May 12, 2017 | Stephen Brock - "Aquinas and the Life of the Mind"


Philosopher Stephen Brock gave the talk "Aquinas and the Life of the Mind" on Friday, May 12, 2017 at 4pm in Harper Memorial Library 140 (1116 E 59th).

An audience Q & A was followed by a reception in Stuart Hall's Anscombe Lounge (2nd floor).

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.


Stephen Brock (Pontifical University of Santa Croce) is Professor of Medieval Philosophy, 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). Fr. Brock is the 2017 Visiting Scholar with Virtue, Happiness, & the Meaning of Life.

This event was made possible by a generous grant from the John Templeton Foundation, and co-sponsored by the University of Chicago Divinity School, Department of Philosophy, the Martin Marty Center, and the Lumen Christi Institute.

If you need assistance in order to fully participate in this event, contact Valerie Wallace, Associate Director, Communications at

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