Res Philosophica 97 (1):31-52 (2020)

Christopher A. Bobier
Saint Mary's University of Minnesota
Thomas Aquinas divides the sensory appetite into two powers: the irascible and the concupiscible. The irascible power moves creatures toward arduous goods and away from arduous evils, while the concupiscible power moves creatures toward pleasant goods and away from non-arduous evils. Despite the importance of this distinction, it remains unclear what counts as an arduous good or evil, and why arduousness is the defining feature of the division. The aim of this paper is twofold. First, I argue that an arduous object is one that is difficult and important for the creature. Second, given this proper understanding of arduousness, I highlight the shortcomings of the standard interpretation of Aquinas’s argument for the irascible-concupiscible distinction and suggest an alternative. I argue that Aquinas grounds the distinction in the distinction between useful and pleasant goods. I explain how these distinct goods allow arduousness to be the defining feature of the irascible-concupiscible division.
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Contemporary Philosophy  History of Philosophy
Categories No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
ISBN(s) 2168-9105
DOI 10.11612/resphil.1833
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 50,308
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Value of Hope.Luc Bovens - 1999 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 59 (3):667-681.
Hope and its Place in Mind.Phillip Pettit - 2004 - Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science (1):152--165.
Passion and Action: The Emotions in the Seventeenth Century Philosophy. [REVIEW]Marleen Rozemond - 2000 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 61 (3):723-726.

View all 10 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Thomas Aquinas.Christopher M. Brown - 2017 - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Thomas Aquinas.[author unknown] - 2017 - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Thomas Aquinas.Christopher M. Brown - 2017 - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Social thought of Thomas Aquinas.Jinchang Liu - 1997 - Philosophy and Culture 24 (2):116-128.
The Legitimate Causes Of Violence In Thomas Aquinas’ Political Philosophy.Mihai Maga - 2011 - Studia Universitatis Babeş-Bolyai Philosophia 1.


Added to PP index

Total views
4 ( #1,166,891 of 2,326,038 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #438,061 of 2,326,038 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes