Privatio boni. Thomas von Aquin über das Böse

Zusammenfassung / Summary

The ontological concept of evil as privatio boni is often criticized as incapable of explaining the power of evil, and that, instead, evil needs to be conceived as a positive reality opposed to the good. The validity of this criticism will be tested against Aquinas’s theory of privation. The critical objections to Aquinas’s theory are based on a reductionist understanding of being in which: (1) being is identifi ed from the outset with meaningless factuality; in which (2) the ambiguity of “not”/“nicht” is insuffi ciently considered; and in which (3) privation is understood as the mere absence of something. But for Thomas, the experience of evil leads to insight into being itself and being good/Gutsein. For, by natural necessity human beings strive after the Good as such. When they struggle against their nature and do not will to be what they can be, they are acting badly. Thus, the destructive power of evil lies in the opposition between what human beings factually self-determine to be and what they by nature strive after.

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