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International Philosophical Quarterly

Volume 56, Issue 1, March 2016

Anthony T. Flood
Pages 45-55

Aquinas on Self-Love and Love of God
The Foundations for Subjectivity and its Perfection

This paper addresses the connections between love of self and love of God in terms of their impact on personal subjectivity according to the thought of Thomas Aquinas. I argue that Aquinas’s understanding of self-love illuminates the experience of oneself as a person. Part of this argument relies on Aquinas’s notion that love of self is more basic than love of others. Aquinas further affirms that one ought to love God more than oneself. I explore the implications of this claim for my interpretation concerning personal self-experience. I maintain that our participation in God causes a pull toward goodness and God within one’s experience of self. Also, friendship with God through charity offers the highest fulfillment of self-experience.

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