Front Page Titles (by Subject) QUESTION XXX.: OF DESIRE. - Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas, vol. 1 (Summa Theologica - Prima Secundae, Secunda Secundae Pt.1)
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QUESTION XXX.: OF DESIRE. - 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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Article I.—Is desire in the sensitive appetite only?
R. Desire is a craving after something pleasant. Now there are two sorts of pleasure: one in intellectual good, which is the good of reason; another in good according to sense. The former pleasure seems to belong to the soul only; but the latter is of soul and body together, because sense is a power resident in a bodily organ. Hence sensible good is good of the whole compound of soul and body. The craving after this pleasure of sense seems to be desire, belonging at once to soul and body. Hence desire, properly speaking, is in the sensitive appetite, and in the concupiscible faculty, so called from desiring (concupiscence).
Article II.—Is there a special passion of desire?
R. Good delightful to sense is the common object of the concupiscible faculty. Hence the different passions of the concupiscible faculty are distinguished according to the differences of that good. The motive power of the said good bears a different character according as the good is really present or absent. As it is present, it makes the appetite rest therein: as it is absent, it makes the appetite move thereto. Hence the said object of sensible delight, inasmuch as it shapes and conforms the appetite to itself, causes love: inasmuch as, when absent, it attracts to itself, it causes desire: inasmuch as, when present, it induces rest in itself, it causes pleasure, or delight. Thus therefore desire is a passion, differing in species both from love and from delight; but the desire of this or that delightful object makes desires different in number.
Article III.—Are there desires physical and desires not physical?
R. A thing is pleasurable in two ways: in one way, because it is suited to the animal nature, as meat and drink and the like: the desire of a pleasurable object of this sort is called physical. In another way, a thing is called pleasurable, because it is fixed upon by some mental apprehension as suitable to the thinker: such a desire is said to be not physical. The first sort of desires, those which are physical, are common to men and other animals; and in these all men agree. Hence the Philosopher calls them common and necessary. But the second sort of desires are proper to men; to whom it is proper to excogitate something as good and suitable, beyond what nature requires.1
§ 1. The same thing that is the object of physical appetite may be the object also of psychical appetite, once it is apprehended by the mind; and in this way there may be a psychical desire of meat and drink and objects of physical appetite.
Article IV.—Is desire unlimited?
R. There are two sorts of desire, one physical, and another not physical. Physical desire cannot be actually unlimited: for it is of that which nature requires; now nature always points her desires at some fixed and definite amount: hence no man ever desires unlimited meat or unlimited drink. But as in nature a thing may be potentially infinite in succession, so a physical craving may be unlimited in succession, inasmuch as man, after getting food, craves for it yet another time and again; and so of everything else that nature requires: because the good things of the body do not stay when they come. Hence it was said: “Whosoever drinketh of this water, shall thirst again.”1 But the desire that is not physical is altogether unlimited, for it belongs to reason; and reason is competent to go on to infinity. Hence he who desires riches, may desire them beyond any fixed limit, desiring simply to be a rich man, as rich as possible.
Another reason may be assigned according to the Philosopher, why one desire should be limited, and another unlimited. For the desire of the end in view is always unlimited, since the end is desirable by itself, as health: hence more health is more desired, and so on to infinity. But the desire of the means to the end is unlimited, if those means are sought in the measure that befits the end. Hence they who place their end in riches have a desire of riches to infinity; but they who seek riches for the necessaries of life, desire limited wealth, sufficient for the necessaries of life, as the Philosopher says.
[1 ]See Ethics and Natural Law, pp. 49—53. (Trl.)
[1 ]St. John iv. 13.