Some years ago on holiday, we stayed in a French house which had a multi-volume set of philosophy books. Of all the great philosophers of history only Aristotle and Aquinas merited three entire volumes; which was reassuring – I was already reading on Aquinas when we arrived.
Whilst this standing in philosophy is well merited (in my humble opinion), I’ve found Aquinas’s particular method of logical argument, makes his original texts a bit of a struggle.
But, as I dug out from the Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy – for an especial friend – Aquinas’s prescription for the good life is disarmingly straightforward:
The basic human goods:
(ii) “marriage between man and woman and bringing up of children [coniunctio maris et feminae et educatio liberorum]” (not at all reducible to “procreation”),
(iv) living in fellowship (societas and amicitia) with others,
(v) practical reasonableness (bonum rationis), and
(vi) knowing and relating appropriately to the transcendent cause of all being, value, normativity and efficacious action.
You might argue with one or two of them, but it’s not a bad recipe…
There’s plenty of ‘practical reasonableness’ about Aquinas.