in Summa I-II. Questions 26-29 (Love) & 55-70 (The Virtues)
Love is a passion for it
involves being drawn to, desiring, and enjoying the object. The union is
the result of love (Q 26. 2nd). Love can be divided in the habit of love,
either selfish or unselfish in nature, and the action or passion of love,
which can involve love chosen (dilection) or love cherished (charity)
(3rd). While love of friendship wishes another good and therefore loves
something for itself, love of concupiscence does something for something
else it wishes to gain (4th). The good pleases the desire for a thing in
love, while the beautiful pleases by apprehension (Q 27.1st). Knowledge is
the cause of love because apprehension is needed to desire the good; one
can only perfectly love as one knows all the elements of what is loved
(2nd). All passions of the soul presuppose some kind of love (4th).
The union of the lover and
beloved is two-fold: 1) real union is the beloved with the lover; 2) union
of affection wills good to the friend as himself or herself (Q 28.1st).
Mutual indwelling is an effect of love because love is both desire and
apprehension--in apprehension, by virtue of growing knowledge of the one
loved; in desire, by taking pleasure in the one loved. Concupiscence
(desire) seeks to possess
perfectly by penetrating the heart, while friendship desires the same
things as the friend and wills the other's good. Thus, there are three
ways that love may indwell: 1) by reckoning what affects the friend as
affecting the self ("the lover seems to be in the beloved"); 2)
by looking on the friend as the self, thus willing his or her good
("the beloved in the lover"); and 3) by reciprocal love, whereby
good things are returned for good (2nd).
Ecstasy, in a sense, is an effect of love
in that we are in part outside ourselves in the other (3rd). Zeal is also
an aspect of love because love is intense. The zeal of concupiscence is
jealous for the love for the beloved, while the zeal of friendship is
moved on the friends' behalf and for his or her good (4th). Love is a
passion that wounds the lover when it loves an unsuitable object (e.g.
sin), while love is otherwise a melting, a softening of the heart that
produces readiness for the lover (5th). In that sense, love is the cause
of all that the lover does (6th). Love is even the cause of hatred because
it is contrary to what should be loved (Q 29. 2nd), though hatred is not
stronger than love since it is only an effect of love (3rd). People cannot
hate themselves since all desire good for themselves, though at times they
accidentally desire what is contrary to reason (4th). Someone can hate the
truth because 1) she wishes a particular truth not to be true; 2) an
object hiders her from what she wants; or 3) because a particular truth of
her condition is known by another (5th).
- What makes love of a friend different
from romantic love? Are they similar in any way?
- Do you feel Aquinas has understood the
nature of love? Why or why not?
- How are love and hatred related?
- Compare and contrast Aquinas' views of
love with what you know of medieval love tropes.
Human virtue is a habit since habits
motivate us to actions (Q 55.1st). Intellectual virtues include
understanding, which is the habit of apprehending principles through
demonstration; wisdom, which judges and orders all things (knowledge of
first causes); and science (scientia) which examines the proximate
causes of specific areas (second causes) (4th). Two others include
prudence, which is "the right reason for things to be done,"
while art is "the right knowledge of things to be made" (4th).
Prudence is a necessary virtue because it is needed for a good life made
up of good deeds. We need to know not only the end, but also the means
suitable to the end (5th).
The intellectual virtue of prudence (prudentia)
is joined with the moral habit of a certain disposition toward the good (Q
58.2nd). All deeds perfect either the moral or intellectual virtues (3rd),
so while wisdom, science, and art can exist separately as intellectual
virtues, prudential understanding is always necessary for the moral life
(4th-5th). Moral virtue can be a passion if it accords with reason (Q
59.1st) and if the passions are as they should be (2nd), so sorrow is
compatible with moral virtue given that it helps us bemoan and avoid our
sin (3rd). Moral virtue does not exist with inordinate desires, and
virtues such as justice, would seem to be separate from passions, but even
justice ultimately results in perfect joy for the one who practices it
Justice is an operation, while temperance,
fortitude, and gentleness involve the passions (Q 60.2nd). Justice is the
center of all virtues involving operations since justice involves giving
what is due to a superior, an inferior, or an equal (3rd.)
The Seven Virtues (Questions 61-62)
|These all exist within the
natural powers of humans and overflow into one another in practice.
||The act of reason expressed
||reason in essence
||The act of reason that puts
order into something
||Reason applied to passion by
curbing its excesses
||Reason applied to passions by
strengthening what is weak before danger or fear
|These all require the assistance
of grace in order to achieve participation in the Divine Life without
which true happiness is impossible for their object is God, they are
infused by God, and they are unknown without scriptural revelation.
||receiving and believing the
articles of faith by Divine light
||a movement of intention toward
the promised end
||a spiritual union begun here as
the will is transformed
In order of generation, faith proceeds hope since one must believe in
order to desire, and hope proceeds charity since the imperfect proceeds
the perfect union, but in the order of perfection, charity proceeds faith
and hope since it is the end and source of them; it quickens them and
completes them (Q 62.4th). Natural virtue is in
us by nature, though even then only in the appetitive, not in perfection.
The theological virtues must be infused by God (Q 63.1st). The moral
virtues do observe the mean since it is a measure of virtue (cf. 417, n.
218). The natural virtues hold the mean in conforming passions to reason's
standard; therefore, virtue is not an excess when conforming to the
measure. The theological virtues cannot observe a mean since one cannot
believe, hope in, or love God too much, but in human matters it is
permissible to speak of mean for hope and faith. Hope can observe the mean
between presumption and despair; faith can observe the mean of two
heresies (e.g. Ebionitism and Gnosticism). The moral virtues are connected
to one another if by this we mean they are all habits that incline us to
the good, thus seeking to convert our inclination (Q 65.1st). The moral
virtues, speaking simply, are not better than the intellectual virtues
since the reason is higher than the appetite. However, speaking
relatively, the moral virtues do exceed the intellectual virtues since
they have as their object the good and represent the perfection of their
power. Justice is the chief of the natural virtues since it is the most
universal (4th), while wisdom is the greatest of the intellectual virtues
directing and guiding the other intellectual virtues (5th). Charity is the
greatest of the theological virtues since it approaches the closest to
their object which is God. Faith and hope differ from prudence and the
moral virtues in that their object surpasses human beings. Prudence
moderates the other virtues, while faith only reveals the object of
desire, i.e. God (6th).
- Is there such a thing as an intellectual virtue?
Name some examples.
- Define in your own words prudence, science, and
art. How do yours differ from those of Aquinas?
- How do our passions and desires play a role in
our ethical habits?
- Is Aquinas right to separate the virtues into
natural and theological categories? Why or why not?
- What is justice?
- Is it important to be able to rank the various
virtues? Why or why not?