Volume 86, Issue 1, Winter 2012
T. J. López
Trichotomizing the Standard Twofold Model of Thomistic Eudaimonism
A Solution to a Logical Problem
Aquinas’s eudaimonism is normally interpreted as twofold in the sense of it dividing into the imperfect, natural happiness of Aristotle and the perfect, supernatural happiness of Augustine. I argue in this work that Aquinas is logically committed to a third type of happiness that, in light of the standard view, renders
his eudaimonism threefold. The paper begins with an overview of the standard twofold model of Aquinas’s eudaimonism; it then turns to the model’s logical
problem whose solution requires the postulation of a third type of happiness. In the second part of the paper, two clarificatory issues are addressed, several objections are considered, and in closing, I explain why Aquinas’s commitment to a third type of happiness offers the Christian wayfarer grounds for a new optimism.