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Beyond privation: moral evil in Aquinas's De malo.

EVER SINCE PLOTINUS SOUGHT CLARITY in the notion of privation to dispel our human perplexity about evil, philosophers have debated whether this concept is adequate to the task. The intensity and scope of evil in the twentieth century--which has seen the horrors of world war and genocide--have added fuel to the debate. Can the idea of a falling away from the good, however refined, come anywhere close to capturing the calculation, the commitment, the energy, and the drive that underlie the most virulent projects in malfeasance? While the privation account might appear a reasonable strategy for explaining passive wrongdoing--indifference to people in grave need, or cooperation with injustice--the more active and dynamic forms of evil would nevertheless seem to elude its conceptual net.

Against this objection, it can be said that the concept of privation was intended within the Thomistic tradition to provide principles for a metaphysical, yet not precisely a moral, analysis of wickedness. True with respect to the former, the privation account was credited with rendering an important service. In explaining how evil consists in the absence of a due good, this account exonerates God, the first cause, from any derivative responsibility for evil. Its theological utility notwithstanding, Thomas Aquinas nevertheless took particular care to indicate the limitations of privation as a tool for elucidating the special sort of evil that emerges within human freedom. This evil he designates by the names "sin" (peccatum), (1) "moral fault" (malum culpae), or moral evil (malum morale). (2) Aquinas's conceptualization of evil along positive lines as something done is most visible in his analysis of intentional wrongdoing (peccare ex industria aut ex certa scientia), also termed "sinning from malice" (peccare ex malitia). (3)

In this essay I will examine the interplay of these two ideas--the negative concept of "privation," and the positive concept of malitia--within Thomas's treatment of moral evil. In so doing I will advert most especially to the argumentation of his Quaestiones disputatae de malo (most likely disputed in Paris during the academic years 1269-71), which represents his most detailed and systematic treatment of this theme.


"Within the domain of morals, `evil' is asserted in a positive way." (4) This statement from the opening article of the De malo gives succinct expression to the basic insight governing Thomas's conception of moral evil. To get at the special character of evil as it emerges in free actions, it is not enough to apprehend it as a mode of falling away from the good. While the evil that affects natural entities can indeed be adequately grasped under the heading of privation, the evil performed by human beings through the misuse of their freedom requires, for its proper conceptualization, something more than the idea of privation can give, namely, the notion of opposition to the good. To use the stock example, adultery consists not only in the absence of the fidelity incumbent on those who are married but also and especially in the violation of this commitment by engagement in acts that are directly opposed to the nuptial bond. (5) Likewise, cruelty consists not so much in failing to carry out the obligations of clemency but in deliberately inflicting pain outside the order of justice. Temperance and adultery, clemency and cruelty are thus situated vis-a-vis each other as contraries, not as the possession of a quality and its privation. (6)

Thomas distinguishes between acts opposed to reason (contra rationem) on the one hand and acts that merely fall short of reason (preter eam) on the other. In the latter case, the acts in question are defective in relation to the means chosen yet not to the point where the will's ordination to its due end is excluded. Since intending the end is the most decisive element in moral goodness, only acts incompatible with the due end will properly be termed against reason. (7) This helps explain why it is especially in the notion of transgression that the formality of moral evil is to be found.

A corollary to the notion that wrongful behavior stands contrary to the good required of us is Thomas's assertion that moral evil gives specification to human deeds. (8) By this he means that the immoral act receives its form, is constituted in its kind, precisely by reference to an evil end. Here the contrast with natural evil is instructive. In the order of nature entities suffer evil when they fall to obtain their respective ends, yet such failure can only arise as a per accidens side effect of the entity's inclination to its proper end. In this respect, it is true to say "evil cannot have a per se cause." (9) In the realm of moral action, by contrast, the wrongful (evil) act is precisely what the wicked agent aims at; this is what constitutes his objective. A murderer in the nonattenuated sense of the term is one who carries out a murder, not fortuitously, but with this very goal in mind. "Good and evil," Thomas writes, "are [specifying] differences only in moral matters, in which evil is something affirmed in a positive way, inasmuch as the very act of the will is denominated evil from the [evil] object willed." (10)

Hence, between the structure of evil in moralibus, on the one hand, and evil in naturalibus, on the other, there is dissymmetry: where the former requires intentionality, the latter wholly excludes it. The greater the weight of calculation in a wrongful moral act, the more it merits imposition of the epithet "evil." In contradistinction, a natural evil (for example, a physical deformity such as blindness), since it occurs as the incidental side effect of causes acting per se for other ends, is always said to be outside of the agent's goal directedness (praeter intentionem).
 The cause of this evil, the birth of a malformed being, is a lack of power
 in the seed. Now if we seek the cause of this defect, the evil of the seed,
 we will arrive at some good thing which is per accidens the cause of this
 evil. (11)

 The reason why evil is more properly called contrary to good in moral
 matters than in natural things is that moral acts depend on the will, and
 the object of the will is good and evil. But every act is denominated and
 receives its species from its object. So accordingly, the act of the will,
 inasmuch as it is directed to evil (fertur in malum), has the character
 (ratio) and name of evil; and this evil is properly contrary to good. (12)

This difference is traceable to the presence of reason within human action. Although the operations of natural entities, on the one hand, and human actions, on the other, both depend upon an external rule, only in the latter instance is the rule adverted to consciously. The rule which governs human actions requires an exercise of reason in order to be made effective. (13)

From the human being's obligatory advertence to moral norms there follows a twofold positioning of free actions vis-a-vis their rule: compliance or opposition. (14) Acts compliant with the rule are morally good, while acts that violate it are morally evil. In each case, good and evil function as contrary species within the same genus of moral action. This contrariety would be impossible were moral evil conceived merely along the lines of pure privation since between a good and its nonexistence there obtains only an opposition of contradictories (the affirmation of a term and its negation) and not two positive terms divided by their contrariety. On this basis Thomas concludes that "sin [moral fault] is not a pure privation like darkness, but is itself something positive." (15)

There can be no doubt that Thomas entertained the "pure privation" conception of moral evil and rejected it, for in De malo q. 2, a. 9, he identifies certain (unnamed) Stoics as having defended the idea that moral fault is reducible to pure privation (priuatio pura). He suggests that they were led to this view because they defined wrongful action simply as that which "falls outside of the rule of reason" (preter rectitudinem rationis). They thereby considered adultery a sin, not because sexual intercourse with a woman other than one's wife is wrongful in itself (secundum se malum) but merely because this act lacks the rectitude demanded by reason; and the same would hold in all other cases of sin. Thomas distances himself from this conception for principally two reasons.

First of all, he points out that not every privation consists in the complete absence of something due. Privations are in fact twofold: pure (pura) and mixed (non pura). (16) Pure privations leave no trace of what they corrupt; thus death signifies the total suppression of life in a living organism and darkness the entire negation of light. Death and darkness each represent a completed state of corruption (sunt quasi in corruptum esse). By contrast, other privations signify a way to corruption (significant quasi in uia corruptionis) in which something positive persists; thus sickness does not entirely remove heath, ugliness beauty, or falsity truth. These mixed privations permit the coexistence of the positive element they affect; hence, in addition to being privations they also function as contraries. Moral fault is a privation of the mixed kind. For this reason, it is more exact to designate sin a "deformed act" Cactus deformis) than to call it a "deformity" (deformitas). (17) Similarly, Thomas disagrees with those who, "on account of Augustine's comment that `sin is a non-being' (peccatum nichil est), affirmed that the ratio of sin consists in privation." (18) Rather, the Angelic Doctor asserts that "in sin it is necessary to consider not only the deformity itself but also the very act underlying the deformity." On this basis, he concludes that "if we wish to consider all that is in sin, sin consists not only in a privation, nor solely in the intention of the will (in actu interiori), but also in the very deed itself (in actu exteriori)." (19)

In other words, to capture the reality of moral evil, it must be said that it is a privation with a positive element added. Thomas accordingly terms it a "mixed" privation. A wrongful deed has the character of privation insofar as it lacks a due ordination to the agent's rightful end; it is something more than privation insofar as it is an act posited in opposition to the moral rule. Significantly, Thomas expressly indicates that of these two elements, transgressing the rule is more essential to the intelligibility (ratio) of moral evil than the corresponding failure to achieve the end. (20) The former undergirds the latter: "An act does not arrive at its goal because it did not follow its rule." (21) From this precision we can see that Thomas's version of moral absolutism is not founded upon moral self-interest. Murder, for instance, is malum in se, inherently contrary to the rule of reason. It is for this reason that the man who knowingly commits murder is severed from his last end, not vice versa. (22)

A second reason given by Thomas for rejecting the Stoic conception of sin as pure privation looks to the distinction between sins of omission (peccata omissionis) and sins of commission (peccata transgressionis). If moral fault were formally a privation, then all instances of sinning would necessarily fall within the category of omission. Such a reduction would, however, entail the negation of an important feature of our moral experience, the perception that there are varying degrees of gravity within the same kind of sin. "For instance, if a person eats when he ought not, although he does eat where he ought and for the reason he ought" (23) his sin will be less grave than were he to violate the precept on all three counts. Yet if every sin were at bottom a matter of omission, there would be no meaningful way to speak of carrying out particular sins in degrees of more or less. This is because sins of omission, which consist in the nonperformance of obligatory actions, are indeed modes of pure privation. As such they cannot admit of degrees, any more than can other privations where "the entire thing is taken away." (24) "An individual who died from a single wound," Thomas notes by way of example, "is no less dead than another who died from three or four wounds." By contrast, when sin is classified within the category of mixed privation, "where the entire thing is not taken away," the experience of varying degrees of gravity is readily made intelligible "by reference precisely to that element which is said in a positive manner." (25) Refutation of the Stoic position thus presents Thomas with a renewed opportunity to explain why moral evil cannot adequately be conceptualized under the category of privation.

However, as should be clear from the foregoing, Thomas does not go so far as to dismiss the relevance of privation for an account of moral evil. In fact, he explains that if we consider moral evil with respect to its mode of being, it can be said to consist in nothing other than the privation of a human act's ordination to its proper and fitting end. "The evil of fault," he writes, "consists in the privation of order in an act." (26) From this point of view, moral evil detracts from what is properly human; it represents an impoverishment, a special sort of incompleteness (lack of integritas) that affects the doer and his action. This leads Thomas to cite anew the Augustinian dictum that "sin is a non-being" (peccatum est nichil), which, he explains, can rightly be said on two counts. (27) First, on the part of the act itself, insofar as it is deprived of its due excellence, and second, on the part of the agent who, having freely posited a disordered act, is himself deprived of valuable internal goods, natural and supernatural. The loss of psychic harmony, the obfuscation of moral consciousness, and the penchant for accrued wrongdoing are among the natural effects of sin, (28) and from the privation of divine grace there results the loss of supernatural goods such as faith, hope, charity, and the share in divine beatitude which they confer. (29) The malefactor thereby harms himself most grievously by his misdeeds. Indeed, he harms himself in a way that he could never harm others (or them him) since it is in the invisible root of selfhood--the soul--that he suffers this damage. "Whosoever does wrong, wrongs himself; whosoever does injustice, does it to himself, making himself evil." (30) Thomas utters a similar thought in the Summa theologiae, where he notes that sins committed against the neighbor are evil on two counts, first with respect to the disorder in the person who sins, and second with respect to the wrong inflicted on the other. (31)

Malfeasance is thus inseparable from privation. Thomas takes care to note, however, that privation cannot itself function as the specifying or defining principle of wrongdoing since only a positive principle can give content to actions. (32) Formal designation of the sinful act as "evil in kind" is conceptually prior to any description of it in terms of privation. From this we can adduce an important conclusion: Underlying Thomas's account of evil in human action is the idea that there are in fact two different ways of predicating evil in this domain, an ontological predication and a moral predication.

The ontological predication designates evil action as a particular instantiation of a category--privative nonbeing--that has application throughout the whole range of created entities. This is evil in the unqualified sense of the term (malum simpliciter accepta, malum inquantum est malum). The negative correlate of transcendental goodness, evil in this ontological sense has a predication virtually as large, since any item whatsoever that exists--whether in the order of substance, quality, quantity, relation, and so forth--can be conceived of as lacking the actuation it is properly due. (33) It is true that human freedom has a mode of existence distinctly its own. This, however, does not prevent it from being examined within metaphysics under the category of privative nonbeing.

The moral predication, by contrast, designates good and evil solely within the sphere of human freedom (bonum et malum in genere moralium accipiuntur). Here good and evil function as contrasting essential predicates, thus allowing for statements such as "in the end he chose evil over good," "that is truly an evil deed," "he was an evil man," or "that is an evil empire."

These two modes of predication, ontological and moral, express distinct yet inseparable aspects of the evil in human action. A passage from the Summa contra gentiles provides a succinct summary of this teaching: "it is from the privation of the rational good that moral evil is termed evil; however, moral evil [is termed] a genus and a difference from the very nature of an act or habitus, insofar as [this act or habitus] is directed to some end which is incompatible with the end required of us by reason." (34)

Having defined moral evil by reference to the complementary concepts of privation and opposition to the rule of reason, Thomas's next move is to submit it to a causal analysis. What cause or causes are responsible for the emergence of moral evil in the world? In De malo, Thomas discusses this question in tandem with the twofold predication of evil presented above. When the evil in human action is thematized under the heading of privation (the ontological predication), its root cause must be located in some defect of the will, a defect which is ascribable to the free initiative of the moral agent. Thomas identifies this defect with a voluntary negation, the agent's willful inattention to the moral rule. By contrast, when he studies the causation of evil from the perspective of ethical science (the moral predication), emphasis is placed on the positive volition of the agent. People do evil because evil is what they have chosen. This is what Thomas terms "sinning from malice," which he says consists in nothing other than "making a choice for evil" (ex mali electione peccare). (35) Let us now investigate each of these causal explanations in turn. The next section (2) will focus on moral evil as a kind of privation, while section 3 will take up the problem of deliberate wrongdoing (malice).


Consisting as they do in the absence of goods which are naturally due, evils require special explanation. By contrast, when things function as they should, we rarely pause to inquire about their causes. "Everything that happens to a thing outside of its normal condition (preternaturaliter)," writes Thomas, "must have a cause." (36) Thus, should a man become deathly pale, and experience severe shortness of breath, we spontaneously ask, "What is wrong? Why is this happening to him?" Wrongful deeds similarly cry out for explanation; we want to know why the perpetrator has deviated from the moral norm. How did it happen that this man came to rape this woman? How did it come about that his actions were so devoid of justice?

In examining the causation of moral evil in De malo, q. 1, a. 3 (a locus classicus for the Thomistic account of evil), Thomas proceeds from broad metaphysical principles downward to the special case of human freedom. He begins by subsuming moral evil under the category of privation in order to show how the causal pattern which accounts for privations generally holds in the case of wrongful deeds as well. The next step is to explain how there is something distinctive about human freedom, something which sets our depraved actions apart from the defective operations of natural agents. The text concludes by identifying inadvertence to the rule of reason as the primary cause (prima causa) of moral evil.

When Thomas sets out in De malo, q. 1, a. 3 to identify the causal pattern responsible for the emergence of evils, his focus is clearly on efficient causation. Although he does not indicate this explicitly here, his basic approach to this question excludes the possibility that evil (qua privation) could have a formal or final cause. (37) There is no formal cause of evil, because evil consists not in the presence of a form but in its lack or privation. Nor does evil have a final cause for only the good can have the nature of an end; evil, rather, is a privation of due order to the end. However, it must be admitted that evil has a material cause. The very idea of privation presupposes the existence of an underlying subject, a subject that is deprived of an actuation it can and should have. Since privation, the absence of a due form, is extraneous to an item's internal constitution, its nature or form, we must appeal to efficient causation in order to explain how the said item (a substance, quality, relation, and so forth) has come to be affected in this way.

What sort of efficient causation gives rise to evil? The main thrust of Thomas's argumentation is to show that no efficient cause per se can be ordered to such a result. This is a corollary of the view that evil cannot have a final or formal cause. Not having the character of an end, evil cannot be directly intended, whether by instinctive inclination, or consciously, by a rationally conceived project. "No one accomplishes evil," observes Thomas, "except intending what appears to him good, hence, it seems good to the adulterer to enjoy sensual pleasure, and for that reason he commits adultery." (38) Moreover, every effect that per se arises from some cause bears a resemblance to that cause. Evil, however, does not resemble its cause. This is because resemblance involves likeness of form, and as we have seen, evil has no form; rather, it consists in the absence of form. Finally, Thomas points out that every effect which per se arises from a cause is possessed of a fixed and ordered dependency on that cause. Evil, however, flows not from order but from the neglect of order.

If no cause can per se account for the evils which supervene upon things, to what agency can we trace such an effect? Can it be that one evil is the cause of another? While conceding that this is indeed sometimes the case (organic damage to the eye causes blindness), Thomas quickly asserts, that it still cannot be said that evil is the primary cause (prima causa) of evil. (39) Nothing exercises causality except insofar as it is in act; evil, as such, represents the privation of act. Hence, evil qua evil cannot function as a cause; it is only when annexed to a good that evil is possessed of a corrupting power. Quoting the pseudo-Dionysius, author of The Divine Names, Thomas observes that "evil does not fight good, except through the power of the good; in itself, indeed, [evil] is powerless and weak." (40)

The only remaining alternative consists in asserting that good alone causes evil. This, however, it does not do of itself (per se); rather, a good causes evil accidentally (per accidens), as the side-effect of its proper operation. This, Thomas suggests, can occur in two ways. On the one hand, evil issues from a good when this good is in some respect deficient; the ensuing operation thereby deviates from its due course and deprives its effect of its proper form (for this reason the effect is said to be evil). Thus, an imbalance in a man's semen brings about a birth defect in his offspring; a bent tibia results in lameness (Thomas's examples). (41) On the other hand, agents can be fully possessed of the requisite power and thereby succeed in producing their proper effects. Yet in this process it can happen that the production of one good necessarily entails the destruction of another, as when the wolf takes nourishment from the lamb.

Evil emerges within free human action in each of the two aforesaid ways: (1) deficiency and (2) proper operation. Although each of these represents modes of per accidens causation, Thomas terms the first "the deficient cause of evil" (causa mali deficiens), while the latter he designates simply "the incidental cause of evil" (causa mali per accidens). (42)

This distinction he illustrates in De malo q. 1, a. 3 by reference to the sin of adultery. Drawn to the beauty of a woman who is not his wife, the adulterer undergoes the attraction of anticipated pleasure and finally consents to the sinful act. The adulterer would not have given his consent had he not deemed this pleasure beneficial to his concupiscible appetite. Pleasure is in this instance the perceived good that positively motivates the agent to engage in a deed he knows to be morally wrong. By its attraction, this perceived good brings about moral evil as a side effect. The activity proper to the concupiscible faculty, pleasure, thereby functions as the incidental (per accidens) cause of moral evil. This faculty, taken strictly on its own terms, is indifferent to the justice-based distinction between mine and thine. The difference between sexual intercourse with a woman who is one's wife and intercourse with the wife of another becomes a specifying difference only when viewed in the light of reason. Vis-a-vis the concupiscible and reproductive faculties, however, this difference is merely accidental (per accidens); it is not dictated by the essential ordination of each faculty to its proper object. (43) From this point of view (thus prescinding from order recognized by reason) the adulterer's desire for pleasure is entirely in keeping with the inclination of his concupiscible and reproductive powers. The problem, of course, is that the will's consent should be given only to what is good as dictated by reason. Yet the adulterer has given his consent precisely without heeding the precept of reason. Thus, even though his act may be deemed good as defined by reference to sense appetite (secundum quid bonum), absolutely speaking it must be deemed evil (simpliciter malum) since it is reason, not sense, that can define what is purely and simply good for human beings.

It is the composite character of the good (as perceived by human beings) which allows for the possibility of moral evil within human action. In the foregoing adultery example, it was the difference between what is viewed as good for the concupiscible faculty, on the one hand, and the good of reason, on the other, which creates an opening for wrongful choice. This is not the only sort of discrepancy in the perception of the good which can arise in human action. Just as the good of the sensory appetite can be viewed in isolation from the good of reason, likewise it is possible to apprehend a good through the faculty of reason and simultaneously to ignore the requirements imposed on this good by a principle higher than human reason:
 In the human being there is a twofold perception which ought to be directed
 by a higher rule: for sense perception ought to be directed by reason, and
 reason's cognition by wisdom, that is, the divine law. Consequently, evil
 can be in the human appetite in two ways: in one way because the sense
 perception is not regulated according to reason, and in keeping with this
 Dionysius says ... that the evil of man is to be contrary to reason; in the
 other way because human reason ought to be directed according to wisdom and
 divine law, and in keeping with this Ambrose says that sin is a
 transgression of the divine law. (44)

From this passage we can adduce that Thomas's point in the adultery example is not to suggest that all human wrongdoing results from a discordance between sense appetite and reason. The aim rather is to show how composition in the human cognition of the good makes possible a disjunction between the perception (sensory or rational) of a thing's desirability, on the one hand, and the perception of its moral fittingness, on the other. Such a disjunction is a possibility for pure spirits (angels) as well, for they too are able to consider the desirability of a proposed course of action with or without reference to a perspective higher than that given by their own faculty of reason. By contrast, such a disjunction is possible neither for God, who adverts to no rule of action higher than Himself, nor is it possible for beasts since their only rule is the one given by the senses.

Returning now to the text of De malo, q. 1, a. 3, we can ask "why does the evildoer, in this example an adulterer, allow himself to choose against the moral dictates of reason?" What accounts for the failure of his will? The focus is now on what Thomas earlier termed "the deficient cause of evil." The other line of causation, proper operation as the incidental (per accidens) cause of evil, will be discussed more explicitly in the next section of this essay.

A higher faculty of the soul can never be necessitated by a lower; hence it cannot be that the adulterer's will was compelled by an attraction of the sense appetite. Natural necessitation of the will by the lower sense appetites thus excluded, what else can be appealed to as the cause of this evil action? Chance? This is impossible, for then there would be no moral fault in us whatsoever; chance events are unpremeditated and beyond the control of reason. Can the will's consent be attributed to some congenital defect of the will? This too is an unacceptable solution, for if this were true we would have to admit that the will sins in every one of its acts. (45) Yet experience shows that this is hardly the case; even bad people sometimes act well.

In this way, Thomas adduces that only one viable alternative is left standing: it is a voluntary defect of the will that is the primary cause of the will's faulty choice. In other words, the defect which causes sinful action must proceed from the will itself. The faculty of will is the primary and sufficient cause of the very privation it undergoes in wrongful choice. The will is the cause of its own swerving.

Thus far we have dwelled on an analogy between the defective operations of natural agents, on the one hand, and sinful choices of free human agents, on the other. In each instance the deviant action emerges per accidens from its deficient cause. There is, however, a notable dissymmetry between the two kinds of actions. When a natural entity fails in its operation, the cause of this failure, while proximately attributable to a defect in the said agent, must ultimately be traceable to the unimpaired operations of more perfect agents. (46) Thomas is thus able to affirm that the evils which are reciprocally caused and undergone by particular agents in nature promote the good of the whole universe.

By contrast, when evil emerges within the voluntary actions of human beings, the just-mentioned causal ordering is reversed. Here causal priority must be ascribed to the defect residing in the particular agent. Only secondarily can this evil be said to emerge as the per accidens effect of unimpaired operation. It is a flaw in the will of the sinner that makes possible the motion of his sense appetite toward an appetible, yet wrongful, object. This flaw is the primary cause of the moral fault that issues from it. No higher, more ultimate cause need be sought to explain it. Nor is moral evil requisite for the good of the universe.

The challenge faced by Thomas is thus to explain how the flawed will of the rational agent, the defect which is the initiating cause of sin, itself issues from the free choice of the selfsame agent. To locate this defect in any other source would impute the responsibility for the sin of the rational agent to that other source. We have already seen how Thomas excludes the possibility that natural causes, arising from necessity or chance, could produce such a flaw in the will. Nor is it possible that any cause above nature--the fallen angels--can be the principle which directly moves a man to sin since nothing can act directly on the will save the will itself, or God, the will's author. (47) Thomas offers two reasons why it cannot be said that God is the first cause of sin. First of all, such an assertion would involve a manifest contradiction since the evil of fault is by its very ratio opposed to God, essential goodness. (48) Moreover, while it is true that God is the first cause of the efficient causation present in the sinful act--just as he is the cause of every actuality--from this we should not infer that God causes the sinful act's very deficiency. In this respect the human being who sins is likened to an animal that limps: whatever movement there is issues from the animal's muscular power, but the deficiency in this motion issues not from the muscular power of the leg but from the curvature of the tibia. (49) Likewise, whatever there is of actuality in sin derives ultimately from God, but the deficiency in sin originates wholly (prima causa) from the sinner. (50)

Thus, by a process of elimination, Thomas adduces that the defect which causes the will to sin must somehow accrue to the will by virtue of the will's own choosing. But can this be explained without circularity or infinite regress?

In a first step toward a solution, Thomas indicates that the deficient cause of a wrongful moral choice must arise in an instant prior to the choice itself. By distinguishing two moments in the genesis of sin, Thomas hopes to explain how one and the same faculty can be the cause of the very effect it later undergoes. "In the will we must discern beforehand some defect which is antecedent to the defective choice. By this defect the will chooses a thing good in some limited respect, yet simply evil." (51) The desire for pleasure, a limited good, is what motivates the adulterer to choose what is morally evil (the adulterous act). In this respect the attraction of sexual pleasure functions as the per accidens cause of the evil choice. By contrast, it is the flaw in the adulterer's will which causes him to will this relative good (sexual pleasure) at the cost of committing this moral evil (adultery).

What is the nature of this defect in the will? In what does it consist? As the cause of the privation in sinful choice, this defect must exclude or impede the form which renders choice morally good. As we have seen, our choices are good or bad depending on whether or not they agree with the exigencies of right reason. Since human acts consist in conscious behavior, the choice to engage in such acts will be possessed of moral goodness solely under condition that the agent first advert to the relevant moral rule. The rule itself originates from a superior being, God, who is the eternal source of all true laws, natural, human, and divine. God is thus the first cause of the form which renders human acts good. Free agents must actively advert to this law, consciously apply it within their choices, if their actions are to be good. In this sense, human practical reason exercises an intermediate (secondary) causality in the coming-to-be of morally good deeds.

A choice is deficient, by contrast, when it falls to possess the form required by right reason. The cause of this failure is not traceable to God who, Thomas reasons elsewhere, makes the fundamentals of the moral law available to all men without exception. (52) It must be traceable, rather, to human reason insofar as the sinner effectuates a choice without attending to what is morally required of him in the particular circumstances he now faces. He makes his choice in ignorance of what should be done. This ignorance is imputed to the sinner as a moral fault.

What accounts for this ignorance in choice? How did it get there? Unless it can be shown that this ignorance is somehow willed, the edifice constructed by Thomas will crumble. For if this ignorance is the result of a cause (or causes) independent of the free will of the sinful agent, ultimate responsibility for sin will rest there and not with the agent. Inversely, if the cause of this sinful ignorance is itself a sin, if the cause of the agent's wicked choice is some prior wickedness in the agent, we will then have to seek out a cause of that prior wickedness and so on without end. Having purported to explain moral evil we will have explained it away instead.

To exit this aporia, Thomas must show that the ignorance in choice is causally conditioned by a prior state that is imputable to the will of the agent, a state which nevertheless does not yet represent a condition of sinfulness. In other words, considered as a privation, moral fault must be seen to result from something which is prior to the wrongful choice, voluntary, but not evil. Thomas describes this prior causal moment as follows:
 Pleasure and everything else in human affairs ought to be measured and
 ruled according to the rule of reason and divine law; hence the non-use of
 the rule of reason and divine law is presupposed in the will before its
 disordered choice. And indeed there is no need to seek a cause of this
 non-use of the aforesaid rule because the liberty of the will itself,
 thanks to which it can act or not act, suffices for this. And the very fact
 of not actually attending (non attendere actu) to such a rule is not in
 itself evil. It is neither a fault nor a penalty because the soul is not
 bound nor is it always possible to actually attend (attendere) to a rule of
 this kind; but it first takes on the nature of fault from this that without
 actual consideration of the rule it proceeds to such a choice, just as the
 carpenter does no wrong in not always having in hand a measure but in
 proceeding to cut without using this measure. And likewise the fault of the
 will does not consist in not actually adverting to the rule of reason but
 in proceeding to choose without employing the rule or measure. And hence
 Augustine says in the 12th book of The City of God that the will is the
 cause of sin inasmuch as it is deficient; but he compares that defect
 (defectum) to silence or darkness because it is purely a negation (negatio
 sola). (53)

The supposition of an inadvertence to the moral rule in the moment before (54) choice provides Thomas with what he has been searching for: the prima causa of moral fault. This absence of knowledge must differ in kind from the negligence which is opposed to the virtue of prudence. The latter consists in a lack of due solicitude, and as such it is inherently sinful. (55) By contrast, the inadvertence which arises prior to sinful choice (rather than in the choice itself) has the character neither of ignorance nor of sin. Taken in itself this inadvertence represents merely an absence of knowledge. Finite, the human mind cannot embrace all it can know in a single cognition. We must shift our attention from one object of cognition to another, and for this reason there is a temporal dimension to our thinking. The same is true, yet to a lesser extent, of the pure spirits (angels) as well. (56) Consequently, no finite intelligence can be expected to attend continuously to the moral law. Heed must be paid to the moral law solely when to do so is relevant for the purposes of choice and action; only then is advertence to it due or required, and only then does inadvertence assume the character of privation. Otherwise it is a pure negation (negatio pura). (57)

If this purely negative inadvertence is to function as the primary cause of sin, it must be shown to lie within the voluntary power of the agent. In De malo and elsewhere we accordingly find Thomas devoting considerable effort toward demonstrating that rational agents (people and angels) do in fact have a margin of freedom with respect to the direction of their attention. (58) This margin varies considerably according the kind of faculty employed (intellect, imagination, outer senses), and the specific sorts of mental acts with which these powers are respectively engaged. Thomas is keen to note, however, that among our mental acts, those which proceed from a habitus are most fully within our voluntary control. (59) "It depends entirely on the will for anyone actually to think about something," he writes, "because a person who is possessed of a habitus of knowledge, or intelligible species, uses them at will." (60) Significantly, Thomas holds that the fundamental moral principles of the natural law are known by each and every human being in just this way. This habitual knowledge he terms synderesis. (61) Hence, to his mind, there is a strong theoretical basis for asserting that advertence (or inadvertence) to the moral rule is within the power of any normally functioning human being. (62)

Thomas's doctrine of purely negative inadvertence opens up an intermediate metaphysical space on the continuum which runs from the pure fallibility of the rational creature on one extreme to the actual commission of sin on the other. With regard to the former, Thomas emphatically states that "there is not and cannot be any creature whose free choice is naturally confirmed in good so that inability to sin belongs to it by its purely natural endowments." "Among rational natures," he adds, "only God has a free choice naturally impeccable and confirmed in good." (63) This difference between God and rational creatures Thomas pointedly attributes to the created status of the latter: "From the very fact that [an agent] is created it follows that it is subject to another as to a rule and measure. But if it were its own rule and measure, it could not proceed to operation without the rule. For that reason God, who is his own rule, cannot sin, just as a craftsman could not err in cutting wood if his own hand were the rule for cutting." (64)

On the opposite extreme of the continuum is the actuality of sin. Even though moral fault is rooted in the potentiality to failure that is part and parcel of the created will--only something in a condition of potency can suffer privation in deviating from its goal (65)--this fault nevertheless is really distinct from its antecedent condition. After all, it is metaphysically possible for a naturally fallible creature never actually to sin. Hence, for sin to extrude, something is required over and above the alterity which subsists between the rational creature and the moral rule of its action. Neither can it be said that actual sin ultimately proceeds from actual sin, one moral evil from another, without forcing explanation into the teeth of an infinite regression. The direct and ultimate cause of sin thus consists neither in an act, the omission of an act, nor even in a pure potentiality to failed act. Rather, it consists in a willed absence of consideration.


Central to Thomas's analysis of evil is the idea that it is not something that can be sought after, either as an end or as a means: "Evil as such," he writes in De malo, q. 1, a. 3, "cannot be directly intended, nor in any way willed or desired because the desirable has the nature of good, to which evil is opposed." (66) Numerous other passages state this same view.

By contrast, it is not difficult to find passages where Thomas appears to profess exactly the opposite:
 Every act of the appetitive power pertaining to pursuit, whose object is
 evil, is discordant with the matter or object of the appetitive power, and
 therefore all such acts are sins by reason of their genus, for example to
 love evil and to rejoice in evil, just as also to affirm what is false is a
 vice of the intellect. (67)

 He who sins from malice has a will ordered to an evil end, for he has a
 fixed intention of sinning. (68)

Thomas is able in good conscience to make these seemingly contradictory statements--sometimes on the very same page, as in De malo, q. 10, a. 1--precisely because malum shifts in meaning from one context to the other. In each case, the assertions in question have distinct referents. When it is denied that evil can in any way be desired, "evil" signifies a privation. Inversely, when it is affirmed that some people desire, love, or intentionally commit evil deeds, "evil" signifies something positive. In the latter instance, "a certain good [is] joined to the privation of another good." (69) This positive inclination to evil is what we now need to explore in greater detail.

Moral acts are denoted "good" or "evil" principally by reference to their respective ends. Ends are to action what first principles are to thought. The end is the main object of the will; hence, it is principally from the end willed that deeds derive their moral character. Although no end, qua end, is purely and simply evil in itself--for it is only qua good that the end can attract desire--an end can nevertheless be called evil with respect to its effects. The intemperate man, to use Thomas's example, seeks out delight of the senses as his most cherished goal. In this he finds his highest good. Since sensual pleasure is not in fact the highest human good, it must be said this end is desired outside the order of right reason. At any one time, a person can have but one final end: this end is that for the sake of which everything else is done, that to which all means and intermediate ends are ultimately ordered. From the fact that the intemperate man adopts pleasure as his ultimate end, his will is necessarily diverted from the true and proper end marked out by reason and the light of faith. This diversion is not what the intemperate man desires; it eventuates, rather, as a consequence of the improper end he has chosen. (70)

To be diverted from human fulfillment represents a privation, both for the act itself and for the positing agent. It is by reason of this privation--inordination to the true end--that the wrongdoer and his act are in the first instance called evil. Here evil is predicated according to the ontological sense of the term, malum inquantum est malum. Yet the proximate cause of this privation can also, by extension, be called evil, just as weather is said to be healthy when it promotes health in a living organism. By virtue of this same sort of analogy the end aimed at in wicked human actions--whether it be pleasure, wealth, power, and so forth--can be termed "evil" by reference to its effects, hence with respect to its very positivity. The focus here is no longer on the deficient causation of evil. Rather, Thomas wants to exhibit how desire for the good can motivate agents to do evil, that is, how the structure of an agent's inclination to its proper operation is a per accidens cause of the privation in malicious choice. The key step in this analysis consists in showing how the embrace of a finite good as one's last end necessarily excludes an orientation to the authentic last end. This point he illustrates by reference to natural processes of change. In nature, the generation of one entity is always joined to the corruption of another (the nourishment of the wolf is the destruction of the lamb). Similarly, the subtraction of the due end does not by itself confer on an act the "form" of moral evil; only when this subtraction is joined to the undue end, positively embraced by the malicious agent, can we think of the said act as evil in kind. (71)

Thus pleasure itself (or wealth, or power, and so forth) may be deemed evil when, by the pursuit of it, a man fails to orient his actions to their rightful end. Between these two senses of evil, embrace of the improper end and privation of the due end, there exists an analogy of attribution. The primary referent (the focal meaning) of evil is the privation (malum simpliciter accepta). The secondary referent is the operation which per accidens causes this privation. In the order of free human actions, this cause is the will's attachment to an undue end, and, by extension, whatever means the agent uses to procure that end. The analogical relationship between these two senses of evil dovetails with Thomas's distinction, introduced above, between two different modes of per accidens causation of evil: deficiency and proper operation. Evil in the latter sense of the term denotes in the first place any end the pursuit of which excludes the true end. Secondarily, it designates any means (act or thing) the use of which is inconsistent with this end. Third, it names individuals or even groupings of individuals, and the habits and acts of these individuals, to the degree that these promote an evil end.

We are now in a better position to understand in what sense evil can be desired, loved, intended, or chosen. At a most basic level this is said of any action which, if performed voluntarily, would be incompatible with the exigencies of real (not apparent) human fulfillment. Thomas takes care to point out that satisfaction of the voluntariness condition does not (in fact cannot) require that the agent perform evil acts precisely in view of the attendant privation for to aim at privation qua privation is purely and simply impossible. It would violate the metaphysical structure of human action.

If no one can will evil for evil's sake, what prompts agents to carry out evil deeds? Sometimes evil is done from ignorance. This, Thomas suggests, can happen in two ways. First of all, an agent can deliberately perform an act that de facto is wrongful in kind, yet be unaware of its wrongfulness. Thomas mentions the case of a man who is ignorant of the fact that fornication is a sin: "he voluntarily commits fornication but does not voluntarily commit sin." (72) Second, a person can perform a de facto wrongful deed due to lack of knowledge regarding the circumstances of his act, as when a man seeks to enjoy carnal pleasure with woman he mistakenly believes to be his wife (Thomas's example). In this case "he voluntarily approaches a woman for intercourse, but he does not voluntarily approach a woman who is not his wife." (73) Whether or not such agents bear culpability for their actions depends upon the antecedent conditions attaching to their ignorance. If the ignorance results from a voluntary neglect, guilt can tightly be ascribed to the agent, otherwise his ignorance will be deemed "invincible."

It can also happen that evil is voluntarily done out of passion. This, Thomas terms "sinning from weakness" (ex infirmitate peccare). Already studied in some detail by Aristotle in Nicomachean Ethics, book 7 (under the heading of akrasia), this form of wrongdoing proceeds neither from the agent's unawareness that his act is wrong (he has true theoretical knowledge regarding the ethics of the case), nor from any error regarding the circumstances of his act. It proceeds rather from a diversion of the agent's attention away from this twofold knowledge at the very moment he carries out the misdeed. This diversion is caused by the pull of a powerful emotion, which temporarily immobilizes the rational mind, leaving the sensory appetite to carry the day. (74) Whether or not the agent should be deemed culpable for his wrongdoing will hinge on the degree of voluntary control he was able to exercise over the unruly passion which caused his moral undoing.

Finally, evil may deliberately be done by an agent who, possessed of calculation and foresight, acts with adequate awareness (ex certa scientia) that his acts are wrong. Such an agent sins "purposely" (ex industria), "from malice" (ex malitia), and "from choice" (ex electione). (75) Here we encounter the reality of sin, moral evil, unmitigated by the excuse of antecedent ignorance or antecedent passion. In malice, "the will to do evil (voluntas mali) stands as the first principle of sin, because of itself and by reason of its own habit the will [of the sinner] is inclined to the willing of evil, not by some external principle." (76)

We should not be misled into thinking that malice signifies a particular sort of sin, one freed from all passion, for example, or one involving especially cruel behavior toward others. Malice refers not to a kind of sin (sins of the flesh can be done from malice); rather, it denotes a special way that sin, any kind of sin, can be carried out. When the sinner chooses to do what is gravely wrong, (77) knowing that it is wrong, he sins from malice. Far from being a momentary lapse into vice, this agent's misdeed represents his firm and settled conviction about how his life ought to be lived. To underscore this point Thomas writes that the malicious agent sins "from choice" (ex electione); by this Aquinas means that the "act [is done] in accordance with the agent's moral disposition and hence reflecting his opinion of what is good in general." (78)

To preserve the intelligibility of this description, Thomas places it under two limitations: one relating to the will, the other to the intellect. With regard to the first, he urges us not to infer that in malice "the iniquity itself or the deformity of fault can be willed primarily or of itself." Significantly, this point is made in response to an objection which had cited Confessions 2.4 (where St. Augustine famously relates how he and some friends stole fruit from a neighbor's pear tree, not out of hunger but simply to do what was forbidden) and from it adduced that malice consists in nothing else than "the love of evil itself" (amare ipsum malum). Against this interpretation, Thomas maintains that young Augustine's malice was motivated instead by the pursuit of a good: solidarity with his peers, a lust for experience, or the impression of freedom which comes from flouting authority. (79)

Second, with respect to the condition of the intellect, Thomas contends that in the evil choice itself there must be some error of judgment. (80) This error does not revolve around the morality of the proposed act since, as we have just seen, the person who sins ex malitia differs from the one who sins ex ignorantia precisely insofar as the latter lacks knowledge about what is required of him, while the former is possessed of the requisite insight. (81) The error in the malicious agent's judgment concerns instead the connection between the act which he knows to be morally wrongful and the perception that he has of his own good. He believes that the misdeed will promote his happiness; for this reason he does not deem it a personal evil. Therein lies his error. This is an error of practical rather than theoretical knowledge. (82) It arises from the perverted inclination of the malicious agent's will. This is the conception of happiness in actu exercito he prefers.

To describe the condition of the wicked agent's will, Thomas makes use of the distinction between direct and indirect volition. (83) In order to procure some benefit for himself, this agent sets himself in opposition to the moral law. The benefit in question constitutes his direct object of volition: pleasure, material goods, or even satisfaction taken in hurting other people. At the same time the malicious agent knows that in so doing he incurs the evil of moral fault. This deformity he freely accepts as the unavoidable consequence of his action. (84) That he does not prevent this foreseen evil (when he could have) indicates how for him it is indeed an object of volition, albeit an object that is indirectly willed. The sinner prefers to fall into this evil rather than deprive himself of the illicit good he so ardently desires. (85)

Sometimes, it is true, we are excused from the foreseen evils which issue from our intended actions when these consequences are not themselves directly intended. This is the so-called rule of double effect which (taking Thomas's distinction between direct and indirect volition as a point of inspiration) Catholic moralists have cited as justification for killing in self defense, collateral damage in war, and like instances of unintentional (yet foreseeable) harm done to others. The rule of double effect holds that actions deliberately carried out can have two series of effects, one good, the other bad, and that there can be moral justification for allowing the bad effects to come about only under condition that they are not themselves sought after or chosen. Solely the good effects can legitimately be taken as the object of direct intention; the bad effects are morally acceptable only when they have the character of unavoidable and unintended side effects.

Since Thomas appeals to a version of double effect to elucidate the structure of malice--in deliberately willing for himself some prohibited good the wicked agent indirectly wills upon himself the guilt of moral fault--it is crucial to contrast this application of the idea to those other formulations the purpose of which is to exonerate from wrongdoing (for example, killing in self defense). Double effect serves to excuse an agent from wrongdoing only when there is some description of his intended action under which the unintended evil result would not follow. Air-raid attacks that cause side effect harm to civilians can in principle be morally warranted, only because it is possible under some circumstances to bomb military targets without harming civilians. This indicates that there is only a contingent connection between bombing military targets (at least with conventional, non-nuclear weapons) and killing civilians. By contrast, in the case of actions done from malice, the connection between the deed and the resulting evil is necessary and not merely contingent. The moral deformity that flows from adultery, murder, rape, cruelty, or theft is inextricably bound up with the act itself. There is no description of such acts under which the deformity would not follow. Here the indirect volition of evil does not excuse one from guilt (as can happen when the side effect connection is merely contingent); hence it is inescapably blameworthy. (86)

Despite this clarification it might still be objected that Thomas's appeal to indirect volition within the context of malice seems inherently contradictory. Malice was distinguished from other causes of sin insofar as it involves the calculated intent to do wrong, unlike passion or ignorance wherein a principle external to the will conduces to wrongdoing. Yet the language of double effect would appear to rule out any direct volition of evil, even with respect to malice. Moreover, although the notion of evil indirectly intended has some plausibility with respect to a sin such as adultery (after all, the philanderer's intent was not to hurt his wife but only to enjoy himself), it seems ill suited to capture the special character of, say, hate crimes, where the perpetrator's very aim was to inflict suffering upon others or at the most extreme to destroy an entire group (genocide).

In response it may be said, in the first place, that malice involves an indirect volition of evil only with respect to the privation suffered by the malefactor as the result of his wrongdoing. The very depravity of the evil deed, the ensuing corruption of his soul, and the prospect of punishment cannot stand as objects of pursuit and desire. Yet the sinner voluntarily assumes these costs (hence "indirectly wills" them) instead of renouncing the benefits that he believes will flow from his perverse project. In other words, he willingly undergoes the evil of guilt in order to reap the benefits of doing evil. (87) This situation thus differs entirely from the one in which double effect is appealed to as a principle excusing from guilt since in the latter case no wrongful action is knowingly intended; the harm done stands as an unavoidable accompaniment to the use of permissible and necessary means for a morally good end.

Second, it may be said that Thomas is alert to the possibility that evildoers might inflict harm upon others, not simply as a means to some end (as when torture is administered to extract a confession), but as the principal goal of their action. "Hatred," he writes, "seeks the evil of one's neighbor under the aspect of evil." (88) This assertion would, however, seem inconsistent with his earlier claim (made apropos his discussion of the young Augustine's theft of pears) that no one can love evil itself for its own sake (amare ipsum malum). (89) Has Thomas contradicted himself?

To this I would point out that "loving (or doing) evil for evil's sake" can in fact signify two different things and that this shift in meaning is operative in the two passages under consideration, thereby eliminating the entailment of real contradiction. On the one hand, this phrase can refer to the proximate end of an action (the finis operis) on the other, it can refer to the personal benefit which the agent seeks to achieve by means of the said action (finis operantis). Thus when Thomas asserts that hatred seeks to wreck evil upon the neighbor with the express intent of doing him harm (odium querit malum proximi sub ratione mali), he is adopting the perspective of the finis operis. His aim at this juncture is to differentiate hatred from anger. Acts done from hatred differ from those done from anger inasmuch as the former are directed principally at inflicting harm upon the neighbor, while the latter aim principally at a good: just vengeance. Unlike hatred then, anger seeks the evil of the other under the ratio of a good to be procured (malum proximi sub ratione boni).

When Thomas denies that anyone can love evil for evil's sake, he speaks from the perspective of the finis operantis, the benefit that the agent proposes to secure by his action, in other words the agent's broader motivation for undertaking this wrongdoing. Thomas elucidates the motive of hatred by establishing a contrast to the virtue of charity. (90) As charity procures the good of the friend for the friend's own sake, hatred similarly does harm to the other out of detestation of the other. In either case it is the good of self-love which positively motivates these opposing acts. Under the inspiration of charity the other comes to be viewed as another self (alter ego), hence as someone worthy of my affection and assistance. In hatred, by contrast, the other is viewed as wholly other. He stands as a threat to myself, such that if I am to be affirmed, he must be suppressed. Thus described, hatred adheres to the basic structure of malice described above by reference to adultery. Desire for a good (sensual pleasure/self-aggrandizement) provides the positive motivation for doing evil, and to uphold this purpose the perpetrator voluntarily acquiesces to his own internal, moral corruption. (91)

Double-effect reasoning is a useful conceptual tool for elucidating moral evil because it offers a way to explain how these two perspectives on moral evil, privation and malice, can be held together in a single theory.

On the one hand, Thomas found the privation perspective compelling because it effectively forestalls any attempt to locate the source of moral evil in God. His teaching on the nonconsideration of the rule was thereby meant to demonstrate how rational creatures are alone the sufficient and primary cause of the evil which emerges in their free actions. On the other hand, explicating moral evil in terms of privation nevertheless entailed a notable drawback in Thomas's eyes. Since no privation can itself be the target of direct desire, working from this concept alone it would be difficult if not impossible to show how evil deeds might be the fruit of deliberate choice. Indeed, the tendency of privation-based theories, from Plotinus onward, has therefore been to reduce moral evil to some form ignorance.

To short circuit this reduction, Thomas identifies a twofold volition in sin, direct and indirect. In direct volition, evil cannot be intended or in any way willed or desired. (92) In continuity with the tradition of Plotinus, Thomas thereby embraces the dictum that "evil cannot be done except under the appearance of the good." Agents can be said to do evil knowingly and deliberately, however, to the degree that they freely accept the privation which is inalienably joined to their wrongful deeds. This indirect volition, for Thomas, is more than sufficient to preserve the intelligibility and robustness of peccare ex malitia. (93)

International Peace Research Institute, Oslo

(1) As used by Thomas the term peccatum can signify any action that falls short of its end, whether in nature, art, or morals. Hence the term in moralibus must be added to signify the special sort of sin that arises in free human action, as in De malo, q. 3, a. 1: "Peccatum uero secundum quod proprie in moralibus dicitur et habet rationem culpe, prouenit ex eo quod uoluntas deficit a debito fine per hoc quod in finem indebitum tendit." All citations from the Quaestiones disputatae de malo are taken from the Leonine version, Sancti Thomae de Aquino, Opera omnia, volume 23 (Rome: Commissio Leonina, 1982).

(2) The term malum morale may be found in De malo, q. 1, a. 3. Throughout this essay I will follow Thomas in using these three terms--sin (in moralibus), moral fault, and moral evil--interchangeably.

(3) These expressions may be found in De malo, q. 3, a. 12. Despite a growing literature on Aquinas's theory of incontinentia, few publications have dealt with the related concept of malitia. One exception is Edward M. Cook, The Deficient Causes of Moral Evil According to St. Thomas (Washington, D.C.: Paideia, 1996).

(4) De malo, q. 1, a. 1, ad 12: "In moralibus ... malum positiue aliquid dicitur."

(5) De malo, q. 1, a. 3: "Manifestum est enim quod delectabile secundum sensum mouet uoluntatem adulteri et afficit eam ad delectandum tali delectatione que excludit ordinem rationis et legis diuine; quod est malum morale." The reference to divine law might lead one to think that this doctrine, according to which good and evil are contrary genera, is of distinctively Judeo-Christian provenance. In fact, however, this idea seems to have been occasioned by Aristotle's comment in Categories, chap. 11, that "good and bad are not in a genus but are themselves actually genera of certain things" (14a24-5). This comment caused considerable perplexity among Aristotle's commentators since taken at face value it would it would destroy (cassatur) the division of the ten predicaments. In De malo, q. 1, a. 1, ad 11, Thomas recounts Simplicius's summary of the various solutions proposed to this problem, and then, in response to the next objection (ad 12) he makes clear his preference for the solution that consists in restricting the application of this dictum to the sphere of virtue and vice: "bonum et malum non sunt differentie nisi in moralibus."

(6) De malo, q. 2, a. 5, ad 3: "[B]onum et malum in moralibus opponuntur contrarie et non secundum priuationem et habitum."

(7) A clear statement of this distinction between acts "opposed to reason" and acts that "fall short of reason" may be found in De malo, q. 12, a. 3, ad 8, where Thomas lines it up with the parallel distinction between mortal and venial sin: "[R]atio dirigit omnia ex finem. Illud ergo directe contrariatur rationi quod excludit debitum finem, quod non fit nisi per peccatum mortale; si autem sit inordinatio circa ea que sunt ad finem non excluso fine, non est proprie contra rationem set preter earn, et est peccatum ueniale." The idea of opposition to reason is further emphasized in q. 7, a. 5, where Thomas points out that violation of God's precept belongs to the very ratio of mortal sin: "de ratione enim peccati mortalis est quod sit contra preceptum Del." Previously in the same question 7 it was shown that only in "peccatum mortale" is there sin (moral evil) in the full and proper sense of the term (see in particular articles 1-2).

(8) De malo, q. 2, a. 4, ad 6: "[A]ctus qui secundum se sunt boni differunt specie ab actibus qui secundum se mali prout sunt actus morales, licet forte non different specie prout sunt actus naturals."

(9) De malo, q. 1, a. 3: "[M]alum causam per se habere non potest."

(10) De malo, q. 1, a. 1, ad 12: "[B]onum et malum non sunt differentie nisi in moralibus, in quibus malum positive aliquid dicitur, secundum quod ipse actus uoluntatis denominatur malus a uolito." Thomas qualifies this statement with the caveat "licet et ipsum malum non possit esse uolitum nisi sub ratione boni" ("yet this evil cannot be willed except under the aspect of the good"). Later in this paper I will attempt to explain the compatibility of these two seemingly contradictory statements: (1) moral evil consists in deliberately doing what is evil, and (2) this evil cannot be willed except under the aspect of the good.

(11) De malo, q. 1, a. 3: "Huius uero mali quod est monstruositas partus, caysa est uirtus deficiens in semine. Set si queratur causa huius defectus quod est malum seminis, erit deuenire ad aliquod bonum, quod est causa mali per accidens."

(12) De malo, q. 1, a. 1, ad 4: "[I]deo in moralibus magis quam in naturalibus malum contrarium bono dicitur, quia moralia ex uoluntate dependent, uoluntatis autem obiectum est bonum et malum. Omnis autem actus denominatur et speciem recipit in obiecto. Sic igitur actus uoluntatis, in quantum fertur in malum, recipit rationem et nomen mali; et hoc malum contrariatur proprie bono."

(13) This rule Thomas equates with law, on its various levels--eternal, natural, human, and divine.

(14) Summa theologiae I-II, q. 18, a. 5: "[B]onum et malum diversificant speciem in actibus moralibus: differentiae enim per se diversificant speciem." Compare De malo, q. 2, a. 2: "Vnde bonum et malum in actibus secundum quod nunc loquimur [in moralibus] est accipiendum secundum id quod est proprium hominis in quantum est homo: hoc autem est ratio. Vnde bonum et malum in actibus humanis consideratur secundum quod actus concordat rationi informate lege diuina, vel naturaliter, uel per doctrinam, uel per infusionem: unde et Dionisius dicit IV cap. De diuinis nominibus quod anime malum est preter rationem esse."

Thomas acknowledges that the division of moral acts into acts compliant with right reason (good in kind), on the one hand, and acts that violate the dictates of right reason (evil in kind), on the other, is not exhaustive since some acts are neutral (indifferens) in kind with respect to their morality--picking up straw, for example (see De malo, q. 2, a. 4). Thomas points out however that even these acts neutral in kind, on being carried out deliberately by a determinate individual at a particular time and place, will become morally good or bad by reason of the circumstances which inevitably accompany their concrete instantiation.

(15) De malo, q. 2, a. 11, ad 13: "[P]eccatum non est priuatio pura sicut tenebra, sed est aliquid positiue." Compare ibid., q. 2, a. 9, ad 14.

(16) De malo, q. 2, a. 9: "Est igitur considerandum quod est duplex priuatio: quedam que est priuatio pura, sicut tenebra.... Quedam uero priuatio est non pura set aliquid relinquens."

(17) De malo, q. 2, a. 2: "[P]eccatum non est deformitas set actus deformis." Compare ibid., q. 2, a. 9, ad 2: "essentialiter uero peccatum est actus deformis uel inordinatus."

(18) De malo, q. 2, a. 2: "[Q]uidam enim dixerunt quod nullus actus neque interior neque exterior secundum se est peccatum, set sola priuatio habet rationem peccati, propter hoc quod Augustinus dicit [In Ioh. ev. Tract. I, c. 1, n. 13] quod peccatum nichil est."

(19) De malo, q. 2, a. 2: "Et sic patet quod si totum id quod est in peccato considerare uolumus, peccatum non solum consistit in priuatione neque solum in actu interiori, set etiam in actu exteriori."

(20) De malo, q. 2, a. 1: "[M]agis est de ratione peccati preterire regulam actionis quam etiam deficere ab actionis fine."

(21) David M. Gallagher, "Aquinas on Goodness and Moral Goodness," in Thomas Aquinas and His Legacy, ed. David M. Gallagher (Washington, D. C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1994), 52.

(22) To invert this order (to say that murder should be avoided first and foremost because it harms the doer) would invite the charge of moral self-indulgence. On this, see Thomas Nagel, Mortal Questions (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), 63.

(23) De malo, q. 2, a. 9: "[P]uta si aliquis comedit quando non debet, ramanet quod comedat ubi debet uel propter quod debet."

(24) De malo, q. 2. a. 9: "[I]n primis priuationibus [priuatio pura] totum priuatur."

(25) De malo, q. 2. a. 9: "[N]on enim mortuus est minus qui uno uulnere percussus interiit quam qui duobus uel tribus.... In secundis autem priuationibus [non pura] non totum priuatur, et quod positiue dicitur est de ratione eius quod dicitur priuatiue: et ideo talia talis recipiunt magis et minus secundum differentiam eius quod dicitur positiue."

(26) De malo, q. 3, a. 7: "[M]alum culpe est priuatio ordinis in actu."

(27) See De malo, q. 2, a 1, ad 4. In response to the fourth objection which quoted St. Augustine's statement "peccatum est nichil," Thomas responds that "peccatum nichil est, quo nichil fiunt homines cum peccant ... quia in quantum peccant, priuantur quodam bono, et ipsa priuatio est non ens in subiecto; et similiter peccatum est actus priuatus ordine debito, et secundum ipsam priuationem dicitur nichil."

(28) On these natural effects of sin, see De malo, q. 2, aa. 11-12.

(29) To be deprived of grace is, Thomas suggests, to suffer a pure privation (De malo, q. 2, a. 11, ad 13). This does not entail, however, that sin is itself a pure privation. Formally speaking, the essence of sin does not consist in the very privation of grace; rather, it is an obstacle to grace (ibid., q. 2, a. 12, ad 3).

(30) Marcus Aurelius, The Meditations of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius, vol. 1, trans, and comp. A. S. L. Farquharson (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1944), 175.

(31) ST II-II, q. 34, a. 4: "[P]eccatum quod committitur in proximum habet rationem mali ex duobus: uno quidem modo, ex deordinatione eius qui peccat; alio modo, ex nucumento quod infertur ei contra quem peccatur."

(32) ST I, q. 48, a. 1, ad 2: "Unde malum, inquantum malum, non est differentia constitutiva." De malo, q. 2, a. 4, ad 8: "Et ita ex eo quod positiue in actu inuenitur recipit actus speciem, set ex priuatione consequente dicitur malus." Summa contra gentiles, bk. 3, chap. 9, [section] 1931 (Turin and Rome: Marietti, 1961): "[P]rivatio, secundum quod huiusmodi, non est alicuius actionis principium."

(33) De malo, q. 16, a. 2: "[M]alum enim dicitur unumquodque ex eo quod aliqua perfectione sibi debita priuatur."; compare ibid., q. 1, a. 1: "Et ideo bonum et malum dixit non esse nec in uno genera nec in pluribus, set ipsa esse genera, prout genus dici potest id quod genera transcendit, sicut ens et unum." In this respect, malum, like bonum and ens, "circuit omnia genera."

(34) Summa contra gentiles, bk. 3, chap. 9, [section] 1930: "[E]st igitur malum morale et genus et differentia, non secundum quod est privatio boni rationis, ex quo dicitur malum, sed ex natura actionis vel habitus ordinati ad aliquem finem qui repugnat debito fini rationis."

(35) ST I-II, q. 78. a. 1, ad 3.

(36) De malo, q. 1, a. 3: "Omne autem quod preternaturaliter inest alicui oportet habere aliquam causam ... Vnde relinquitur quod omne malum habeat aliquam causam, set per accidens, ex quo per se causam habere non potest."

(37) In ST I, q. 49, a. 1, Thomas explains why evil can have a material and efficient but not a formal or final cause.

(38) De malo, q. 1, a. 3: "[N]ullus facit aliquod malum nisi intendens aliquod bonum ut sibi uidetur, sicut adultero bonum uidetur quod delectatione sensibili fruatur, et propter hoc adulterium committit."

(39) De malo, q. 1, a. 3: "Contingit autem et malum, quod est defectiuum bonum, esse causam mali; set tamen oportet deuenire ad hoc quod prima causa mali non sit malum set bonum."

(40) Summa contra gentiles, bk. 3, chap. 9, [section] 1931: "[M]alum non pugnat contra bonum nisi virtute boni, secundum se vero est impotens et infirmum" (from The Divine Names, chap. 4, [section] 20).

(41) The first example appears in De malo, q. 1, a. 3; the second (along with the first) appears in Summa contra gentiles, bk. 3, chap. 4, [section] 1891.

(42) De malo, q. 1, a. 3: "Que quidem est causa mali secundum utrumque predictorum modorum, scilicet et per accidens et in quantum est bonum deficiens."

(43) Thomas elaborates on this point in De malo, q. 2, a. 4: "[C]ognoscere mulierem suam et cognoscere mulierem non suam sunt actus habentes obiecta differentia secundum aliquid ad rationem pertinens: nam suum et suum determinatur secundum regulam rationis; que tamen differentie per accidens se habent si comparentur ad uim generatiuam uel etiam ad uim concupiscibilem. Et ideo cognoscere suam et cognoscere non suam specie differunt secundum quod sunt actus rationis, non autem secundum quod sunt actus generatiue aut concupiscibilis."

(44) De malo, q. 16, a. 2: "In homine autem est duplex apprehensio superiori regula dirigenda: nam cognitio sensitiua debet dirigi per rationem, et cognitio rationis per sapientiam seu legem diuinam. Dupliciter igitur potest esse malum in appetitu hominis: uno modo quia apprehensio sensitua non regulatur secundum rationem, et secundum hoc Dionisius dicit IV cap. De diuinis nominibus quod malum hominis est preter rationem esse; alio modo quia ratio humana est dirigenda secundum sapientiam et legem diuinam, et secundum hoc Ambrosius dicit quod peccatum est transgressio legis diuine."

(45) De malo, q. 1, a. 3, argues against any natural necessitation in the will (caused by anticipated pleasure in the sense appetite); Summa contra gentiles, bk. 3, chap. 10, [section] 1947, provides a broader discussion in which chance and a congenital defect of the will are excluded as possible causes of moral fault.

(46) Thomas illustrates this point in De malo, q. 1, a. 3, apropos his explanation of how birth defects arise in animals. He concludes that defective semen, the cause of privation in an animal's offspring, results from the unimpaired operation of a higher cause: "Set si queratur causa huius defectus quod est malum seminis, erit deuenire ad aliquod bonum, quod est causa mali per accidens et non in quantum est deficiens.... [U]nde malum seminis non causatur ex bono in quantum est deficiens, set causatur ex bono in quantum perfectum."

(47) See De malo, q. 3, a. 3, where Thomas explains how the demons can act on the human will only indirectly, by way of outward persuasion. On similar grounds, Thomas argues that no angelic agency can act directly on the faculty of intellect (De malo, q. 16, aa. 8 and 12.)

(48) See ST I, q. 48, a. 6, for a representative statement of this argument.

(49) See De malo, q. 3, a. 2; and q. 16, a. 4, ad 6.

(50) See ST I, q. 49, a. 2, ad 2.

(51) De malo, q. 1, a. 3: "[O]portet in uoluntate preconsiderare aliquem defectum ante ipsam electionem deficientem, per quam eligit secudum quid bonum quod est simpliciter malum."

(52) See Thomas's treatment of lex naturalis in ST I-II, q. 94.

(53) De malo, q. 1, a. 3: "[D]electatio et quodlibet aliud in rebus humanis est mensurandum et regulandum secundum regulam rationis et legis diuine; unde non uti regula rationis et legis diuine preintelligitur in uoluntate ante inordinatam electionem. Huius autem quod est non uti regula predicta non oportet aliquam causam querere, quia ad hoc sufficit ipsa libertas uoluntatis, per quam potest agere uel non agere. Et hoc ipsum quod est non attendere actu ad talen regulam in se consideratum non est malum, nec culpa nec pena, quia anima non tentur nec potest attendere ad huiusmodi regulam semper in actu; set ex hoc accipit primo rationem culpe quod sine actuali consideratione regule procedit ad huiusmodi electionem, sicut artifex non peccat in eo quod non semper tenet mensuram, set ex hoc quod non tenens mensuram procedit ad incidendum. Et similiter culpa uoluntatis non est in hoc quod non actu attendit ad regulam rationis uel legis diuine, set ex hoc quod non habens regulam uel mensuram huiusmodi procedit ad eligendum. Et inde est quod Augustinus dicit in XII De ciuitate Dei quod uoluntas est causa peccati in quantum est deficiens; set illum defectum comparat silentio uel tenebris, quia scilicet defectus ille est negatio sola."

(54) Thomas does not specify whether ante should be taken to signify a priority of time in addition to a priority of nature. Jacques Maritain is the among the few authors to have explicitly discussed this point; although admitting that this question requires further research, he provisionally opts in favor of a priority of both nature and time. See his Dieu et la permission du mal, in Jacques and Raissa Maritain, Oeuvres completes, vol. 12 (Fribourg: Editions Universitaires; Paris, Editions Saint-Paul, 1992), 53-63.

(55) On the sin of negligence, see ST II-II, q. 54. Compare De malo, q. 3, a. 7, ad 7, where Thomas defines negligence as "nihil est aliud quam non applicare animum ad sciendum ea que quis debet scire."

(56) On succession and time in angelic intellection, see De malo, q. 16, a. 4.

(57) Thomas's use of the term defectus in this context should not mislead us into equating this willful, yet purely negative inadvertence, with a privation (as might indeed be suggested by the English words "defect" or "flaw"), since as he points out in ST I, q. 48, a. 5, ad 1, "non omnis defectus boni est malum, sed defectus boni quod natum est et debet haberi." Compare De malo, q. 1, a. 3, ad 13: "[D]efectus qui preintelligltur in uoluntate ante peccatum, non est culpa neque pena, set negatio pura; set accipit rationem culpe ex hoc ipso quod cum tali negatione se applicat ad opus: ex ipsa enim applicatione ad opus fit debitum illud bonum quo caret, scilicet attendere actu ad regulam rationis et legis diuine." For a helpful discussion of Thomas's usage of defectus to signify a pure negation, see Maritain, Dieu et la permission du mal, 55-6.

(58) See for instance De malo, q. 6; q. 16, a. 8 and a. 11, ad 4. Compare ST I, q. 57, a. 4, and I-II, q. 17, a. 6.

(59) Thomas frequently repeats as an adage Averroes's statement that "a habitus is something a man can exercise at will" (habitus est quo quis utitur cum volerit). See, for instance, ST I-II, q. 50, a. 5.

(60) ST I, q. 57, a. 4: "Manifestum est autem quod ex sola voluntate dependet quod aliquis actu aliqua consideret: quia cum aliquis habet habitum scientiae, vel species inteligibiles in eo existentes, utitur eis cum vult."

(61) ST I, q. 79, a. 12, and De veritate, q. 16, a. 1.

(62) Thomas's teaching is consistent with the view that some kinds of illness (especially those involving organic brain damage) prevent the moral rule from coming into conscious awareness; hence I have added the caveat "normally functioning human being."

(63) De veritate, q. 24, a. 7 (Leonine edition, vol. 22): "[N]ulla creatura est nec esse potest cuius liberum arbitrium sit naturaliter confirmatum in bono, ut hoc ei ex puris naturalibus conveniat quod peccare non posit.... Et inde est quod inter rationales naturas solus Deus habet liberum arbitrium naturaliter impeccabile et confirmatum in bono."

(64) De malo, q. 1, a. 3, ad 9: "[E]x hoc ipso quod est creature sequitur quod ipsum sit subiectum alteri sicut regule et mensure. Si autem ipsum esset sua regula et mensura, non posset sine regula ad opus procedere. Propter hoc Deus, qui est sua regula, peccare non potest, sicut nec artifex peccare posset in incisione ligni, si sua manus regula esset incisionis."

(65) De malo, q. 16, a. 6, obj. 4: "Vbicumque potest inueniri potentia sine actu, ibi potest esse malum."

(66) "Malum autem in quantum huiusmodi non potest esse intentum, nec aliquo modo uolitum uel desideratum, quia esse appetibile habet rationem boni, cui opponitur in quantum huiusmodi." Compare De malo, q. 10, a. 1: [M]alum est preter uoluntatem et appetitum," and Summa contra gentiles, bk. 3, chap. 4.

(67) De malo, q. 10, a. 1: "[O]mnis actus appetitiue uirtutis ad prosequtionem pertinens cuius obiectum est malum, est actus non conueniens sue materie uel obiecto, et ideo omnes huiusmodi actus ex genere suo sunt mali, sicut amare malum et gaudere de malo, sicut etiam est uitium intellectus affirmare falsum."

(68) De malo, q. 3, a. 13, tertio: "[I]lle qui peccat ex malitia habet uoluntatem ordinatam in malum finem: habet enim firmatum propositum ad peccandum."

(69) ST I, q. 48, a. 1, ad 2: "[M]alum quod est differentia constitutiva in moralibus, est quoddam bonum adiunctum privationi alterius boni."

(70) Ibid.: "[F]inis intemperanti est, non quidem carere bono rationis, sed delectabile sensus absque ordine rationis."

(71) ST I, q. 48, a. 1, ad 2: "Nec tamen remotio debiti finis constituit speciem in moralibus, nisi secundum quod adiungitur fini indebito; sicut neque in naturalibus invenitur privatio formae substantialis, nisi adiuncta alteri formae." Compare De malo, q. 1, a. 3, ad 19: "[C]ausa mali per accidens non est bonum quod priuatur per malum, neque bonum quod substernitur malo, set bonum quod est agens, quod inducendo unam formam priuat aliam."

(72) De malo, q. 3, a. 8: "Vnde si in eodem actu aliquid sit ignoratum et aliquid scitum, potest esse uoluntarium quantum ad id quod est scitum; semper tamen est inuoluntarium quantum ad id quod est ignoratum; siue ignoretur deformitas actus, puta cum aliquis nescit fornicationem esse peccatum, uoluntarie quidem facit fornicationem set non uoluntarie facit peccatum; siue ignoretur circumstantia actus, sicut cum aliquis accedit ad mulierem quam credit suam, voluntarie quidem accedit ad mulierem, set non uoluntarie ad non suam."

(73) Ibid.

(74) On sinning from passion (by weakness), see De malo, q. 3, a. 9.

(75) De malo, q. 3, a. 12.

(76) De malo, q. 3, a. 12, ad 5: "[I]n eo qui peccat ex malitia, uoluntas mali est primum principium peccati: quia ex se ipso et per habitum proprium inclinatur in uoluntatem mali, non ex eo aliquo exteriori principio." Here, the point of contrast is akratic sinning (peccare ex infirmitate), which, since it arises from a stimulation of the lower sense appetite, is in some measure external to the will, the faculty of choice.

(77) For this reason, carrying out a venial sin intentionally would not count as malice (De malo, q. 3, a. 12, ad 9).

(78) Bonnie Kent, "Transitory Vice: Thomas Aquinas on Incontinence," Journal of the History of Philosophy 27 (1989): 220. Kent (207-10) comments at length on the distinction made by Thomas (in De malo, q. 3, a. 12, ad 11) between sinning from choice (peccare ex electione) and sinning while choosing (peccare eligens). The first is proper to malice while the second pertains to incontinence.

(79) De malo, q. 3, a. 12, obj. 2 and ad 2.

(80) De malo, q. 16, a. 6, ad 11: "[A]ppetitus peruersus semper est cum aliqua falsitate practice cognitionis."

(81) Thomas recognizes (De malo, q. 3, a. 8, ad 1 and 5), however, that there is a form of ignorance which is characteristic of those who sin from habit and free choice (that is from malice): they deliberately shun knowledge of the moral good so as not to be restrained from sin. This "affected ignorance" (ignorantia affectata) can lead to a condition in which the evildoer's moral judgment is vitiated not only with respect to particular cases, but with respect to universal knowledge of the good as well ("iudicium rationis est peruersum etiam in uniuersali"; De malo q. 3, a. 9, ad 4).

(82) Thomas makes this point apropos the fallen angel in De malo, q. 3, a. 9, ad 8: "[D]iabolus non sentit se egisse male quia culpam suam non apprehendit ut malum set adhuc obstinata mente perseuerat in malo; unde hoc pertinet ad falsitatem practice seu affectiue cognitionis."

(83) These two modes of responsibility refer to what the agent has deliberately intended to do, on the one hand, and what emerges as a side effect of carrying out this volition, on the other. A general treatment this distinction may be found in ST I-II, q. 6, a. 3, and q. 77, a. 7. Thomas recognizes two kinds of indirect responsibility: (1) for the foreseeable (yet unintended) effects of one's directly intended actions (this the tradition has termed voluntarium indirecte in causa); and (2) for the foreseeable effects of one's inaction (this the tradition has termed voluntarium indirecte negativum).

(84) To emphasize this point, Thomas compares the person who sins from ignorance to the person who sins from malice. The first wills evil merely per accidens, while the second wills evil ex consequenti (De malo, q. 3, a. 12, ad 4).

(85) Thomas's most explicit discussion of the indirect volition of evil, in connection with malice, may be found in De malo, q. 3, a. 12, in corp. and ad 1-4.

(86) On the contrast between these two applications of double effect, contingent and necessary, see De malo, q. 1, a. 3, ad 15.

(87) De malo, q. 3, a. 12, ad 1: "[N]ullus operans intendit ad malum quasi principaliter uolitum, set tamen ex consequenti fit alicui ipsum malum uoluntarium dum non refugit incurrere in malum ad hoc perfruatur bono concupito."

(88) De malo, q. 12, a. 4: "[O]dium querit malum proximi sub ratione mali."

(89) De malo, q. 3, a. 12, obj. 2.

(90) The contrast between hatred and charity is elucidated in ST II-II, q. 34.

(91) In response to an objection which stated that "no one can will what he knows to be evil (nullus potest uelle id quod scit esse malumi), hence no one can sin with malice aforethought (ita nullus potest ex certa scientia peccare)," Thomas concedes that no one can take evil as a principle object of his intention since "the will is always moved principally to some good (voluntas semper fertur principaliter in bonum aliquod)." This, however, does not mean that evil is never intentionally done. Out of an ardent desire for some good (ex uehementi motu in aliquod bonum) a person may willingly accept an evil (sustineatur malum) which he knows to be inseparable from this good (De malo, q. 3, a. 12, obj. 2 and ad 2).

(92) De malo, q. 1, a. 3: "Malum autem in quantum huiusmodi non potest esse intentum, nec aliquo modo uolitum uel desideratum."

(93) I am grateful to my colleagues Henrick Syse and Endre Begby for helpful comments on earlier versions of this essay.

Correspondence to: International Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO), Fuglehauggata 11, 0260 Oslo, Norway.
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Title Annotation:Saint Thomas Aquinas
Author:Reichberg, Gregory M.
Publication:The Review of Metaphysics
Geographic Code:4E
Date:Jun 1, 2002
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