Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Aquinas on the Transcendental Unity of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty

Most of you have probably heard me talk about this from time to time, but I thought I'd post this excerpt from an email I sent today, since I just love this teaching:

Have you ever heard of Saint Thomas's "doctrine of the transcendentals"? It's one of my favorite parts of Thomistic philosophy (and a good thing because it's the cornerstone) and as fortune would have it I taught it today.

The idea is that Truth, Goodness, and Beauty ore "transcendentally one" in the sense that each is *being* apprehended via a different modality. Truth is being as known, Goodness is being as rightly desired, and Beauty is being as rightly admired. Kreeft, I think, maps this onto the trichotomous soul: Truth is being's imprint on the mind, Goodness is beings imprint on the will, and Beauty is beings imprint on the emotions. So Truth, Goodness, and Beauty are all different modes of Being as apprehended by the Mind, the Will, and the Emotions.

Mortimer Adler's Book _Six Great Ideas_ is a good introduction to this great intellectual triad, though he doesn't go into the theological aspect that since God is the Supreme Being and the Ground of all Being he is the Supreme Truth, the Supremely Good, and the Supremely beautiful and the ground of all truth, goodness, and beauty.

I happen to think that doctrine is true, good, *and* beautiful!


Blogger coffeeboy said...

Beautiful post Trent, but it's too good to be true.

Thursday, February 09, 2006 7:56:00 PM  
Blogger Trent_Dougherty said...


Thursday, February 09, 2006 8:13:00 PM  

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