Compare And Contrast Aquinas Virtuous Man And Passions

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Throughout the many arguments regarding the relationship between the virtuous man and passions discussed by St. Thomas Aquinas, one argument, in particular, stands out for its agreement with the philosophical view of the Stoics. While Aquinas is a prominent Catholic philosopher and theologian known for his argumentative style of defending and teaching Catholic doctrine as well as providing insightful and compelling outlooks regarding ethical matters, the Stoics are known for their staunch and what can be perceived as restrictive views on emotions, passions, and matters of the same nature. Despite their different views, the Stoics and Aquinas are in agreement that the “virtuous man” lacks antecedent passions . In order to understand why…show more content…
Aquinas identifies the virtuous man as “the one who really lives out his ‘function’ and acts in accord with reason, but even desires in accord with reason.” Both the Stoics and Aquinas would agree that the virtuous man has the virtues; temperance, fortitude, courage, and justice which are all properly ordered with his reason. When reason is removed or blurred the virtuosity of the person is called into question. Virtue cannot be fulfilled without reason, and vice versa, however the one factor that can alter or affect reason, is passion. The Stoics characterized passion as “any emotions in disaccord with or exceed reason” and Aquinas defined passions as “any movement from the sense appetite.” Aquinas believes that if all passions belong to the sense appetite, then passions can be moderated and perfected by reason. These two varying definitions of passion show the rigidity of the Stoic view by portraying the virtuous man as the passionless man, which by default means the virtuous man lacks antecedent passions. Aquinas would disagree that the virtuous lacks passion but, he would state that passions can perhaps negatively affect the judgement of reason. Nonetheless both he and the Stoics agreed that the virtuous man lacks what are called antecedent passions. Antecedent passions according to Aquinas, obscure the judgement of reason, on which the goodness of the moral act depends, they diminish the goodness of the act. In other words antecedent passions

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