Thomas Aquinas on How Habits Affect Human Powers and Acts
Degree Awarded: Ph.D. Philosophy. The Catholic University of America The aim of this dissertation is to provide the groundwork for a deeper understanding of habits by considering in a systematic fashion some fundamental questions about the effects of habits on human powers and acts in light of Thomas Aquinas's philosophical writings. The opening chapters offer a general consideration of human powers and acts in the context of which I also explain Aquinas's account of why habits are necessary for the perfection of the human being. In the subsequent chapters, I explain how, on Aquinas's account, habits with rational objects can be present in powers of the soul with corporeal organs and why the will is in need of habits. I also offer an account of Aquinas's striking position that a habit in one power can affect the acts of a different power, even without the mediation of another act, giving special attention to Aquinas's account of knowledge by connaturality.