GOVT2112 Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Thomas Aquinas, Divine Providence, TyrantExam
SchoolUniversity of Sydney
DepartmentGovernment and International Relations
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How does Aquinas’s conception of human nature follow Aristotle’s?
Aristotle Ostracism/ shared citizenship/tyranny: the appropriate end of a multitude of free
persons is different from that of a multitude of slaves . if the gov is arranged not for the common
good but for the private advantage of the ruler, then it will be an unjust gov. This for aquinas is a
tyrant because he oppresses through power. If however the unjust gov arises from not one but
many then this is an oligarchy- oppresses people by means of their wealth (same as aristotle). If
bad gov is conducted by the many then this is a democracy (the whole people becomes a single
-thus the rule of one person is more useful then the rule of many . in the multitude of bodily
members there is one which moves them all-the heart and reason- different to aristotle who
prefers majority rule?
How does Aquinas use the Bible to support his case? Reading 1
-but it is not possible for one human being to attain all knowledge-but assisted by others
(solomon says in ecclesiastes “better to be two then one”). For where there are many people
looking out for their own interests the multitude would be broken apart unless there was
someone from its number to take care of what's extends to the good of the multitude (proverbs 11
“when there is no governor, the people shall be scattered”)
What is the significance of Aquinas’s statement that we are regulated by the divine
providence of a celestial body?
-all bodies controlled by a celestial body. The soul rules over the body and the passions and
desires are ruled by reason
What does freedom require?
-human must live in a multitude to obtain the necessaries of life
What is the role of the ruler?
-secures the welfare of those whoses gov he undertakes
-the aim of any ruler should be directed so that he secures the welfare of those whose gov he
undertakes. The welfare and safety of a multitude formed into a society are that its unity, which
is called peace may be preserved. If unity is remove the advantege of social life is lost and the
multitude becomes a burden unto himself-the ruler of a multitude should attend to the unity of
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