Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas on Divine and Human Happiness
This thesis aims to compare Aristotle’s and Thomas Aquinas’s doctrines of divine and human happiness. I argue that the doctrine of participation creates a significant difference between the two theories. I proceed by first considering Aristotle’s doctrines in the Metaphysics and the Nicomachean Ethics and indicating points of comparison between his theory and Aquinas’s. I then consider Aquinas’s doctrines in the Summa Theologiae and other works, during which I complete the comparison of those points that I indicated in my consideration of Aristotle’s theory. My analysis of Aristotle shows that both God’s activity and the essence of the human determines the nature of human happiness, and my analysis of Aquinas shows how beatitude is the final cause of the Summa Theologiae. My comparison shows that participation creates a difference between Aristotle’s and Aquinas’s positions on the content of God’s contemplation and the human’s relation to the divine in perfect happiness.