Aquinas on Friendship

Regarding Daniel Schwartz’s Aquinas on Friendship, in the Bryn Mawr Classical Review
Jeffrey Hause concludes:

In Aquinas on Friendship, Schwartz has produced a limited but valuable study of Aquinas’s ethics. Although he draws widely from secondary literature, it’s secondary literature of an astonishingly wide variety, and he makes creative use of it. In fact, Schwartz’s eight concise chapters are among the most refreshing and original studies of Aquinas in recent years. Let me mention one further virtue of this monograph, one a casual reader is likely to miss, but one that makes this book a valuable resource for those who want to see Aquinas’s contribution to the conception of philosophy as a way of life. Recent studies of ancient thinkers such as Socrates, the Stoics, Origen, and Boethius, as well as modern thinkers such as Descartes and Spinoza, have highlighted this conception of philosophy: philosophy teaches us how to know ourselves and purge ourselves of error and vice; it directs us in our quest to lead a flourishing human life. Aquinas, as Schwartz points out, illuminates the importance of self-knowledge as a shield against pride, the root of all the capital vices. Pride induces us to attribute to ourselves excellences we lack, with the result that we actually fail to strive for them. Philosophical psychotherapy requires that we keep key facts about ourselves in mind in order to adjust our self-conception to reality. The same self-knowledge also serves as a necessary condition for hope, for if we are deceived into thinking we have goods we really lack, we cannot have the hope that motivates us to attain them. Any book revealing the therapeutic aspects of Aquinas’s thought, which generally go unnoticed, has done us all a great service.

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