Thomas Aquinas on Human Nature: A Philosophical Study of by Robert Pasnau

By Robert Pasnau

This significant new research of Thomas Aquinas, the main influential thinker of the center a long time, bargains a transparent and available advisor to the significant venture of Aquinas's philosophy--the figuring out of human nature. Robert Pasnau units the philosophy within the context of historical and sleek notion, and argues for groundbreaking proposals for realizing one of the most tough parts of Aquinas's thought--the courting of soul to physique, the workings of feel and mind, the desire and the passions, and private id.

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Extra info for Thomas Aquinas on Human Nature: A Philosophical Study of Summa Theologiae, 1a 75-89

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He believes they are committed to a very specific metaphysical picture, which we can begin to understand by looking at a slightly different way in which he often characterizes the ancients’ view: The first of those who philosophized about the natures of things held that only bodies exist. ). The first sentence here repeats the earlier characterization, but the second sentence makes a more specific claim. One might naturally suppose that this second claim is a straightforward consequence of the first: if only bodies (corpora) exist, then a fortiori the first principles of things will be corporeal.

And now we can ask: why couldn’t a bodily organ, such as the heart or the brain, be the first principle of life? Why, for instance, couldn’t the Human Genome Project reveal the nature of human beings? Why, to frame the question more generally, are corporeal explanations always incomplete? One natural line of thought at this point runs as follows. Regardless of which part of the body we point to, we can always ask a further question about why that bodily part explains life. Most crudely, we cannot just point The human core Of all the parts of the body, Aquinas (following Aristotle) took the heart to be the best candidate for the first principle of life.

If Aquinas’s only aim were to understand God’s nature, there would be no justification for a’s massive treatment of human action, a discussion so large it needed to be split up into two parts (aae and aae). In part, Aquinas’s motivation seems to be pragmatic, in that a detailed analysis of human beings would benefit us more than a similar analysis of, say, angels. This, at any rate, is what is suggested by his explanation for the longer second part of ST a, concerned with human actions in particular: Imago Dei The discussion of human beings in a QQ– is part of a larger project to understand God via creation.

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