The Virtuous Cooperator: Modeling the Human in an Age of Ecological Degradation

Jame Schaefer, Marquette University

Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology, Vol. 7, No. 1 (2003): 171-195. DOI: 10.1163/156853503321916273.


A theological model of the human is needed to prompt responsible thinking about and acting within the physical world. Some basic components for modeling the human as a virtuous cooperator appear in the teachings of Thomas Aquinas. When appropriated cautiously and informed broadly by contemporary scientific findings, this model provides a promising way of thinking about humans in relation to other species and ecological systems, a framework for acting responsibly, and the motivation for making this behavior habitual.