Friday, May 4, 2012

The Division of Fear

Before examining in detail the contents of this article, we must consider five points of general relevance: first, the nature of the passions (in brief); second, their division into concupiscible and irascible; third, the place of fear among the irascible passions; fourth, the source from which St. Thomas derives his division of the passion of fear, namely St. John Damascene; and fifth, the manner of the division given by Damascene and its relation to the list quoted by St. Thomas.
A.        The term “passion” can be used very generally so as to include any change caused by an exterior agent, i.e. passion as passivity simply.  However, we speak of passions more properly as motions of the soul educed by a cognized object.  In this (still rather loose) sense, passion includes such varied activities as the operations of the sense appetites, the acts of the intellect, and the movements of the will.  More properly still, we give the name passion to a movement of an appetitive power seated in a bodily organ, which is accompanied by some physical transmutation, and especially if it implies some deterioration. (ST. 1a 2a q.22 a.1 co. and q.41 a.1 co.)
            St. Thomas treats the passions at length in the first part of the second part of his Summa Theologiae.  This portion of the masterwork deals with the nature and principles of human acts in general, covering first the ultimate end of human life, and subsequently the various acts by which man is disposed toward or against this end.  The latter subject is divided again into two parts: St. Thomas treats first the acts that are proper to man, as flowing from his powers of intellect and will, and then subsequently acts which are common to all animals, including man.  And, since the nature of beasts excludes the intellectual powers of man’s immaterial soul, acts common to all animals will be limited to those powers which are seated in bodily organs.  St. Thomas’s concern, however, is for the kinds of powers which serve as the principles of human acts.[1]  The nutritive powers of the soul are involuntary, and therefore cannot in themselves be the principles of human acts.  Thus St. Thomas’s consideration in this section of the Prima Secundae is limited to the acts of the sensitive appetites, which are ruled over by the will through “a royal and politic power” (ST 1a q.81 a.3 ad 2).  Thus the passions, which are the movements of the sensitive appetites, are the particular focus of this section.
B.        The passions are divided into “concupiscible” and “irascible” based on the appetite with which they are primarily associated.  However, appetites are distinguished by their objects, and thus the division of the passions is in accord with the aspects under which their particular objects are regarded.  For, since every act is the act of a power for action, and powers of action are specified by those generic objects with which their acts are concerned, it follows that the passions, which are passive powers whose act is elicited in conformity with an object known, must be divided according to the kinds of objects and the mode under which they are known.  The objects of the passions are distinguished through a number of qualities, and first of all whether they regard their object simply as to its goodness or evil, or whether they regard it under the aspect of difficulty.  In the former case, the passion will be of the concupiscible power, in the latter case of the irascible.  Thus, for example, the good regarded simply inspires love, a concupiscible passion, but the good regarded as difficult but attainable inspires hope, an irascible passion.
C.        The irascible passions are divided by the qualities of their objects: good or evil, possibility or impossibility, etc.  They are: hope, despair, fear, daring, and anger.  Much more could be said about the irascible passions in general, but our focus is limited to fear in particular.  The proper object of fear is a possible evil which is considered to surpass the power of the individual to resist it.  In that fear regards evil rather than good, it differs from despair.  In that it regards an irresistible evil rather than an avoidable one, it differs from daring.  In that it regards and evil not yet suffered rather than one in the past, it differs from anger.  The closeness of these passions to each other — their sensitivity to this or that minute quality of the object under consideration — will prove important later on.  For now it suffices to note the specific object of fear, and that among all the irascible passions fear is most properly called a “passion”.  Only sorrow, the passion which regards a present evil, is more rightly called a passion than fear.  Aquinas makes this claim (cf. 1a 2ae q.41 a.1 co.) on the basis of fear’s particular tendency to cause “contraction” (a kind of physical transmutation) and to shrink before the irresistible evil under consideration (which implies a kind of deterioration).  Furthermore, he follows Boethius by listing fear with joy, sorrow, and hope, as one of the four chief passions of the soul, since fear is a chief principle of appetitive movement away from a possible evil (cf. 1a 2ae q. 25 a.4).
D.        Among the passions treated in the Prima Secundae, St. Thomas marks out only four for division into particular species: love, sorrow, fear and anger.  In each of these cases the division of the passion is adopted from an authority cited in the sed contra of the article.  It is noteworthy that while St. Thomas chooses Aristotle as his source for the division of love into concupiscence and friendship, the other three divisions — of sorrow, fear and anger — are all adopted from the work of St. John Damascene and pseudo-Gregory of Nyssa, i.e. Nemesius of Emesa.[2]  This is true despite the fact that Aristotle treats anger and fear in great detail in the second book of his Rhetoric, goes so far as to divide fear into over a dozen distinct causes external to the fearful person, and later explains the various circumstances of fearfulness.[3]
            If speculation about the author’s motives is fruitless in so a short commentary as this, we can nonetheless point out the weight of two so important patristic authors possess, especially given that the text of Nemesius and Damascene produce the same divisions of fear verbatim.  Additionally, it is worth noting that Nemesius’s De Natura Hominis and Damascene’s De Fide Orthodoxa both give their analyses of fear in the context of systematic treatments of the passions and human nature, where Aristotle’s main treatment of the passions is motivated by the practical interests of the orator, and thus remains somewhat incomplete.
E.        Since Damascene’s is the primary text cited in the division of fear, and because the text attributed to St. Gregory of Nyssa is spurious, as will be discussed in more detail below, we will focus mainly on the division presented in Book II, Chapter XV of De Fide Orthodoxa, the text of which in English[4] reads as follows:
Fear is divided into six varieties: viz., hesitation, shame, disgrace, amazement, panic, and anxiety.  Hesitation (oknoV) is fear through some act being delayed (melloushV  energeiaV)[5].  Shame (aidw) is fear arising from the anticipation of blame: and this is the fairest form of the affection.  Disgrace (aiscunh) is fear springing from some base act already done, and even for this form there is some hope of salvation.  Amazement (kataplhxiV) is fear originating in some huge product of the imagination (ek megalhV fantasiaV).  Panic (ekplhxiV) is fear caused by some unusual product of the imagination (ek asunhqouV fantasiaV).  Anxiety (agwnia) is fear of failure, that is, of misfortune: for when we fear that our efforts will not meet with success, we suffer anxiety.

Given that we will discuss Aquinas using an English translation of the Latin text, and that we have just presented an English translation of a Greek text, and that Aquinas himself would have used a translation of Damascene from Greek into Latin which is not presently available, a chart comparing terms will be useful to the reader.


Aquinas
Damascene
Leonine
English Trans.
Migne
English Trans.
Segnities
Laziness
oknoV
Hesitation
Erubescentia
Shamefacedness
aidw
Shame
Verecundia
Shame
aiscunh
Disgrace
Admiratio
Amazement
kataplhxiV
Amazement
Stupor
Stupor
ekplhxiV
Panic
Agonia
Anxiety
agwnia
Anxiety

            A few observations should be made on differences between Aquinas’s Latin and Damascene’s Greek (which, as mentioned earlier, uses identical terms to that of Nemesius — cf. PG 40, 687-89).  First, that segnities connotes sluggishness or delayed action, whereas oknoV connotes hesitation or positive shrinking from action.  Second, that the term kataplhxiV, which we have translated as “amazement”, is rendered in Aquinas’s Latin as admiratio, the same term used to translate the word qaumazein, used at the beginning of Aristotle’s Metaphysics in the famous assertion that philosophy begins with wonder (Metaphysics I.2, 982b12, p.692).  We note that where qaumazein denotes a positive marveling or wonder, as at something miraculous, kataplhxiV denotes a frustrated astonishment.  Despite this difference in the underlying Greek, Aquinas does his best to make sense of the identification of both terms as admiratio.  This connection is important and will be referenced later on.  However, this suffices for our preliminary remarks on the subject of the article.

FIRST OBJECTION
            Having considered five general points about the division of fear, we proceed to the article itself: whether the six species of fear are suitably assigned by John Damascene, namely: laziness, shamefacedness, shame, amazement, stupor, and anxiety.  Against this claim are raised five objections.  We begin with the first, in which there are four points to consider: first, that fear regards a saddening evil; second, that the object of fear is sorrow; third, that there are four species of sorrow; fourth, that there should therefore be four species of fear.
A.        It is clear, even without the authority of Aristotle, that fear regards a saddening evil.  For fear is nothing other than the soul’s reponse to an unavoidable evil in the future.  Now, the passion which addresses a present evil is sorrow, and so, since fear regards some evil as eventually present, and because the irascible passions all terminate in the concupiscible passions (1a 2ae q.23 a.1 ad 1), it follows that fear regards a saddening evil.
B.        Since we have shown that fear regards a saddening evil, it follows directly that the object of fear is future sorrow.  For passions are distinguished by the qualities under which they regard their objects, and so if fear properly regards a saddening evil, which is the proper object of sorrow, but under the aspect of the future, it follows that the object of fear is sorrow itself.
C.        Sorrow, however, has been shown to be of four kinds, both by Damascene and by St. Thomas (q.35 a.8), namely: pity, envy, torpor, and distress.  These species are distinguished as follows: pity arises from another’s evil considered as one’s own; envy arises from another’s good considered as one’s own evil; distress arises from an evil cause which frustrates the mind; torpor arises from an evil cause which prevents all action.
D.        From the foregoing it is clear that there ought to be four species of fear rather than six.  For we have established (1) that the object of fear is future sorrow and (2) that sorrow has four species.  However, powers are distinguished by their objects, and thus the division of fear should correspond to the division of its objects.  And so, there ought to be four species of fear to correspond to the four species of sorrow.
SECOND OBJECTION
            Having concluded our examination of the first objection, we proceed to the second.  Here the objector concerns himself with laziness, shamefacedness, and shame in particular, and we must consider two points: first, that fear cannot regard one’s own acts, properly speaking; second, that laziness, etc. have has their objects acts performed by the agent.
A.        Fear is defined as the passion which regards a future evil, difficult and irresistible (1a 2ae q.41 a.2 co.).  It is important that the object of fear be seen as irresistible, since this is the qualification by which fear and daring are differentiated.  Furthermore, since the object is an irresistible evil, fear cannot regard one’s own acts, except insofar as they are involuntary, and thus regarded as irresistible.  In this case, however, they are not properly acts of the person, since do not proceed from the will.
B.        It is clear, however, that laziness, shamefacedness, and shame all regard possible acts of the agent.  Laziness regards work which one avoids doing, shamefacedness regard a possible wicked deed, and shame regards an accomplished wicked deed.  But we have already established that the object of fear is an evil which exceeds one’s power.  Therefore these three should not be counted among the species of fear: because they regard acts of the agent in question, and because they regard acts which are really within his power.

THIRD OBJECTION
            Having concluded our examination of the second objection, we proceed to the third.  Here the objector is concerned with shame in particular, and we must consider two points: first, that sorrow concerning a present evil is not properly fear; second, that shame concerns a present evil.
A.        In his discussion of the four principle passions, St. Thomas remarks that all of the passions terminate in joy or sorrow, since joy regards a good presently attained, and sorrow regards an evil presently suffered.  Now, there are five passions in addition to sorrow which regard evil as their object, namely: hatred, aversion, fear, daring, and anger.  Hatred regards evil simply; aversion as simply possible; fear as possible and irresistible; daring as possible and resistible; and anger as present and unjust.[6] From this division of the passions, it is clear that a sorrow which regards some present evil cannot belong to fear, but should be classed under anger, hatred, or sorrow.
B.        Shame, however, concerns a wicked act presently accomplished which merits disgrace and condemnation.  But if the object of shame is an act presently accomplished, then shame regards a present evil, and thus, as stated above, should be listed as a species of anger, hatred, or sorrow.  Therefore shame should not be counted among the species of fear.

FOURTH OBJECTION
            Having concluded our examination of the third objection, we proceed to the fourth.  Here the objector concerns himself with amazement and stupor in particular, and we must consider two points: first, that fear concerns only evil; second, that amazement and stupor have as their objects not only evil but also sometimes the good.
A.        As stated above, fear is a passion which regards an irresistible future evil.  It is distinguished from hope and despair as we have seen, in that these regard good objects and fear regards an evil.  Thus to include within the genus of fear a passion which regards the good would be improper, since this would be to confuse fear with hope, despair, or the simple passion of desire (i.e. concupiscence).
B.        It is clear that amazement and stupor are directed not only to evil objects but also sometimes to good ones.  This can be seen most easily in the light of scripture.  For example, we read in Matthew 7:28 that “the crowds were amazed at his teaching,” where “amazed” is admirabantur in the Vulgate.[7]  A great number of other similar occurrences of amazement at good things occur in scripture, from which we can conclude that amazement regards good objects, and not merely evil ones.  And the same can be said of stupor, which occurs similarly in scripture (cf. Mark 1:22).  Thus it would be incorrect to classify amazement and stupor as species of fear, since they are not fully contained under fear as a genus. 

FIFTH OBJECTION
            Having concluded our examination of the fourth objection, we proceed to the fifth.  Here the objector is concerned with amazement in particular, and we must consider three points: first, that fear repulses the fearful; second, that according to Aristotle, philosophy begins with wonder; and third, that philosophy is the result of attraction to the object of wonder.
A.        Fear regards an object that is unfitting, and thus repulses the one who is fearful.  Were this not the case, then it could not be said that the object of fear is evil, since the appetite is only attracted by that which appears to it as good, and thus fear would have to regard some good.  (For example, even daring regards what is in some sense a good object, since it results from hope through the association of a good end with the surmountable difficulty that is its proper object [cf. 1a 2ae q.45 a.2].)  But this is not the case, so it must be said that all fear repulses the fearful.

B.        As mentioned above, Aristotle famously says that it is through amazement that men begin to philosophize.  For amazement occurs when his power of imagination is struck by some very great impression which surpasses his present comprehension, and is an indication of ignorance in the one who is amazed, since if he had fully understood the cause and nature of what produced his amazement, he would not have been amazed.
C.        It is evident not only from Aristotle’s treatment of amazement (i.e., wonder) in Metaphysics I.2, but also from common experience, that in philosophical investigation amazement is a cause of attraction to the object of wonder.  For it is through amazement that a man realizes his own ignorance, since amazement is caused by a strong impression of the mind by some cause which he cannot fathom.  And since the philosophical man seeks to understand and to know things through their first causes, an object which impresses itself on the mind with particular vigor as something unknown will be a chief cause of intellectual inquiry.  Thus in philosophy amazement is a cause of attraction and, since we have shown above that fear excludes attraction, it follows that amazement is not a species of fear.

SED CONTRA
            Having examined the five objections, we proceed to St. Thomas's resolution of the matter, beginning with the sed contra.  For the sed contra, St. Thomas references the authority of St. John Damascene and St. Gregory of Nyssa.  Here it is to be noted as was previously that the text cited is not a genuine work of St. Gregory of Nyssa.  In this matter there are two points to consider:  first, whether the agreement of two authorities is weightier than the opinion of one; second, whether the authority of a text later found to be misattributed or forged is lessened and to what extent.
A.        Authority is received differently in different matters.  In matters of faith, authority is the proximate means by which we receive doctrine concerning divine things from its wellspring in Christ.  But the contents of revelation exceed the bounds of natural inquiry, and thus authority is essential.  On the other hand, in philosophical matters authority is a means by which we are guided to the truth seen by our forebears.  The weight of an authority depends on the fullness of his grasp of the truth and the sureness of his witness thereto.  A consensus among the wise concerning some matter is thus a strong sign of truth, but does not in itself bind us to believe, where the consensus of the faithful would.  This is because philosophical matters are capable of being decided on the basis of one’s own inquiry, so that while the agreement of two authorities in a philosophical matter is a stronger incentive to understand the position they hold, the intellect (if capable) must still recognize the truth by its own light.
B.        When an authoritative text is found to be forged or misattributed, it is not rendered useless, though its intrinsic authority is lessened.  The text still has whatever authority it pretended to, by virtue of the extent to which its opinions are held independently by other authorities.  For example, the works of Pseudo-Denys possess no apostolic authority, but are still worthy of consideration because of their widespread adoption and citation among the scholastics.  And so we respect Pseudo-Denys because St. Thomas respects him.  Similarly we respect Nemesis because both Damascene and Aquinas respected him, even though his authority is not as great as St. Gregory of Nyssa’s.

CORPUS
            Having concluded our discussion of the sed contra we proceed to the corpus.  Here there are five points: first, the varieties of human evil; second, those evils which are the object of fear; third, their division; fourth, the species of fear dealing with one’s own act; and fifth, the species of fear dealing with external matters.
A.        Evil is the privation of some good, especially one naturally due to a thing (cf. Ia q.48 a.5 ad 1).  Thus in any way that a man can fall short of the good due to him he is said to suffer evil.  This can happen through an innumerably large set of failure internal and external, which can be ordered in a variety of different ways.  Thus, e.g., to consider the evils possible in a man by himself without reference to external matters, we can produce maladies and disorders affecting every power from the intellect down to digestion, as great as death and as complex as vice.  Externally, we can consider all manner of injustices, from theft to slander, etc., and this makes the project of indexing all the varieties of evil somewhat vain, since each one, as St. Gregory the Great says, leads forth its own army against us. (e.g. Moralia XXXI, par.87)
B.        Once we restrict ourselves to considering evil under a limited aspect, the task of ordering and classifying its varieties becomes easier.  Our concern is with the objects of fear, which are future evils regarded as difficult and irresistible.  The object of fear is difficult in that it can be avoided, but irresistible in that once present it cannot be overcome.  Also crucial is the fact that fear regards a future and not a present evil, since this allows more broadly for the object of the passion to be subject to the vagaries of the imaginative power: for something to be feared it need not actually be irresistible or even difficult; it need only be imagined that way by the subject at the present moment.  Thus children shrink in fear from strange foods, though the consumption of these foods is not in itself difficult or even evil.
             Now, as a consequence of these observations we can rule out a number of objects as unsuited to fear: first, nothing which pertains directly to the exercise of the will can be an object of fear.  Sin, therefore, is not feared (1a 2ae q.42 a.3), because sin is voluntarily committed and one cannot involuntarily commit a voluntary act.  Furthermore, nothing considered easy or resistible can be an object of fear — this includes, for most people, most of the petty pains and slights of daily life.  Etc.
C.        In this light it is clear how to move forward in dividing the objects of fear.  We must ask: on account of what feature is an imagined evil deemed irresistible?  And, more fundamentally, what are the objects of fear in our own acts?  What are the objects of fear in external matters?  Thus the mode of division will be twofold: first, on account of an object’s immediate connection to one’s act or lack thereof, and second on account of the particular qualities which render the evil in question irresistible according to one’s imagination.
D.        We begin by considering those evils directly pertaining to one’s acts.  An evil can be associated with an act either by being immediately present in the act, or by following from the act itself, though external to it.  Now, an evil of the first kind seems irresistible when it is apparently greater than one can bear — without making the act as a whole objectively evil, but still obstructing the good end of the act through concomitant pain so that the evil seems irresistible.  This is laziness or sluggishness.  On the other hand, an evil which follows from an act directly though it is not present in it must belong to some other agent, and most commonly to some person’s power of judgment.  For if the evil did not proceed from the internal movement of another agent, then it would flow directly from the act, so as to fall under the object of laziness.  The only third option is for the connection between the act and the evil effect to be so distant that it would no longer fall under the present discussion, but belong to one of the species of fear treated below. 
Judgment on the other hand arises directly from the nature of the act judged, but through the free act of another agent.  Now the evil of another’s judgment with regard to one’s act is condemnation.  The evil of condemnation is most irresistible when it is true, for then the judge lights upon the reality of what a man has done, and convicts him.  This possibility enters the imagination in two ways: either with the consideration of a past act or of a possible one.  Thus there are two species of fear associated with condemnation: shame, which regards disgrace for an act already committed; and shamefacedeness, which regards disgrace for an act contemplated.
E.        Having examined those irresistible evils which pertain directly to one’s acts, we must now inquire after those that pertain to external matters.  And an external evil seems irresistible when it exceeds one’s power to resist.  This can happen either from the excessive magnitude of the evil, or from its unusual kind, or from its unexpectedness.  Thus we have first of all amazement, which regards an imagined evil so great as to overwhelm one’s capacity to respond; and stupor, which regards an imagined evil of a kind that escapes all one’s means for resistance; and anxiety, which regards an imagined evil that cannot be addressed because it is unforeseen.  This suffices for our discussion of the corpus.

REPLY TO THE FIRST OBJECTION
            Having concluded our treatment of the corpus, we proceed to St. Thomas’s replies to the objections in particular, beginning with the first reply.  Here there are three points to consider: first, that a passion may be divided in two ways; second, that the species of sorrow are distinguished according to the second of these ways; third, that the species of fear are distinguished according to the first of these ways.
A.        St. Thomas makes clear during his treatment of sorrow that there are two ways of dividing a genus into species (1a 2ae q.35 a.8).  The first, which is division properly so called and results in true species, is by adding to the notion of the genus something virtually contained in it.  Thus, as Aristotle further explains in the Metaphysics (VIII.12 1038a5ff. [803-4]), the difference added to a genus that divides it must be wholly contained by the genus in order to divide it properly.  “Breathing” divides “animal” in this way, where “heavy” does not, since there are not breathing non-animals, but there are heavy rocks.  The second mode of division proceeds by adding to the genus something which is not virtually contained in it, though members of the genus may nonetheless be differentiated by it.  In this way “white” divides “man”, even though there are white horses and chairs.
B.        Once we have made clear the differences between these two species of division, it becomes clear that sorrow is divided only in the second and improper sense.  For the species of sorrow: pity, envy, torpor and distress, are distinguished by particular effects, in the case of torpor and distress, and particular causes, in the case of pity and envy.  But pity and envy are not contraries, and thus do not exhaust the causes of sorrow.  On the other hand, a passion cannot properly be divided by effects, since the same effects which are the objects of torpor and distress can flow from causes other than sorrow.  Thus the division is of the second sort.
C.        Again, it is abundantly clear that the division of fear given by Damascene is of the first and proper sort.  For it proceeds by the addition of differences virtually contained in the species, by dividing its proper objects (i.e., evils imagined as irresistible).  But if this is the case, as we have shown in our treatment of the corpus, then  the division of fear given is more proper than would be one derived from the division of sorrow, and thus the objection is answered.

REPLY TO THE SECOND OBJECTION

            Having concluded our examination of the first reply, we proceed to the second.  Here there are two points to consider: first, that an act may lie in one’s power in some but not all of its aspects; second, that this is the case with laziness, etc.
A.        The object of fear is not properly an act, either of one’s own or anyone else’s, but the possible evil which follows from an act.  Thus the irresistible quality of the evil pertains strictly to the imagined evil, and not necessarily to the act which brings it about.  Thus the act may be possible, but the burden of the evil which flows from it will nonetheless be irresistible.  And the greater the associated evil is seen to be, the more it detracts from the possible performance of the act.  Thus in despair, fear has proceeded to blot out all consideration of goods following from the act which is associated with the feared effect, so that the good end itself is rejected as impossible.  But in fear the act itself may lie within one’s power, and may even be good, though it is shunned on the basis of some concomitant evil. 
B.        This, however, is very clearly the case with laziness, shame, and shamefacedness, which, as stated above, regard the evil effects of one’s acts.  In the case of laziness and shamefacedness, both act and evil are imagined as possible.  In the case of shame, the effect is imagined while the act is remembered.  This suffices for the second reply.

REPLY TO THE THIRD OBJECTION
            Having concluded our examination of the second reply, we proceed to the third.  Here there are two points to consider: first, that shame, a species of fear, is distinct from distress, a species of sorrow; second, that shame includes only future disgrace.
A.        Distress, or perplexity, is a kind of sorrow by which the imminence and power of the evil to which one is subject excludes the impulse to flee.  From the logic of the objector, shame would be identical with distress, since it regards an accomplished act the consequences of which are irresistible.  However, this is not the case, and the chief reason is that in shame the object is not the accomplished act but a concomitant evil.
B.        Furthermore, the object of shame, namely, imagined disgrace for what has already been done, is not yet present but only anticipated.  Thus shame is not only distinct from distress, but also shares all the marks of fear, since it regards an imagined evil, difficult and irresistible.  This suffices for the third reply.

REPLY TO THE FOURTH OBJECTION
            Having concluded our examination of the third reply, we proceed to the fourth.  Here St. Thomas gives a twofold reply, and there are four points to consider: first, that a kind of amazement has evil as its object; second, that a kind of stupor has evil as its object; third, that amazement and stupor can have evil as their object secondarily, even when properly they arise in response to the good; fourth, that in this last case they are nonetheless really distinct from laziness.
A.        Amazement can regard evil as well as good, for included under amazement are all objects of the imagination which exceed understanding by virtue of their magnitude.  Now, some evil acts and many diseases are so pernicious or disfiguring that they amaze.  Thus amazement can regard evil.
B.        Stupor, likewise, can regard evil, for it includes all objects of the imagination that exceed understanding by virtue of their unusual kind or quality.  Now, some infections resist all known methods of treatment, and can thus be called stupefying.  Therefore stupor can regard evil.
C.        St. Thomas points out that the species of amazement and stupor included in the division of fear are those that regard an evil object.  But then he makes a curious move, by explaining that amazement and stupor can have evil as their object secondarily, even when they regard a good, and thus can in this case constitute a kind of fear.  This is because, as we have highlighted above in our discussion of the fifth objection, amazement and stupor are the means by which man can sometimes become aware of his ignorance (cf. Commentary on Metaphysics Book I, Lectio 3, no.55).  And thus the object of this fear would be the evil of misjudgment, which would irresistible if one were to proceed with one’s present knowledge to try and understand the good object of amazement.  Or, in the case of stupor, it regards especially the difficulty of examining and reframing the principles of one’s understanding.
D.        Still, these latter species of amazement and stupor do not fall under laziness per se, though St. Thomas compares them to laziness. For the object of laziness is toil, whereas the object of amazement and stupor is confusion arising from the contemplation of an object beyond one’s intellectual ability (cf. 2a 2ae q.167 a.1 co., the fourth kind of curiosity).  Thus the objection is answered doubly.

REPLY TO THE FIFTH OBJECTION
            Having concluded our examination of the fourth reply, we proceed to the fifth.  Here there are three points to consider: first, what sense of amazement is used by Aristotle; second, that in this sense the amazed man refrains from judgment for fear of error; third, that amazement of this kind is compatible with a desire for knowledge.
A.        As noted in our preliminary discussion above, Aristotle uses qaumazein and not kataplhxiV for “amazement” or “wonder” in the Metaphysics.  Happily, St. Thomas clearly perceived the difference (although both words were rendered as admiratio) since he divides the amazement which is strictly fearful from that which is the root of philosophy.  This latter amazement is nothing other than the recognition of one’s ignorance in the light of an overwhelming phantasm of some object which resists understanding.
B.        It is clear then that the amazed man shrinks from judgment from fear of error.  For, especially when the source of amazement is some good, there could be not other reason for withdrawal, since the contemplation of the good is above all a source of human delight (cf. 1a 2ae q.2 a.8; q.3 a.8).
C.        Finally, we note a distinction between amazement and stupor.  In amazement a man is drawn on to investigate so that he may get around his fear by eliminating the ignorance which causes it.  Stupor, however, resists investigation, since the tools for investigation are not present to the stupefied man, and he sees no way to proceed.  Thus the stupefied man is prevented from gaining wisdom by his lack of resources, where for the amazed man his amazement not only allows but even impels him onward to philosophy.  This suffices for the reply and concludes our exposition of the text.


[1] N.b. the distinction between human acts and acts in general which are attributed to a human being.  A properly human act is a voluntary one. (1a 2ae q.1 a.1 co.)
[2] The source for information on Nemesius is the article “Nemesius of Emesa” in New Catholic Encyclopedia, 2nd ed. (Detroit: Gale, 2003).
[3] St. Thomas does draw on some of this material in 1a 2ae q.42.
[4] The basis of the translation provided is that of E.W. Watson and L. Pullan. from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. 9. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1899.)  I have made significant alterations to the text to bring it closer to Damascene’s original Greek, as found in PG 94, 931-32.
[5] I read melloushV  energeiaV as a genitive absolute, where Watson & Pullan treat it as the genitive object of foboV.  This reading seems more logical, given that Damascene normally pairs the objects of foboV with a prepositional phrase: “foboV epi ...”,and that oknoV hardly conveys the inevitability of action suggested by their reading, “fear of some act about to take place”.  The basis of the alternative reading of melloushV  is definition III for mellw — “to delay, put off” — given in Liddell & Scott’s Greek-English Lexicon.
[6] It should be noted that St. Thomas treats anger as a complex passion, which has a twofold object: vengeance as good, and offence as evil.
[7] The text used for this reference was the standard Weber-Gryson Biblia Sacra Iuxta Vulgatam Versionem, fuenfte Auflage, (Noerdlingen: Deutsche Bibelgesellshaft, 2007).

No comments:

Post a Comment