QUESTION 9: OF THAT WHICH MOVES THE WILL
We must now consider what moves the will: and under this head there are
six points of inquiry:
(1) Whether the will is moved by the intellect?
(2) Whether it is moved by the sensitive appetite?
(3) Whether the will moves itself?
(4) Whether it is moved by an extrinsic principle?
(5) Whether it is moved by a heavenly body?
(6) Whether the will is moved by God alone as by an extrinsic principle?
Article 1: Whether the will is moved by the intellect?
Objection 1: It would seem that the will is not moved by the intellect. For
Augustine says on Ps. 118:20: "My soul hath coveted to long for Thy
justifications: The intellect flies ahead, the desire follows sluggishly
or not at all: we know what is good, but deeds delight us not." But it
would not be so, if the will were moved by the intellect: because
movement of the movable results from motion of the mover. Therefore the
intellect does not move the will.
Objection 2: Further, the intellect in presenting the appetible object to the
will, stands in relation to the will, as the imagination in representing
the appetible will to the sensitive appetite. But the imagination, does
not remove the sensitive appetite: indeed sometimes our imagination
affects us no more than what is set before us in a picture, and moves us
not at all (De Anima ii, 3). Therefore neither does the intellect move
Objection 3: Further, the same is not mover and moved in respect of the same
thing. But the will moves the intellect; for we exercise the intellect
when we will. Therefore the intellect does not move the will.
On the contrary, The Philosopher says (De Anima iii, 10) that "the
appetible object is a mover not moved, whereas the will is a mover moved."
I answer that, A thing requires to be moved by something in so far as it
is in potentiality to several things; for that which is in potentiality
needs to be reduced to act by something actual; and to do this is to
move. Now a power of the soul is seen to be in potentiality to different
things in two ways: first, with regard to acting and not acting;
secondly, with regard to this or that action. Thus the sight sometimes
sees actually, and sometimes sees not: and sometimes it sees white, and
sometimes black. It needs therefore a mover in two respects, viz. as to
the exercise or use of the act, and as to the determination of the act.
The first of these is on the part of the subject, which is sometimes
acting, sometimes not acting: while the other is on the part of the
object, by reason of which the act is specified.
The motion of the subject itself is due to some agent. And since every
agent acts for an end, as was shown above (Question , Article ), the principle of
this motion lies in the end. And hence it is that the art which is
concerned with the end, by its command moves the art which is concerned
with the means; just as the "art of sailing commands the art of
shipbuilding" (Phys. ii, 2). Now good in general, which has the nature of
an end, is the object of the will. Consequently, in this respect, the
will moves the other powers of the soul to their acts, for we make use of
the other powers when we will. For the end and perfection of every other
power, is included under the object of the will as some particular good:
and always the art or power to which the universal end belongs, moves to
their acts the arts or powers to which belong the particular ends
included in the universal end. Thus the leader of an army, who intends
the common good---i.e. the order of the whole army---by his command moves
one of the captains, who intends the order of one company.
On the other hand, the object moves, by determining the act, after the
manner of a formal principle, whereby in natural things actions are
specified, as heating by heat. Now the first formal principle is
universal "being" and "truth," which is the object of the intellect. And
therefore by this kind of motion the intellect moves the will, as
presenting its object to it.
Reply to Objection 1: The passage quoted proves, not that the intellect does not
move, but that it does not move of necessity.
Reply to Objection 2: Just as the imagination of a form without estimation of
fitness or harmfulness, does not move the sensitive appetite; so neither
does the apprehension of the true without the aspect of goodness and
desirability. Hence it is not the speculative intellect that moves, but
the practical intellect (De Anima iii, 9).
Reply to Objection 3: The will moves the intellect as to the exercise of its act;
since even the true itself which is the perfection of the intellect, is
included in the universal good, as a particular good. But as to the
determination of the act, which the act derives from the object, the
intellect moves the will; since the good itself is apprehended under a
special aspect as contained in the universal true. It is therefore
evident that the same is not mover and moved in the same respect.
Article 2: Whether the will is moved by the sensitive appetite?
Objection 1: It would seem that the will cannot be moved by the sensitive
appetite. For "to move and to act is more excellent than to be passive,"
as Augustine says (Gen. ad lit. xii, 16). But the sensitive appetite is
less excellent than the will which is the intellectual appetite; just as
sense is less excellent than intellect. Therefore the sensitive appetite
does not move the will.
Objection 2: Further, no particular power can produce a universal effect. But
the sensitive appetite is a particular power, because it follows the
particular apprehension of sense. Therefore it cannot cause the movement
of the will, which movement is universal, as following the universal
apprehension of the intellect.
Objection 3: Further, as is proved in Phys. viii, 5, the mover is not moved by
that which it moves, in such a way that there be reciprocal motion. But
the will moves the sensitive appetite, inasmuch as the sensitive appetite
obeys the reason. Therefore the sensitive appetite does not move the will.
On the contrary, It is written (James 1:14): "Every man is tempted by
his own concupiscence, being drawn away and allured." But man would not
be drawn away by his concupiscence, unless his will were moved by the
sensitive appetite, wherein concupiscence resides. Therefore the
sensitive appetite moves the will.
I answer that, As stated above (Article ), that which is apprehended as good
and fitting, moves the will by way of object. Now, that a thing appear to
be good and fitting, happens from two causes: namely, from the condition,
either of the thing proposed, or of the one to whom it is proposed. For
fitness is spoken of by way of relation; hence it depends on both
extremes. And hence it is that taste, according as it is variously
disposed, takes to a thing in various ways, as being fitting or
unfitting. Wherefore as the Philosopher says (Ethic. iii, 5): "According
as a man is, such does the end seem to him."
Now it is evident that according to a passion of the sensitive appetite
man is changed to a certain disposition. Wherefore according as man is
affected by a passion, something seems to him fitting, which does not
seem so when he is not so affected: thus that seems good to a man when
angered, which does not seem good when he is calm. And in this way, the
sensitive appetite moves the will, on the part of the object.
Reply to Objection 1: Nothing hinders that which is better simply and in itself,
from being less excellent in a certain respect. Accordingly the will is
simply more excellent than the sensitive appetite: but in respect of the
man in whom a passion is predominant, in so far as he is subject to that
passion, the sensitive appetite is more excellent.
Reply to Objection 2: Men's acts and choices are in reference to singulars.
Wherefore from the very fact that the sensitive appetite is a particular
power, it has great influence in disposing man so that something seems to
him such or otherwise, in particular cases.
Reply to Objection 3: As the Philosopher says (Polit. i, 2), the reason, in
which resides the will, moves, by its command, the irascible and
concupiscible powers, not, indeed, "by a despotic sovereignty," as a
slave is moved by his master, but by a "royal and politic sovereignty,"
as free men are ruled by their governor, and can nevertheless act counter
to his commands. Hence both irascible and concupiscible can move counter
to the will: and accordingly nothing hinders the will from being moved by
them at times.
Article 3: Whether the will moves itself?
Objection 1: It would seem that the will does not move itself. For every
mover, as such, is in act: whereas what is moved, is in potentiality;
since "movement is the act of that which is in potentiality, as such"
[*Aristotle, Phys. iii, 1]. Now the same is not in potentiality and in
act, in respect of the same. Therefore nothing moves itself. Neither,
therefore, can the will move itself.
Objection 2: Further, the movable is moved on the mover being present. But the
will is always present to itself. If, therefore, it moved itself, it
would always be moving itself, which is clearly false.
Objection 3: Further, the will is moved by the intellect, as stated above
(Article ). If, therefore, the will move itself, it would follow that the
same thing is at once moved immediately by two movers; which seems
unreasonable. Therefore the will does not move itself.
On the contrary, The will is mistress of its own act, and to it belongs
to will and not to will. But this would not be so, had it not the power
to move itself to will. Therefore it moves itself.
I answer that, As stated above (Article ), it belongs to the will to move
the other powers, by reason of the end which is the will's object. Now,
as stated above (Question , Article ), the end is in things appetible, what the
principle is in things intelligible. But it is evident that the
intellect, through its knowledge of the principle, reduces itself from
potentiality to act, as to its knowledge of the conclusions; and thus it
moves itself. And, in like manner, the will, through its volition of the
end, moves itself to will the means.
Reply to Objection 1: It is not in respect of the same that the will moves itself
and is moved: wherefore neither is it in act and in potentiality in
respect of the same. But forasmuch as it actually wills the end, it
reduces itself from potentiality to act, in respect of the means, so as,
in a word, to will them actually.
Reply to Objection 2: The power of the will is always actually present to itself;
but the act of the will, whereby it wills an end, is not always in the
will. But it is by this act that it moves itself. Accordingly it does not
follow that it is always moving itself.
Reply to Objection 3: The will is moved by the intellect, otherwise than by
itself. By the intellect it is moved on the part of the object: whereas
it is moved by itself, as to the exercise of its act, in respect of the
Article 4: Whether the will is moved by an exterior principle?
Objection 1: It would seem that the will is not moved by anything exterior.
For the movement of the will is voluntary. But it is essential to the
voluntary act that it be from an intrinsic principle, just as it is
essential to the natural act. Therefore the movement of the will is not
from anything exterior.
Objection 2: Further, the will cannot suffer violence, as was shown above
(Question , Article ). But the violent act is one "the principle of which is
outside the agent" [*Aristotle, Ethic. iii, 1]. Therefore the will cannot
be moved by anything exterior.
Objection 3: Further, that which is sufficiently moved by one mover, needs not
to be moved by another. But the will moves itself sufficiently. Therefore
it is not moved by anything exterior.
On the contrary, The will is moved by the object, as stated above (Article ). But the object of the will can be something exterior, offered to the
sense. Therefore the will can be moved by something exterior.
I answer that, As far as the will is moved by the object, it is evident
that it can be moved by something exterior. But in so far as it is moved
in the exercise of its act, we must again hold it to be moved by some
For everything that is at one time an agent actually, and at another
time an agent in potentiality, needs to be moved by a mover. Now it is
evident that the will begins to will something, whereas previously it did
not will it. Therefore it must, of necessity, be moved by something to
will it. And, indeed, it moves itself, as stated above (Article ), in so far
as through willing the end it reduces itself to the act of willing the
means. Now it cannot do this without the aid of counsel: for when a man
wills to be healed, he begins to reflect how this can be attained, and
through this reflection he comes to the conclusion that he can be healed
by a physician: and this he wills. But since he did not always actually
will to have health, he must, of necessity, have begun, through something
moving him, to will to be healed. And if the will moved itself to will
this, it must, of necessity, have done this with the aid of counsel
following some previous volition. But this process could not go on to
infinity. Wherefore we must, of necessity, suppose that the will advanced
to its first movement in virtue of the instigation of some exterior
mover, as Aristotle concludes in a chapter of the Eudemian Ethics (vii,
Reply to Objection 1: It is essential to the voluntary act that its principle be
within the agent: but it is not necessary that this inward principle be
the first principle unmoved by another. Wherefore though the voluntary
act has an inward proximate principle, nevertheless its first principle
is from without. Thus, too, the first principle of the natural movement
is from without, that, to wit, which moves nature.
Reply to Objection 2: For an act to be violent it is not enough that its
principle be extrinsic, but we must add "without the concurrence of him
that suffers violence." This does not happen when the will is moved by an
exterior principle: for it is the will that wills, though moved by
another. But this movement would be violent, if it were counter to the
movement of the will: which in the present case is impossible; since then
the will would will and not will the same thing.
Reply to Objection 3: The will moves itself sufficiently in one respect, and in
its own order, that is to say as proximate agent; but it cannot move
itself in every respect, as we have shown. Wherefore it needs to be moved
by another as first mover.
Article 5: Whether the will is moved by a heavenly body?
Objection 1: It would seem that the human will is moved by a heavenly body.
For all various and multiform movements are reduced, as to their cause,
to a uniform movement which is that of the heavens, as is proved in Phys.
viii, 9. But human movements are various and multiform, since they begin
to be, whereas previously they were not. Therefore they are reduced, as
to their cause, to the movement of the heavens, which is uniform
according to its nature.
Objection 2: Further, according to Augustine (De Trin. iii, 4) "the lower
bodies are moved by the higher." But the movements of the human body,
which are caused by the will, could not be reduced to the movement of the
heavens, as to their cause, unless the will too were moved by the
heavens. Therefore the heavens move the human will.
Objection 3: Further, by observing the heavenly bodies astrologers foretell
the truth about future human acts, which are caused by the will. But this
would not be so, if the heavenly bodies could not move man's will.
Therefore the human will is moved by a heavenly body.
On the contrary, Damascene says (De Fide Orth. ii, 7) that "the heavenly
bodies are not the causes of our acts." But they would be, if the will,
which is the principle of human acts, were moved by the heavenly bodies.
Therefore the will is not moved by the heavenly bodies.
I answer that, It is evident that the will can be moved by the heavenly
bodies in the same way as it is moved by its object; that is to say, in
so far as exterior bodies, which move the will, through being offered to
the senses, and also the organs themselves of the sensitive powers, are
subject to the movements of the heavenly bodies.
But some have maintained that heavenly bodies have an influence on the
human will, in the same way as some exterior agent moves the will, as to
the exercise of its act. But this is impossible. For the "will," as
stated in De Anima iii, 9, "is in the reason." Now the reason is a power
of the soul, not bound to a bodily organ: wherefore it follows that the
will is a power absolutely incorporeal and immaterial. But it is evident
that no body can act on what is incorporeal, but rather the reverse:
because things incorporeal and immaterial have a power more formal and
more universal than any corporeal things whatever. Therefore it is
impossible for a heavenly body to act directly on the intellect or will.
For this reason Aristotle (De Anima iii, 3) ascribed to those who held
that intellect differs not from sense, the theory that "such is the will
of men, as is the day which the father of men and of gods bring on"
[*Odyssey xviii. 135] (referring to Jupiter, by whom they understand the
entire heavens). For all the sensitive powers, since they are acts of
bodily organs, can be moved accidentally, by the heavenly bodies, i.e.
through those bodies being moved, whose acts they are.
But since it has been stated (Article ) that the intellectual appetite is
moved, in a fashion, by the sensitive appetite, the movements of the
heavenly bodies have an indirect bearing on the will; in so far as the
will happens to be moved by the passions of the sensitive appetite.
Reply to Objection 1: The multiform movements of the human will are reduced to
some uniform cause, which, however, is above the intellect and will. This
can be said, not of any body, but of some superior immaterial substance.
Therefore there is no need for the movement of the will to be referred to
the movement of the heavens, as to its cause.
Reply to Objection 2: The movements of the human body are reduced, as to their
cause, to the movement of a heavenly body, in so far as the disposition
suitable to a particular movement, is somewhat due to the influence of
heavenly bodies; also, in so far as the sensitive appetite is stirred by
the influence of heavenly bodies; and again, in so far as exterior bodies
are moved in accordance with the movement of heavenly bodies, at whose
presence, the will begins to will or not to will something; for instance,
when the body is chilled, we begin to wish to make the fire. But this
movement of the will is on the part of the object offered from without:
not on the part of an inward instigation.
Reply to Objection 3: As stated above (Cf. FP, Question , Articles ,7) the sensitive
appetite is the act of a bodily organ. Wherefore there is no reason why
man should not be prone to anger or concupiscence, or some like passion,
by reason of the influence of heavenly bodies, just as by reason of his
natural complexion. But the majority of men are led by the passions,
which the wise alone resist. Consequently, in the majority of cases
predictions about human acts, gathered from the observation of heavenly
bodies, are fulfilled. Nevertheless, as Ptolemy says (Centiloquium v),
"the wise man governs the stars"; which is a though to say that by
resisting his passions, he opposes his will, which is free and nowise
subject to the movement of the heavens, to such like effects of the
Or, as Augustine says (Gen. ad lit. ii, 15): "We must confess that when
the truth is foretold by astrologers, this is due to some most hidden
inspiration, to which the human mind is subject without knowing it. And
since this is done in order to deceive man, it must be the work of the
Article 6: Whether the will is moved by God alone, as exterior principle?
Objection 1: It would seem that the will is not moved by God alone as exterior
principle. For it is natural that the inferior be moved by its superior:
thus the lower bodies are moved by the heavenly bodies. But there is
something which is higher than the will of man and below God, namely, the
angel. Therefore man's will can be moved by an angel also, as exterior
Objection 2: Further, the act of the will follows the act of the intellect.
But man's intellect is reduced to act, not by God alone, but also by the
angel who enlightens it, as Dionysius says (Coel. Hier. iv). For the same
reason, therefore, the will also is moved by an angel.
Objection 3: Further, God is not the cause of other than good things,
according to Gn. 1:31: "God saw all the things that He had made, and they
were very good." If, therefore man's will were moved by God alone, it
would never be moved to evil: and yet it is the will whereby "we sin and
whereby we do right," as Augustine says (Retract. i, 9).
On the contrary, It is written (Phil. 2:13): "It is God Who worketh in
us" [Vulg.'you'] "both to will and to accomplish."
I answer that, The movement of the will is from within, as also is the
movement of nature. Now although it is possible for something to move a
natural thing, without being the cause of the thing moved, yet that
alone, which is in some way the cause of a thing's nature, can cause a
natural movement in that thing. For a stone is moved upwards by a man,
who is not the cause of the stone's nature, but this movement is not
natural to the stone; but the natural movement of the stone is caused by
no other than the cause of its nature. Wherefore it is said in Phys. vii,
4, that the generator moves locally heavy and light things. Accordingly
man endowed with a will is sometimes moved by something that is not his
cause; but that his voluntary movement be from an exterior principle
that is not the cause of his will, is impossible.
Now the cause of the will can be none other than God. And this is
evident for two reasons. First, because the will is a power of the
rational soul, which is caused by God alone, by creation, as was stated
in the FP, Question , Article . Secondly, it is evident from the fact that the
will is ordained to the universal good. Wherefore nothing else can be the
cause of the will, except God Himself, Who is the universal good: while
every other good is good by participation, and is some particular good,
and a particular cause does not give a universal inclination. Hence
neither can primary matter, which is potentiality to all forms, be
created by some particular agent.
Reply to Objection 1: An angel is not above man in such a way as to be the cause
of his will, as the heavenly bodies are the causes of natural forms, from
which result the natural movements of natural bodies.
Reply to Objection 2: Man's intellect is moved by an angel, on the part of the
object, which by the power of the angelic light is proposed to man's
knowledge. And in this way the will also can be moved by a creature from
without, as stated above (Article ).
Reply to Objection 3: God moves man's will, as the Universal Mover, to the
universal object of the will, which is good. And without this universal
motion, man cannot will anything. But man determines himself by his
reason to will this or that, which is true or apparent good.
Nevertheless, sometimes God moves some specially to the willing of
something determinate, which is good; as in the case of those whom He
moves by grace, as we shall state later on (Question , Article ).