Sic ergo motus amoris in duo tendit, scilicet in bonum quod quis vult alicui, vel sibi vel alii; et in illud cui vult bonum. Ad illud ergo bonum quod quis vult alteri, habetur amor concupiscentiae, ad illud autem cui aliquis vult bonum, habetur amor amicitiae.

I’m trying to figure out the difference between a love of concupiscence and one of friendship. As St. Thomas lays it out in I-II q.26 something we want good things for is loved by the love of concupiscence while the good things we want for him are loved by a love of friendship.

On the surface, this looks like a pretty straightforward claim: when I want by friend to be healthy, I love my friend by the love of friendship and health (an his having health?) by the love of concupiscence. Similarly, when I want myself to be happy, I love myself with a love like that of friendship, while my own health with one of concupiscence. But, if I consider a bonum honestum (wisdom, for example) seems to lead to problems since by this account, since I cannot want good for wisdom, it seems necessary to say that I love wisdom by a love of concupiscence and not a love of friendship. To love wisdom in that way, however, seems unfitting since the good loved by love of concupiscence is a god ordered to the good of another, while wisdom is a good sought for its own sake.

I’m not sure how to get out of this difficulty. Do I have to concede the reductio and say that we wish good things for wisdom (perhaps this could be supported by saying that to love wisdom is to love God under the notion of wisdom)? Do I have to distinguish how something is loved for its own sake?

4 thoughts on “A Confusion about the Division of Love.

  1. When we say that we love wisdom, are we loving the habit of wisdom, the act of wisdom, or the object of wisdom? Perhaps we love the habit and act of wisdom with the love of concupiscence (as the good which perfects us) and the object of wisdom with the love of friendship. But since the object of wisdom is the truth, which is a common good, does this solve the problem? Ought we not love the common good with a love of friendship?

    And I’m not sure that the love of concupiscence is identical with the pleasant or useful good.

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    1. and the object of wisdom with the love of friendship. But since the object of wisdom is the truth, which is a common good, does this solve the problem? Ought we not love the common good with a love of friendship?

      I can see loving a person with a love of friendship and I can see loving the state with a love of friendship as well insofar as it is composed of persons. The reason I can’t see loving the object of wisdom is that the truth is not something which you wish good things for: I can’t hope that Euclid’s 47th proposition, for example, has a good day.

      As I mentioned in the post, I could see the argument that the first meaning of truth is God (ad significandum, ab impositio etc…) and therefore one can love truth by a love of friendship (at least in one case).

      And I’m not sure that the love of concupiscence is identical with the pleasant or useful good.

      I think you’re right about that: after thinking a while, I decided the love of concupiscence does wish the good as good for another because the of the good’s intrinsic “for-anotherness” (peraliuditas?) but because the good as such is “perfectivum alteri.” Thus, I reasoned, every good considered precisely as good has a reference to some proper perfectible. Thus, to wish the good to that perfectible is not incompatible with some good being chosen for its own sake.

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      1. Yeah—I see the difficulty with loving the truth in terms of “what does the truth benefit”? I wonder if loving the truth amore amicitiae is more like you suggest re: loving God. Perhaps the truth can be loved with a love of friendship on a natural level the way that we can will “Thy kingdom come” through grace; we will the truth to be manifested, learned, known, etc. Not that these are intrinsic benefits to the truth. There must be some sort of analogical naming going on …

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      2. At least insofar as reading St. Thomas is concerned the love of truth isn’t identical to love of a useful or delightful good:

        Ad tertium dicendum quodhoc quod aliquis velit frui Deo, pertinet ad amorem quo Deus amatur amore concupiscentiae. Magis autem amamus Deum amore amicitiae quam amore concupiscentiae, quia maius est in se bonum Dei quam participare possumus fruendo ipso. Et ideo simpliciter homo magis diligit Deum ex caritate quam seipsum. (II-IIae q. 26 a. 3 ad 3)

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