Albert & Thomas: Selected Writings

By Simon Tugwell | Go to book overview

Active and
Contemplative Life
Summa Theologiae II. II
Questions 179-182
Next we must look at the active and contemplative lives, and there are four topics to be examined:
1. The division of life into active and contemplative;
2. The contemplative life;
3. The active life;
4. The comparison between the active and contemplative lives.

QUESTION 179: The division of life into active and contemplative
The first topic contains two questions:
1. Whether the division of life into active and contemplative is appropriate;
2. Whether it is adequate.

Article 1: Is the division of life into
active and contemplative appropriate?
The division of life into active and contemplative appears to be inappropriate:
1. It is by its essence that the soul is the principle of life. As the philosopher says, "For living creatures life is their being." 1. But it is by its powers that the soul is the principle of activity and contemplation. So it is apparently not appropriate to divide life into active and contemplative. 2.
____________________
1.
Aristotle, De Anima 2.4 (415b13).
2.
This objection challenges the propriety of the phrases "active life" and "contemplative life" on the grounds that action/contemplation belong to a different level of inquiry from

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