Jacques Maritain Center : History of Philosophy / by William Turner


Life. St. Thomas, surnamed the Angelic Doctor, belonged to the noble family of Aquino, which was related to the imperial family and to the royal houses of Aragon, Sicily, and France. His father was count of Aquino, Belcastro, and Roccasecca. In the fortress at Roccasecca our saint was born in the year 1224 or 1225.{2} When five years old he was sent to the monastery of Monte Cassino, where his uncle Sinnebald ruled as abbot. There, in the midst of the struggles between the papacy and the empire, -- struggles in which the abbot, as feudal lord of a large province, was obliged to take sides, -- the monks continued to teach and to cultivate learning, and there, according to tradition, the young Thomas began to occupy his mind with the question, Quid est Deus? He studied grammar, poetry, rhetoric, logic, and, perhaps, the elements of philosophy. In 1236 Sinnebald died, and shortly after that event the community of Monte Cassino was broken up for a time, and St. Thomas returned to his father's castle. After a brief sojourn at home St. Thomas was sent to the University of Naples. The change from Monte Cassino to the university was an important crisis in the life of our saint. The university was at that time dominated by the influence of Frederick II, an influence which was hostile to religion, or at least to the papacy and to the mendicant orders. The city, if we are to believe contemporary chroniclers, was a veritable hotbed of irreligion and licentiousness. St. Thomas, uninfluenced by these surroundings, continued to devote himself to his studies, having for masters Martinus in grammar and Petrus Hibernus in natural science: "In quorum scholis," says Tocco, "tam luculenti coepit esse ingenii et perspicacis intelligentiae ut altius et profundius et darius aliis audita repeteret quam a suis doctoribus audivisset."

In 1243 Thomas entered the order of St. Dominic. His mother, Theadora, having looked forward to another career for her son, threw every obstacle in the way of his entering the Order of Preachers. She carried her opposition so far as to imprison him in the fortress of San Giovanni. Toward the end of the second year of his imprisonment Thomas made his escape, and, the opposition on the part of his relatives having ceased, he was allowed to proceed to Paris in the company of John of Germany. He does not seem to have tarried at Paris for any length of time, but to have gone at once to Cologne, where Albert was teaching. This was in 1244 or 1245. Albert perceived at once the extraordinary talents of his pupil, and when Thomas' fellow-students, failing to detect the intellectual greatness hidden under an extreme modesty of manner, surnamed him the "Dumb Ox," Albert foretold the future renown of his pupil: "Nos vocamus istum bovem mutum, sed ipse adhuc talem dabit in doctrina mugitum quod in toto mundo sonabit."{3} Tocco{4} describes the student Thomas as follows: "Coepit miro modo taciturnus esse in silentio, in studio assiduus, in oratione devotus, interius colligens in memoria quad postmodum effunderet in doctrina."

Soon after his arrival at Cologne, Thomas was sent to Paris in company with Albert. There they remained until 1248. When, in 1248, Albert was recalled to Cologne, it was decided that his illustrious pupil should once more accompany him, and continue to study under his direction. In 1251 or 1252, by order of the General of the Dominicans, Thomas repaired to Paris, where he undertook the task of expounding the Books of Sentences. In 1256 (this is the most probable date){5} St. Thomas received the degree of master, and was placed at the head of the school at St. James as regens primarius. It is probable, however, that, on account of the conflict between the mendicants and the seculars, the solemn inceptio did not take place until 1257. Mention has already been made of the part which St. Bonaventure and St. Thomas took in the controversy arising out of this dispute and in the efforts of the mendicants to secure a favorable decision from Rome.

While fulfilling his task as bachelor, or assistant professor, St. Thomas composed his Commentaries on the Books of Sentences. After his promotion to the duties of master of sacred science he continued to teach and write, taking up special points treated in elementary fashion by the bachelor who taught under his direction, and devoting himself to the thorough discussion of each doctrine in all its bearings. His fame as a teacher rapidly spread throughout Europe and, in obedience to the commands of his superiors, he taught successively at Rome, Bologna, Viterbo, Perugia, and Naples. In his lectures as well as in his writings, St. Thomas was actuated by a twofold purpose: he strove, first, to defend the truth against the attacks of its enemies, and, secondly, to build up a system of theology and philosophy. The Summa contra Gentiles and the Summa Theologica are proof of his ability both as an apologist and as a constructive thinker. The former work, begun at Paris about the year 1257 and completed sometime between the years 1261 and 1264, was undertaken at the request of St. Raymund of Pennafort for the purpose of defending Catholic truth against the Arabian pantheists and their followers. The latter work was begun at Bologna about the year 1271. It is St. Thomas' greatest work, his last and most important contribution to Christian theology and philosophy. For, though the work is entitled Summa Theologica, and is, in fact, a summary of Catholic theology, it is also a summary of philosophy. It begins with the question of the existence of God, treats of the attributes of God, traces the process of things from God, and the return of man to God through Christ by means of the sacraments which Christ instituted. It treats, therefore, of the creation and government of the universe, of the origin and nature of man, of human destiny, of virtues, vices, and laws -- of all the great problems of speculative and practical philosophy. It is the key to the thought of St. Thomas: it contains the views of his more mature years, and whenever discrepancies occur between the doctrines of the Summa and the views expressed in his earlier works, the Summa is always to be taken as the embodiment of the "mind" of St. Thomas.

During his career as professor, St. Thomas composed also the Quaestiones Disputatae and the Quodlibeta. When a problem, arising out of the interpretation of Aristotle or of the Lombard, was so complicated that its discussion would occupy too much space in the Scholastic commentary, or was so difficult as to puzzle the bachelor, whose duty it was to expound the text of Aristotle or of the Lombard, it was made the subject of a special treatise by the master, and such treatises were called Quaestiones Disputatae. The Quodlibeta were answers to questions put to the master by pupils or by outsiders. When, therefore, we find the following among the questions answered by St. Thomas: Did St. Peter sin mortally when he denied Christ? Does a crusader who is returning from the Holy Land die a better death than one who is going thither? Do the damned rejoice at the sufferings of their enemies?{6} we should admire the gentle forbearance with which he strove to remove the difficulties that lay in the way of minds less gifted than his.

After the completion of the first and second parts of the Summa Theologica, St. Thomas took up his abode at the convent of his order in Naples and there devoted himself to the completion of the third part. At the end of a year and a half, having reached the ninetieth question, he felt that he could proceed no farther with the work, and when his faithful friend Reginald urged him to continue, he answered in all simplicity, "Non possum." In obedience, however, to the command of Gregory X, he set out for Lyons at the beginning of the year 1274 in order to attend the council that was being held in that city. He fell sick on the way, and when the Cistercian monks of Fossa Nuova, near Maienza, invited him to their cloister, he accepted their invitation. There he spent the last days of his life among the sons of St. Benedict, whose brethren at Monte Cassino had watched over his early education, and there, on March 7, he died while expounding the Canticle of Canticles.

Character. Contemporary biographers and the witnesses whose depositions are to be found in the Acts of canonization bear testimony to the exalted sanctity of the Angelic Doctor; the Pange lingua, the Lauda Sion, and the prayers which he composed for the office of the Blessed Sacrament testify to his great piety. Every page of his philosophical and theological works reveals the author's single-minded devotion to truth, his courtesy towards his opponents, and his extraordinary grasp of the great principles of Scholastic philosophy and theology. Tocco describes him as "magnus in corpore et rectae staturae quae rectitudini animae respondet . . . animum nulla sensualis passio perturbabat, nullius rei premebat affectio temporalis, nec ullius honoris inflabat ambitio . . . intro modo contemplativus et coelestibus deditus."{7}

Sources. The principal editions of the works of St. Thomas are the following: the Roman edition of 1570 (known as the edition of Pius V), the Venetian edition of 1592, the Paris edition of 1660, the Parma edition of 1852, and the Leonine edition begun by the Dominicans at Rome in 1882 by order of Leo XIII. The works of St. Thomas may be grouped as follows: (1) commentaries on the works of Aristotle; (2) commentaries on the Books of Sentences; (3) exegetical works, i.e., commentaries on the Scriptures, and collections of the opinions of Patristic exponents of the text (Catena Aurea); (4) commentaries on the Pseudo-Dionysian treatise De Divinis Nominibus, and on the Boethian treatises De Hebdomadibus and De Trinitate; (5) Summa contra Gentiles, Summa Theologica, Quaestiones Disputatae Opuscula, and Quodlibeta.

On the question of the genuineness of the works ascribed to St. Thomas, cf. the Dissertatio Critica by De Rubeis, which is prefixed to the Leonine and other editions.


In treating of the philosophical system of St. Thomas it will be found convenient to consider: (1) St. Thomas' notion of science, doctrine of the interrelation of sciences, doctrine of universals, theory of knowledge; (2) logic; (3) anthropology; (4) cosmology; (5) metaphysics, including natural theology; and (6) moral and political doctrines.

1. Notion of Science, etc. (a) Science is the knowledge of things through their causes. Scientific knowledge differs from knowledge in general in this, that it gives the cause, or wherefore, of a phenomenon or event. It is, therefore, defined as a knowledge of principles;{8} for, when we define science as a knowledge through causes, we mean primarily those intrinsic causes, or principles, which constitute the unalterable natures of things and underlie their external, shifting, sense-perceived qualities. And, since it is on the unalterable natures of things that laws are based, science may be defined as the knowledge of laws: it is concerned with what is changeable and contingent in so far as the changeable and contingent contains the necessary and universal, which is the true object of scientific knowledge.{9}

(b) Faith and Reason. Intimately associated with the notion of science is the notion of truth. Truth is defined as "adaequatio rei et intellectus."{10} Now God is the source of all truth. He communicates it to us directly by revelation and indirectly by giving us the power by which we acquire it. Science acquired in the former manner would be divine, while the science which we ourselves derive from experience and reason is human. Theology is partly divine and partly human. It is divine in its origin, for it starts with revealed truths as principles; and it is human in the course of its development, for it proceeds from premise to conclusion by the aid of reason. The distinction between divine science and human science is not a distinction of material objects, that is, of the truths with which each is concerned, but rather a distinction of formal objects, that is, of the point of view from which the same truths are studied in each science. The difference between theology and philosophy does not consist in the fact that theology treats of God, for philosophy also treats of God and divine truths; the distinction consists rather in this, that theology views truth in the light of divine revelation, while philosophy views truth in the light of human reason. This is the first and broadest distinction between theology and philosophy.{11}

There are truths which belong exclusively to theology, there are truths which belong properly to philosophy, and there are truths which are common to both sciences. The truths which belong exclusively to theology are the mysteries of faith, such as the Incarnation and the Trinity, which the human mind can neither demonstrate nor comprehend. These we know on the authority of God, Who revealed them. The truths which belong exclusively to philosophy are natural truths of the lower order; that is, truths which have no bearing on man's destiny or on his relations with God. The truths which belong to both sciences are natural truths of the higher order, such as the existence of God. These, on account of the important relation which they bear to supernatural truth, are called the praeambula fidei. They come within the scope and power of natural reason, and are, therefore, natural; nevertheless, they are proposed for our belief, for, though a knowledge of them is possible to all men, it is in point of fact attained only by a few (a paucis, et per longum tempus et cum admixtione multorum errorum). Considering, on the one hand, the vital importance of these truths, and, on the other hand, the difficulty of attaining a knowledge of them, it seems natural and fitting that God in His goodness should propose them for our belief.{12} Now, whether we consider the truths which belong exclusively to theology, or those which are common to theology and philosophy, we realize that the science which studies both classes of truths in the light of revelation, and the science which studies the latter class of truths in the light of reason, are distinct sciences.

But while it is certain that theology and philosophy are distinct, it is no less certain that they are in complete harmony one with the other. "Ea quae ex revelatione divina per fidem tenentur non possunt naturali cognitioni esse contraria."{13} This principle, which may be said to be implied in every system of Christian speculation, is explicitly proved{14} by the following consideration: God is the author of all knowledge, natural as well as revealed. It is, therefore, He who teaches us, not only when, by means of the revelation which He has vouchsafed to grant us, we attain the knowledge of truth in the supernatural order, but also when, by the natural powers, which also are His gift, we discover truth in the natural order. Now it is impossible that God should contradict Himself; it is, therefore, impossible that there should exist a contradiction between natural truth and truth of the supernatural order.

But this is not all. Not only does faith not contradict reason; it strengthens and supplements reason. Faith introduces us into a new world of truth, into a world where everything is novel and strange, but where, nevertheless, an Intelligent Ruler reigns; where, consequently, we find that everything obeys the inexorable laws of thought which rule the natural world; for a mystery is not a contradiction. Thus is the horizon of knowable truth enlarged by revelation, and faith becomes the complement of reason. St. Thomas was fully convinced of the limitations of human thought. He did not, it is true, draw the limits of thought so closely as Mansel and Spencer have done. He possessed more confidence than they in the power of the human mind to attain truth. Still, he recognized the principle that the human mind, however high it may soar, must sometime or other reach a level beyond which it cannot rise, and at which all natural knowledge ends. He differed, however, from the agnostic (and the difference is radical) in this, -- that while beyond the region of knowledge the modern philosopher places the region of nescience, St. Thomas taught that where science ends faith begins, and that faith is a kind of knowledge. Faith is the assent to truth on account of the authority of God:

Assentit autem intellectus alicui dupliciter, uno modo quia ad hoc movetur ab ipso objecto quod est per seipsum cognitum, sicut patet in primis principiis, quorum est intellectus, vel per aliud cognitum, sicut patet in conclusionibus, quarum est scientia. Alio modo intellectus assentit alicui, non quia sufficienter movetur ab objecto proprio sed per quamdam electionem voluntarie declinans in unam partem . . . et si quidem hoc sit cum dubitatione et formidine alterius partis, erit opinio, si autem sit cum certitudine, absque tali formidine, erit fides.{15}

Faith, therefore, in so far as it depends on the will is meritorious, while in so far as it is a firm assent and excludes doubt it adds to our knowledge. Knowledge, coextensive with reality, is divided into the realm of science and the realm of faith, and these realms are continuous. Moreover, all faith is radically reasonable; for belief rests on the authority of God, and reason tells us that God can neither deceive nor be deceived:

Dicendum quod ea quae subsunt fidei dupliciter considerari possunt: uno modo, in speciali, et sic non possunt esse simul visa et credita alio modo in generali, scilicet sub communi ratione credibilis, et sic sunt visa ab eo qui credit. Non enim crederet nisi videret ea esse credenda.{16}

From the foregoing principles it follows that science can aid faith (1) by furnishing the motives of credibility and by establishing the preambles of faith; (2) by supplying analogies which enable us to represent to ourselves truths of the supernatural order; (3) by solving the objections which the opponents of faith urge against supernatural truth. St. Thomas subscribed to the twofold principle of Scholasticism: Credo ut intelligam; intelligo ut credam.

St. Thomas' doctrine concerning the relations between revelation and reason may be summed up in the propositions: (1) the domain of faith is distinct from the domain of reason; (2) the former is a continuation of the latter. Here we find expressed the thought which agitated the minds of the schoolmen during the first two periods of Scholasticism -- the thought, namely, that revelation is reasonable and that reason is divine. This thought, which was held in solution in every system of Scholasticism from the extreme mysticism of Erigena to the extreme rationalism of Abelard (both of whom, though for different reasons, identified theology with philosophy), is now at last crystallized, and the Protestant as well as the Catholic apologist of Christianity will to-day acknowledge that nowhere can there be found a better statement of the relation between revelation and reason than in the principles formulated by St. Thomas. The doctrine of St. Thomas on this point is of interest not merely to the apologist, but also to the philosopher; for every effort at philosophical construction is an effort at establishing continuity. The Greeks, while they distinguished mind and matter, taught that there exists no antagonism between them, and it was in a similar spirit of constructive synthesis that St. Thomas, while clearly distinguishing the province of theology from that of philosophy, established once for all the continuity of the supernatural with the natural, of revelation with reason. It is this aspect of the question that gives it its importance in the history of philosophy.{17}

(c) Division of sciences. St. Thomas divides the sciences, in accordance with Aristotle's scheme of classification, into physical, mathematical, and metaphysical.{18} All science is abstraction, that is, separation, or analysis, of the complex totality of phenomena; the physical, mathematical, and metaphysical sciences represent ascending grades of abstraction.{19}

(d) Doctrine of universals. All science is concerned with the abstract and, therefore, with the universal: of singular things, in so far as they are singular, there is no science. But the universal, though abstract, is real. St. Thomas regards the nominalist denial of the reality of universals as a denial of the reality of all science. He does not, however, agree with the Platonic realists, who teach that the universal exists outside the mind as a universal, in the same way as it exists in the mind. The universal existed ante rem in the mind of God, as exemplar cause; it exists post rem in the human mind, as an idea or image extracted from concrete things; and it exists in re, as the essence or quiddity of things; but the universal in re is not formally universal: the mind, reflecting that the universal quiddity is predicable of many, invests this quiddity with the formal aspect of universality.{20}

Quod est commune multis non est aliquid praeter multa nisi sola ratione.{21} Cum dicitur universale abstractum, duo intelliguntur, scilicet ipsa natura rei et abstractio seu universalitas. Ipsa igitur natura rei cui accidit vel intelligi vel abstrahi vel intentio universalitatis, non est nisi in singularibus: sed hoc ipsum quod est intelligi vel abstrahi vel intentio universalitatis, est in intellectu.{22}

Licet natura generis et speciei numquam sit nisi in his individuis, intelligit tamen intellectus naturam speciei et generis non intelligendo principia individuantia: et hoc est intelligere universalia.{23}

Universalia, secundum quod sunt universalia, non sunt nisi in anima. Ipsae autem naturae, quibus accidit intentio universalitatis, sunt in rebus.{24}

The sciences, therefore, are real because the universal is real. The sciences, however, differ in many respects: the same method is not to be employed in different sciences, neither is the same certitude to be sought in each.

Ad hominem bene disciplinatum, id est, bene instructum, pertinet ut tantum certitudinis quaerat in unaquaque materia quantum natura rei patitur.{25}

Theology rests on the authority of revelation; in the other sciences the principal means of arriving at truth is the use of our own reason and the employment of induction or deduction, according to the nature of the science. Authority holds a very unimportant place: "Studium sapientiae non est ad hoc quod sciatur quid homines senserint, sed qualiter se habeat veritas rerum."{26} St. Thomas maintains that in matters scientific the argument from authority is the weakest of all arguments,{27} and thus condemns those who would solve the problems of philosophy by an appeal to the works of Aristotle or of some other master.

(e) Theory of knowledge. St. Thomas' theory of knowledge is conditioned by his psychological doctrines. It is possible, however, to describe his epistemological doctrines in general terms without entering, for the present, into an account of his psychological system.

All knowledge begins with sense-knowledge.{28} The senses, the intellectual faculties, and the authority of others are the sources of our knowledge, and, in normal conditions, they are reliable sources. With respect to the senses, St. Thomas, following Aristotle, distinguishes four classes of objects, the sensibile per se, the sensibile per accidens, the sensibile proprium, and the sensibile commune.{29} The sensibilia propria are color, taste, sound, etc., and the sensibilia communia are size, motion, shape, etc. The former exist potentially in the object, independently of the sense; actually, however, taste, for example, does not exist except when it is perceived.{30} But, while St. Thomas makes this concession to idealism, he maintains, in opposition to the fundamental tenet of the idealists, that what we first perceive is not the mental process, which takes place within us, but the physical counterpart of that process, which exists in the world outside us. He is an advocate of presentative, or immediate, as opposed to representative, or mediate, perception: he teaches that the senses are in immediate contact with the object, as far as consciousness is concerned, although, as we shall see, he holds that between the senses and the object there are certain media of communication (species sensibiles), which do not appear in direct consciousness.

Quidam posuerunt quod sensus non sentit nisi passionem sul organi sed haec opinio manifeste apparet falsa. . . . Species secundario est id quod intelligitur: id quod intelligitur primo est res.{31}

He explains the illusions of sense by referring them to one or other of the following causes: (1) the sense-organ is not in its normal condition; (2) it is a question of a sensibile per accidens, not of a sensibile per se.{32} With regard to the sensibilia communia, St. Thomas does not realize the important part played by interpretation in processes which are apparently cases of intuitive perception. He admits, however, the fact that interpretation plays a part in these processes: "Naturas sensibilium qualitatum cognoscere non est sensus sed intellectus."{33}

Intellectual knowledge is derived from sense-knowledge. The intellect, by its immaterial energy, separates, or puts aside, all the material conditions of the sense-image, leaving the immutable, universal element which represents itself on the mind as an immaterial idea. The process is one of abstraction or separation. If, then, sense-knowledge is a source of truth, intellectual knowledge is also a source of truth; for the mind adds nothing to the sense-image; it merely brings to light the intellectual element therein contained.{34}

But, though it is customary to speak of the truth of the senses and of the truth of the act by which the intellect abstracts universal ideas, yet truth full-fledged, so to say, is not found except in judgment and reasoning.{35} Now, we form a judgment by virtue of an innate power of the mind, by what may be called a natural sensitiveness to the light of evidence, -- and propositions, as they present themselves to us, are evident either immediately or through the medium of other and more evident propositions. In this way, by the power of judgment, we arrive at a knowledge of first principles, and at a knowledge of conclusions which, when organized, is properly called science.

But what is knowledge? St. Thomas describes it as a vital process in which the subject is rendered like the object by a process of information: "Omnis cognitio fit per assimilationem cognoscentis et cogniti."{36} He likens it to the process by which the seal impresses its form on the wax. The object, whether it be composed of matter and form or be pure form, is what it is by virtue of the form. Now, when the object becomes known, it impresses its form on the mind, causing the mind not to be the object, but to know the object. Moreover, in the act of knowledge, subject and object become one in the ideal order,{37} -- an expression which means merely that the object becomes known by us and we become knowing the object. Beyond these somewhat general expressions St. Thomas does not attempt to describe the nature of knowledge, realizing perhaps the impossibility of describing knowledge in terms more elementary than the term knowledge itself.

2. Logic. In logic, St. Thomas did not make any notable addition to the doctrine of Aristotle. The opusculum entitled Summa Totius Logicae, which was ascribed to St. Thomas, is the work of some disciple of the saint, perhaps of Hervé of Nedellec (died 1323). It is a compendium of the treatises which formed the body of Aristotelian logical doctrine.

3. Anthropology. The central doctrine in St. Thomas' teaching concerning man is that of the substantial union of soul and body. Body and soul are co-principles of the substantial unit which is man: they are united as matter and form. Complete substantial nature belongs neither to the soul alone nor to the body alone, but to the compound of both: it is the compound which is and acts. It is by virtue of the soul that man is a rational being, a substance, a being: it is by virtue of the soul that the body has whatever it possesses. But just as the body requires the soul in order to be what it is and to move and live, the soul requires the body for its natural being and operation.{38} It is true that the soul is superior to matter, that in the highest operations of the mind it is intrinsically independent of the body, and that it is capable of surviving the body; but it is none the less true that there is no operation of the soul, however high, in which the body has not its share, and that, after its separation from the body, the soul is, as it were, in an unnatural state until it is reunited with the body after the body's resurrection.{39}

The soul is defined as primum principium vitae in his quae apud nos vivunt,{40} and life is defined as self-originating motion: "Illud enim proprie vivere dicimus quod in seipso habet principium motus vel operationis cujuscumque."{41} Thus, although the eye, the heart, etc., are principles of vital functions, they are not the radical principles of those functions; for if these, as bodies, were the first principles of life, all bodies would be endowed with life.{42} The soul is therefore the radical principle of all vital functions.

Since life is the power of self-motion, or, as we should say, the power of adaptation, living beings are arranged in a scale of ascending perfection according to the degree in which they possess the power of self-motion. In this way St. Thomas is led to distinguish plant life, animal life, and intellectual life, and to this distinction corresponds the distinction of vegetative soul, sensitive soul, and rational soul.{43} All life is a triumph of form over matter, of activity over inertia, of initiative force over indeterminateness, and the greater the triumph the higher the form of life.

The soul, then (and by soul is meant not merely mind, but the principle of all vital activity), is united substantially with the body. The union is no mere accidental union, as Plato taught; for consciousness tells us that it is the same substance which thinks and speaks and moves and eats.{44} Neither are there forms intermediate between soul and body, as the Neo-Platonists taught;{45} for although there is no quantitative contact between soul and body, there is the contact of immediate action and reaction (contactus virtutis), as the facts of consciousness prove. Thus does St. Thomas, taking his stand on the empirical principles of consciousness, simplify the problems of epistemology by regarding man as the blending of what in modern epistemology would be called self and not-self, and by refusing to look upon subject and object as separated by that chasm which every epistemologist since the days of Descartes has striven in vain to span.{46}

The soul is one, inextended, immaterial. Its immateriality is proved by the fact that in its intellectual operations it rises above all material conditions. It is present in every part of the body, although it does not exercise all its functions in each part of the body -- it is present totalitate essentiae, but not totalitate virtutis.{47} But, though the soul is one, it has several faculties, or immediate principles of action. In the Summa Theologica{48} the necessity of admitting the existence of faculties of the soul is proved by metaphysical reasons; in De Spiritualibus Creaturis{49} the same conclusion is reached from considerations of a psychological nature. The faculties of the soul are (1) locomotive; (2) vegetative, or nutritive; (3) (cognitive) sensitive; (4) (cognitive) intellectual; and (5) appetitive, which includes sensitive appetite and rational appetite, or will. This division is expressly attributed to Aristotle.{50}

All the faculties of the soul are vital, and their operations are immanent. Some, however, are wholly dependent on states of the organism, while others are immaterial, that is, independent of bodily states, or, more generally, of all the conditions of matter. To this class belong the intellectual faculties. St. Thomas, it is true, admits that, as Aristotle taught, there is nothing in the intellect which did not come through the senses; nevertheless he maintains, and in this he is true to Aristotelian principles, that there is an essential distinction between sense and intellect. The intellect is incorporeal

(a) Because we can know incorporeal things:

Nihil agit nisi secundum suam speciem, eo quod forma est principium agendi in unoquoque. Si igitur intellectus sit corpus, actio ejus ordinem corporum non excedet. Non igitur intelliget nisi corpora. Hoc autem patet esse falsum: intelligimus enim multa quae non sunt corpora. Intellectus igitur non est corpus.{51}

(b) Because of our power of reflection:

Nullius corporis actio reflectitur supra agentem. Intellectus autem supra seipsum agendo reflectit. Intelligit autem seipsum non solum secundum partem, sed secundum totum. Non est igitur corpus.{52}

(c) Because of the universality and necessity which the idea possesses:

Propria operatio hominis, in quantum hujusmodi, est intelligere: per hanc enim differt a brutis. Intelligere autem est universalium et incorruptibilium, in quantum hujusmodi.{53}

The intellect, although immaterial and therefore intrinsically independent of the body, depends on the body extrinsically and, as it were, accidentally; for the soul, being the weakest and most imperfect of spiritual substances, being, in fact, substantially incomplete without the body, cannot exercise its intellectual functions without the cooperation of the bodily senses. Having no innate ideas, it must obtain the matter of thought from the world outside; the senses are, therefore, the channels of communication between the soul and the objects of knowledge. This extrinsic, or accidental, dependence of intellect upon sense explains the phenomenon of mental fatigue:

Si vero in intelligendo fatigetur corpus, hoc est per accidens, in quantum intellectus indiget operatione virium sensitivarum, per quas ei phantasmata praeparentur.{54}

Intellect, therefore, while it transcends the world of sense, is accompanied in all its operations by bodily states, to which the operations of the intellect are correlated. St. Thomas is as careful to avoid the ultra-spiritualism of those who deny all interaction or correlation between the acts of the intellect and the organism, as he is to avoid the materialism of those who make the acts of the intellect depend intrinsically on material conditions. His doctrine on this point, while it in no way compromises the spiritual and immaterial nature of the principle of pure thought, leaves full scope to empirical psychology and to psychophysical investigation.

From the distinction between intellect and sense, St. Thomas infers the conclusion that the soul is immaterial. It is a principle of Scholastic philosophy that action is, so to speak, a measure of existence: agere sequitur esse. The effect cannot be greater than the sum of its causes: if, therefore, the intellect, in the processes of pure thought, transcends all material conditions, it follows that the soul, which is the radical principle of such processes, is itself immaterial.

Sic igitur ex operatione animae humanae modus esse ipsius cognosci potest. In quantum enim habet operationem materialia transcendentem, esse suum est supra corpus elevatum, non dependens ab eo.{55}

The immortality of the soul{56} follows from its immateriality. The proofs of immortality, although differently enunciated in different portions of the writings of St. Thomas, may be said to converge on one line of argument: the soul is immaterial; therefore it is naturally incorruptible. For instance, in the Quaestio Disputata De Anima{57} St. Thomas argues that a compound is subject to corruption per se by the loss of the form which gives it being, while a form, although incorruptible per se, may be corruptible per accidens; that is to say, it is liable to destruction if it is merely that by which the compound is, and if it has no being independently of the compound. Now, the soul is a form, and therefore it is not corruptible per se. It is a form independent of the body as to its highest operations, and therefore it is independent of the body as to its being; consequently it is not corruptible per accidens. Therefore neither per se nor per accidens is the soul subject to corruption. Towards the end of the article in which the foregoing argument is enunciated, St. Thomas shows that all who denied the natural immortality of the soul did so either (1) because they held that the soul is a material substance; or (2) because they held that the soul is intrinsically dependent on matter even in its intellectual operations; or (3) because they held that the principle of intellectual knowledge is not a faculty of the individual soul, but something separate (intellectus separatus), which is immortal, while the individual soul is corruptible. The argument is repeated in Contra Gentiles, II, 55; in II, 79, of the same work, the form of the argument is slightly changed:{58} the soul is perfected by knowledge and virtue. Now, all knowledge and all virtue are conditioned by a certain degree of separation from matter: every idea that we acquire, every act of virtue that we perform, lifts us above the material conditions of life and adds to the perfection of the soul. Death, therefore, which is a complete separation of the soul from matter, perfects rather than destroys the soul.

Arguing from the same empirical principles, -- principles, namely, which are founded on a study of the operations of the mind, -- St. Thomas concludes that the soul is created. If the soul, in its intellectual acts, rises above the conditions of matter, it is impossible that the soul could be produced by material forces: matter cannot produce an immaterial effect. For the same reason -- because of its immateriality -- the soul cannot by any agency be evolved out of the potency of matter. It follows that it is created.{59} At the moment of creation the soul is infused into the body: "Creando infunditur et infundendo creatur," is the Scholastic formula. The soul is naturally destined for the body; there is, consequently, no reason why it should exist before its union with the body, as Plato taught.

It will be perceived that St. Thomas' system of rational psychology is based on experience. The central doctrine of this system -- the substantial union of soul and body in man -- is inferred from the facts of consciousness, revealing to us the oneness of the vital principle from which proceed not merely our intellectual actions, but also every other function of the living organism. It is from the facts of consciousness that the nature of the idea is determined, and from the universality and necessity of the idea are deduced in turn the immateriality and immortality of the soul, as well as the creationist hypothesis of the origin of the soul. The method of St. Thomas' psychology is, therefore, empirical, and not, as is too frequently alleged, a priori. It is true that St. Thomas appeals to such maxims and formulas as "Agere sequitur esse." But it should be remembered that such formulas are not a priori principles or premises arbitrarily assumed; they are conclusions established by empirical or rational investigation, and, as such, are perfectly legitimate principles of rational psychology -- in the same way as the law of the conservation of energy, the law of the division of physiological labor, or any other generalization inductively established, has its legitimate application in physics or biology.

Genesis of knowledge. St. Thomas teaches that there are no innate ideas: that the mind is at first a tabula rasa, pure potency in the intellectual order, just as materia prima is pure potency in the physical order. All knowledge begins with sense-knowledge: "Nihil est in intellectu quod prius non fuerit in sensu." Thus, for example, he says:{60}

Deficiente aliquo sensu, deficit scientia eorum quae apprehenduntur secundum ilium sensum; sicut caecus natus nullam potest habere notitiam de coloribus.

The intellect, it is true, knows itself by its own act, but the act of the intellect presupposes the previous exercise of the senses.{61}

St. Thomas does not discuss in detail the nature of sensation, nor the manner and mechanism of the process of sense-perception. He simply describes in a general way the conditions of sense-knowledge and the action of the object on the senses. Sensation, he teaches, is the act by which the object produces a modification in the animated organism. The senses, therefore, are purely passive or, at most, reactive; they do not produce anything; they neither make the object nor do they, as modern theories of apperception maintain, group together the qualities of the object and unify them. The object acts; the senses react: "Sensus non est virtus activa sed passiva . . . sensus autem comparatur ad sensibile sicut patiens ad agens, eo quod sensibile transmutat sensum."{62} The reaction is described as follows:

Sentire, quantum ad ipsam receptionem speciei sensibilis, nominat passionem . . . sed, quantum ad actum consequentem ipsum sensum perfectum per speciem, nominat operationem.{63}
Confining our attention to the passive phase of sensation, we next inquire, What is the nature of the change produced by the object in the organism? It is neither wholly material nor wholly immaterial; it is a vital change. It is not entirely material, because color, for example, is not received in the eye in such a way as to color the eye; neither is the change purely immaterial, because we are speaking of the modification of material organs by material qualities. When, therefore, St. Thomas uses the phrase immutatio spiritualis{64} to designate the change produced in the organs of sense-perception, he uses it as opposed to immutatio naturalis, or wholly material change. This "spiritual" change is the famous species sensibilis, which is consequently nothing but a passio, or affectio, of the peripheral sense-organs, a mode of motion, and by no means a substantial entity. Now, according to a metaphysical principle well known to St. Thomas as a Peripatetic formula, actio and passio are but two phases of the same reality, like the concave and the convex of the same curve.{65} The action of the object and the modification produced by it in the sense are one and the same phenomenon, and the species sensibilis may therefore be defined as the physical determinant of sensation, inasmuch as it is received in the animated organism. The species sensibilis is not a miniature object; neither is it something which we first perceive in sensation, and by means of which we are led to perceive the object. It is merely the vital phase of the stimulative action of the external object, -- a medium of communication between object and subject, but not a medium in the order of knowledge; for in normal conditions it does not rise into direct consciousness at all, the first thing perceived being the object itself. It is called a species because by means of it (in the sense just explained) the object is perceived.

This detailed explanation of the Thomistic doctrine of species sensibilis is rendered necessary by the persistent misrepresentation of that theory on the part of many writers on Scholastic psychology.{66} The misunderstanding is perhaps to be explained by the fact that St. Thomas has little to say about the species sensibilis. In the Summa Theologica{67} he merely points out the difference between the Aristotelian doctrine of species and the atomistic doctrine of effluxes, and adds that the species is a mode of motion:

Operationes sensitivae partis causantur per impressionem sensibilium in sensum, non per modum defluxionis, ut Democritus posuit, sed per quamdam operationem.

St. Thomas does not attempt to explain in what this operatio -- this mode of motion, or as we should call it, vibration -- consists.

Returning now to the study of the active phase of the process of sensation, we find that according to St. Thomas, the species is first impressed on the sense (species impressa); then consciousness responds and by the actus consequens impressionem writes out, so to speak, a representation of the object, called the species expressa. Sensation in the passive phase is not knowledge; for there is no knowledge without consciousness: it is only in the active phase that sensation becomes knowledge properly so called.{68}

But how do we rise from sense-knowledge to intellectual knowledge? how do we derive from the world of material things the universal and immaterial, which is the object of pure thought? St. Thomas recalls, in his answer to this question, the Aristotelian distinction between active and passive intellect. These, he maintains, are two faculties, not one and the same power viewed under two different aspects.{69} The object as it presents itself to the senses is indeed contingent and singular; but, hidden beneath the surface qualities, which give to the object its individuality and contingency, is the unalterable nature, or essence, which is universal and necessary. The active intellect, by virtue of its illuminative power, separates what is contingent and particular from what is necessary and universal in the object, in this way causing the universal and necessary element in the object to stand forth in the clear light of its own intelligibility, and rendering actually intelligible what was only potentially intelligible before. The actually intelligible element acts upon the passive, or receptive, intellect in the same way as color acts upon the eye, producing the species intelligibilis impressa; on being received into intellectual consciousness, this impression becomes the intellectual expression of the object in the mind, the mental image of the object (species intelligibilis expressa, verbum mentis).{70} The idea which results from this abstractive process has a twofold aspect: entitatively considered, it is an accident or quality of the mind in which it is; representatively considered, it is an image, or representation, of the object, functioning, not as a medium in which we see the object, -- for that would be to open the door to subjectivism, -- but as a medium by which the object acts on our consciousness. The analogy between the function of the species intelligibilis and that of the species sensibilis is perfect{71}

With regard to the chronological order of the genesis of our ideas, St. Thomas holds that the first idea which the human mind acquires is the idea, or notion, of Being. By the notion of Being we must not understand a definite concept, such as the idea of Being which is the object of metaphysical analysis, but a vague concept of reality more aptly expressed by the word thing than by the word Being. St. Thomas adopts Avicenna's formula: "Quod primum cadit in intellectu est ens." It is only after a long process of training that the mind, by reflecting on its own acts, comes to know itself. The senses, the natural windows of the soul, are open on the side which looks out on the external world; consequently, our first knowledge is sense-knowledge, and the first idea which we glean from sense-knowledge is naturally the most imperfect, that is, the vaguest and least definite of notions, -- the idea of Being.{72}

Ontologists have endeavored to cite the authority of St. Thomas in favor of their doctrine that (1) God is the first object of our knowledge, and (2) in this knowledge of God we know all things else. St. Thomas, it need hardly be said, is far from confounding with the idea of God the idea of Being in general, which is the first object of knowledge, and the constant substratum and indefinite residuum in all our processes of ideation. He is careful to keep apart the concept of Being and the concept of God; for the former is merely an abstraction of the mind, existing as such nowhere except in the mind, and the latter is the representation of the first and greatest reality. When, therefore, he says, "(Entis) intellectus includitur in omnibus quaecumque quis apprehendit,"{73} he is speaking of the idea of Being which ia the substratum of all our ideational processes, and when he says that we see all things in God, he explains his meaning as follows:

Omnia dicimur in Deo videre et secundum Ipsum omnia judicare, in quantum per participationem Sui luminis omnia cognoscimus et dijudicamus, sicut etiam omnia sensibilia dicimur videre et judicare in sole, id est per lumen solis. Sicut ergo ad videndum aliquid sensibiliter non est necesse quod videatur substantia solis, ita ad videndum aliquid intelligibiliter non est necessarium quod videatur essentia Dei.{74}

The emotions are treated by St. Thomas under the name passiones, by which word, following St. Augustine, he translates the Greek word pathê. It may seem strange to us that the schoolmen should treat of the emotions in connection with appetite and will, refusing, apparently, to recognize the importance of the emotions as mental states deserving to be coordinated with cognitive and volitional states in a classification of mental phenomena. Still, when we examine the nature of the emotions, we shall realize that they are intimately connected with volitional or appetitive states -- that all emotion is, in a certain sense, a response to good or evil perceived.

St. Thomas defines passion in its broadest sense as the change from a state to its contrary, or, more strictly, from a more perfect to a less perfect state.{75} The soul, being incorporeal, has no contrary states; still, by reason of the body it can pass from a more perfect to a less perfect state, and may be said by reason of the body to have contrary states.{76} All the passions belong to the sensitive appetite, and are divided into two great classes, passiones concupiscibiles and passiones irascibiles, according as they belong to the concupiscible appetite, which has for object the good or evil as agreeable or repugnant in itself, or to the irascible appetite, which has for object the good apprehended as subject to some circumstance of difficulty or danger.{77} The emotions of the higher, or more spiritual, kind, that is, those which belong to the intellectual appetite, are not passions properly so called, because they do not imply a transmutatio corporalis.{78}

Will is the faculty which has for its object the good apprehended by reason. Appetite is concerned with the good, just as cognition is concerned with the true. Cognition goes before appetite, and the nature of the latter depends on the nature of the former: sensuous appetite, the tendency towards what is good for the body, follows sense-perception; rational appetite, or will, the tendency towards the rational good, follows intellectual knowledge. As the intellect cannot but assent to first principles, so the will cannot but tend towards good in general, bonum commune. With regard, therefore, to good in general, there is no freedom of choice.{79} Choice is possible only in reference to particular goods. Now, the intellect presents a particular good in such a manner that, while we perceive it to be good, we perceive at the same time, that, without it, good in general, or universal good, may be attained. This perception is the ground of freedom. The root of freedom (radix libertatis) is, therefore, the reason, and freedom of choice (liberunt arbitrium) may be said to include the action of the intellect as well as that of the will. "Pro tanto necesse est quod homo sit liberi arbitrii ex hoc ipso quod rationalis est."{80}

Comparing intellect and will, St. Thomas decides that, absolutely speaking, intellect is superior to will; although if we consider that the object of will perfects the will, and that some of the objects of will are superior to the object of intellect, we must, he says, decide that in this respect (secundum quid) will is superior to intellect.

Melior est amor Dei quam cognitio; e contrario autem, melior est cognitio rerum corporalium quam amor. Simpliciter tamen, intellectus est nobilior quam voluntas.{81}

4. Cosmology. The eternity of the world is not contrary to reason, in this sense, that, absolutely speaking, God could have created something, ab aeterno; and therefore the origin of the world in time is not a truth demonstrable by reason.{82} The world, as it exists, is good. Its goodness is apparent if we consider the end for which it was created. It is not, however, the most perfect world possible; for God in His infinite power could and can create a more perfect world.{83} The world was created out of nothing. For all finite being, whether potential or actual, is dependent on God. Even eternal matter, if it existed before the production of the first forms of actual being, must have originated by virtue of the Divine Will. "Creatio est emanatio totius esse ex non ente, quod est nihil."{84}

Every created being is composed, as we shall see, of potency and actuality. Everything in the visible universe is composed of matter and form. Matter is potency; materia prima is utter indetermination, -- potentiality and nothing more. It is described as "ingenerabilis et incorruptibilis; una, unitate ordinis tantum." And, again: "omnium generabilium et corruptibilium est eadem materia. . . . Est sua potentia passiva, sicut Deus est potentia activa."{85} Form confers actuality and specific determination: "Forma, secundum id quod est, actus est, et per eam res actu existunt."{86} Form is the principle of action and being: in living things it is the principle of life, and in all material things it is the source of all qualities, even of impenetrability and extension. It is important, in view of modern theories of matter, to note that according to the schoolmen the actual extension of a body is due to the form, although the potency of extension comes from the matter. It is because matter contains the potency of extension that St. Thomas says, "Quantitas se tenet ex parte materiae."{87}

The form is the source of all actuality in material substances; it is the determining principle, causing the substance to be what it is: it is, therefore, the principle of specific distinction. The principle of individuation, namely, that by which individuals of the same species are differentiated, is matter, -- not matter in general, for that enters into the specific definition, and is common to all members of the species, but matter terminated by its dimensions, "Materia determinatis dimensionibus signata."{88} It follows from this (and St. Thomas admits the inference) that, since the angelic nature is form without matter, there is no numerical distinction among spiritual substances: "Sequitur quod impossibile sit esse duos angelos unius speciei."{88} "Quot sunt individua, tot sunt species."{89} The human soul is like the angelic nature inasmuch as it is spiritual, but unlike it inasmuch as it is the substantial form of the body. It is individuated by the body, and after its separation from the body each soul still retains a certain habitudo ad corpus which distinguishes it from other human souls.{90}

The principle, "Omne quod movetur, quantum ad aliquid manet et quantum ad aliquid transit,"{91} is the basis of the Thomistic as it was of the Aristotelian doctrine of matter and form. Both St. Thomas and Aristotle assumed that there are substantial changes, and, in order to explain substantial change, they postulated the existence of two substantial principles, the one (matter) permanent and the other (form) transient.

Space, although real, is not something distinct from the dimensions of existing bodies; it is not infinite, for it is coterminous with the limits of the actual universe, beyond which nothing exists except potential space.{92}

Time. St. Thomas accepts the Aristotelian definition of time. In the Summa Theologica{93} he teaches that it is the mind which alternates the present instant, thus, as it were, constituting the flow, or succession which is time: "Fluxus ipsius nunc, secundum quod alternatur ratione, est tempus." And in the Commentaries on the Books of Sentences{94} he quotes with approval the Aristotelian principle, "Si non esset anima, non esset tempus."

Neither St. Thomas nor any of his contemporaries imagined the heavenly bodies to be composed of the same matter as that of the physical world around us. The matter of the terrestrial world is made up of the four elements; celestial matter is different from terrestrial matter or is, at most, only analogous to it.{95} The heavenly bodies are incorruptible, because in them the form fills all the potency of the matter: "Illa forma sic perficit illam materiam quod nullo modo in ea remanet potentia ad esse, sed ad ubi tantum."{96}

5. Metaphysics and Natural Theology. Being is that which exists or can exist either in the mind or outside the mind.{97} It is opposed to Not-Being (nihil). The notion of Being is peculiar in this, that it can neither be defined nor divided, because of the simplicity of its comprehension and the universality of its extension. Being is, therefore, reduced to lower classes, such as substance, animal, man, not by adding some difference distinct from Being itself, but by bringing out explicitly in the lower classes what is implicitly contained in the comprehension of the notion of Being in general. Hence, Being is not to be predicated univocally of its lower classes.{98}

Being is the most universal of notions; it is, in fact, transcendental, that is to say, extending above and beyond all classes. It includes the highest reality as well as the lowest, -- God, Who is pure actuality, as well as materia prima, which is mere potency. Between these two poles of existence range all created beings; for in everything created there is a dual composition of actuality and potency, actus et potentia. Even in the highest of the angels, immaterial as he is, there is not only a composition of essence and existence, -- of that by which he is, and the act of existence, -- but also a composition of substance and accident. In material things there is a threefold composition: (1) of essence and existence; (2) of substance and accident; and (3) of matter and form. God alone is free from all composition; in Him there is no matter or potency of any kind: His essence is His existence, His action is His substance, He is pure actuality, Actus Purus.{99} Thus does the metaphysics of St. Thomas point heavenward not only in the ultimate problems of the existence and nature of God, but also in its initial concept, -- the dualism of all created being.

The principles of being in the ontological order (prima principia essendi) are the four causes, -- matter, form, efficient cause, and final cause. Each of these is, in its own way, a cause, in so far as the effect depends on it.{100} The principles of being in the logical order (prima principia cognoscendi) are immediate analytical truths, sometimes known as axiomata or dignitates . The first of these, the starting point of all demonstration, is the principle of contradiction; for just as the notion of Being is the first object of the act of ideation and that on which all subsequent ideation is based, so the principle of contradiction, which springs, as it were, from the first elementary analysis of the notion of Being, is the first object of the act of judgment and the foundation on which all our other judgments rest.{101}

The highest classes of being are the categories, -- substance, etc. St. Thomas, following Aristotle, distinguishes the first substance, which is the individual, or hypostasis, and the second substance, which is the universal substantial nature abstracted from the individual. First substance really exists as such. Second substance does not exist as such, except in the mind. It is the quiddity, or essence, which is expressed by the definition, and which, as thus defined, exists in the mind alone; for in concrete things it is individuated.{102}

The existence of God is a truth which is per se nota quoad se. The proposition God exists is analytical; for if we could comprehend the subject of the proposition, we should see immediately that it includes the predicate, -- that of itself the Divine Nature includes existence. But we cannot adequately comprehend the subject of the proposition. For us, therefore (quoad nos), the proposition God exists is not self-evident or analytical. Consequently it must be demonstrated.{103}

St. Thomas, after examining and rejecting{104} St. Anselm's ontological argument, proceeds{105} to point out the five ways in which, by arguing from effect to cause (a posteriori), the existence of God may be proved. These ways are: (1) from the principles that whatever is moved is moved by something else (quidquid movetur ab alio movetur), and that an infinite series of moving agents is impossible (non est procedere in infinitum); (2) from the relation between cause and effect, -- "Non est possibile quod in causis efficientibus procedatur in infinitum" ; (3) from the relation of the contingent to the necessary, -- "Si omnia sunt possibilia non esse, aliquando nihil fuit in rebus: non ergo omnia entia sunt possibilia, sed oportet aliquid esse necessarium in rebus"; (4) from the different degrees of perfection in things which exist, -- "Magis et minus dicuntur de diversis, secundum quod appropinquant diversimode ad aliquid quod maxime est"; (5) from the order and adaptation of the universe, -- "Ea quae non habent cognitionem non tendunt in finem, nisi directa ab aliquo cognoscente et intelligente."

But although we can know that God exists we cannot comprehend what He is. Not even in that unobstructed vision of the Divine Nature which constitutes the supreme happiness of the blessed in heaven can the human mind fully and adequately comprehend the nature of God.{106} Nevertheless, even in this life we can attain an imperfect knowledge of what God is; for we can proceed (1) by way of analogy, that is, by purifying from all imperfection attributes which denote perfection in created things, and predicating of God attributes thus sublimated; and (2) by way of negation, that is, by excluding from God such attributes as imply imperfection, and thus determining what God is not.{107} Proceeding by this twofold method, St. Thomas shows that God is pure actuality (Actus Purus); from which it follows that He is infinite, perfect, one, immutable, eternal, etc.

In relation to creatures, God is Creator and Preserver. He is the first efficient cause on whom all finite being depends, -- for He made all creatures out of nothing; He is also the first exemplar cause, because He made all things according to the ideas, or types, which existed in the Divine Mind through all eternity. He is, moreover, the preserver and ruler of the world; He watches over all His creatures and conserves them; for without His sustaining hand they would return to the nothing out of which He brought them.{108} He cooperates in all our actions, in the natural as well as in the supernatural order.{109} Finally, He is the ultimate end for which all things were made, and to which all rational creatures tend to return.{110}

This last consideration brings us to St. Thomas' ethical doctrines.

6. Moral and Political Doctrines. The object of all appetite is the good; the end of all human action is happiness. Universal good, which is the conscious or unconscious aim of all rational action, is fully realized in the infinite good, which is God. God alone, as St. Augustine taught, can fill the void of the human heart; and man will not rest until he attains the happiness which leaves no desire unsatisfied. St. Thomas teaches that it is derogatory to the dignity of man to seek final and ultimate happiness in anything short of the infinite good.{111}

Although the knowledge and love of God, in which consists the enjoyment of the infinite good, are to be fully realized only in the next life, yet here on earth there is an imperfect form of happiness which man may attain. "Aliqualis beatitudinis participatio in hac vita haberi potest; perfecta autem et vera beatitudo non potest haberi in hac vita."{112} As constituents of this imperfect happiness, St. Thomas mentions health, external goods, and the society of friends.{113}

The moral goodness or evil of an action depends ultimately on whether the action leads to or averts from the end for which man was created, and proximately on the object, circumstances, and purpose of the action itself.

Omnis actio in quantum habet aliquid de esse in tantum habet de bonitate; in quantum vero ei aliquid deficit de plenitudine essendi, in tantum deficit a bonitate et sic dicitur mala.

If object, circumstances, and end (intention) are good, the action is good; if any of these is evil, the action is evil. Hence the Scholastic adage, "Bonum ex integra causa; malum ex quocumque defectu."{114}

Virtue is defined,{115} "Bona qualitas mentis, qua recte vivitur, qua nullus male utitur." The theological virtues -- faith, hope, and charity -- are infused; natural virtues, whether intellectual or moral, are acquired by exercise in the actions pertaining to such virtues, although the aptitude for one virtue or another, as well as the general aptitude for virtue, is part of the natural endowment of man.

Virtutes in nobis sunt a natura secundum aptitudinem et inchoationem, non autem secundum perfectionem, praeter virtutes theologicas, quae sunt totaliter ab extrinseco.{116}

St. Thomas follows the Aristotelian classification of moral virtues, basing it on the division of the objects of the passions.{117} Sometimes{118} he divides moral virtues into four principal, or cardinal, virtues.

Law is the extrinsic principle of morality. It is defined "Quaedam ordinatio rationis, ad bonum commune ab eo qui curam communitatis habet promulgata."{119} A law, therefore, in order to be obligatory, must be reasonable; it must be for the good of the community; it must issue from the proper authority, and it must be duly promulgated. St. Thomas distinguishes eternal, or divine, law; natural law, which is a participation of the divine law and is promulgated by being written "in the fleshly tables of the heart"; and positive law,{120} which is a derivation from eternal law and is divided into divine, ecclesiastical, and civil law.{121}

The State. The treatise De Regimine Principis is now universally conceded to be the work of two authors. The first two books are undoubtedly to be ascribed to St. Thomas;{122} the other two were added by some disciple, probably by Ptolemy of Lucca. In the first two books of De Regimine Principis, in the commentaries on the Politics of Aristotle, and elsewhere in his different works St. Thomas expounds the following political doctrines.

(a) Man is naturally ordained for the society of his fellowmen: "Est homini naturale quod in societate multorum vivat."{123}

(b) Authority in civil society must have in view the public good; if it lose sight of this, it becomes unjust, anti-social, and tyrannical.{124} Tyrannical authority is held in check by the authority of the Church, which provides for the spiritual welfare of all the faithful, and has the power, at least in the case of the apostasy of the tyrant, to absolve his subjects from obedience on the ground that the ruler is an apostate.{125} Besides, if the rule of a tyrant is contrary to public good or to divine law, it ceases to bind in conscience.{126}

(c) Tyrannical power is also held in check by the popular will. Tyrannicide is to be condemned.{127} The redress to which the subjects of a tyrant have a just right must be sought, not by an individual, but by an authority temporarily constituted by the people and acting according to law.

Nec putanda est talis multitudo infideliter agere tyrannum destituens etiam si eidem in perpetuum se ante subjecerat: quia hoc ipse meruit in multitudinis regimine se non fideliter gerens.{128}

(d) The aim of the state is not merely economical, but also moral; and from this principle St. Thomas deduces conclusions which are in remarkable accordance with modern political theories -- for example, that it is the duty of the state to provide for the education of all its members and to see that no citizen suffers want.{129}

(e) St. Thomas has no predilection for one form of government rather than another. He argues, on general grounds, that the unity of society is better secured by the rule of jine than by the rule of the few or of the many. Still, he maintains that the aristocratic and democratic forms of government are as legitimate as the monarchical form. He sets forth the advantages of a constitution in which all have a voice in the government of the state, "Ut omnes aliquam partem habeant in principatu: per hoc enim conservatur pax populi,"{130} and he lays down the general principle that it is not the form of government, but the fidelity with which the government adheres to the purpose for which it is instituted, that decides the happiness and prosperity of the subjects.{131}

Historical Position. An organic synthesis of the elements of thought contained in preceding systems is as real an advance in the development of philosophy as is the introduction of elements absolutely new. In the one as well as in the other respect, the philosophy of St. Thomas is to be pronounced an advance in philosophic thought.

St. Thomas synthesized the more or less fragmentary truths which, during the preceding centuries, the schoolmen had slowly gathered together, as well as the elements of thought which, during the early part of the century in which he lived, Scholasticism had derived from Greek and Arabian sources. He perfected the Scholastic method, and consecrated to the service of truth the dialectic which rationalists had abused and which mystics had denounced. He gave to the doctrine of moderate realism its final expression, and enunciated a theory of universals which united what is true in Platonism with what is true in nominalism. He was the first to formulate a complete system of Christian Aristotelianism, thus pressing into the service of orthodoxy the philosopher to whom Arabian and Jewish unbelievers had looked as their champion in the warfare which they waged on Christianity. He determined for all time the true relation between faith and reason, and, while avoiding the extremes of rationalism and mysticism, gave permanent form to the thought which had inspired every Christian philosopher since the days of Justin, the first of the great apologists. And all this he accomplished not so much by creating as by transforming and assimilating. With a comprehensiveness of purpose which, in these modern times, seems nothing short of stupendous, he laid broad and deep the foundations of his vast synthetic system, and with a force and directness less easily to be attained in the rich confusion of modern thought, compelled every source of knowledge to yield him material for his work. He drew from the Scriptures, from the Fathers, from the philosophers of Greece and Rome, from his predecessors in the Christian schools, and from contemporary Arabian and Jewish philosophers. It detracts neither from the recognized importance of those who preceded St. Thomas, nor from his own just title to praise as an original thinker, to say that he perfected the work of his predecessors, and, from materials which they supplied, reconstructed the edifice of Christian philosophy.

What is new and wholly original in the work of St. Thomas is the spirit in which he addressed himself to his task -- the sense of completeness which impelled him to leave nothing incomplete or imperfect except in so far as everything human must be incomplete and imperfect; the mind appreciative of the value of truth wheresoever truth is found, and the belief, stronger and more deep-rooted in him than in any other schoolman, that all truth and all knowledge, from whatever source it is derived, is capable of harmonious adjustment.

In point of detail, St. Thomas contributed to Scholastic philosophy the doctrines by which the Dominican tradition was distinguished from the Franciscan teaching, -- the oneness of the substantial form in each individual, the doctrine of subsistent forms, the denial of the rationes seminales in the sense in which they were admitted by St. Bonaventure, and the affirmation of the real distinction between the soul and its faculties. It was on these points that, as we shall see, Thomists and anti-Thomists came to be divided.

It is only when, as we study the history of later Scholasticism and the history of the philosophy of modern times, we shall look back to the thirteenth century through the perspective of ages of less successful attempts at philosophical synthesis, that we shall begin to realize the true grandeur of the most commanding figure in the history of mediaeval thought.

{1} Authorities. In the Acta Sanctorum Martii (Vol. I, pp. 653-746) are to be found the sources from which the biographers of St. Thomas draw the materials for the study of his life: the Acts of the process of canonization, the Life by Tocco, accounts of the translations of his remains, etc. Potthast (Wegweiser durch die Geschichtswerke des Europäischen Mittelalters, p. 1601) gives a complete list of sources. cf. Vaughan, Life and Labors of S. Thomas of Aquin (2 vols., London, 1872).

{2} The latter is, everything considered, the most probable date. cf. Acta Sanctorum Martii, Vol. I, p. 656.

{3} Tocco, Vita, Cap. 3.

{4} Ibid.

{5} 1253 is the date given by the Bollandists, op. cit., p. 656. Denifle (Chartul., I, 307, n.) gives the following dates: 1248, St. Thomas was sent to Cologne; 1251-1252, he explained the Books of Sentences at Paris; 1256, he was made master in theology.

{6} Cf. Quodlibeta, IX, 5 VIII, 16; III, 24.

{7} Vita, Cap. 7. cf. Muratori, Rerum Italicarum Scriptores, XI, 1153.

{8} Sum. Theol., Ia IIae, I, 5, c.

{9} Op. cit., Ia, LXXXIV, 1, c.

{10} Op. cit., Ia, XXI, 2, c.

{11} Op. cit., Ia, I, i, ad 2um.

{12} C. G., I, 3, 4; cf. Gonzalez, op. cit., II, 228.

{13} C. G., I, 7.

{14} Loc. cit.

{15} Sum. Theol., IIa IIae, I, 4, c; cf. Quaestio Disputata De Veritate, XIV, 1, c.

{16} Sum. Theol., IIa IIae, I, 4, ad 2um.

{17} Cf. Cath. Univ. Bull. (July, 1896), Vol. II, pp. 188 ff.

{18} In VIum Metaphyricorum, Text. 2, Lect. 5.

{19} Cf. Opusc., XXXIV; in Roman edition, LXX, Q. V, Art. 1.

{20} Cf. p. 266.

{21} C. G., I, 26.

{22} Sum. Theol., Ia, LXXXV, 2, ad 2um.

{23} C. G., II, 75.

{24} In IIum De An., Lect. 12.

{25} In Ium Ethicorum, Lect. 3.

{26} De Coelo et Mundo, I, Lect. 22.

{27} "Locus ab auctoritate quae fundatur super ratione humana est infirmissimus." Sum. Theol., Ia, I, 8, ad 2um

{28} Op. cit., Ia, LXXVIII, 4, ad 4um.

{29} Op. cit., Ia, XVII, 2, c.

{30} In IIum De An., Lect. 16.

{31} Sum. Theol., Ia, LXXXV, 2.

{32} Op cit., Ia, XVII, 2, c.

{33} Op. cit., Ia, LXXVIII, 3, c.

{34} Cf. op. cit., Ia, LXXVI, 2, ad 4um.

{35} Q. Disp. De Ver., I, 3.

{36} C. G., I, 65.

{37} Cf. Sum. Theol., Ia, LV, 1, ad 2um.

{38} Cf. In IIum De An., Lect. 1.

{39} Q. Disp. De Anima, Art. 1, ad 4um; De Potentia, V, 10; De Spiritualibus Creaturis, Art. 2, ad 5um.

{40} Sum. Theol., Ia, LXXV, 1, c.

{41} Q. Disp. De Ver., IV, 8.

{42} Sum. Theol., Ia, LXXV, I.

{43} Op. cit., Ia, XVII, 3.

{44} C. G., II, 56; Sum. Theol., Ia, LXXVI, 1, c.

{45} Sum. Theol., Ia, LXXVI, 4, c.

{46} Cf. op. cit., Ia, LXXVI, 6, 7.

{47} Op. cit., Ia, LXXVI, 8.

{48} Ia, LXXVII, 1.

{49} Art. 11. {50} Sum. Theol., Ia, LXX VIII, 1.

{51} C. G., II, 49.

{52} Ibid. {53} Op. cit., II, 79; cf. also Sum. Theol., Ia, LXXV, 2.

{54} Sum. Theol., Ia, LXXV, 3, ad 2um

{55} Q. Disp. De An., Art. 1.

{56} Cf. Cath. Univ. Bull. (April, 1900), Vol. VI, pp. 154 ff.

{57} Art. 14.

{58} "Nulla res corrumpitur ex eo in quo consistit propria sua perfectio. Perfectia autem animae consistit in quadam abstractione a corpore: perficitur enim anima scientia et virtute: secundum scientiam autem tanto magis perficitur quanta magis immaterialia considerat; virtutis autem perfectia consistit in hoc quod homo corporis passiones non sequatur sed eas secundum rationem temperet et refrenet. Non ergo corruptio animae consistit in hoc quad a corpore separetur."

{59} Cf. Sum. Theol., Ia, CXVIII, 2, C; C. G., II, 89, etc.

{60} Sum. Theol., Ia, LXXXIV, 3.

{61} Cf. op. cit., Ia, LXXXVII, 1.

{62} Q. Disp. De Ver., XXVI, 3, ad 4um.

{63} In Ium Sent., Dist. LX, I, 1, ad 1um.

{64} Sum. Theol., Ia, LXXVIII, 3, c.

{65} For instance, in In IIIum De An., Lect. 2, St. Thomas writes: "Sicut dictum est in tertio Physicorum quod actio et passio sunt unus actus, subjecto, sed differunt, ratione, prout actio signatur ut ab agente, passio autem ut in patiente."

{66} Cf, for instance, Reid, Works, p. 267.

{67} Ia, LXXXIV, 6, c.

{68} Cf. In Ium Sent., Dist. XL, I, 1, ad 1um.

{69} Cf. Sum. Theol., Ia, LXXIX, 7, and In IIum Sent., Dist. XVII, Q. II, Art. 1.

{70} Cf. C. G., II, 73; Sum. Theol., Ia, LXXXV, 1; Q. Disp. De Ver., IV, 2.

{71} Cf. Sum. Theol., Ia, LXXXV, 2; Philosophical Review, November, 1903.

{72} Op. cit., Ia, LXXXV, 3.

{73} Op. cit., Ia IIae, XCIV, 2, c.

{74} Op. cit., Ia, XII, 11, ad 3um; cf. Piat, Quid Divini etc. (Paris, 1890).

{75} Cf. Q. Disp. De Ver., XXVI, 1.

{76} Sum. Theol. Ia IIae, XXII, 1.

{77} Cf. Q. Disp. De Ver., XXVI, 4 and 5.

{78} Sum. Theol. Ia IIae, XXII, 2, ad 3um.

{79} Op. cit., Ia, LXXXII, 1, c.

{80} Op. cit., Ia, LXXXIII, 1, c.

{81} Op. cit., Ia, LXXXII, 3, c.

{82} Op. cit., Ia, XLVI; cf. Quodl., III, Art. 21.

{83} Q. Disp. De Ver., XXIII, 4.

{84} Sum. Theol., II, XLV, I, c.

{85} Cf. op. cit., Ia, LXVI.

{86} C. G., II, 30.

{87} In IVum Sent., Dist. XII, I, 2.

{88} Cf. In IIIum De An., Lect. 8: "In omnibus habentibus formam in materia non est omnino idem et res et quod quid est ejus . . . . Manifestum est enim quod quantitas immediate inhaeret substantiae; qualitates autem sensibiles in quantitate fundantur. Quaedam ergo sunt formae quae materiam requirunt sub determinata dispositione sensibilium qualitatum; et hujusmodi sunt omnes formae naturales." Cf. also De Ente et Essentia, Cap. 2.

{88} Sum. Theol., Ia, L. 4, c.

{89} De Ente et Ess., Cap. 5.

{90} Cf. Sum. Theol., Ia, LXXVI; Q. Disp. De An., Art. 20; De Spir. Creat., 2, 8.

{91} Sum. Theol., Ia, IX, 1.

{92} Cf. In IVum Physicorum, Lect. 6.

{93} Ia, X, 4, ad 2um.

{94} I., Dist. XIX, II, 1.

{95} Sum. Theol., Ia, LXVI, 2.

{96} Ibid. According to St. Thomas, intelligences move the heavenly spheres: "Ad hoc antem ut moveat, non oportet quod uniatur ei ut forma sed per contactum virtutis, sicut motor unitur mobili." op. cit., Ia, LXX, 3.

{97} Cf. op. cit., Ia, III, 4.

{98} C. G., I, 25; Sum. Theol., Ia, III, 5.

{99} Cf. op. cit., Ia, III, 4; VII, 2.

{100} Op. cit., IIa IIae, XXVII, 3, c.

{101} In IVum Metaphysicorum, Lect. 6.

{102} Cf. De Ente et Ess., Cap. 4; Sum. Theol., Ia, XXIX, 2.

{103} Sum. Theol., Ia, II, I.

{104} Op. cit., Ia, II, 3.

{105} Op. cit., Ia, II, 1, ad 1um.

{106} Op. cit., Ia, XII, 7.

{107} Op. cit., Ia, XII, 12.

{108} Cf. op. cit., Ia, CIV, 1.

{109} Op. cit., Ia, CV, 5.

{110} Op. cit., Ia, XLIV, 4.

{111} Op. cit., Ia IIae, 111, 8.

{112} Op. cit., Ia IIae, V, 3.

{113} Op. cit., Ia IIae, IV, 6, 7, 8.

{114} Op. cit., Ia IIae, XVIII, 1.

{115} Op. cit., Ia IIae, LV, 4.

{116} Op. cit., Ia IIae, LXIII, 1.

{117} Op. cit., Ia IIae, LX, 4.

{118} Op. cit., Ia IIae, LXI.

{119} Op. cit., Ia IIae, XC, 4.

{120} Cf. op. cit., Ia IIae, XCI.

{121} Cf. op. cit.. Ia IIae, XCIII ff.

{122} De Maria, in his edition of the Opuscula (3 vols., Rome, 1886), includes merely the first four chapters of the second book among the genuine writings of St. Thomas. cf. Vol. II, p. 42.

{123} De Regimine Principis, I, 1.

{124} Ibid.

{125} "Aliquis per infidelitatem peccans potest sententialiter jus dominji amittere sicut etiam quandoque propter alias culpas." Sum. Theol., IIa 11ae, XII, 2.

{126} Op. cit., Ia IIae, XCVI, 4.

{127} De Reg. Princip., I, 6.

{128} Ibid.

{129} Baumano, Staatslehre des heil. Thomas von Aquino (Leipzig, 1873), pp. 161 ff.; cf. Revue Néo-Scolastique, 1895, pp. 27 ff.; Crahay, La Politique de Saint Thomae d'Aquin (Louvain, 1896).

{130} Sum. Theol., Ia IIae, CV, 1.

{131} De Reg. Princip., I, 3. On St. Thomas' economic doctrines, cf. Rev. Néo. Scol., 1896, pp. 67, 161, 286.

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