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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[33] Out. Para. 1/1 - OF THE EFFECTS OF PLEASURE (FOUR ARTICLES)
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Aquin.: SMT FS Q[33] Out. Para. 1/1 - OF THE EFFECTS OF PLEASURE (FOUR ARTICLES)

We must now consider the effects of pleasure; and under this head there
are four points of inquiry:

(1) Whether expansion is an effect of pleasure?

(2) Whether pleasure causes thirst or desire for itself?

(3) Whether pleasure hinders the use of reason?

(4) Whether pleasure perfects operation?


Aquin.: SMT FS Q[33] A[1] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether expansion is an effect of pleasure?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[33] A[1] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that expansion is not an effect of pleasure. For
expansion seems to pertain more to love, according to the Apostle (2 Cor.
6:11): "Our heart is enlarged." Wherefore it is written (Ps. 118:96)
concerning the precept of charity: "Thy commandment is exceeding broad."
But pleasure is a distinct passion from love. Therefore expansion is not
an effect of pleasure.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[33] A[1] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, when a thing expands it is enabled to receive more. But
receiving pertains to desire, which is for something not yet possessed.
Therefore expansion seems to belong to desire rather than to pleasure.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[33] A[1] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, contraction is contrary to expansion. But contraction
seems to belong to pleasure, for the hand closes on that which we wish to
grasp firmly: and such is the affection of appetite in regard to that
which pleases it. Therefore expansion does not pertain to pleasure.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[33] A[1] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, In order to express joy, it is written (Is. 60:5):
"Thou shall see and abound, thy heart shall wonder and be enlarged."
Moreover pleasure is called by the name of "laetitia" as being derived
from "dilatatio" [expansion], as stated above (Q[31], A[3], ad 3).

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[33] A[1] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, Breadth [latitudo] is a dimension of bodily magnitude:
hence it is not applied to the emotions of the soul, save metaphorically.
Now expansion denotes a kind of movement towards breadth; and it belongs
to pleasure in respect of the two things requisite for pleasure. One of
these is on the part of the apprehensive power, which is cognizant of the
conjunction with some suitable good. As a result of this apprehension,
man perceives that he has attained a certain perfection, which is a
magnitude of the spiritual order: and in this respect man's mind is said
to be magnified or expanded by pleasure. The other requisite for pleasure
is on the part of the appetitive power, which acquiesces in the
pleasurable object, and rests therein, offering, as it were, to enfold it
within itself. And thus man's affection is expanded by pleasure, as
though it surrendered itself to hold within itself the object of its
pleasure.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[33] A[1] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: In metaphorical expressions nothing hinders one and the
same thing from being attributed to different things according to
different likenesses. And in this way expansion pertains to love by
reason of a certain spreading out, in so far as the affection of the
lover spreads out to others, so as to care, not only for his own
interests, but also for what concerns others. On the other hand expansion
pertains to pleasure, in so far as a thing becomes more ample in itself
so as to become more capacious.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[33] A[1] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: Desire includes a certain expansion arising from the
imagination of the thing desired; but this expansion increases at the
presence of the pleasurable object: because the mind surrenders itself
more to that object when it is already taking pleasure in it, than when
it desires it before possessing it; since pleasure is the end of desire.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[33] A[1] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: He that takes pleasure in a thing holds it fast, by
clinging to it with all his might: but he opens his heart to it that he
may enjoy it perfectly.


Aquin.: SMT FS Q[33] A[2] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether pleasure causes thirst or desire for itself?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[33] A[2] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that pleasure does not cause desire for itself.
Because all movement ceases when repose is reached. But pleasure is, as
it were, a certain repose of the movement of desire, as stated above
(Q[23], A[4]; Q[25], A[2]). Therefore the movement of desire ceases when
pleasure is reached. Therefore pleasure does not cause desire.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[33] A[2] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, a thing does not cause its contrary. But pleasure is,
in a way, contrary to desire, on the part of the object: since desire
regards a good which is not yet possessed, whereas pleasure regards the
good that is possessed. Therefore pleasure does not cause desire for
itself.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[33] A[2] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, distaste is incompatible with desire. But pleasure often
causes distaste. Therefore it does not cause desire.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[33] A[2] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, Our Lord said (Jn. 4:13): "Whosoever drinketh of this
water, shall thirst again": where, according to Augustine (Tract. xv in
Joan.), water denotes pleasures of the body.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[33] A[2] Body Para. 1/4

I answer that, Pleasure can be considered in two ways; first, as
existing in reality; secondly, as existing in the memory. Again thirst,
or desire, can be taken in two ways; first, properly, as denoting a
craving for something not possessed; secondly, in general, as excluding
distaste.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[33] A[2] Body Para. 2/4

Considered as existing in reality, pleasure does not of itself cause
thirst or desire for itself, but only accidentally; provided we take
thirst or desire as denoting a craving for some thing not possessed:
because pleasure is an emotion of the appetite in respect of something
actually present. But it may happen that what is actually present is not
perfectly possessed: and this may be on the part of the thing possessed,
or on the part of the possessor. On the part of the thing possessed, this
happens through the thing possessed not being a simultaneous whole;
wherefore one obtains possession of it successively, and while taking
pleasure in what one has, one desires to possess the remainder: thus if a
man is pleased with the first part of a verse, he desires to hear the
second part, as Augustine says (Confess. iv, 11). In this way nearly all
bodily pleasures cause thirst for themselves, until they are fully
realized, because pleasures of this kind arise from some movement: as is
evident in pleasures of the table. On the part of the possessor, this
happens when a man possesses a thing which is perfect in itself, yet does
not possess it perfectly, but obtains possession of it little by little.
Thus in this life, a faint perception of Divine knowledge affords us
delight, and delight sets up a thirst or desire for perfect knowledge; in
which sense we may understand the words of Ecclus. 24:29: "They that
drink me shall yet thirst."

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[33] A[2] Body Para. 3/4

On the other hand, if by thirst or desire we understand the mere
intensity of the emotion, that excludes distaste, thus more than all
others spiritual pleasures cause thirst or desire for themselves. Because
bodily pleasures become distasteful by reason of their causing an excess
in the natural mode of being, when they are increased or even when they
are protracted; as is evident in the case of pleasures of the table. This is why, when a man arrives at the point of perfection in bodily
pleasures, he wearies of them, and sometimes desires another kind.
Spiritual pleasures, on the contrary, do not exceed the natural mode of
being, but perfect nature. Hence when their point of perfection is
reached, then do they afford the greatest delight: except, perchance,
accidentally, in so far as the work of contemplation is accompanied by
some operation of the bodily powers, which tire from protracted activity.
And in this sense also we may understand those words of Ecclus. 24:29:
"They that drink me shall yet thirst": for, even of the angels, who know
God perfectly, and delight in Him, it is written (1 Pt. 1:12) that they
"desire to look at Him."

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[33] A[2] Body Para. 4/4

Lastly, if we consider pleasure, not as existing in reality, but as
existing in the memory, thus it has of itself a natural tendency to cause
thirst and desire for itself: when, to wit, man returns to that
disposition, in which he was when he experienced the pleasure that is
past. But if he be changed from that disposition, the memory of that
pleasure does not give him pleasure, but distaste: for instance, the
memory of food in respect of a man who has eaten to repletion.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[33] A[2] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: When pleasure is perfect, then it includes complete rest;
and the movement of desire, tending to what was not possessed, ceases.
But when it is imperfect, then the desire, tending to what was not
possessed, does not cease altogether.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[33] A[2] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: That which is possessed imperfectly, is possessed in one
respect, and in another respect is not possessed. Consequently it may be
the object of desire and pleasure at the same time.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[33] A[2] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: Pleasures cause distaste in one way, desire in another, as
stated above.


Aquin.: SMT FS Q[33] A[3] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether pleasure hinders the use of reason?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[33] A[3] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that pleasure does not hinder the use of reason.
Because repose facilitates very much the due use of reason: wherefore the
Philosopher says (Phys. vii, 3) that "while we sit and rest, the soul is
inclined to knowledge and prudence"; and it is written (Wis. 8:16): "When
I go into my house, I shall repose myself with her," i.e. wisdom. But
pleasure is a kind of repose. Therefore it helps rather than hinders the
use of reason.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[33] A[3] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, things which are not in the same subject though they be
contraries, do not hinder one another. But pleasure is in the appetitive
faculty, while the use of reason is in the apprehensive power. Therefore
pleasure does not hinder the use of reason.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[33] A[3] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, that which is hindered by another, seems to be moved, as
it were, thereby. But the use of an apprehensive power moves pleasure
rather than is moved by it: because it is the cause of pleasure.
Therefore pleasure does not hinder the use of reason.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[33] A[3] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, The Philosopher says (Ethic. vi, 5), that "pleasure
destroys the estimate of prudence."

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[33] A[3] Body Para. 1/2

I answer that, As is stated in Ethic. x, 5, "appropriate pleasures
increase activity . . . whereas pleasures arising from other sources are
impediments to activity." Accordingly there is a certain pleasure that is
taken in the very act of reason, as when one takes pleasure in
contemplating or in reasoning: and such pleasure does not hinder the act
of reason, but helps it; because we are more attentive in doing that
which gives us pleasure, and attention fosters activity.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[33] A[3] Body Para. 2/2

On the other hand bodily pleasures hinder the use of reason in three
ways. First, by distracting the reason. Because, as we have just
observed, we attend much to that which pleases us. Now when the attention
is firmly fixed on one thing, it is either weakened in respect of other
things, or it is entirely withdrawn from them; and thus if the bodily
pleasure be great, either it entirely hinders the use of reason, by
concentrating the mind's attention on itself; or else it hinders it
considerably. Secondly, by being contrary to reason. Because some
pleasures, especially those that are in excess, are contrary to the order
of reason: and in this sense the Philosopher says that "bodily pleasures
destroy the estimate of prudence, but not the speculative estimate," to
which they are not opposed, "for instance that the three angles of a
triangle are together equal to two right angles." In the first sense,
however, they hinder both estimates. Thirdly, by fettering the reason: in
so far as bodily pleasure is followed by a certain alteration in the
body, greater even than in the other passions, in proportion as the
appetite is more vehemently affected towards a present than towards an
absent thing. Now such bodily disturbances hinder the use of reason; as
may be seen in the case of drunkards, in whom the use of reason is
fettered or hindered.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[33] A[3] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: Bodily pleasure implies indeed repose of the appetite in
the object of pleasure; which repose is sometimes contrary to reason; but
on the part of the body it always implies alteration. And in respect of
both points, it hinders the use of reason.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[33] A[3] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: The powers of the appetite and of apprehension are indeed
distinct parts, but belonging to the one soul. Consequently when the soul
is very intent on the action of one part, it is hindered from attending
to a contrary act of the other part.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[33] A[3] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: The use of reason requires the due use of the imagination
and of the other sensitive powers, which are exercised through a bodily
organ. Consequently alteration in the body hinders the use of reason,
because it hinders the act of the imagination and of the other sensitive
powers.


Aquin.: SMT FS Q[33] A[4] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether pleasure perfects operation?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[33] A[4] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that pleasure does not perfect operation. For every
human operation depends on the use of reason. But pleasure hinders the
use of reason, as stated above (A[3]). Therefore pleasure does not
perfect, but weakens human operation.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[33] A[4] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, nothing perfects itself or its cause. But pleasure is an
operation (Ethic. vii, 12; x, 4), i.e. either in its essence or in its
cause. Therefore pleasure does not perfect operation.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[33] A[4] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, if pleasure perfects operation, it does so either as
end, or as form, or as agent. But not as end; because operation is not
sought for the sake of pleasure, but rather the reverse, as stated above
(Q[4], A[2]): nor as agent, because rather is it the operation that
causes pleasure: nor again as form, because, according to the Philosopher
(Ethic. x, 4), "pleasure does not perfect operation, as a habit does."
Therefore pleasure does not perfect operation.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[33] A[4] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, The Philosopher says (Ethic. x, 4) that "pleasure
perfects operation."

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[33] A[4] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, Pleasure perfects operation in two ways. First, as an
end: not indeed according as an end is that on "account of which a thing
is"; but according as every good which is added to a thing and completes
it, can be called its end. And in this sense the Philosopher says (Ethic.
x, 4) that "pleasure perfects operation . . . as some end added to it":
that is to say, inasmuch as to this good, which is operation, there is
added another good, which is pleasure, denoting the repose of the
appetite in a good that is presupposed. Secondly, as agent; not indeed
directly, for the Philosopher says (Ethic. x, 4) that "pleasure perfects
operation, not as a physician makes a man healthy, but as health does":
but it does so indirectly; inasmuch as the agent, through taking pleasure
in his action, is more eagerly intent on it, and carries it out with
greater care. And in this sense it is said in Ethic. x, 5 that "pleasures
increase their appropriate activities, and hinder those that are not
appropriate."

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[33] A[4] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: It is not every pleasure that hinders the act of reason,
but only bodily pleasure; for this arises, not from the act of reason,
but from the act of the concupiscible faculty, which act is intensified
by pleasure. On the contrary, pleasure that arises from the act of
reason, strengthens the use of reason.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[33] A[4] R.O. 2 Para. 1/2

Reply OBJ 2: As stated in Phys. ii, 3 two things may be causes of one
another, if one be the efficient, the other the final cause. And in this
way, operation is the efficient cause of pleasure, while pleasure
perfects operation by way of final cause, as stated above.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[33] A[4] R.O. 2 Para. 2/2

The Reply to the Third Objection is evident for what has been said.





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