How Intellect and Will Interplay in Human Action for Aquinas


  • Soojung Kim


The purpose of this paper is to examine the interrelationship between will and intellect in human action for Aquinas. Will as the faculty of soul initiates human action when intellect presents a situation as the condition the action is required. The power of will and intellect both constitute the elements of rational action which characterizes human action as well as mode of existence which exhibit the essence of human soul. According to Aquinas, the incorporeality of the soul contributes to the substantial status of human soul and allows the soul to play the first principle of human life. The Intellect as an apprehensive power and the will as an appetitive power of the rational soul constitute human action which aims at a certain good and is not determined by natural instinct only. If the will is necessitated by the ultimate end, i.e., happiness, how can we explain the voluntariness of the will in human action when it is in the necessary relation to the ultimate end? In other words, how can we explain that the natural necessitation of the will is not incompatible with the voluntariness of the will as an agent of the action? Even though each and every human being as a rational being moves toward the same ultimate end, each one of us can have the different particular ends which are chosen as the means to the ultimate end. Therefore, this paper claims that the mutual interplay of the will and the intellect of human action explicates both rational characteristic of human action and diversity of individual choice given by each particular person.

Author Biography

Soojung Kim

Nicholas Cardinal Chung Graduate School for Life, The Catholic Univ. of Korea






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