Front Page Titles (by Subject) QUESTION XXIV.: OF GOOD AND EVIL IN PASSIONS. - Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas, vol. 1 (Summa Theologica - Prima Secundae, Secunda Secundae Pt.1)
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QUESTION XXIV.: OF GOOD AND EVIL IN PASSIONS. - St. Thomas Aquinas, Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas, vol. 1 (Summa Theologica - Prima Secundae, Secunda Secundae Pt.1) 
Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas. A Translation of the Principal Portions of the Second part of the Summa Theologica, with Notes by Joseph Rickaby, S.J. (London: Burns and Oates, 1892).
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OF GOOD AND EVIL IN PASSIONS.
Article I.—Is moral good and evil to be found in the passions?
R. The passions may be considered in two ways: in one way in themselves; in another way as subject to the control of reason and the will. If, therefore, they are considered in themselves, as certain movements of the irrational appetite, in that way there is no moral good or evil in them, for that depends on reason. But if they are considered as subject to the control of reason and the will, in that way there is moral good or evil in them. For the sensitive appetite is nearer to reason and to the will than are the outward members, the movements and acts whereof are nevertheless good or evil morally, according as they are voluntary: much more therefore may the passions, according as they are voluntary, be called good or evil morally. The passions are called voluntary either from their being commanded by the will, or from their being not prevented by the will.1
§ 3. The Philosopher says, “We are not praised or blamed for our passions,” that is, absolutely considered: but he does not reject the possibility of their becoming praiseworthy or blameworthy according as they are directed by reason. Hence he adds: “He is not praised or blamed who fears or grows angry, but he who does so in a certain way:” that is, according to or against reason.
Article II.—Is every passion morally evil?
R. On this question the opinions of the Stoics and Peripatetics differed: for the Stoics said that all the passions were bad, while the Peripatetics said that moderate passions were good. This difference, though it seems great in words, is nevertheless little or nothing in reality, if you consider what was meant on both sides. For the Stoics did not distinguish between sense and intellect, and consequently neither between the intellectual and the sensitive appetite. Hence neither did they distinguish the passions of the soul from the movements of the will, in that the passions are in the sensitive appetite, while the simple movements of the will are in the intellectual appetite; but every rational movement of the appetitive part they called the will, while they gave the name of passions to movements transgressing beyond the limits of reason. And therefore Tully, following their opinion, calls all passions diseases of the soul: whence he argues that they who are diseased are not sound, and they who are not sound are unwise. But the Peripatetics understand by the name passions all movements of the sensitive appetite. Hence they reckon them good when they are checked by reason, and bad when they escape that check. Hence it appears that it was absurd of Tully to find fault with the Peripatetics, who approved of a golden mean in the passions. He says that every evil even in a moderate degree is to be avoided; for as a body even moderately ill is not healthy, so this golden mean of diseases or passions of the soul is not healthy. This argumentation is absurd: for the passions are not called diseases or perturbations of the soul except when they go without the check of reason.1
Article III.—Is passion any addition to or diminution of the good or evil of an act?
R. As the Stoics laid it down that every passion is evil, so they also, consistently enough, laid it down that every passion diminishes the goodness of the act done under its influence. And this is true if we give the name of passions only to inordinate movements of the sensitive appetite, regarded as disturbances or diseases of the moral system. But if we call absolutely all the movements of the sensitive appetite passions, in that acceptation of the term it belongs to the perfection of human goodness to have passions, so that they be held in check by reason. For since the good of man rests on reason as its root, that good will be all the more perfect the wider the ground of action proper to man that it covers. Hence it is an unquestioned fact, that it belongs to the perfection of moral goodness to have the acts of the exterior members directed by the law of reason. And since the sensitive appetite is capable of obeying reason, it likewise belongs to the perfection of moral or human goodness to have the passions that are regulated by reason. As therefore it is better that man should both will good and do it in outward act, so also it belongs to the perfection of moral good that man should be moved unto good, not only in his will, but likewise in his sensitive appetite, according to the text:1 “My heart and my flesh have rejoiced in the living God:” understanding there by heart the intellectual appetite, and by flesh the sensitive appetite.
§ 1. The passions may stand in two relations to the judgment of reason. They may stand to it antecedently; and so blinding the judgment of reason, whence depends the goodness of the moral act, they diminish the goodness of the act: for it is more praiseworthy to do a work of charity on the judgment of reason than on the mere passion of pity. Or they may stand to that judgment consequently, and that in a twofold manner. One manner would be by way of redundance, because when the superior part of the soul is intensely moved to anything, the inferior part follows the movement also; and thus the passion existing consequently in the sensitive appetite is a sign of a more intense will and a greater moral goodness. The other manner would be by way of election, when a man by the judgment of his reason chooses to be affected by some passion, that he may work more readily with the co-operation of the sensitive appetite: and thus again passion adds to the goodness of the action.
[1 ]In the first way St. Thomas would call them directly voluntary, in the second indirectly, q. 6. art. 3. (Trl.)
[1 ]For a further and very real ground of debate between Stoic and Peripatetic on the subject of passion, see Ethics and Natural Law, pp. 44—47. (Trl.)
[1 ]Psalm lxxxiii. 3.