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01:790:373 Study Guide - Comprehensive Final Exam Guide - Natural Law, Thomas Aquinas, Legal Positivism


Department
Political Science
Course Code
01:790:373
Professor
Mcfall
Study Guide
Final

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01:790:373

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Monday, September 10, 2018
Natural Law and Aquinas
Classical Natural Law Theory
Answers to the question: “What is law?”
Aristotle (4th century BC); a precursor to Roman natural law and Aquinas
Aristotle had vision of political community balanced by law.
Good laws create good citizens, good communities create virtuous citizens.
Defines man as political animal.
Law is “reasoned thought embodied in the decrees of the state”
It is meant to instill order and should be concerned with virtue.
Stoics
Love and friendship are human weaknesses (not necessarily bad, in the sense
that we sometimes let these things impair our judgement of what is right).
You should try to live a harmonious life by following nature. The Stoics believed
that the state of nature was a harmonious whole that was regulated by reason.
Nature is preferable to the human and to human life, more important than other
things.
Cicero (106 BCE - 43 BCE)
Highly influenced by the Stoics. Take notions of Stoicism and apply them to
governance of an empire.
Natural law is unchanging over time and is universal across societies.
Every person has access to the standards of this higher law by use of reason.
The very definition of law: The principle of choosing what is just and true.
Aquinas (1224-1274)
Canon law: foundation of Church doctrine
Influential on Richard Hooker, who influenced Locke, the most important source of
American liberalism
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Monday, September 10, 2018
Christianity became the dominant organizing force of people’s lives in Western Europe
Reading the Pagan philosophy in the West was considered unfashionable (writings of
Plato and Aristotle were hidden in the Arab culture)
Aquinas is very much part of Christian world, is a Saint. An important exponent of
Scholasticism (way of debate and way of addressing philosophical questions)
Scholasticism would last throughout Middle Ages, to Renaissance (abandoned
outside of the Catholic Church).
Tradition was centered in the monasteries.
Canon law, law of the Catholic Church, much of it is going to be about Aquinas.
Concerned between law and justice, the relationship between life and binding order,
primary concerns of Locke.
For Aquinas, there is a great chain of being that links together humans to God and the
universe. His great chain of being is watched by the natural order of law.
How does Aquinas define law?
Law is a certain ordinance of reason for the common good, made by him who has
care of the community, and promulgated.
4 Types of Law
Eternal law: known only to God
Reflects rational ordering of the universe.
Natural law: A reflection of the eternal law
Tells us to seek God. Do human beings have natural inclination to seek God? Do
they need to look towards a higher power?
To learn truth, to be honest, to not uncreate arguments that are clearly wrong and
turn us away from the truth. We should not try to deny the world the way it actually
is, and not trick people by being intellectually dishonest.
Related to human flourishing
Positive law (Human law)
The law that we use to govern ourselves.
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