The nature of human virtue consists in
making a man's deed good. Consequently whenever we find
a special aspect of goodness in human acts, it is necessary
that man be disposed thereto by a special virtue. And since
according to Augustine [De Nat. Boni iii.) good consists in
order, it follows that a special aspect of good will be found
where there is a special order. Now there is a special order
whereby our externals, whether words or deeds, are duly
ordered in relation to some thing, as sign to thing signified :
and thereto man is perfected by the virtue of truth. Where-
fore it is evident that truth is a special virtue.

Reply Ohj. i. The true and the good are convertible as to
subject, since every true thing is good, and every good thing
is true. But considered logically, they exceed one another,
even as the intellect and will exceed one another. For the
intellect understands the will and many things besides, and
the will desires things pertaining to the intellect, and many
others. Wherefore the true considered in its proper aspect
as a perfection of the intellect is a particular good, since it is
something appetible : and in like manner the good considered
in its proper aspect as the end of the appetite is something
true, since it is something intelligible. Therefore since virtue
includes the aspect of goodness, it is possible for truth to be
a special virtue, just as the true is a special good; yet it is not
possible for goodness to be a special virtue, since rather,
considered logically, it is the genus of virtue.

Reply Obj. 2. The habits of virtue and vice take their
species from what is directly intended, and not from that
which is accidental and beside the intention. Now that a
man states that which concerns himself, belongs to the virtue
of truth, as something directly intended: although it may
belong to other virtues consequently and beside his prin-
cipal intention. For the brave man intends to act bravely:
and that he shows his fortitude by acting bravely is a con-
sequence beside his principal intention.

Reply Obj. 3. The truth of life is the truth whereby a thing



Q.I09.ART.3 THE "SUMMA THEOLOGICA" 80

is true, not whereby a person says what is true. Life Hke
anything else is said to be true, from the fact that it attains
its rule and measure, namely, the divine law; since rectitude
of life depends on conformity to that law. This truth or
rectitude is common to every virtue.

Reply Ohj. 4. Simplicity is so called from its opposition
to duplicity, whereby, to wit, a man shows one thing out-
wardly while having another in his heart : so that simplicity
pertains to this virtue. And it rectifies the intention, not
indeed directly (since this belongs to every virtue), but by
• excluding duplicity, whereby a man pretends one thing and
intends another.

Third Article,
whether truth is a part of justice ?

We proceed thus to the Third Article : —

Objection i. It seems that truth is not a part of justice.
For it seems proper to justice to ^yq another man his due.
But, by telling the truth, one does not seem to give another
man his due, as is the case in all the foregoing parts of justice.
Therefore truth is not a part of justice.

Ohj. 2. Further, Truth pertains to the intellect: whereas
justice is in the will, as stated above (Q. LVIIL, A. 4).
Therefore truth is not a part of justice.

Ohj. 3. Further, According to Jerome truth is threefold,
namely, truth of life, truth of justice, and truth of doctrine.
But none of these is a part of justice. For truth of life com-
prises all virtues, as stated above (A. 2, ad 3) : truth of justice
is the same as justice, so that it is not one of its parts; and
truth of doctrine belongs rather to the intellectual virtues.
Therefore truth is nowise a part of justice.

On the contrary, Tully [De Inv. Rhet. ii.) reckons truth
among the parts of justice.

/ answer that. As stated above (Q. LXXX.), a virtue is
annexed to justice, as secondary to a principal virtue,
through having something in common with justice, while
falling short from the perfect virtue thereof. Now the virtue
of truth has two things in common with justice. In the



8i TRUTH Q. 109. Art. 3

first place it is directed to another, since the manifestation,
which we have stated to be an act of truth, is directed to
another, inasmuch as one person manifests to another the
things that concern himself. In the second place, justice
sets up a certain equality between things, and this the virtue
of truth does also, for it equals signs to the things which
concern man himself. Nevertheless it falls short of the
proper aspect of justice, as to the notion of debt: for this
virtue does not regard legal debt, which justice considers,
but rather the moral debt, in so far as, out of equity, one
man owes another a manifestation of the truth. Therefore
truth is a part of justice, being annexed thereto as a secon-
dary virtue to its principal.

Reply Ohj. i. Since man is a social animal, one man
naturally owes another whatever is necessary for the pre-
servation of human society. Now it would be impossible
for men to live together, unless they believed one another,
as declaring the truth one to another. Hence the virtue
of truth does, in a manner, regard something as being due.

Reply Ohj. 2. Truth, as known, belongs to the intellect.
But man, by his own will, whereby he uses both habits and
members, utters external signs in order to manifest the truth,
and in this way the manifestation of the truth is an act of
the will.

Reply Ohj. 3. The truth of which we are speaking now
differs from the truth of life, as stated in the preceding
Article {ad 3).

We speak of the truth of justice in two ways. In one way
we refer to the fact that justice itself is a certain rectitude
regulated according to the rule of the divine law; and in
this way the truth of justice differs from the truth of life,
because by the truth of life a man lives aright in himself,
whereas by the truth of justice a man observes the rectitude
of the law in those judgements which refer to another man:
and in this sense the truth of justice has nothing to do
with the truth of which we speak now, as neither has the
truth of life. In another way the truth of justice may be
understood as referring to the fact that, out of justice, a

II. ii. 4 6



Q. 109. Art. 3 THE " SUMMA THEOLOGICA " 82

man manifests the truth, as for instance when a man con-
fesses the truth, or gives true evidence in a court of justice.
This truth is a particular act of justice, and does not pertain
directly to this truth of which we are now speaking, because,
to wit, in this manifestation of the truth a man's chief
intention is to give another man his due. Hence the Philo-
sopher says {Ethic, iv. 7) in describing this virtue : We are not
speaking of one who is truthful in his agreements, nor does this
apply to matters in which justice or injustice is questioned.

The truth of doctrine consists in a certain manifestation
of truths relating to science. Wherefore neither does this
truth directly pertain to this virtue, but only that truth
whereby a man, both in Hfe and in speech, shows himself
to be such as he is, and the things that concern him, not
other, and neither greater nor less, than they are. Never-
theless since truths of science, as known by us, are something
concerning us, and pertain to us, in this sense the truth
of doctrine may pertain to this virtue, as well as any other
kind of truth whereby a man manifests, by word or deed,
what he knows.

Fourth Article.

whether the virtue of truth inclines rather to that

which is less ?

We proceed thus to the Fourth Article : —

Objection i. It seems that the virtue of truth does not
incline to that which is less. For as one incurs falsehood
by saying more, so does one by saying less : thus it is no more
false that four are five, than that four are three. But every
falsehood is in itself evil, and to he avoided, as the Philosopher
declares [Ethic, iv. 7). Therefore the virtue of truth does not
incline to that which is less rather than to that which is
greater.

Ohj. 2. Further, That a virtue inclines to the one extreme
rather than to the other, is owing to the fact that the virtue's
mean is nearer to the one extreme than to the other : thus
fortitude is nearer to daring than to timidity. But the
mean of truth is not nearer to one extreme than to the



S3 TRUTH Q. 109. Art. 4

other; because truth, since it is a kind of equahty, holds to
the exact mean. Therefore truth does not more inchne to
that which is less.

Obj. 3. Further, To forsake the truth for that which is
less seems to amount to a denial of the truth, since this is to
subtract therefrom ; and to forsake the truth for that which
is greater seems to amount to an addition thereto. Now to
deny the truth is more repugnant to truth than to add some-
thing to it, because truth is incompatible with the denial of
truth, whereas it is compatible with addition. Therefore it
seems that truth should incline to that which is greater rather
than to that which is less.

On the contrary, The Philosopher says {Ethic, iv. 7) that
by this virtue a man inclines rather from the truth towards
that which is less.

I answer that, There are two ways of inclining from the
truth to that which is less. First, by affirming, as when a
man does not show the whole good that is in him, for instance
science, holiness and so forth. This is done without prejudice
to truth, since the lesser is contained in the greater : and in
this way this virtue inclines to what is less. For, as the
Philosopher says {ibid.) , this seems to be more prudent because
exaggerations give annoyance. For those who represent
themselves as being greater than they are, are a source of annoy-
ance to others, since they seem to wish to surpass others:
whereas those who make less account of themselves are a source
of pleasure, since they seem to defer to others by their modera-
tion. Hence the Apostle says (2 Cor. xii. 6) : Though I
should have a mind to glory, I shall not be foolish : for I will
say the truth. But I forbear, lest any man should think of
me above that which he seeth in me, or anything he heareth
from me.

Secondly, one may incline to what is less by denying, so
as to say that what is in us is not. In this way it does not
belong to this virtue to incline to what is less, because this
would imply falsehood. And yet this would be less repug-
nant to the truth, not indeed as regards the proper aspect of
truth, but as regards the aspect of prudence, which should



Q. 109. Art. 4 THE " SUMMA THEOLOGICA " 84

be safeguarded in all the virtues. For since it is fraught
with greater danger and is more annoying to others, it is
more repugnant to prudence to think or boast that one has
what one has not, than to think or say that one has not what
one has.

This suffices for the Replies to the Objections.



QUESTION ex.

OF THE VICES OPPOSED TO TRUTH, AND FIRST OF

LYING.

{In Four Articles.)

We must now consider the vices opposed to truth, and (i)
lying: (2) dissimulation or hypocrisy: (3) boasting and the
opposite vice. Concerning lying there are four points of
inquiry: (i) Whether lying, as containing falsehood, is
always opposed to truth ? (2) Of the species of lying :
(3) Whether lying is always a sin ? (4) Whether it is always
a mortal sin ?

First Article,
whether lying is always opposed to truth ?

We proceed thus to the First A rticle : —

Objection i. It seems that l3ang is not always opposed
to truth. For opposites are incompatible with one another.
But lying is compatible with truth, since he that speaks the
truth, thinking it to be false, lies, according to Augustine
{Contra Mendac. iii.). Therefore lying is not opposed to
truth.

Ohj. 2. Further, The virtue of truth applies not only to
words but also to deeds, since according to the Philosopher
(Ethic, iv. 7) by this virtue one tells the truth both in one's
speech and in one's life. But lying applies only to words,
for Augustine says {Contra Mend, xii.) that a lie is a false
signification by words. Accordingly, it seems that lying is not
directly opposed to the virtue of truth.

Obj. 3. Further, Augustine says {Contra Mend., loc. cit.)
that the liars sin is the desire to deceive. But this is not

85



Q. no. Art. i THE " SUMMA THEOLOGICA " 86

opposed to truth, but rather to benevolence or justice.
Therefore lying is not opposed to truth.

On the contrary, Augustine says [Contra Mend, x.): Let
no one doubt that it is a lie to tell a falsehood in order to deceive.
Wherefore a false statement uttered with intent to deceive is
a manifest lie. But this is opposed to truth. Therefore
lying is opposed to truth.

/ answer that, A moral act takes its species from two things,
its object, and its end: for the end is the object of the will,
which is the first mover in moral acts. And the power
moved by the will has its own object, which is the proximate
object of the voluntary act, and stands in relation to the
will's act towards the end, as material to formal, as stated
above ( I.-IL, Q. XVIIL, AA. 6, 7).

Now it has been said above (Q. CIX., A.i, ad 3) that
the virtue of truth — ^and consequently the opposite vices —
regards a manifestation made by certain signs: and this
manifestation or statement is an act of reason comparing
sign with the thing signified ; because every representation
consists in comparison, which is the proper act of the reason.
Wherefore though dumb animals manifest something, yet
they do not intend to manifest anything: but they do
something by natural instinct, and a manifestation is the
result. But when this manifestation or statement is a moral
act, it must needs be voluntary, and dependent on the
intention of the will. Now the proper object of a manifesta-
tion or statement is the true or the false. And the intention
of a bad will may bear on two things : one of which is that
a falsehood may be told; while the other is the proper effect
of a false statement, namely, that someone may be deceived.

Accordingly if these three things concur, namely, falsehood
of what is said, the will to tell a falsehood, and finally the
intention to deceive, then there is falsehood — materially,
since what is said is false, formally, on account of the will
to tell an untruth, and effectively, on account of the will
to impart a falsehood.

However, the essential notion of a lie is taken from formal
falsehood, from the fact, namely, that a person intends to



d>7 LYING Q. no. Art. I

say what is false; wherefore also the word mendacium (lie)
is derived from its being in opposition to the mind. Conse-
quently if one says what is false, thinking it to be true, it
is false materially, but not formally, because the falseness is
beside the intention of the speaker : so that it is not a perfect
lie, since what is beside the speaker's intention is accidental,
for which reason it cannot be a specific difference. If, on
the other hand, one utters a falsehood formally, through
having the will to deceive, even if what one says be true,
yet inasmuch as this is a voluntary and moral act, it
contains falseness essentially and truth accidentally, and
attains the specific nature of a lie.

That a person intends to cause another to have a false
opinion, by deceiving him, does not belong to the species
of Ijdng, but to a perfection thereof, even as in the physical
order, a thing acquires its species if it has its form, even
though the form's effect be lacking; for instance a heavy
body which is held up aloft by force, lest it come down in
accordance with the exigency of its form. Therefore it is
evident that lying is directly and formally opposed to the
virtue of truth.

Reply Ohj. i. We judge of a thing according to what is
in it formally and essentially, rather than according to what
is in it materially and accidentally. Hence it is more in
opposition to truth, considered as a moral virtue, to tell the
truth with the intention of telling a falsehood than to tell a
falsehood with the intention of telling the truth.

Reply Ohj. 2. As Augustine says {De Doctr. Christ, ii.),
words hold the chief place among other signs. And so
when it is said that a lie is a false signification by words, the
term words denotes every kind of sign. Wherefore if a
person intended to signify something false by means of signs,
he would not be excused from lying.

Reply Ohj. 3. The desire to deceive belongs to the per-
fection of lying, but not to its species, as neither does any
effect belong to the species of its cause. ,



Q. no. Art. 2 THE " SUMMA THEOLOGICA " 88



Second Article.

whether lies are sufficiently divided into officious,
jocose and mischievous lies ?

We proceed thus to the Second Article : —

Objection i. It seems that lies are not sufficiently divided
into officious, jocose and mischievous lies. For a division
should be made according to that which pertains to a thing
by reason of its nature, as the Philosopher states {Metaph.
vii. text. 43: De Part. Animal, i. 3). But seemingly the
intention of the effect resulting from a moral act is some-
thing beside and accidental to the species of that act, so
that an indefinite number of effects can result from one
act. Now this division is made according to the intention
of the effect : for a jocose lie is told in order to make fun, an
officious lie for some useful purpose, and a mischievous lie
in order to injure someone. Therefore lies are unfittingly
divided in this way.

Ohj. 2. Further, Augustine {Contra Mendac. xiv.) gives
eight kinds of lies. The first is in religious doctrine; the
second is a lie that profits no one and injures someone ; the
third profits one party so as to injure another ; the fourth is
told out of mere lust of lying and deceiving; the fifth is told
out of the desire to please ; the sixth injures no one, and profits
someone in saving his money ; the seventh injures no one and
profits someone in saving him from death ; the eighth injures no
one, and profits someone in saving him from defilement of the
body. Therefore it seems that the first division of lies is
insufficient.

Obj. 3. Further, The Philosopher (Ethic, iv. 7) divides
lying into boasting, which exceeds the truth in speech, and
irony, which falls short of the truth by saying something
less: and these two are not contained under any one of
the kinds mentioned above. Therefore it seems that the
aforesaid division of lies is inadequate.

On the contrary, A gloss on Ps. v. 7, Thou wilt destroy all
that speak a lie, says that there are three kinds of lies ; for some



89 LYING g. no. Art. 2

are told for the wellbeing and convenience of someone, and
there is another kind of lie that is told in fun; hut the third
kind of lie is told out of malice. The first of these is called
an officious lie, the second a jocose lie, the third a mis-
chievous lie. Therefore lies are divided into these three
kinds.

/ answer that, Lies may be divided in three ways. First,
with respect to their nature as lies: and this is the proper
and essential division of lying. In this way, according to the
Philosopher (Ethic, iv. 7), lies are of two kinds, namely, the
lie which goes beyond the truth, and this belongs to boasting,
and the lie which stops short of the truth, and this belongs
to irony. This division is an essential division of lying
itself, because lying as such is opposed to truth, as stated
in the preceding Article : and truth is a kind of equality, to
which more and less are in essential opposition.

Secondly, lies may be divided with respect to their nature
as sins, and with regard to those things that aggravate or



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