Basic Concepts of Aquinas’s Anthropology

By Jean Lauand
Universidade de São Paulo

Psychology

I have been asked to write this lecture in the form of a chapter – “Psychology” – for a textbook of a course on Aquinas’s philosophy [1] . And the title “Psychology” may at first put off the modern student who immediately tends to associate the word “Psychology” with the science of modern psychologists. In fact, thinking about Psychology today means thinking about counseling, therapy or intelligence or personality tests etc.

All this can be very interesting, but is not the Psychology which concerns us. What actually concerns us is another Psychology, that which must be understood in its old, classical sense: as that part of Philosophy which studies life, the living being, a being, therefore, with a soul. And the key word here is precisely “soul”, which in the classical tradition designates the principle of life. The Greek word for “soul” is psyché hence the name “Psycho-logy”, the study of the soul, the study of life. And this Psychology of life is basically concerned with the living being that is man.

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