aquinas arguments

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Introduction to Political Philosophy

Lecture 3 - St. Thomas Aquinas, "Natural Law and Monarchy"

Asterisks indicate points of particular importance.

St. Thomas Aquinas and his World

Thirteenth Century Europe

Population & economic growth

Rise of new zealous religious orders (Dominicans and Franciscans)

Powerful papacy

Strengthening of central monarchies (esp. France and England)

Conflicts between Papacy and Monarchies

Introduction of Aristotle's works to Christian Europe

Life of St. Thomas Aquinas

Born in the county of Aquino, Italy of a noble family.

Joined the Dominican Order.

Taught at the University of Paris.

Synthesized Aristotelian philosophy and Christian theology.

Condemnation of 1277

Canonized in 1323

Named "Doctor of the Church" in 1567; his Summa Theologiae is placed next to the Bible on the altar alongside the Decretals (official letters of the Popes).

Thomistic Ethics

Eudaimonism - The Legacy of Aristotle

Rational action is oriented to the good.

There is a final end, a "sovereign good" [L: summum bonum].

The summum bonum is something that is final (desired for its own sake) and is complete in itself.

The summum bonum is happiness (Gr: eudaimonia; L: beatitudo), which all desire, even if they disagree about what it consists in.

***A Christian Conception of Happiness***

Is perfect happiness possible in this life? (I-II, Qu. 5, a. 3)

Natural Law Theory

The Definition of Law (I-II, Qu. 90)

an ordinance of reason

for the common good

made by him who has care of the community

and promulgated

***The Kinds of Law*** (I-II, Qu. 91)

Eternal law

Natural law

Human law

Divine law

***Our Knowledge of the Natural Law***

God is good and God's Creation is good

So creatures naturally seek what is good

Therefore, all those things to which man has a natural inclination, are naturally apprehended by reason as being good, and consequently as objects...