Front Page Titles (by Subject) QUESTION XXXIII.: OF THE EFFECTS OF PLEASURE. - Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas, vol. 1 (Summa Theologica - Prima Secundae, Secunda Secundae Pt.1)
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QUESTION XXXIII.: OF THE EFFECTS OF PLEASURE. - 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 THE EFFECTS OF PLEASURE.
Article III.—Does pleasure hinder the use of reason?
R. As is said in the Ethics [of Aristotle]: “The pleasures that properly belong to the activities in exercise, increase those activities, but pleasures foreign to them hinder them.” There is therefore a certain pleasure that is taken in the very act of reason, as when one takes pleasure in contemplation or discussion; and such pleasure does not hinder the act of reason, but helps it, because we do that more attentively in which we take pleasure, and attention helps activity. But bodily pleasures hinder the use of reason in three ways. The first is the way of distraction, because we attend much to the things in which we find pleasure. Now when the attention is strongly fixed upon anything, it is weakened in respect of all other objects, or even totally called away from them; and thus if the bodily pleasure is great, it will either totally hinder or much impede the use of reason by drawing the mind’s attention to itself. The second is the way of contrariety; for some pleasures, especially when they come in excess, are against the order of reason; and in this sense the Philosopher says that “bodily pleasures mar the reckoning of prudence,” but not the speculative reckoning. Thus no pleasure gets in the way of our understanding the truth that the three angles of a triangle are together equal to two right angles. The third way is the way of impediment, inasmuch as there follows on bodily pleasure a certain bodily alteration, greater in pleasure than in the other passions, by how much more vehemently the appetite is affected towards a present than towards an absent thing. But such bodily disturbances hinder the use of reason, as is evident in drunkards, who have their use of reason fettered or impeded.
Article IV.—Does pleasure make activity perfect?
R. Pleasure makes activity perfect in two ways. First, as an end; not in the sense in which we mean by an end the purpose for which a thing exists, but in the sense in which any good may be called an end that supervenes by way of complement. In this sense the Philosopher says that “pleasure makes activity perfect as a sort of supervening end,”1 that is to say, inasmuch as upon the good of activity there supervenes the other good of pleasure, which carries with it repose of the appetite in the good presupposed as won. In another way pleasure perfects activity as an active cause, not indeed directly, for the Philosopher says that “pleasure makes activity perfect, not as a physician makes a man whole, but as health does,” but indirectly, in that the agent, being pleased with his action, attends to it more earnestly, and works at it more diligently.
[1 ]οἷον τοɩ̂ς ἀκμαίοις ἡ ὥρα, the Philosopher goes on (Ethics, X. iv. 8), which is exactly rendered by Shakespeare’s phrase (Sonnet lx.): “Time doth transfix the flourish set on youth.” (Trl.)