In the recently published volume from Sophia Institute Press, Philosophical Virtues and Psychological Strengths, David contributes a chapter on the cardinal virtue of temperance called “Tempered Desire.”
The whole volume is edited by Fr. Romanus Cessario, OP, Craig Steven Titus, and Paul Vitz. It is an impressive undertaking, addressing in what ways classical virtue theory has something to say to the contemporary psychological scene.
David’s chapter argues that “the consumerist betrayal of desire can be rectified only through the virtue of temperance.” He emphasizes the importance of chastity as a component of temperance. “Sexual desire can either be intensely elevating or fundamentally disintegrating for the human person. It tends towards the latter without the virtue of chastity, especially given the particular disposition of our consumerist culture and the hegemony of the misogynist regime of exploitative sexuality.” Chastity heals sexual desire and fosters self-transcendence into the infinite, communal spaces of true love, while unchastity results in the kind of psychological and social break-down that we have seen throughout our culture in the last fifty years since the sexual revolution.
Sound psychology can gain much from a virtue-based approach to sexuality, can be equipped to deal with the hooked-up, plugged-in, drugged-out lives that need healing. The conversation is not a one-way street, however: theology and philosophy can also learn much about the structure of desire from good psychology.
This book is academic in tone and content, and it rewards those interested in philosophical anthropology with many insights into modern applications of virtue theory. Buy it here.