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St. Thomas Aquinas
Summa Theologica

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  • SECOND PART
    • Aquin.: SMT FS Prologue Para. 1/1 - FIRST PART OF THE SECOND PART (FS) (QQ[1]-114)
      • Aquin.: SMT FS Q[12] Out. Para. 1/1 - OF INTENTION (FIVE ARTICLES)
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Aquin.: SMT FS Q[12] Out. Para. 1/1 - OF INTENTION (FIVE ARTICLES)

We must now consider Intention: concerning which there are five points
of inquiry:

(1) Whether intention is an act of intellect or of the will?

(2) Whether it is only of the last end?

(3) Whether one can intend two things at the same time?

(4) Whether intention of the end is the same act as volition of the
means?

(5) Whether intention is within the competency of irrational animals?


Aquin.: SMT FS Q[12] A[1] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether intention is an act of the intellect or of the will?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[12] A[1] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that intention is an act of the intellect, and not
of the will. For it is written (Mt. 6:22): "If thy eye be single, thy
whole body shall be lightsome": where, according to Augustine (De Serm.
Dom. in Monte ii, 13) the eye signifies intention. But since the eye is
the organ of sight, it signifies the apprehensive power. Therefore
intention is not an act of the appetitive but of the apprehensive power.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[12] A[1] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, Augustine says (De Serm. Dom. in Monte ii, 13) that Our
Lord spoke of intention as a light, when He said (Mt. 6:23): "If the
light that is in thee be darkness," etc. But light pertains to knowledge.
Therefore intention does too.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[12] A[1] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, intention implies a kind of ordaining to an end. But to
ordain is an act of reason. Therefore intention belongs not to the will
but to the reason.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[12] A[1] Obj. 4 Para. 1/1

OBJ 4: Further, an act of the will is either of the end or of the means.
But the act of the will in respect of the end is called volition, or
enjoyment; with regard to the means, it is choice, from which intention
is distinct. Therefore it is not an act of the will.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[12] A[1] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, Augustine says (De Trin. xi, 4,8,9) that "the intention
of the will unites the sight to the object seen; and the images retained
in the memory, to the penetrating gaze of the soul's inner thought."
Therefore intention is an act of the will.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[12] A[1] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, Intention, as the very word denotes, signifies, "to tend
to something." Now both the action of the mover and the movement of thing
moved, tend to something. But that the movement of the thing moved tends
to anything, is due to the action of the mover. Consequently intention
belongs first and principally to that which moves to the end: hence we
say that an architect or anyone who is in authority, by his command moves
others to that which he intends. Now the will moves all the other powers
of the soul to the end, as shown above (Q[9], A[1]). Wherefore it is
evident that intention, properly speaking, is an act of the will.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[12] A[1] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: The eye designates intention figuratively, not because
intention has reference to knowledge, but because it presupposes
knowledge, which proposes to the will the end to which the latter moves;
thus we foresee with the eye whither we should tend with our bodies.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[12] A[1] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: Intention is called a light because it is manifest to him
who intends. Wherefore works are called darkness because a man knows what
he intends, but knows not what the result may be, as Augustine expounds
(De Serm. Dom. in Monte ii, 13).

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[12] A[1] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: The will does not ordain, but tends to something according
to the order of reason. Consequently this word "intention" indicates an
act of the will, presupposing the act whereby the reason orders something
to the end.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[12] A[1] R.O. 4 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 4: Intention is an act of the will in regard to the end. Now
the will stands in a threefold relation to the end. First, absolutely;
and thus we have "volition," whereby we will absolutely to have health,
and so forth. Secondly, it considers the end, as its place of rest; and
thus "enjoyment" regards the end. Thirdly, it considers the end as the
term towards which something is ordained; and thus "intention" regards
the end. For when we speak of intending to have health, we mean not only
that we have it, but that we will have it by means of something else.


Aquin.: SMT FS Q[12] A[2] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether intention is only of the last end?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[12] A[2] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that intention is only of the last end. For it is
said in the book of Prosper's Sentences (Sent. 100): "The intention of
the heart is a cry to God." But God is the last end of the human heart.
Therefore intention is always regards the last end.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[12] A[2] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, intention regards the end as the terminus, as stated
above (A[1], ad 4). But a terminus is something last. Therefore intention
always regards the last end.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[12] A[2] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, just as intention regards the end, so does enjoyment.
But enjoyment is always of the last end. Therefore intention is too.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[12] A[2] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, There is but one last end of human wills, viz.
Happiness, as stated above (Q[1], A[7]). If, therefore, intentions were
only of the last end, men would not have different intentions: which is
evidently false.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[12] A[2] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, As stated above (A[1], ad 4), intention regards the end
as a terminus of the movement of the will. Now a terminus of movement may
be taken in two ways. First, the very last terminus, when the movement
comes to a stop; this is the terminus of the whole movement. Secondly,
some point midway, which is the beginning of one part of the movement,
and the end or terminus of the other. Thus in the movement from A to C
through B, C is the last terminus, while B is a terminus, but not the
last. And intention can be both. Consequently though intention is always
of the end, it need not be always of the last end.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[12] A[2] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: The intention of the heart is called a cry to God, not that
God is always the object of intention, but because He sees our intention.
Or because, when we pray, we direct our intention to God, which intention
has the force of a cry.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[12] A[2] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: A terminus is something last, not always in respect of the
whole, but sometimes in respect of a part.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[12] A[2] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: Enjoyment implies rest in the end; and this belongs to the
last end alone. But intention implies movement towards an end, not rest.
Wherefore the comparison proves nothing.


Aquin.: SMT FS Q[12] A[3] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether one can intend two things at the same time?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[12] A[3] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that one cannot intend several things at the same
time. For Augustine says (De Serm. Dom. in Monte ii, 14,16,17) that
man's intention cannot be directed at the same time to God and to bodily
benefits. Therefore, for the same reason, neither to any other two things.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[12] A[3] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, intention designates a movement of the will towards a
terminus. Now there cannot be several termini in the same direction of
one movement. Therefore the will cannot intend several things at the same
time.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[12] A[3] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, intention presupposes an act of reason or of the
intellect. But "it is not possible to understand several things at the
same time," according to the Philosopher (Topic. ii, 10). Therefore
neither is it possible to intend several things at the same time.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[12] A[3] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, Art imitates nature. Now nature intends two purposes by
means of one instrument: thus "the tongue is for the purpose of taste and
speech" (De Anima ii, 8). Therefore, for the same reason, art or reason
can at the same time direct one thing to two ends: so that one can intend
several ends at the same time.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[12] A[3] Body Para. 1/2

I answer that, The expression "two things" may be taken in two ways:
they may be ordained to one another or not so ordained. And if they be
ordained to one another, it is evident, from what has been said, that a
man can intend several things at the same time. For intention is not only
of the last end, as stated above (A[2]), but also of an intermediary end.
Now a man intends at the same time, both the proximate and the last end;
as the mixing of a medicine and the giving of health.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[12] A[3] Body Para. 2/2

But if we take two things that are not ordained to one another, thus
also a man can intend several things at the same time. This is evident
from the fact that a man prefers one thing to another because it is the
better of the two. Now one of the reasons for which one thing is better
than another is that it is available for more purposes: wherefore one
thing can be chosen in preference to another, because of the greater
number of purposes for which it is available: so that evidently a man can
intend several things at the same time.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[12] A[3] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: Augustine means to say that man cannot at the same time
direct his attention to God and to bodily benefits, as to two last ends:
since, as stated above (Q[1], A[5]), one man cannot have several last
ends.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[12] A[3] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: There can be several termini ordained to one another, of
the same movement and in the same direction; but not unless they be
ordained to one another. At the same time it must be observed that what
is not one in reality may be taken as one by the reason. Now intention is
a movement of the will to something already ordained by the reason, as
stated above (A[1], ad 3). Wherefore where we have many things in
reality, we may take them as one term of intention, in so far as the
reason takes them as one: either because two things concur in the
integrity of one whole, as a proper measure of heat and cold conduce to
health; or because two things are included in one which may be intended.
For instance, the acquiring of wine and clothing is included in wealth,
as in something common to both; wherefore nothing hinders the man who
intends to acquire wealth, from intending both the others.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[12] A[3] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: As stated in the FP, Q[12], A[10]; FP, Q[58], A[2]; FP,
Q[85], A[4] it is possible to understand several things at the same time,
in so far as, in some way, they are one.


Aquin.: SMT FS Q[12] A[4] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether intention of the end is the same act as the volition of the means?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[12] A[4] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that the intention of the end and the volition of
the means are not one and the same movement. For Augustine says (De Trin.
xi, 6) that "the will to see the window, has for its end the seeing of
the window; and is another act from the will to see, through the window,
the passersby." But that I should will to see the passersby, through the
window, belongs to intention; whereas that I will to see the window,
belongs to the volition of the means. Therefore intention of the end and
the willing of the means are distinct movements of the will.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[12] A[4] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, acts are distinct according to their objects. But the
end and the means are distinct objects. Therefore the intention of the
end and the willing of the means are distinct movements of the will.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[12] A[4] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, the willing of the means is called choice. But choice
and intention are not the same. Therefore intention of the end and the
willing of the means are not the same movement of the will.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[12] A[4] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, The means in relation to the end, are as the mid-space
to the terminus. Now it is all the same movement that passes through the
mid-space to the terminus, in natural things. Therefore in things
pertaining to the will, the intention of the end is the same movement as
the willing of the means.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[12] A[4] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, The movement of the will to the end and to the means can
be considered in two ways. First, according as the will is moved to each
of the aforesaid absolutely and in itself. And thus there are really two
movements of the will to them. Secondly, it may be considered accordingly
as the will is moved to the means for the sake of the end: and thus the
movement of the will to the end and its movement to the means are one and
the same thing. For when I say: "I wish to take medicine for the sake of
health," I signify no more than one movement of my will. And this is
because the end is the reason for willing the means. Now the object, and
that by reason of which it is an object, come under the same act; thus it
is the same act of sight that perceives color and light, as stated above
(Q[8], A[3], ad 2). And the same applies to the intellect; for if it
consider principle and conclusion absolutely, it considers each by a
distinct act; but when it assents to the conclusion on account of the
principles, there is but one act of the intellect.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[12] A[4] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: Augustine is speaking of seeing the window and of seeing,
through the window, the passersby, according as the will is moved to
either absolutely.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[12] A[4] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: The end, considered as a thing, and the means to that end,
are distinct objects of the will. But in so far as the end is the formal
object in willing the means, they are one and the same object.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[12] A[4] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: A movement which is one as to the subject, may differ,
according to our way of looking at it, as to its beginning and end, as in
the case of ascent and descent (Phys. iii, 3). Accordingly, in so far as
the movement of the will is to the means, as ordained to the end, it is
called "choice": but the movement of the will to the end as acquired by
the means, it is called "intention." A sign of this is that we can have
intention of the end without having determined the means which are the
object of choice.


Aquin.: SMT FS Q[12] A[5] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether intention is within the competency of irrational animals?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[12] A[5] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that irrational animals intend the end. For in
things void of reason nature stands further apart from the rational
nature, than does the sensitive nature in irrational animals. But nature
intends the end even in things void of reason, as is proved in Phys. ii,
8. Much more, therefore, do irrational animals intend the end.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[12] A[5] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, just as intention is of the end, so is enjoyment. But
enjoyment is in irrational animals, as stated above (Q[11], A[2]).
Therefore intention is too.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[12] A[5] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, to intend an end belongs to one who acts for an end;
since to intend is nothing else than to tend to something. But irrational
animals act for an end; for an animal is moved either to seek food, or to
do something of the kind. Therefore irrational animals intend an end.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[12] A[5] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, Intention of an end implies ordaining something to an
end: which belongs to reason. Since therefore irrational animals are void
of reason, it seems that they do not intend an end.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[12] A[5] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, As stated above (A[1]), to intend is to tend to
something; and this belongs to the mover and to the moved. According,
therefore, as that which is moved to an end by another is said to intend
the end, thus nature is said to intend an end, as being moved to its end
by God, as the arrow is moved by the archer. And in this way, irrational
animals intend an end, inasmuch as they are moved to something by
natural instinct. The other way of intending an end belongs to the mover;
according as he ordains the movement of something, either his own or
another's, to an end. This belongs to reason alone. Wherefore irrational
animals do not intend an end in this way, which is to intend properly and
principally, as stated above (A[1]).

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[12] A[5] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: This argument takes intention in the sense of being moved
to an end.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[12] A[5] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: Enjoyment does not imply the ordaining of one thing to
another, as intention does, but absolute repose in the end.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[12] A[5] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: Irrational animals are moved to an end, not as though they
thought that they can gain the end by this movement; this belongs to one
that intends; but through desiring the end by natural instinct, they are
moved to an end, moved, as it were, by another, like other things that
are moved naturally.





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