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Aquinas and the Life of the Mind

May 12 2017 4pm
Harper Memorial Library 140
1116 East 59th Street
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Stephen L. Brock

Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome

Saint Thomas Aquinas regards mind, or intellect, as a form of life.  It is even the most perfect form, he says, because it carries the power of free choice. Yet we may wonder how free he thinks we really are.  For he insists that our mind’s life depends, intimately, on a cause outside itself.  But on his view, freedom of choice would not even make sense without this cause; and our lives are fullest, and freest, when we focus more on it than on ourselves.  This is to follow the mind’s deepest urge, which is toward that rather neglected virtue called wisdom.


This event is presented by the Virtue, Happiness, & the Meaning of Life Project, made possible by a generous grant from the John Templeton Foundation, and co-sponsored by the University of Chicago Divinity School,  Martin Marty Center, and the Lumen Christi Institute.

If you need assistance in order to fully participate in this event, contact Valerie Wallace.

Photo of detail of the Piazza di Santa Maria Novella by Sarah Tarno.


Stephen L. Brock is a priest of the Prelature of Opus Dei.  He is Ordinary Professor of Medieval Philosophy at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome. He earned a B.A. in Philosophy at the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in Medieval Studies at the University of Toronto.  Brock writes widely on Thomas Aquinas and action theory, ethics, and metaphysics. He is the author of The Philosophy of Saint Thomas Aquinas. A Sketch (Wipf & Stock, 2015) and Action & Conduct: Thomas Aquinas and the Theory of Action (T&T Clark, 1998).  During 2017 he was a visiting scholar in the Philosophy Department at the University of Chicago, collaborating in the Templeton Foundation project “Virtue, Happiness, and Meaning in Life,” directed by Candace Vogler and Jennifer Frey.