Aquinas on Subjectivity: A Response to Crosby

Abstract

In this paper, I argue against John Crosby’s view that Aquinas does not have an account of the nature and role of subjectivity. I maintain that Aquinas’s notion of the love-based self-relation which is fully actualized in self-friendship is an account of subjectivity. I accept Crosby’s characterization of subjectivity as a foundational self-relation which constitutes interiority and is the foundation for experience and action. I proceed by showing how, for Aquinas, the relation of self-love automatically arises from human nature in virtue of amor. Dilectio then transforms the self-relation into a relation of self-consciousness, and finally amicitia adds the note of a stable habit that fully actualizes the self-relation. I show how the actualized self-relation constitutes interiority and is the basis for properly human experience and action.

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