Thomas Aquinas and the Concept of Will

Thomas Aquinas and the Concept of Will

June 26, 2021 Off By Felso

Locating passions in decision making in human life is quite complex. What forces are people under the influence of in the decision-making process? Are intellectual elements alone sufficient to make good and right choices? Do passions play a role in choosing good and right?

After antiquity, two trends stand out about the influence of intellectual elements and passions in decision making. The first of these is Aristotelian and the second is Stoic. While Aristotle (384-322 BC) accepted the balancing of the passions with reason rather than the total pacification of the passions in decision making, the Stoics consider the passions to be completely overcome and reason to be the only power.

Aristotle, who transformed Plato’s triple division of the soul into dual moral psychology, formulated the dichotomy between reason and emotion as cognitive activities between the logical and alogical parts of the soul. He expanded all desires and emotions to include judgment and evaluation. Rhetoric II. In the book, he states that emotional reactions and feelings are important resources in mental decision making. Explains the discussion of desired and unwanted feelings and the relationship between pleasure and appetite.

Irrational appetite is natural and manifests itself through psycho-somatic changes. However, this does not mean that they are not intellectual and cognitive. Because “There seems to be another natural side of the soul that has no reason but somehow shares in the mind.” According to Aristotle, the faculty of intelligence has both logical and non-logical functions.

The Stoics, on the other hand, characterize passions as false judgments and equate virtue with knowledge, following the intellectualist tradition of Greek thought. According to the Stoics, who draw attention to the contrast of sensuous and rational appetites, affects are characterized as the movement of the body and basically do not correspond to a criterion of rationality.

This explanation of Thomas Aquinas, who developed a thought based on Aristotle’s rhetoric in decision making in the Middle Ages, is quite detailed. Thomas Aquinas, who opposed the Stoic doctrine, as did Augustine before him, made a systematic account of the affects in the action of the will.

In Thomas Aquinas’ thought, in order to understand the action of the will, it is necessary to determine its place in living things. In his grading of being, the most perfect level of life is the level of intellect, and will is explained in relation to this level. At the bottom of this gradation are inanimate objects. Above it are plants, the first level of life. In plants there is only movement towards form. Animal life takes place on plants and is determined by sense perception. Above this is the intellect, which is the most perfect level of life. At this level the mind reflects on itself and understands itself. However, it also has different levels. For example, the difference between the human mind or the minds of angels. While the human mind has to start with knowing external things in order to understand itself, angels with the most perfect mental life can do this without being dependent on the outside.

In the system of Thomas Aquinas, intellect and will are the two great powers of the mind. The intellect has the power of the soul, which is the shaper of the body. It is man’s power of knowing and is unique to human existence. It is a higher order life activity, and the soul has an immaterial existence within itself. There are different degrees of this power. The first degree is the degree of sensation that exists free of matter, not with its material individuations. The highest and most perfect degree of immateriality is intellectual understanding.

According to Aquinas, apart from the intellect, which is the power of knowing, the second power of the mind, the will, is the power of will and is unique to man. But there are other forms of will, and some of them are common with animals. For example, choosing what to eat for needs such as hunger and thirst. But it doesn’t take much intellectual ability to choose what to eat, either.

However, intellectual abilities are necessary in a voluntary choice. Because, according to Aquinas, substances that have intellect must also have will. The created intellectual gems have willpower. Apart from man, stones and plants are far from deciding their own actions. Their judgments are fixed by nature like animals that cannot reason.

According to Aquinas, who defines will as intellectual or rational will, like mind, will is an immaterial power and it has a wider action ability than mind. The action of the mind is directed into the soul, that of the will outward. In this case, the mind is more passive and the will is more active.

According to Aquinas, as Aristotle said, where there is will, there are intellect, emotional feelings, and disobedience. This is actually only one aspect of a very general phenomenon which Aquinas called education (appetitus). Therefore, it is necessary to determine what the tendency is and to clarify the relationship between the tendency and the will. Because, according to him, there are parallels between willingness and inclination, whether in animals or humans. The trend is your soul