Tagged: Thomas Aquinas

Aquinas: Summa, Question 22. The subject of the soul’s passions

It is delightful to read Thomas’ answer to the question whether there is any passion in the soul. He manages to say yes, but only after heavy differentiation of the terms. I am quoting the text from the Catholic New Advent website; the links in the text will lead you back to that site. Article 1. Whether any passion is in the soul? Objection 1. It would seem that there is no passion in the soul. Because passivity belongs to matter. But the soul is not composed of matter and form, as stated in the I, 75, 5. Therefore there...

Aquinas: Human actions, goals, free will

What is the relation between human action and natural teleology? In these articles from the beginning of the second part of the Summa Theologica of Thomas Aquinas, he answers that we have to distinguish between human acts that come from a deliberate will, and therefore they are the proper domain of humanity, and actions that are natural even if they re performed by humans. He also argues that all human actions have a final goal, and it cannot be infinity itself. The principle in the human intention is the last end; consequently, it is not possible to aim directly at infinity, ...

Aquinas: Is the Incarnation necessary?

John 1,14: The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.  The incarnation is probably the aspect of Christianity that is hardest to grasp. In the following articles from the third part of the Summa Theologica,  Thomas Aquinas explains why this was necessary for the salvation of human beings. God could have saved us in many ways, but the incarnate Christ is the most elegant and easiest solution. Here is his reasoning: (The text is quoted from the New Advent website.) Article 1. Whether it was fitting that God should become incarnate? Objection 1. It would seem that it was...

Thomas Aquinas

Content: Timeline of his Life 1225 Thomas Aquinas born at Roccasecca 1230 Begins studies at Montecassino 1239 Continues studies at University of Naples 1244 Joins Dominicans; family protests decision by imprisoning him for a year 1245 Released by his family, Thomas goes to Paris to study with Albert the Great 1248 Accompanies Albert to newly founded Dominican school at Cologne 1250 Ordained a priest 1252 Returns to Paris; writes Contra impugnantes Dei cultum, a defense of mendicant orders 1256 Named master of theology at Paris 1259 Sent to Italy, where he would teach at Anagni, Orvieto, Rome, and Viterbo c....

Aquinas on Law

The following streamlined text selections from the Summa Theologiae, Thomas Aquinas’ main work, show his treatment of the philosophical problems of the law. The sections reproduced here contain only the so-called “responsios”; some articles are omitted entirely.  Thomas’s approach is very consistent; he has great confidence that reason can function as a guide to guide to ethical decision-making. Whether law is something pertaining to reason Law is a rule and measure of actions through which one is induced to act or restrained from acting. Lex, “law,” is derived from ligare, “to bind,” because it binds one to act. The rule...

Thomas Aquinas: Five Arguments for the Existence of God.

Thomas Aquinas claims that the existence of God can be proven in five ways. I will first quote the text from the Summa, and then outline the five arguments. Summa Theologiae, Question 2, Article 3. It seems that God does not exist, for if one of two contrary things were infinite, its opposite would be completely destroyed. By “God,” however, we mean some infinite good. Therefore, if God existed evil would not. Evil does exist in the world, however. Therefore God does not exist. Furthermore, one should not needlessly multiply elements in an explanation. It seems that we can account for...

Aquinas: Summa theologiae, Question 1,2

Thomas’ most significant work is his Summa theologiae or ‘summary of Theology,’ a gigantic work which attempts to present all of Christian theology as systematically as possible. Thomas worked on it from 1266 through 1273. Then, when he was nearly finished, he underwent an experience so intense that, as he himself explained, everything he had written seemed like straw. He completely stopped writing and died three months later. Thomas was canonized in 1323. The Summa theologiae is written in a form common to treatises of that age. All of theology is divided into its major topics. These, in turn, are...

Subject, Ego, Person

This short essay, written in August and September 2001, could also be entitled “The Religious Roots of  Our Concept of the Person.” I argue that: we need to make a distinction between “something” and “someone;” this was done in the past through a religious definition of the origin of the human being; it has been secularized into the concept of the person, The term expresses the internal relationship of “having a nature.” Therefore we are not just “something”, we are “someone,” and as such not entirely subjected to nature. Since the distinction itself is not natural, it works only if...