Recommended Reading

I have always thought C.S. Lewis had some interesting advice in his introduction to St Athanatius’ On The Incarnation, to always read one old book for every two new books. I can’t promise to keep that ratio but I can promise an interesting combination of both old and new books. One of the great difficulties is that so few new books approach psychology from the Aristotelian perspective. This is especially true when it comes to the glaring lack of books on specific interventions. I suppose this is much of the purpose of Color of Thought! Anyways, I hope you enjoy the following list and I look forward to discussing them all with you over on the Patreon Page.

De Anima – Aristotle
I like the translation by Kenelm Foster O.P. over at St Augustin’s Press

Ok, this is an obvious one, it is upon this, and Aquinas’ commentary, that the whole enterprise here at Color of Thought is based. Here Aristotle supplies the outline of everything that can be said about the soul as it is found in its three major instances: in plants, in animals, and in humans. After establishing a definition of the soul he goes on to explain the various parts and powers of the soul. Be sure to not only check out all the podcast episodes on this book but to also read it! I can’t wait to talk to you about it.

Healing for Freedom – Benedict M. Ashley, O.P.
I was sad he was dead because I was trying to send him an email with some questions. I guess he will never be a guest on the show either.

Few things have made me sadder than when, after finishing this book, I learned that Father Ashley was dead. Luckily he penned an amazing list of books which should keep me busy for a while! Healing for Freedom is an excellent book to read right after Aristotle’s De Anima because the first three chapters are not only a summary of the Aristotle’s insights but they also explain much of the insights from the Logic and Physics necessary to understand the Soul. The book then goes on to describe many of the necessary things for human happiness, including friendship. It concludes with a chapter on the ultimate goal of human psychology, friendship with God.

Mind, Matter, and Nature – James D. Madden
Few things were more instrumental in my understanding of form than Fluffy the Cat.

It is hard to describe how excited I was when I saw this book the first time. Dr Madden was a professor of mine at Benedictine College. It is fun to see that much of what made his classes delightful have found there way into Mind, Matter, and Nature. Here Dr Madden takes up in detail the arguments for and against a hylomorphic – form and matter compound – understanding of the human person. This is the cornerstone of Aristotelian psychology and Dr Madden does an amazing job not only clarifying this teaching but also helping the reader to navigate the many errors surrounding it.

Meditations – Marcus Aurelius
I don’t know about this translation, I think the one I read was from Penguin.

A teacher of mine once explained that once the principles of a great ethical system, like that found in the Nicomachean Ethics, has been articulated it is the next generation’s duty to articulate the practical conclusions of this system applied to every day life. This is Stoicism. Stoicism has also been described as Christian morality without the name of Jesus. Anyways Marcus Aurelius was a good and wise emperor whose writings are fascinating on that foundation alone! This book was instrumental in slowing me down and learning to pay attention to the God of Nature’s work in my daily life. I can’t wait to talk with you about it.

Philosophical Virtues and Psychological Strengths

This is the book if you are a therapist trying to figure out how to begin integrating classical psychology into your practice. In this collection of essays every area of Aristotelian psychology is taken up: the passions, the will, the intellect, and much more. What is perhaps the most useful to the therapist are the essays Poised Strength and Tempered Desire about the role of the virtues and specific mental health diagnosis. This book has served as the starting point for many of my reflections on how to talk to my clients. Also, it has an amazing bibliography!

Logic of Desire – Nicholas E. Lombardo

Certainly the coolest cover too.

This is one of those neat books that will change the way you think about the life of our emotions forever. Fr Lombardo explains the variety of meanings St Thomas identifies for the concept of desire. He then explains how this concept is the cornerstone of the entire Summa Theologica and thus not only the Angelic Doctors ethical theory but indeed his understanding of the vary nature of God. This was one of the first books I read in what might broadly be described as “Philosophical Psychology” and hope that all my friends here take the time to enjoy it!

Summa Theologica – St Thomas Aquinas

Ok, this is another obvious one and you should read the whole thing, a few times, but for this review I am going to focus in on the Treatise on the Passions. The whole of the Second Part – yes both the first part of the second part and the second part of the second part – deal with psychological themes but on the Color of Thought Podcast I will focus on what St Thomas says about the emotions, so questions 22 – 48 of the First Part of the Second Part. Certainly by the time he completed it this was the largest consideration of the emotions penned in Western Philosophy and since has formed the basis of the Catholic Church’s understanding of human emotions. Be sure to keep an eye out for upcoming episodes based on this text.