The concept of synderesis has a long etymological journey that begins with the Greek word syntēreîn (translatable as “look after” or “Observe closely”). This term came to Byzantine Greek as syntḗrēsis, which in medieval Latin derived in synderesis.
The idea of syndéresis refers to the sanity and the rectitude at the time of making a judgment. The notion is linked to prudence and the discretion.
It can be said that syndéresis is a virtue. Thanks to this capacity, an individual makes judgments and decides thoughtfully and with intelligence. Foolishness, in this framework, is the opposite of syndéresis.
Synderesis makes a person act with sense and without foolishness. That is why it is essential in those who have the responsibility of imparting Justice. It must also be one of the qualities present in the rulers, in the leaders and in those who are in charge of making decisions.
For the philosophy, syndéresis is the faculty of understanding that provides access to knowledge of the general principles of morality. On the other hand, syndéresis is also associated with the appropriate use of language for the precise expression of the decisions and judgments adopted.
In Catholicism, meanwhile, syndéresis is considered a cognitive property that, by setting habits, allows us to understand moral truths with practical intelligence. According to scholasticism, syndéresis is a precept of practical reason whose object is the essential principles of the moral act.
At a general level, in short, we can say that syndéresis is a fitness of the subject who emits judgments correctly. It can be considered as an intellectual or practical habit.