Thinking Like Aquinas

As we have already mentioned at our website, in the West – besides serious, academic works – also numerous lighter books on St. Thomas Aquinas are published, meant either to familiarize those who are not specialists in theology and philosophy with his thought, or to show how to translate it into everyday life. A recently published book by Kevin Vost, How to Think Like Aquinas (Sophia Institute Press 2018; excerpts may be found at Google Books), belongs precisely to the latter category.

The author assumes, above all, that “Thomas truly understood the nature of thinking and the habits required to perfect it” (p. 5). To use the phrase by John Paul II from his encyclical letter Fides at ratio, Aquinas was able to”fly” on both wings that rise the human spirit: faith and reason, obtaining maximum lift from both of them (p. 6). According to Vost, we can learn how to “think like Aquinas” through three stages:

  • by reading Thomas’ works on studying, thinking and perfecting human intellect – here the Author bases mainly on Letter on How to Study, ascribed to Aquinas;
  • by analyzing Thomas’ methods of thinking, as expressed in his works;
  • by practising these methods ourselves, e.g. with the help of excersises proposed in the book.

Kevin Vost is a psychologist and Catholic writer, who is especially interested in the Thomistic thought. In 2014 he issued a book The One-Minute Aquinas: The Doctor’s Quick Answers to Fundamental Questions, which is a readable introduction to Aquinas’ theology.