I’d love to see Hume and Aquinas in a cage match. Hume would be bopping around smiling with his fancy footwork (“pride is a virtue!”), Aquinas would be scowling and throwing devastating punches (“Pride is the root of all evil!”). If you don’t believe me…
Also, I found out that there is a word for the Thomas Aquinas school of thought, and it’s far more elegant than my attempted “Aquinean.” It’s Thomism. He’s so smart they named a school of thought after his first name.
All kidding aside, I think both Hume and Aquinas hit on some important points about what it means to feel good about ourselves in comparison with others. Hume emphasizes the good things about us, and says that we are right to feel good about ourselves because of the good things that are closely related to us. There is a healthy pride that we can nurture and even use to be grateful about the things in our life that give us pleasure.
Aquinas shows the danger in comparing ourselves to others, in feeling unduly superior to others. While Hume does not make explicit the comparative nature of pride, and where Aquinas does not make explicit the certain pleasure of feigned superiority, both men provide helpful ways of looking at what it means to feel good about ourselves and to believe good things about ourselves — when we are right and when we are wrong.
For those who want to dive in a bit more to the topic, here are some good (free!) sources:
Aquinas on Pride: http://www.newadvent.org/summa/3162.htm
David Hume on Pride: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/emotions-17th18th/LD8Hume.html#DouRelImpIdeCasPri
Look at the graphs on the Humean double relation of impressions and ideas that constitute pride! And the SEP used the character Mr. Darcy to illustrate! Could you just swoon?! (BRB — currently swooning.)
Once you are done swooning, we’d love to read your thoughts on pride: What is an area of pride that drives you crazy? What are some ways you’ve found to help counteract the Thomist harmful pride? What are some areas in your life that you think are worthy of a healthy Humean pride?
Leave us a note and we’d love to read it on a future podcast.
Also, our INTREPID (she has much intrepidity) editor and co-host Diane has started the AOV Instagram account! Follow along for new episodes and photos of our favorite (and not-so-favorite) philosophers.
Thank you for listening and thank you for reading!