Can the object of joy be anything other than God? Augustine, Peter Lombard and Bonaventure on ‘usus’ an d ‘fruitio’ Cover Image

Czy przedmiotem radości może być coś innego niż Bóg? Augustyn, Piotr Lombard, Bonawentura o "usus" i "fruitio"
Can the object of joy be anything other than God? Augustine, Peter Lombard and Bonaventure on ‘usus’ an d ‘fruitio’

Author(s): Magdalena Płotka
Subject(s): Philosophy, History of Philosophy, Philosophy of Middle Ages
Published by: Wydawnictwo Naukowe Uniwersytetu Kardynała Stefana Wyszyńskiego w Warszawie
Keywords: usus; fruitio; commentaries on 'Sentences'; joy; pleasure; desire; Bonaventure; Augustine; Peter Lombard; medieval philosophy

Summary/Abstract: This article discusses the historical development of the concept of joy in medieval philosophy and theology. It focuses on the problem of the relation between “usus” and “fruitio”. The former concept (“use”) connotes the whole spectrum of possible attitudes of man in his relation to temporal goods. The use of temporal goods by man is an earthly, temporal, and secular experience. It can take a sinful form – sensual pleasures – or a religious form, in which case it becomes a foretaste of eternal happiness. The second concept (fruitio) means happiness, and it is the fulfillment of the sum total of all human desires. Fruitio only occurs after death, and it is an element of beatifica visio. Usus concerns changeable, temporal goods, while the only object of fruitio is God. This article is devoted to the question of whether the object of fruitio can be anything other than God, i.e. whether the temporal good can be the object of full joy, and if so, how. An answer to this question would require an analysis of a number of specific issues: what conditions (subjective, objective) would have to be met in order for the use of the temporal good to qualify for joy? How does the moral evaluation of the use of such goods proceed? What are the emotional components of usus? In other words, the central problem of this article is the concept of usus (the use of temporal goods) and the medieval interpretations of this concept as a connotating human experience of temporal (incomplete) joy caused by earthly goods. Mainly, the article concentrates on three authors: Augustine, Peter Lombard and Bonaventure, and presents three different theories of joy: joy as a possession of the desired object (Augustine), joy as longing for a desired object (Peter Lombard) and joy as distance to the desired object (Bonaventure). Lastly, the article argues that the development of the concept of joy in the period between 395 BC and the second half of the thirteenth century is the history of an ever greater appreciation of joy and the perception of its proper meaning in human life.

  • Issue Year: 55/2019
  • Issue No: 3
  • Page Range: 5-32
  • Page Count: 28
  • Language: Polish