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To: Mad Dawg
We need a really good Thomist here.

Don't know that we have one here (we may); I do know it ain't me! (I did go to a Catholic college, though, with required philosophy and theology courses, but that was quite a while back!) I did find a summary that seems at last not bad of Aquinas on the will. Sounds like the will qua power of the soul is to function as the handmaiden (if you will) of the properly discerning intellect.

The first connection between intellect and will that occurred to me was sort of "back door" -- the old Baltimore II we used in grammar school listed among the effects of the Fall "darkening of the intellect, weakening of the will." Clearly (I think), "will" here can't mean that will related to, say, what used to be called "a willful child." Such a child's distinguishing feature would not seem to be a "weakened" will!

Maybe there is a distinction to be made between the rational will which is a power of the soul and the "animal" (maybe) will (surely you've known animals who could only be described as "willful"!) -- between the will that chooses based on intellect and the will that simply wills what is wanted.

I do seem to be introducing a level of "reification" here that sort of bothers me, but I don't know what to do about it. :(

Just some random thoughts . . . more random than I had intended to be sure!

8 posted on 08/07/2010 3:01:55 PM PDT by maryz
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To: maryz
I happen to remember that for Kant in one sense the will is the “subjective principle of volition.” I think that means that part of me that says, “I want chocolate,” or “I want to do the right thing.”

But the “Big ‘W’” Will is, so to speak hooked into the intellect so that it cannot be said to be functioning unless it acts in accordance with reason.

I think the big deal between Aquinas and Bonaventure is that Aquinas thinks intellect is primary — and being a Dominican, he is of course correct. Bonaventure, being a Franciscan, is of course wrong to think Will is prior.

This relates to the relationship between love and knowledge. Is it that to know God is to love Him, or that to Love Him leads to knowing Him? And, seriously, both views have much to commend them and, sometimes I think it is merely an academic distinction. (Bonaventure is unappreciated outside the Church, and is very good.)

I think the willful child has strong desires. To SOME extent this makes him no different from a hungry cat. My own observation, though, leads me to think that even in very young ones there is a great problem. “Things are not as I, moiself, want them to be. What's up with that? I don't LIKE it.”

So, I conclude, underlying the temper tantrum of the 18 month to 2 year old (and beyond) is the sandal that I can have a notion of how things OUGHT to be, but that notion does not match with the way things are. There is, maybe, a desire for a 'good' will.

But I think the Will for Aquinas is weakened by the state of sin in two ways. (1)We do not know what the right thing to do is. (2)Even when we DO know, we don't always do it because, well, that donut just looks So GOOD!

A free will, by contrast, knows the good (intellect), wants it, and is strong enough to resist attractions or fears (concupiscent or irascible appetites) which distract it from its goal.

And that's about all I know about that.

11 posted on 08/07/2010 6:26:10 PM PDT by Mad Dawg (Oh Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.)
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To: maryz

To me this makes sense if you consider the role of the Holy Spirit in guiding the soul.

The Holy Spirit is the keeper of the memory/history of all time (past and future), and pure intellect, which leads to complete Truth and Understanding.

So the powers of our soul are to possess the fruit of the Spirit to know God, to discern Truth and His will for us, and to have the properly formed free will to make the proper choices for salvation.

I see these powers of the soul as the spark of the Holy Spirit in us.


21 posted on 08/08/2010 11:01:27 AM PDT by Melian ( God is even kinder than you think. ~St. Teresa)
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