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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[24] Out. Para. 1/1 - OF GOOD AND EVIL IN THE PASSIONS OF THE SOUL (FOUR ARTICLES)
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Aquin.: SMT FS Q[24] Out. Para. 1/1 - OF GOOD AND EVIL IN THE PASSIONS OF THE SOUL (FOUR ARTICLES)

We must now consider good and evil in the passions of the soul: and
under this head there are four points of inquiry:
(1) Whether moral good and evil can be found in the passions of the soul?

(2) Whether every passion of the soul is morally evil?

(3) Whether every passion increases or decreases the goodness of malice
of an act?

(4) Whether any passion is good or evil specifically?


Aquin.: SMT FS Q[24] A[1] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether moral good and evil can be found in the passions of the soul?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[24] A[1] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that no passion of the soul is morally good or
evil. For moral good and evil are proper to man: since "morals are
properly predicated of man," as Ambrose says (Super Luc. Prolog.). But
passions are not proper to man, for he has them in common with other
animals. Therefore no passion of the soul is morally good or evil.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[24] A[1] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, the good or evil of man consists in "being in accord, or
in disaccord with reason," as Dionysius says (Div. Nom. iv). Now the
passions of the soul are not in the reason, but in the sensitive
appetite, as stated above (Q[22], A[3]). Therefore they have no
connection with human, i.e. moral, good or evil.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[24] A[1] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, the Philosopher says (Ethic. ii, 5) that "we are neither
praised nor blamed for our passions." But we are praised and blamed for
moral good and evil. Therefore the passions are not morally good or evil.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[24] A[1] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, Augustine says (De Civ. Dei xiv, 7) while speaking of
the passions of the soul: "They are evil if our love is evil; good if our
love is good."

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[24] A[1] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, We may consider the passions of the soul in two ways:
first, in themselves; secondly, as being subject to the command of the
reason and will. If then the passions be considered in themselves, to
wit, as movements of the irrational appetite, thus there is no moral good
or evil in them, since this depends on the reason, as stated above (Q[18]
, A[5]). If, however, they be considered as subject to the command of the
reason and will, then moral good and evil are in them. Because the
sensitive appetite is nearer than the outward members to the reason and
will; and yet the movements and actions of the outward members are
morally good or evil, inasmuch as they are voluntary. Much more,
therefore, may the passions, in so far as they are voluntary, be called
morally good or evil. And they are said to be voluntary, either from
being commanded by the will, or from not being checked by the will.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[24] A[1] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: These passions, considered in themselves, are common to man
and other animals: but, as commanded by the reason, they are proper to
man.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[24] A[1] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: Even the lower appetitive powers are called rational, in so
far as "they partake of reason in some sort" (Ethic. i, 13).

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[24] A[1] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: The Philosopher says that we are neither praised nor blamed
for our passions considered absolutely; but he does not exclude their
becoming worthy of praise or blame, in so far as they are subordinate to
reason. Hence he continues: "For the man who fears or is angry, is not
praised . . . or blamed, but the man who is angry in a certain way, i.e.
according to, or against reason."


Aquin.: SMT FS Q[24] A[2] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether every passion of the soul is evil morally?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[24] A[2] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that all the passions of the soul are morally evil.
For Augustine says (De Civ. Dei ix, 4) that "some call the soul's
passions diseases or disturbances of the soul" [*Those things which the
Greeks call {pathe}, we prefer to call disturbances rather than diseases
(Tusc. iv. 5)]. But every disease or disturbance of the soul is morally
evil. Therefore every passion of the soul is evil morally.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[24] A[2] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, Damascene says (De Fide Orth. ii, 22) that "movement in
accord with nature is an action, but movement contrary to nature is
passion." But in movements of the soul, what is against nature is sinful
and morally evil: hence he says elsewhere (De Fide Orth. ii, 4) that "the
devil turned from that which is in accord with nature to that which is
against nature." Therefore these passions are morally evil.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[24] A[2] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, whatever leads to sin, has an aspect of evil. But these
passions lead to sin: wherefore they are called "the passions of sins"
(Rm. 7:5). Therefore it seems that they are morally evil.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[24] A[2] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, Augustine says (De Civ. Dei xiv, 9) that "all these
emotions are right in those whose love is rightly placed . . . For they
fear to sin, they desire to persevere; they grieve for sin, they rejoice
in good works."

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[24] A[2] Body Para. 1/3

I answer that, On this question the opinion of the Stoics differed from
that of the Peripatetics: for the Stoics held that all passions are evil,
while the Peripatetics maintained that moderate passions are good. This
difference, although it appears great in words, is nevertheless, in
reality, none at all, or but little, if we consider the intent of either
school. For the Stoics did not discern between sense and intellect; and
consequently neither between the intellectual and sensitive appetite.
Hence they did not discriminate the passions of the soul from the
movements of the will, in so far as the passions of the soul are in the
sensitive appetite, while the simple movements of the will are in the
intellectual appetite: but every rational movement of the appetitive part
they call will, while they called passion, a movement that exceeds the
limits of reason. Wherefore Cicero, following their opinion (De Tusc.
Quaest. iii, 4) calls all passions "diseases of the soul": whence he
argues that "those who are diseased are unsound; and those who are
unsound are wanting in sense." Hence we speak of those who are wanting in
sense of being "unsound."

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[24] A[2] Body Para. 2/3

On the other hand, the Peripatetics give the name of "passions" to all
the movements of the sensitive appetite. Wherefore they esteem them good,
when they are controlled by reason; and evil when they are not controlled
by reason. Hence it is evident that Cicero was wrong in disapproving (De
Tusc. Quaest. iii, 4) of the Peripatetic theory of a mean in the
passions, when he says that "every evil, though moderate, should be
shunned; for, just as a body, though it be moderately ailing, is not
sound; so, this mean in the diseases or passions of the soul, is not
sound." For passions are not called "diseases" or "disturbances" of the
soul, save when they are not controlled by reason.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[24] A[2] Body Para. 3/3

Hence the reply to the First Objection is evident.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[24] A[2] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: In every passion there is an increase or decrease in the
natural movement of the heart, according as the heart is moved more or
less intensely by contraction and dilatation; and hence it derives the
character of passion. But there is no need for passion to deviate always
from the order of natural reason.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[24] A[2] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: The passions of the soul, in so far as they are contrary to
the order of reason, incline us to sin: but in so far as they are
controlled by reason, they pertain to virtue.


Aquin.: SMT FS Q[24] A[3] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether passion increases or decreases the goodness or malice of an act?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[24] A[3] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that every passion decreases the goodness of a
moral action. For anything that hinders the judgment of reason, on which
depends the goodness of a moral act, consequently decreases the goodness
of the moral act. But every passion hinders the judgment of reason: for
Sallust says (Catilin.): "All those that take counsel about matters of
doubt, should be free from hatred, anger, friendship and pity." Therefore
passion decreases the goodness of a moral act.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[24] A[3] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, the more a man's action is like to God, the better it
is: hence the Apostle says (Eph. 5:1): "Be ye followers of God, as most
dear children." But "God and the holy angels feel no anger when they
punish . . . no fellow-feeling with misery when they relieve the
unhappy," as Augustine says (De Civ. Dei ix, 5). Therefore it is better
to do such like deeds without than with a passion of the soul.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[24] A[3] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, just as moral evil depends on its relation to reason, so
also does moral good. But moral evil is lessened by passion: for he sins
less, who sins from passion, than he who sins deliberately. Therefore he
does a better deed, who does well without passion, than he who does with
passion.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[24] A[3] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, Augustine says (De Civ. Dei ix, 5) that "the passion of
pity is obedient to reason, when pity is bestowed without violating
right, as when the poor are relieved, or the penitent forgiven." But
nothing that is obedient to reason lessens the moral good. Therefore a
passion of the soul does not lessen moral good.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[24] A[3] Body Para. 1/2

I answer that, As the Stoics held that every passion of the soul is
evil, they consequently held that every passion of the soul lessens the
goodness of an act; since the admixture of evil either destroys good
altogether, or makes it to be less good. And this is true indeed, if by
passions we understand none but the inordinate movements of the sensitive
appetite, considered as disturbances or ailments. But if we give the name
of passions to all the movements of the sensitive appetite, then it
belongs to the perfection of man's good that his passions be moderated by
reason. For since man's good is founded on reason as its root, that good
will be all the more perfect, according as it extends to more things
pertaining to man. Wherefore no one questions the fact that it belongs to
the perfection of moral good, that the actions of the outward members be
controlled by the law of reason. Hence, since the sensitive appetite can
obey reason, as stated above (Q[17], A[7]), it belongs to the perfection of moral or human good, that the passions themselves also should be
controlled by reason.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[24] A[3] Body Para. 2/2

Accordingly just as it is better that man should both will good and do
it in his external act; so also does it belong to the perfection of moral
good, that man should be moved unto good, not only in respect of his
will, but also in respect of his sensitive appetite; according to Ps.
83:3: "My heart and my flesh have rejoiced in the living God": where by
"heart" we are to understand the intellectual appetite, and by "flesh"
the sensitive appetite.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[24] A[3] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: The passions of the soul may stand in a twofold relation to
the judgment of reason. First, antecedently: and thus, since they obscure
the judgment of reason, on which the goodness of the moral act depends,
they diminish the goodness of the act; for it is more praiseworthy to do
a work of charity from the judgment of reason than from the mere passion
of pity. In the second place, consequently: and this in two ways. First,
by way of redundance: because, to wit, when the higher part of the soul
is intensely moved to anything, the lower part also follows that
movement: and thus the passion that results in consequence, in the
sensitive appetite, is a sign of the intensity of the will, and so
indicates greater moral goodness. Secondly, by way of choice; when, to
wit, a man, by the judgment of his reason, chooses to be affected by a
passion in order to work more promptly with the co-operation of the
sensitive appetite. And thus a passion of the soul increases the goodness
of an action.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[24] A[3] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: In God and the angels there is no sensitive appetite, nor
again bodily members: and so in them good does not depend on the right
ordering of passions or of bodily actions, as it does in us.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[24] A[3] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: A passion that tends to evil, and precedes the judgment of
reason, diminishes sin; but if it be consequent in either of the ways
mentioned above (Reply OBJ 1), it aggravates the sin, or else it is a
sign of its being more grievous.


Aquin.: SMT FS Q[24] A[4] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether any passion is good or evil in its species?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[24] A[4] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that no passion of the soul is good or evil morally
according to its species. Because moral good and evil depend on reason.
But the passions are in the sensitive appetite; so that accordance with
reason is accidental to them. Since, therefore, nothing accidental
belongs to a thing's species, it seems that no passion is good or evil
according to its species.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[24] A[4] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, acts and passions take their species from their object.
If, therefore, any passion were good or evil, according to its species,
it would follow that those passions the object of which is good, are
specifically good, such as love, desire and joy: and that those passions,
the object of which is evil, are specifically evil, as hatred, fear and
sadness. But this is clearly false. Therefore no passion is good or evil
according to its species.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[24] A[4] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, there is no species of passion that is not to be found
in other animals. But moral good is in man alone. Therefore no passion of
the soul is good or evil according to its species.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[24] A[4] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, Augustine says (De Civ. Dei ix, 5) that "pity is a kind
of virtue." Moreover, the Philosopher says (Ethic. ii, 7) that modesty
is a praiseworthy passion. Therefore some passions are good or evil
according to their species.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[24] A[4] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, We ought, seemingly, to apply to passions what has been
said in regard to acts (Q[18], AA[5],6; Q[20], A[1]) - viz. that the
species of a passion, as the species of an act, can be considered from
two points of view. First, according to its natural genus; and thus moral
good and evil have no connection with the species of an act or passion.
Secondly, according to its moral genus, inasmuch as it is voluntary and
controlled by reason. In this way moral good and evil can belong to the
species of a passion, in so far as the object to which a passion tends,
is, of itself, in harmony or in discord with reason: as is clear in the
case of "shame" which is base fear; and of "envy" which is sorrow for
another's good: for thus passions belong to the same species as the
external act.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[24] A[4] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: This argument considers the passions in their natural
species, in so far as the sensitive appetite is considered in itself. But
in so far as the sensitive appetite obeys reason, good and evil of reason
are no longer accidentally in the passions of the appetite, but
essentially.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[24] A[4] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1
Reply OBJ 2: Passions having a tendency to good, are themselves good, if
they tend to that which is truly good, and in like manner, if they turn
away from that which is truly evil. On the other hand, those passions
which consist in aversion from good, and a tendency to evil, are
themselves evil.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[24] A[4] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: In irrational animals the sensitive appetite does not obey
reason. Nevertheless, in so far as they are led by a kind of estimative
power, which is subject to a higher, i.e. the Divine reason, there is a
certain likeness of moral good in them, in regard to the soul's passions.





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