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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: October 2020

Question 2, article 2 - Whether man’s happiness consists in honors?

from Question 2 - Where Does Complete Happiness Lie? Failed Candidates

Summary

The word “honors” is given in the plural (honoribus), because St. Thomas is not speaking of fame or celebrity in general – that is discussed in the next Article. Here he is speaking of the particular distinctions we confer upon persons whom we consider deserving. Offices, for example, are honors; so are prizes, awards, and other authoritative recognition; so is being raised to a higher rank. To be sure, mere celebrity may lead to being granted honors, but the two things are formally distinct. It is one thing to be deservedly or undeservedly famous; it is another thing for the famous person to receive official recognition of excellence. Here we are speaking of the latter.