HUMA 1825 Note 4
- What is the idea of science in Aristotle, that leads up to Aquinas but is very
different in the contemporary world?
- Euclid 300 BCE: Associated with Geometry, makes general laws that you can
contemplate “Between any two points there is a straight line” (Grasping an
eternal truth”. A circle can have any radius. If you have a line, there is only
one that is parallel to it: General, logical laws of thinking through
- Contemplating the eternal, unchangeable: the truth is beyond the senses.
- Galileo (16 -17 century) and Newton (17 -18 century). Science was the
understanding of senses.
- He’s a scholastic member
o It was a movement started by Anselm of Canterbury
o Aquinas started using logic to make sense of religion. There was a
tension before about how to make sense of this.
o Anselm used philosophy to make biblical ideas
What is God? Most Supreme Being. Even the fool (atheist)
admits that the idea of a supreme being, you must also include
that being exist, it’s more perfect in being than in thinking.
If God is thinkable, he exists.
o Pierre Abelard: wrote a book called “Sic et Non” (yes and no). He
would use philosophy to try to explain religion. For every question
there’s a pro and con. “You’d have to think it through for yourself”
Aquinas also starts with the objectives, and then goes into
proving his point. You can be a religious person, but you use
philosophy to be a better religious person.
- He’s a Dominican religious order
o They were established around 1200-1225 in the south of France
(borders of Spain). They were originally established to deal with the
problem of the movement of people who are questioning the church.
Cathars? No idea. All their writings were eliminated and all of
their leaders killed.
They criticized corruption in the church (power). They
church who regulated moral life were corrupt. They
were filling their own coffers and pockets.
The Divine and the Human are separate. When you are
religious you shouldn’t be interested in getting wealth.
Cathars were pretty sweet: they supported Judaism
during a anti-sematic time.
o They were also vegetarians Dominicans: taught that piety (being a good Christian) means
being very humble. They were appealing to the Cathars.
Religion involves a personal relationship with God.
Friendship. This criticized the Catharian doctrine that
that Divine was beyond.
- What is Aquinas’ relation to Aristotle?
o Virtues: what does he get from Aristotle?
The four cardinal virtues: justice, prudence, courage, and
Justice (what) and Prudence (how)= intellectual virtues:
they tell you what is good. A knowledge; you use your
intellect to know
Courage and Moderation = moral virtues: about the will.
No concept of will in Greek writing. Your ability to
implement/achieve that good. To act.
o What does he add to Aristotle?
He adds theological virtues: three main kinds. All about God
Faith: intellectual virtue: tells you what the highest good
Hope: moral virtue: achieving something. Achieving the
Love (charity): (no such thing for Aristotle. No love).
He says that the Theological virtues complete the
cardinal virtues. He says that Love is the highest of
virtues (love to God) it protects all things, makes all
Therefore, Courage = sense of will, moral courage.
Happiness: Aristotle says happiness is the highest good.
You need material wealth. In Aquinas happiness is a
relation with a beyond (higher ideal/feeling of love
- What is morality?
o Theology, politics, human behaviours and interaction:
o How did this change?
- Before and during Aquinas the church told you what was permissible in your
- In Hart, it’s not the church that tells you what to do; there are individuals
who make decisions.
Whether law is something pertaining to reason
- Law: the kind of rule and measure. It may be as in that that measures in rules
(active). Or, it can be in that which is measured and ruled (passive) - Reason: there is nothing else than power, habit and act. Potential, something
that you’ve been given. Habit is how you act on that potential. Reason is both
active and passive; there’s a potential and there’s an actual. The idea that not
everything is chosen.
- Participation: the way you fulfill your potential. The intellect and the how
(desire and will) which allows you to fulfill your potential.
- Basic idea: when he says, “Law is in all things that are inclined to something
to reason of some law”. Law is not only a rule; law is a lawfulness that allows
you to realize and achieve your potential. Virtue. As you realize it, you have a
development (direction to you).
- If there is a command, it is two sided: giving and receiving. I get a command,
then I act on it (participation)
- Good habits are virtues. The best habits are virtues. Reason is the best habit
because it tells you what is the best: your potential.
Whether the law is always something directed to the common good
- The first principle in practical manners (human interactions) is the last