Aquinas' famous Summa Theologica
Aquinas on Love and Selfishness
Selfish and unselfish
Selfish - love for the pleasure it gives YOU. This is selfish love
This is Love of concupiscence.
Man loves another by desiring only GOOD of the other.
Love is unselfish man for man (man for woman. Woman for man, etc.)
This is the love of friendship.
Selfish love is NOT evil.
It urges man to self happiness that God has intended for him.
Love of friendship is nobler.
This love grows in the lives of others sharing their life activities.
Man rises above himself by mingling with other lives. that is lives of the a. human b. angelic c. Divine
Love is caused by knowledge.
Unless an object is known, (love) attraction cannot occur.
The knowledge may not be perfect knowledge to cause love.
Goodness is the basic cause of love. (We are attracted to the GOOD in something.)
The good satisfies our appetite.
We are attracted by likeness.
When men are alike in virtues, tastes, abilities, they tend to union w/one another.
When opposites attract, attraction comes from what is alike in each of the opposites.
All love leads to union with the beloved.
Man loves a woman, so he longs for her presence.
Love is ecstatic
He will think less of himself
He will sacrifice for the beloved.
Jealously flows from love.
He resents rivals. Question: to love other people:
Do you do everything for them and give them everything.
Or does this make them lazy?
Does justice consist in giving things to others and not making them work for them themselves.
When is it just to sacrifice yourself for others?
EVIL according to Aquinas To him evil exists in the object, not originated in the mind.
Thomas Aquinas: heights of the Middle Ages Intellectual development. Golden Age of Medieval times. 1224 to 1274
1. Moderns sometimes erroneously believe that the medieval times were totally benighted.
2. The truth is in philosophical and other areas, and we are only speaking of philosophical areas, not religious, or even architectural or artistic, there was cultural and intellectual development which surpassed that of the Golden Age of Greece.
3. Here, in medieval philosophy, was the roots of what we call "modern science".
4. It developed out of a new discovery at this time of the works of Aristotle which were unappreciated in the west, because of the lack of good translations of same, an misinterpretation of Aristotle, and other reasons like the attachment to the ideas of Plato (remember the early centuries AD?)
5. Aquinas wrote his treatise on evil to "settle the Manichees"
6. His analysis is totally metaphysical.
7. First he analyses the notion of being itself.
8. He says BEING = GOOD. All being is good.
9. We will not do this here, but he discusses the attributes of God.
eternal, immutable, perfect.
10. He says, "God is not only his own essence but his own existence."
11. Next he discusses goodness in general
12. His first question is "Whether goodness differs really from Being?"
13. "Goodness and being are really the same, and differ only in idea".
14. "Goodness is what all desire"
15. "Goodness presents the aspect of desirableness which being does not present."
16. "Therefore, being has goodness, because it has being."
17. God the cause of all being has all goodness.
18. "Every being that is not God is God's creature."
19. "Creatures also possess goodness in deriving goodness from God>"
20. "Every creature of God is good."
21. "God is the greatest good."
22. "In the greatest good, evil is not present"
23. So we must wait till the "Treatise on Creation" to find where evil is discussed..
24. We can only understand evil after we understand good.
25. He poses the question: "Whether evil is found in things"
26. "Perfection of the universe requires that there should be some which can fail in goodness"
27. "Evil is that a thing fails in goodness."
28. "Hence...evil is found in things, for corruption is itself an evil." "Evil is absence of good in a being which should possess that good."
29. "We know now that evil is not a specific Being." (Manichees)
30. "The essence of evil is failure."
31. There are 2 kinds of absence of good:
1. One would be a non-privative absence. EX: Lack of sight in a stone
2. Lack of perfection in a being which should by its nature possess this perfection.
EX: Blindness in a man
32. Privation presupposes evil exists in good beings.
33. Evil exists as in a subject.
34. There is evil of pain and fault in rational creatures.
1. pain - withdraw of the due operation in a being EX: Getting a broken leg or cancer, etc
2. Evil of fault in rational creatures. "Subtraction of due operation in voluntary things has the nature of fault." Moral evil is chosen freely. (Remember Aristotle's properly functioning man. It was his choice to pursue virtue or not.) (Free will is dealt with in another section)