Cooperation with Evil
Thomistic Tools of Analysis
Imprint: Catholic University of America Press
Contemporary society very often asks of individuals and/or corporate entities that they perform actions connected in some way with the immoral actions of other individuals or entities. Typically, in the attempt to determine what would be unacceptable cooperation with such immoral actions, Christian scholars and authorities refer to the distinction, which appears in the writings of Alphonsus Liguori, between material and formal cooperation, the latter being connected in some way with the cooperator's intention in so acting. While expressing agreement with most of Alphonsus's determinations in these regards, Cooperation with Evil also argues that the philosophical background to these determinations often lacks coherence, especially when compared to related passages in the writings of Thomas Aquinas.
Having compared the philosophical approaches of these two great moralists, Cooperation with Evil then describes a number of ideas in Thomas's writings that might serve as more effective tools for the analysis of cases of possible immoral cooperation. The book also includes, as appendixes, translations of relevant passages in both Alphonsus and Thomas.
"A timely, significant contribution; Flannery elegantly grounds the ethics of cooperation in Aquinas's nonpareil account of action."~Thomas A. Cavanaugh, University of San Francisco
"This is a superb philosophical and historical study of the problem of cooperation with evil written by a master scholar who has spent decades immersed in the Aristotelian-Thomistic tradition. It will be a much welcome and much needed guide for individuals striving to attain virtue in a pluralistic society in which they will inevitably find themselves working alongside friends and colleagues who do not share their moral principles and intuitions."~Rev. Nicanor Pier Giorgio Austriaco, OP, Providence College
"What this volume presents is really a new beginning for the ethics of cooperation in evil. As Fr. Flannery makes abundantly clear, the (hitherto) standard approach to this complex topic, in modern Catholic moral thought, is confused and not quite on target. St. Thomas has principles and distinctions that can help to get a more solid grip on the matter, and Flannery lays them out carefully and shows us how to apply them. Philosophers and theologians working in the field should put their projects on hold and study this book."~Stephen Brock, author of The Philosophy of Saint Thomas Aquinas: A Sketch
"Kevin Flannery reveals the need to reconsider traditional discourse on cooperation with evil. The distinction between formal and material cooperation has not been consistently explained, leading more often to confusion rather than to insight. Flannery shines light on the subject by providing necessary tools for evaluating the morality of cooperation with evil."~Steven J. Jensen, Director, Center for Thomistic Studies, University of St. Thomas, Houston
"We recommend this book to all those who study human acts and the circumstances that affect them, as well as to those who specifically study acts of cooperation with evil. The book will certainly have a significant impact on moral theory."~European Journal for the Study of Thomas Aquinas
"The book's greatest virtue is its careful exegesis of Catholic authors (Alphonsus, the manualists, and Aquinas), its disentangling of the various strands of debate on material verus formal cooperation, and the balanced judgement shown in its conclusions. Cooperation with Evil is sure to become the standard text for future discussions on this topic."~Thomist