Tuesday, November 6, 2012

St. Thomas on Friendship with Horses

St. Thomas and Rainbow Dash: Pony Friends Forever!

According to the Philosopher (Ethic. viii, 2,3) not every love has the character of friendship, but that love which is together with benevolence, when, to wit, we love someone so as to wish good to him. If, however, we do not wish good to what we love, but wish its good for ourselves, (thus we are said to love wine, or a horse, or the like), it is love not of friendship, but of a kind of concupiscence. For it would be absurd to speak of having friendship for wine or for a horse. -- Summa Theologiae, 2.2.23

I think Aquinas is right here that one cannot be friends with horses, since the usual equines we find lack the rationality humans have.  As creatures of reason, we can will the good of one another, as we can know what is good for us through the intellect. If others reciprocate this good will, what we have is friendship, mutual love. Nevertheless, one can indeed have affection for a horse, as one loves other faithful animal companions, like dogs.

However, St. Thomas never knew about the anthropomorphic ponies of Equestria from the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic show, for whom friendship, that is, willing the good of another, is sort of a big deal...

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