Aquinas on Reason and Emotions

The Catholic University of America Press has just published a book by Nicholas Kahm, Aquinas on Emotion’s Participation in Reason (excerpts can be found also at Google Books). The author defines the book’s subject matter in the following way:

Can emotions somehow become more rational and subject to our control? Or are we, à la Hume, ultimately slaves to our passions, one way or another? Is it possible to tame and habituate our emotions? To what extent? Should we wish to tame them at all? In what sense can reason permeate emotion? If we can increase the rationality of our emotions and our control over them, can we habitually alter our emotional responses to the world around us? Can we habitually and always feel the right emotions toward the right things in the right ways? Aristotle thought this was possible. But if this is going too far, which is what Aquinas thought, to what extent is it possible to shape our emotional responses to the world around us? To what extent can they become more rational and more under our control? This book will explain Aquinas’s answers to these perennial human questions, answers that I think are original, persuasive, and level-headed (p. 1-2).

Nicholas Kahm is currently a visting scholar-in-residence at the Saint Michael’s College (Colchester, USA). He obtained his PhD at the Catholic University of America. He specializes in medieval philosophy, especially in Aquinas’s ethics, metaphysics and anthropology. At his profile you may find working versions of his other papers on Aquinas: