Augustine, On Free Choice of the Will, trans. T. Williams (Hackett, 1993)
Anselm, Three Philosophical Dialogues, trans. T. Williams (Hackett, 2002)
Peter Abelard, Ethical Writings, trans. P. Spade (Hackett, 1995)
Write to the point explain if necessary. Give examples from text or experience.
1. Aquinas distinguishes between (a) God, (b) angels, and (c) human beings in terms of the composition that these different beings have (or lack). Explain the different kinds of composition. Relate your answer to Aquinas’s thesis that there cannot be several angels of the same species.
2. What kind of “passions” does Aquinas attribute to angels? Why does he consider them passions only in a metaphorical sense, not in the strict sense? Relate your answer to the different powers (or “parts”) of the soul.
3. What does Aquinas mean by a “demon”? Discuss two reasons why he thinks that demons are “obstinate in evil.”
4. Aquinas claims that no human action can be indifferent. What does he mean by “human action” and “indifferent”? Briefly explain the argument he gives for his position.
5. According to Aquinas, “One sin added to another makes more sins, but it does not always make a sin greater. . . .” Explain what he means by this and give an example to clarify his position.
6. Discuss two reasons why, according to Aquinas, ignorance does not completely excuse from sin.
7. A person might know “habitually” that it is wrong to commit adultery and yet end up doing so, under the influence of passion. How does Aquinas think this can happen? Discuss three effects that passion can have on a person’s mental state.
8. Explain Aquinas’s distinction between antecedent and consequent passion. Which kind of passion does he think increases a sin, and why? Which kind does he think diminishes a sin, and why?
9. In what way(s) does Aquinas think that weakness of the soul is like weakness of the body? Does he think that we are completely excused for sins of weakness? If so, why? If not, why not?
10. Explain what Aquinas means by sinning “through certain malice,” two different ways in which this kind of sin can come about, and how it differs from sinning through passion.
11. Aquinas describes two ways in which Adam sinned by “coveting God’s likeness.” Explain what they are and how they differ.
12. In what way does Aquinas consider pride the most grievous sin? Explain how he interprets the biblical saying that “Pride is the beginning of all sin.” Does he think that every sin originates from pride?