The Appetite of Man

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Henri Renard – The Philosophy of Man, Chap. 7: The Appetites of Man Every human being has the natural urge to seek a good end, for the reason that is

desired and sought by the intellect of the soul alone. However, there is a continuous and

necessary order that we are follow to reach the end. Our obligation to reach an end is the

fundamentals of Metaphysics. The appetite of man can be divided into three parts; sensitive

appetite of men, the nature of intellectual will, and the nature and the need for habits. A former

professor of philosophy at Creighton University by the name of Henri Renard, expressed this

concept in his book The Philosophy of Men, which he dedicates a whole chapter to the appetite

of man though St. Thomas Aquinas’ theory.

The Sensitive appetite of men can be distinguished into the natural, the sensual, and

the intellectual appetites of man. Which contribute to the order of an ultimate perfect end? The

natural appetite of men means that without having the knowledge of an end we can still move

towards our end. This is possible because every form has thought of a natural inclination towards

an end. “All beings in act, because they have a form, have imprinted in them a natural appetite to

their end” (Renard 155). As human beings we tend to know the truth and the love of God. So to

know an end is natural because God is the author of nature which includes human beings. The

sensual appetite is another of our appetites as human beings, which is a desire for the good.

Helps distinguish between what is pleasurable and what’s not. An additional sense is the intellect

of man in which he seeks what is primarily both good and useful.

However, there is a distinction between the two types of sensitive appetites, which

include the concupiscible and the irascible. As a result the natural appetite has two direct ends

which are to receive, and to act. Receive is seen to be profitable and favorable and the second is

to act since that is to conquer all obstacles that may interfere with the end. These can be

categorized as powers given that concupiscible, is when the soul seeks what is suitable though

the senses and to avoid whatever is harmful. While irascible avoid what is suitable and inflicts

harm. So it’s clear that concupiscible is a pleasurable sense while irascible is more of a grueling

one. “And so even the passions of the irascible appetite counter-acts the passions of the

concupiscible appetite, since concupiscence on being roused very often diminishes

concupiscence” (Renard 160).

The power of concupiscible is designed to receive and to stuffer, while the irascible is

made to react in a violent way against the obstacles that are faced. Both of these powers are

manifested though a passion. St. Thomas Aquinas sees the term passions can be defined as

receiving some sort of change that is passive for the loss of a form. The concept of passion can

also be connected to Metaphysics. Without a doubt passion is an act of the sense appetite.

Nevertheless, man posses’ eleven kinds of passions since the concupiscible appetite have six and

the irascible appetite has five. The passions of the concupiscible appetite are love, hatred, desire,

aversion, joy and sadness. Along with the passions of the irascible appetite is despair, hope,

daring, fear and anger. Granted, that the passions of the irascible appetite are the bases of

concupiscible passions that denote towards a good or evil. Because concupiscible passions are

defined by good and evil so it’s obvious that the irascible passions arise from the concupiscible.

These passions have a direct relation with the will that influence either control or lack

of control of the one over the other. St. Thomas notes that there are situations,...
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