Maritain’s interpretation of the expression visa placent is extremely popular with neo-Thomists, many of whom take his definition of beauty as id quod visum placet–namely, the definition ‘Beauty is that which pleases when it is seen’–to be a correct quotation from Aquinas. In fact what Aquinas actually wrote was ‘Pulchra enim dicuntur quae visa placent’–that is, ‘Things are called beautiful which please when they are seen.’ Aquinas’ words refer to what we might call a sociological fact, whereas Maritain’s version amounts to a metaphysical definition.

Umberto Eco, The Aesthetics of Thomas Aquinas (cited in Eco, How to Write a Thesis)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s