Summa Th. I-II EN Qu.21 a.3
Objection: 1. It would seem that a human action is not meritorious or demeritorious on account of its goodness or malice. For we speak of merit or demerit in relation to retribution, which has no place save in matters relating to another person. But good or evil actions are not all related to another person, for some are related to the person of the agent. Therefore not every good or evil human action is meritorious or demeritorious.
2. Further, no one deserves punishment or reward for doing as he chooses with that of which he is master: thus if a man destroys what belongs to him, he is not punished, as if he had destroyed what belongs to another. But man is master of his own actions. Therefore a man does not merit punishment or reward, through putting his action to a good or evil purpose.
3. Further, if a man acquire some good for himself, he does not on that account deserve to be benefited by another man: and the same applies to evil. Now a good action is itself a kind of good and perfection of the agent: while an inordinate action is his evil. Therefore a man does not merit or demerit, from the fact that he does a good or an evil deed.
On the contrary It is written (Is 3,10-11): "Say to the just man that it is well; for he shall eat the fruit of his doings. Woe to the wicked unto evil; for the reward of his hands shall be given him."
I answer that We speak of merit and demerit, in relation to retribution, rendered according to justice. Now, retribution according to justice is rendered to a man, by reason of his having done something to another's advantage or hurt. It must, moreover, be observed that every individual member of a society is, in a fashion, a part and member of the whole society. Wherefore, any good or evil, done to the member of a society, redounds on the whole society: thus, who hurts the hand, hurts the man. When, therefore, anyone does good or evil to another individual, there is a twofold measure of merit or demerit in his action: first, in respect of the retribution owed to him by the individual to whom he has done good or harm; secondly, in respect of the retribution owed to him by the whole of society. Now when a man ordains his action directly for the good or evil of the whole society, retribution is owed to him, before and above all, by the whole society; secondarily, by all the parts of society. Whereas when a man does that which conduces to his own benefit or disadvantage, then again is retribution owed to him, in so far as this too affects the community, forasmuch as he is a part of society: although retribution is not due to him, in so far as it conduces to the good or harm of an individual, who is identical with the agent: unless, perchance, he owe retribution to himself, by a sort of resemblance, in so far as man is said to be just to himself.It is therefore evident that a good or evil action deserves praise or blame, in so far as it is in the power of the will: that it is right or sinful, according as it is ordained to the end; and that its merit or demerit depends on the recompense for justice or injustice towards another.
Reply to Objection: 1. A man's good or evil actions, although not ordained to the good or evil of another individual, are nevertheless ordained to the good or evil of another, i.e. the community.
2. Man is master of his actions; and yet, in so far as he belongs to another, i.e. the community, of which he forms part, he merits or demerits, inasmuch as he disposes his actions well or ill: just as if he were to dispense well or ill other belongings of his, in respect of which he is bound to serve the community.
3. This very good or evil, which a man does to himself by his action, redounds to the community, as stated above.
Objection: 1. It would seem that man's actions, good or evil, are not meritorious or demeritorious in the sight of God. Because, as stated above (Article ), merit and demerit imply relation to retribution for good or harm done to another. But a man's action, good or evil, does no good or harm to God; for it is written (Jb 35,6-7): "If thou sin, what shalt thou hurt Him? . . . And if thou do justly, what shalt thou give Him?" Therefore a human action, good or evil, is not meritorious or demeritorious in the sight of God.
2. Further, an instrument acquires no merit or demerit in the sight of him that uses it; because the entire action of the instrument belongs to the user. Now when man acts he is the instrument of the Divine power which is the principal cause of his action; hence it is written (Is 10,15): "Shall the axe boast itself against him that cutteth with it? Or shall the saw exalt itself against him by whom it is drawn?" where man while acting is evidently compared to an instrument. Therefore man merits or demerits nothing in God's sight, by good or evil deeds.
3. Further, a human action acquires merit or demerit through being ordained to someone else. But not all human actions are ordained to God. Therefore not every good or evil action acquires merit or demerit in God's sight.
On the contrary It is written (Qo 12,14): "All things that are done, God will bring into judgment . . . whether it be good or evil." Now judgment implies retribution, in respect of which we speak of merit and demerit. Therefore every human action, both good and evil, acquires merit or demerit in God's sight.
I answer that A human action, as stated above (Article ), acquires merit or demerit, through being ordained to someone else, either by reason of himself, or by reason of the community: and in each way, our actions, good and evil, acquire merit or demerit, in the sight of God. On the part of God Himself, inasmuch as He is man's last end; and it is our duty to refer all our actions to the last end, as stated above (Question , Article ). Consequently, whoever does an evil deed, not referable to God, does not give God the honor due to Him as our last end. On the part of the whole community of the universe, because in every community, he who governs the community, cares, first of all, for the common good; wherefore it is his business to award retribution for such things as are done well or ill in the community. Now God is the governor and ruler of the whole universe, as stated in the I 103,5: and especially of rational creatures. Consequently it is evident that human actions acquire merit or demerit in reference to Him: else it would follow that human actions are no business of God's.
Reply to Objection: 1. God in Himself neither gains nor losses anything by the action of man: but man, for his part, takes something from God, or offers something to Him, when he observes or does not observe the order instituted by God.
2. Man is so moved, as an instrument, by God, that, at the same time, he moves himself by his free-will, as was explained above (Question , Article , ad 3). Consequently, by his action, he acquires merit or demerit in God's sight.
3. Man is not ordained to the body politic, according to all that he is and has; and so it does not follow that every action of his acquires merit or demerit in relation to the body politic. But all that man is, and can, and has, must be referred to God: and therefore every action of man, whether good or bad, acquires merit or demerit in the sight of God, as far as the action itself is concerned.
TREATISE ON THE PASSIONS (Questions -48)
We must now consider the passions of the soul: first, in general; secondly, in particular. Taking them in general, there are four things to be considered: (1) Their subject: (2) The difference between them: (3) Their mutual relationship: (4) Their malice and goodness.
Under the first head there are three points of inquiry:
(1) Whether there is any passion in the soul?
(2) Whether passion is in the appetitive rather than in the apprehensive part?
(3) Whether passion is in the sensitive appetite rather than in the intellectual appetite, which is called the will?
Objection: 1. It would seem that there is no passion in the soul. Because passivity belongs to matter. But the soul is not composed of matter and form, as stated in the I 75,5. Therefore there is no passion in the soul.
2. Further, passion is movement, as is stated in Phys. iii, 3. But the soul is not moved, as is proved in De Anima i, 3. Therefore passion is not in the soul.
3. Further, passion is the road to corruption; since "every passion, when increased, alters the substance," as is stated in Topic. vi, 6. But the soul is incorruptible. Therefore no passion is in the soul.
On the contrary The Apostle says (Rm 7,5): "When we were in the flesh, the passions of sins which were by the law, did the work in our members." Now sins are, properly speaking, in the soul. Therefore passions also, which are described as being "of sins," are in the soul.
I answer that The word "passive" is used in three ways. First, in a general way, according as whatever receives something is passive, although nothing is taken from it: thus we may say that the air is passive when it is lit up. But this is to be perfected rather than to be passive. Secondly, the word "passive" is employed in its proper sense, when something is received, while something else is taken away: and this happens in two ways. For sometimes that which is lost is unsuitable to the thing: thus when an animal's body is healed, and loses sickness. At other times the contrary occurs: thus to ail is to be passive; because the ailment is received and health is lost. And here we have passion in its most proper acceptation. For a thing is said to be passive from its being drawn to the agent: and when a thing recedes from what is suitable to it, then especially does it appear to be drawn to something else. Moreover in De Generat. i, 3 it is stated that when a more excellent thing is generated from a less excellent, we have generation simply, and corruption in a particular respect: whereas the reverse is the case, when from a more excellent thing, a less excellent is generated. In these three ways it happens that passions are in the soul. For in the sense of mere reception, we speak of "feeling and understanding as being a kind of passion" (De Anima i, 5). But passion, accompanied by the loss of something, is only in respect of a bodily transmutation; wherefore passion properly so called cannot be in the soul, save accidentally, in so far, to wit, as the "composite" is passive. But here again we find a difference; because when this transmutation is for the worse, it has more of the nature of a passion, than when it is for the better: hence sorrow is more properly a passion than joy.
Reply to Objection: 1. It belongs to matter to be passive in such a way as to lose something and to be transmuted: hence this happens only in those things that are composed of matter and form. But passivity, as implying mere reception, need not be in matter, but can be in anything that is in potentiality. Now, though the soul is not composed of matter and form, yet it has something of potentiality, in respect of which it is competent to receive or to be passive, according as the act of understanding is a kind of passion, as stated in De Anima iii, 4.
2. Although it does not belong to the soul in itself to be passive and to be moved, yet it belongs accidentally as stated in De Anima i, 3.
3. This argument is true of passion accompanied by transmutation to something worse. And passion, in this sense, is not found in the soul, except accidentally: but the composite, which is corruptible, admits of it by reason of its own nature.
Objection: 1. It would seem that passion is in the apprehensive part of the soul rather than in the appetitive. Because that which is first in any genus, seems to rank first among all things that are in that genus, and to be their cause, as is stated in Metaph. ii, 1. Now passion is found to be in the apprehensive, before being in the appetitive part: for the appetitive part is not affected unless there be a previous passion in the apprehensive part. Therefore passion is in the apprehensive part more than in the appetitive.
2. Further, what is more active is less passive; for action is contrary to passion. Now the appetitive part is more active than the apprehensive part. Therefore it seems that passion is more in the apprehensive part.
3. Further, just as the sensitive appetite is the power of a corporeal organ, so is the power of sensitive apprehension. But passion in the soul occurs, properly speaking, in respect of a bodily transmutation. Therefore passion is not more in the sensitive appetitive than in the sensitive apprehensive part.
On the contrary Augustine says (De Civ. Dei ix, 4) that "the movement of the soul, which the Greeks called (pathe), are styled by some of our writers, Cicero [*Those things which the Greeks call (pathe), we prefer to call disturbances rather than diseases (Tusc. iv. 5)] for instance, disturbances; by some, affections or emotions; while others rendering the Greek more accurately, call them passions." From this it is evident that the passions of the soul are the same as affections. But affections manifestly belong to the appetitive, and not to the apprehensive part. Therefore the passions are in the appetitive rather than in the apprehensive part.
I answer that As we have already stated (Article ) the word "passion" implies that the patient is drawn to that which belongs to the agent. Now the soul is drawn to a thing by the appetitive power rather than by the apprehensive power: because the soul has, through its appetitive power, an order to things as they are in themselves: hence the Philosopher says (Metaph. vi, 4) that "good and evil," i.e. the objects of the appetitive power, "are in things themselves." On the other hand the apprehensive power is not drawn to a thing, as it is in itself; but knows it by reason of an "intention" of the thing, which "intention" it has in itself, or receives in its own way. Hence we find it stated (Metaph. vi, 4) that "the true and the false," which pertain to knowledge, "are not in things, but in the mind." Consequently it is evident that the nature of passion is consistent with the appetitive, rather than with the apprehensive part.
Reply to Objection: 1. In things relating to perfection the case is the opposite, in comparison to things that pertain to defect. Because in things relating to perfection, intensity is in proportion to the approach to one first principle; to which the nearer a thing approaches, the more intense it is. Thus the intensity of a thing possessed of light depends on its approach to something endowed with light in a supreme degree, to which the nearer a thing approaches the more light it possesses. But in things that relate to defect, intensity depends, not on approach to something supreme, but in receding from that which is perfect; because therein consists the very notion of privation and defect. Wherefore the less a thing recedes from that which stands first, the less intense it is: and the result is that at first we always find some small defect, which afterwards increases as it goes on. Now passion pertains to defect, because it belongs to a thing according as it is in potentiality. Wherefore in those things that approach to the Supreme Perfection, i.e. to God, there is but little potentiality and passion: while in other things, consequently, there is more. Hence also, in the supreme, i.e. the apprehensive, power of the soul, passion is found less than in the other powers.
2. The appetitive power is said to be more active, because it is, more than the apprehensive power, the principle of the exterior action: and this for the same reason that it is more passive, namely, its being related to things as existing in themselves: since it is through the external action that we come into contact with things.
3. As stated in the I 78,3 the organs of the soul can be changed in two ways. First, by a spiritual change, in respect of which the organ receives an "intention" of the object. And this is essential to the act of the sensitive apprehension: thus is the eye changed by the object visible, not by being colored, but by receiving an intention of color. But the organs are receptive of another and natural change, which affects their natural disposition; for instance, when they become hot or cold, or undergo some similar change. And whereas this kind of change is accidental to the act of the sensitive apprehension; for instance, if the eye be wearied through gazing intently at something or be overcome by the intensity of the object: on the other hand, it is essential to the act of the sensitive appetite; wherefore the material element in the definitions of the movements of the appetitive part, is the natural change of the organ; for instance, "anger is" said to be "a kindling of the blood about the heart." Hence it is evident that the notion of passion is more consistent with the act of the sensitive appetite, than with that of the sensitive apprehension, although both are actions of a corporeal organ.
Objection: 1. It would seem that passion is not more in the sensitive than in the intellectual appetite. For Dionysius declares (Div. Nom. ii) Hierotheus "to be taught by a kind of yet more Godlike instruction; not only by learning Divine things, but also by suffering [patiens] them." But the sensitive appetite cannot "suffer" Divine things, since its object is the sensible good. Therefore passion is in the intellectual appetite, just as it is also in the sensitive appetite.
2. Further, the more powerful the active force, the more intense the passion. But the object of the intellectual appetite, which is the universal good, is a more powerful active force than the object of the sensitive appetite, which is a particular good. Therefore passion is more consistent with the intellectual than with the sensitive appetite.
3. Further, joy and love are said to be passions. But these are to be found in the intellectual and not only in the sensitive appetite: else they would not be ascribed by the Scriptures to God and the angels. Therefore the passions are not more in the sensitive than in the intellectual appetite.
On the contrary Damascene says (De Fide Orth. ii, 22), while describing the animal passions: "Passion is a movement of the sensitive appetite when we imagine good or evil: in other words, passion is a movement of the irrational soul, when we think of good or evil."
I answer that As stated above (Article ) passion is properly to be found where there is corporeal transmutation. This corporeal transmutation is found in the act of the sensitive appetite, and is not only spiritual, as in the sensitive apprehension, but also natural. Now there is no need for corporeal transmutation in the act of the intellectual appetite: because this appetite is not exercised by means of a corporeal organ. It is therefore evident that passion is more properly in the act of the sensitive appetite, than in that of the intellectual appetite; and this is again evident from the definitions of Damascene quoted above.
Reply to Objection: 1. By "suffering" Divine things is meant being well affected towards them, and united to them by love: and this takes place without any alteration in the body.
2. Intensity of passion depends not only on the power of the agent, but also on the passibility of the patient: because things that are disposed to passion, suffer much even from petty agents. Therefore although the object of the intellectual appetite has greater activity than the object of the sensitive appetite, yet the sensitive appetite is more passive.
3. When love and joy and the like are ascribed to God or the angels, or to man in respect of his intellectual appetite, they signify simple acts of the will having like effects, but without passion. Hence Augustine says (De Civ. Dei ix, 5): "The holy angels feel no anger while they punish . . . no fellow-feeling with misery while they relieve the unhappy: and yet ordinary human speech is wont to ascribe to them also these passions by name, because, although they have none of our weakness, their acts bear a certain resemblance to ours."
We must now consider how the passions differ from one another: and under this head there are four points of inquiry:
(1) Whether the passions of the concupiscible part are different from those of the irascible part?
(2) Whether the contrariety of passions in the irascible part is based on the contrariety of good and evil?
(3) Whether there is any passion that has no contrary?
(4) Whether, in the same power, there are any passions, differing in species, but not contrary to one another?
Objection: 1. It would seem that the same passions are in the irascible and concupiscible parts. For the Philosopher says (Ethic. ii, 5) that the passions of the soul are those emotions "which are followed by joy or sorrow." But joy and sorrow are in the concupiscible part. Therefore all the passions are in the concupiscible part, and not some in the irascible, others in the concupiscible part.
2. Further, on the words of Mt 13,33, "The kingdom of heaven is like to leaven," etc., Jerome's gloss says: "We should have prudence in the reason; hatred of vice in the irascible faculty; desire of virtue, in the concupiscible part." But hatred is in the concupiscible faculty, as also is love, of which it is the contrary, as is stated in Topic. ii, 7. Therefore the same passion is in the concupiscible and irascible faculties.
3. Further, passions and actions differ specifically according to their objects. But the objects of the irascible and concupiscible passions are the same, viz. good and evil. Therefore the same passions are in the irascible and concupiscible faculties.
On the contrary The acts of the different powers differ in species; for instance, to see, and to hear. But the irascible and the concupiscible are two powers into which the sensitive appetite is divided, as stated in the I 81,2. Therefore, since the passions are movements of the sensitive appetite, as stated above (Question , Article ), the passions of the irascible faculty are specifically distinct from those of the concupiscible part.
I answer that The passions of the irascible part differ in species from those of the concupiscible faculty. For since different powers have different objects, as stated in the I 77,3, the passions of different powers must of necessity be referred to different objects. Much more, therefore, do the passions of different faculties differ in species; since a greater difference in the object is required to diversify the species of the powers, than to diversify the species of passions or actions. For just as in the physical order, diversity of genus arises from diversity in the potentiality of matter, while diversity of species arises from diversity of form in the same matter; so in the acts of the soul, those that belong to different powers, differ not only in species but also in genus, while acts and passions regarding different specific objects, included under the one common object of a single power, differ as the species of that genus.In order, therefore, to discern which passions are in the irascible, and which in the concupiscible, we must take the object of each of these powers. For we have stated in the I 81,2, that the object of the concupiscible power is sensible good or evil, simply apprehended as such, which causes pleasure or pain. But, since the soul must, of necessity, experience difficulty or struggle at times, in acquiring some such good, or in avoiding some such evil, in so far as such good or evil is more than our animal nature can easily acquire or avoid; therefore this very good or evil, inasmuch as it is of an arduous or difficult nature, is the object of the irascible faculty. Therefore whatever passions regard good or evil absolutely, belong to the concupiscible power; for instance, joy, sorrow, love, hatred, and such like: whereas those passions which regard good or bad as arduous, through being difficult to obtain or avoid, belong to the irascible faculty; such are daring, fear, hope and the like.
Reply to Objection: 1. As stated in the I 81,2, the irascible faculty is bestowed on animals, in order to remove the obstacles that hinder the concupiscible power from tending towards its object, either by making some good difficult to obtain, or by making some evil hard to avoid. The result is that all the irascible passions terminate in the concupiscible passions: and thus it is that even the passions which are in the irascible faculty are followed by joy and sadness which are in the concupiscible faculty.
2. Jerome ascribes hatred of vice to the irascible faculty, not by reason of hatred, which is properly a concupiscible passion; but on account of the struggle, which belongs to the irascible power.
3. Good, inasmuch as it is delightful, moves the concupiscible power. But if it prove difficult to obtain, from this very fact it has a certain contrariety to the concupiscible power: and hence the need of another power tending to that good. The same applies to evil. And this power is the irascible faculty. Consequently the concupiscible passions are specifically different from the irascible passions.
Objection: 1. It would seem that the contrariety of the irascible passions is based on no other contrariety than that of good and evil. For the irascible passions are ordained to the concupiscible passions, as stated above (Article , ad 1). But the contrariety of the concupiscible passions is no other than that of good and evil; take, for instance, love and hatred, joy and sorrow. Therefore the same applies to the irascible passions.
2. Further, passions differ according to their objects; just as movements differ according to their termini. But there is no other contrariety of movements, except that of the termini, as is stated in Phys. v, 3. Therefore there is no other contrariety of passions, save that of the objects. Now the object of the appetite is good or evil. Therefore in no appetitive power can there be contrariety of passions other than that of good and evil.
3. Further, "every passion of the soul is by way of approach and withdrawal," as Avicenna declares in his sixth book of Physics. Now approach results from the apprehension of good; withdrawal, from the apprehension of evil: since just as "good is what all desire" (Ethic. i, 1), so evil is what all shun. Therefore, in the passions of the soul, there can be no other contrariety than that of good and evil.
On the contrary Fear and daring are contrary to one another, as stated in Ethic. iii, 7. But fear and daring do not differ in respect of good and evil: because each regards some kind of evil. Therefore not every contrariety of the irascible passions is that of good and evil.
I answer that Passion is a kind of movement, as stated in Phys. iii, 3. Therefore contrariety of passions is based on contrariety of movements or changes. Now there is a twofold contrariety in changes and movements, as stated in Phys. v, 5. One is according to approach and withdrawal in respect of the same term: and this contrariety belongs properly to changes, i.e. to generation, which is a change "to being," and to corruption, which is a change "from being." The other contrariety is according to opposition of termini, and belongs properly to movements: thus whitening, which is movement from black to white, is contrary to blackening, which is movement from white to black.Accordingly there is a twofold contrariety in the passions of the soul: one, according to contrariety of objects, i.e. of good and evil; the other, according to approach and withdrawal in respect of the same term. In the concupiscible passions the former contrariety alone is to be found; viz. that which is based on the objects: whereas in the irascible passions, we find both forms of contrariety. The reason of this is that the object of the concupiscible faculty, as stated above (Article ), is sensible good or evil considered absolutely. Now good, as such, cannot be a term wherefrom, but only a term whereto, since nothing shuns good as such; on the contrary, all things desire it. In like manner, nothing desires evil, as such; but all things shun it: wherefore evil cannot have the aspect of a term whereto, but only of a term wherefrom. Accordingly every concupiscible passion in respect of good, tends to it, as love, desire and joy; while every concupiscible passion in respect of evil, tends from it, as hatred, avoidance or dislike, and sorrow. Wherefore, in the concupiscible passions, there can be no contrariety of approach and withdrawal in respect of the same object.On the other hand, the object of the irascible faculty is sensible good or evil, considered not absolutely, but under the aspect of difficulty or arduousness. Now the good which is difficult or arduous, considered as good, is of such a nature as to produce in us a tendency to it, which tendency pertains to the passion of "hope"; whereas, considered as arduous or difficult, it makes us turn from it; and this pertains to the passion of "despair." In like manner the arduous evil, considered as an evil, has the aspect of something to be shunned; and this belongs to the passion of "fear": but it also contains a reason for tending to it, as attempting something arduous, whereby to escape being subject to evil; and this tendency is called "daring." Consequently, in the irascible passions we find contrariety in respect of good and evil (as between hope and fear): and also contrariety according to approach and withdrawal in respect of the same term (as between daring and fear).From what has been said the replies to the objections are evident.
Objection: 1. It would seem that every passion of the soul has a contrary. For every passion of the soul is either in the irascible or in the concupiscible faculty, as stated above (Article ). But both kinds of passion have their respective modes of contrariety. Therefore every passion of the soul has its contrary.
2. Further, every passion of the soul has either good or evil for its object; for these are the common objects of the appetitive part. But a passion having good for its object, is contrary to a passion having evil for its object. Therefore every passion has a contrary.
3. Further, every passion of the soul is in respect of approach or withdrawal, as stated above (Article ). But every approach has a corresponding contrary withdrawal, and vice versa. Therefore every passion of the soul has a contrary.
On the contrary Anger is a passion of the soul. But no passion is set down as being contrary to anger, as stated in Ethic. iv, 5. Therefore not every passion has a contrary.
I answer that The passion of anger is peculiar in this, that it cannot have a contrary, either according to approach and withdrawal, or according to the contrariety of good and evil. For anger is caused by a difficult evil already present: and when such an evil is present, the appetite must needs either succumb, so that it does not go beyond the limits of "sadness," which is a concupiscible passion; or else it has a movement of attack on the hurtful evil, which movement is that of "anger." But it cannot have a movement of withdrawal: because the evil is supposed to be already present or past. Thus no passion is contrary to anger according to contrariety of approach and withdrawal.In like manner neither can there be according to contrariety of good and evil. Because the opposite of present evil is good obtained, which can be no longer have the aspect of arduousness or difficulty. Nor, when once good is obtained, does there remain any other movement, except the appetite's repose in the good obtained; which repose belongs to joy, which is a passion of the concupiscible faculty.Accordingly no movement of the soul can be contrary to the movement of anger, and nothing else than cessation from its movement is contrary thereto; thus the Philosopher says (Rhet. ii, 3) that "calm is contrary to anger," by opposition not of contrariety but of negation or privation.
From what has been said the replies to the objections are evident.
Summa Th. I-II EN Qu.21 a.3