The Consolation of Philosophy

From Boethius to Aquinas to Lewis: "The Consolation of Philosophy" and Place in Christian Thought College

The nature of true happiness has been the subject of many a discussion by philosophers and scholars alike for countless generations. It seems that every man who could call himself a true philosopher, men such as Aquinas, Augustine, Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, and even CS Lewis, was expected to dwell upon the subject at one time or another. Many held that perfect happiness could be found in pleasure or fame or power or love. Others, chiefly Aristotle, believed that happiness itself was the end to which human beings pointed themselves (i.e. that every man wished to live a eudaemonistic life). In The Consolation of Philosophy, Boethius includes many of these philosophers’ beliefs and even provides arguments which future philosophers, such as Aquinas, surely used as foundation for their thoughts upon the subject of happiness. Boethius tackles many controversial issues in his text, one of them being the issue of the origin of perfect happiness. In the tenth prose of book III, he discusses whether any perfection can be found in earthly happiness, where true happiness is to be found, and touches on what truly is meant by participation in divine eternity. All three of these points seem to be the basis of discussion for many future...

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