The Shifting Prominence of Emotions in the Moral Philosophy of Thomas Aquinas

Stephen Chanderbhan

About author

Stephen Chanderbhan is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Canisius College (Buffalo, NY, USA). His research interests include medieval philosophy (specifically, the thought of Thomas Aquinas), moral psychology, and philosophy of religion. He is the author of “Does Empathy Have Any Place in Aquinas’s Account of Justice?” (Philosophia 41.2 (2013)) He received his Ph.D. in Philosophy from Saint Louis University in 2012, where he worked with Eleonore Stump.

Mailing Address:

Stephen Chanderbhan
Department of Philosophy
Canisius College
2001 Main Street
Buffalo, NY 14216
United States of America

Phone (Office): 1-716-888-2223

E-mail: chanders@canisius.edu
Alternative E-mail: steve.chanderbhan@gmail.com

Abstract


In this article, I claim that emotions, as we understand the term today, have a more prominent role in the moral life described by Thomas Aquinas than has been traditionally thought. First, clarity is needed about what exactly the emotions are in Aquinas. Second, clarity is needed about true virtue: specifically, about the relationship of acquired virtue to infused, supernatural virtues. Given a fuller understanding of both these things, I claim that emotions are not only auxiliary to the life of flourishing, specifically with regard to moral motivation and morally relevant knowledge. In fact, at the highest stage of moral development, emotions have a more prominent role than at lower stages. Pointing this out helps us to resist over-intellectualizing interpretations of Aquinas’s moral philosophy.

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References


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DOI:

http://dx.doi.org/10.13153/diam.38.2013.538

Article links:

Default URL: http://www.diametros.iphils.uj.edu.pl/index.php/diametros/article/view/538
English abstract URL: http://www.diametros.iphils.uj.edu.pl/index.php/diametros/article/view/538/en

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