The Status of Human in the Hierarchical Ontology of Thomas Aquinas Based on the Book Summa Theologica
In the past, when philosophy used to have a broader meaning, a philosopher’s attitude towards being and human’s status in it was among the inseparable elements of his philosophy. Saint Thomas Aquinas is one of the most influential philosophers of the Middle Ages. Based on his most famous book Summa Theologica, the status of human in his philosophy is studied in this article. It is impossible to analyze Aquinas’ anthropology and explain the status of human in his philosophy without paying attention to his ontology. Like most traditional philosophers, Aquinas recognizes a hierarchical system for the world which starts with God and ends with lifeless beings. The status of human can only be realized in this pyramidal system. For him human is not the noblest creature and is situated between angels and animals in this pyramid. Human is created as a result of the unity between soul and body; body is the essential from of human. Next to angel, human is the second creature which is most similar to God, and since he is rational he is regarded as the representation of God. Rationality, which is the focus of his philosophy, is the most prominent feature of human. Since human is a rational creature, he enjoys free will. Ration and will help human move towards happiness, which is becoming more acquainted with and similar to God; therefore, unlike what Aristotle says, happiness is personal.
Journal of Islamic Political Thought, Volume:1 Issue: 2, 2011
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