St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274)
St. Thomas Aquinas was a Dominican
Monk, gifted scholar & a defender of
Roman Catholicism against the spread
of Islam & Greek philosophy in
Europe. He was born to an aristocratic
family Roccasecca, Italy, where he
joined the Dominican order while
studying philosophy and theology at
University of Naples.
He lived during a time where a
collection of Aristotelian texts in
Latin that reopened the question of the
relation between faith & reason, calling into question the modus vivendi (An arrangement or agreement allowing conflicting parties to coexist peacefully, either indefinitely or until a final settlement is reached) that they have obtained for centuries. St. Thomas was a naturalist; he believed that law mirrored a natural law world order made known to humans by their own process of reasoning & by the divine revelation of Christian prophets. He was strongly influenced by Plato & especially Aristotle, Aquinas firmly believed in the necessary connection between law and reason; reason invested law with its legitimacy. He proposed practical reason tells one what ought to be done & avoid evil. Being able to view and study multiple philosophers at his time, he has developed & understood the distinctions between eternal law, natural law and human law. * Eternal law is the government of the universe according to the divine will of God; * Natural law is the “imprinting” of eternal law on humans. He says natural laws that were first set should not be taken away, although they can be altered. St. Thomas Aquinas reinforces the belief of natural law theorists that the validity of a law is dependent upon its moral content or justness.
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