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The Thought of Thomas Aquinas$
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Brian Davies

Print publication date: 1993

Print ISBN-13: 9780198267539

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198267533.001.0001

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How to Be Happy

How to Be Happy

Chapter:
(p.227) 12 How to Be Happy
Source:
The Thought of Thomas Aquinas
Author(s):

Brian Davies (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0198267533.003.0012

What is it that perfects and fulfils human beings and what is really good for them? To put it at its simplest, Thomas Aquinas’ answer is that we are perfect, fulfilled, and good when we are happy, the notion of happiness here being human action in pursuit of the final good, which is God. In this chapter, the concept is investigated independently of Christian revelation (the next chapter develops it with an eye on Christianity). The different sections of the chapter address happiness and God, happiness and need, practical reasoning (the fact that human actions can be arrived at rationally – synderesis, conscience, and acting morally), virtues (general, intellectual, and moral), and natural law (law derived from reason and grounded in the principles of synderesis).

Keywords:   Thomas Aquinas, conscience, God, goodness, happiness, human action, intellectual virtue, moral virtue, morality, natural law, need, practical reasoning, reasoning, synderesis, virtue

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