Essay about St. Thomas Aqujnas: Beauty as a Transcendental

Essay about St. Thomas Aqujnas: Beauty as a Transcendental

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The question of whether beauty is a transcendental is something that has been debated throughout history. Saint Thomas Aquinas was one on those people who debated that topic. In order to fully understand the question one must first learn about Thomas Aquinas, what he defines as beauty and transendentals and then finally how the question. “Is beauty a Transcendental?” had been contemplated over time.
Thomas Aquinas was a theologist who lived from 1224 to 1274 A.D. He was born to an aristocratic family and spent his early years in the kingdom of Sicily. When Aquinas was young there was a clash between the pope at the time and Frederic the second, the conflict between the civil and ecclesiastical authority was the first of many conflicts that would influence Aquinas’ theological and philosophical writings. When Aquinas and his family moved to the University of Naples, he began reading the works of Aristotle. Aquinas looked up to Aristotle’s work and was influenced from it. He then completed his studies in Paris where eventually he became a teacher in the Faculty of Theology. He traveled from Rome to Paris living in various places until he died in 1274.
Aquinas’ writings have a strong center in theology but also leaning toward Christian Philosophy. He is also considered the father of Thomism. Aquinas often took a religious spin on his work to better society. This can be seen when Aquinas mentions that God had “equipped the human mind to capture it” (Spicher). It being the knowledge of the world around us. Aquinas was regarded a close friend to the church, some even saying that he was the ideal Catholic. He provided logic to prove God’s existence, giving the church more power. He did this by first stating that somethings could be und...


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...e (as a personality in which high spiritual qualities are manifest)” source. From that definition, beauty is Subjective; appealing towards ones pleasures and taste. The modern definition of a transcendental is described as “not experienced but knowable: independent of human experience of phenomena but within the range of knowledge”.
There is no concrete answer to this question of if beauty is a transcendental. If you go off of St. Thomas’ definition of beauty and transendentals then the short answer would be no. The longer answer is debatable. The modern take on this question follows some of the same paths.



Works Cited

Spicher, Michael. "Medieval Theories of Aesthetics ." Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. N.p., 11 Dec. 2010. Web. 09 Dec. 2013.
College Binary. "Three Minute Philosophy: Thomas Aquinas." CollegeBinary. YouTube, 24 Apr. 2008. Web. 09 Dec. 2013.

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