Thomas Aquinas's psychology of fear.


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Thomas Aquinas develops a strikingly expansive psychology of fear (timor) within his masterwork, the Summa theologiae. Whereas many classify fear under a single category (e.g., emotion, passion, or sentiment), Aquinas specifies seven distinct categories of fear: the passion of fear (passio timoris); the gift of fear (donum timoris); the sin of fear (peccatum timoris); the sin of fearlessness (peccatum intimiditatis); the vice of fear (vitium timoris); the vice of fearlessness (vitium intimiditatis); and the propassion of fear (propassio timoris). And whereas many classify courage as the only virtue indexed to fear, Aquinas argues that courage (fortitudo) and perseverance (perseverantia) perfect this passion. Furthermore, he contends that the gift of courage (donum fortitudinis) also perfects human fears and is necessary for the Spirit-guided life required to attain and remain in blessedness (beatitudo). Why does Aquinas champion this comparatively expansive account of fear? What are its merits? This dissertation answers these questions through a comprehensive treatment of the Summa’s psychology of fear.



Fear. Aquinas. Summa. Timor. Virtue.