How to Be Happy

Brian Davies

in The Thought of Thomas Aquinas

Published in print February 1993 | ISBN: 9780198267539
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191600500 | DOI:

Series: Clarendon Paperbacks

 How to Be Happy

Show Summary Details


What is it that perfects and fulfils human beings and what is really good for them? To put it at its simplest, Thomas Aquinas’ answer is that we are perfect, fulfilled, and good when we are happy, the notion of happiness here being human action in pursuit of the final good, which is God. In this chapter, the concept is investigated independently of Christian revelation (the next chapter develops it with an eye on Christianity). The different sections of the chapter address happiness and God, happiness and need, practical reasoning (the fact that human actions can be arrived at rationally – synderesis, conscience, and acting morally), virtues (general, intellectual, and moral), and natural law (law derived from reason and grounded in the principles of synderesis).

Keywords: Thomas Aquinas; conscience; God; goodness; happiness; human action; intellectual virtue; moral virtue; morality; natural law; need; practical reasoning; reasoning; synderesis; virtue

Chapter.  9524 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.