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IPFS News Link • Economy - International

Defining a Good: The Intersection of St. Thomas Aquinas and Carl Menger


We should observe that hope presupposes desire. Before a thing can be hoped for, it must first be desired. . . . Secondly, we must judge that what is hoped for is possible to obtain; hope includes this factor over and above desire. True a man can desire things he does not believe he is able to attain; but he cannot cherish hope with regard to such objects. Thirdly, hope necessarily implies that the good hoped for is hard to get: trifles are the object of contempt rather than of hope. Menger's first criteria of a good directly correlates to Aquinas's first criteria of hope. Menger insists a good must have a human need, whereas Aquinas states (somewhat synonymously) that a hope is something that is desired. Next, Aquinas explains that man must believe he can attain the thing for which he hopes. This combines parts two and three of Menger's definition. Similarly, Ludwig von Mises explains that the belief in a connection between the good and the need is more important than the out