Summa Theologiae Prima Secundae
Summa Theologiae First Part of the Second Part
De ultimo fine
The Last End
Quia, sicut Damascenus dicit, homo factus ad imaginem Dei dicitur, secundum quod per imaginem significatur intellectuale et arbitrio liberum et per se potestativum; postquam praedictum est de exemplari, scilicet de Deo, et de his quae processerunt ex divina potestate secundum eius voluntatem; restat ut consideremus de eius imagine, idest de homine, secundum quod et ipse est suorum operum principium, quasi liberum arbitrium habens et suorum operum potestatem.
Since, as Damascene states (De Fide Orthod. ii, 12), man is said to be made in God’s image, insofar as the image implies an intelligent being endowed with free-will and self-movement: now that we have treated of the exemplar, i.e., God, and of those things which came forth from the power of God in accordance with His will; it remains for us to treat of His image, i.e., man, inasmuch as he too is the principle of his actions, as having free-will and control of his actions.
De ultimo fine humanae vitae
Of Man’s Last End
Ubi primo considerandum occurrit de ultimo fine humanae vitae; et deinde de his per quae homo ad hunc finem pervenire potest, vel ab eo deviare, ex fine enim oportet accipere rationes eorum quae ordinantur ad finem.
In this matter we shall consider first the last end of human life; and second, those things by means of which man may advance towards this end, or stray from the path: for the end is the rule of whatever is ordained to the end.
Et quia ultimus finis humanae vitae ponitur esse beatitudo, oportet primo considerare de ultimo fine in communi; deinde de beatitudine.
And since the last end of human life is stated to be happiness, we must consider (1) the last end in general; (2) happiness.
Circa primum quaeruntur octo.
Under the first head there are eight points of inquiry:
Primo, utrum hominis sit agere propter finem.
(1) Whether it belongs to man to act for an end?
Secundo, utrum hoc sit proprium rationalis naturae.
(2) Whether this is proper to the rational nature?
Tertio, utrum actus hominis recipiant speciem a fine.
(3) Whether a man’s actions are specified by their end?
Quarto, utrum sit aliquis ultimus finis humanae vitae.
(4) Whether there is any last end of human life?
Quinto, utrum unius hominis possint esse plures ultimi fines.
(5) Whether one man can have several last ends?
Sexto, utrum homo ordinet omnia in ultimum finem.
(6) Whether man ordains all to the last end?
Septimo, utrum idem sit finis ultimus omnium hominum.
(7) Whether all men have the same last end?
Octavo, utrum in illo ultimo fine omnes aliae creaturae conveniant.
(8) Whether all other creatures concur with man in that last end?
Utrum homini conveniat agere propter finem
Whether it belongs to man to act for an end?
Ad primum sic proceditur. Videtur quod homini non conveniat agere propter finem. Causa enim naturaliter prior est. Sed finis habet rationem ultimi, ut ipsum nomen sonat. Ergo finis non habet rationem causae. Sed propter illud agit homo, quod est causa actionis, cum haec praepositio propter designet habitudinem causae. Ergo homini non convenit agere propter finem.
Objection 1: It would seem that it does not belong to man to act for an end. For a cause is naturally first. But an end, in its very name, implies something that is last. Therefore an end is not a cause. But that for which a man acts, is the cause of his action; since this preposition for indicates a relation of causality. Therefore it does not belong to man to act for an end.
Praeterea, illud quod est ultimus finis, non est propter finem. Sed in quibusdam actiones sunt ultimus finis; ut patet per philosophum in I Ethic. Ergo non omnia homo agit propter finem.
Obj. 2: Further, that which is itself the last end is not for an end. But in some cases the last end is an action, as the Philosopher states (Ethic. i, 1). Therefore man does not do everything for an end.
Praeterea, tunc videtur homo agere propter finem, quando deliberat. Sed multa homo agit absque deliberatione, de quibus etiam quandoque nihil cogitat; sicut cum aliquis movet pedem vel manum aliis intentus, vel fricat barbam. Non ergo homo omnia agit propter finem.
Obj. 3: Further, then does a man seem to act for an end, when he acts deliberately. But man does many things without deliberation, sometimes not even thinking of what he is doing; for instance when one moves one’s foot or hand, or scratches one’s beard, while intent on something else. Therefore man does not do everything for an end.
Sed contra, omnia quae sunt in aliquo genere, derivantur a principio illius generis. Sed finis est principium in operabilibus ab homine; ut patet per philosophum in II Physic. Ergo homini convenit omnia agere propter finem.
On the contrary, All things contained in a genus are derived from the principle of that genus. Now the end is the principle in human operations, as the Philosopher states (Phys. ii, 9). Therefore it belongs to man to do everything for an end.
Respondeo dicendum quod actionum quae ab homine aguntur, illae solae proprie dicuntur humanae, quae sunt propriae hominis inquantum est homo. Differt autem homo ab aliis irrationalibus creaturis in hoc, quod est suorum actuum dominus. Unde illae solae actiones vocantur proprie humanae, quarum homo est dominus. Est autem homo dominus suorum actuum per rationem et voluntatem, unde et liberum arbitrium esse dicitur facultas voluntatis et rationis. Illae ergo actiones proprie humanae dicuntur, quae ex voluntate deliberata procedunt. Si quae autem aliae actiones homini conveniant, possunt dici quidem hominis actiones; sed non proprie humanae, cum non sint hominis inquantum est homo. Manifestum est autem quod omnes actiones quae procedunt ab aliqua potentia, causantur ab ea secundum rationem sui obiecti. Obiectum autem voluntatis est finis et bonum. Unde oportet quod omnes actiones humanae propter finem sint.
I answer that, Of actions done by man those alone are properly called human, which are proper to man as man. Now man differs from irrational animals in this, that he is master of his actions. Wherefore those actions alone are properly called human, of which man is master. Now man is master of his actions through his reason and will; whence, too, the free-will is defined as the faculty of will and reason. Therefore those actions are properly called human which proceed from a deliberate will. And if any other actions are found in man, they can be called actions of a man, but not properly human actions, since they are not proper to man as man. Now it is clear that whatever actions proceed from a power, are caused by that power in accordance with the nature of its object. But the object of the will is the end and the good. Therefore all human actions must be for an end.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod finis, etsi sit postremus in executione, est tamen primus in intentione agentis. Et hoc modo habet rationem causae.
Reply Obj. 1: Although the end be last in the order of execution, yet it is first in the order of the agent’s intention. And it is this way that it is a cause.
Ad secundum dicendum quod, si qua actio humana sit ultimus finis, oportet eam esse voluntariam, alias non esset humana, ut dictum est. Actio autem aliqua dupliciter dicitur voluntaria, uno modo, quia imperatur a voluntate, sicut ambulare vel loqui; alio modo, quia elicitur a voluntate, sicut ipsum velle. Impossibile autem est quod ipse actus a voluntate elicitus sit ultimus finis. Nam obiectum voluntatis est finis, sicut obiectum visus est color, unde sicut impossibile est quod primum visibile sit ipsum videre, quia omne videre est alicuius obiecti visibilis; ita impossibile est quod primum appetibile, quod est finis, sit ipsum velle. Unde relinquitur quod, si qua actio humana sit ultimus finis, quod ipsa sit imperata a voluntate. Et ita ibi aliqua actio hominis, ad minus ipsum velle, est propter finem. Quidquid ergo homo faciat, verum est dicere quod homo agit propter finem, etiam agendo actionem quae est ultimus finis.
Reply Obj. 2: If any human action be the last end, it must be voluntary, else it would not be human, as stated above. Now an action is voluntary in one of two ways: first, because it is commanded by the will, e.g., to walk, or to speak; second, because it is elicited by the will, for instance the very act of willing. Now it is impossible for the very act elicited by the will to be the last end. For the object of the will is the end, just as the object of sight is color: wherefore just as the first visible cannot be the act of seeing, because every act of seeing is directed to a visible object; so the first appetible, i.e., the end, cannot be the very act of willing. Consequently it follows that if a human action be the last end, it must be an action commanded by the will: so that there, some action of man, at least the act of willing, is for the end. Therefore whatever a man does, it is true to say that man acts for an end, even when he does that action in which the last end consists.
Ad tertium dicendum quod huiusmodi actiones non sunt proprie humanae, quia non procedunt ex deliberatione rationis, quae est proprium principium humanorum actuum. Et ideo habent quidem finem imaginatum, non autem per rationem praestitutum.
Reply Obj. 3: Such like actions are not properly human actions; since they do not proceed from deliberation of the reason, which is the proper principle of human actions. Therefore they have indeed an imaginary end, but not one that is fixed by reason.
Utrum agere propter finem sit proprium rationalis naturae
Whether it is proper to the rational nature to act for an end?
Ad secundum sic proceditur. Videtur quod agere propter finem sit proprium rationalis naturae. Homo enim, cuius est agere propter finem, nunquam agit propter finem ignotum. Sed multa sunt quae non cognoscunt finem, vel quia omnino carent cognitione, sicut creaturae insensibiles; vel quia non apprehendunt rationem finis, sicut bruta animalia. Videtur ergo proprium esse rationalis naturae agere propter finem.
Objection 1: It would seem that it is proper to the rational nature to act for an end. For man, to whom it belongs to act for an end, never acts for an unknown end. On the other hand, there are many things that have no knowledge of an end; either because they are altogether without knowledge, as insensible creatures: or because they do not apprehend the idea of an end as such, as irrational animals. Therefore it seems proper to the rational nature to act for an end.
Praeterea, agere propter finem est ordinare suam actionem ad finem. Sed hoc est rationis opus. Ergo non convenit his quae ratione carent.
Obj. 2: Further, to act for an end is to order one’s action to an end. But this is the work of reason. Therefore it does not belong to things that lack reason.
Praeterea, bonum et finis est obiectum voluntatis. Sed voluntas in ratione est, ut dicitur in III de anima. Ergo agere propter finem non est nisi rationalis naturae.
Obj. 3: Further, the good and the end is the object of the will. But the will is in the reason (De Anima iii, 9). Therefore to act for an end belongs to none but a rational nature.
Sed contra est quod philosophus probat in II Physic., quod non solum intellectus, sed etiam natura agit propter finem.
On the contrary, The Philosopher proves (Phys. ii, 5) that not only mind but also nature acts for an end.
Respondeo dicendum quod omnia agentia necesse est agere propter finem. Causarum enim ad invicem ordinatarum, si prima subtrahatur, necesse est alias subtrahi. Prima autem inter omnes causas est causa finalis. Cuius ratio est, quia materia non consequitur formam nisi secundum quod movetur ab agente, nihil enim reducit se de potentia in actum. Agens autem non movet nisi ex intentione finis. Si enim agens non esset determinatum ad aliquem effectum, non magis ageret hoc quam illud, ad hoc ergo quod determinatum effectum producat, necesse est quod determinetur ad aliquid certum, quod habet rationem finis. Haec autem determinatio, sicut in rationali natura fit per rationalem appetitum, qui dicitur voluntas; ita in aliis fit per inclinationem naturalem, quae dicitur appetitus naturalis.
I answer that, Every agent, of necessity, acts for an end. For if, in a number of causes ordained to one another, the first be removed, the others must, of necessity, be removed also. Now the first of all causes is the final cause. The reason of which is that matter does not receive form, save insofar as it is moved by an agent; for nothing reduces itself from potentiality to act. But an agent does not move except out of intention for an end. For if the agent were not determinate to some particular effect, it would not do one thing rather than another: consequently in order that it produce a determinate effect, it must, of necessity, be determined to some certain one, which has the nature of an end. And just as this determination is effected, in the rational nature, by the rational appetite, which is called the will; so, in other things, it is caused by their natural inclination, which is called the natural appetite.
Tamen considerandum est quod aliquid sua actione vel motu tendit ad finem dupliciter, uno modo, sicut seipsum ad finem movens, ut homo; alio modo, sicut ab alio motum ad finem, sicut sagitta tendit ad determinatum finem ex hoc quod movetur a sagittante, qui suam actionem dirigit in finem. Illa ergo quae rationem habent, seipsa movent ad finem, quia habent dominium suorum actuum per liberum arbitrium, quod est facultas voluntatis et rationis. Illa vero quae ratione carent, tendunt in finem per naturalem inclinationem, quasi ab alio mota, non autem a seipsis, cum non cognoscant rationem finis, et ideo nihil in finem ordinare possunt, sed solum in finem ab alio ordinantur. Nam tota irrationalis natura comparatur ad Deum sicut instrumentum ad agens principale, ut supra habitum est. Et ideo proprium est naturae rationalis ut tendat in finem quasi se agens vel ducens ad finem, naturae vero irrationalis, quasi ab alio acta vel ducta, sive in finem apprehensum, sicut bruta animalia, sive in finem non apprehensum, sicut ea quae omnino cognitione carent.
Nevertheless it must be observed that a thing tends to an end, by its action or movement, in two ways: first, as a thing, moving itself to the end, as man; second, as a thing moved by another to the end, as an arrow tends to a determinate end through being moved by the archer, who directs his action to the end. Therefore those things that are possessed of reason, move themselves to an end; because they have dominion over their actions through their free-will, which is the faculty of will and reason. But those things that lack reason tend to an end, by natural inclination, as being moved by another and not by themselves; since they do not know the nature of an end as such, and consequently cannot ordain anything to an end, but can be ordained to an end only by another. For the entire irrational nature is in comparison to God as an instrument to the principal agent, as stated above (I, Q22, A2: Q103, A1). Consequently it is proper to the rational nature to tend to an end, as directing and leading itself to the end: whereas it is proper to the irrational nature to tend to an end, as directed or led by another, whether it apprehend the end, as do irrational animals, or do not apprehend it, as is the case of those things which are altogether void of knowledge.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod homo, quando per seipsum agit propter finem, cognoscit finem, sed quando ab alio agitur vel ducitur, puta cum agit ad imperium alterius, vel cum movetur altero impellente, non est necessarium quod cognoscat finem. Et ita est in creaturis irrationalibus.
Reply Obj. 1: When a man of himself acts for an end, he knows the end: but when he is directed or led by another, for instance, when he acts at another’s command, or when he is moved under another’s compulsion, it is not necessary that he should know the end. And it is thus with irrational creatures.