My paper will consider the theme of pleasure in Thomas Aquinas by investigating his use of the term delectatio. I will consider various uses of delectatio, rising from the sensible pleasure common to all animals to the pleasure of the beatific vision and God’s own pleasure. Sensible and spiritual pleasure range from complementing to warring against each other, and Aquinas’s description of the beatific vision employs the term delectatio in order to signify the immediacy of the experience of God. This serves to show the continuity between the most basic experience of sensible pleasure and the height of spiritual pleasure.
Aquinas’s analysis of pleasure or delight (delectatio) is included in his treatise on the emotions or passions of the soul in his Summa theologiae (I-II.22-48). Thomas understands pleasure as a powerful motivating factor in human behaviour – one that attends the fulfillment of desire and the repose of the appetite in the good possessed. Although the experience of pleasure is natural and even inevitable, it has important moral implications in Christian theology. Following an outline of the general concept of pleasure in Aquinas, my paper will focus on his argument for the superiority of intellectual pleasure, which attends the fulfillment of our desire for intelligible goods.
This paper deals with the notion of delectatio as it appears in two commentaries of the 13th century on Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics: the anonym Lectura Abrincensis in Ethicam Veterem, written before Grosseteste´s translation of the Nicomachean Ethics (c. 1246) and Radulphus Brito’s Questiones super librum Ethicorum (c. 1295). In despite of some differences, both of these commentaries consider pleasure as apprehensio coniunctionis conuenientis cum conuenienti. This will show that it is possible to find some points of continuity between the first reception of the Nicomachean Ethics (the commentaries on the first three books) and the second reception (the commentaries on the complete translation of Grosseteste).