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Aquinas on Beatific Charity and the Problem of Love

  • By Christopher Malloy

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Product Description
Christopher J. Malloy's Aquinas on Beatific Charity and the Problem of Love examines the relationship between the desire for happiness and the love of another, chiefly, the love of God for His own sake. Great thinkers judge the matters connected with this problem differently. Aristotle and others contend that the desire for happiness grounds ethical activity. Others contend that a pure love of God (or of the "other") is not founded on desire for happiness. The former charge the latter with leaving love groundless, and the latter charge the former with reducing love to egoism.

Aquinas's appreciation of the Aristotelian tradition is forefront in his classic treatment of human action, which begins with the desire for happiness. Accordingly, many readers, proponents and critics, read Aquinas as simply "eudaimonistic." There are, however, other principles at work in his thought; these suggest a simple but profound difficulty in his thought, one reflective of the subtlety of real life. Are the two sets of principles contradictory? Juxtaposed?

Considering beatific charity as the ultimate lens for this problem, Malloy proposes that Aquinas's texts and principles are hierarchically harmonious while developmentally complex. They indicate that love of happiness has a foundational role in human action and that love of God for His own sake has priority in the order of finality. This ordered balance depends upon a conception of the common good in accord with a metaphysics of participation: as having existence and formal perfection from and in likeness to the One Who Is, created persons incline to love God more than and more intensely than themselves. Thus, love of the Divine Other, while indeed the supreme love, especially as deified through charity, does not demand "disinterested" love. God truly is man's good: His true lover longs to be with Him.

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  • Additional Details
  • Additional Details
    Product Specs
    • SKU: 9781945125157
    • Manufacturer: Emmaus Road
    • ISBN 13: 9781945125157
    • Publication Date: 11/01/2019
    • Format: Hardcover
    • Author: Christopher Malloy
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