Treatise on Human Acts (part 1)

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Summa Theologica
by Thomas Aquinas, translated by Fathers of the English Dominican Province
Treatise on Human Acts (part 1), Part I of Second Part, QQ. 6-21
(c. 1274). Publisher: New York: Benzinger Brothers.


CONCISE TABLE OF CONTENTS[edit]

(II)(I) 2. TREATISE ON HUMAN ACTS (PART 1) (QQ 6-21)


<-- Treatise on the Last End (QQ 1-5) --- Treatise on Human Acts (Part 2) (QQ 22-48) -->


1. Of those Acts which are Proper to Man
a. Voluntary Acts in General
[A.] Q. 6: Of the Voluntary and the Involuntary
[B.] Q. 7: Of the Circumstances of Human Acts
[C. Acts of the Will with Regard to the End]
Q. 8: Of the Will, In Regard to What It Wills
Q. 9: Of That Which Moves the Will
Q. 10: Of the Manner in Which the Will is Moved
b. Elicited Voluntary Acts
Q. 11: Of Enjoyment, Which Is an Act of the Will
Q. 12: Of Intention
[D. Acts of the Will with Regard to the Means]
Q. 13: Of Choice, Which Is an Act of the Will with Regard to the Means
Q. 14: Of Counsel, Which Precedes Choice
Q. 15: Of Consent, Which Is an Act of the Will in Regard to the Means
Q. 16: Of Use, Which Is an Act of the Will in Regard to the Means
c. Commanded Voluntary Acts
Q. 17: Of the Acts Commanded by the Will
d. The Division of Human Acts
Q. 18: Of the Good and Evil of Human Acts, in General
Q. 19: Of the Goodness and Malice of the Interior Act of the Will
Q. 20: Of Goodness and Malice in External Human Actions
Q. 21: Of the Consequences of Human Actions by Reason of Their Goodness and Malice

PROLOGUE[edit]

^TOC

Since therefore Happiness is to be gained by means of certain acts, we must in due sequence consider human acts, in order to know by what acts we may obtain Happiness, and by what acts we are prevented from obtaining it. But because operations and acts are concerned with things singular, consequently all practical knowledge is incomplete unless it take account of things in detail. The study of Morals, therefore, since it treats of human acts, should consider first the general principles; and secondly matters of detail.

In treating of the general principles, the points that offer themselves for our consideration are

(1) human acts themselves [QQ. 6-48];

[Treatise on Human Acts (part 1) (QQ. 6-21)
Treatise on Human Acts (part 2) (QQ. 22-48)]

(2) their principles [QQ. 49-114].

[Treatise on Habits (QQ. 49-89)
Treatise on Law (QQ. 90-108)
Treatise on Grace (QQ. 109-114)]


Now of human acts some are proper to man; others are common to man and animals. And since Happiness is man's proper good, those acts which are proper to man have a closer connection with Happiness than have those which are common to man and the other animals.

First, then, we must consider those acts which are proper to man [QQ. 6-21];

secondly, those acts which are common to man and the other animals, and are called Passions [QQ. 22-48].


The first of these points offers a twofold consideration:

(1) What makes a human act? [QQ. 6-17][a.-c.]

(2) What distinguishes human acts? [QQ. 18-21][d.]


And since those acts are properly called human which are voluntary, because the will is the rational appetite, which is proper to man; we must consider acts in so far as they are voluntary.

First, then, we must consider [a.] the voluntary and involuntary in general [QQ. 6-10];

secondly, [b.] those acts which are voluntary, as being elicited by the will, and as issuing from the will immediately [QQ. 11-16];

thirdly, [c.] those acts which are voluntary, as being commanded by the will, which issue from the will through the medium of the other powers [Q. 17].

THE NATURE OF VOLUNTARY ACTS IN GENERAL[edit]

^TOC ^Prologue ↓b. Elicited Voluntary Acts

And because voluntary acts have certain circumstances, according to which we form our judgment concerning them,

we must first consider [A.] the voluntary and the involuntary [Q. 6],

and afterwards, [B.] the circumstances of those acts which are found to be voluntary or involuntary [Q. 7].

[C. Acts of the Will with Regard to the End

Q. 8: Of the Will, In Regard to What It Wills
Q. 9: Of That Which Moves the Will
Q. 10: Of the Manner in Which the Will is Moved
...]

QUESTION 6: OF THE VOLUNTARY AND THE INVOLUNTARY[edit]

^TOC ^a. The Nature of Voluntary Acts in General ↓B. Of the Circumstances of Human Acts


Under the first head there are eight points of inquiry:

(1) Whether there is anything voluntary in human acts?

(2) Whether in irrational animals?

(3) Whether there can be voluntariness without any action?

(4) Whether violence can be done to the will?

(5) Whether violence causes involuntariness?

(6) Whether fear causes involuntariness?

(7) Whether concupiscence causes involuntariness?

(8) Whether ignorance causes involuntariness?


Art. 1: Whether there is anything voluntary in human acts?[edit]

It would seem that there is nothing voluntary in human acts.

Obj. 1: For that is voluntary "which has its principle within itself." as Gregory of Nyssa [*Nemesius, De Natura Hom. xxxii.], Damascene (De Fide Orth. ii, 24), and Aristotle (Ethic. iii, 1) declare. But the principle of human acts is not in man himself, but outside him: since man's appetite is moved to act, by the appetible object which is outside him, and is as a "mover unmoved" (De Anima iii, 10). Therefore there is nothing voluntary in human acts.

Obj. 2: Further, the Philosopher (Phys. viii, 2) proves that in animals no new movement arises that is not preceded by a motion from without. But all human acts are new, since none is eternal. Consequently, the principle of all human acts is from without: and therefore there is nothing voluntary in them.

Obj. 3: Further, he that acts voluntarily, can act of himself. But this is not true of man; for it is written (John 15:5): "Without Me you can do nothing." Therefore there is nothing voluntary in human acts.

On the contrary, Damascene says (De Fide Orth. ii) that "the voluntary is an act consisting in a rational operation." Now such are human acts. Therefore there is something voluntary in human acts.

I answer that, There must needs be something voluntary in human acts. In order to make this clear, we must take note that the principle of some acts or movements is within the agent, or that which is moved; whereas the principle of some movements or acts is outside. For when a stone is moved upwards, the principle of this movement is outside the stone: whereas when it is moved downwards, the principle of this movement is in the stone. Now of those things that are moved by an intrinsic principle, some move themselves, some not. For since every agent or thing moved, acts or is moved for an end, as stated above (Q. 1, A. 2); those are perfectly moved by an intrinsic principle, whose intrinsic principle is one not only of movement but of movement for an end. Now in order for a thing to be done for an end, some knowledge of the end is necessary. Therefore, whatever so acts or is moved by an intrinsic principle, that it has some knowledge of the end, has within itself the principle of its act, so that it not only acts, but acts for an end. On the other hand, if a thing has no knowledge of the end, even though it have an intrinsic principle of action or movement, nevertheless the principle of acting or being moved for an end is not in that thing, but in something else, by which the principle of its action towards an end is not in that thing, but in something else, by which the principle of its action towards an end is imprinted on it. Wherefore such like things are not said to move themselves, but to be moved by others. But those things which have a knowledge of the end are said to move themselves because there is in them a principle by which they not only act but also act for an end. And consequently, since both are from an intrinsic principle, to wit, that they act and that they act for an end, the movements of such things are said to be voluntary: for the word "voluntary" implies that their movements and acts are from their own inclination. Hence it is that, according to the definitions of Aristotle, Gregory of Nyssa, and Damascene [*See Objection 1], the voluntary is defined not only as having "a principle within" the agent, but also as implying "knowledge." Therefore, since man especially knows the end of his work, and moves himself, in his acts especially is the voluntary to be found.

Reply Obj. 1: Not every principle is a first principle. Therefore, although it is essential to the voluntary act that its principle be within the agent, nevertheless it is not contrary to the nature of the voluntary act that this intrinsic principle be caused or moved by an extrinsic principle: because it is not essential to the voluntary act that its intrinsic principle be a first principle. Yet again it must be observed that a principle of movement may happen to be first in a genus, but not first simply: thus in the genus of things subject to alteration, the first principle of alteration is a heavenly body, which nevertheless is not the first mover simply, but is moved locally by a higher mover. And so the intrinsic principle of the voluntary act, i.e. the cognitive and appetitive power, is the first principle in the genus of appetitive movement, although it is moved by an extrinsic principle according to other species of movement.

Reply Obj. 2: New movements in animals are indeed preceded by a motion from without; and this in two respects. First, in so far as by means of an extrinsic motion an animal's senses are confronted with something sensible, which, on being apprehended, moves the appetite. Thus a lion, on seeing a stag in movement and coming towards him, begins to be moved towards the stag. Secondly, in so far as some extrinsic motion produces a physical change in an animal's body, as in the case of cold or heat; and through the body being affected by the motion of an outward body, the sensitive appetite which is the power of a bodily organ, is also moved indirectly; thus it happens that through some alteration in the body the appetite is roused to the desire of something. But this is not contrary to the nature of voluntariness, as stated above (ad 1), for such movements caused by an extrinsic principle are of another genus of movement.

Reply Obj. 3: God moves man to act, not only by proposing the appetible to the senses, or by effecting a change in his body, but also by moving the will itself; because every movement either of the will or of nature, proceeds from God as the First Mover. And just as it is not incompatible with nature that the natural movement be from God as the First Mover, inasmuch as nature is an instrument of God moving it: so it is not contrary to the essence of a voluntary act, that it proceed from God, inasmuch as the will is moved by God. Nevertheless both natural and voluntary movements have this in common, that it is essential that they should proceed from a principle within the agent.

^Q. 6


Art. 2: Whether there is anything voluntary in irrational animals?[edit]

It would seem that there is nothing voluntary in irrational animals.

Obj. 1: For a thing is called "voluntary" from voluntas (will). Now since the will is in the reason (De Anima iii, 9), it cannot be in irrational animals. Therefore neither is there anything voluntary in them.

Obj. 2: Further, according as human acts are voluntary, man is said to be master of his actions. But irrational animals are not masters of their actions; for "they act not; rather are they acted upon," as Damascene says (De Fide Orth. ii, 27). Therefore there is no such thing as a voluntary act in irrational animals.

Obj. 3: Further, Damascene says (De Fide Orth. 24) that "voluntary acts lead to praise and blame." But neither praise nor blame is due to the acts of irrational minds. Therefore such acts are not voluntary.

On the contrary, The Philosopher says (Ethic. iii, 2) that "both children and irrational animals participate in the voluntary." The same is said by Damascene (De Fide Orth. 24) and Gregory of Nyssa [*Nemesius, De Nat. Hom. xxxii.].

I answer that, As stated above (A. 1), it is essential to the voluntary act that its principle be within the agent, together with some knowledge of the end. Now knowledge of the end is twofold; perfect and imperfect. Perfect knowledge of the end consists in not only apprehending the thing which is the end, but also in knowing it under the aspect of end, and the relationship of the means to that end. And such knowledge belongs to none but the rational nature. But imperfect knowledge of the end consists in mere apprehension of the end, without knowing it under the aspect of end, or the relationship of an act to the end. Such knowledge of the end is exercised by irrational animals, through their senses and their natural estimative power.

Consequently perfect knowledge of the end leads to the perfect voluntary; inasmuch as, having apprehended the end, a man can, from deliberating about the end and the means thereto, be moved, or not, to gain that end. But imperfect knowledge of the end leads to the imperfect voluntary; inasmuch as the agent apprehends the end, but does not deliberate, and is moved to the end at once. Wherefore the voluntary in its perfection belongs to none but the rational nature: whereas the imperfect voluntary is within the competency of even irrational animals.

Reply Obj. 1: The will is the name of the rational appetite; and consequently it cannot be in things devoid of reason. But the word "voluntary" is derived from "voluntas" (will), and can be extended to those things in which there is some participation of will, by way of likeness thereto. It is thus that voluntary action is attributed to irrational animals, in so far as they are moved to an end, through some kind of knowledge.

Reply Obj. 2: The fact that man is master of his actions, is due to his being able to deliberate about them: for since the deliberating reason is indifferently disposed to opposite things, the will can be inclined to either. But it is not thus that voluntariness is in irrational animals, as stated above.

Reply Obj. 3: Praise and blame are the result of the voluntary act, wherein is the perfect voluntary; such as is not to be found in irrational animals.

^Q. 6


Art. 3: Whether there can be voluntariness without any act?[edit]

It would seem that voluntariness cannot be without any act.

Obj. 1: For that is voluntary which proceeds from the will. But nothing can proceed from the will, except through some act, at least an act of the will. Therefore there cannot be voluntariness without act.

Obj. 2: Further, just as one is said to wish by an act of the will, so when the act of the will ceases, one is said not to wish. But not to wish implies involuntariness, which is contrary to voluntariness. Therefore there can be nothing voluntary when the act of the will ceases.

Obj. 3: Further, knowledge is essential to the voluntary, as stated above (AA. 1, 2). But knowledge involves an act. Therefore voluntariness cannot be without some act.

On the contrary, The word "voluntary" is applied to that of which we are masters. Now we are masters in respect of to act and not to act, to will and not to will. Therefore just as to act and to will are voluntary, so also are not to act and not to will.

I answer that, Voluntary is what proceeds from the will. Now one thing proceeds from another in two ways. First, directly; in which sense something proceeds from another inasmuch as this other acts; for instance, heating from heat. Secondly, indirectly; in which sense something proceeds from another through this other not acting; thus the sinking of a ship is set down to the helmsman, from his having ceased to steer. But we must take note that the cause of what follows from want of action is not always the agent as not acting; but only then when the agent can and ought to act. For if the helmsman were unable to steer the ship or if the ship's helm be not entrusted to him, the sinking of the ship would not be set down to him, although it might be due to his absence from the helm.

Since, then, the will by willing and acting, is able, and sometimes ought, to hinder not-willing and not-acting; this not-willing and not-acting is imputed to, as though proceeding from, the will. And thus it is that we can have the voluntary without an act; sometimes without outward act, but with an interior act; for instance, when one wills not to act; and sometimes without even an interior act, as when one does not will to act.

Reply Obj. 1: We apply the word "voluntary" not only to that which proceeds from the will directly, as from its action; but also to that which proceeds from it indirectly as from its inaction.

Reply Obj. 2: "Not to wish" is said in two senses. First, as though it were one word, and the infinitive of "I-do-not-wish." Consequently just as when I say "I do not wish to read," the sense is, "I wish not to read"; so "not to wish to read" is the same as "to wish not to read," and in this sense "not to wish" implies involuntariness. Secondly it is taken as a sentence: and then no act of the will is affirmed. And in this sense "not to wish" does not imply involuntariness.

Reply Obj. 3: Voluntariness requires an act of knowledge in the same way as it requires an act of will; namely, in order that it be in one's power to consider, to wish and to act. And then, just as not to wish, and not to act, when it is time to wish and to act, is voluntary, so is it voluntary not to consider.

^Q. 6


Art. 4: Whether violence can be done to the will?[edit]

It would seem that violence can be done to the will.

Obj. 1: For everything can be compelled by that which is more powerful. But there is something, namely, God, that is more powerful than the human will. Therefore it can be compelled, at least by Him.

Obj. 2: Further, every passive subject is compelled by its active principle, when it is changed by it. But the will is a passive force: for it is a "mover moved" (De Anima iii, 10). Therefore, since it is sometimes moved by its active principle, it seems that sometimes it is compelled.

Obj. 3: Further, violent movement is that which is contrary to nature. But the movement of the will is sometimes contrary to nature; as is clear of the will's movement to sin, which is contrary to nature, as Damascene says (De Fide Orth. iv, 20). Therefore the movement of the will can be compelled.

On the contrary, Augustine says (De Civ. Dei v, 10) that what is done by the will is not done of necessity. Now, whatever is done under compulsion is done of necessity: consequently what is done by the will, cannot be compelled. Therefore the will cannot be compelled to act.

I answer that, The act of the will is twofold: one is its immediate act, as it were, elicited by it, namely, "to wish"; the other is an act of the will commanded by it, and put into execution by means of some other power, such as "to walk" and "to speak," which are commanded by the will to be executed by means of the motive power.

As regards the commanded acts of the will, then, the will can suffer violence, in so far as violence can prevent the exterior members from executing the will's command. But as to the will's own proper act, violence cannot be done to the will.

The reason of this is that the act of the will is nothing else than an inclination proceeding from the interior principle of knowledge: just as the natural appetite is an inclination proceeding from an interior principle without knowledge. Now what is compelled or violent is from an exterior principle. Consequently it is contrary to the nature of the will's own act, that it should be subject to compulsion and violence: just as it is also contrary to the nature of a natural inclination or movement. For a stone may have an upward movement from violence, but that this violent movement be from its natural inclination is impossible. In like manner a man may be dragged by force: but it is contrary to the very notion of violence, that he be dragged of his own will.

Reply Obj. 1: God Who is more powerful than the human will, can move the will of man, according to Prov. 21:1: "The heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord; whithersoever He will He shall turn it." But if this were by compulsion, it would no longer be by an act of the will, nor would the will itself be moved, but something else against the will.

Reply Obj. 2: It is not always a violent movement, when a passive subject is moved by its active principle; but only when this is done against the interior inclination of the passive subject. Otherwise every alteration and generation of simple bodies would be unnatural and violent: whereas they are natural by reason of the natural interior aptitude of the matter or subject to such a disposition. In like manner when the will is moved, according to its own inclination, by the appetible object, this movement is not violent but voluntary.

Reply Obj. 3: That to which the will tends by sinning, although in reality it is evil and contrary to the rational nature, nevertheless is apprehended as something good and suitable to nature, in so far as it is suitable to man by reason of some pleasurable sensation or some vicious habit.

^Q. 6


Art. 5: Whether violence causes involuntariness?[edit]

It would seem that violence does not cause involuntariness.

Obj. 1: For we speak of voluntariness and involuntariness in respect of the will. But violence cannot be done to the will, as shown above (A. 4). Therefore violence cannot cause involuntariness.

Obj. 2: Further, that which is done involuntarily is done with grief, as Damascene (De Fide Orth. ii, 24) and the Philosopher (Ethic. iii, 5) say. But sometimes a man suffers compulsion without being grieved thereby. Therefore violence does not cause involuntariness.

Obj. 3: Further, what is from the will cannot be involuntary. But some violent actions proceed from the will: for instance, when a man with a heavy body goes upwards; or when a man contorts his limbs in a way contrary to their natural flexibility. Therefore violence does not cause involuntariness.

On the contrary, The Philosopher (Ethic. iii, 1) and Damascene (De Fide Orth. ii, 24) say that "things done under compulsion are involuntary."

I answer that, Violence is directly opposed to the voluntary, as likewise to the natural. For the voluntary and the natural have this in common, that both are from an intrinsic principle; whereas violence is from an extrinsic principle. And for this reason, just as in things devoid of knowledge, violence effects something against nature: so in things endowed with knowledge, it effects something against the will. Now that which is against nature is said to be "unnatural"; and in like manner that which is against the will is said to be "involuntary." Therefore violence causes involuntariness.

Reply Obj. 1: The involuntary is opposed to the voluntary. Now it has been said (A. 4) that not only the act, which proceeds immediately from the will, is called voluntary, but also the act commanded by the will. Consequently, as to the act which proceeds immediately from the will, violence cannot be done to the will, as stated above (A. 4): wherefore violence cannot make that act involuntary. But as to the commanded act, the will can suffer violence: and consequently in this respect violence causes involuntariness.

Reply Obj. 2: As that is said to be natural, which is according to the inclination of nature; so that is said to be voluntary, which is according to the inclination of the will. Now a thing is said to be natural in two ways. First, because it is from nature as from an active principle: thus it is natural for fire to produce heat. Secondly, according to a passive principle; because, to wit, there is in nature an inclination to receive an action from an extrinsic principle: thus the movement of the heavens is said to be natural, by reason of the natural aptitude in a heavenly body to receive such movement; although the cause of that movement is a voluntary agent. In like manner an act is said to be voluntary in two ways. First, in regard to action, for instance, when one wishes to be passive to another. Hence when action is brought to bear on something, by an extrinsic agent, as long as the will to suffer that action remains in the passive subject, there is not violence simply: for although the patient does nothing by way of action, he does something by being willing to suffer. Consequently this cannot be called involuntary.

Reply Obj. 3: As the Philosopher says (Phys. viii, 4) the movement of an animal, whereby at times an animal is moved against the natural inclination of the body, although it is not natural to the body, is nevertheless somewhat natural to the animal, to which it is natural to be moved according to its appetite. Accordingly this is violent, not simply but in a certain respect. The same remark applies in the case of one who contorts his limbs in a way that is contrary to their natural disposition. For this is violent in a certain respect, i.e. as to that particular limb; but not simply, i.e. as to the man himself.

^Q. 6


Art. 6: Whether fear causes involuntariness simply?[edit]

It would seem that fear causes involuntariness simply.

Obj. 1: For just as violence regards that which is contrary to the will at the time, so fear regards a future evil which is repugnant to the will. But violence causes involuntariness simply. Therefore fear too causes involuntariness simply.

Obj. 2: Further, that which is such of itself, remains such, whatever be added to it: thus what is hot of itself, as long as it remains, is still hot, whatever be added to it. But that which is done through fear, is involuntary in itself. Therefore, even with the addition of fear, it is involuntary.

Obj. 3: Further, that which is such, subject to a condition, is such in a certain respect; whereas what is such, without any condition, is such simply: thus what is necessary, subject to a condition, is necessary in some respect: but what is necessary absolutely, is necessary simply. But that which is done through fear, is absolutely involuntary; and is not voluntary, save under a condition, namely, in order that the evil feared may be avoided. Therefore that which is done through fear, is involuntary simply.

On the contrary, Gregory of Nyssa [*Nemesius, De Nat. Hom. xxx.] and the Philosopher (Ethic. iii, 1) say that such things as are done through fear are "voluntary rather than involuntary."

I answer that, As the Philosopher says (Ethic. iii) and likewise Gregory of Nyssa in his book on Man (Nemesius, De Nat. Hom. xxx), such things are done through fear "are of a mixed character," being partly voluntary and partly involuntary. For that which is done through fear, considered in itself, is not voluntary; but it becomes voluntary in this particular case, in order, namely, to avoid the evil feared.

But if the matter be considered aright, such things are voluntary rather than involuntary; for they are voluntary simply, but involuntary in a certain respect. For a thing is said to be simply, according as it is in act; but according as it is only in apprehension, it is not simply, but in a certain respect. Now that which is done through fear, is in act in so far as it is done. For, since acts are concerned with singulars; and the singular, as such, is here and now; that which is done is in act, in so far as it is here and now and under other individuating circumstances. And that which is done through fear is voluntary, inasmuch as it is here and now, that is to say, in so far as, under the circumstances, it hinders a greater evil which was feared; thus the throwing of the cargo into the sea becomes voluntary during the storm, through fear of the danger: wherefore it is clear that it is voluntary simply. And hence it is that what is done out of fear is essentially voluntary, because its principle is within. But if we consider what is done through fear, as outside this particular case, and inasmuch as it is repugnant to the will, this is merely a consideration of the mind. And consequently what is done through fear is involuntary, considered in that respect, that is to say, outside the actual circumstances of the case.

Reply Obj. 1: Things done through fear and compulsion differ not only according to present and future time, but also in this, that the will does not consent, but is moved entirely counter to that which is done through compulsion: whereas what is done through fear, becomes voluntary, because the will is moved towards it, albeit not for its own sake, but on account of something else, that is, in order to avoid an evil which is feared. For the conditions of a voluntary act are satisfied, if it be done on account of something else voluntary: since the voluntary is not only what we wish, for its own sake, as an end, but also what we wish for the sake of something else, as an end. It is clear therefore that in what is done from compulsion, the will does nothing inwardly; whereas in what is done through fear, the will does something. Accordingly, as Gregory of Nyssa [*Nemesius, De Nat. Hom. xxx.] says, in order to exclude things done through fear, a violent action is defined as not only one, "the princip[le] whereof is from without," but with the addition, "in which he that suffers violence concurs not at all"; because the will of him that is in fear, does concur somewhat in that which he does through fear.

Reply Obj. 2: Things that are such absolutely, remain such, whatever be added to them; for instance, a cold thing, or a white thing: but things that are such relatively, vary according as they are compared with different things. For what is big in comparison with one thing, is small in comparison with another. Now a thing is said to be voluntary, not only for its own sake, as it were absolutely; but also for the sake of something else, as it were relatively. Accordingly, nothing prevents a thing which was not voluntary in comparison with one thing, from becoming voluntary when compared with another.

Reply Obj. 3: That which is done through fear, is voluntary without any condition, that is to say, according as it is actually done: but it is involuntary, under a certain condition, that is to say, if such a fear were not threatening. Consequently, this argument proves rather the opposite.

^Q. 6


Art. 7: Whether concupiscence causes involuntariness?[edit]

It would seem that concupiscence causes involuntariness.

Obj. 1: For just as fear is a passion, so is concupiscence. But fear causes involuntariness to a certain extent. Therefore concupiscence does so too.

Obj. 2: Further, just as the timid man through fear acts counter to that which he proposed, so does the incontinent, through concupiscence. But fear causes involuntariness to a certain extent. Therefore concupiscence does so also.

Obj. 3: Further, knowledge is necessary for voluntariness. But concupiscence impairs knowledge; for the Philosopher says (Ethic. vi, 5) that "delight," or the lust of pleasure, "destroys the judgment of prudence." Therefore concupiscence causes involuntariness.

On the contrary, Damascene says (De Fide Orth. ii, 24): "The involuntary act deserves mercy or indulgence, and is done with regret." But neither of these can be said of that which is done out of concupiscence. Therefore concupiscence does not cause involuntariness.

I answer that, Concupiscence does not cause involuntariness, but on the contrary makes something to be voluntary. For a thing is said to be voluntary, from the fact that the will is moved to it. Now concupiscence inclines the will to desire the object of concupiscence. Therefore the effect of concupiscence is to make something to be voluntary rather than involuntary.

Reply Obj. 1: Fear regards evil, but concupiscence regards good. Now evil of itself is counter to the will, whereas good harmonizes with the will. Therefore fear has a greater tendency than concupiscence to cause involuntariness.

Reply Obj. 2: He who acts from fear retains the repugnance of the will to that which he does, considered in itself. But he that acts from concupiscence, e.g. an incontinent man, does not retain his former will whereby he repudiated the object of his concupiscence; for his will is changed so that he desires that which previously he repudiated. Accordingly, that which is done out of fear is involuntary, to a certain extent, but that which is done from concupiscence is nowise involuntary. For the man who yields to concupiscence acts counter to that which he purposed at first, but not counter to that which he desires now; whereas the timid man acts counter to that which in itself he desires now.

Reply Obj. 3: If concupiscence were to destroy knowledge altogether, as happens with those whom concupiscence has rendered mad, it would follow that concupiscence would take away voluntariness. And yet properly speaking it would not result in the act being involuntary, because in things bereft of reason, there is neither voluntary nor involuntary. But sometimes in those actions which are done from concupiscence, knowledge is not completely destroyed, because the power of knowing is not taken away entirely, but only the actual consideration in some particular possible act. Nevertheless, this itself is voluntary, according as by voluntary we mean that which is in the power of the will, for example "not to act" or "not to will," and in like manner "not to consider"; for the will can resist the passion, as we shall state later on (Q. 10, A. 3; Q. 77, A.)

^Q. 6


Art. 8: Whether ignorance causes involuntariness?[edit]

It would seem that ignorance does not cause involuntariness.

Obj. 1: For "the involuntary act deserves pardon," as Damascene says (De Fide Orth. ii, 24). But sometimes that which is done through ignorance does not deserve pardon, according to 1 Cor. 14:38: "If any man know not, he shall not be known." Therefore ignorance does not cause involuntariness.

Obj. 2: Further, every sin implies ignorance; according to Prov. 14:22: "They err, that work evil." If, therefore, ignorance causes involuntariness, it would follow that every sin is involuntary: which is opposed to the saying of Augustine, that "every sin is voluntary" (De Vera Relig. xiv).

Obj. 3: Further, "involuntariness is not without sadness," as Damascene says (De Fide Orth. ii, 24). But some things are done out of ignorance, but without sadness: for instance, a man may kill a foe, whom he wishes to kill, thinking at the time that he is killing a stag. Therefore ignorance does not cause involuntariness.

On the contrary, Damascene (De Fide Orth. ii, 24) and the Philosopher (Ethic. iii, 1) say that "what is done through ignorance is involuntary."

I answer that, If ignorance causes involuntariness, it is in so far as it deprives one of knowledge, which is a necessary condition of voluntariness, as was declared above (A. 1). But it is not every ignorance that deprives one of this knowledge. Accordingly, we must take note that ignorance has a threefold relationship to the act of the will: in one way, "concomitantly"; in another, "consequently"; in a third way, "antecedently." "Concomitantly," when there is ignorance of what is done; but, so that even if it were known, it would be done. For then, ignorance does not induce one to wish this to be done, but it just happens that a thing is at the same time done, and not known: thus in the example given (Obj. 3) a man did indeed wish to kill his foe, but killed him in ignorance, thinking to kill a stag. And ignorance of this kind, as the Philosopher states (Ethic. iii, 1), does not cause involuntariness, since it is not the cause of anything that is repugnant to the will: but it causes "non-voluntariness," since that which is unknown cannot be actually willed. Ignorance is "consequent" to the act of the will, in so far as ignorance itself is voluntary: and this happens in two ways, in accordance with the two aforesaid modes of voluntary (A. 3). First, because the act of the will is brought to bear on the ignorance: as when a man wishes not to know, that he may have an excuse for sin, or that he may not be withheld from sin; according to Job 21:14: "We desire not the knowledge of Thy ways." And this is called "affected ignorance." Secondly, ignorance is said to be voluntary, when it regards that which one can and ought to know: for in this sense "not to act" and "not to will" are said to be voluntary, as stated above (A. 3). And ignorance of this kind happens, either when one does not actually consider what one can and ought to consider; this is called "ignorance of evil choice," and arises from some passion or habit: or when one does not take the trouble to acquire the knowledge which one ought to have; in which sense, ignorance of the general principles of law, which one to know, is voluntary, as being due to negligence. Accordingly, if in either of these ways, ignorance is voluntary, it cannot cause involuntariness simply. Nevertheless it causes involuntariness in a certain respect, inasmuch as it precedes the movement of the will towards the act, which movement would not be, if there were knowledge. Ignorance is "antecedent" to the act of the will, when it is not voluntary, and yet is the cause of man's willing what he would not will otherwise. Thus a man may be ignorant of some circumstance of his act, which he was not bound to know, the result being that he does that which he would not do, if he knew of that circumstance; for instance, a man, after taking proper precaution, may not know that someone is coming along the road, so that he shoots an arrow and slays a passer-by. Such ignorance causes involuntariness simply.

From this may be gathered the solution of the objections. For the first objection deals with ignorance of what a man is bound to know. The second, with ignorance of choice, which is voluntary to a certain extent, as stated above. The third, with that ignorance which is concomitant with the act of the will.

^Q. 6

QUESTION 7: OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF HUMAN ACTS[edit]

^TOC ^a. The Nature of Voluntary Acts in General ^^A. Of the Voluntary and the Involuntary ↓C. Acts of the Will with Regard to the End

We must now consider the circumstances of human acts: under which head there are four points of inquiry:

(1) What is a circumstance?

(2) Whether a theologian should take note of the circumstances of human acts?

(3) How many circumstances are there?

(4) Which are the most important of them?


Art. 1: Whether a circumstance is an accident of a human act?[edit]

It would seem that a circumstance is not an accident of a human act.

Obj. 1: For Tully says (De Invent. Rhetor. i) that a circumstance is that from "which an orator adds authority and strength to his argument." But oratorical arguments are derived principally from things pertaining to the essence of a thing, such as the definition, the genus, the species, and the like, from which also Tully declares that an orator should draw his arguments. Therefore a circumstance is not an accident of a human act.

Obj. 2: Further, "to be in" is proper to an accident. But that which surrounds (circumstat) is rather out than in. Therefore the circumstances are not accidents of human acts.

Obj. 3: Further, an accident has no accident. But human acts themselves are accidents. Therefore the circumstances are not accidents of acts.

On the contrary, The particular conditions of any singular thing are called its individuating accidents. But the Philosopher (Ethic. iii, 1) calls the circumstances particular things [*ta kath' ekasta], i.e. the particular conditions of each act. Therefore the circumstances are individual accidents of human acts.

I answer that, Since, according to the Philosopher (Peri Herm. i), "words are the signs of what we understand," it must needs be that in naming things we follow the process of intellectual knowledge. Now our intellectual knowledge proceeds from the better known to the less known. Accordingly with us, names of more obvious things are transferred so as to signify things less obvious: and hence it is that, as stated in Metaph. x, 4, "the notion of distance has been transferred from things that are apart locally, to all kinds of opposition": and in like manner words that signify local movement are employed to designate all other movements, because bodies which are circumscribed by place, are best known to us. And hence it is that the word "circumstance" has passed from located things to human acts.

Now in things located, that is said to surround something, which is outside it, but touches it, or is placed near it. Accordingly, whatever conditions are outside the substance of an act, and yet in some way touch the human act, are called circumstances. Now what is outside a thing's substance, while it belongs to that thing, is called its accident. Wherefore the circumstances of human acts should be called their accidents.

Reply Obj. 1: The orator gives strength to his argument, in the first place, from the substance of the act; and secondly, from the circumstances of the act. Thus a man becomes indictable, first, through being guilty of murder; secondly, through having done it fraudulently, or from motives of greed or at a holy time or place, and so forth. And so in the passage quoted, it is said pointedly that the orator "adds strength to his argument," as though this were something secondary.

Reply Obj. 2: A thing is said to be an accident of something in two ways. First, from being in that thing: thus, whiteness is said to be an accident of Socrates. Secondly, because it is together with that thing in the same subject: thus, whiteness is an accident of the art of music, inasmuch as they meet in the same subject, so as to touch one another, as it were. And in this sense circumstances are said to be the accidents of human acts.

Reply Obj. 3: As stated above (ad 2), an accident is said to be the accident of an accident, from the fact that they meet in the same subject. But this happens in two ways. First, in so far as two accidents are both related to the same subject, without any relation to one another; as whiteness and the art of music in Socrates. Secondly, when such accidents are related to one another; as when the subject receives one accident by means of the other; for instance, a body receives color by means of its surface. And thus also is one accident said to be in another; for we speak of color as being in the surface.

Accordingly, circumstances are related to acts in both these ways. For some circumstances that have a relation to acts, belong to the agent otherwise than through the act; as place and condition of person; whereas others belong to the agent by reason of the act, as the manner in which the act is done.

^Q. 7


Art. 2: Whether theologians should take note of the circumstances of human acts?[edit]

It would seem that theologians should not take note of the circumstances of human acts.

Obj. 1: Because theologians do not consider human acts otherwise than according to their quality of good or evil. But it seems that circumstances cannot give quality to human acts; for a thing is never qualified, formally speaking, by that which is outside it; but by that which is in it. Therefore theologians should not take note of the circumstances of acts.

Obj. 2: Further, circumstances are the accidents of acts. But one thing may be subject to an infinity of accidents; hence the Philosopher says (Metaph. vi, 2) that "no art or science considers accidental being, except only the art of sophistry." Therefore the theologian has not to consider circumstances.

Obj. 3: Further, the consideration of circumstances belongs to the orator. But oratory is not a part of theology. Therefore it is not a theologian's business to consider circumstances.

On the contrary, Ignorance of circumstances causes an act to be involuntary, according to Damascene (De Fide Orth. ii, 24) and Gregory of Nyssa [*Nemesius, De Nat. Hom. xxxi.]. But involuntariness excuses from sin, the consideration of which belongs to the theologian. Therefore circumstances also should be considered by the theologian.

I answer that, Circumstances come under the consideration of the theologian, for a threefold reason. First, because the theologian considers human acts, inasmuch as man is thereby directed to Happiness. Now, everything that is directed to an end should be proportionate to that end. But acts are made proportionate to an end by means of a certain commensurateness, which results from the due circumstances. Hence the theologian has to consider the circumstances. Secondly, because the theologian considers human acts according as they are found to be good or evil, better or worse: and this diversity depends on circumstances, as we shall see further on (Q. 18, AA. 10, 11; Q. 73, A. 7). Thirdly, because the theologian considers human acts under the aspect of merit and demerit, which is proper to human acts; and for this it is requisite that they be voluntary. Now a human act is deemed to be voluntary or involuntary, according to knowledge or ignorance of circumstances, as stated above (Q. 6, A. 8). Therefore the theologian has to consider circumstances.

Reply Obj. 1: Good directed to the end is said to be useful; and this implies some kind of relation: wherefore the Philosopher says (Ethic. i, 6) that "the good in the genus 'relation' is the useful." Now, in the genus "relation" a thing is denominated not only according to that which is inherent in the thing, but also according to that which is extrinsic to it: as may be seen in the expressions "right" and "left," "equal" and "unequal," and such like. Accordingly, since the goodness of acts consists in their utility to the end, nothing hinders their being called good or bad according to their proportion to extrinsic things that are adjacent to them.

Reply Obj. 2: Accidents which are altogether accidental are neglected by every art, by reason of their uncertainty and infinity. But such like accidents are not what we call circumstances; because circumstances although, as stated above (A. 1), they are extrinsic to the act, nevertheless are in a kind of contact with it, by being related to it. Proper accidents, however, come under the consideration of art.

Reply Obj. 3: The consideration of circumstances belongs to the moralist, the politician, and the orator. To the moralist, in so far as with respect to circumstances we find or lose the mean of virtue in human acts and passions. To the politician and to the orator, in so far as circumstances make acts to be worthy of praise or blame, of excuse or indictment. In different ways, however: because where the orator persuades, the politician judges. To the theologian this consideration belongs, in all the aforesaid ways: since to him all the other arts are subservient: for he has to consider virtuous and vicious acts, just as the moralist does; and with the orator and politician he considers acts according as they are deserving of reward or punishment.

^Q. 7


Art. 3: Whether the circumstances are properly set forth in the third book of ethics?[edit]

It would seem that the circumstances are not properly set forth in Ethic. iii, 1.

Obj. 1: For a circumstance of an act is described as something outside the act. Now time and place answer to this description. Therefore there are only two circumstances, to wit, "when" and "where."

Obj. 2: Further, we judge from the circumstances whether a thing is well or ill done. But this belongs to the mode of an act. Therefore all the circumstances are included under one, which is the "mode of acting."

Obj. 3: Further, circumstances are not part of the substance of an act. But the causes of an act seem to belong to its substance. Therefore no circumstance should be taken from the cause of the act itself. Accordingly, neither "who," nor "why," nor "about what," are circumstances: since "who" refers to the efficient cause, "why" to the final cause, and "about what" to the material cause.

On the contrary is the authority of the Philosopher in Ethic. iii, 1.

I answer that, Tully, in his Rhetoric (De Invent. Rhetor. i), gives seven circumstances, which are contained in this verse:

"Quis, quid, ubi, quibus auxiliis, cur, quomodo, quando—
"Who, what, where, by what aids, why, how, and when."

For in acts we must take note of "who" did it, "by what aids" or "instruments" he did it, "what" he did, "where" he did it, "why" he did it, "how" and "when" he did it. But Aristotle in Ethic. iii, 1 adds yet another, to wit, "about what," which Tully includes in the circumstance "what."

The reason of this enumeration may be set down as follows. For a circumstance is described as something outside the substance of the act, and yet in a way touching it. Now this happens in three ways: first, inasmuch as it touches the act itself; secondly, inasmuch as it touches the cause of the act; thirdly, inasmuch as it touches the effect. It touches the act itself, either by way of measure, as "time" and "place"; or by qualifying the act as the "mode of acting." It touches the effect when we consider "what" is done. It touches the cause of the act, as to the final cause, by the circumstance "why"; as to the material cause, or object, in the circumstance "about what"; as to the principal efficient cause, in the circumstance "who"; and as to the instrumental efficient cause, in the circumstance "by what aids."

Reply Obj. 1: Time and place surround (circumstant) the act by way of measure; but the others surround the act by touching it in any other way, while they are extrinsic to the substance of the act.

Reply Obj. 2: This mode "well" or "ill" is not a circumstance, but results from all the circumstances. But the mode which refers to a quality of the act is a special circumstance; for instance, that a man walk fast or slowly; that he strike hard or gently, and so forth.

Reply Obj. 3: A condition of the cause, on which the substance of the act depends, is not a circumstance; it must be an additional condition. Thus, in regard to the object, it is not a circumstance of theft that the object is another's property, for this belongs to the substance of the act; but that it be great or small. And the same applies to the other circumstances which are considered in reference to the other causes. For the end that specifies the act is not a circumstance, but some additional end. Thus, that a valiant man act valiantly for the sake of the good of the virtue o[f] fortitude, is not a circumstance; but if he act valiantly for the sake of the delivery of the state, or of Christendom, or some such purpose. The same is to be said with regard to the circumstance "what"; for that a man by pouring water on someone should happen to wash him, is not a circumstance of the washing; but that in doing so he give him a chill, or scald him; heal him or harm him, these are circumstances.

^Q. 7


Art. 4: Whether the most important circumstances are "why" and "in what the act consists"?[edit]

It would seem that these are not the most important circumstances, namely, "why" and those "in which the act is, [*hen ois e praxis]" as stated in Ethic. iii, 1.

Obj. 1: For those in which the act is seem to be place and time: and these do not seem to be the most important of the circumstances, since, of them all, they are the most extrinsic to the act. Therefore those things in which the act is are not the most important circumstances.

Obj. 2: Further, the end of a thing is extrinsic to it. Therefore it is not the most important circumstance.

Obj. 3: Further, that which holds the foremost place in regard to each thing, is its cause and its form. But the cause of an act is the person that does it; while the form of an act is the manner in which it is done. Therefore these two circumstances seem to be of the greatest importance.

On the contrary, Gregory of Nyssa [*Nemesius, De Nat. Hom. xxxi.] says that "the most important circumstances" are "why it is done" and "what is done."

I answer that, As stated above (Q. 1, A. 1), acts are properly called human, inasmuch as they are voluntary. Now, the motive and object of the will is the end. Therefore that circumstance is the most important of all which touches the act on the part of the end, viz. the circumstance "why": and the second in importance, is that which touches the very substance of the act, viz. the circumstance "what he did." As to the other circumstances, they are more or less important, according as they more or less approach to these.

Reply Obj. 1: By those things "in which the act is" the Philosopher does not mean time and place, but those circumstances that are affixed to the act itself. Wherefore Gregory of Nyssa [*Nemesius, De Nat. Hom. xxxi], as though he were explaining the dictum of the Philosopher, instead of the latter's term—"in which the act is"—said, "what is done."

Reply Obj. 2: Although the end is not part of the substance of the act, yet it is the most important cause of the act, inasmuch as it moves the agent to act. Wherefore the moral act is specified chiefly by the end.

Reply Obj. 3: The person that does the act is the cause of that act, inasmuch as he is moved thereto by the end; and it is chiefly in this respect that he is directed to the act; while other conditions of the person have not such an important relation to the act. As to the mode, it is not the substantial form of the act, for in an act the substantial form depends on the object and term or end; but it is, as it were, a certain accidental quality of the act.

^Q. 7

[ACTS OF THE WILL WITH REGARD TO THE END][edit]

^TOC ^a. The Nature of Voluntary Acts in General ^^B. Of the Circumstances of Human Acts ↓D. Acts of the Will with Regard to the Means

We must now consider the different acts of the will;

and in the first place, those acts which belong to the will itself immediately, as being elicited by the will [QQ. 8-16];

secondly, those acts which are commanded by the will [Q. 17].


Now the will is moved to the end, and to the means to the end; we must therefore consider:

(1) [C.] those acts of the will whereby it is moved to the end [QQ. 8-12]; and

(2) [D.] those whereby it is moved to the means [QQ. 13-16].


And since it seems that there are three acts of the will in reference to the end; viz. "volition," "enjoyment," and "intention"; we must consider:

(1) volition [QQ. 8-10];

(2) enjoyment [Q. 11];

(3) intention [Q. 12].


Concerning the first, three things must be considered:

(1) Of what things is the will? [Q. 8];

(2) By what is the will moved? [Q. 9];

(3) How is it moved? [Q. 10];

QUESTION 8: OF THE WILL, IN REGARD TO WHAT IT WILLS[edit]

^TOC ^a. The Nature of Voluntary Acts in General ^C. Acts of the Will with Regard to the End

Under the first head there are three points of inquiry:

(1) Whether the will is of good only?

(2) Whether it is of the end only, or also of the means?

(3) If in any way it be of the means, whether it be moved to the end and to the means, by the same movement?

Art. 1: Whether the will is of good only?[edit]

It would seem that the will is not of good only.

Obj. 1: For the same power regards opposites; for instance, sight regards white and black. But good and evil are opposites. Therefore the will is not only of good, but also of evil.

Obj. 2: Further, rational powers can be directed to opposite purposes, according to the Philosopher (Metaph. ix, 2). But the will is a rational power, since it is "in the reason," as is stated in De Anima iii, 9. Therefore the will can be directed to opposites; and consequently its volition is not confined to good, but extends to evil.

Obj. 3: Further, good and being are convertible. But volition is directed not only to beings, but also to non-beings. For sometimes we wish "not to walk," or "not to speak"; and again at times we wish for future things, which are not actual beings. Therefore the will is not of good only.

On the contrary, Dionysius says (Div. Nom. iv) that "evil is outside the scope of the will," and that "all things desire good."

I answer that, The will is a rational appetite. Now every appetite is only of something good. The reason of this is that the appetite is nothing else than an inclination of a person desirous of a thing towards that thing. Now every inclination is to something like and suitable to the thing inclined. Since, therefore, everything, inasmuch as it is being and substance, is a good, it must needs be that every inclination is to something good. And hence it is that the Philosopher says (Ethic. i, 1) that "the good is that which all desire."

But it must be noted that, since every inclination results from a form, the natural appetite results from a form existing in the nature of things: while the sensitive appetite, as also the intellective or rational appetite, which we call the will, follows from an apprehended form. Therefore, just as the natural appetite tends to good existing in a thing; so the animal or voluntary appetite tends to a good which is apprehended. Consequently, in order that the will tend to anything, it is requisite, not that this be good in very truth, but that it be apprehended as good. Wherefore the Philosopher says (Phys. ii, 3) that "the end is a good, or an apparent good."

Reply Obj. 1: The same power regards opposites, but it is not referred to them in the same way. Accordingly, the will is referred both to good and evil: but to good by desiring it: to evil, by shunning it. Wherefore the actual desire of good is called "volition" [*In Latin, 'voluntas'. To avoid confusion with "voluntas" (the will) St. Thomas adds a word of explanation, which in the translation may appear superfluous.], meaning thereby the act of the will; for it is in this sense that we are now speaking of the will. On the other hand, the shunning of evil is better described as "nolition": wherefore, just as volition is of good, so nolition is of evil.

Reply Obj. 2: A rational power is not to be directed to all opposite purposes, but to those which are contained under its proper object; for no power seeks other than its proper object. Now, the object of the will is good. Wherefore the will can be directed to such opposite purposes as are contained under good, such as to be moved or to be at rest, to speak or to be silent, and such like: for the will can be directed to either under the aspect of good.

Reply Obj. 3: That which is not a being in nature, is considered as a being in the reason, wherefore negations and privations are said to be "beings of reason." In this way, too, future things, in so far as they are apprehended, are beings. Accordingly, in so far as such like are beings, they are apprehended under the aspect of good; and it is thus that the will is directed to them. Wherefore the Philosopher says (Ethic. v, 1) that "to lack evil is considered as a good."

^Q. 8


Art. 2: Whether volition is of the end only, or also of the means?[edit]

It would seem that volition is not of the means, but of the end only.

Obj. 1: For the Philosopher says (Ethic. iii, 2) that "volition is of the end, while choice is of the means."

Obj. 2: Further, "For objects differing in genus there are corresponding different powers of the soul" (Ethic. vi, 1). Now, the end and the means are in different genera of good: because the end, which is a good either of rectitude or of pleasure, is in the genus "quality," or "action," or "passion"; whereas the good which is useful, and is directed to and end, is in the genus "relation" (Ethic. i, 6). Therefore, if volition is of the end, it is not of the means.

Obj. 3: Further, habits are proportionate to powers, since they are perfections thereof. But in those habits which are called practical arts, the end belongs to one, and the means to another art; thus the use of a ship, which is its end, belongs to the (art of the) helmsman; whereas the building of the ship, which is directed to the end, belongs to the art of the shipwright. Therefore, since volition is of the end, it is not of the means.

On the contrary, In natural things, it is by the same power that a thing passes through the middle space, and arrives at the terminus. But the means are a kind of middle space, through which one arrives at the end or terminus. Therefore, if volition is of the end, it is also of the means.

I answer that, The word "voluntas" sometimes designates the power of the will, sometimes its act [*See note to A. 1, Reply Obj. 1]. Accordingly, if we speak of the will as a power, thus it extends both to the end and to the means. For every power extends to those things in which may be considered the aspect of the object of that power in any way whatever: thus the sight extends to all things whatsoever that are in any way colored. Now the aspect of good, which is the object of the power of the will, may be found not only in the end, but also in the means.

If, however, we speak of the will in regard to its act, then, properly speaking, volition is of the end only. Because every act denominated from a power, designates the simple act of that power: thus "to understand" designates the simple act of the understanding. Now the simple act of a power is referred to that which is in itself the object of that power. But that which is good and willed in itself is the end. Wherefore volition, properly speaking, is of the end itself. On the other hand, the means are good and willed, not in themselves, but as referred to the end. Wherefore the will is directed to them, only in so far as it is directed to the end: so that what it wills in them, is the end. Thus, to understand, is properly directed to things that are known in themselves, i.e. first principles: but we do not speak of understanding with regard to things known through first principles, except in so far as we see the principles in those things. For in morals the end is what principles are in speculative science (Ethic. viii, 8).

Reply Obj. 1: The Philosopher is speaking of the will in reference to the simple act of the will; not in reference to the power of the will.

Reply Obj. 2: There are different powers for objects that differ in genus and are on an equality; for instance, sound and color are different genera of sensibles, to which are referred hearing and sight. But the useful and the righteous are not on an equality, but are as that which is of itself, and that which is in relation to another. Now such like objects are always referred to the same power; for instance, the power of sight perceives both color and light by which color is seen.

Reply Obj. 3: Not everything that diversifies habits, diversifies the powers: since habits are certain determinations of powers to certain special acts. Moreover, every practical art considers both the end and the means. For the art of the helmsman does indeed consider the end, as that which it effects; and the means, as that which it commands. On the other hand, the ship-building art considers the means as that which it effects; but it considers that which is the end, as that to which it refers what it effects. And again, in every practical art there is an end proper to it and means that belong properly to that art.

^Q. 8


Art. 3: Whether the will is moved by the same act to the end and to the means?[edit]

It would seem that the will is moved by the same act, to the end and to the means.

Obj. 1.: Because according to the Philosopher (Topic. iii, 2) "where one thing is on account of another there is only one." But the will does not will the means save on account of the end. Therefore it is moved to both by the same act.

Obj. 2: Further, the end is the reason for willing the means, just as light is the reason of seeing colors. But light and colors are seen by the same act. Therefore it is the same movement of the will, whereby it wills the end and the means.

Obj. 3: Further, it is one and the same natural movement which tends through the middle space to the terminus. But the means are in comparison to the end, as the middle space is to the terminus. Therefore it is the same movement of the will whereby it is directed to the end and to the means.

On the contrary, Acts are diversified according to their objects. But the end is a different species of good from the means, which are a useful good. Therefore the will is not moved to both by the same act.

I answer that, Since the end is willed in itself, whereas the means, as such, are only willed for the end, it is evident that the will can be moved to the end, without being moved to the means; whereas it cannot be moved to the means, as such, unless it is moved to the end. Accordingly the will is moved to the end in two ways: first, to the end absolutely and in itself; secondly, as the reason for willing the means. Hence it is evident that the will is moved by one and the same movement, to the end, as the reason for willing the means; and to the means themselves. But it is another act whereby the will is moved to the end absolutely. And sometimes this act precedes the other in time; for example when a man first wills to have health, and afterwards deliberating by what means to be healed, wills to send for the doctor to heal him. The same happens in regard to the intellect: for at first a man understands the principles in themselves; but afterwards he understands them in the conclusions, inasmuch as he assents to the conclusions on account of the principles.

Reply Obj. 1: This argument holds in respect of the will being moved to the end as the reason for willing the means.

Reply Obj. 2: Whenever color is seen, by the same act the light is seen; but the light can be seen without the color being seen. In like manner whenever a man wills the means, by the same act he wills the end; but not the conversely.

Reply Obj. 3: In the execution of a work, the means are as the middle space, and the end, as the terminus. Wherefore just as natural movement sometimes stops in the middle and does not reach the terminus; so sometimes one is busy with the means, without gaining the end. But in willing it is the reverse: the will through (willing) the end comes to will the means; just as the intellect arrives at the conclusions through the principles which are called "means." Hence it is that sometimes the intellect understands a mean, and does not proceed thence to the conclusion. And in like manner the will sometimes wills the end, and yet does not proceed to will the means.

The solution to the argument in the contrary sense is clear from what has been said above (A. 2, ad 2). For the useful and the righteous are not species of good in an equal degree, but are as that which is for its own sake and that which is for the sake of something else: wherefore the act of the will can be directed to one and not to the other; but not conversely.

^Q. 8

QUESTION 9: OF THAT WHICH MOVES THE WILL[edit]

^TOC ^a. The Nature of Voluntary Acts in General ^C. Acts of the Will with Regard to the End

We must now consider what moves the will: and under this head there are six points of inquiry:

(1) Whether the will is moved by the intellect?

(2) Whether it is moved by the sensitive appetite?

(3) Whether the will moves itself?

(4) Whether it is moved by an extrinsic principle?

(5) Whether it is moved by a heavenly body?

(6) Whether the will is moved by God alone as by an extrinsic principle?


Art. 1: Whether the will is moved by the intellect?[edit]

It would seem that the will is not moved by the intellect.

Obj. 1: For Augustine says on Ps. 118:20: "My soul hath coveted to long for Thy justifications: The intellect flies ahead, the desire follows sluggishly or not at all: we know what is good, but deeds delight us not." But it would not be so, if the will were moved by the intellect: because movement of the movable results from motion of the mover. Therefore the intellect does not move the will.

Obj. 2: Further, the intellect in presenting the appetible object to the will, stands in relation to the will, as the imagination in representing the appetible object to the sensitive appetite. But the imagination, in presenting the appetible object, does not remove the sensitive appetite: indeed sometimes our imagination affects us no more than what is set before us in a picture, and moves us not at all (De Anima ii, 3). Therefore neither does the intellect move the will.

Obj. 3: Further, the same is not mover and moved in respect of the same thing. But the will moves the intellect; for we exercise the intellect when we will. Therefore the intellect does not move the will.

On the contrary, The Philosopher says (De Anima iii, 10) that "the appetible object is a mover not moved, whereas the will is a mover moved."

I answer that, A thing requires to be moved by something in so far as it is in potentiality to several things; for that which is in potentiality needs to be reduced to act by something actual; and to do this is to move. Now a power of the soul is seen to be in potentiality to different things in two ways: first, with regard to acting and not acting; secondly, with regard to this or that action. Thus the sight sometimes sees actually, and sometimes sees not: and sometimes it sees white, and sometimes black. It needs therefore a mover in two respects, viz. as to the exercise or use of the act, and as to the determination of the act. The first of these is on the part of the subject, which is sometimes acting, sometimes not acting: while the other is on the part of the object, by reason of which the act is specified.

The motion of the subject itself is due to some agent. And since every agent acts for an end, as was shown above (Q. 1, A. 2), the principle of this motion lies in the end. And hence it is that the art which is concerned with the end, by its command moves the art which is concerned with the means; just as the "art of sailing commands the art of shipbuilding" (Phys. ii, 2). Now good in general, which has the nature of an end, is the object of the will. Consequently, in this respect, the will moves the other powers of the soul to their acts, for we make use of the other powers when we will. For the end and perfection of every other power, is included under the object of the will as some particular good: and always the art or power to which the universal end belongs, moves to their acts the arts or powers to which belong the particular ends included in the universal end. Thus the leader of an army, who intends the common good—i.e. the order of the whole army—by his command moves one of the captains, who intends the order of one company.

On the other hand, the object moves, by determining the act, after the manner of a formal principle, whereby in natural things actions are specified, as heating by heat. Now the first formal principle is universal "being" and "truth," which is the object of the intellect. And therefore by this kind of motion the intellect moves the will, as presenting its object to it.

Reply Obj. 1: The passage quoted proves, not that the intellect does not move, but that it does not move of necessity.

Reply Obj. 2: Just as the imagination of a form without estimation of fitness or harmfulness, does not move the sensitive appetite; so neither does the apprehension of the true without the aspect of goodness and desirability. Hence it is not the speculative intellect that moves, but the practical intellect (De Anima iii, 9).

Reply Obj. 3: The will moves the intellect as to the exercise of its act; since even the true itself which is the perfection of the intellect, is included in the universal good, as a particular good. But as to the determination of the act, which the act derives from the object, the intellect moves the will; since the good itself is apprehended under a special aspect as contained in the universal true. It is therefore evident that the same is not mover and moved in the same respect.

^Q. 9


Art. 2: Whether the will is moved by the sensitive appetite?[edit]

It would seem that the will cannot be moved by the sensitive appetite.

Obj. 1: For "to move and to act is more excellent than to be passive," as Augustine says (Gen. ad lit. xii, 16). But the sensitive appetite is less excellent than the will which is the intellectual appetite; just as sense is less excellent than intellect. Therefore the sensitive appetite does not move the will.

Obj. 2: Further, no particular power can produce a universal effect. But the sensitive appetite is a particular power, because it follows the particular apprehension of sense. Therefore it cannot cause the movement of the will, which movement is universal, as following the universal apprehension of the intellect.

Obj. 3: Further, as is proved in Phys. viii, 5, the mover is not moved by that which it moves, in such a way that there be reciprocal motion. But the will moves the sensitive appetite, inasmuch as the sensitive appetite obeys the reason. Therefore the sensitive appetite does not move the will.

On the contrary, It is written (James 1:14): "Every man is tempted by his own concupiscence, being drawn away and allured." But man would not be drawn away by his concupiscence, unless his will were moved by the sensitive appetite, wherein concupiscence resides. Therefore the sensitive appetite moves the will.

I answer that, As stated above (A. 1), that which is apprehended as good and fitting, moves the will by way of object. Now, that a thing appear to be good and fitting, happens from two causes: namely, from the condition, either of the thing proposed, or of the one to whom it is proposed. For fitness is spoken of by way of relation; hence it depends on both extremes. And hence it is that taste, according as it is variously disposed, takes to a thing in various ways, as being fitting or unfitting. Wherefore as the Philosopher says (Ethic. iii, 5): "According as a man is, such does the end seem to him."

Now it is evident that according to a passion of the sensitive appetite man is changed to a certain disposition. Wherefore according as man is affected by a passion, something seems to him fitting, which does not seem so when he is not so affected: thus that seems good to a man when angered, which does not seem good when he is calm. And in this way, the sensitive appetite moves the will, on the part of the object.

Reply Obj. 1: Nothing hinders that which is better simply and in itself, from being less excellent in a certain respect. Accordingly the will is simply more excellent than the sensitive appetite: but in respect of the man in whom a passion is predominant, in so far as he is subject to that passion, the sensitive appetite is more excellent.

Reply Obj. 2: Men's acts and choices are in reference to singulars. Wherefore from the very fact that the sensitive appetite is a particular power, it has great influence in disposing man so that something seems to him such or otherwise, in particular cases.

Reply Obj. 3: As the Philosopher says (Polit. i, 2), the reason, in which resides the will, moves, by its command, the irascible and concupiscible powers, not, indeed, "by a despotic sovereignty," as a slave is moved by his master, but by a "royal and politic sovereignty," as free men are ruled by their governor, and can nevertheless act counter to his commands. Hence both irascible and concupiscible can move counter to the will: and accordingly nothing hinders the will from being moved by them at times.

^Q. 9


Art. 3: Whether the will moves itself?[edit]

It would seem that the will does not move itself.

Obj. 1: For every mover, as such, is in act: whereas what is moved, is in potentiality; since "movement is the act of that which is in potentiality, as such" [*Aristotle, Phys. iii, 1]. Now the same is not in potentiality and in act, in respect of the same. Therefore nothing moves itself. Neither, therefore, can the will move itself.

Obj. 2: Further, the movable is moved on the mover being present. But the will is always present to itself. If, therefore, it moved itself, it would always be moving itself, which is clearly false.

Obj. 3: Further, the will is moved by the intellect, as stated above (A. 1). If, therefore, the will move itself, it would follow that the same thing is at once moved immediately by two movers; which seems unreasonable. Therefore the will does not move itself.

On the contrary, The will is mistress of its own act, and to it belongs to will and not to will. But this would not be so, had it not the power to move itself to will. Therefore it moves itself.

I answer that, As stated above (A. 1), it belongs to the will to move the other powers, by reason of the end which is the will's object. Now, as stated above (Q. 8, A. 2), the end is in things appetible, what the principle is in things intelligible. But it is evident that the intellect, through its knowledge of the principle, reduces itself from potentiality to act, as to its knowledge of the conclusions; and thus it moves itself. And, in like manner, the will, through its volition of the end, moves itself to will the means.

Reply Obj. 1: It is not in respect of the same that the will moves itself and is moved: wherefore neither is it in act and in potentiality in respect of the same. But forasmuch as it actually wills the end, it reduces itself from potentiality to act, in respect of the means, so as, in a word, to will them actually.

Reply Obj. 2: The power of the will is always actually present to itself; but the act of the will, whereby it wills an end, is not always in the will. But it is by this act that it moves itself. Accordingly it does not follow that it is always moving itself.

Reply Obj. 3: The will is moved by the intellect, otherwise than by itself. By the intellect it is moved on the part of the object: whereas it is moved by itself, as to the exercise of its act, in respect of the end.

^Q. 9


Art. 4: Whether the will is moved by an exterior principle?[edit]

It would seem that the will is not moved by anything exterior.

Obj. 1: For the movement of the will is voluntary. But it is essential to the voluntary act that it be from an intrinsic principle, just as it is essential to the natural act. Therefore the movement of the will is not from anything exterior.

Obj. 2: Further, the will cannot suffer violence, as was shown above (Q. 6, A. 4). But the violent act is one "the principle of which is outside the agent" [*Aristotle, Ethic. iii, 1]. Therefore the will cannot be moved by anything exterior.

Obj. 3: Further, that which is sufficiently moved by one mover, needs not to be moved by another. But the will moves itself sufficiently. Therefore it is not moved by anything exterior.

On the contrary, The will is moved by the object, as stated above (A. 1). But the object of the will can be something exterior, offered to the sense. Therefore the will can be moved by something exterior.

I answer that, As far as the will is moved by the object, it is evident that it can be moved by something exterior. But in so far as it is moved in the exercise of its act, we must again hold it to be moved by some exterior principle.

For everything that is at one time an agent actually, and at another time an agent in potentiality, needs to be moved by a mover. Now it is evident that the will begins to will something, whereas previously it did not will it. Therefore it must, of necessity, be moved by something to will it. And, indeed, it moves itself, as stated above (A. 3), in so far as through willing the end it reduces itself to the act of willing the means. Now it cannot do this without the aid of counsel: for when a man wills to be healed, he begins to reflect how this can be attained, and through this reflection he comes to the conclusion that he can be healed by a physician: and this he wills. But since he did not always actually will to have health, he must, of necessity, have begun, through something moving him, to will to be healed. And if the will moved itself to will this, it must, of necessity, have done this with the aid of counsel following some previous volition. But this process could not go on to infinity. Wherefore we must, of necessity, suppose that the will advanced to its first movement in virtue of the instigation of some exterior mover, as Aristotle concludes in a chapter of the Eudemian Ethics (vii, 14).

Reply Obj. 1: It is essential to the voluntary act that its principle be within the agent: but it is not necessary that this inward principle be the first principle unmoved by another. Wherefore though the voluntary act has an inward proximate principle, nevertheless its first principle is from without. Thus, too, the first principle of the natural movement is from without, that, to wit, which moves nature.

Reply Obj. 2: For an act to be violent it is not enough that its principle be extrinsic, but we must add "without the concurrence of him that suffers violence." This does not happen when the will is moved by an exterior principle: for it is the will that wills, though moved by another. But this movement would be violent, if it were counter to the movement of the will: which in the present case is impossible; since then the will would will and not will the same thing.

Reply Obj. 3: The will moves itself sufficiently in one respect, and in its own order, that is to say as proximate agent; but it cannot move itself in every respect, as we have shown. Wherefore it needs to be moved by another as first mover.

^Q. 9


Art. 5: Whether the will is moved by a heavenly body?[edit]

It would seem that the human will is moved by a heavenly body.

Obj. 1: For all various and multiform movements are reduced, as to their cause, to a uniform movement which is that of the heavens, as is proved in Phys. viii, 9. But human movements are various and multiform, since they begin to be, whereas previously they were not. Therefore they are reduced, as to their cause, to the movement of the heavens, which is uniform according to its nature.

Obj. 2: Further, according to Augustine (De Trin. iii, 4) "the lower bodies are moved by the higher." But the movements of the human body, which are caused by the will, could not be reduced to the movement of the heavens, as to their cause, unless the will too were moved by the heavens. Therefore the heavens move the human will.

Obj. 3: Further, by observing the heavenly bodies astrologers foretell the truth about future human acts, which are caused by the will. But this would not be so, if the heavenly bodies could not move man's will. Therefore the human will is moved by a heavenly body.

On the contrary, Damascene says (De Fide Orth. ii, 7) that "the heavenly bodies are not the causes of our acts." But they would be, if the will, which is the principle of human acts, were moved by the heavenly bodies. Therefore the will is not moved by the heavenly bodies.

I answer that, It is evident that the will can be moved by the heavenly bodies in the same way as it is moved by its object; that is to say, in so far as exterior bodies, which move the will, through being offered to the senses, and also the organs themselves of the sensitive powers, are subject to the movements of the heavenly bodies.

But some have maintained that heavenly bodies have an influence on the human will, in the same way as some exterior agent moves the will, as to the exercise of its act. But this is impossible. For the "will," as stated in De Anima iii, 9, "is in the reason." Now the reason is a power of the soul, not bound to a bodily organ: wherefore it follows that the will is a power absolutely incorporeal and immaterial. But it is evident that no body can act on what is incorporeal, but rather the reverse: because things incorporeal and immaterial have a power more formal and more universal than any corporeal things whatever. Therefore it is impossible for a heavenly body to act directly on the intellect or will. For this reason Aristotle (De Anima iii, 3) ascribed to those who held that intellect differs not from sense, the theory that "such is the will of men, as is the day which the father of men and of gods bring on" [*Odyssey xviii. 135] (referring to Jupiter, by whom they understand the entire heavens). For all the sensitive powers, since they are acts of bodily organs, can be moved accidentally, by the heavenly bodies, i.e. through those bodies being moved, whose acts they are.

But since it has been stated (A. 2) that the intellectual appetite is moved, in a fashion, by the sensitive appetite, the movements of the heavenly bodies have an indirect bearing on the will; in so far as the will happens to be moved by the passions of the sensitive appetite.

Reply Obj. 1: The multiform movements of the human will are reduced to some uniform cause, which, however, is above the intellect and will. This can be said, not of any body, but of some superior immaterial substance. Therefore there is no need for the movement of the will to be referred to the movement of the heavens, as to its cause.

Reply Obj. 2: The movements of the human body are reduced, as to their cause, to the movement of a heavenly body, in so far as the disposition suitable to a particular movement, is somewhat due to the influence of heavenly bodies; also, in so far as the sensitive appetite is stirred by the influence of heavenly bodies; and again, in so far as exterior bodies are moved in accordance with the movement of heavenly bodies, at whose presence, the will begins to will or not to will something; for instance, when the body is chilled, we begin to wish to make the fire. But this movement of the will is on the part of the object offered from without: not on the part of an inward instigation.

Reply Obj. 3: As stated above (Cf. I, Q. 84, AA. 6, 7), the sensitive appetite is the act of a bodily organ. Wherefore there is no reason why man should not be prone to anger or concupiscence, or some like passion, by reason of the influence of heavenly bodies, just as by reason of his natural complexion. But the majority of men are led by the passions, which the wise alone resist. Consequently, in the majority of cases predictions about human acts, gathered from the observation of heavenly bodies, are fulfilled. Nevertheless, as Ptolemy says (Centiloquium v), "the wise man governs the stars"; which is a though to say that by resisting his passions, he opposes his will, which is free and nowise subject to the movement of the heavens, to such like effects of the heavenly bodies.

Or, as Augustine says (Gen. ad lit. ii, 15): "We must confess that when the truth is foretold by astrologers, this is due to some most hidden inspiration, to which the human mind is subject without knowing it. And since this is done in order to deceive man, it must be the work of the lying spirits."

^Q. 9


Art. 6: Whether the will is moved by God alone, as exterior principle?[edit]

It would seem that the will is not moved by God alone as exterior principle.

Obj. 1: For it is natural that the inferior be moved by its superior: thus the lower bodies are moved by the heavenly bodies. But there is something which is higher than the will of man and below God, namely, the angel. Therefore man's will can be moved by an angel also, as exterior principle.

Obj. 2: Further, the act of the will follows the act of the intellect. But man's intellect is reduced to act, not by God alone, but also by the angel who enlightens it, as Dionysius says (Coel. Hier. iv). For the same reason, therefore, the will also is moved by an angel.

Obj. 3: Further, God is not the cause of other than good things, according to Gen. 1:31: "God saw all the things that He had made, and they were very good." If, therefore man's will were moved by God alone, it would never be moved to evil: and yet it is the will whereby "we sin and whereby we do right," as Augustine says (Retract. i, 9).

On the contrary, It is written (Phil. 2:13): "It is God Who worketh in us" [Vulg.'you'] "both to will and to accomplish."

I answer that, The movement of the will is from within, as also is the movement of nature. Now although it is possible for something to move a natural thing, without being the cause of the thing moved, yet that alone, which is in some way the cause of a thing's nature, can cause a natural movement in that thing. For a stone is moved upwards by a man, who is not the cause of the stone's nature, but this movement is not natural to the stone; but the natural movement of the stone is caused by no other than the cause of its nature. Wherefore it is said in Phys. vii, 4, that the generator moves locally heavy and light things. Accordingly man endowed with a will is sometimes moved by something that is not his cause; but that his voluntary movement be from an exterior principle that is not the cause of his will, is impossible.

Now the cause of the will can be none other than God. And this is evident for two reasons. First, because the will is a power of the rational soul, which is caused by God alone, by creation, as was stated in the First Part (Q. 90, A. 2). Secondly, it is evident from the fact that the will is ordained to the universal good. Wherefore nothing else can be the cause of the will, except God Himself, Who is the universal good: while every other good is good by participation, and is some particular good, and a particular cause does not give a universal inclination. Hence neither can primary matter, which is potentiality to all forms, be created by some particular agent.

Reply Obj. 1: An angel is not above man in such a way as to be the cause of his will, as the heavenly bodies are the causes of natural forms, from which result the natural movements of natural bodies.

Reply Obj. 2: Man's intellect is moved by an angel, on the part of the object, which by the power of the angelic light is proposed to man's knowledge. And in this way the will also can be moved by a creature from without, as stated above (A. 4).

Reply Obj. 3: God moves man's will, as the Universal Mover, to the universal object of the will, which is good. And without this universal motion, man cannot will anything. But man determines himself by his reason to will this or that, which is true or apparent good. Nevertheless, sometimes God moves some specially to the willing of something determinate, which is good; as in the case of those whom He moves by grace, as we shall state later on (Q. 109, A. 2).

^Q. 9

QUESTION 10: OF THE MANNER IN WHICH THE WILL IS MOVED[edit]

^TOC ^a. The Nature of Voluntary Acts in General ^C. Acts of the Will with Regard to the End

We must now consider the manner in which the will is moved. Under this head there are four points of inquiry:

(1) Whether the will is moved to anything naturally?

(2) Whether it is moved of necessity by its object?

(3) Whether it is moved of necessity by the lower appetite?

(4) Whether it is moved of necessity by the exterior mover which is God?

Art. 1: Whether the will is moved to anything naturally?[edit]

It would seem that the will is not moved to anything naturally.

Obj. 1: For the natural agent is condivided with the voluntary agent, as stated at the beginning of Phys. ii, 1. Therefore the will is not moved to anything naturally.

Obj. 2: Further, that which is natural is in a thing always: as "being hot" is in fire. But no movement is always in the will. Therefore no movement is natural to the will.

Obj. 3: Further, nature is determinate to one thing: whereas the will is referred to opposites. Therefore the will wills nothing naturally.

On the contrary, The movement of the will follows the movement of the intellect. But the intellect understands some things naturally. Therefore the will, too, wills some things naturally.

I answer that, As Boethius says (De Duabus Nat.) and the Philosopher also (Metaph. v, 4) the word "nature" is used in a manifold sense. For sometimes it stands for the intrinsic principle in movable things. In this sense nature is either matter or the material form, as stated in Phys. ii, 1. In another sense nature stands for any substance, or even for any being. And in this sense, that is said to be natural to a thing which befits it in respect of its substance. And this is that which of itself is in a thing. Now all things that do not of themselves belong to the thing in which they are, are reduced to something which belongs of itself to that thing, as to their principle. Wherefore, taking nature in this sense, it is necessary that the principle of whatever belongs to a thing, be a natural principle. This is evident in regard to the intellect: for the principles of intellectual knowledge are naturally known. In like manner the principle of voluntary movements must be something naturally willed.

Now this is good in general, to which the will tends naturally, as does each power to its object; and again it is the last end, which stands in the same relation to things appetible, as the first principles of demonstrations to things intelligible: and, speaking generally, it is all those things which belong to the willer according to his nature. For it is not only things pertaining to the will that the will desires, but also that which pertains to each power, and to the entire man. Wherefore man wills naturally not only the object of the will, but also other things that are appropriate to the other powers; such as the knowledge of truth, which befits the intellect; and to be and to live and other like things which regard the natural well-being; all of which are included in the object of the will, as so many particular goods.

Reply Obj. 1: The will is distinguished from nature as one kind of cause from another; for some things happen naturally and some are done voluntarily. There is, however, another manner of causing that is proper to the will, which is mistress of its act, besides the manner proper to nature, which is determinate to one thing. But since the will is founded on some nature, it is necessary that the movement proper to nature be shared by the will, to some extent: just as what belongs to a previous cause is shared by a subsequent cause. Because in every thing, being itself, which is from nature, precedes volition, which is from the will. And hence it is that the will wills something naturally.

Reply Obj. 2: In the case of natural things, that which is natural, as a result of the form only, is always in them actually, as heat is in fire. But that which is natural as a result of matter, is not always in them actually, but sometimes only in potentiality: because form is act, whereas matter is potentiality. Now movement is "the act of that which is in potentiality" (Aristotle, Phys. iii, 1). Wherefore that which belongs to, or results from, movement, in regard to natural things, is not always in them. Thus fire does not always move upwards, but only when it is outside its own place. [*The Aristotelian theory was that fire's proper place is the fiery heaven, i.e. the Empyrean.] And in like manner it is not necessary that the will (which is reduced from potentiality to act, when it wills something), should always be in the act of volition; but only when it is in a certain determinate disposition. But God's will, which is pure act, is always in the act of volition.

Reply Obj. 3: To every nature there is one thing corresponding, proportionate, however, to that nature. For to nature considered as a genus, there corresponds something one generically; and to nature as species there corresponds something one specifically; and to the individualized nature there corresponds some one individual. Since, therefore, the will is an immaterial power like the intellect, some one general thing corresponds to it, naturally which is the good; just as to the intellect there corresponds some one general thing, which is the true, or being, or "what a thing is." And under good in general are included many particular goods, to none of which is the will determined.

^Q. 10


Art. 2: Whether the will is moved, of necessity, by its object?[edit]

It seems that the will is moved, of necessity, by its object.

Obj. 1: For the object of the will is compared to the will as mover to movable, as stated in De Anima iii, 10. But a mover, if it be sufficient, moves the movable of necessity. Therefore the will can be moved of necessity by its object.

Obj. 2: Further, just as the will is an immaterial power, so is the intellect: and both powers are ordained to a universal object, as stated above (A. 1, ad 3). But the intellect is moved, of necessity, by its object: therefore the will also, by its object.

Obj. 3: Further, whatever one wills, is either the end, or something ordained to an end. But, seemingly, one wills an end necessarily: because it is like the principle in speculative matters, to which principle one assents of necessity. Now the end is the reason for willing the means; and so it seems that we will the means also necessarily. Therefore the will is moved of necessity by its object.

On the contrary, The rational powers, according to the Philosopher (Metaph. ix, 2) are directed to opposites. But the will is a rational power, since it is in the reason, as stated in De Anima iii, 9. Therefore the will is directed to opposites. Therefore it is not moved, of necessity, to either of the opposites.

I answer that, The will is moved in two ways: first, as to the exercise of its act; secondly, as to the specification of its act, derived from the object. As to the first way, no object moves the will necessarily, for no matter what the object be, it is in man's power not to think of it, and consequently not to will it actually. But as to the second manner of motion, the will is moved by one object necessarily, by another not. For in the movement of a power by its object, we must consider under what aspect the object moves the power. For the visible moves the sight, under the aspect of color actually visible. Wherefore if color be offered to the sight, it moves the sight necessarily: unless one turns one's eyes away; which belongs to the exercise of the act. But if the sight were confronted with something not in all respects colored actually, but only so in some respects, and in other respects not, the sight would not of necessity see such an object: for it might look at that part of the object which is not actually colored, and thus it would not see it. Now just as the actually colored is the object of sight, so is good the object of the will. Wherefore if the will be offered an object which is good universally and from every point of view, the will tends to it of necessity, if it wills anything at all; since it cannot will the opposite. If, on the other hand, the will is offered an object that is not good from every point of view, it will not tend to it of necessity. And since lack of any good whatever, is a non-good, consequently, that good alone which is perfect and lacking in nothing, is such a good that the will cannot not-will it: and this is Happiness. Whereas any other particular goods, in so far as they are lacking in some good, can be regarded as non-goods: and from this point of view, they can be set aside or approved by the will, which can tend to one and the same thing from various points of view.

Reply Obj. 1: The sufficient mover of a power is none but that object that in every respect presents the aspect of the mover of that power. If, on the other hand, it is lacking in any respect, it will not move of necessity, as stated above.

Reply Obj. 2: The intellect is moved, of necessity, by an object which is such as to be always and necessarily true: but not by that which may be either true or false—viz. by that which is contingent: as we have said of the good.

Reply Obj. 3: The last end moves the will necessarily, because it is the perfect good. In like manner whatever is ordained to that end, and without which the end cannot be attained, such as "to be" and "to live," and the like. But other things without which the end can be gained, are not necessarily willed by one who wills the end: just as he who assents to the principle, does not necessarily assent to the conclusions, without which the principles can still be true.

^Q. 10


Art. 3: Whether the will is moved, of necessity, by the lower appetite?[edit]

It would seem that the will is moved of necessity by a passion of the lower appetite.

Obj. 1: For the Apostle says (Rom. 7:19): "The good which I will I do not; but the evil which I will not, that I do": and this is said by reason of concupiscence, which is a passion. Therefore the will is moved of necessity by a passion.

Obj. 2: Further, as stated in Ethic. iii, 5, "according as a man is, such does the end seem to him." But it is not in man's power to cast aside a passion at once. Therefore it is not in man's power not to will that to which the passion inclines him.

Obj. 3: Further, a universal cause is not applied to a particular effect, except by means of a particular cause: wherefore the universal reason does not move save by means of a particular estimation, as stated in De Anima iii, 11. But as the universal reason is to the particular estimation, so is the will to the sensitive appetite. Therefore the will is not moved to will something particular, except through the sensitive appetite. Therefore, if the sensitive appetite happen to be disposed to something, by reason of a passion, the will cannot be moved in a contrary sense.

On the contrary, It is written (Gen. 4:7): "Thy lust [Vulg. 'The lust thereof'] shall be under thee, and thou shalt have dominion over it." Therefore man's will is not moved of necessity by the lower appetite.

I answer that, As stated above (Q. 9, A. 2), the passion of the sensitive appetite moves the will, in so far as the will is moved by its object: inasmuch as, to wit, man through being disposed in such and such a way by a passion, judges something to be fitting and good, which he would not judge thus were it not for the passion. Now this influence of a passion on man occurs in two ways. First, so that his reason is wholly bound, so that he has not the use of reason: as happens in those who through a violent access of anger or concupiscence become furious or insane, just as they may from some other bodily disorder; since such like passions do not take place without some change in the body. And of such the same is to be said as of irrational animals, which follow, of necessity, the impulse of their passions: for in them there is neither movement of reason, nor, consequently, of will.

Sometimes, however, the reason is not entirely engrossed by the passion, so that the judgment of reason retains, to a certain extent, its freedom: and thus the movement of the will remains in a certain degree. Accordingly in so far as the reason remains free, and not subject to the passion, the will's movement, which also remains, does not tend of necessity to that whereto the passion inclines it. Consequently, either there is no movement of the will in that man, and the passion alone holds its sway: or if there be a movement of the will, it does not necessarily follow the passion.

Reply Obj. 1: Although the will cannot prevent the movement of concupiscence from arising, of which the Apostle says: "The evil which I will not, that I do—i.e. I desire"; yet it is in the power of the will not to will to desire or not to consent to concupiscence. And thus it does not necessarily follow the movement of concupiscence.

Reply Obj. 2: Since there is in man a twofold nature, intellectual and sensitive; sometimes man is such and such uniformly in respect of his whole soul: either because the sensitive part is wholly subject to his reason, as in the virtuous; or because reason is entirely engrossed by passion, as in a madman. But sometimes, although reason is clouded by passion, yet something of this reason remains free. And in respect of this, man can either repel the passion entirely, or at least hold himself in check so as not to be led away by the passion. For when thus disposed, since man is variously disposed according to the various parts of the soul, a thing appears to him otherwise according to his reason, than it does according to a passion.

Reply Obj. 3: The will is moved not only by the universal good apprehended by the reason, but also by good apprehended by sense. Wherefore he can be moved to some particular good independently of a passion of the sensitive appetite. For we will and do many things without passion, and through choice alone; as is most evident in those cases wherein reason resists passion.

^Q. 10


Art. 4: Whether the will is moved of necessity by the exterior mover which is God?[edit]

It would seem that the will is moved of necessity by God.

Obj. 1: For every agent that cannot be resisted moves of necessity. But God cannot be resisted, because His power is infinite; wherefore it is written (Rom. 9:19): "Who resisteth His will?" Therefore God moves the will of necessity.

Obj. 2: Further, the will is moved of necessity to whatever it wills naturally, as stated above (A. 2, ad 3). But "whatever God does in a thing is natural to it," as Augustine says (Contra Faust. xxvi, 3). Therefore the will wills of necessity everything to which God moves it.

Obj. 3: Further, a thing is possible, if nothing impossible follows from its being supposed. But something impossible follows from the supposition that the will does not will that to which God moves it: because in that case God's operation would be ineffectual. Therefore it is not possible for the will not to will that to which God moves it. Therefore it wills it of necessity.

On the contrary, It is written (Ecclus. 15:14): "God made man from the beginning, and left him in the hand of his own counsel." Therefore He does not of necessity move man's will.

I answer that, As Dionysius says (Div. Nom. iv) "it belongs to Divine providence, not to destroy but to preserve the nature of things." Wherefore it moves all things in accordance with their conditions; so that from necessary causes through the Divine motion, effects follow of necessity; but from contingent causes, effects follow contingently. Since, therefore, the will is an active principle, not determinate to one thing, but having an indifferent relation to many things, God so moves it, that He does not determine it of necessity to one thing, but its movement remains contingent and not necessary, except in those things to which it is moved naturally.

Reply Obj. 1: The Divine will extends not only to the doing of something by the thing which He moves, but also to its being done in a way which is fitting to the nature of that thing. And therefore it would be more repugnant to the Divine motion, for the will to be moved of necessity, which is not fitting to its nature; than for it to be moved freely, which is becoming to its nature.

Reply Obj. 2: That is natural to a thing, which God so works in it that it may be natural to it: for thus is something becoming to a thing, according as God wishes it to be becoming. Now He does not wish that whatever He works in things should be natural to them, for instance, that the dead should rise again. But this He does wish to be natural to each thing—that it be subject to the Divine power.

Reply Obj. 3: If God moves the will to anything, it is incompatible with this supposition, that the will be not moved thereto. But it is not impossible simply. Consequently it does not follow that the will is moved by God necessarily.

^Q. 10

ELICITED VOLUNTARY ACTS[edit]

^TOC ^^a. The Nature of Voluntary Acts in General ↓c. Commanded Voluntary Acts ^C. Acts of the Will with Regard to the End

[C. Acts of the Will with Regard to the End (cont'd)

Q. 11: Of Enjoyment, Which Is an Act of the Will
Q. 12: Of Intention

D. Acts of the Will with Regard to the Means

Q. 13: Of Choice, Which Is an Act of the Will with Regard to the Means
Q. 14: Of Counsel, Which Precedes Choice
Q. 15: Of Consent, Which Is an Act of the Will in Regard to the Means
Q. 16: Of Use, Which Is an Act of the Will in Regard to the Means]

QUESTION 11: OF ENJOYMENT [*Or, Fruition], WHICH IS AN ACT OF THE WILL[edit]

^TOC ^b. Elicited Voluntary Acts ^C. Acts of the Will with Regard to the End

We must now consider enjoyment: concerning which there are four points of inquiry:

(1) Whether to enjoy is an act of the appetitive power?

(2) Whether it belongs to the rational creature alone, or also to irrational animals?

(3) Whether enjoyment is only of the last end?

(4) Whether it is only of the end possessed?


Art. 1: Whether to enjoy is an act of the appetitive power?[edit]

It would seem that to enjoy belongs not only to the appetitive power.

Obj. 1: For to enjoy seems nothing else than to receive the fruit. But it is the intellect, in whose act Happiness consists, as shown above (Q. 3, A. 4), that receives the fruit of human life, which is Happiness. Therefore to enjoy is not an act of the appetitive power, but of the intellect.

Obj. 2: Further, each power has its proper end, which is its perfection: thus the end of sight is to know the visible; of the hearing, to perceive sounds; and so forth. But the end of a thing is its fruit. Therefore to enjoy belongs to each power, and not only to the appetite.

Obj. 3: Further, enjoyment implies a certain delight. But sensible delight belongs to sense, which delights in its object: and for the same reason, intellectual delight belongs to the intellect. Therefore enjoyment belongs to the apprehensive, and not to the appetitive power.

On the contrary, Augustine says (De Doctr. Christ. i, 4; and De Trin. x, 10, 11): "To enjoy is to adhere lovingly to something for its own sake." But love belongs to the appetitive power. Therefore also to enjoy is an act of the appetitive power.

I answer that, Fruitio (enjoyment) and fructus (fruit) seem to refer to the same, one being derived from the other; which from which, matters not for our purpose; though it seems probable that the one which is more clearly known, was first named. Now those things are most manifest to us which appeal most to the senses: wherefore it seems that the word "fruition" is derived from sensible fruits. But sensible fruit is that which we expect the tree to produce in the last place, and in which a certain sweetness is to be perceived. Hence fruition seems to have relation to love, or to the delight which one has in realizing the longed-for term, which is the end. Now the end and the good is the object of the appetitive power. Wherefore it is evident that fruition is the act of the appetitive power.

Reply Obj. 1: Nothing hinders one and the same thing from belonging, under different aspects, to different powers. Accordingly the vision of God, as vision, is an act of the intellect, but as a good and an end, is the object of the will. And as such is the fruition thereof: so that the intellect attains this end, as the executive power, but the will as the motive power, moving (the powers) towards the end and enjoying the end attained.

Reply Obj. 2: The perfection and end of every other power is contained in the object of the appetitive power, as the proper is contained in the common, as stated above (Q. 9, A. 1). Hence the perfection and end of each power, in so far as it is a good, belongs to the appetitive power. Wherefore the appetitive power moves the other powers to their ends; and itself realizes the end, when each of them reaches the end.

Reply Obj. 3: In delight there are two things: perception of what is becoming; and this belongs to the apprehensive power; and complacency in that which is offered as becoming: and this belongs to the appetitive power, in which power delight is formally completed.

^Q. 11

Art. 2: Whether to enjoy belongs to the rational creature alone, or also to irrational animals?[edit]

It would seem that to enjoy belongs to men alone.

Obj. 1: For Augustine says (De Doctr. Christ. i, 22) that "it is given to us men to enjoy and to use." Therefore other animals cannot enjoy.

Obj. 2: Further, to enjoy relates to the last end. But irrational animals cannot obtain the last end. Therefore it is not for them to enjoy.

Obj. 3: Further, just as the sensitive appetite is beneath the intellectual appetite, so is the natural appetite beneath the sensitive. If, therefore, to enjoy belongs to the sensitive appetite, it seems that for the same reason it can belong to the natural appetite. But this is evidently false, since the latter cannot delight in anything. Therefore the sensitive appetite cannot enjoy: and accordingly enjoyment is not possible for irrational animals.

On the contrary, Augustine says (QQ. 83, qu. 30): "It is not so absurd to suppose that even beasts enjoy their food and any bodily pleasure."

I answer that, As was stated above (A. 1) to enjoy is not the act of the power that achieves the end as executor, but of the power that commands the achievement; for it has been said to belong to the appetitive power. Now things void of reason have indeed a power of achieving an end by way of execution, as that by which a heavy body has a downward tendency, whereas a light body has an upward tendency. Yet the power of command in respect of the end is not in them, but in some higher nature, which moves all nature by its command, just as in things endowed with knowledge, the appetite moves the other powers to their acts. Wherefore it is clear that things void of knowledge, although they attain an end, have no enjoyment of the end: this is only for those that are endowed with knowledge.

Now knowledge of the end is twofold: perfect and imperfect. Perfect knowledge of the end, is that whereby not only is that known which is the end and the good, but also the universal formality of the end and the good; and such knowledge belongs to the rational nature alone. On the other hand, imperfect knowledge is that by which the end and the good are known in the particular. Such knowledge is in irrational animals: whose appetitive powers do not command with freedom, but are moved according to a natural instinct to whatever they apprehend. Consequently, enjoyment belongs to the rational nature, in a perfect degree; to irrational animals, imperfectly; to other creatures, not at all.

Reply Obj. 1: Augustine is speaking there of perfect enjoyment.

Reply Obj. 2: Enjoyment need not be of the last end simply; but of that which each one chooses for his last end.

Reply Obj. 3: The sensitive appetite follows some knowledge; not so the natural appetite, especially in things void of knowledge.

Reply Obj. 4: Augustine is speaking there of imperfect enjoyment. This is clear from his way of speaking: for he says that "it is not so absurd to suppose that even beasts enjoy," that is, as it would be, if one were to say that they "use."

^Q. 11


Art. 3: Whether enjoyment is only of the last end?[edit]

It would seem that enjoyment is not only of the last end.

Obj. 1: For the Apostle says (Philem. 20): "Yea, brother, may I enjoy thee in the Lord." But it is evident that Paul had not placed his last end in a man. Therefore to enjoy is not only of the last end.

Obj. 2: Further, what we enjoy is the fruit. But the Apostle says (Gal. 5:22): "The fruit of the Spirit is charity, joy, peace," and other like things, which are not in the nature of the last end. Therefore enjoyment is not only of the last end.

Obj. 3: Further, the acts of the will reflect on one another; for I will to will, and I love to love. But to enjoy is an act of the will: since "it is the will with which we enjoy," as Augustine says (De Trin. x, 10). Therefore a man enjoys his enjoyment. But the last end of man is not enjoyment, but the uncreated good alone, which is God. Therefore enjoyment is not only of the last end.

On the contrary, Augustine says (De Trin. x, 11): "A man does not enjoy that which he desires for the sake of something else." But the last end alone is that which man does not desire for the sake of something else. Therefore enjoyment is of the last end alone.

I answer that, As stated above (A. 1) the notion of fruit implies two things: first that it should come last; second, that it should calm the appetite with a certain sweetness and delight. Now a thing is last either simply or relatively; simply, if it be referred to nothing else; relatively, if it is the last in a particular series. Therefore that which is last simply, and in which one delights as in the last end, is properly called fruit; and this it is that one is properly said to enjoy. But that which is delightful not in itself, but is desired, only as referred to something else, e.g. a bitter potion for the sake of health, can nowise be called fruit. And that which has something delightful about it, to which a number of preceding things are referred, may indeed be called fruit in a certain manner; but we cannot be said to enjoy it properly or as though it answered perfectly to the notion of fruit. Hence Augustine says (De Trin. x, 10) that "we enjoy what we know, when the delighted will is at rest therein." But its rest is not absolute save in the possession of the last end: for as long as something is looked for, the movement of the will remains in suspense, although it has reached something. Thus in local movement, although any point between the two terms is a beginning and an end, yet it is not considered as an actual end, except when the movement stops there.

Reply Obj. 1: As Augustine says (De Doctr. Christ. i, 33), "if he had said, 'May I enjoy thee,' without adding 'in the Lord,' he would seem to have set the end of his love in him. But since he added that he set his end in the Lord, he implied his desire to enjoy Him": as if we were to say that he expressed his enjoyment of his brother not as a term but as a means.

Reply Obj. 2: Fruit bears one relation to the tree that bore it, and another to man that enjoys it. To the tree indeed that bore it, it is compared as effect to cause; to the one enjoying it, as the final object of his longing and the consummation of his delight. Accordingly these fruits mentioned by the Apostle are so called because they are certain effects of the Holy Ghost in us, wherefore they are called "fruits of the spirit": but not as though we are to enjoy them as our last end. Or we may say with Ambrose that they are called fruits because "we should desire them for their own sake": not indeed as though they were not ordained to the last end; but because they are such that we ought to find pleasure in them.

Reply Obj. 3: As stated above (Q. 1, A. 8; Q. 2, A. 7), we speak of an end in a twofold sense: first, as being the thing itself; secondly, as the attainment thereof. These are not, of course, two ends, but one end, considered in itself, and in its relation to something else. Accordingly God is the last end, as that which is ultimately sought for: while the enjoyment is as the attainment of this last end. And so, just as God is not one end, and the enjoyment of God, another: so it is the same enjoyment whereby we enjoy God, and whereby we enjoy our enjoyment of God. And the same applies to created happiness which consists in enjoyment.

^Q. 11


Art. 4: Whether enjoyment is only of the end possessed?[edit]

It would seem that enjoyment is only of the end possessed.

Obj. 1: For Augustine says (De Trin. x, 1) that "to enjoy is to use joyfully, with the joy, not of hope, but of possession." But so long as a thing is not had, there is joy, not of possession, but of hope. Therefore enjoyment is only of the end possessed.

Obj. 2: Further, as stated above (A. 3), enjoyment is not properly otherwise than of the last end: because this alone gives rest to the appetite. But the appetite has no rest save in the possession of the end. Therefore enjoyment, properly speaking, is only of the end possessed.

Obj. 3: Further, to enjoy is to lay hold of the fruit. But one does not lay hold of the fruit until one is in possession of the end. Therefore enjoyment is only of the end possessed.

On the contrary, "to enjoy is to adhere lovingly to something for its own sake," as Augustine says (De Doctr. Christ. i, 4). But this is possible, even in regard to a thing which is not in our possession. Therefore it is possible to enjoy the end even though it be not possessed.

I answer that, To enjoy implies a certain relation of the will to the last end, according as the will has something by way of last end. Now an end is possessed in two ways; perfectly and imperfectly. Perfectly, when it is possessed not only in intention but also in reality; imperfectly, when it is possessed in intention only. Perfect enjoyment, therefore, is of the end already possessed: but imperfect enjoyment is also of the end possessed not really, but only in intention.

Reply Obj. 1: Augustine speaks there of perfect enjoyment.

Reply Obj. 2: The will is hindered in two ways from being at rest. First on the part of the object; by reason of its not being the last end, but ordained to something else: secondly on the part of the one who desires the end, by reason of his not being yet in possession of it. Now it is the object that specifies an act: but on the agent depends the manner of acting, so that the act be perfect or imperfect, as compared with the actual circumstances of the agent. Therefore enjoyment of anything but the last end is not enjoyment properly speaking, as falling short of the nature of enjoyment. But enjoyment of the last end, not yet possessed, is enjoyment properly speaking, but imperfect, on account of the imperfect way in which it is possessed.

Reply Obj. 3: One is said to lay hold of or to have an end, not only in reality, but also in intention, as stated above.

^Q. 11

QUESTION 12: OF INTENTION[edit]

^TOC ^b. Elicited Voluntary Acts ^C. Acts of the Will with Regard to the End

We must now consider Intention: concerning which there are five points of inquiry:

(1) Whether intention is an act of intellect or of the will?

(2) Whether it is only of the last end?

(3) Whether one can intend two things at the same time?

(4) Whether intention of the end is the same act as volition of the means?

(5) Whether intention is within the competency of irrational animals?


Art. 1: Whether intention is an act of the intellect or of the will?[edit]

It would seem that intention is an act of the intellect, and not of the will.

Obj. 1: For it is written (Matt. 6:22): "If thy eye be single, thy whole body shall be lightsome": where, according to Augustine (De Serm. Dom. in Monte ii, 13) the eye signifies intention. But since the eye is the organ of sight, it signifies the apprehensive power. Therefore intention is not an act of the appetitive but of the apprehensive power.

Obj. 2: Further, Augustine says (De Serm. Dom. in Monte ii, 13) that Our Lord spoke of intention as a light, when He said (Matt. 6:23): "If the light that is in thee be darkness," etc. But light pertains to knowledge. Therefore intention does too.

Obj. 3: Further, intention implies a kind of ordaining to an end. But to ordain is an act of reason. Therefore intention belongs not to the will but to the reason.

Obj. 4: Further, an act of the will is either of the end or of the means. But the act of the will in respect of the end is called volition, or enjoyment; with regard to the means, it is choice, from which intention is distinct. Therefore it is not an act of the will.

On the contrary, Augustine says (De Trin. xi, 4, 8, 9) that "the intention of the will unites the sight to the object seen; and the images retained in the memory, to the penetrating gaze of the soul's inner thought." Therefore intention is an act of the will.

I answer that, Intention, as the very word denotes, signifies, "to tend to something." Now both the action of the mover and the movement of thing moved, tend to something. But that the movement of the thing moved tends to anything, is due to the action of the mover. Consequently intention belongs first and principally to that which moves to the end: hence we say that an architect or anyone who is in authority, by his command moves others to that which he intends. Now the will moves all the other powers of the soul to the end, as shown above (Q. 9, A. 1). Wherefore it is evident that intention, properly speaking, is an act of the will.

Reply Obj. 1: The eye designates intention figuratively, not because intention has reference to knowledge, but because it presupposes knowledge, which proposes to the will the end to which the latter moves; thus we foresee with the eye whither we should tend with our bodies.

Reply Obj. 2: Intention is called a light because it is manifest to him who intends. Wherefore works are called darkness because a man knows what he intends, but knows not what the result may be, as Augustine expounds (De Serm. Dom. in Monte ii, 13).

Reply Obj. 3: The will does not ordain, but tends to something according to the order of reason. Consequently this word "intention" indicates an act of the will, presupposing the act whereby the reason orders something to the end.

Reply Obj. 4: Intention is an act of the will in regard to the end. Now the will stands in a threefold relation to the end. First, absolutely; and thus we have "volition," whereby we will absolutely to have health, and so forth. Secondly, it considers the end, as its place of rest; and thus "enjoyment" regards the end. Thirdly, it considers the end as the term towards which something is ordained; and thus "intention" regards the end. For when we speak of intending to have health, we mean not only that we have it, but that we will have it by means of something else.

^Q. 12


Art. 2: Whether intention is only of the last end?[edit]

It would seem that intention is only of the last end.

Obj. 1: For it is said in the book of Prosper's Sentences (Sent. 100): "The intention of the heart is a cry to God." But God is the last end of the human heart. Therefore intention is always regards the last end.

Obj. 2: Further, intention regards the end as the terminus, as stated above (A. 1, ad 4). But a terminus is something last. Therefore intention always regards the last end.

Obj. 3: Further, just as intention regards the end, so does enjoyment. But enjoyment is always of the last end. Therefore intention is too.

On the contrary, There is but one last end of human wills, viz. Happiness, as stated above (Q. 1, A. 7). If, therefore, intentions were only of the last end, men would not have different intentions: which is evidently false.

I answer that, As stated above (A. 1, ad 4), intention regards the end as a terminus of the movement of the will. Now a terminus of movement may be taken in two ways. First, the very last terminus, when the movement comes to a stop; this is the terminus of the whole movement. Secondly, some point midway, which is the beginning of one part of the movement, and the end or terminus of the other. Thus in the movement from A to C through B, C is the last terminus, while B is a terminus, but not the last. And intention can be both. Consequently though intention is always of the end, it need not be always of the last end.

Reply Obj. 1: The intention of the heart is called a cry to God, not that God is always the object of intention, but because He sees our intention. Or because, when we pray, we direct our intention to God, which intention has the force of a cry.

Reply Obj. 2: A terminus is something last, not always in respect of the whole, but sometimes in respect of a part.

Reply Obj. 3: Enjoyment implies rest in the end; and this belongs to the last end alone. But intention implies movement towards an end, not rest. Wherefore the comparison proves nothing.

^Q. 12


Art. 3: Whether one can intend two things at the same time?[edit]

It would seem that one cannot intend several things at the same time.

Obj. 1: For Augustine says (De Serm. Dom. in Monte ii, 14, 16, 17) that man's intention cannot be directed at the same time to God and to bodily benefits. Therefore, for the same reason, neither to any other two things.

Obj. 2: Further, intention designates a movement of the will towards a terminus. Now there cannot be several termini in the same direction of one movement. Therefore the will cannot intend several things at the same time.

Obj. 3: Further, intention presupposes an act of reason or of the intellect. But "it is not possible to understand several things at the same time," according to the Philosopher (Topic. ii, 10). Therefore neither is it possible to intend several things at the same time.

On the contrary, Art imitates nature. Now nature intends two purposes by means of one instrument: thus "the tongue is for the purpose of taste and speech" (De Anima ii, 8). Therefore, for the same reason, art or reason can at the same time direct one thing to two ends: so that one can intend several ends at the same time.

I answer that, The expression "two things" may be taken in two ways: they may be ordained to one another or not so ordained. And if they be ordained to one another, it is evident, from what has been said, that a man can intend several things at the same time. For intention is not only of the last end, as stated above (A. 2), but also of an intermediary end. Now a man intends at the same time, both the proximate and the last end; as the mixing of a medicine and the giving of health.

But if we take two things that are not ordained to one another, thus also a man can intend several things at the same time. This is evident from the fact that a man prefers one thing to another because it is the better of the two. Now one of the reasons for which one thing is better than another is that it is available for more purposes: wherefore one thing can be chosen in preference to another, because of the greater number of purposes for which it is available: so that evidently a man can intend several things at the same time.

Reply Obj. 1: Augustine means to say that man cannot at the same time direct his attention to God and to bodily benefits, as to two last ends: since, as stated above (Q. 1, A. 5), one man cannot have several last ends.

Reply Obj. 2: There can be several termini ordained to one another, of the same movement and in the same direction; but not unless they be ordained to one another. At the same time it must be observed that what is not one in reality may be taken as one by the reason. Now intention is a movement of the will to something already ordained by the reason, as stated above (A. 1, ad 3). Wherefore where we have many things in reality, we may take them as one term of intention, in so far as the reason takes them as one: either because two things concur in the integrity of one whole, as a proper measure of heat and cold conduce to health; or because two things are included in one which may be intended. For instance, the acquiring of wine and clothing is included in wealth, as in something common to both; wherefore nothing hinders the man who intends to acquire wealth, from intending both the others.

Reply Obj. 3: As stated in the First Part (Q. 12, A. 10; Q. 58, A. 2; Q. 85, A. 4), it is possible to understand several things at the same time, in so far as, in some way, they are one.

^Q. 12


Art. 4: Whether intention of the end is the same act as the volition of the means?[edit]

It would seem that the intention of the end and the volition of the means are not one and the same movement.

Obj. 1: For Augustine says (De Trin. xi, 6) that "the will to see the window, has for its end the seeing of the window; and is another act from the will to see, through the window, the passersby." But that I should will to see the passersby, through the window, belongs to intention; whereas that I will to see the window, belongs to the volition of the means. Therefore intention of the end and the willing of the means are distinct movements of the will.

Obj. 2: Further, acts are distinct according to their objects. But the end and the means are distinct objects. Therefore the intention of the end and the willing of the means are distinct movements of the will.

Obj. 3: Further, the willing of the means is called choice. But choice and intention are not the same. Therefore intention of the end and the willing of the means are not the same movement of the will.

On the contrary, The means in relation to the end, are as the mid-space to the terminus. Now it is all the same movement that passes through the mid-space to the terminus, in natural things. Therefore in things pertaining to the will, the intention of the end is the same movement as the willing of the means.

I answer that, The movement of the will to the end and to the means can be considered in two ways. First, according as the will is moved to each of the aforesaid absolutely and in itself. And thus there are really two movements of the will to them. Secondly, it may be considered accordingly as the will is moved to the means for the sake of the end: and thus the movement of the will to the end and its movement to the means are one and the same thing. For when I say: "I wish to take medicine for the sake of health," I signify no more than one movement of my will. And this is because the end is the reason for willing the means. Now the object, and that by reason of which it is an object, come under the same act; thus it is the same act of sight that perceives color and light, as stated above (Q. 8, A. 3, ad 2). And the same applies to the intellect; for if it consider principle and conclusion absolutely, it considers each by a distinct act; but when it assents to the conclusion on account of the principles, there is but one act of the intellect.

Reply Obj. 1: Augustine is speaking of seeing the window and of seeing, through the window, the passersby, according as the will is moved to either absolutely.

Reply Obj. 2: The end, considered as a thing, and the means to that end, are distinct objects of the will. But in so far as the end is the formal object in willing the means, they are one and the same object.

Reply Obj. 3: A movement which is one as to the subject, may differ, according to our way of looking at it, as to its beginning and end, as in the case of ascent and descent (Phys. iii, 3). Accordingly, in so far as the movement of the will is to the means, as ordained to the end, it is called "choice": but the movement of the will to the end as acquired by the means, is called "intention." A sign of this is that we can have intention of the end without having determined the means which are the object of choice.

^Q. 12


Art. 5: Whether intention is within the competency of irrational animals?[edit]

It would seem that irrational animals intend the end.

Obj. 1: For in things void of reason nature stands further apart from the rational nature, than does the sensitive nature in irrational animals. But nature intends the end even in things void of reason, as is proved in Phys. ii, 8. Much more, therefore, do irrational animals intend the end.

Obj. 2: Further, just as intention is of the end, so is enjoyment. But enjoyment is in irrational animals, as stated above (Q. 11, A. 2). Therefore intention is too.

Obj. 3: Further, to intend an end belongs to one who acts for an end; since to intend is nothing else than to tend to something. But irrational animals act for an end; for an animal is moved either to seek food, or to do something of the kind. Therefore irrational animals intend an end.

On the contrary, Intention of an end implies ordaining something to an end: which belongs to reason. Since therefore irrational animals are void of reason, it seems that they do not intend an end.

I answer that, As stated above (A. 1), to intend is to tend to something; and this belongs to the mover and to the moved. According, therefore, as that which is moved to an end by another is said to intend the end, thus nature is said to intend an end, as being moved to its end by God, as the arrow is moved by the archer. And in this way, irrational animals intend an end, inasmuch as they are moved to something by natural instinct. The other way of intending an end belongs to the mover; according as he ordains the movement of something, either his own or another's, to an end. This belongs to reason alone. Wherefore irrational animals do not intend an end in this way, which is to intend properly and principally, as stated above (A. 1).

Reply Obj. 1: This argument takes intention in the sense of being moved to an end.

Reply Obj. 2: Enjoyment does not imply the ordaining of one thing to another, as intention does, but absolute repose in the end.

Reply Obj. 3: Irrational animals are moved to an end, not as though they thought that they can gain the end by this movement; this belongs to one that intends; but through desiring the end by natural instinct, they are moved to an end, moved, as it were, by another, like other things that are moved naturally.

^Q. 12

[ACTS OF THE WILL WITH REGARD TO THE MEANS][edit]

^TOC ^b. Elicited Voluntary Acts ↓c. Commanded Voluntary Acts ^^C. Acts of the Will with Regard to the End

We must now consider the acts of the will with regard to the means. There are three of them: to choose, to consent, and to use. And choice is preceded by counsel.

First of all, then, we must consider choice [Q. 13];

secondly, counsel [Q. 14];

thirdly, consent [Q. 15];

fourthly, use [Q. 16].

QUESTION 13: OF CHOICE, WHICH IS AN ACT OF THE WILL WITH REGARD TO THE MEANS[edit]

^TOC ^b. Elicited Voluntary Acts ^D. Acts of the Will with Regard to the Means

Concerning choice there are six points of inquiry:

(1) Of what power is it the act; of the will or of the reason?

(2) Whether choice is to be found in irrational animals?

(3) Whether choice is only the means, or sometimes also of the end?

(4) Whether choice is only of things that we do ourselves?

(5) Whether choice is only of possible things?

(6) Whether man chooses of necessity or freely?


Art. 1: Whether choice is an act of will or of reason?[edit]

It would seem that choice is an act, not of will but of reason.

Obj. 1: For choice implies comparison, whereby one is given preference to another. But to compare is an act of reason. Therefore choice is an act of reason.

Obj. 2: Further, it is for the same faculty to form a syllogism, and to draw the conclusion. But, in practical matters, it is the reason that forms syllogisms. Since therefore choice is a kind of conclusion in practical matters, as stated in Ethic. vii, 3, it seems that it is an act of reason.

Obj. 3: Further, ignorance does not belong to the will but to the cognitive power. Now there is an "ignorance of choice," as is stated in Ethic. iii, 1. Therefore it seems that choice does not belong to the will but to the reason.

On the contrary, The Philosopher says (Ethic. iii, 3) that choice is "the desire of things in our power." But desire is an act of will. Therefore choice is too.

I answer that, The word choice implies something belonging to the reason or intellect, and something belonging to the will: for the Philosopher says (Ethic. vi, 2) that choice is either "intellect influenced by appetite or appetite influenced by intellect." Now whenever two things concur to make one, one of them is formal in regard to the other. Hence Gregory of Nyssa [*Nemesius, De Nat. Hom. xxxiii.] says that choice "is neither desire only, nor counsel only, but a combination of the two. For just as we say that an animal is composed of soul and body, and that it is neither a mere body, nor a mere soul, but both; so is it with choice."

Now we must observe, as regards the acts of the soul, that an act belonging essentially to some power or habit, receives a form or species from a higher power or habit, according as an inferior is ordained by a superior: for if a man were to perform an act of fortitude for the love of God, that act is materially an act of fortitude, but formally, an act of charity. Now it is evident that, in a sense, reason precedes the will and ordains its act: in so far as the will tends to its object, according to the order of reason, since the apprehensive power presents the object to the appetite. Accordingly, that act whereby the will tends to something proposed to it as being good, through being ordained to the end by the reason, is materially an act of the will, but formally an act of the reason. Now in such like matters the substance of the act is as the matter in comparison to the order imposed by the higher power. Wherefore choice is substantially not an act of the reason but of the will: for choice is accomplished in a certain movement of the soul towards the good which is chosen. Consequently it is evidently an act of the appetitive power.

Reply Obj. 1: Choice implies a previous comparison; not that it consists in the comparison itself.

Reply Obj. 2: It is quite true that it is for the reason to draw the conclusion of a practical syllogism; and it is called "a decision" or "judgment," to be followed by "choice." And for this reason the conclusion seems to belong to the act of choice, as to that which results from it.

Reply Obj. 3: In speaking "of ignorance of choice," we do not mean that choice is a sort of knowledge, but that there is ignorance of what ought to be chosen.

^Q. 13


Art. 2: Whether choice is to be found in irrational animals?[edit]

It would seem that irrational animals are able to choose.

Obj. 1: For choice "is the desire of certain things on account of an end," as stated in Ethic. iii, 2, 3. But irrational animals desire something on account of an end: since they act for an end, and from desire. Therefore choice is in irrational animals.

Obj. 2: Further, the very word electio (choice) seems to signify the taking of something in preference to others. But irrational animals take something in preference to others: thus we can easily see for ourselves that a sheep will eat one grass and refuse another. Therefore choice is in irrational animals.

Obj. 3: Further, according to Ethic. vi, 12, "it is from prudence that a man makes a good choice of means." But prudence is found in irrational animals: hence it is said in the beginning of Metaph. i, 1 that "those animals which, like bees, cannot hear sounds, are prudent by instinct." We see this plainly, in wonderful cases of sagacity manifested in the works of various animals, such as bees, spiders, and dogs. For a hound in following a stag, on coming to a crossroad, tries by scent whether the stag has passed by the first or the second road: and if he find that the stag has not passed there, being thus assured, takes to the third road without trying the scent; as though he were reasoning by way of exclusion, arguing that the stag must have passed by this way, since he did not pass by the others, and there is no other road. Therefore it seems that irrational animals are able to choose.

On the contrary, Gregory of Nyssa [*Nemesius, De Nat. Hom. xxxiii.] says that "children and irrational animals act willingly but not from choice." Therefore choice is not in irrational animals.

I answer that, Since choice is the taking of one thing in preference to another it must of necessity be in respect of several things that can be chosen. Consequently in those things which are altogether determinate to one there is no place for choice. Now the difference between the sensitive appetite and the will is that, as stated above (Q. 1, A. 2, ad 3), the sensitive appetite is determinate to one particular thing, according to the order of nature; whereas the will, although determinate to one thing in general, viz. the good, according to the order of nature, is nevertheless indeterminate in respect of particular goods. Consequently choice belongs properly to the will, and not to the sensitive appetite which is all that irrational animals have. Wherefore irrational animals are not competent to choose.

Reply Obj. 1: Not every desire of one thing on account of an end is called choice: there must be a certain discrimination of one thing from another. And this cannot be except when the appetite can be moved to several things.

Reply Obj. 2: An irrational animal takes one thing in preference to another, because its appetite is naturally determinate to that thing. Wherefore as soon as an animal, whether by its sense or by its imagination, is offered something to which its appetite is naturally inclined, it is moved to that alone, without making any choice. Just as fire is moved upwards and not downwards, without its making any choice.

Reply Obj. 3: As stated in Phys. iii, 3 "movement is the act of the movable, caused by a mover." Wherefore the power of the mover appears in the movement of that which it moves. Accordingly, in all things moved by reason, the order of reason which moves them is evident, although the things themselves are without reason: for an arrow through the motion of the archer goes straight towards the target, as though it were endowed with reason to direct its course. The same may be seen in the movements of clocks and all engines put together by the art of man. Now as artificial things are in comparison to human art, so are all natural things in comparison to the Divine art. And accordingly order is to be seen in things moved by nature, just as in things moved by reason, as is stated in Phys. ii. And thus it is that in the works of irrational animals we notice certain marks of sagacity, in so far as they have a natural inclination to set about their actions in a most orderly manner through being ordained by the Supreme art. For which reason, too, certain animals are called prudent or sagacious; and not because they reason or exercise any choice about things. This is clear from the fact that all that share in one nature, invariably act in the same way.

^Q. 13


Art. 3: Whether choice is only of the means, or sometimes also of the end?[edit]

It would seem that choice is not only of the means.

Obj. 1: For the Philosopher says (Ethic. vi, 12) that "virtue makes us choose aright; but it is not the part of virtue, but of some other power to direct aright those things which are to be done for its sake." But that for the sake of which something is done is the end. Therefore choice is of the end.

Obj. 2: Further, choice implies preference of one thing to another. But just as there can be preference of means, so can there be preference of ends. Therefore choice can be of ends, just as it can be of means.

On the contrary, The Philosopher says (Ethic. iii, 2) that "volition is of the end, but choice of the means."

I answer that, As already stated (A. 1, ad 2), choice results from the decision or judgment which is, as it were, the conclusion of a practical syllogism. Hence that which is the conclusion of a practical syllogism, is the matter of choice. Now in practical things the end stands in the position of a principle, not of a conclusion, as the Philosopher says (Phys. ii, 9). Wherefore the end, as such, is not a matter of choice.

But just as in speculative knowledge nothing hinders the principle of one demonstration or of one science, from being the conclusion of another demonstration or science; while the first indemonstrable principle cannot be the conclusion of any demonstration or science; so too that which is the end in one operation, may be ordained to something as an end. And in this way it is a matter of choice. Thus in the work of a physician health is the end: wherefore it is not a matter of choice for a physician, but a matter of principle. Now the health of the body is ordained to the good of the soul, consequently with one who has charge of the soul's health, health or sickness may be a matter of choice; for the Apostle says (2 Cor. 12:10): "For when I am weak, then am I powerful." But the last end is nowise a matter of choice.

Reply Obj. 1: The proper ends of virtues are ordained to Happiness as to their last end. And thus it is that they can be a matter of choice.

Reply Obj. 2: As stated above (Q. 1, A. 5), there is but one last end. Accordingly wherever there are several ends, they can be the subject of choice, in so far as they are ordained to a further end.

^Q. 13


Art. 4: Whether choice is of those things only that are done by us?[edit]

It would seem that choice is not only in respect of human acts.

Obj. 1: For choice regards the means. Now, not only acts, but also the organs, are means (Phys. ii, 3). Therefore choice is not only concerned with human acts.

Obj. 2: Further, action is distinct from contemplation. But choice has a place even in contemplation; in so far as one opinion is preferred to another. Therefore choice is not concerned with human acts alone.

Obj. 3: Further, men are chosen for certain posts, whether secular or ecclesiastical, by those who exercise no action in their regard. Therefore choice is not concerned with human acts alone.

On the contrary, The Philosopher says (Ethic. iii, 2) that "no man chooses save what he can do himself."

I answer that, Just as intention regards the end, so does choice regard the means. Now the end is either an action or a thing. And when the end is a thing, some human action must intervene; either in so far as man produces the thing which is the end, as the physician produces health (wherefore the production of health is said to be the end of the physician); or in so far as man, in some fashion, uses or enjoys the thing which is the end; thus for the miser, money or the possession of money is the end. The same is to be said of the means. For the means must needs be either an action; or a thing, with some action intervening whereby man either makes the thing which is the means, or puts it to some use. And thus it is that choice is always in regard to human acts.

Reply Obj. 1: The organs are ordained to the end, inasmuch as man makes use of them for the sake of the end.

Reply Obj. 2: In contemplation itself there is the act of the intellect assenting to this or that opinion. It is exterior action that is put in contradistinction to contemplation.

Reply Obj. 3: When a man chooses someone for a bishopric or some high position in the state, he chooses to name that man to that post. Else, if he had no right to act in the appointment of the bishop or official, he would have no right to choose. Likewise, whenever we speak of one thing being chosen in preference to another, it is in conjunction with some action of the chooser.

^Q. 13


Art. 5: Whether choice is only of possible things?[edit]

It would seem that choice is not only of possible things.

Obj. 1: For choice is an act of the will, as stated above (A. 1). Now there is "a willing of impossibilities" (Ethic. iii, 2). Therefore there is also a choice of impossibilities.

Obj. 2: Further, choice is of things done by us, as stated above (A. 4). Therefore it matters not, as far as the act of choosing is concerned, whether one choose that which is impossible in itself, or that which is impossible to the chooser. Now it often happens that we are unable to accomplish what we choose: so that this proves to be impossible to us. Therefore choice is of the impossible.

Obj. 3: Further, to try to do a thing is to choose to do it. But the Blessed Benedict says (Regula lxviii) that if the superior command what is impossible, it should be attempted. Therefore choice can be of the impossible.

On the contrary, The Philosopher says (Ethic. iii, 2) that "there is no choice of impossibilities."

I answer that, As stated above (A. 4), our choice is always concerned with our actions. Now whatever is done by us, is possible to us. Therefore we must needs say that choice is only of possible things.

Moreover, the reason for choosing a thing is that it conduces to an end. But what is impossible cannot conduce to an end. A sign of this is that when men in taking counsel together come to something that is impossible to them, they depart, as being unable to proceed with the business.

Again, this is evident if we examine the previous process of the reason. For the means, which are the object of choice, are to the end, as the conclusion is to the principle. Now it is clear that an impossible conclusion does not follow from a possible principle. Wherefore an end cannot be possible, unless the means be possible. Now no one is moved to the impossible. Consequently no one would tend to the end, save for the fact that the means appear to be possible. Therefore the impossible is not the object of choice.

Reply Obj. 1: The will stands between the intellect and the external action: for the intellect proposes to the will its object, and the will causes the external action. Hence the principle of the movement in the will is to be found in the intellect, which apprehends something under the universal notion of good: but the term or perfection of the will's act is to be observed in its relation to the action whereby a man tends to the attainment of a thing; for the movement of the will is from the soul to the thing. Consequently the perfect act of the will is in respect of something that is good for one to do. Now this cannot be something impossible. Wherefore the complete act of the will is only in respect of what is possible and good for him that wills. But the incomplete act of the will is in respect of the impossible; and by some is called "velleity," because, to wit, one would will (vellet) such a thing, were it possible. But choice is an act of the will, fixed on something to be done by the chooser. And therefore it is by no means of anything but what is possible.

Reply Obj. 2: Since the object of the will is the apprehended good, we must judge of the object of the will according as it is apprehended. And so, just as sometimes the will tends to something which is apprehended as good, and yet is not really good; so is choice sometimes made of something apprehended as possible to the chooser, and yet impossible to him.

Reply Obj. 3: The reason for this is that the subject should not rely on his own judgment to decide whether a certain thing is possible; but in each case should stand by his superior's judgment.

^Q. 13


Art. 6: Whether man chooses of necessity or freely?[edit]

It would seem that man chooses of necessity.

Obj. 1: For the end stands in relation to the object of choice, as the principle of that which follows from the principles, as declared in Ethic. vii, 8. But conclusions follow of necessity from their principles. Therefore man is moved of necessity from (willing) the end of the choice (of the means).

Obj. 2: Further, as stated above (A. 1, ad 2), choice follows the reason's judgment of what is to be done. But reason judges of necessity about some things: on account of the necessity of the premises. Therefore it seems that choice also follows of necessity.

Obj. 3: Further, if two things are absolutely equal, man is not moved to one more than to the other; thus if a hungry man, as Plato says (Cf. De Coelo ii, 13), be confronted on either side with two portions of food equally appetizing and at an equal distance, he is not moved towards one more than to the other; and he finds the reason of this in the immobility of the earth in the middle of the world. Now, if that which is equally (eligible) with something else cannot be chosen, much less can that be chosen which appears as less (eligible). Therefore if two or more things are available, of which one appears to be more (eligible), it is impossible to choose any of the others. Therefore that which appears to hold the first place is chosen of necessity. But every act of choosing is in regard to something that seems in some way better. Therefore every choice is made necessarily.

On the contrary, Choice is an act of a rational power; which according to the Philosopher (Metaph. ix, 2) stands in relation to opposites.

I answer that, Man does not choose of necessity. And this is because that which is possible not to be, is not of necessity. Now the reason why it is possible not to choose, or to choose, may be gathered from a twofold power in man. For man can will and not will, act and not act; again, he can will this or that, and do this or that. The reason of this is seated in the very power of the reason. For the will can tend to whatever the reason can apprehend as good. Now the reason can apprehend as good, not only this, viz. "to will" or "to act," but also this, viz. "not to will" or "not to act." Again, in all particular goods, the reason can consider an aspect of some good, and the lack of some good, which has the aspect of evil: and in this respect, it can apprehend any single one of such goods as to be chosen or to be avoided. The perfect good alone, which is Happiness, cannot be apprehended by the reason as an evil, or as lacking in any way. Consequently man wills Happiness of necessity, nor can he will not to be happy, or to be unhappy. Now since choice is not of the end, but of the means, as stated above (A. 3); it is not of the perfect good, which is Happiness, but of other particular goods. Therefore man chooses not of necessity, but freely.

Reply Obj. 1: The conclusion does not always of necessity follow from the principles, but only when the principles cannot be true if the conclusion is not true. In like manner, the end does not always necessitate in man the choosing of the means, because the means are not always such that the end cannot be gained without them; or, if they be such, they are not always considered in that light.

Reply Obj. 2: The reason's decision or judgment of what is to be done is about things that are contingent and possible to us. In such matters the conclusions do not follow of necessity from principles that are absolutely necessary, but from such as are so conditionally; as, for instance, "If he runs, he is in motion."

Reply Obj. 3: If two things be proposed as equal under one aspect, nothing hinders us from considering in one of them some particular point of superiority, so that the will has a bent towards that one rather than towards the other.

^Q. 13

QUESTION 14: OF COUNSEL, WHICH PRECEDES CHOICE[edit]

^TOC ^b. Elicited Voluntary Acts ^D. Acts of the Will with Regard to the Means

We must now consider counsel; concerning which there are six points of inquiry:

(1) Whether counsel is an inquiry?

(2) Whether counsel is of the end or of the means?

(3) Whether counsel is only of things that we do?

(4) Whether counsel is of all things that we do?

(5) Whether the process of counsel is one of analysis?

(6) Whether the process of counsel is indefinite?


Art. 1: Whether counsel is an inquiry?[edit]

It would seem that counsel is not an inquiry.

Obj. 1: For Damascene says (De Fide Orth. ii, 22) that counsel is "an act of the appetite." But inquiry is not an act of the appetite. Therefore counsel is not an inquiry.

Obj. 2: Further, inquiry is a discursive act of the intellect: for which reason it is not found in God, Whose knowledge is not discursive, as we have shown in the First Part (Q. 14, A. 7). But counsel is ascribed to God: for it is written (Eph. 1:11) that "He worketh all things according to the counsel of His will." Therefore counsel is not inquiry.

Obj. 3: Further, inquiry is of doubtful matters. But counsel is given in matters that are certainly good; thus the Apostle says (1 Cor. 7:25): "Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord: but I give counsel." Therefore counsel is not an inquiry.

On the contrary, Gregory of Nyssa [*Nemesius, De Nat. Hom. xxxiv.] says: "Every counsel is an inquiry; but not every inquiry is a counsel."

I answer that, Choice, as stated above (Q. 13, A. 1, ad 2; A. 3), follows the judgment of the reason about what is to be done. Now there is much uncertainty in things that have to be done; because actions are concerned with contingent singulars, which by reason of their vicissitude, are uncertain. Now in things doubtful and uncertain the reason does not pronounce judgment, without previous inquiry: wherefore the reason must of necessity institute an inquiry before deciding on the objects of choice; and this inquiry is called counsel. Hence the Philosopher says (Ethic. iii, 2) that choice is the "desire of what has been already counselled."

Reply Obj. 1: When the acts of two powers are ordained to one another, in each of them there is something belonging to the other power: consequently each act can be denominated from either power. Now it is evident that the act of the reason giving direction as to the means, and the act of the will tending to these means according to the reason's direction, are ordained to one another. Consequently there is to be found something of the reason, viz. order, in that act of the will, which is choice: and in counsel, which is an act of reason, something of the will—both as matter (since counsel is of what man wills to do)—and as motive (because it is from willing the end, that man is moved to take counsel in regard to the means). And therefore, just as the Philosopher says (Ethic. vi, 2) that choice "is intellect influenced by appetite," thus pointing out that both concur in the act of choosing; so Damascene says (De Fide Orth. ii, 22) that counsel is "appetite based on inquiry," so as to show that counsel belongs, in a way, both to the will, on whose behalf and by whose impulsion the inquiry is made, and to the reason that executes the inquiry.

Reply Obj. 2: The things that we say of God must be understood without any of the defects which are to be found in us: thus in us science is of conclusions derived by reasoning from causes to effects: but science when said of God means sure knowledge of all effects in the First Cause, without any reasoning process. In like manner we ascribe counsel to God, as to the certainty of His knowledge or judgment, which certainty in us arises from the inquiry of counsel. But such inquiry has no place in God; wherefore in this respect it is not ascribed to God: in which sense Damascene says (De Fide Orth. ii, 22): "God takes not counsel: those only take counsel who lack knowledge."

Reply Obj. 3: It may happen that things which are most certainly good in the opinion of wise and spiritual men are not certainly good in the opinion of many, or at least of carnal-minded men. Consequently in such things counsel may be given.

^Q. 14


Art. 2: Whether counsel is of the end, or only of the means?[edit]

It would seem that counsel is not only of the means but also of the end.

Obj. 1: For whatever is doubtful, can be the subject of inquiry. Now in things to be done by man there happens sometimes a doubt as to the end and not only as to the means. Since therefore inquiry as to what is to be done is counsel, it seems that counsel can be of the end.

Obj. 2: Further, the matter of counsel is human actions. But some human actions are ends, as stated in Ethic. i, 1. Therefore counsel can be of the end.

On the contrary, Gregory of Nyssa [*Nemesius, De Nat. Hom. xxxiv.] says that "counsel is not of the end, but of the means."

I answer that, The end is the principle in practical matters: because the reason of the means is to be found in the end. Now the principle cannot be called in question, but must be presupposed in every inquiry. Since therefore counsel is an inquiry, it is not of the end, but only of the means. Nevertheless it may happen that what is the end in regard to some things, is ordained to something else; just as also what is the principle of one demonstration, is the conclusion of another: and consequently that which is looked upon as the end in one inquiry, may be looked upon as the means in another; and thus it will become an object of counsel.

Reply Obj. 1: That which is looked upon as an end, is already fixed: consequently as long as there is any doubt about it, it is not looked upon as an end. Wherefore if counsel is taken about it, it will be counsel not about the end, but about the means.

Reply Obj. 2: Counsel is about operations, in so far as they are ordained to some end. Consequently if any human act be an end, it will not, as such, be the matter of counsel.

^Q. 14


Art. 3: Whether counsel is only of things that we do?[edit]

It would seem that counsel is not only of things that we do.

Obj. 1: For counsel implies some kind of conference. But it is possible for many to confer about things that are not subject to movement, and are not the result of our actions, such as the nature of various things. Therefore counsel is not only of things that we do.

Obj. 2: Further, men sometimes seek counsel about things that are laid down by law; hence we speak of counsel at law. And yet those who seek counsel thus, have nothing to do in making the laws. Therefore counsel is not only of things that we do.

Obj. 3: Further, some are said to take consultation about future events; which, however, are not in our power. Therefore counsel is not only of things that we do.

Obj. 4: Further, if counsel were only of things that we do, no one would take counsel about what another does. But this is clearly untrue. Therefore counsel is not only of things that we do.

On the contrary, Gregory of Nyssa [*Nemesius, De Nat. Hom. xxxiv.] says: "We take counsel of things that are within our competency and that we are able to do."

I answer that, Counsel properly implies a conference held between several; the very word (consilium) denotes this, for it means a sitting together (considium), from the fact that many sit together in order to confer with one another. Now we must take note that in contingent particular cases, in order that anything be known for certain, it is necessary to take several conditions or circumstances into consideration, which it is not easy for one to consider, but are considered by several with greater certainty, since what one takes note of, escapes the notice of another; whereas in necessary and universal things, our view is brought to bear on matters much more absolute and simple, so that one man by himself may be sufficient to consider these things. Wherefore the inquiry of counsel is concerned, properly speaking, with contingent singulars. Now the knowledge of the truth in such matters does not rank so high as to be desirable of itself, as is the knowledge of things universal and necessary; but it is desired as being useful towards action, because actions bear on things singular and contingent. Consequently, properly speaking, counsel is about things done by us.

Reply Obj. 1: Counsel implies conference, not of any kind, but about what is to be done, for the reason given above.

Reply Obj. 2: Although that which is laid down by the law is not due to the action of him who seeks counsel, nevertheless it directs him in his action: since the mandate of the law is one reason for doing something.

Reply Obj. 3: Counsel is not only about what is done, but also about whatever has relation to what is done. And for this reason we speak of consulting about future events, in so far as man is induced to do or omit something, through the knowledge of future events.

Reply Obj. 4: We seek counsel about the actions of others, in so far as they are, in some way, one with us; either by union of affection—thus a man is solicitous about what concerns his friend, as though it concerned himself; or after the manner of an instrument, for the principal agent and the instrument are, in a way, one cause, since one acts through the other; thus the master takes counsel about what he would do through his servant.

^Q. 14


Art. 4: Whether counsel is about all things that we do?[edit]

It would seem that counsel is about all things that we have to do.

Obj. 1: For choice is the "desire of what is counselled" as stated above (A. 1). But choice is about all things that we do. Therefore counsel is too.

Obj. 2: Further, counsel implies the reason's inquiry. But, whenever we do not act through the impulse of passion, we act in virtue of the reason's inquiry. Therefore there is counsel about everything that we do.

Obj. 3: Further, the Philosopher says (Ethic. iii, 3) that "if it appears that something can be done by more means than one, we take counsel by inquiring whereby it may be done most easily and best; but if it can be accomplished by one means, how it can be done by this." But whatever is done, is done by one means or by several. Therefore counsel takes place in all things that we do.

On the contrary, Gregory of Nyssa [*Nemesius, De Nat. Hom. xxxiv.] says that "counsel has no place in things that are done according to science or art."

I answer that, Counsel is a kind of inquiry, as stated above (A. 1). But we are wont to inquire about things that admit of doubt; hence the process of inquiry, which is called an argument, "is a reason that attests something that admitted of doubt" [*Cicero, Topic. ad Trebat.]. Now, that something in relation to human acts admits of no doubt, arises from a twofold source. First, because certain determinate ends are gained by certain determinate means: as happens in the arts which are governed by certain fixed rules of action; thus a writer does not take counsel how to form his letters, for this is determined by art. Secondly, from the fact that it little matters whether it is done this or that way; this occurs in minute matters, which help or hinder but little with regard to the end aimed at; and reason looks upon small things as mere nothings. Consequently there are two things of which we do not take counsel, although they conduce to the end, as the Philosopher says (Ethic. iii, 3): namely, minute things, and those which have a fixed way of being done, as in works produced by art, with the exception of those arts that admit of conjecture such as medicine, commerce, and the like, as Gregory of Nyssa says [*Nemesius, De Nat. Hom. xxiv.].

Reply Obj. 1: Choice presupposes counsel by reason of its judgment or decision. Consequently when the judgment or decision is evident without inquiry, there is no need for the inquiry of counsel.

Reply Obj. 2: In matters that are evident, the reason makes no inquiry, but judges at once. Consequently there is no need of counsel in all that is done by reason.

Reply Obj. 3: When a thing can be accomplished by one means, but in different ways, doubt may arise, just as when it can be accomplished by several means: hence the need of counsel. But when not only the means, but also the way of using the means, is fixed, then there is no need of counsel.

^Q. 14


Art. 5: Whether the process of counsel is one of analysis?[edit]

It would seem that the process of counsel is not one of analysis.

Obj. 1: For counsel is about things that we do. But the process of our actions is not one of analysis, but rather one of synthesis, viz. from the simple to the composite. Therefore counsel does not always proceed by way of analysis.

Obj. 2: Further, counsel is an inquiry of the reason. But reason proceeds from things that precede to things that follow, according to the more appropriate order. Since then, the past precedes the present, and the present precedes the future, it seems that in taking counsel one should proceed from the past and present to the future: which is not an analytical process. Therefore the process of counsel is not one of analysis.

Obj. 3: Further, counsel is only of such things as are possible to us, according to Ethic. iii, 3. But the question as to whether a certain thing is possible to us, depends on what we are able or unable to do, in order to gain such and such an end. Therefore the inquiry of counsel should begin from things present.

On the contrary, The Philosopher says (Ethic. iii, 3) that "he who takes counsel seems to inquire and analyze."

I answer that, In every inquiry one must begin from some principle. And if this principle precedes both in knowledge and in being, the process is not analytic, but synthetic: because to proceed from cause to effect is to proceed synthetically, since causes are more simple than effects. But if that which precedes in knowledge is later in the order of being, the process is one of analysis, as when our judgment deals with effects, which by analysis we trace to their simple causes. Now the principle in the inquiry of counsel is the end, which precedes indeed in intention, but comes afterwards into execution. Hence the inquiry of counsel must needs be one of analysis, beginning that is to say, from that which is intended in the future, and continuing until it arrives at that which is to be done at once.

Reply Obj. 1: Counsel is indeed about action. But actions take their reason from the end; and consequently the order of reasoning about actions is contrary to the order of actions.

Reply Obj. 2: Reason begins with that which is first according to reason; but not always with that which is first in point of time.

Reply Obj. 3: We should not want to know whether something to be done for an end be possible, if it were not suitable for gaining that end. Hence we must first inquire whether it be conducive to the end, before considering whether it be possible.

^Q. 14


Art. 6: Whether the process of counsel is indefinite?[edit]

It would seem that the process of counsel is indefinite.

Obj. 1: For counsel is an inquiry about the particular things with which action is concerned. But singulars are infinite. Therefore the process of counsel is indefinite.

Obj. 2: Further, the inquiry of counsel has to consider not only what is to be done, but how to avoid obstacles. But every human action can be hindered, and an obstacle can be removed by some human reason. Therefore the inquiry about removing obstacles can go on indefinitely.

Obj. 3: Further, the inquiry of demonstrative science does not go on indefinitely, because one can come to principles that are self-evident, which are absolutely certain. But such like certainty is not to be had in contingent singulars, which are variable and uncertain. Therefore the inquiry of counsel goes on indefinitely.

On the contrary, "No one is moved to that which he cannot possibly reach" (De Coelo i, 7). But it is impossible to pass through the infinite. If therefore the inquiry of counsel is infinite, no one would begin to take counsel. Which is clearly untrue.

I answer that, The inquiry of counsel is actually finite on both sides, on that of its principle and on that of its term. For a twofold principle is available in the inquiry of counsel. One is proper to it, and belongs to the very genus of things pertaining to operation: this is the end which is not the matter of counsel, but is taken for granted as its principle, as stated above (A. 2). The other principle is taken from another genus, so to speak; thus in demonstrative sciences one science postulates certain things from another, without inquiring into them. Now these principles which are taken for granted in the inquiry of counsel are any facts received through the senses—for instance, that this is bread or iron: and also any general statements known either through speculative or through practical science; for instance, that adultery is forbidden by God, or that man cannot live without suitable nourishment. Of such things counsel makes no inquiry. But the term of inquiry is that which we are able to do at once. For just as the end is considered in the light of a principle, so the means are considered in the light of a conclusion. Wherefore that which presents itself as to be done first, holds the position of an ultimate conclusion whereat the inquiry comes to an end. Nothing however prevents counsel from being infinite potentially, for as much as an infinite number of things may present themselves to be inquired into by means of counsel.

Reply Obj. 1: Singulars are infinite; not actually, but only potentially.

Reply Obj. 2: Although human action can be hindered, the hindrance is not always at hand. Consequently it is not always necessary to take counsel about removing the obstacle.

Reply Obj. 3: In contingent singulars, something may be taken for certain, not simply, indeed, but for the time being, and as far as it concerns the work to be done. Thus that Socrates is sitting is not a necessary statement; but that he is sitting, as long as he continues to sit, is necessary; and this can be taken for a certain fact.

^Q. 14

QUESTION 15: OF CONSENT, WHICH IS AN ACT OF THE WILL IN REGARD TO THE MEANS[edit]

^TOC ^b. Elicited Voluntary Acts ^D. Acts of the Will with Regard to the Means

We must now consider consent; concerning which there are four points of inquiry:

(1) Whether consent is an act of the appetitive or of the apprehensive power?

(2) Whether it is to be found in irrational animals?

(3) Whether it is directed to the end or to the means?

(4) Whether consent to an act belongs to the higher part of the soul only?


Art. 1: Whether consent is an act of the appetitive or of the apprehensive power?[edit]

It would seem that consent belongs only to the apprehensive part of the soul.

Obj. 1: For Augustine (De Trin. xii, 12) ascribes consent to the higher reason. But the reason is an apprehensive power. Therefore consent belongs to an apprehensive power.

Obj. 2: Further, consent is "co-sense." But sense is an apprehensive power. Therefore consent is the act of an apprehensive power.

Obj. 3: Further, just as assent is an application of the intellect to something, so is consent. But assent belongs to the intellect, which is an apprehensive power. Therefore consent also belongs to an apprehensive power.

On the contrary, Damascene says (De Fide Orth. ii, 22) that "if a man judge without affection for that of which he judges, there is no sentence," i.e. consent. But affection belongs to the appetitive power. Therefore consent does also.

I answer that, Consent implies application of sense to something. Now it is proper to sense to take cognizance of things present; for the imagination apprehends the similitude of corporeal things, even in the absence of the things of which they bear the likeness; while the intellect apprehends universal ideas, which it can apprehend indifferently, whether the singulars be present or absent. And since the act of an appetitive power is a kind of inclination to the thing itself, the application of the appetitive power to the thing, in so far as it cleaves to it, gets by a kind of similitude, the name of sense, since, as it were, it acquires direct knowledge of the thing to which it cleaves, in so far as it takes complacency in it. Hence it is written (Wis. 1:1): "Think of (Sentite) the Lord in goodness." And on these grounds consent is an act of the appetitive power.

Reply Obj. 1: As stated in De Anima iii, 9, "the will is in the reason." Hence, when Augustine ascribes consent to the reason, he takes reason as including the will.

Reply Obj. 2: Sense, properly speaking, belongs to the apprehensive faculty; but by way of similitude, in so far as it implies seeking acquaintance, it belongs to the appetitive power, as stated above.

Reply Obj. 3: Assentire (to assent) is, to speak, ad aliud sentire (to feel towards something); and thus it implies a certain distance from that to which assent is given. But consentire (to consent) is "to feel with," and this implies a certain union to the object of consent. Hence the will, to which it belongs to tend to the thing itself, is more properly said to consent: whereas the intellect, whose act does not consist in a movement towards the thing, but rather the reverse, as we have stated in the First Part (Q. 16, A. 1; Q. 27, A. 4; Q. 59, A. 2), is more properly said to assent: although one word is wont to be used for the other [*In Latin rather than in English.]. We may also say that the intellect assents, in so far as it is moved by the will.

^Q. 15

Art. 2: Whether consent is to be found in irrational animals?[edit]

It would seem that consent is to be found in irrational animals.

Obj. 1: For consent implies a determination of the appetite to one thing. But the appetite of irrational animals is determinate to one thing. Therefore consent is to be found in irrational animals.

Obj. 2: Further, if you remove what is first, you remove what follows. But consent precedes the accomplished act. If therefore there were no consent in irrational animals, there would be no act accomplished; which is clearly false.

Obj. 3: Further, men are sometimes said to consent to do something, through some passion; desire, for instance, or anger. But irrational animals act through passion. Therefore they consent.

On the contrary, Damascene says (De Fide Orth. ii, 22) that "after judging, man approves and embraces the judgment of his counselling, and this is called the sentence," i.e. consent. But counsel is not in irrational animals. Therefore neither is consent.

I answer that, Consent, properly speaking, is not in irrational animals. The reason of this is that consent implies an application of the appetitive movement to something as to be done. Now to apply the appetitive movement to the doing of something, belongs to the subject in whose power it is to move the appetite: thus to touch a stone is an action suitable to a stick, but to apply the stick so that it touch the stone, belongs to one who has the power of moving the stick. But irrational animals have not the command of the appetitive movement; for this is in them through natural instinct. Hence in the irrational animal, there is indeed the movement of the appetite, but it does not apply that movement to some particular thing. And hence it is that the irrational animal is not properly said to consent: this is proper to the rational nature, which has the command of the appetitive movement, and is able to apply or not to apply it to this or that thing.

Reply Obj. 1: In irrational animals the determination of the appetite to a particular thing is merely passive: whereas consent implies a determination of the appetite, which is active rather than merely passive.

Reply Obj. 2: If the first be removed, then what follows is removed, provided that, properly speaking, it follow from that only. But if something can follow from several things, it is not removed by the fact that one of them is removed; thus if hardening is the effect of heat and of cold (since bricks are hardened by the fire, and frozen water is hardened by the cold), then by removing heat it does not follow that there is no hardening. Now the accomplishment of an act follows not only from consent, but also from the impulse of the appetite, such as is found in irrational animals.

Reply Obj. 3: The man who acts through passion is able not to follow the passion: whereas irrational animals have not that power. Hence the comparison fails.

^Q. 15


Art. 3: Whether consent is directed to the end or to the means?[edit]

It would seem that consent is directed to the end.

Obj. 1: Because that on account of which a thing is such is still more such. But it is on account of the end that we consent to the means. Therefore, still more do we consent to the end.

Obj. 2: Further, the act of the intemperate man is his end, just as the act of the virtuous man is his end. But the intemperate man consents to his own act. Therefore consent can be directed to the end.

Obj. 3: Further, desire of the means is choice, as stated above (Q. 13, A. 1). If therefore consent were only directed to the means it would nowise differ from choice. And this is proved to be false by the authority of Damascene who says (De Fide Orth. ii, 22) that "after the approval" which he calls "the sentence," "comes the choice." Therefore consent is not only directed to the means.

On the contrary, Damascene says (De Fide Orth. ii, 22) that the "sentence," i.e. the consent, takes place "when a man approves and embraces the judgment of his counsel." But counsel is only about the means. Therefore the same applies to consent.

I answer that, Consent is the application of the appetitive movement to something that is already in the power of him who causes the application. Now the order of action is this: First there is the apprehension of the end; then the desire of the end; then the counsel about the means; then the desire of the means. Now the appetite tends to the last end naturally: wherefore the application of the appetitive movement to the apprehended end has not the nature of consent, but of simple volition. But as to those things which come under consideration after the last end, in so far as they are directed to the end, they come under counsel: and so counsel can be applied to them, in so far as the appetitive movement is applied to the judgment resulting from counsel. But the appetitive movement to the end is not applied to counsel: rather is counsel applied to it, because counsel presupposes the desire of the end. On the other hand, the desire of the means presupposes the decision of counsel. And therefore the application of the appetitive movement to counsel's decision is consent, properly speaking. Consequently, since counsel is only about the means, consent, properly speaking, is of nothing else but the means.

Reply Obj. 1: Just as the knowledge of conclusions through the principles is science, whereas the knowledge of the principles is not science, but something higher, namely, understanding; so do we consent to the means on account of the end, in respect of which our act is not consent but something greater, namely, volition.

Reply Obj. 2: Delight in his act, rather than the act itself, is the end of the intemperate man, and for sake of this delight he consents to that act.

Reply Obj. 3: Choice includes something that consent has not, namely, a certain relation to something to which something else is preferred: and therefore after consent there still remains a choice. For it may happen that by aid of counsel several means have been found conducive to the end, and through each of these meeting with approval, consent has been given to each: but after approving of many, we have given our preference to one by choosing it. But if only one meets with approval, then consent and choice do not differ in reality, but only in our way of looking at them; so that we call it consent, according as we approve of doing that thing; but choice according as we prefer it to those that do not meet with our approval.

^Q. 15


Art. 4: Whether consent to the act belongs only to the higher part of the soul?[edit]

It would seem that consent to the act does not always belong to the higher reason.

Obj. 1: For "delight follows action, and perfects it, just as beauty perfects youth" [*oion tois akmaiois he hora—as youthful vigor perfects a man in his prime] (Ethic. x, 4). But consent to delight belongs to the lower reason, as Augustine says (De Trin. xii, 12). Therefore consent to the act does not belong only to the higher reason.

Obj. 2: Further, an act to which we consent is said to be voluntary. But it belongs to many powers to produce voluntary acts. Therefore the higher reason is not alone in consenting to the act.

Obj. 3: Further, "the higher reason is that which is intent on the contemplation and consultation of things eternal," as Augustine says (De Trin. xii, 7). But man often consents to an act not for eternal, but for temporal reasons, or even on account of some passion of the soul. Therefore consent to an act does not belong to the higher reason alone.

On the contrary, Augustine says (De Trin. xii, 12): "It is impossible for man to make up his mind to commit a sin, unless that mental faculty which has the sovereign power of urging his members to, or restraining them from, act, yield to the evil deed and become its slave."

I answer that, The final decision belongs to him who holds the highest place, and to whom it belongs to judge of the others; for as long as judgment about some matter remains to be pronounced, the final decision has not been given. Now it is evident that it belongs to the higher reason to judge of all: since it is by the reason that we judge of sensible things; and of things pertaining to human principles we judge according to Divine principles, which is the function of the higher reason. Wherefore as long as a man is uncertain whether he resists or not, according to Divine principles, no judgment of the reason can be considered in the light of a final decision. Now the final decision of what is to be done is consent to the act. Therefore consent to the act belongs to the higher reason; but in that sense in which the reason includes the will, as stated above (A. 1, ad 1).

Reply Obj. 1: Consent to delight in the work done belongs to the higher reason, as also does consent to the work; but consent to delight in thought belongs to the lower reason, just as to the lower reason it belongs to think. Nevertheless the higher reason exercises judgment on the fact of thinking or not thinking, considered as an action; and in like manner on the delight that results. But in so far as the act of thinking is considered as ordained to a further act, it belongs to the lower reason. For that which is ordained to something else, belongs to a lower art or power than does the end to which it is ordained: hence the art which is concerned with the end is called the master or principal art.

Reply Obj. 2: Since actions are called voluntary from the fact that we consent to them, it does not follow that consent is an act of each power, but of the will which is in the reason, as stated above (A. 1, ad 1), and from which the voluntary act is named.

Reply Obj. 3: The higher reason is said to consent not only because it always moves to act, according to the eternal reasons; but also because it fails to dissent according to those same reasons.

^Q. 15

QUESTION 16: OF USE, WHICH IS AN ACT OF THE WILL IN REGARD TO THE MEANS[edit]

^TOC ^b. Elicited Voluntary Acts ↓c. Commanded Voluntary Acts ^D. Acts of the Will with Regard to the Means

We must now consider use; concerning which there are four points of inquiry:

(1) Whether use is an act of the will?

(2) Whether it is to be found in irrational animals?

(3) Whether it regards the means only, or the end also?

(4) Of the relation of use to choice.


Art. 1: Whether use is an act of the will?[edit]

It would seem that use is not an act of the will.

Obj. 1: For Augustine says (De Doctr. Christ. i, 4) that "to use is to refer that which is the object of use to the obtaining of something else." But "to refer" something to another is an act of the reason to which it belongs to compare and to direct. Therefore use is an act of the reason and not of the will.

Obj. 2: Further, Damascene says (De Fide Orth. ii, 22) that man "goes forward to the operation, and this is called impulse; then he makes use (of the powers) and this is called use." But operation belongs to the executive power; and the act of the will does not follow the act of the executive power, on the contrary execution comes last. Therefore use is not an act of the will.

Obj. 3: Further, Augustine says (QQ. 83, qu. 30): "All things that were made were made for man's use, because reason with which man is endowed uses all things by its judgment of them." But judgment of things created by God belongs to the speculative reason; which seems to be altogether distinct from the will, which is the principle of human acts. Therefore use is not an act of the will.

On the contrary, Augustine says (De Trin. x, 11): "To use is to apply to something to purpose of the will."

I answer that, The use of a thing implies the application of that thing to an operation: hence the operation to which we apply a thing is called its use; thus the use of a horse is to ride, and the use of a stick is to strike. Now we apply to an operation not only the interior principles of action, viz. the powers of the soul or the members of the body; as the intellect, to understand; and the eye, to see; but also external things, as a stick, to strike. But it is evident that we do not apply external things to an operation save through the interior principles which are either the powers of the soul, or the habits of those powers, or the organs which are parts of the body. Now it has been shown above (Q. 9, A. 1) that it is the will which moves the soul's powers to their acts, and this is to apply them to operation. Hence it is evident that first and principally use belongs to the will as first mover; to the reason, as directing; and to the other powers as executing the operation, which powers are compared to the will which applies them to act, as the instruments are compared to the principal agent. Now action is properly ascribed, not to the instrument, but to the principal agent, as building is ascribed to the builder, not to his tools. Hence it is evident that use is, properly speaking, an act of the will.

Reply Obj. 1: Reason does indeed refer one thing to another; but the will tends to that which is referred by the reason to something else. And in this sense to use is to refer one thing to another.

Reply Obj. 2: Damascene is speaking of use in so far as it belongs to the executive powers.

Reply Obj. 3: Even the speculative reason is applied by the will to the act of understanding or judging. Consequently the speculative reason is said to use, in so far as it is moved by the will, in the same way as the other powers.

^Q. 16


Art. 2: Whether use is to be found in irrational animals?[edit]

It would seem that use is to be found in irrational animals.

Obj. 1: For it is better to enjoy than to use, because, as Augustine says (De Trin. x, 10): "We use things by referring them to something else which we are to enjoy." But enjoyment is to be found in irrational animals, as stated above (Q. 11, A. 2). Much more, therefore, is it possible for them to use.

Obj. 2: Further, to apply the members to action is to use them. But irrational animals apply their members to action; for instance, their feet, to walk; their horns, to strike. Therefore it is possible for irrational animals to use.

On the contrary, Augustine says (QQ. 83, qu. 30): "None but a rational animal can make use of a thing."

I answer that, as stated above (A. 1), to use is to apply an active principle to action: thus to consent is to apply the appetitive movement to the desire of something, as stated above (Q. 15, AA. 1, 2, 3). Now he alone who has the disposal of a thing, can apply it to something else; and this belongs to him alone who knows how to refer it to something else, which is an act of the reason. And therefore none but a rational animal consents and uses.

Reply Obj. 1: To enjoy implies the absolute movement of the appetite to the appetible: whereas to use implies a movement of the appetite to something as directed to something else. If therefore we compare use and enjoyment in respect of their objects, enjoyment is better than use; because that which is appetible absolutely is better than that which is appetible only as directed to something else. But if we compare them in respect of the apprehensive power that precedes them, greater excellence is required on the part of use: because to direct one thing to another is an act of reason; whereas to apprehend something absolutely is within the competency even of sense.

Reply Obj. 2: Animals by means of their members do something from natural instinct; not through knowing the relation of their members to these operations. Wherefore, properly speaking, they do not apply their members to action, nor do they use them.

^Q. 16


Art. 3: Whether use regards also the last end?[edit]

It would seem that use can regard also the last end.

Obj. 1: For Augustine says (De Trin. x, 11): "Whoever enjoys, uses." But man enjoys the last end. Therefore he uses the last end.

Obj. 2: Further, "to use is to apply something to the purpose of the will" (De Trin. x, 11). But the last end, more than anything else, is the object of the will's application. Therefore it can be the object of use.

Obj. 3: Further, Hilary says (De Trin. ii) that "Eternity is in the Father, Likeness in the Image," i.e. in the Son, "Use in the Gift," i.e. in the Holy Ghost. But the Holy Ghost, since He is God, is the last end. Therefore the last end can be the object of use.

On the contrary, Augustine says (QQ. 83, qu. 30): "No one rightly uses God, but one enjoys Him." But God alone is the last end. Therefore we cannot use the last end.

I answer that, Use, as stated above (A. 1), implies the application of one thing to another. Now that which is applied to another is regarded in the light of means to an end; and consequently use always regards the means. For this reason things that are adapted to a certain end are said to be "useful"; in fact their very usefulness is sometimes called use.

It must, however, be observed that the last end may be taken in two ways: first, simply; secondly, in respect of an individual. For since the end, as stated above (Q. 1, A. 8; Q. 2, A. 7), signifies sometimes the thing itself, and sometimes the attainment or possession of that thing (thus the miser's end is either money or the possession of it); it is evident that, simply speaking, the last end is the thing itself; for the possession of money is good only inasmuch as there is some good in money. But in regard to the individual, the obtaining of money is the last end; for the miser would not seek for money, save that he might have it. Therefore, simply and properly speaking, a man enjoys money, because he places his last end therein; but in so far as he seeks to possess it, he is said to use it.

Reply Obj. 1: Augustine is speaking of use in general, in so far as it implies the relation of an end to the enjoyment which a man seeks in that end.

Reply Obj. 2: The end is applied to the purpose of the will, that the will may find rest in it. Consequently this rest in the end, which is the enjoyment thereof, is in this sense called use of the end. But the means are applied to the will's purpose, not only in being used as means, but as ordained to something else in which the will finds rest.

Reply Obj. 3: The words of Hilary refer to use as applicable to rest in the last end; just as, speaking in a general sense, one may be said to use the end for the purpose of attaining it, as stated above. Hence Augustine says (De Trin. vi, 10) that "this love, delight, felicity, or happiness, is called use by him."

^Q. 16


Art. 4: Whether use precedes choice?[edit]

It would seem that use precedes choice.

Obj. 1: For nothing follows after choice, except execution. But use, since it belongs to the will, precedes execution. Therefore it precedes choice also.

Obj. 2: Further, the absolute precedes the relative. Therefore the less relative precedes the more relative. But choice implies two relations: one, of the thing chosen, in relation to the end; the other, of the thing chosen, in respect of that to which it is preferred; whereas use implies relation to the end only. Therefore use precedes choice.

Obj. 3: Further, the will uses the other powers in so far as it removes them. But the will moves itself, too, as stated above (Q. 9, A. 3). Therefore it uses itself, by applying itself to act. But it does this when it consents. Therefore there is use in consent. But consent precedes choice as stated above (Q. 15, A. 3, ad 3). Therefore use does also.

On the contrary, Damascene says (De Fide Orth. ii, 22) that "the will after choosing has an impulse to the operation, and afterwards it uses (the powers)." Therefore use follows choice.

I answer that, The will has a twofold relation to the thing willed. One, according as the thing willed is, in a way, in the willing subject, by a kind of proportion or order to the thing willed. Wherefore those things that are naturally proportionate to a certain end, are said to desire that end naturally. Yet to have an end thus is to have it imperfectly. Now every imperfect thing tends to perfection. And therefore both the natural and the voluntary appetite tend to have the end in reality; and this is to have it perfectly. This is the second relation of the will to the thing willed.

Now the thing willed is not only the end, but also the means. And the last act that belongs to the first relation of the will to the means, is choice; for there the will becomes fully proportionate, by willing the means fully. Use, on the other hand, belongs to the second relation of the will, in respect of which it tends to the realization of the thing willed. Wherefore it is evident that use follows choice; provided that by use we mean the will's use of the executive power in moving it. But since the will, in a way, moves the reason also, and uses it, we may take the use of the means, as consisting in the consideration of the reason, whereby it refers the means to the end. In this sense use precedes choice.

Reply Obj. 1: The motion of the will to the execution of the work, precedes execution, but follows choice. And so, since use belongs to that very motion of the will, it stands between choice and execution.

Reply Obj. 2: What is essentially relative is after the absolute; but the thing to which relation is referred need not come after. Indeed, the more a cause precedes, the more numerous the effects to which it has relation.

Reply Obj. 3: Choice precedes use, if they be referred to the same object. But nothing hinders the use of one thing preceding the choice of another. And since the acts of the will react on one another, in each act of the will we can find both consent and choice and use; so that we may say that the will consents to choose, and consents to consent, and uses itself in consenting and choosing. And such acts as are ordained to that which precedes, precede also.

^Q. 16

COMMANDED VOLUNTARY ACTS[edit]

^TOC ^^b. Elicited Voluntary Acts ↓d. The Division of Human Acts [^^D. Acts of the Will with Regard to the Means]

QUESTION 17: OF THE ACTS COMMANDED BY THE WILL[edit]

^TOC ^c. Commanded Voluntary Acts

We must now consider the acts commanded by the will; under which head there are nine points of inquiry:

(1) Whether command is an act of the will or of the reason?

(2) Whether command belongs to irrational animals?

(3) Of the order between command and use;

(4) Whether command and the commanded act are one act or distinct?

(5) Whether the act of the will is commanded?

(6) Whether the act of the reason is commanded?

(7) Whether the act of the sensitive appetite is commanded?

(8) Whether the act of the vegetal soul is commanded?

(9) Whether the acts of the external members are commanded?


Art. 1: Whether command is an act of the reason or of the will?[edit]

It would seem that command is not an act of the reason but of the will.

Obj. 1: For command is a kind of motion; because Avicenna says that there are four ways of moving, "by perfecting, by disposing, by commanding, and by counselling." But it belongs to the will to move all the other powers of the soul, as stated above (Q. 9, A. 1). Therefore command is an act of the will.

Obj. 2: Further, just as to be commanded belongs to that which is subject, so, seemingly, to command belongs to that which is most free. But the root of liberty is especially in the will. Therefore to command belongs to the will.

Obj. 3: Further, command is followed at once by act. But the act of the reason is not followed at once by act: for he who judges that a thing should be done, does not do it at once. Therefore command is not an act of the reason, but of the will.

On the contrary, Gregory of Nyssa [*Nemesius, De Nat. Hom. xvi.] and the Philosopher (Ethic. i, 13) say that "the appetite obeys reason." Therefore command is an act of the reason.

I answer that, Command is an act of the reason presupposing, however, an act of the will. In proof of this, we must take note that, since the acts of the reason and of the will can be brought to bear on one another, in so far as the reason reasons about willing, and the will wills to reason, the result is that the act of the reason precedes the act of the will, and conversely. And since the power of the preceding act continues in the act that follows, it happens sometimes that there is an act of the will in so far as it retains in itself something of an act of the reason, as we have stated in reference to use and choice; and conversely, that there is an act of the reason in so far as it retains in itself something of an act of the will.

Now, command is essentially indeed an act of the reason: for the commander orders the one commanded to do something, by way of intimation or declaration; and to order thus by intimating or declaring is an act of the reason. Now the reason can intimate or declare something in two ways. First, absolutely: and this intimation is expressed by a verb in the indicative mood, as when one person says to another: "This is what you should do." Sometimes, however, the reason intimates something to a man by moving him thereto; and this intimation is expressed by a verb in the imperative mood; as when it is said to someone: "Do this." Now the first mover, among the powers of the soul, to the doing of an act is the will, as stated above (Q. 9, A. 1). Since therefore the second mover does not move, save in virtue of the first mover, it follows that the very fact that the reason moves by commanding, is due to the power of the will. Consequently it follows that command is an act of the reason, presupposing an act of the will, in virtue of which the reason, by its command, moves (the power) to the execution of the act.

Reply Obj. 1: To command is to move, not anyhow, but by intimating and declaring to another; and this is an act of the reason.

Reply Obj. 2: The root of liberty is the will as the subject thereof; but it is the reason as its cause. For the will can tend freely towards various objects, precisely because the reason can have various perceptions of good. Hence philosophers define the free-will as being "a free judgment arising from reason," implying that reason is the root of liberty.

Reply Obj. 3: This argument proves that command is an act of reason not absolutely, but with a kind of motion as stated above.

^Q. 17


Art. 2: Whether command belongs to irrational animals?[edit]

It would seem that command belongs to irrational animals.

Obj. 1: Because, according to Avicenna, "the power that commands movement is the appetite; and the power that executes movement is in the muscles and nerves." But both powers are in irrational animals. Therefore command is to be found in irrational animals.

Obj. 2: Further, the condition of a slave is that of one who receives commands. But the body is compared to the soul as a slave to his master, as the Philosopher says (Polit. i, 2). Therefore the body is commanded by the soul, even in irrational animals, since they are composed of soul and body.

Obj. 3: Further, by commanding, man has an impulse towards an action. But impulse to action is to be found in irrational animals, as Damascene says (De Fide Orth. ii, 22). Therefore command is to be found in irrational animals.

On the contrary, Command is an act of reason, as stated above (A. 1). But in irrational animals there is no reason. Neither, therefore, is there command.

I answer that, To command is nothing else than to direct someone to do something, by a certain motion of intimation. Now to direct is the proper act of reason. Wherefore it is impossible that irrational animals should command in any way, since they are devoid of reason.

Reply Obj. 1: The appetitive power is said to command movement, in so far as it moves the commanding reason. But this is only in man. In irrational animals the appetitive power is not, properly speaking, a commanding faculty, unless command be taken loosely for motion.

Reply Obj. 2: The body of the irrational animal is competent to obey; but its soul is not competent to command, because it is not competent to direct. Consequently there is no ratio there of commander and commanded; but only of mover and moved.

Reply Obj. 3: Impulse to action is in irrational animals otherwise than in man. For the impulse of man to action arises from the directing reason; wherefore his impulse is one of command. On the other hand, the impulse of the irrational animal arises from natural instinct; because as soon as they apprehend the fitting or the unfitting, their appetite is moved naturally to pursue or to avoid. Wherefore they are directed by another to act; and they themselves do not direct themselves to act. Consequently in them is impulse but not command.

^Q. 17


Art. 3: Whether use precedes command?[edit]

It would seem that use precedes command.

Obj. 1: For command is an act of the reason presupposing an act of the will, as stated above (A. 1). But, as we have already shown (Q. 16, A. 1), use is an act of the will. Therefore use precedes command.

Obj. 2: Further, command is one of those things that are ordained to the end. But use is of those things that are ordained to the end. Therefore it seems that use precedes command.

Obj. 3: Further, every act of a power moved by the will is called use; because the will uses the other powers, as stated above (Q. 16, A. 1). But command is an act of the reason as moved by the will, as stated above (A. 1). Therefore command is a kind of use. Now the common precedes the proper. Therefore use precedes command.

On the contrary, Damascene says (De Fide Orth. ii, 22) that impulse to action precedes use. But impulse to operation is given by command. Therefore command precedes use.

I answer that, use of that which is directed to the end, in so far as it is in the reason referring this to the end, precedes choice, as stated above (Q. 16, A. 4). Wherefore still more does it precede command. On the other hand, use of that which is directed to the end, in so far as it is subject to the executive power, follows command; because use in the user is united to the act of the thing used; for one does not use a stick before doing something with the stick. But command is not simultaneous with the act of the thing to which the command is given: for it naturally precedes its fulfilment, sometimes, indeed, by priority of time. Consequently it is evident that command precedes use.

Reply Obj. 1: Not every act of the will precedes this act of the reason which is command; but an act of the will precedes, viz. choice; and an act of the will follows, viz. use. Because after counsel's decision, which is reason's judgment, the will chooses; and after choice, the reason commands that power which has to do what was chosen; and then, last of all, someone's will begins to use, by executing the command of reason; sometimes it is another's will, when one commands another; sometimes the will of the one that commands, when he commands himself to do something.

Reply Obj. 2: Just as act ranks before power, so does the object rank before the act. Now the object of use is that which is directed to the end. Consequently, from the fact that command [itself is directed to the end, it may be concluded that command] precedes, rather than that it follows use.

Reply Obj. 3: Just as the act of the will in using the reason for the purpose of command, precedes the command; so also we may say that this act whereby the will uses the reason, is preceded by a command of reason; since the acts of these powers react on one another.

^Q. 17


Art. 4: Whether command and the commanded act are one act, or distinct?[edit]

It would seem that the commanded act is not one with the command itself.

Obj. 1: For the acts of different powers are themselves distinct. But the commanded act belongs to one power, and the command to another; since one is the power that commands, and the other is the power that receives the command. Therefore the commanded act is not one with the command.

Obj. 2: Further, whatever things can be separate from one another, are distinct: for nothing is severed from itself. But sometimes the commanded act is separate from the command: for sometimes the command is given, and the commanded act follows not. Therefore command is a distinct act from the act commanded.

Obj. 3: Further, whatever things are related to one another as precedent and consequent, are distinct. But command naturally precedes the commanded act. Therefore they are distinct.

On the contrary, The Philosopher says (Topic. iii, 2) that "where one thing is by reason of another, there is but one." But there is no commanded act unless by reason of the command. Therefore they are one.

I answer that, Nothing prevents certain things being distinct in one respect, and one in another respect. Indeed, every multitude is one in some respect, as Dionysius says (Div. Nom. xiii). But a difference is to be observed in this, that some are simply many, and one in a particular aspect: while with others it is the reverse. Now "one" is predicated in the same way as "being." And substance is being simply, whereas accident or being "of reason" is a being only in a certain respect. Wherefore those things that are one in substance are one simply, though many in a certain respect. Thus, in the genus substance, the whole composed of its integral or essential parts, is one simply: because the whole is being and substance simply, and the parts are being and substances in the whole. But those things which are distinct in substance, and one according to an accident, are distinct simply, and one in a certain respect: thus many men are one people, and many stones are one heap; which is unity of composition or order. In like manner also many individuals that are one in genus or species are many simply, and one in a certain respect: since to be one in genus or species is to be one according to the consideration of the reason.

Now just as in the genus of natural things, a whole is composed of matter and form (e.g. man, who is one natural being, though he has many parts, is composed of soul and body); so, in human acts, the act of a lower power is in the position of matter in regard to the act of a higher power, in so far as the lower power acts in virtue of the higher power moving it: for thus also the act of the first mover is as the form in regard to the act of its instrument. Hence it is evident that command and the commanded act are one human act, just as a whole is one, yet in its parts, many.

Reply Obj. 1: If the distinct powers are not ordained to one another, their acts are diverse simply. But when one power is the mover of the other, then their acts are, in a way, one: since "the act of the mover and the act of the thing moved are one act" (Phys. iii, 3).

Reply Obj. 2: The fact that command and the commanded act can be separated from one another shows that they are different parts. Because the parts of a man can be separated from one another, and yet they form one whole.

Reply Obj. 3: In those things that are many in parts, but one as a whole, nothing hinders one part from preceding another. Thus the soul, in a way, precedes the body; and the heart, the other members.

^Q. 17


Art. 5: Whether the act of the will is commanded?[edit]

It would seem that the act of the will is not commanded.

Obj. 1: For Augustine says (Confess. viii, 9): "The mind commands the mind to will, and yet it does not." But to will is the act of the will. Therefore the act of the will is not commanded.

Obj. 2: Further, to receive a command belongs to one who can understand the command. But the will cannot understand the command; for the will differs from the intellect, to which it belongs to understand. Therefore the act of the will is not commanded.

Obj. 3: Further, if one act of the will is commanded, for the same reason all are commanded. But if all the acts of the will are commanded, we must needs proceed to infinity; because the act of the will precedes the act of reason commanding, as stated above (A. 1); for if that act of the will be also commanded, this command will be preceded by another act of the reason, and so on to infinity. But to proceed to infinity is not possible. Therefore the act of the will is not commanded.

On the contrary, Whatever is in our power, is subject to our command. But the acts of the will, most of all, are in our power; since all our acts are said to be in our power, in so far as they are voluntary. Therefore the acts of the will are commanded by us.

I answer that, As stated above (A. 1), command is nothing else than the act of the reason directing, with a certain motion, something to act. Now it is evident that the reason can direct the act of the will: for just as it can judge it to be good to will something, so it can direct by commanding man to will. From this it is evident that an act of the will can be commanded.

Reply Obj. 1: As Augustine says (Confess. viii, 9) when the mind commands itself perfectly to will, then already it wills: but that sometimes it commands and wills not, is due to the fact that it commands imperfectly. Now imperfect command arises from the fact that the reason is moved by opposite motives to command or not to command: wherefore it fluctuates between the two, and fails to command perfectly.

Reply Obj. 2: Just as each of the members of the body works not for itself alone but for the whole body; thus it is for the whole body that the eye sees; so is it with the powers of the soul. For the intellect understands, not for itself alone, but for all the powers; and the will wills not only for itself, but for all the powers too. Wherefore man, in so far as he is endowed with intellect and will, commands the act of the will for himself.

Reply Obj. 3: Since command is an act of reason, that act is commanded which is subject to reason. Now the first act of the will is not due to the direction of the reason but to the instigation of nature, or of a higher cause, as stated above (Q. 9, A. 4). Therefore there is no need to proceed to infinity.

^Q. 17


Art. 6: Whether the act of the reason is commanded?[edit]

It would seem that the act of the reason cannot be commanded.

Obj. 1: For it seems impossible for a thing to command itself. But it is the reason that commands, as stated above (A. 1). Therefore the act of the reason is not commanded.

Obj. 2: Further, that which is essential is different from that which is by participation. But the power whose act is commanded by reason, is rational by participation, as stated in Ethic. i, 13. Therefore the act of that power, which is essentially rational, is not commanded.

Obj. 3: Further, that act is commanded, which is in our power. But to know and judge the truth, which is the act of reason, is not always in our power. Therefore the act of the reason cannot be commanded.

On the contrary, That which we do of our free-will, can be done by our command. But the acts of the reason are accomplished through the free-will: for Damascene says (De Fide Orth. ii, 22) that "by his free-will man inquires, considers, judges, approves." Therefore the acts of the reason can be commanded.

I answer that, Since the reason reacts on itself, just as it directs the acts of other powers, so can it direct its own act. Consequently its act can be commanded.

But we must take note that the act of the reason may be considered in two ways. First, as to the exercise of the act. And considered thus, the act of the reason can always be commanded: as when one is told to be attentive, and to use one's reason. Secondly, as to the object; in respect of which two acts of the reason have to be noticed. One is the act whereby it apprehends the truth about something. This act is not in our power: because it happens in virtue of a natural or supernatural light. Consequently in this respect, the act of the reason is not in our power, and cannot be commanded. The other act of the reason is that whereby it assents to what it apprehends. If, therefore, that which the reason apprehends is such that it naturally assents thereto, e.g. the first principles, it is not in our power to assent or dissent to the like: assent follows naturally, and consequently, properly speaking, is not subject to our command. But some things which are apprehended do not convince the intellect to such an extent as not to leave it free to assent or dissent, or at least suspend its assent or dissent, on account of some cause or other; and in such things assent or dissent is in our power, and is subject to our command.

Reply Obj. 1: Reason commands itself, just as the will moves itself, as stated above (Q. 9, A. 3), that is to say, in so far as each power reacts on its own acts, and from one thing tends to another.

Reply Obj. 2: On account of the diversity of objects subject to the act of the reason, nothing prevents the reason from participating in itself: thus the knowledge of principles is participated in the knowledge of the conclusions.

The reply to the third object is evident from what has been said.

^Q. 17


Art. 7: Whether the act of the sensitive appetite is commanded?[edit]

It would seem that the act of the sensitive appetite is not commanded.

Obj. 1: For the Apostle says (Rom. 7:15): "For I do not that good which I will": and a gloss explains this by saying that man lusts, although he wills not to lust. But to lust is an act of the sensitive appetite. Therefore the act of the sensitive appetite is not subject to our command.

Obj. 2: Further, corporeal matter obeys God alone, to the effect of formal transmutation, as was shown in the First Part (Q. 65, A. 4; Q. 91, A. 2; Q. 110, A. 2). But the act of the sensitive appetite is accompanied by a formal transmutation of the body, consisting in heat or cold. Therefore the act of the sensitive appetite is not subject to man's command.

Obj. 3: Further, the proper motive principle of the sensitive appetite is something apprehended by sense or imagination. But it is not always in our power to apprehend something by sense or imagination. Therefore the act of the sensitive appetite is not subject to our command.

On the contrary, Gregory of Nyssa [*Nemesius, De Nat. Hom. xvi.] says: "That which obeys reason is twofold, the concupiscible and the irascible," which belong to the sensitive appetite. Therefore the act of the sensitive appetite is subject to the command of reason.

I answer that, An act is subject to our command, in so far as it is in our power, as stated above (A. 5). Consequently in order to understand in what manner the act of the sensitive appetite is subject to the command of reason, we must consider in what manner it is in our power. Now it must be observed that the sensitive appetite differs from the intellective appetite, which is called the will, in the fact that the sensitive appetite is a power of a corporeal organ, whereas the will is not. Again, every act of a power that uses a corporeal organ, depends not only on a power of the soul, but also on the disposition of that corporeal organ: thus the act of vision depends on the power of sight, and on the condition of the eye, which condition is a help or a hindrance to that act. Consequently the act of the sensitive appetite depends not only on the appetitive power, but also on the disposition of the body.

Now whatever part the power of the soul takes in the act, follows apprehension. And the apprehension of the imagination, being a particular apprehension, is regulated by the apprehension of reason, which is universal; just as a particular active power is regulated by a universal active power. Consequently in this respect the act of the sensitive appetite is subject to the command of reason. On the other hand, condition or disposition of the body is not subject to the command of reason: and consequently in this respect, the movement of the sensitive appetite is hindered from being wholly subject to the command of reason.

Moreover it happens sometimes that the movement of the sensitive appetite is aroused suddenly in consequence of an apprehension of the imagination of sense. And then such movement occurs without the command of reason: although reason could have prevented it, had it foreseen. Hence the Philosopher says (Polit. i, 2) that the reason governs the irascible and concupiscible not by a "despotic supremacy," which is that of a master over his slave; but by a "politic and royal supremacy," whereby the free are governed, who are not wholly subject to command.

Reply Obj. 1: That man lusts, although he wills not to lust, is due to a disposition of the body, whereby the sensitive appetite is hindered from perfect compliance with the command of reason. Hence the Apostle adds (Rom. 7:15): "I see another law in my members, fighting against the law of my mind." This may also happen through a sudden movement of concupiscence, as stated above.

Reply Obj. 2: The condition of the body stands in a twofold relation to the act of the sensitive appetite. First, as preceding it: thus a man may be disposed in one way or another, in respect of his body, to this or that passion. Secondly, as consequent to it: thus a man becomes heated through anger. Now the condition that precedes, is not subject to the command of reason: since it is due either to nature, or to some previous movement, which cannot cease at once. But the condition that is consequent, follows the command of reason: since it results from the local movement of the heart, which has various movements according to the various acts of the sensitive appetite.

Reply Obj. 3: Since the external sensible is necessary for the apprehension of the senses, it is not in our power to apprehend anything by the senses, unless the sensible be present; which presence of the sensible is not always in our power. For it is then that man can use his senses if he will so to do; unless there be some obstacle on the part of the organ. On the other hand, the apprehension of the imagination is subject to the ordering of reason, in proportion to the strength or weakness of the imaginative power. For that man is unable to imagine the things that reason considers, is either because they cannot be imagined, such as incorporeal things; or because of the weakness of the imaginative power, due to some organic indisposition.

^Q. 17


Art. 8: Whether the act of the vegetal soul is commanded?[edit]

It would seem that the acts of the vegetal soul are subject to the command of reason.

Obj. 1: For the sensitive powers are of higher rank than the vegetal powers. But the powers of the sensitive soul are subject to the command of reason. Much more, therefore, are the powers of the vegetal soul.

Obj. 2: Further, man is called a "little world" [*Aristotle, Phys. viii. 2], because the soul is in the body, as God is in the world. But God is in the world in such a way, that everything in the world obeys His command. Therefore all that is in man, even the powers of the vegetal soul, obey the command of reason.

Obj. 3: Further, praise and blame are awarded only to such acts as are subject to the command of reason. But in the acts of the nutritive and generative power, there is room for praise and blame, virtue and vice: as in the case of gluttony and lust, and their contrary virtues. Therefore the acts of these powers are subject to the command of reason.

On the contrary, Gregory of Nyssa [*Nemesius, De Nat. Hom. xxii.] says that "the nutritive and generative power is one over which the reason has no control."

I answer that, Some acts proceed from the natural appetite, others from the animal, or from the intellectual appetite: for every agent desires an end in some way. Now the natural appetite does not follow from some apprehension, as [d]o the animal and the intellectual appetite. But the reason commands by way of apprehensive power. Wherefore those acts that proceed from the intellective or the animal appetite, can be commanded by reason: but not those acts that proceed from the natural appetite. And such are the acts of the vegetal soul; wherefore Gregory of Nyssa (Nemesius, De Nat. Hom. xxii) says "that generation and nutrition belong to what are called natural powers." Consequently the acts of the vegetal soul are not subject to the command of reason.

Reply Obj. 1: The more immaterial an act is, the more noble it is, and the more is it subject to the command of reason. Hence the very fact that the acts of the vegetal soul do not obey reason, shows that they rank lowest.

Reply Obj. 2: The comparison holds in a certain respect: because, to wit, as God moves the world, so the soul moves the body. But it does not hold in every respect: for the soul did not create the body out of nothing, as God created the world; for which reason the world is wholly subject to His command.

Reply Obj. 3: Virtue and vice, praise and blame do not affect the acts themselves of the nutritive and generative power, i.e. digestion, and formation of the human body; but they affect the acts of the sensitive part, that are ordained to the acts of generation and nutrition; for example the desire for pleasure in the act of taking food or in the act of generation, and the right or wrong use thereof.

^Q. 17


Art. 9: Whether the acts of the external members are commanded?[edit]

It would seem that the members of the body do not obey reason as to their acts.

Obj. 1: For it is evident that the members of the body are more distant from the reason, than the powers of the vegetal soul. But the powers of the vegetal soul do not obey reason, as stated above (A. 8). Therefore much less do the members of the body obey.

Obj. 2: Further, the heart is the principle of animal movement. But the movement of the heart is not subject to the command of reason: for Gregory of Nyssa [*Nemesius, De Nat. Hom. xxii.] says that "the pulse is not controlled by reason." Therefore the movement of the bodily members is not subject to the command of reason.

Obj. 3: Further, Augustine says (De Civ. Dei xiv, 16) that "the movement of the genital members is sometimes inopportune and not desired; sometimes when sought it fails, and whereas the heart is warm with desire, the body remains cold." Therefore the movements of the members are not obedient to reason.

On the contrary, Augustine says (Confess. viii, 9): "The mind commands a movement of the hand, and so ready is the hand to obey, that scarcely can one discern obedience from command."

I answer that, The members of the body are organs of the soul's powers. Consequently according as the powers of the soul stand in respect of obedience to reason, so do the members of the body stand in respect thereof. Since then the sensitive powers are subject to the command of reason, whereas the natural powers are not; therefore all movements of members, that are moved by the sensitive powers, are subject to the command of reason; whereas those movements of members, that arise from the natural powers, are not subject to the command of reason.

Reply Obj. 1: The members do not move themselves, but are moved through the powers of the soul; of which powers, some are in closer contact with the reason than are the powers of the vegetal soul.

Reply Obj. 2: In things pertaining to intellect and will, that which is according to nature stands first, whence all other things are derived: thus from the knowledge of principles that are naturally known, is derived knowledge of the conclusions; and from volition of the end naturally desired, is derived the choice of the means. So also in bodily movements the principle is according to nature. Now the principle of bodily movements begins with the movement of the heart. Consequently the movement of the heart is according to nature, and not according to the will: for like a proper accident, it results from life, which follows from the union of soul and body. Thus the movement of heavy and light things results from their substantial form: for which reason they are said to be moved by their generator, as the Philosopher states (Phys. viii, 4). Wherefore this movement is called "vital." For which reason Gregory of Nyssa (Nemesius, De Nat. Hom. xxii) says that, just as the movement of generation and nutrition does not obey reason, so neither does the pulse which is a vital movement. By the pulse he means the movement of the heart which is indicated by the pulse veins.

Reply Obj. 3: As Augustine says (De Civ. Dei xiv, 17, 20) it is in punishment of sin that the movement of these members does not obey reason: in this sense, that the soul is punished for its rebellion against God, by the insubmission of that member whereby original sin is transmitted to posterity.

But because, as we shall state later on, the effect of the sin of our first parent was that his nature was left to itself, through the withdrawal of the supernatural gift which God had bestowed on man, we must consider the natural cause of this particular member's insubmission to reason. This is stated by Aristotle (De Causis Mot. Animal.) who says that "the movements of the heart and of the organs of generation are involuntary," and that the reason of this is as follows. These members are stirred at the occasion of some apprehension; in so far as the intellect and imagination represent such things as arouse the passions of the soul, of which passions these movements are a consequence. But they are not moved at the command of the reason or intellect, because these movements are conditioned by a certain natural change of heat and cold, which change is not subject to the command of reason. This is the case with these two organs in particular, because each is as it were a separate animal being, in so far as it is a principle of life; and the principle is virtually the whole. For the heart is the principle of the senses; and from the organ of generation proceeds the seminal virtue, which is virtually the entire animal. Consequently they have their proper movements naturally: because principles must needs be natural, as stated above (Reply Obj. 2).

^Q. 17

THE DIVISION OF HUMAN ACTS[edit]

^TOC ^^c. Commanded Voluntary Acts

We must now consider the good and evil of human acts.

First, how a human act is good or evil [QQ. 18-20];

secondly, what results from the good or evil of a human act, as merit or demerit, sin and guilt [Q. 21].


Under the first head there will be a threefold consideration:

the first will be of the good and evil of human acts, in general [Q. 18];

the second, of the good and evil of internal acts [Q. 19];

the third, of the good and evil of external acts [Q. 20].

QUESTION 18: OF THE GOOD AND EVIL OF HUMAN ACTS, IN GENERAL[edit]

^TOC ^d. The Division of Human Acts

Concerning the first there are eleven points of inquiry:

(1) Whether every human action is good, or are there evil actions?

(2) Whether the good or evil of a human action is derived from its object?

(3) Whether it is derived from a circumstance?

(4) Whether it is derived from the end?

(5) Whether a human action is good or evil in its species?

(6) Whether an action has the species of good or evil from its end?

(7) Whether the species derived from the end is contained under the species derived from the object, as under its genus, or conversely?

(8) Whether any action is indifferent in its species?

(9) Whether an individual action can be indifferent?

(10) Whether a circumstance places a moral action in the species of good or evil?

(11) Whether every circumstance that makes an action better or worse, places the moral action in the species of good or evil?


Art. 1: Whether every human action is good, or are there evil actions?[edit]

It would seem that every human action is good, and that none is evil.

Obj. 1: For Dionysius says (Div. Nom. iv) that evil acts not, save in virtue of the good. But no evil is done in virtue of the good. Therefore no action is evil.

Obj. 2: Further, nothing acts except in so far as it is in act. Now a thing is evil, not according as it is in act, but according as its potentiality is void of act; whereas in so far as its potentiality is perfected by act, it is good, as stated in Metaph. ix, 9. Therefore nothing acts in so far as it is evil, but only according as it is good. Therefore every action is good, and none is evil.

Obj. 3: Further, evil cannot be a cause, save accidentally, as Dionysius declares (Div. Nom. iv). But every action has some effect which is proper to it. Therefore no action is evil, but every action is good.

On the contrary, Our Lord said (John 3:20): "Every one that doth evil, hateth the light." Therefore some actions of man are evil.

I answer that, We must speak of good and evil in actions as of good and evil in things: because such as everything is, such is the act that it produces. Now in things, each one has so much good as it has being: since good and being are convertible, as was stated in the First Part (Q. 5, AA. 1, 3). But God alone has the whole plenitude of His Being in a certain unity: whereas every other thing has its proper fulness of being in a certain multiplicity. Wherefore it happens with some things, that they have being in some respect, and yet they are lacking in the fulness of being due to them. Thus the fulness of human being requires a compound of soul and body, having all the powers and instruments of knowledge and movement: wherefore if any man be lacking in any of these, he is lacking in something due to the fulness of his being. So that as much as he has of being, so much has he of goodness: while so far as he is lacking in goodness, and is said to be evil: thus a blind man is possessed of goodness inasmuch as he lives; and of evil, inasmuch as he lacks sight. That, however, which has nothing of being or goodness, could not be said to be either evil or good. But since this same fulness of being is of the very essence of good, if a thing be lacking in its due fulness of being, it is not said to be good simply, but in a certain respect, inasmuch as it is a being; although it can be called a being simply, and a non-being in a certain respect, as was stated in the First Part (Q. 5, A. 1, ad 1). We must therefore say that every action has goodness, in so far as it has being; whereas it is lacking in goodness, in so far as it is lacking in something that is due to its fulness of being; and thus it is said to be evil: for instance if it lacks the quantity determined by reason, or its due place, or something of the kind.

Reply Obj. 1: Evil acts in virtue of deficient goodness. For if there were nothing of good there, there would be neither being nor possibility of action. On the other hand if good were not deficient, there would be no evil. Consequently the action done is a deficient good, which is good in a certain respect, but simply evil.

Reply Obj. 2: Nothing hinders a thing from being in act in a certain respect, so that it can act; and in a certain respect deficient in act, so as to cause a deficient act. Thus a blind man has in act the power of walking, whereby he is able to walk; but inasmuch as he is deprived of sight he suffers a defect in walking by stumbling when he walks.

Reply Obj. 3: An evil action can have a proper effect, according to the goodness and being that it has. Thus adultery is the cause of human generation, inasmuch as it implies union of male and female, but not inasmuch as it lacks the order of reason.

^Q. 18


Art. 2: Whether the good or evil of a man's action is derived from its object?[edit]

It would seem that the good or evil of an action is not derived from its object.

Obj. 1: For the object of any action is a thing. But "evil is not in things, but in the sinner's use of them," as Augustine says (De Doctr. Christ. iii, 12). Therefore the good or evil of a human action is not derived from their object.

Obj. 2: Further, the object is compared to the action as its matter. But the goodness of a thing is not from its matter, but rather from the form, which is an act. Therefore good and evil in actions is not derived from their object.

Obj. 3: Further, the object of an active power is compared to the action as effect to cause. But the goodness of a cause does not depend on its effect; rather is it the reverse. Therefore good or evil in actions is not derived from their object.

On the contrary, It is written (Osee 9:10): "They became abominable as those things which they loved." Now man becomes abominable to God on account of the malice of his action. Therefore the malice of his action is according to the evil objects that man loves. And the same applies to the goodness of his action.

I answer that, as stated above (A. 1) the good or evil of an action, as of other things, depends on its fulness of being or its lack of that fulness. Now the first thing that belongs to the fulness of being seems to be that which gives a thing its species. And just as a natural thing has its species from its form, so an action has its species from its object, as movement from its term. And therefore just as the primary goodness of a natural thing is derived from its form, which gives it its species, so the primary goodness of a moral action is derived from its suitable object: hence some call such an action "good in its genus"; for instance, "to make use of what is one's own." And just as, in natural things, the primary evil is when a generated thing does not realize its specific form (for instance, if instead of a man, something else be generated); so the primary evil in moral actions is that which is from the object, for instance, "to take what belongs to another." And this action is said to be "evil in its genus," genus here standing for species, just as we apply the term "mankind" to the whole human species.

Reply Obj. 1: Although external things are good in themselves, nevertheless they have not always a due proportion to this or that action. And so, inasmuch as they are considered as objects of such actions, they have not the quality of goodness.

Reply Obj. 2: The object is not the matter "of which" (a thing is made), but the matter "about which" (something is done); and stands in relation to the act as its form, as it were, through giving it its species.

Reply Obj. 3: The object of the human action is not always the object of an active power. For the appetitive power is, in a way, passive; in so far as it is moved by the appetible object; and yet it is a principle of human actions. Nor again have the objects of the active powers always the nature of an effect, but only when they are already transformed: thus food when transformed is the effect of the nutritive power; whereas food before being transformed stands in relation to the nutritive power as the matter about which it exercises its operation. Now since the object is in some way the effect of the active power, it follows that it is the term of its action, and consequently that it gives it its form and species, since movement derives its species from its term. Moreover, although the goodness of an action is not caused by the goodness of its effect, yet an action is said to be good from the fact that it can produce a good effect. Consequently the very proportion of an action to its effect is the measure of its goodness.

^Q. 18


Art. 3: Whether man's action is good or evil from a circumstance?[edit]

It would seem that an action is not good or evil from a circumstance. For circumstances stand around (circumstant) an action, as being outside it, as stated above (Q. 7, A. 1). But "good and evil are in things themselves," as is stated in Metaph. vi, 4. Therefore an action does not derive goodness or malice from a circumstance.

Obj. 2: Further, the goodness or malice of an action is considered principally in the doctrine of morals. But since circumstances are accidents of actions, it seems that they are outside the scope of art: because "no art takes notice of what is accidental" (Metaph. vi, 2). Therefore the goodness or malice of an action is not taken from a circumstance.

Obj. 3: Further, that which belongs to a thing, in respect of its substance, is not ascribed to it in respect of an accident. But good and evil belong to an action in respect of its substance; because an action can be good or evil in its genus as stated above (A. 2). Therefore an action is not good or bad from a circumstance.

On the contrary, the Philosopher says (Ethic. ii, 3) that a virtuous man acts as he should, and when he should, and so on in respect of the other circumstances. Therefore, on the other hand, the vicious man, in the matter of each vice, acts when he should not, or where he should not, and so on with the other circumstances. Therefore human actions are good or evil according to circumstances.

I answer that, In natural things, it is to be noted that the whole fulness of perfection due to a thing, is not from the mere substantial form, that gives it its species; since a thing derives much from supervening accidents, as man does from shape, color, and the like; and if any one of these accidents be out of due proportion, evil is the result. So it is with action. For the plenitude of its goodness does not consist wholly in its species, but also in certain additions which accrue to it by reason of certain accidents: and such are its due circumstances. Wherefore if something be wanting that is requisite as a due circumstance the action will be evil.

Reply Obj. 1: Circumstances are outside an action, inasmuch as they are not part of its essence; but they are in an action as accidents thereof. Thus, too, accidents in natural substances are outside the essence.

Reply Obj. 2: Every accident is not accidentally in its subject; for some are proper accidents; and of these every art takes notice. And thus it is that the circumstances of actions are considered in the doctrine of morals.

Reply Obj. 3: Since good and being are convertible; according as being is predicated of substance and of accident, so is good predicated of a thing both in respect of its essential being, and in respect of its accidental being; and this, both in natural things and in moral actions.

^Q. 18


Art. 4: Whether a human action is good or evil from its end?[edit]

It would seem that the good and evil in human actions are not from the end.

Obj. 1: For Dionysius says (Div. Nom. iv) that "nothing acts with a view to evil." If therefore an action were good or evil from its end, no action would be evil. Which is clearly false.

Obj. 2: Further, the goodness of an action is something in the action. But the end is an extrinsic cause. Therefore an action is not said to be good or bad according to its end.

Obj. 3: Further, a good action may happen to be ordained to an evil end, as when a man gives an alms from vainglory; and conversely, an evil action may happen to be ordained to a good end, as a theft committed in order to give something to the poor. Therefore an action is not good or evil from its end.

On the contrary, Boethius says (De Differ. Topic. ii) that "if the end is good, the thing is good, and if the end be evil, the thing also is evil."

I answer that, The disposition of things as to goodness is the same as their disposition as to being. Now in some things the being does not depend on another, and in these it suffices to consider their being absolutely. But there are things the being of which depends on something else, and hence in their regard we must consider their being in its relation to the cause on which it depends. Now just as the being of a thing depends on the agent, and the form, so the goodness of a thing depends on its end. Hence in the Divine Persons, Whose goodness does not depend on another, the measure of goodness is not taken from the end. Whereas human actions, and other things, the goodness of which depends on something else, have a measure of goodness from the end on which they depend, besides that goodness which is in them absolutely.

Accordingly a fourfold goodness may be considered in a human action. First, that which, as an action, it derives from its genus; because as much as it has of action and being so much has it of goodness, as stated above (A. 1). Secondly, it has goodness according to its species; which is derived from its suitable object. Thirdly, it has goodness from its circumstances, in respect, as it were, of its accidents. Fourthly, it has goodness from its end, to which it is compared as to the cause of its goodness.

Reply Obj. 1: The good in view of which one acts is not always a true good; but sometimes it is a true good, sometimes an apparent good. And in the latter event, an evil action results from the end in view.

Reply Obj. 2: Although the end is an extrinsic cause, nevertheless due proportion to the end, and relation to the end, are inherent to the action.

Reply Obj. 3: Nothing hinders an action that is good in one of the ways mentioned above, from lacking goodness in another way. And thus it may happen that an action which is good in its species or in its circumstances is ordained to an evil end, or vice versa. However, an action is not good simply, unless it is good in all those ways: since "evil results from any single defect, but good from the complete cause," as Dionysius says (Div. Nom. iv).

^Q. 18


Art. 5: Whether a human action is good or evil in its species?[edit]

It would seem that good and evil in moral actions do not make a difference of species.

Obj. 1: For the existence of good and evil in actions is in conformity with their existence in things, as stated above (A. 1). But good and evil do not make a specific difference in things; for a good man is specifically the same as a bad man. Therefore neither do they make a specific difference in actions.

Obj. 2: Further, since evil is a privation, it is a non-being. But non-being cannot be a difference, according to the Philosopher (Metaph. iii, 3). Since therefore the difference constitutes the species, it seems that an action is not constituted in a species through being evil. Consequently good and evil do not diversify the species of human actions.

Obj. 3: Further, acts that differ in species produce different effects. But the same specific effect results from a good and from an evil action: thus a man is born of adulterous or of lawful wedlock. Therefore good and evil actions do not differ in species.

Obj. 4: Further, actions are sometimes said to be good or bad from a circumstance, as stated above (A. 3). But since a circumstance is an accident, it does not give an action its species. Therefore human actions do not differ in species on account of their goodness or malice.

On the contrary, According to the Philosopher (Ethic ii. 1) "like habits produce like actions." But a good and a bad habit differ in species, as liberality and prodigality. Therefore also good and bad actions differ in species.

I answer that, Every action derives its species from its object, as stated above (A. 2). Hence it follows that a difference of object causes a difference of species in actions. Now, it must be observed that a difference of objects causes a difference of species in actions, according as the latter are referred to one active principle, which does not cause a difference in actions, according as they are referred to another active principle. Because nothing accidental constitutes a species, but only that which is essential; and a difference of object may be essential in reference to one active principle, and accidental in reference to another. Thus to know color and to know sound, differ essentially in reference to sense, but not in reference to the intellect.

Now in human actions, good and evil are predicated in reference to the reason; because as Dionysius says (Div. Nom. iv), "the good of man is to be in accordance with reason," and evil is "to be against reason." For that is good for a thing which suits it in regard to its form; and evil, that which is against the order of its form. It is therefore evident that the difference of good and evil considered in reference to the object is an essential difference in relation to reason; that is to say, according as the object is suitable or unsuitable to reason. Now certain actions are called human or moral, inasmuch as they proceed from the reason. Consequently it is evident that good and evil diversify the species in human actions; since essential differences cause a difference of species.

Reply Obj. 1: Even in natural things, good and evil, inasmuch as something is according to nature, and something against nature, diversify the natural species; for a dead body and a living body are not of the same species. In like manner, good, inasmuch as it is in accord with reason, and evil, inasmuch as it is against reason, inasmuch as it is against reason, diversify the moral species.

Reply Obj. 2: Evil implies privation, not absolute, but affecting some potentiality. For an action is said to be evil in its species, not because it has no object at all; but because it has an object in disaccord with reason, for instance, to appropriate another's property. Wherefore in so far as the object is something positive, it can constitute the species of an evil act.

Reply Obj. 3: The conjugal act and adultery, as compared to reason, differ specifically and have effects specifically different; because the other deserves praise and reward, the other, blame and punishment. But as compared to the generative power, they do not differ in species; and thus they have one specific effect.

Reply Obj. 4: A circumstance is sometimes taken as the essential difference of the object, as compared to reason; and then it can specify a moral act. And it must needs be so whenever a circumstance transforms an action from good to evil; for a circumstance would not make an action evil, except through being repugnant to reason.

^Q. 18


Art. 6: Whether an action has the species of good or evil from its end?[edit]

It would seem that the good and evil which are from the end do not diversify the species of actions.

Obj. 1: For actions derive their species from the object. But the end is altogether apart from the object. Therefore the good and evil which are from the end do not diversify the species of an action.

Obj. 2: Further, that which is accidental does not constitute the species, as stated above (A. 5). But it is accidental to an action to be ordained to some particular end; for instance, to give alms from vainglory. Therefore actions are not diversified as to species, according to the good and evil which are from the end.

Obj. 3: Further, acts that differ in species, can be ordained to the same end: thus to the end of vainglory, actions of various virtues and vices can be ordained. Therefore the good and evil which are taken from the end, do not diversify the species of action.

On the contrary, It has been shown above (Q. 1, A. 3) that human actions derive their species from the end. Therefore good and evil in respect of the end diversify the species of actions.

I answer that, Certain actions are called human, inasmuch as they are voluntary, as stated above (Q. 1, A. 1). Now, in a voluntary action, there is a twofold action, viz. the interior action of the will, and the external action: and each of these actions has its object. The end is properly the object of the interior act of the will: while the object of the external action, is that on which the action is brought to bear. Therefore just as the external action takes its species from the object on which it bears; so the interior act of the will takes its species from the end, as from its own proper object.

Now that which is on the part of the will is formal in regard to that which is on the part of the external action: because the will uses the limbs to act as instruments; nor have external actions any measure of morality, save in so far as they are voluntary. Consequently the species of a human act is considered formally with regard to the end, but materially with regard to the object of the external action. Hence the Philosopher says (Ethic. v, 2) that "he who steals that he may commit adultery, is strictly speaking, more adulterer than thief."

Reply Obj. 1: The end also has the character of an object, as stated above.

Reply Obj. 2: Although it is accidental to the external action to be ordained to some particular end, it is not accidental to the interior act of the will, which act is compared to the external act, as form to matter.

Reply Obj. 3: When many actions, differing in species, are ordained to the same end, there is indeed a diversity of species on the part of the external actions; but unity of species on the part of the internal action.

^Q. 18


Art. 7: Whether the species derived from the end is contained under the species derived from the object, as under its genus, or conversely?[edit]

It would seem that the species of goodness derived from the end is contained under the species of goodness derived from the object, as a species is contained under its genus; for instance, when a man commits a theft in order to give alms.

Obj. 1: For an action takes its species from its object, as stated above (AA. 2, 6). But it is impossible for a thing to be contained under another species, if this species be not contained under the proper species of that thing; because the same thing cannot be contained in different species that are not subordinate to one another. Therefore the species which is taken from the end, is contained under the species which is taken from the object.

Obj. 2: Further, the last difference always constitutes the most specific species. But the difference derived from the end seems to come after the difference derived from the object: because the end is something last. Therefore the species derived from the end, is contained under the species derived from the object, as its most specific species.

Obj. 3: Further, the more formal a difference is, the more specific it is: because difference is compared to genus, as form to matter. But the species derived from the end, is more formal than that which is derived from the object, as stated above (A. 6). Therefore the species derived from the end is contained under the species derived from the object, as the most specific species is contained under the subaltern genus.

On the contrary, Each genus has its determinate differences. But an action of one same species on the part of its object, can be ordained to an infinite number of ends: for instance, theft can be ordained to an infinite number of good and bad ends. Therefore the species derived from the end is not contained under the species derived from the object, as under its genus.

I answer that, The object of the external act can stand in a twofold relation to the end of the will: first, as being of itself ordained thereto; thus to fight well is of itself ordained to victory; secondly, as being ordained thereto accidentally; thus to take what belongs to another is ordained accidentally to the giving of alms. Now the differences that divide a genus, and constitute the species of that genus, must, as the Philosopher says (Metaph. vii, 12), divide that genus essentially: and if they divide it accidentally, the division is incorrect: as, if one were to say: "Animals are divided into rational and irrational; and the irrational into animals with wings, and animals without wings"; for "winged" and "wingless" are not essential determinations of the irrational being. But the following division would be correct: "Some animals have feet, some have no feet: and of those that have feet, some have two feet, some four, some many": because the latter division is an essential determination of the former. Accordingly when the object is not of itself ordained to the end, the specific difference derived from the object is not an essential determination of the species derived from the end, nor is the reverse the case. Wherefore one of these species is not under the other; but then the moral action is contained under two species that are disparate, as it were. Consequently we say that he that commits theft for the sake of adultery, is guilty of a twofold malice in one action. On the other hand, if the object be of itself ordained to the end, one of these differences is an essential determination of the other. Wherefore one of these species will be contained under the other.

It remains to be considered which of the two is contained under the other. In order to make this clear, we must first of all observe that the more particular the form is from which a difference is taken, the more specific is the difference. Secondly, that the more universal an agent is, the more universal a form does it cause. Thirdly, that the more remote an end is, the more universal the agent to which it corresponds; thus victory, which is the last end of the army, is the end intended by the commander in chief; while the right ordering of this or that regiment is the end intended by one of the lower officers. From all this it follows that the specific difference derived from the end, is more general; and that the difference derived from an object which of itself is ordained to that end, is a specific difference in relation to the former. For the will, the proper object of which is the end, is the universal mover in respect of all the powers of the soul, the proper objects of which are the objects of their particular acts.

Reply Obj. 1: One and the same thing, considered in its substance, cannot be in two species, one of which is not subordinate to the other. But in respect of those things which are superadded to the substance, one thing can be contained under different species. Thus one and the same fruit, as to its color, is contained under one species, i.e. a white thing: and, as to its perfume, under the species of sweet-smelling things. In like manner an action which, as to its substance, is in one natural species, considered in respect to the moral conditions that are added to it, can belong to two species, as stated above (Q. 1, A. 3, ad 3).

Reply Obj. 2: The end is last in execution; but first in the intention of the reason, in regard to which moral actions receive their species.

Reply Obj. 3: Difference is compared to genus as form to matter, inasmuch as it actualizes the genus. On the other hand, the genus is considered as more formal than the species, inasmuch as it is something more absolute and less contracted. Wherefore also the parts of a definition are reduced to the genus of formal cause, as is stated in Phys. ii, 3. And in this sense the genus is the formal cause of the species; and so much the more formal, as it is more universal.

^Q. 18


Art. 8: Whether any action is indifferent in its species?[edit]

It would seem that no action is indifferent in its species.

Obj. 1: For evil is the privation of good, according to Augustine (Enchiridion xi). But privation and habit are immediate contraries, according to the Philosopher (Categor. viii). Therefore there is not such thing as an action that is indifferent in its species, as though it were between good and evil.

Obj. 2: Further, human actions derive their species from their end or object, as stated above (A. 6; Q. 1, A. 3). But every end and every object is either good or bad. Therefore every human action is good or evil according to its species. None, therefore, is indifferent in its species.

Obj. 3: Further, as stated above (A. 1), an action is said to be good, when it has its due complement of goodness; and evil, when it lacks that complement. But every action must needs either have the entire plenitude of its goodness, or lack it in some respect. Therefore every action must needs be either good or bad in its species, and none is indifferent.

On the contrary, Augustine says (De Serm. Dom. in Monte ii, 18) that "there are certain deeds of a middle kind, which can be done with a good or evil mind, of which it is rash to form a judgment." Therefore some actions are indifferent according to their species.

I answer that, As stated above (AA. 2, 5), every action takes its species from its object; while human action, which is called moral, takes its species from the object, in relation to the principle of human actions, which is the reason. Wherefore if the object of an action includes something in accord with the order of reason, it will be a good action according to its species; for instance, to give alms to a person in want. On the other hand, if it includes something repugnant to the order of reason, it will be an evil act according to its species; for instance, to steal, which is to appropriate what belongs to another. But it may happen that the object of an action does not include something pertaining to the order of reason; for instance, to pick up a straw from the ground, to walk in the fields, and the like: and such actions are indifferent according to their species.

Reply Obj. 1: Privation is twofold. One is privation "as a result" (privatum esse), and this leaves nothing, but takes all away: thus blindness takes away sight altogether; darkness, light; and death, life. Between this privation and the contrary habit, there can be no medium in respect of the proper subject. The other is privation "in process" (privari): thus sickness is privation of health; not that it takes health away altogether, but that it is a kind of road to the entire loss of health, occasioned by death. And since this sort of privation leaves something, it is not always the immediate contrary of the opposite habit. In this way evil is a privation of good, as Simplicius says in his commentary on the Categories: because it does not take away all good, but leaves some. Consequently there can be something between good and evil.

Reply Obj. 2: Every object or end has some goodness or malice, at least natural to it: but this does not imply moral goodness or malice, which is considered in relation to the reason, as stated above. And it is of this that we are here treating.

Reply Obj. 3: Not everything belonging to an action belongs also to its species. Wherefore although an action's specific nature may not contain all that belongs to the full complement of its goodness, it is not therefore an action specifically bad; nor is it specifically good. Thus a man in regard to his species is neither virtuous nor wicked.

^Q. 18


Art. 9: Whether an individual action can be indifferent?[edit]

It would seem that an individual action can be indifferent.

Obj. 1: For there is no species that does not, or cannot, contain an individual. But an action can be indifferent in its species, as stated above (A. 8). Therefore an individual action can be indifferent.

Obj. 2: Further, individual actions cause like habits, as stated in Ethic. ii, 1. But a habit can be indifferent: for the Philosopher says (Ethic. iv, 1) that those who are of an even temper and prodigal disposition are not evil; and yet it is evident that they are not good, since they depart from virtue; and thus they are indifferent in respect of a habit. Therefore some individual actions are indifferent.

Obj. 3: Further, moral good belongs to virtue, while moral evil belongs to vice. But it happens sometimes that a man fails to ordain a specifically indifferent action to a vicious or virtuous end. Therefore an individual action may happen to be indifferent.

On the contrary, Gregory says in a homily (vi in Evang.): "An idle word is one that lacks either the usefulness of rectitude or the motive of just necessity or pious utility." But an idle word is an evil, because "men . . . shall render an account of it in the day of judgment" (Matt. 12:36): while if it does not lack the motive of just necessity or pious utility, it is good. Therefore every word is either good or bad. For the same reason every other action is either good or bad. Therefore no individual action is indifferent.

I answer that, It sometimes happens that an action is indifferent in its species, but considered in the individual it is good or evil. And the reason of this is because a moral action, as stated above (A. 3), derives its goodness not only from its object, whence it takes its species; but also from the circumstances, which are its accidents, as it were; just as something belongs to a man by reason of his individual accidents, which does not belong to him by reason of his species. And every individual action must needs have some circumstance that makes it good or bad, at least in respect of the intention of the end. For since it belongs to the reason to direct; if an action that proceeds from deliberate reason be not directed to the due end, it is, by that fact alone, repugnant to reason, and has the character of evil. But if it be directed to a due end, it is in accord with reason; wherefore it has the character of good. Now it must needs be either directed or not directed to a due end. Consequently every human action that proceeds from deliberate reason, if it be considered in the individual, must be good or bad.

If, however, it does not proceed from deliberate reason, but from some act of the imagination, as when a man strokes his beard, or moves his hand or foot; such an action, properly speaking, is not moral or human; since this depends on the reason. Hence it will be indifferent, as standing apart from the genus of moral actions.

Reply Obj. 1: For an action to be indifferent in its species can be understood in several ways. First in such a way that its species demands that it remain indifferent; and the objection proceeds along this line. But no action can be specifically indifferent thus: since no object of human action is such that it cannot be directed to good or evil, either through its end or through a circumstance. Secondly, specific indifference of an action may be due to the fact that as far as its species is concerned, it is neither good nor bad. Wherefore it can be made good or bad by something else. Thus man, as far as his species is concerned, is neither white nor black; nor is it a condition of his species that he should not be black or white; but blackness or whiteness is superadded to man by other principles than those of his species.

Reply Obj. 2: The Philosopher states that a man is evil, properly speaking, if he be hurtful to others. And accordingly, he says that the prodigal is not evil, because he hurts none save himself. And the same applies to all others who are not hurtful to other men. But we say here that evil, in general, is all that is repugnant to right reason. And in this sense every individual action is either good or bad, as stated above.

Reply Obj. 3: Whenever an end is intended by deliberate reason, it belongs either to the good of some virtue, or to the evil of some vice. Thus, if a man's action is directed to the support or repose of his body, it is also directed to the good of virtue, provided he direct his body itself to the good of virtue. The same clearly applies to other actions.

^Q. 18


Art. 10: Whether a circumstance places a moral action in the species of good or evil?[edit]

It would seem that a circumstance cannot place a moral action in the species of good or evil.

Obj. 1: For the species of an action is taken from its object. But circumstances differ from the object. Therefore circumstances do not give an action its species.

Obj. 2: Further, circumstances are as accidents in relation to the moral action, as stated above (Q. 7, A. 1). But an accident does not constitute the species. Therefore a circumstance does not constitute a species of good or evil.

Obj. 3: Further, one thing is not in several species. But one action has several circumstances. Therefore a circumstance does not place a moral action in a species of good or evil.

On the contrary, Place is a circumstance. But place makes a moral action to be in a certain species of evil; for theft of a thing from a holy place is a sacrilege. Therefore a circumstance makes a moral action to be specifically good or bad.

I answer that, Just as the species of natural things are constituted by their natural forms, so the species of moral actions are constituted by forms as conceived by the reason, as is evident from what was said above (A. 5). But since nature is determinate to one thing, nor can a process of nature go on to infinity, there must needs be some ultimate form, giving a specific difference, after which no further specific difference is possible. Hence it is that in natural things, that which is accidental to a thing, cannot be taken as a difference constituting the species. But the process of reason is not fixed to one particular term, for at any point it can still proceed further. And consequently that which, in one action, is taken as a circumstance added to the object that specifies the action, can again be taken by the directing reason, as the principal condition of the object that determines the action's species. Thus to appropriate another's property is specified by reason of the property being "another's," and in this respect it is placed in the species of theft; and if we consider that action also in its bearing on place or time, then this will be an additional circumstance. But since the reason can direct as to place, time, and the like, it may happen that the condition as to place, in relation to the object, is considered as being in disaccord with reason: for instance, reason forbids damage to be done to a holy place. Consequently to steal from a holy place has an additional repugnance to the order of reason. And thus place, which was first of all considered as a circumstance, is considered here as the principal condition of the object, and as itself repugnant to reason. And in this way, whenever a circumstance has a special relation to reason, either for or against, it must needs specify the moral action whether good or bad.

Reply Obj. 1: A circumstance, in so far as it specifies an action, is considered as a condition of the object, as stated above, and as being, as it were, a specific difference thereof.

Reply Obj. 2: A circumstance, so long as it is but a circumstance, does not specify an action, since thus it is a mere accident: but when it becomes a principal condition of the object, then it does specify the action.

Reply Obj. 3: It is not every circumstance that places the moral action in the species of good or evil; since not every circumstance implies accord or disaccord with reason. Consequently, although one action may have many circumstances, it does not follow that it is in many species. Nevertheless there is no reason why one action should not be in several, even disparate, moral species, as said above (A. 7, ad 1; Q. 1, A. 3, ad 3).

^Q. 18


Art. 11: Whether every circumstance that makes an action better or worse, places a moral action in a species of good or evil?[edit]

It would seem that every circumstance relating to good or evil, specifies an action.

Obj. 1: For good and evil are specific differences of moral actions. Therefore that which causes a difference in the goodness or malice of a moral action, causes a specific difference, which is the same as to make it differ in species. Now that which makes an action better or worse, makes it differ in goodness and malice. Therefore it causes it to differ in species. Therefore every circumstance that makes an action better or worse, constitutes a species.

Obj. 2: Further, an additional circumstance either has in itself the character of goodness or malice, or it has not. If not, it cannot make the action better or worse; because what is not good, cannot make a greater good; and what is not evil, cannot make a greater evil. But if it has in itself the character of good or evil, for this very reason it has a certain species of good or evil. Therefore every circumstance that makes an action better or worse, constitutes a new species of good or evil.

Obj. 3: Further, according to Dionysius (Div. Nom. iv), "evil is caused by each single defect." Now every circumstance that increases malice, has a special defect. Therefore every such circumstance adds a new species of sin. And for the same reason, every circumstance that increases goodness, seems to add a new species of goodness: just as every unity added to a number makes a new species of number; since the good consists in "number, weight, and measure" (I, Q. 5, A. 5).

On the contrary, More and less do not change a species. But more and less is a circumstance of additional goodness or malice. Therefore not every circumstance that makes a moral action better or worse, places it in a species of good or evil.

I answer that, As stated above (A. 10), a circumstance gives the species of good or evil to a moral action, in so far as it regards a special order of reason. Now it happens sometimes that a circumstance does not regard a special order of reason in respect of good or evil, except on the supposition of another previous circumstance, from which the moral action takes its species of good or evil. Thus to take something in a large or small quantity, does not regard the order of reason in respect of good or evil, except a certain other condition be presupposed, from which the action takes its malice or goodness; for instance, if what is taken belongs to another, which makes the action to be discordant with reason. Wherefore to take what belongs to another in a large or small quantity, does not change the species of the sin. Nevertheless it can aggravate or diminish the sin. The same applies to other evil or good actions. Consequently not every circumstance that makes a moral action better or worse, changes its species.

Reply Obj. 1: In things which can be more or less intense, the difference of more or less does not change the species: thus by differing in whiteness through being more or less white a thing is not changed in regard to its species of color. In like manner that which makes an action to be more or less good or evil, does not make the action differ in species.

Reply Obj. 2: A circumstance that aggravates a sin, or adds to the goodness of an action, sometimes has no goodness or malice in itself, but in regard to some other condition of the action, as stated above. Consequently it does not add a new species, but adds to the goodness or malice derived from this other condition of the action.

Reply Obj. 3: A circumstance does not always involve a distinct defect of its own; sometimes it causes a defect in reference to something else. In like manner a circumstance does not always add further perfection, except in reference to something else. And, for as much as it does, although it may add to the goodness or malice, it does not always change the species of good or evil.

^Q. 18

QUESTION 19: OF THE GOODNESS AND MALICE OF THE INTERIOR ACT OF THE WILL[edit]

^TOC ^d. The Division of Human Acts

We must now consider the goodness of the interior act of the will; under which head there are ten points of inquiry:

(1) Whether the goodness of the will depends on the object?

(2) Whether it depends on the object alone?

(3) Whether it depends on reason?

(4) Whether it depends on the eternal law?

(5) Whether erring reason binds?

(6) Whether the will is evil if it follows the erring reason against the law of God?

(7) Whether the goodness of the will in regard to the means, depends on the intention of the end?

(8) Whether the degree of goodness or malice in the will depends on the degree of good or evil in the intention?

(9) Whether the goodness of the will depends on its conformity to the Divine Will?

(10) Whether it is necessary for the human will, in order to be good, to be conformed to the Divine Will, as regards the thing willed?


Art. 1: Whether the goodness of the will depends on the object?[edit]

It would seem that the goodness of the will does not depend on the object.

Obj. 1: For the will cannot be directed otherwise than to what is good: since "evil is outside the scope of the will," as Dionysius says (Div. Nom. iv). If therefore the goodness of the will depended on the object, it would follow that every act of the will is good, and none bad.

Obj. 2: Further, good is first of all in the end: wherefore the goodness of the end, as such, does not depend on any other. But, according to the Philosopher (Ethic. vi, 5), "goodness of action is the end, but goodness of making is never the end": because the latter is always ordained to the thing made, as to its end. Therefore the goodness of the act of the will does not depend on any object.

Obj. 3: Further, such as a thing is, such does it make a thing to be. But the object of the will is good, by reason of the goodness of nature. Therefore it cannot give moral goodness to the will. Therefore the moral goodness of the will does not depend on the object.

On the contrary, the Philosopher says (Ethic. v, 1) that justice is that habit "from which men wish for just things": and accordingly, virtue is a habit from which men wish for good things. But a good will is one which is in accordance with virtue. Therefore the goodness of the will is from the fact that a man wills that which is good.

I answer that, Good and evil are essential differences of the act of the will. Because good and evil of themselves regard the will; just as truth and falsehood regard reason; the act of which is divided essentially by the difference of truth and falsehood, for as much as an opinion is said to be true or false. Consequently good and evil will are acts differing in species. Now the specific difference in acts is according to objects, as stated above (Q. 18, A. 5). Therefore good and evil in the acts of the will is derived properly from the objects.

Reply Obj. 1: The will is not always directed to what is truly good, but sometimes to the apparent good; which has indeed some measure of good, but not of a good that is simply suitable to be desired. Hence it is that the act of the will is not always good, but sometimes evil.

Reply Obj. 2: Although an action can, in a certain way, be man's last end; nevertheless such action is not an act of the will, as stated above (Q. 1, A. 1, ad 2).

Reply Obj. 3: Good is presented to the will as its object by the reason: and in so far as it is in accord with reason, it enters the moral order, and causes moral goodness in the act of the will: because the reason is the principle of human and moral acts, as stated above (Q. 18, A. 5).

^Q. 19


Art. 2: Whether the goodness of the will depends on the object alone?[edit]

It would seem that the goodness of the will does not depend on the object alone.

Obj. 1: For the end has a closer relationship to the will than to any other power. But the acts of the other powers derive goodness not only from the object but also from the end, as we have shown above (Q. 18, A. 4). Therefore the act also of the will derives goodness not only from the object but also from the end.

Obj. 2: Further, the goodness of an action is derived not only from the object but also from the circumstances, as stated above (Q. 18, A. 3). But according to the diversity of circumstances there may be diversity of goodness and malice in the act of the will: for instance, if a man will, when he ought, where he ought, as much as he ought, and how he ought, or if he will as he ought not. Therefore the goodness of the will depends not only on the object, but also on the circumstances.

Obj. 3: Further, ignorance of circumstances excuses malice of the will, as stated above (Q. 6, A. 8). But it would not be so, unless the goodness or malice of the will depended on the circumstances. Therefore the goodness and malice of the will depend on the circumstances, and not only on the object.

On the contrary, An action does not take its species from the circumstances as such, as stated above (Q. 18, A. 10, ad 2). But good and evil are specific differences of the act of the will, as stated above (A. 1). Therefore the goodness and malice of the will depend, not on the circumstances, but on the object alone.

I answer that, In every genus, the more a thing is first, the more simple it is, and the fewer the principles of which it consists: thus primary bodies are simple. Hence it is to be observed that the first things in every genus, are, in some way, simple and consist of one principle. Now the principle of the goodness and malice of human actions is taken from the act of the will. Consequently the goodness and malice of the act of the will depend on some one thing; while the goodness and malice of other acts may depend on several things.

Now that one thing which is the principle in each genus, is not something accidental to that genus, but something essential thereto: because whatever is accidental is reduced to something essential, as to its principle. Therefore the goodness of the will's act depends on that one thing alone, which of itself causes goodness in the act; and that one thing is the object, and not the circumstances, which are accidents, as it were, of the act.

Reply Obj. 1: The end is the object of the will, but not of the other powers. Hence, in regard to the act of the will, the goodness derived from the object, does not differ from that which is derived from the end, as they differ in the acts of the other powers; except perhaps accidentally, in so far as one end depends on another, and one act of the will on another.

Reply Obj. 2: Given that the act of the will is fixed on some good, no circumstances can make that act bad. Consequently when it is said that a man wills a good when he ought not, or where he ought not, this can be understood in two ways. First, so that this circumstance is referred to the thing willed. And thus the act of the will is not fixed on something good: since to will to do something when it ought not to be done, is not to will something good. Secondly, so that the circumstance is referred to the act of willing. And thus, it is impossible to will something good when one ought not to, because one ought always to will what is good: except, perhaps, accidentally, in so far as a man by willing some particular good, is prevented from willing at the same time another good which he ought to will at that time. And then evil results, not from his willing that particular good, but from his not willing the other. The same applies to the other circumstances.

Reply Obj. 3: Ignorance of circumstances excuses malice of the will, in so far as the circumstance affects the thing willed: that is to say, in so far as a man ignores the circumstances of the act which he wills.

^Q. 19


Art. 3: Whether the goodness of the will depends on reason?[edit]

It would seem that the goodness of the will does not depend on reason.

Obj. 1: For what comes first does not depend on what follows. But the good belongs to the will before it belongs to reason, as is clear from what has been said above (Q. 9, A. 1). Therefore the goodness of the will does not depend on reason.

Obj. 2: Further, the Philosopher says (Ethic. vi, 2) that the goodness of the practical intellect is "a truth that is in conformity with right desire." But right desire is a good will. Therefore the goodness of the practical reason depends on the goodness of the will, rather than conversely.

Obj. 3: Further, the mover does not depend on that which is moved, but vice versa. But the will moves the reason and the other powers, as stated above (Q. 9, A. 1). Therefore the goodness of the will does not depend on reason.

On the contrary, Hilary says (De Trin. x): "It is an unruly will that persists in its desires in opposition to reason." But the goodness of the will consists in not being unruly. Therefore the goodness of the will depends on its being subject to reason.

I answer that, As stated above (AA. 1, 2), the goodness of the will depends properly on the object. Now the will's object is proposed to it by reason. Because the good understood is the proportionate object of the will; while sensitive or imaginary good is proportionate not to the will but to the sensitive appetite: since the will can tend to the universal good, which reason apprehends; whereas the sensitive appetite tends only to the particular good, apprehended by the sensitive power. Therefore the goodness of the will depends on reason, in the same way as it depends on the object.

Reply Obj. 1: The good considered as such, i.e. as appetible, pertains to the will before pertaining to the reason. But considered as true it pertains to the reason, before, under the aspect of goodness, pertaining to the will: because the will cannot desire a good that is not previously apprehended by reason.

Reply Obj. 2: The Philosopher speaks here of the practical intellect, in so far as it counsels and reasons about the means: for in this respect it is perfected by prudence. Now in regard to the means, the rectitude of the reason depends on its conformity with the desire of a due end: nevertheless the very desire of the due end presupposes on the part of reason a right apprehension of the end.

Reply Obj. 3: The will moves the reason in one way: the reason moves the will in another, viz. on the part of the object, as stated above (Q. 9, A. 1).

^Q. 19


Art. 4: Whether the goodness of the will depends on the eternal law?[edit]

It would seem that the goodness of the human will does not depend on the eternal law.

Obj. 1: Because to one thing there is one rule and one measure. But the rule of the human will, on which its goodness depends, is right reason. Therefore the goodness of the will does not depend on the eternal law.

Obj. 2: Further, "a measure is homogeneous with the thing measured" (Metaph. x, 1). But the eternal law is not homogeneous with the human will. Therefore the eternal law cannot be the measure on which the goodness of the human will depends.

Obj. 3: Further, a measure should be most certain. But the eternal law is unknown to us. Therefore it cannot be the measure on which the goodness of our will depends.

On the contrary, Augustine says (Contra Faust. xxii, 27) that "sin is a deed, word or desire against the eternal law." But malice of the will is the root of sin. Therefore, since malice is contrary to goodness, the goodness of the will depends on the eternal law.

I answer that, Wherever a number of causes are subordinate to one another, the effect depends more on the first than on the second cause: since the second cause acts only in virtue of the first. Now it is from the eternal law, which is the Divine Reason, that human reason is the rule of the human will, from which the human derives its goodness. Hence it is written (Ps. 4:6, 7): "Many say: Who showeth us good things? The light of Thy countenance, O Lord, is signed upon us": as though to say: "The light of our reason is able to show us good things, and guide our will, in so far as it is the light (i.e. derived from) Thy countenance." It is therefore evident that the goodness of the human will depends on the eternal law much more than on human reason: and when human reason fails we must have recourse to the Eternal Reason.

Reply Obj. 1: To one thing there are not several proximate measures; but there can be several measures if one is subordinate to the other.

Reply Obj. 2: A proximate measure is homogeneous with the thing measured; a remote measure is not.

Reply Obj. 3: Although the eternal law is unknown to us according as it is in the Divine Mind: nevertheless, it becomes known to us somewhat, either by natural reason which is derived therefrom as its proper image; or by some sort of additional revelation.

^Q. 19


Art. 5: Whether the will is evil when it is at variance with erring reason?[edit]

It would seem that the will is not evil when it is at variance with erring reason.

Obj. 1: Because the reason is the rule of the human will, in so far as it is derived from the eternal law, as stated above (A. 4). But erring reason is not derived from the eternal law. Therefore erring reason is not the rule of the human will. Therefore the will is not evil, if it be at variance with erring reason.

Obj. 2: Further, according to Augustine, the command of a lower authority does not bind if it be contrary to the command of a higher authority: for instance, if a provincial governor command something that is forbidden by the emperor. But erring reason sometimes proposes what is against the command of a higher power, namely, God Whose power is supreme. Therefore the decision of an erring reason does not bind. Consequently the will is not evil if it be at variance with erring reason.

Obj. 3: Further, every evil will is reducible to some species of malice. But the will that is at variance with erring reason is not reducible to some species of malice. For instance, if a man's reason err in telling him to commit fornication, his will in not willing to do so, cannot be reduced to any species of malice. Therefore the will is not evil when it is at variance with erring reason.

On the contrary, As stated in the First Part (Q. 79, A. 13), conscience is nothing else than the application of knowledge to some action. Now knowledge is in the reason. Therefore when the will is at variance with erring reason, it is against conscience. But every such will is evil; for it is written (Rom. 14:23): "All that is not of faith"—i.e. all that is against conscience—"is sin." Therefore the will is evil when it is at variance with erring reason.

I answer that, Since conscience is a kind of dictate of the reason, for it is an application of knowledge to action, as was stated in the First Part (Q. 19, A. 13), to inquire whether the will is evil when it is at variance with erring reason, is the same as to inquire "whether an erring conscience binds." On this matter, some distinguished three kinds of actions: for some are good generically; some are indifferent; some are evil generically. And they say that if reason or conscience tell us to do something which is good generically, there is no error: and in like manner if it tell us not to do something which is evil generically; since it is the same reason that prescribes what is good and forbids what is evil. On the other hand if a man's reason or conscience tells him that he is bound by precept to do what is evil in itself; or that what is good in itself, is forbidden, then his reason or conscience errs. In like manner if a man's reason or conscience tell him, that what is indifferent in itself, for instance to raise a straw from the ground, is forbidden or commanded, his reason or conscience errs. They say, therefore, that reason or conscience when erring in matters of indifference, either by commanding or by forbidding them, binds: so that the will which is at variance with that erring reason is evil and sinful. But they say that when reason or conscience errs in commanding what is evil in itself, or in forbidding what is good in itself and necessary for salvation, it does not bind; wherefore in such cases the will which is at variance with erring reason or conscience is not evil.

But this is unreasonable. For in matters of indifference, the will that is at variance with erring reason or conscience, is evil in some way on account of the object, on which the goodness or malice of the will depends; not indeed on account of the object according as it is in its own nature; but according as it is accidentally apprehended by reason as something evil to do or to avoid. And since the object of the will is that which is proposed by the reason, as stated above (A. 3), from the very fact that a thing is proposed by the reason as being evil, the will by tending thereto becomes evil. And this is the case not only in indifferent matters, but also in those that are good or evil in themselves. For not only indifferent matters can receive the character of goodness or malice accidentally; but also that which is good, can receive the character of evil, or that which is evil, can receive the character of goodness, on account of the reason apprehending it as such. For instance, to refrain from fornication is good: yet the will does not tend to this good except in so far as it is proposed by the reason. If, therefore, the erring reason propose it as an evil, the will tends to it as to something evil. Consequently the will is evil, because it wills evil, not indeed that which is evil in itself, but that which is evil accidentally, through being apprehended as such by the reason. In like manner, to believe in Christ is good in itself, and necessary for salvation: but the will does not tend thereto, except inasmuch as it is proposed by the reason. Consequently if it be proposed by the reason as something evil, the will tends to it as to something evil: not as if it were evil in itself, but because it is evil accidentally, through the apprehension of the reason. Hence the Philosopher says (Ethic. vii, 9) that "properly speaking the incontinent man is one who does not follow right reason; but accidentally, he is also one who does not follow false reason." We must therefore conclude that, absolutely speaking, every will at variance with reason, whether right or erring, is always evil.

Reply Obj. 1: Although the judgment of an erring reason is not derived from God, yet the erring reason puts forward its judgment as being true, and consequently as being derived from God, from Whom is all truth.

Reply Obj. 2: The saying of Augustine holds good when it is known that the inferior authority prescribes something contrary to the command of the higher authority. But if a man were to believe the command of the proconsul to be the command of the emperor, in scorning the command of the proconsul he would scorn the command of the emperor. In like manner if a man were to know that human reason was dictating something contrary to God's commandment, he would not be bound to abide by reason: but then reason would not be entirely erroneous. But when erring reason proposes something as being commanded by God, then to scorn the dictate of reason is to scorn the commandment of God.

Reply Obj. 3: Whenever reason apprehends something as evil, it apprehends it under some species of evil; for instance, as being something contrary to a divine precept, or as giving scandal, or for some such like reason. And then that evil is reduced to that species of malice.

^Q. 19


Art. 6: Whether the will is good when it abides by erring reason?[edit]

It would seem that the will is good when it abides by erring reason.

Obj. 1: For just as the will, when at variance with the reason, tends to that which reason judges to be evil; so, when in accord with reason, it tends to what reason judges to be good. But the will is evil when it is at variance with reason, even when erring. Therefore even when it abides by erring reason, the will is good.

Obj. 2: Further, the will is always good, when it abides by the commandment of God and the eternal law. But the eternal law and God's commandment are proposed to us by the apprehension of the reason, even when it errs. Therefore the will is good, even when it abides by erring reason.

Obj. 3: Further, the will is evil when it is at variance with erring reason. If, therefore, the will is evil also when it abides by erring reason, it seems that the will is always evil when in conjunction with erring reason: so that in such a case a man would be in a dilemma, and, of necessity, would sin: which is unreasonable. Therefore the will is good when it abides by erring reason.

On the contrary, The will of those who slew the apostles was evil. And yet it was in accord with the erring reason, according to John 16:2: "The hour cometh, that whosoever killeth you, will think that he doth a service to God." Therefore the will can be evil, when it abides by erring reason.

I answer that, Whereas the previous question is the same as inquiring "whether an erring conscience binds"; so this question is the same as inquiring "whether an erring conscience excuses." Now this question depends on what has been said above about ignorance. For it was said (Q. 6, A. 8) that ignorance sometimes causes an act to be involuntary, and sometimes not. And since moral good and evil consist in action in so far as it is voluntary, as was stated above (A. 2); it is evident that when ignorance causes an act to be involuntary, it takes away the character of moral good and evil; but not, when it does not cause the act to be involuntary. Again, it has been stated above (Q. 6, A. 8) that when ignorance is in any way willed, either directly or indirectly, it does not cause the act to be involuntary. And I call that ignorance "directly" voluntary, to which the act of the will tends: and that, "indirectly" voluntary, which is due to negligence, by reason of a man not wishing to know what he ought to know, as stated above (Q. 6, A. 8).

If then reason or conscience err with an error that is voluntary, either directly, or through negligence, so that one errs about what one ought to know; then such an error of reason or conscience does not excuse the will, that abides by that erring reason or conscience, from being evil. But if the error arise from ignorance of some circumstance, and without any negligence, so that it cause the act to be involuntary, then that error of reason or conscience excuses the will, that abides by that erring reason, from being evil. For instance, if erring reason tell a man that he should go to another man's wife, the will that abides by that erring reason is evil; since this error arises from ignorance of the Divine Law, which he is bound to know. But if a man's reason, errs in mistaking another for his wife, and if he wish to give her her right when she asks for it, his will is excused from being evil: because this error arises from ignorance of a circumstance, which ignorance excuses, and causes the act to be involuntary.

Reply Obj. 1: As Dionysius says (Div. Nom. iv), "good results from the entire cause, evil from each particular defect." Consequently in order that the thing to which the will tends be called evil, it suffices, either that it be evil in itself, or that it be apprehended as evil. But in order for it to be good, it must be good in both ways.

Reply Obj. 2: The eternal law cannot err, but human reason can. Consequently the will that abides by human reason, is not always right, nor is it always in accord with the eternal law.

Reply Obj. 3: Just as in syllogistic arguments, granted one absurdity, others must needs follow; so in moral matters, given one absurdity, others must follow too. Thus suppose a man to seek vainglory, he will sin, whether he does his duty for vainglory or whether he omit to do it. Nor is he in a dilemma about the matter: because he can put aside his evil intention. In like manner, suppose a man's reason or conscience to err through inexcusable ignorance, then evil must needs result in the will. Nor is this man in a dilemma: because he can lay aside his error, since his ignorance is vincible and voluntary.

^Q. 19


Art. 7: Whether the goodness of the will, as regards the means, depends on the intention of the end?[edit]

It would seem that the goodness of the will does not depend on the intention of the end.

Obj. 1: For it has been stated above (A. 2) that the goodness of the will depends on the object alone. But as regards the means, the object of the will is one thing, and the end intended is another. Therefore in such matters the goodness of the will does not depend on the intention of the end.

Obj. 2: Further, to wish to keep God's commandment, belongs to a good will. But this can be referred to an evil end, for instance, to vainglory or covetousness, by willing to obey God for the sake of temporal gain. Therefore the goodness of the will does not depend on the intention of the end.

Obj. 3: Further, just as good and evil diversify the will, so do they diversify the end. But malice of the will does not depend on the malice of the end intended; since a man who wills to steal in order to give alms, has an evil will, although he intends a good end. Therefore neither does the goodness of the will depend on the goodness of the end intended.

On the contrary, Augustine says (Confess. ix, 3) that God rewards the intention. But God rewards a thing because it is good. Therefore the goodness of the will depends on the intention of the end.

I answer that, The intention may stand in a twofold relation to the act of the will; first, as preceding it, secondly as following [*Leonine edn.: 'accompanying'] it. The intention precedes the act of the will causally, when we will something because we intend a certain end. And then the order to the end is considered as the reason of the goodness of the thing willed: for instance, when a man wills to fast for God's sake; because the act of fasting is specifically good from the very fact that it is done for God's sake. Wherefore, since the goodness of the will depends on the goodness of the thing willed, as stated above (AA. 1, 2), it must, of necessity, depend on the intention of the end.

On the other hand, intention follows the act of the will, when it is added to a preceding act of the will; for instance, a man may will to do something, and may afterwards refer it to God. And then the goodness of the previous act of the will does not depend on the subsequent intention, except in so far as that act is repeated with the subsequent intention.

Reply Obj. 1: When the intention is the cause of the act of willing, the order to the end is considered as the reason of the goodness of the object, as stated above.

Reply Obj. 2: The act of the will cannot be said to be good, if an evil intention is the cause of willing. For when a man wills to give an alms for the sake of vainglory, he wills that which is good in itself, under a species of evil; and therefore, as willed by him, it is evil. Wherefore his will is evil. If, however, the intention is subsequent to the act of the will, then the latter may be good: and the intention does not spoil that act of the will which preceded, but that which is repeated.

Reply Obj. 3: As we have already stated (A. 6, ad 1), "evil results from each particular defect, but good from the whole and entire cause." Hence, whether the will tend to what is evil in itself, even under the species of good; or to the good under the species of evil, it will be evil in either case. But in order for the will to be good, it must tend to the good under the species of good; in other words, it must will the good for the sake of the good.

^Q. 19


Art. 8: Whether the degree of goodness or malice in the will depends on the degree of good or evil in the intention?[edit]

It would seem that the degree of goodness in the will depends on the degree of good in the intention.

Obj. 1: Because on Matt. 12:35, "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good," a gloss says: "A man does as much good as he intends." But the intention gives goodness not only to the external action, but also to the act of the will, as stated above (A. 7). Therefore the goodness of a man's will is according to the goodness of his intention.

Obj. 2: Further, if you add to the cause, you add to the effect. But the goodness of the intention is the cause of the good will. Therefore a man's will is good, according as his intention is good.

Obj. 3: Further, in evil actions, a man sins in proportion to his intention: for if a man were to throw a stone with a murderous intention, he would be guilty of murder. Therefore, for the same reason, in good actions, the will is good in proportion to the good intended.

On the contrary, The intention can be good, while the will is evil. Therefore, for the same reason, the intention can be better, and the will less good.

I answer that, In regard to both the act, and the intention of the end, we may consider a twofold quantity: one, on the part of the object, by reason of a man willing or doing a good that is greater; the other, taken from the intensity of the act, according as a man wills or acts intensely; and this is more on the part of the agent.

If then we speak of these respective quantities from the point of view of the object, it is evident that the quantity in the act does not depend on the quantity in the intention. With regard to the external act this may happen in two ways. First, through the object that is ordained to the intended end not being proportionate to that end; for instance, if a man were to give ten pounds, he could not realize his intention, if he intended to buy a thing worth a hundred pounds. Secondly, on account of the obstacles that may supervene in regard to the exterior action, which obstacles we are unable to remove: for instance, a man intends to go to Rome, and encounters obstacles, which prevent him from going. On the other hand, with regard to the interior act of the will, this happens in only one way: because the interior acts of the will are in our power, whereas the external actions are not. But the will can will an object that is not proportionate to the intended end: and thus the will that tends to that object considered absolutely, is not so good as the intention. Yet because the intention also belongs, in a way, to the act of the will, inasmuch, to wit, as it is the reason thereof; it comes to pass that the quantity of goodness in the intention redounds upon the act of the will; that is to say, in so far as the will wills some great good for an end, although that by which it wills to gain so great a good, is not proportionate to that good.

But if we consider the quantity in the intention and in the act, according to their respective intensity, then the intensity of the intention redounds upon the interior act and the exterior act of the will: since the intention stands in relation to them as a kind of form, as is clear from what has been said above (Q. 12, A. 4; Q. 18, A. 6). And yet considered materially, while the intention is intense, the interior or exterior act may be not so intense, materially speaking: for instance, when a man does not will with as much intensity to take medicine as he wills to regain health. Nevertheless the very fact of intending health intensely, redounds, as a formal principle, upon the intense volition of medicine.

We must observe, however, that the intensity of the interior or exterior act, may be referred to the intention as its object: as when a man intends to will intensely, or to do something intensely. And yet it does not follow that he wills or acts intensely; because the quantity of goodness in the interior or exterior act does not depend on the quantity of the good intended, as is shown above. And hence it is that a man does not merit as much as he intends to merit: because the quantity of merit is measured by the intensity of the act, as we shall show later on (Q. 20, A. 4; Q. 114, A. 4).

Reply Obj. 1: This gloss speaks of good as in the estimation of God, Who considers principally the intention of the end. Wherefore another gloss says on the same passage that "the treasure of the heart is the intention, according to which God judges our works." For the goodness of the intention, as stated above, redounds, so to speak, upon the goodness of the will, which makes even the external act to be meritorious in God's sight.

Reply Obj. 2: The goodness of the intention is not the whole cause of a good will. Hence the argument does not prove.

Reply Obj. 3: The mere malice of the intention suffices to make the will evil: and therefore too, the will is as evil as the intention is evil. But the same reasoning does not apply to goodness, as stated above (ad 2).

^Q. 19


Art. 9: Whether the goodness of the will depends on its conformity to the divine will?[edit]

It would seem that the goodness of the human will does not depend on its conformity to the Divine will.

Obj. 1: Because it is impossible for man's will to be conformed to the Divine will; as appears from the word of Isa. 55:9: "As the heavens are exalted above the earth, so are My ways exalted above your ways, and My thoughts above your thoughts." If therefore goodness of the will depended on its conformity to the Divine will, it would follow that it is impossible for man's will to be good. Which is inadmissible.

Obj. 2: Further, just as our wills arise from the Divine will, so does our knowledge flow from the Divine knowledge. But our knowledge does not require to be conformed to God's knowledge; since God knows many things that we know not. Therefore there is no need for our will to be conformed to the Divine will.

Obj. 3: Further, the will is a principle of action. But our action cannot be conformed to God's. Therefore neither can our will be conformed to His.

On the contrary, It is written (Matt. 26:39): "Not as I will, but as Thou wilt": which words He said, because "He wishes man to be upright and to tend to God," as Augustine expounds in the Enchiridion [*Enarr. in Ps. 32, serm. i.]. But the rectitude of the will is its goodness. Therefore the goodness of the will depends on its conformity to the Divine will.

I answer that, As stated above (A. 7), the goodness of the will depends on the intention of the end. Now the last end of the human will is the Sovereign Good, namely, God, as stated above (Q. 1, A. 8; Q. 3, A. 1). Therefore the goodness of the human will requires it to be ordained to the Sovereign Good, that is, to God.

Now this Good is primarily and essentially compared to the Divine will, as its proper object. Again, that which is first in any genus is the measure and rule of all that belongs to that genus. Moreover, everything attains to rectitude and goodness, in so far as it is in accord with its proper measure. Therefore, in order that man's will be good it needs to be conformed to the Divine will.

Reply Obj. 1: The human will cannot be conformed to the will of God so as to equal it, but only so as to imitate it. In like manner human knowledge is conformed to the Divine knowledge, in so far as it knows truth: and human action is conformed to the Divine, in so far as it is becoming to the agent: and this by way of imitation, not by way of equality.

From the above may be gathered the replies to the Second and Third Objections.

^Q. 19


Art. 10: Whether it is necessary for the human will, in order to be good, to be conformed to the divine will, as regards the thing willed?[edit]

It would seem that the human will need not always be conformed to the Divine will, as regards the thing willed.

Obj. 1: For we cannot will what we know not: since the apprehended good is the object of the will. But in many things we know not what God wills. Therefore the human will cannot be conformed to the Divine will as to the thing willed.

Obj. 2: Further, God wills to damn the man whom He foresees about to die in mortal sin. If therefore man were bound to conform his will to the Divine will, in the point of the thing willed, it would follow that a man is bound to will his own damnation. Which is inadmissible.

Obj. 3: Further, no one is bound to will what is against filial piety. But if man were to will what God wills, this would sometimes be contrary to filial piety: for instance, when God wills the death of a father: if his son were to will it also, it would be against filial piety. Therefore man is not bound to conform his will to the Divine will, as to the thing willed.

On the contrary, (1) On Ps. 32:1, "Praise becometh the upright," a gloss says: "That man has an upright heart, who wills what God wills." But everyone is bound to have an upright heart. Therefore everyone is bound to will what God wills.

(2) Moreover, the will takes its form from the object, as does every act. If therefore man is bound to conform his will to the Divine will, it follows that he is bound to conform it, as to the thing willed.

(3) Moreover, opposition of wills arises from men willing different things. But whoever has a will in opposition to the Divine will, has an evil will. Therefore whoever does not conform his will to the Divine will, as to the thing willed, has an evil will.

I answer that, As is evident from what has been said above (AA. 3, 5), the will tends to its object, according as it is proposed by the reason. Now a thing may be considered in various ways by the reason, so as to appear good from one point of view, and not good from another point of view. And therefore if a man's will wills a thing to be, according as it appears to be good, his will is good: and the will of another man, who wills that thing not to be, according as it appears evil, is also good. Thus a judge has a good will, in willing a thief to be put to death, because this is just: while the will of another—e.g. the thief's wife or son, who wishes him not to be put to death, inasmuch as killing is a natural evil, is also good.

Now since the will follows the apprehension of the reason or intellect; the more universal the aspect of the apprehended good, the more universal the good to which the will tends. This is evident in the example given above: because the judge has care of the common good, which is justice, and therefore he wishes the thief's death, which has the aspect of good in relation to the common estate; whereas the thief's wife has to consider the private good of the family, and from this point of view she wishes her husband, the thief, not to be put to death. Now the good of the whole universe is that which is apprehended by God, Who is the Maker and Governor of all things: hence whatever He wills, He wills it under the aspect of the common good; this is His own Goodness, which is the good of the whole universe. On the other hand, the apprehension of a creature, according to its nature, is of some particular good, proportionate to that nature. Now a thing may happen to be good under a particular aspect, and yet not good under a universal aspect, or vice versa, as stated above. And therefore it comes to pass that a certain will is good from willing something considered under a particular aspect, which thing God wills not, under a universal aspect, and vice versa. And hence too it is, that various wills of various men can be good in respect of opposite things, for as much as, under various aspects, they wish a particular thing to be or not to be.

But a man's will is not right in willing a particular good, unless he refer it to the common good as an end: since even the natural appetite of each part is ordained to the common good of the whole. Now it is the end that supplies the formal reason, as it were, of willing whatever is directed to the end. Consequently, in order that a man will some particular good with a right will, he must will that particular good materially, and the Divine and universal good, formally. Therefore the human will is bound to be conformed to the Divine will, as to that which is willed formally, for it is bound to will the Divine and universal good; but not as to that which is willed materially, for the reason given above.

At the same time in both these respects, the human will is conformed to the Divine, in a certain degree. Because inasmuch as it is conformed to the Divine will in the common aspect of the thing willed, it is conformed thereto in the point of the last end. While, inasmuch as it is not conformed to the Divine will in the thing willed materially, it is conformed to that will considered as efficient cause; since the proper inclination consequent to nature, or to the particular apprehension of some particular thing, comes to a thing from God as its efficient cause. Hence it is customary to say that a man's will, in this respect, is conformed to the Divine will, because it wills what God wishes him to will.

There is yet another kind of conformity in respect of the formal cause, consisting in man's willing something from charity, as God wills it. And this conformity is also reduced to the formal conformity, that is in respect of the last end, which is the proper object of charity.

Reply Obj. 1: We can know in a general way what God wills. For we know that whatever God wills, He wills it under the aspect of good. Consequently whoever wills a thing under any aspect of good, has a will conformed to the Divine will, as to the reason of the thing willed. But we know not what God wills in particular: and in this respect we are not bound to conform our will to the Divine will.

But in the state of glory, every one will see in each thing that he wills, the relation of that thing to what God wills in that particular matter. Consequently he will conform his will to God in all things not only formally, but also materially.

Reply Obj. 2: God does not will the damnation of a man, considered precisely as damnation, nor a man's death, considered precisely as death, because, "He wills all men to be saved" (1 Tim. 2:4); but He wills such things under the aspect of justice. Wherefore in regard to such things it suffices for man to will the upholding of God's justice and of the natural order.

Wherefore the reply to the Third Objection is evident.

To the first argument advanced in a contrary sense, it should be said that a man who conforms his will to God's, in the aspect of reason of the thing willed, wills what God wills, more than the man, who conforms his will to God's, in the point of the very thing willed; because the will tends more to the end, than to that which is on account of the end.

To the second, it must be replied that the species and form of an act are taken from the object considered formally, rather than from the object considered materially.

To the third, it must be said that there is no opposition of wills when several people desire different things, but not under the same aspect: but there is opposition of wills, when under one and the same aspect, one man wills a thing which another wills not. But there is no question of this here.

^Q. 19

QUESTION 20: OF GOODNESS AND MALICE IN EXTERNAL HUMAN ACTIONS[edit]

^TOC ^d. The Division of Human Acts

We must next consider goodness and malice as to external actions: under which head there are six points of inquiry:

(1) Whether goodness and malice is first in the act of the will, or in the external action?

(2) Whether the whole goodness or malice of the external action depends on the goodness of the will?

(3) Whether the goodness and malice of the interior act are the same as those of the external action?

(4) Whether the external action adds any goodness or malice to that of the interior act?

(5) Whether the consequences of an external action increase its goodness or malice?

(6) Whether one and the same external action can be both good and evil?


Art. 1: Whether goodness or malice is first in the action of the will, or in the external action?[edit]

It would seem that good and evil are in the external action prior to being in the act of the will.

Obj. 1: For the will derives goodness from its object, as stated above (Q. 19, AA. 1, 2). But the external action is the object of the interior act of the will: for a man is said to will to commit a theft, or to will to give an alms. Therefore good and evil are in the external action, prior to being in the act of the will.

Obj. 2: Further, the aspect of good belongs first to the end: since what is directed to the end receives the aspect of good from its relation to the end. Now whereas the act of the will cannot be an end, as stated above (Q. 1, A. 1, ad 2), the act of another power can be an end. Therefore good is in the act of some other power prior to being in the act of the will.

Obj. 3: Further, the act of the will stands in a formal relation to the external action, as stated above (Q. 18, A. 6). But that which is formal is subsequent; since form is something added to matter. Therefore good and evil are in the external action, prior to being in the act of the will.

On the contrary, Augustine says (Retract. i, 9) that "it is by the will that we sin, and that we behave aright." Therefore moral good and evil are first in the will.

I answer that, External actions may be said to be good or bad in two ways. First, in regard to their genus, and the circumstances connected with them: thus the giving of alms, if the required conditions be observed, is said to be good. Secondly, a thing is said to be good or evil, from its relation to the end: thus the giving of alms for vainglory is said to be evil. Now, since the end is the will's proper object, it is evident that this aspect of good or evil, which the external action derives from its relation to the end, is to be found first of all in the act of the will, whence it passes to the external action. On the other hand, the goodness or malice which the external action has of itself, on account of its being about due matter and its being attended by due circumstances, is not derived from the will, but rather from the reason. Consequently, if we consider the goodness of the external action, in so far as it comes from reason's ordination and apprehension, it is prior to the goodness of the act of the will: but if we consider it in so far as it is in the execution of the action done, it is subsequent to the goodness of the will, which is its principle.

Reply Obj. 1: The exterior action is the object of the will, inasmuch as it is proposed to the will by the reason, as good apprehended and ordained by the reason: and thus it is prior to the good in the act of the will. But inasmuch as it is found in the execution of the action, it is an effect of the will, and is subsequent to the will.

Reply Obj. 2: The end precedes in the order of intention, but follows in the order of execution.

Reply Obj. 3: A form as received into matter, is subsequent to matter in the order of generation, although it precedes it in the order of nature: but inasmuch as it is in the active cause, it precedes in every way. Now the will is compared to the exterior action, as its efficient cause. Wherefore the goodness of the act of the will, as existing in the active cause, is the form of the exterior action.

^Q. 20


Art. 2: Whether the whole goodness and malice of the external action depends on the goodness of the will?[edit]

It would seem that the whole goodness and malice of the external action depend on the goodness of the will.

Obj. 1: For it is written (Matt. 7:18): "A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can an evil tree bring forth good fruit." But, according to the gloss, the tree signifies the will, and fruit signifies works. Therefore, it is impossible for the interior act of the will to be good, and the external action evil, or vice versa.

Obj. 2: Further, Augustine says (Retract. i, 9) that there is no sin without the will. If therefore there is no sin in the will, there will be none in the external action. And so the whole goodness or malice of the external action depends on the will.

Obj. 3: Further, the good and evil of which we are speaking now are differences of the moral act. Now differences make an essential division in a genus, according to the Philosopher (Metaph. vii, 12). Since therefore an act is moral from being voluntary, it seems that goodness and malice in an act are derived from the will alone.

On the contrary, Augustine says (Contra Mendac. vii), that "there are some actions which neither a good end nor a good will can make good."

I answer that, As stated above (A. 1), we may consider a twofold goodness or malice in the external action: one in respect of due matter and circumstances; the other in respect of the order to the end. And that which is in respect of the order to the end, depends entirely on the will: while that which is in respect of due matter or circumstances, depends on the reason: and on this goodness depends the goodness of the will, in so far as the will tends towards it.

Now it must be observed, as was noted above (Q. 19, A. 6, ad 1), that for a thing to be evil, one single defect suffices, whereas, for it to be good simply, it is not enough for it to be good in one point only, it must be good in every respect. If therefore the will be good, both from its proper object and from its end, if follows that the external action is good. But if the will be good from its intention of the end, this is not enough to make the external action good: and if the will be evil either by reason of its intention of the end, or by reason of the act willed, it follows that the external action is evil.

Reply Obj. 1: If the good tree be taken to signify the good will, it must be in so far as the will derives goodness from the act willed and from the end intended.

Reply Obj. 2: A man sins by his will, not only when he wills an evil end; but also when he wills an evil act.

Reply Obj. 3: Voluntariness applies not only to the interior act of the will, but also to external actions, inasmuch as they proceed from the will and the reason. Consequently the difference of good and evil is applicable to both the interior and external act.

^Q. 20


Art. 3: Whether the goodness and malice of the external action are the same as those of the interior act?[edit]

It would seem that the goodness and malice of the interior act of the will are not the same as those of the external action.

Obj. 1: For the principle of the interior act is the interior apprehensive or appetitive power of the soul; whereas the principle of the external action is the power that accomplishes the movement. Now where the principles of action are different, the actions themselves are different. Moreover, it is the action which is the subject of goodness or malice: and the same accident cannot be in different subjects. Therefore the goodness of the interior act cannot be the same as that of the external action.

Obj. 2: Further, "A virtue makes that, which has it, good, and renders its action good also" (Ethic. ii, 6). But the intellective virtue in the commanding power is distinct from the moral virtue in the power commanded, as is declared in Ethic. i, 13. Therefore the goodness of the interior act, which belongs to the commanding power, is distinct from the goodness of the external action, which belongs to the power commanded.

Obj. 3: Further, the same thing cannot be cause and effect; since nothing is its own cause. But the goodness of the interior act is the cause of the goodness of the external action, or vice versa, as stated above (AA. 1, 2). Therefore it is not the same goodness in each.

On the contrary, It was shown above (Q. 18, A. 6) that the act of the will is the form, as it were, of the external action. Now that which results from the material and formal element is one thing. Therefore there is but one goodness of the internal and external act.

I answer that, As stated above (Q. 17, A. 4), the interior act of the will, and the external action, considered morally, are one act. Now it happens sometimes that one and the same individual act has several aspects of goodness or malice, and sometimes that it has but one. Hence we must say that sometimes the goodness or malice of the interior act is the same as that of the external action, and sometimes not. For as we have already said (AA. 1, 2), these two goodnesses or malices, of the internal and external acts, are ordained to one another. Now it may happen, in things that are subordinate to something else, that a thing is good merely from being subordinate; thus a bitter draught is good merely because it procures health. Wherefore there are not two goodnesses, one the goodness of health, and the other the goodness of the draught; but one and the same. On the other hand it happens sometimes that that which is subordinate to something else, has some aspect of goodness in itself, besides the fact of its being subordinate to some other good: thus a palatable medicine can be considered in the light of a pleasurable good, besides being conducive to health.

We must therefore say that when the external action derives goodness or malice from its relation to the end only, then there is but one and the same goodness of the act of the will which of itself regards the end, and of the external action, which regards the end through the medium of the act of the will. But when the external action has goodness or malice of itself, i.e. in regard to its matter and circumstances, then the goodness of the external action is distinct from the goodness of the will in regarding the end; yet so that the goodness of the end passes into the external action, and the goodness of the matter and circumstances passes into the act of the will, as stated above (AA. 1, 2).

Reply Obj. 1: This argument proves that the internal and external actions are different in the physical order: yet distinct as they are in that respect, they combine to form one thing in the moral order, as stated above (Q. 17, A. 4).

Reply Obj. 2: As stated in Ethic. vi, 12, a moral virtue is ordained to the act of that virtue, which act is the end, as it were, of that virtue; whereas prudence, which is in the reason, is ordained to things directed to the end. For this reason various virtues are necessary. But right reason in regard to the very end of a virtue has no other goodness than the goodness of that virtue, in so far as the goodness of the reason is participated in each virtue.

Reply Obj. 3: When a thing is derived by one thing from another, as from a univocal efficient cause, then it is not the same in both: thus when a hot thing heats, the heat of the heater is distinct from the heat of the thing heated, although it be the same specifically. But when a thing is derived from one thing from another, according to analogy or proportion, then it is one and the same in both: thus the healthiness which is in medicine or urine is derived from the healthiness of the animal's body; nor is health as applied to urine and medicine, distinct from health as applied to the body of an animal, of which health medicine is the cause, and urine the sign. It is in this way that the goodness of the external action is derived from the goodness of the will, and vice versa; viz. according to the order of one to the other.

^Q. 20


Art. 4: Whether the external action adds any goodness or malice to that of the interior act?[edit]

It would seem that the external action does not add any goodness or malice to that of the interior action.

Obj. 1: For Chrysostom says (Hom. xix in Matt.): "It is the will that is rewarded for doing good, or punished for doing evil." Now works are the witnesses of the will. Therefore God seeks for works not on His own account, in order to know how to judge; but for the sake of others, that all may understand how just He is. But good or evil is to be estimated according to God's judgment rather than according to the judgment of man. Therefore the external action adds no goodness or malice to that of the interior act.

Obj. 2: Further, the goodness and malice of the interior and external acts are one and the same, as stated above (A. 3). But increase is the addition of one thing to another. Therefore the external action does not add to the goodness or malice of the interior act.

Obj. 3: Further, the entire goodness of created things does not add to the Divine Goodness, because it is entirely derived therefrom. But sometimes the entire goodness of the external action is derived from the goodness of the interior act, and sometimes conversely, as stated above (AA. 1, 2). Therefore neither of them adds to the goodness or malice of the other.

On the contrary, Every agent intends to attain good and avoid evil. If therefore by the external action no further goodness or malice be added, it is to no purpose that he who has a good or an evil will, does a good deed or refrains from an evil deed. Which is unreasonable.

I answer that, If we speak of the goodness which the external action derives from the will tending to the end, then the external action adds nothing to this goodness, unless it happens that the will in itself is made better in good things, or worse in evil things. This, seemingly, may happen in three ways. First in point of number; if, for instance, a man wishes to do something with a good or an evil end in view, and does not do it then, but afterwards wills and does it, the act of his will is doubled and a double good, or a double evil is the result. Secondly, in point of extension: when, for instance, a man wishes to do something for a good or an evil end, and is hindered by some obstacle, whereas another man perseveres in the movement of the will until he accomplish it in deed; it is evident that the will of the latter is more lasting in good or evil, and in this respect, is better or worse. Thirdly, in point of intensity: for there are certain external actions, which, in so far as they are pleasurable, or painful, are such as naturally to make the will more intense or more remiss; and it is evident that the more intensely the will tends to good or evil, the better or worse it is.

On the other hand, if we speak of the goodness which the external action derives from its matter and due circumstances, thus it stands in relation to the will as its term and end. And in this way it adds to the goodness or malice of the will; because every inclination or movement is perfected by attaining its end or reaching its term. Wherefore the will is not perfect, unless it be such that, given the opportunity, it realizes the operation. But if this prove impossible, as long as the will is perfect, so as to realize the operation if it could; the lack of perfection derived from the external action, is simply involuntary. Now just as the involuntary deserves neither punishment nor reward in the accomplishment of good or evil deeds, so neither does it lessen reward or punishment, if a man through simple involuntariness fail to do good or evil.

Reply Obj. 1: Chrysostom is speaking of the case where a man's will is complete, and does not refrain from the deed save through the impossibility of achievement.

Reply Obj. 2: This argument applies to that goodness which the external action derives from the will as tending to the end. But the goodness which the external action takes from its matter and circumstances, is distinct from that which it derives from the end; but it is not distinct from that which it has from the very act willed, to which it stands in the relation of measure and cause, as stated above (AA. 1, 2).

From this the reply to the Third Objection is evident.

^Q. 20


Art. 5: Whether the consequences of the external action increase its goodness or malice?[edit]

It would seem that the consequences of the external action increase its goodness or malice.

Obj. 1: For the effect pre-exists virtually in its cause. But the consequences result from the action as an effect from its cause. Therefore they pre-exist virtually in actions. Now a thing is judged to be good or bad according to its virtue, since a virtue "makes that which has it to be good" (Ethic. ii, 6). Therefore the consequences increase the goodness or malice of an action.

Obj. 2: Further, the good actions of his hearers are consequences resulting from the words of a preacher. But such goods as these redound to the merit of the preacher, as is evident from Phil. 4:1: "My dearly beloved brethren, my joy and my crown." Therefore the consequences of an action increase its goodness or malice.

Obj. 3: Further, punishment is not increased, unless the fault increases: wherefore it is written (Deut. 25:2): "According to the measure of the sin shall the measure also of the stripes be." But the punishment is increased on account of the consequences; for it is written (Ex. 21:29): "But if the ox was wont to push with his horn yesterday and the day before, and they warned his master, and he did not shut him up, and he shall kill a man or a woman, then the ox shall be stoned, and his owner also shall be put to death." But he would not have been put to death, if the ox, although he had not been shut up, had not killed a man. Therefore the consequences increase the goodness or malice of an action.

Obj. 4: Further, if a man do something which may cause death, by striking, or by sentencing, and if death does not ensue, he does not contract irregularity: but he would if death were to ensue. Therefore the consequence of an action increase its goodness or malice.

On the contrary, The consequences do not make an action that was evil, to be good; nor one that was good, to be evil. For instance, if a man give an alms to a poor man who makes bad use of the alms by committing a sin, this does not undo the good done by the giver; and, in like manner, if a man bear patiently a wrong done to him, the wrongdoer is not thereby excused. Therefore the consequences of an action do not increase its goodness or malice.

I answer that, The consequences of an action are either foreseen or not. If they are foreseen, it is evident that they increase the goodness or malice. For when a man foresees that many evils may follow from his action, and yet does not therefore desist therefrom, this shows his will to be all the more inordinate.

But if the consequences are not foreseen, we must make a distinction. Because if they follow from the nature of the action and in the majority of cases, in this respect, the consequences increase the goodness or malice of that action: for it is evident that an action is specifically better, if better results can follow from it; and specifically worse, if it is of a nature to produce worse results. On the other hand, if the consequences follow by accident and seldom, then they do not increase the goodness or malice of the action: because we do not judge of a thing according to that which belongs to it by accident, but only according to that which belongs to it of itself.

Reply Obj. 1: The virtue of a cause is measured by the effect that flows from the nature of the cause, not by that which results by accident.

Reply Obj. 2: The good actions done by the hearers, result from the preacher's words, as an effect that flows from their very nature. Hence they redound to the merit of the preacher: especially when such is his intention.

Reply Obj. 3: The consequences for which that man is ordered to be punished, both follow from the nature of the cause, and are supposed to be foreseen. For this reason they are reckoned as punishable.

Reply Obj. 4: This argument would prove if irregularity were the result of the fault. But it is not the result of the fault, but of the fact, and of the obstacle to the reception of a sacrament.

^Q. 20


Art. 6: Whether one and the same external action can be both good and evil?[edit]

It would seem that one and the same external action can be both good and evil.

Obj. 1: For "movement, if continuous, is one and the same" (Phys. v, 4). But one continuous movement can be both good and bad: for instance, a man may go to church continuously, intending at first vainglory, and afterwards the service of God. Therefore one and the same action can be both good and bad.

Obj. 2: Further, according to the Philosopher (Phys. iii, 3), action and passion are one act. But the passion may be good, as Christ's was; and the action evil, as that of the Jews. Therefore one and the same act can be both good and evil.

Obj. 3: Further, since a servant is an instrument, as it were, of his master, the servant's action is his master's, just as the action of a tool is the workman's action. But it may happen that the servant's action result from his master's good will, and is therefore good: and from the evil will of the servant, and is therefore evil. Therefore the same action can be both good and evil.

On the contrary, The same thing cannot be the subject of contraries. But good and evil are contraries. Therefore the same action cannot be both good and evil.

I answer that, Nothing hinders a thing from being one, in so far as it is in one genus, and manifold, in so far as it is referred to another genus. Thus a continuous surface is one, considered as in the genus of quantity; and yet it is manifold, considered as to the genus of color, if it be partly white, and partly black. And accordingly, nothing hinders an action from being one, considered in the natural order; whereas it is not one, considered in the moral order; and vice versa, as we have stated above (A. 3, ad 1; Q. 18, A. 7, ad 1). For continuous walking is one action, considered in the natural order: but it may resolve itself into many actions, considered in the moral order, if a change take place in the walker's will, for the will is the principle of moral actions. If therefore we consider one action in the moral order, it is impossible for it to be morally both good and evil. Whereas if it be one as to natural and not moral unity, it can be both good and evil.

Reply Obj. 1: This continual movement which proceeds from various intentions, although it is one in the natural order, is not one in the point of moral unity.

Reply Obj. 2: Action and passion belong to the moral order, in so far as they are voluntary. And therefore in so far as they are voluntary in respect of wills that differ, they are two distinct things, and good can be in one of them while evil is in the other.

Reply Obj. 3: The action of the servant, in so far as it proceeds from the will of the servant, is not the master's action: but only in so far as it proceeds from the master's command. Wherefore the evil will of the servant does not make the action evil in this respect.

^Q. 20

QUESTION 21: OF THE CONSEQUENCES OF HUMAN ACTIONS BY REASON OF THEIR GOODNESS AND MALICE[edit]

^TOC ^d. The Division of Human Acts

We have now to consider the consequences of human actions by reason of their goodness and malice: and under this head there are four points of inquiry:

(1) Whether a human action is right or sinful by reason of its being good or evil?

(2) Whether it thereby deserves praise or blame?

(3) Whether accordingly, it is meritorious or demeritorious?

(4) Whether it is accordingly meritorious or demeritorious before God?


Art. 1: Whether a human action is right or sinful, in so far as it is good or evil?[edit]

It seems that a human action is not right or sinful, in so far as it is good or evil.

Obj. 1: For "monsters are the sins of nature" (Phys. ii, 8). But monsters are not actions, but things engendered outside the order of nature. Now things that are produced according to art and reason imitate those that are produced according to nature (Phys. ii, 8). Therefore an action is not sinful by reason of its being inordinate and evil.

Obj. 2: Further, sin, as stated in Phys. ii, 8 occurs in nature and art, when the end intended by nature or art is not attained. But the goodness or malice of a human action depends, before all, on the intention of the end, and on its achievement. Therefore it seems that the malice of an action does not make it sinful.

Obj. 3: Further, if the malice of an action makes it sinful, it follows that wherever there is evil, there is sin. But this is false: since punishment is not a sin, although it is an evil. Therefore an action is not sinful by reason of its being evil.

On the contrary, As shown above (Q. 19, A. 4), the goodness of a human action depends principally on the Eternal Law: and consequently its malice consists in its being in disaccord with the Eternal Law. But this is the very nature of sin; for Augustine says (Contra Faust. xxii, 27) that "sin is a word, deed, or desire, in opposition to the Eternal Law." Therefore a human action is sinful by reason of its being evil.

I answer that, Evil is more comprehensive than sin, as also is good than right. For every privation of good, in whatever subject, is an evil: whereas sin consists properly in an action done for a certain end, and lacking due order to that end. Now the due order to an end is measured by some rule. In things that act according to nature, this rule is the natural force that inclines them to that end. When therefore an action proceeds from a natural force, in accord with the natural inclination to an end, then the action is said to be right: since the mean does not exceed its limits, viz. the action does not swerve from the order of its active principle to the end. But when an action strays from this rectitude, it comes under the notion of sin.

Now in those things that are done by the will, the proximate rule is the human reason, while the supreme rule is the Eternal Law. When, therefore, a human action tends to the end, according to the order of reason and of the Eternal Law, then that action is right: but when it turns aside from that rectitude, then it is said to be a sin. Now it is evident from what has been said (Q. 19, AA. 3, 4) that every voluntary action that turns aside from the order of reason and of the Eternal Law, is evil, and that every good action is in accord with reason and the Eternal Law. Hence it follows that a human action is right or sinful by reason of its being good or evil.

Reply Obj. 1: Monsters are called sins, inasmuch as they result from a sin in nature's action.

Reply Obj. 2: The end is twofold; the last end, and the proximate end. In the sin of nature, the action does indeed fail in respect of the last end, which is the perfection of the thing generated; but it does not fail in respect of any proximate end whatever; since when nature works it forms something. In like manner, the sin of the will always fails as regards the last end intended, because no voluntary evil action can be ordained to happiness, which is the last end: and yet it does not fail in respect of some proximate end: intended and achieved by the will. Wherefore also, since the very intention of this end is ordained to the last end, this same intention may be right or sinful.

Reply Obj. 3: Each thing is ordained to its end by its action: and therefore sin, which consists in straying from the order to the end, consists properly in an action. On the other hand, punishment regards the person of the sinner, as was stated in the First Part (Q. 48, A. 5, ad 4; A. 6, ad 3).

^Q. 21


Art. 2: Whether a human action deserves praise or blame, by reason of its being good or evil?[edit]

It would seem that a human action does not deserve praise or blame by reason of its being good or evil.

Obj. 1: For "sin happens even in things done by nature" (Phys. ii, 8). And yet natural things are not deserving of praise or blame (Ethic. iii, 5). Therefore a human action does not deserve blame, by reason of its being evil or sinful; and, consequently, neither does it deserve praise, by reason of its being good.

Obj. 2: Further, just as sin occurs in moral actions, so does it happen in the productions of art: because as stated in Phys. ii, 8 "it is a sin in a grammarian to write badly, and in a doctor to give the wrong medicine." But the artist is not blamed for making something bad: because the artist's work is such, that he can produce a good or a bad thing, just as he lists. Therefore it seems that neither is there any reason for blaming a moral action, in the fact that it is evil.

Obj. 3: Further, Dionysius says (Div. Nom. iv) that evil is "weak and incapable." But weakness or inability either takes away or diminishes guilt. Therefore a human action does not incur guilt from being evil.

On the contrary, The Philosopher says (De Virt. et Vit. i) that "virtuous deeds deserve praise, while deeds that are opposed to virtue deserve censure and blame." But good actions are virtuous; because "virtue makes that which has it, good, and makes its action good" (Ethic. ii, 6): wherefore actions opposed to virtue are evil. Therefore a human action deserves praise or blame, through being good or evil.

I answer that, Just as evil is more comprehensive than sin, so is sin more comprehensive than blame. For an action is said to deserve praise or blame, from its being imputed to the agent: since to praise or to blame means nothing else than to impute to someone the malice or goodness of his action. Now an action is imputed to an agent, when it is in his power, so that he has dominion over it: because it is through his will that man has dominion over his actions, as was made clear above (Q. 1, AA. 1, 2). Hence it follows that good or evil, in voluntary actions alone, renders them worthy of praise or blame: and in such like actions, evil, sin and guilt are one and the same thing.

Reply Obj. 1: Natural actions are not in the power of the natural agent: since the action of nature is determinate. And, therefore, although there be sin in natural actions, there is no blame.

Reply Obj. 2: Reason stands in different relations to the productions of art, and to moral actions. In matters of art, reason is directed to a particular end, which is something devised by reason: whereas in moral matters, it is directed to the general end of all human life. Now a particular end is subordinate to the general end. Since therefore sin is a departure from the order to the end, as stated above (A. 1), sin may occur in two ways, in a production of art. First, by a departure from the particular end intended by the artist: and this sin will be proper to the art; for instance, if an artist produce a bad thing, while intending to produce something good; or produce something good, while intending to produce something bad. Secondly, by a departure from the general end of human life: and then he will be said to sin, if he intend to produce a bad work, and does so in effect, so that another is taken in thereby. But this sin is not proper to the artist as such, but as man. Consequently for the former sin the artist is blamed as an artist; while for the latter he is blamed as a man. On the other hand, in moral matters, where we take into consideration the order of reason to the general end of human life, sin and evil are always due to a departure from the order of reason to the general end of human life. Wherefore man is blamed for such a sin, both as man and as a moral being. Hence the Philosopher says (Ethic. vi, 5) that "in art, he who sins voluntarily is preferable; but in prudence, as in the moral virtues," which prudence directs, "he is the reverse."

Reply Obj. 3: Weakness that occurs in voluntary evils, is subject to man's power: wherefore it neither takes away nor diminishes guilt.

^Q. 21


Art. 3: Whether a human action is meritorious or demeritorious in so far as it is good or evil?[edit]

It would seem that a human action is not meritorious or demeritorious on account of its goodness or malice.

Obj. 1: 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.

Obj. 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.

Obj. 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 (Isa. 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 Obj. 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.

Reply Obj. 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.

Reply Obj. 3: This very good or evil, which a man does to himself by his action, redounds to the community, as stated above.

^Q. 21


Art. 4: Whether a human action is meritorious or demeritorious before God, according as it is good or evil?[edit]

It would seem that man's actions, good or evil, are not meritorious or demeritorious in the sight of God.

Obj. 1: Because, as stated above (A. 3), 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 (Job 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.

Obj. 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 (Isa. 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.

Obj. 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 (Eccles. 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 (A. 3), 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 (Q. 19, A. 10). 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 First Part (Q. 103, A. 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 Obj. 1: God in Himself neither gains nor loses 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.

Reply Obj. 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 (Q. 9, A. 6, ad 3). Consequently, by his action, he acquires merit or demerit in God's sight.

Reply Obj. 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.

^Q. 21