English Summary 2/2015 – Passions

Tomáš Machula
Passions as Philosophical and Theological Issue
The author in his article focuses on the basic approaches towards the subject of passions as they are occurring in antiquity and later repeatedly emerge in different forms and variations in subsequent epochs of the history of human thought. One of these approaches will be presented in greater detail using the example of medieval way of Christian thinking – which also represents the climax of its kind in the field of ethics of virtues based on the philosophical psychology.

Adam Mackerle
Passions in the Old Testament: the Book of Proverbs
When we ask about the presence and role of passions in “secular” everyday and practical ethics, as it is expressed in the Book of Proverbs, we need to consider the fact that the above outlined concept of passions does not correspond with the one of the authors of the Book of Proverbs. Use of a different language, a different perspective of human being (anthropology), and a different cultural spawn considerably alienate the Old Testament text from the Aristotelian-Tomistic philosophical structures; on the other hand these two worlds – biblical and philosophical – describe the same human being, and try to describe his/her everyday life and the path to happiness (wisdom). The study firstly outlines the Old Testament term which is considered to be the most corresponding with our conception of passions. Then the author reflects the “philosophical” approach and pays attention to notions consistent with the aforementioned philosophical definition of passions, and what this term (and its synonyms) means for Thomas Aquinas.

Ctirad Václav Pospíšil
Six Difficulties of Our Way of Thinking about Christology and Passions
Sketch of a Study that in Fact No One Is Today to Write
The author of this paper begins by stating that the passions and virtues can exist only in relation to a particular person and his/her story, and therefore moral theology should rethink how to express itself in a narrative way. In the second part he pronounces a critique of fragmentation of contemporary theology to individual disciplines, wherefore today is very arduous to connect on the appropriate level Christology with moral theology and spirituality, not to say with anthropology and psychology. In the third section of the study he brings attention to the connection between the concept of passions and the image of God. The Old Testament is full of anthropopathisms, which explains why the Hebrew rating of passions diametrically differentiate from the Hellenic one. Next step presents a reflection on the tension between Christology descending and ascending, which is then illustrated in the conception of Jesus’ perfection. In the penultimate period the author reflects how the passions were manifested in the personality of pre-Easter Jesus. In the final part of the study he points to the danger of setting some purely human concept of perfection over Jesus himself. In the author’s opinion: these suggestions might serve as the basis of the future study that in fact no one is today to write.

Servais Pinckaers OP
Passions and Morality
The reflection on the passions in the Summa Theologica of St. Thomas is one of the most important ones. The author in the aforementioned treatise assumes a theological attitude. It presupposes a unified anthropology, which would allow transgressing from the level of senses to the spiritual level. This problem is regarded as part of morality, whose main interest faces the issue of happiness. Compared to Descartes’ treatise on passions, this one displays significant differences. Descartes started with the separation of spirit and body, and therefore considered passions as a movement of “machine which keeps itself in motion”. Even though there were by it laid the foundations of the physiology of passions, however the passions were dehumanised. Both concepts to some extent interconnected Father Coeffeteau in the beginning of 17th century, when introduced passions according to St. Thomas, but with a new focus on their physiological aspect.

Irenej Šiklar OP
Integration of Passions According to St. Thomas Aquinas
The view of St. Thomas Aquinas on the sensual studiousness, i. e. the source of passions, is very positive and realistic at the same time. Although this part of the human being can be affected by sin and give the impression of an enemy of the spiritual life, yet there is in it a capacity to become a servant of virtues, and finally our friend through whom the Holy Spirit works. This is one of the propositions found in works of Professor Servais T. Pinckaers which the author of this article tries to develop with reference to some passages of St. Tomas’ treatise on spiritual progress. As a key notion is find the virtue of divine love, its growth and its ability to heal and attract sensual part of the human soul.

Michael S. Sherwin OP
If Love it is: Chaucer, Aquinas and Love’s Fidelity
The author in his study starts from a poem by G. Chaucer Troilus and Criseyde describing different forms of love, its instability and betrayal. He observes at the same time its modernity and topicality, supporting this remark with reference to analogous stories in the modern literature (Annie Dillard, The Maytrees). To resist the temptation to reduce love either to mere voluntary decision or to a purely emotional reaction, the author turns to Thomas Aquinas and his definition of love, which according to him contains both. To ensure that a person could properly order his/her passions and develop an integrated personality, there is necessary to possess virtues. The author also highlights the lifelong importance of emotions for human person and mechanisms that enable their positive functioning. He observes three activities playing privileged role in regulating and reviewing our emotions: food, singing and dancing. These, in the relation to God, find their expression in the liturgy.

It’s Necessary to Play with Passion
Interview with Wojciech Giertych OP
The interview with the Polish Dominican and Doctor of moral theology touches the issue of renewal of moral theology after Second Vatican Council and the importance of this subject for the Council, as well as the role of passions in the field of moral theology, and difficulties associated. Giertych deals with the historical aspects of estimation of passions, their relationship to philosophy and theology, and also to psychology, pastoral practice and intercultural dialogue.

Milan Nakonečný
The Concept of Passions in Neothomism and in Academic Psychology
The author, Professor of psychology, offers in his study a brief draft of the historical development of the notion of passions, first in the Thomistic and neo-Thomistic conception, and then in academic psychology. Although the author observes significant difference between the Thomistic and academic psychology as such, in the concept of passions both considerably approximate. There is also a paradoxical consensus that both neo-Thomistic and academic psychology abandoned the concept of passions.

Lukáš Fošum OP
Economy of Passions
David Hume, Alasdair MacIntyre and Tomáš Sedláček
The author’s reflexion is based on the popularity of the book of Czech economist Tomáš Sedláček: Economics of Good and Evil. The author deliberates whether the proposition, stating that presently widespread mathematical model of economics cannot adequately express the deeper quest and realisation of good by human community, is not related to certain former philosophical and ethical inducements associated with apprehension of passions. The author discusses the writings of David Hume and Alasdair MacIntyre, and points out the pitfalls of approaches reducing human rationality and emphasising the emotivity, which consequently cause problems even in the field of economics.