QUESTION 10: OF THE MANNER IN WHICH THE WILL IS MOVED
We must now consider the manner in which the will is moved. Under this
head there are four points of inquiry:
(1) Whether the will is moved to anything naturally?
(2) Whether it is moved of necessity by its object?
(3) Whether it is moved of necessity by the lower appetite?
(4) Whether it is moved of necessity by the exterior mover which is God?
Article 1: Whether the will is moved to anything naturally?
Objection 1: It would seem that the will is not moved to anything naturally.
For the natural agent is condivided with the voluntary agent, as stated
at the beginning of Phys. ii, 1. Therefore the will is not moved to
Objection 2: Further, that which is natural is in a thing always: as "being hot" is in fire. But no movement is always in the will. Therefore no movement is natural to the will.
Objection 3: Further, nature is determinate to one thing: whereas the will is
referred to opposites. Therefore the will wills nothing naturally.
On the contrary, The movement of the will follows the movement of the
intellect. But the intellect understands some things naturally. Therefore
the will, too, wills some things naturally.
I answer that, As Boethius says (De Duabus Nat.) and the Philosopher
also (Metaph. v, 4) the word "nature" is used in a manifold sense. For
sometimes it stands for the intrinsic principle in movable things. In
this sense nature is either matter or the material form, as stated in
Phys. ii, 1. In another sense nature stands for any substance, or even
for any being. And in this sense, that is said to be natural to a thing
which befits it in respect of its substance. And this is that which of
itself is in a thing. Now all things that do not of themselves belong to
the thing in which they are, are reduced to something which belongs of
itself to that thing, as to their principle. Wherefore, taking nature in
this sense, it is necessary that the principle of whatever belongs to a
thing, be a natural principle. This is evident in regard to the
intellect: for the principles of intellectual knowledge are naturally
known. In like manner the principle of voluntary movements must be
something naturally willed.
Now this is good in general, to which the will tends naturally, as does
each power to its object; and again it is the last end, which stands in
the same relation to things appetible, as the first principles of
demonstrations to things intelligible: and, speaking generally, it is all
those things which belong to the willer according to his nature. For it
is not only things pertaining to the will that the will desires, but also
that which pertains to each power, and to the entire man. Wherefore man
wills naturally not only the object of the will, but also other things
that are appropriate to the other powers; such as the knowledge of truth,
which befits the intellect; and to be and to live and other like things
which regard the natural well-being; all of which are included in the
object of the will, as so many particular goods.
Reply to Objection 1: The will is distinguished from nature as one kind of cause
from another; for some things happen naturally and some are done
voluntarily. There is, however, another manner of causing that is proper
to the will, which is mistress of its act, besides the manner proper to
nature, which is determinate to one thing. But since the will is founded
on some nature, it is necessary that the movement proper to nature be
shared by the will, to some extent: just as what belongs to a previous
cause is shared by a subsequent cause. Because in every thing, being
itself, which is from nature, precedes volition, which is from the will.
And hence it is that the will wills something naturally.
Reply to Objection 2: In the case of natural things, that which is natural, as a
result of the form only, is always in them actually, as heat is in fire.
But that which is natural as a result of matter, is not always in them
actually, but sometimes only in potentiality: because form is act,
whereas matter is potentiality. Now movement is "the act of that which is
in potentiality" (Aristotle, Phys. iii, 1). Wherefore that which belongs
to, or results from, movement, in regard to natural things, is not always
in them. Thus fire does not always move upwards, but only when it is
outside its own place. [*The Aristotelian theory was that fire's proper
place is the fiery heaven, i.e. the Empyrean.] And in like manner it is
not necessary that the will (which is reduced from potentiality to act,
when it wills something), should always be in the act of volition; but
only when it is in a certain determinate disposition. But God's will,
which is pure act, is always in the act of volition.
Reply to Objection 3: To every nature there is one thing corresponding,
proportionate, however, to that nature. For to nature considered as a
genus, there corresponds something one generically; and to nature as
species there corresponds something one specifically; and to the
individualized nature there corresponds some one individual. Since,
therefore, the will is an immaterial power like the intellect, some one
general thing corresponds to it, naturally which is the good; just as to
the intellect there corresponds some one general thing, which is the
true, or being, or "what a thing is." And under good in general are
included many particular goods, to none of which is the will determined.
Article 2: Whether the will is moved, of necessity, by its object?
Objection 1: It seems that the will is moved, of necessity, by its object. For
the object of the will is compared to the will as mover to movable, as
stated in De Anima iii, 10. But a mover, if it be sufficient, moves the
movable of necessity. Therefore the will can be moved of necessity by its
Objection 2: Further, just as the will is an immaterial power, so is the
intellect: and both powers are ordained to a universal object, as stated
above (Article , ad 3). But the intellect is moved, of necessity, by its
object: therefore the will also, by its object.
Objection 3: Further, whatever one wills, is either the end, or something
ordained to an end. But, seemingly, one wills an end necessarily: because
it is like the principle in speculative matters, to which principle one
assents of necessity. Now the end is the reason for willing the means;
and so it seems that we will the means also necessarily. Therefore the
will is moved of necessity by its object.
On the contrary, The rational powers, according to the Philosopher
(Metaph. ix, 2) are directed to opposites. But the will is a rational
power, since it is in the reason, as stated in De Anima iii, 9. Therefore
the will is directed to opposites. Therefore it is not moved, of
necessity, to either of the opposites.
I answer that, The will is moved in two ways: first, as to the exercise
of its act; secondly, as to the specification of its act, derived from
the object. As to the first way, no object moves the will necessarily,
for no matter what the object be, it is in man's power not to think of
it, and consequently not to will it actually. But as to the second manner
of motion, the will is moved by one object necessarily, by another not.
For in the movement of a power by its object, we must consider under what
aspect the object moves the power. For the visible moves the sight, under
the aspect of color actually visible. Wherefore if color be offered to
the sight, it moves the sight necessarily: unless one turns one's eyes
away; which belongs to the exercise of the act. But if the sight were
confronted with something not in all respects colored actually, but only
so in some respects, and in other respects not, the sight would not of
necessity see such an object: for it might look at that part of the
object which is not actually colored, and thus it would not see it. Now
just as the actually colored is the object of sight, so is good the
object of the will. Wherefore if the will be offered an object which is
good universally and from every point of view, the will tends to it of
necessity, if it wills anything at all; since it cannot will the
opposite. If, on the other hand, the will is offered an object that is
not good from every point of view, it will not tend to it of necessity.
And since lack of any good whatever, is a non-good, consequently, that
good alone which is perfect and lacking in nothing, is such a good that
the will cannot not-will it: and this is Happiness. Whereas any other
particular goods, in so far as they are lacking in some good, can be
regarded as non-goods: and from this point of view, they can be set aside
or approved by the will, which can tend to one and the same thing from
various points of view.
Reply to Objection 1: The sufficient mover of a power is none but that object
that in every respect presents the aspect of the mover of that power. If,
on the other hand, it is lacking in any respect, it will not move of
necessity, as stated above.
Reply to Objection 2: The intellect is moved, of necessity, by an object which is
such as to be always and necessarily true: but not by that which may be
either true or false---viz. by that which is contingent: as we have said
of the good.
Reply to Objection 3: The last end moves the will necessarily, because it is the
perfect good. In like manner whatever is ordained to that end, and
without which the end cannot be attained, such as "to be" and "to live,"
and the like. But other things without which the end can be gained, are
not necessarily willed by one who wills the end: just as he who assents
to the principle, does not necessarily assent to the conclusions, without
which the principles can still be true.
Article 3: Whether the will is moved, of necessity, by the lower appetite?
Objection 1: It would seem that the will is moved of necessity by a passion of
the lower appetite. For the Apostle says (Rm. 7:19): "The good which I
will I do not; but the evil which I will not, that I do": and this is
said by reason of concupiscence, which is a passion. Therefore the will
is moved of necessity by a passion.
Objection 2: Further, as stated in Ethic. iii, 5, "according as a man is, such
does the end seem to him." But it is not in man's power to cast aside a
passion once. Therefore it is not in man's power not to will that to
which the passion inclines him.
Objection 3: Further, a universal cause is not applied to a particular effect,
except by means of a particular cause: wherefore the universal reason
does not move save by means of a particular estimation, as stated in De
Anima iii, 11. But as the universal reason is to the particular
estimation, so is the will to the sensitive appetite. Therefore the will
is not moved to will something particular, except through the sensitive
appetite. Therefore, if the sensitive appetite happen to be disposed to
something, by reason of a passion, the will cannot be moved in a contrary
On the contrary, It is written (Gn. 4:7): "Thy lust [Vulg. 'The lust
thereof'] shall be under thee, and thou shalt have dominion over it."
Therefore man's will is moved of necessity by the lower appetite.
I answer that, As stated above (Question , Article ), the passion of the
sensitive appetite moves the will, in so far as the will is moved by its
object: inasmuch as, to wit, man through being disposed in such and such
a way by a passion, judges something to be fitting and good, which he
would not judge thus were it not for the passion. Now this influence of a
passion on man occurs in two ways. First, so that his reason is wholly
bound, so that he has not the use of reason: as happens in those who
through a violent access of anger or concupiscence become furious or
insane, just as they may from some other bodily disorder; since such like
passions do not take place without some change in the body. And of such
the same is to be said as of irrational animals, which follow, of
necessity, the impulse of their passions: for in them there is neither
movement of reason, nor, consequently, of will.
Sometimes, however, the reason is not entirely engrossed by the passion,
so that the judgment of reason retains, to a certain extent, its freedom:
and thus the movement of the will remains in a certain degree.
Accordingly in so far as the reason remains free, and not subject to the
passion, the will's movement, which also remains, does not tend of
necessity to that whereto the passion inclines it. Consequently, either
there is no movement of the will in that man, and the passion alone holds
its sway: or if there be a movement of the will, it does not necessarily
follow the passion.
Reply to Objection 1: Although the will cannot prevent the movement of
concupiscence from arising, of which the Apostle says: "The evil which I
will not, that I do---i.e. I desire"; yet it is in the power of the will
not to will to desire or not to consent to concupiscence. And thus it
does not necessarily follow the movement of concupiscence.
Reply to Objection 2: Since there is in man a twofold nature, intellectual and
sensitive; sometimes man is such and such uniformly in respect of his
whole soul: either because the sensitive part is wholly subject to this
reason, as in the virtuous; or because reason is entirely engrossed by
passion, as in a madman. But sometimes, although reason is clouded by
passion, yet something of this reason remains free. And in respect of
this, man can either repel the passion entirely, or at least hold himself
in check so as not to be led away by the passion. For when thus disposed,
since man is variously disposed according to the various parts of the
soul, a thing appears to him otherwise according to his reason, than it
does according to a passion.
Reply to Objection 3: The will is moved not only by the universal good
apprehended by the reason, but also by good apprehended by sense.
Wherefore he can be moved to some particular good independently of a
passion of the sensitive appetite. For we will and do many things without
passion, and through choice alone; as is most evident in those cases
wherein reason resists passion.
Article 4: Whether the will is moved of necessity by the exterior mover which is God?
Objection 1: It would seem that the will is moved of necessity by God. For
every agent that cannot be resisted moves of necessity. But God cannot be
resisted, because His power is infinite; wherefore it is written (Rm. 9:19): "Who resisteth His will?" Therefore God moves the will of
Objection 2: Further, the will is moved of necessity to whatever it wills
naturally, as stated above (Article , ad 3). But "whatever God does in a
thing is natural to it," as Augustine says (Contra Faust. xxvi, 3).
Therefore the will wills of necessity everything to which God moves it.
Objection 3: Further, a thing is possible, if nothing impossible follows from
its being supposed. But something impossible follows from the supposition
that the will does not will that to which God moves it: because in that
case God's operation would be ineffectual. Therefore it is not possible
for the will not to will that to which God moves it. Therefore it wills
it of necessity.
On the contrary, It is written (Ecclus. 15:14): "God made man from the
beginning, and left him in the hand of his own counsel." Therefore He
does not of necessity move man's will.
I answer that, As Dionysius says (Div. Nom. iv) "it belongs to Divine
providence, not to destroy but to preserve the nature of things."
Wherefore it moves all things in accordance with their conditions; so
that from necessary causes through the Divine motion, effects follow of
necessity; but from contingent causes, effects follow contingently.
Since, therefore, the will is an active principle, not determinate to one
thing, but having an indifferent relation to many things, God so moves
it, that He does not determine it of necessity to one thing, but its
movement remains contingent and not necessary, except in those things to
which it is moved naturally.
Reply to Objection 1: The Divine will extends not only to the doing of something
by the thing which He moves, but also to its being done in a way which is
fitting to the nature of that thing. And therefore it would be more
repugnant to the Divine motion, for the will to be moved of necessity,
which is not fitting to its nature; than for it to be moved freely, which
is becoming to its nature.
Reply to Objection 2: That is natural to a thing, which God so works in it that
it may be natural to it: for thus is something becoming to a thing,
according as God wishes it to be becoming. Now He does not wish that
whatever He works in things should be natural to them, for instance, that
the dead should rise again. But this He does wish to be natural to each
thing---that it be subject to the Divine power.
Reply to Objection 3: If God moves the will to anything, it is incompatible with
this supposition, that the will be not moved thereto. But it is not
impossible simply. Consequently it does not follow that the will is moved
by God necessarily.