lecture10Feb23 - Lecture11:AquinasonLaw...

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Lecture 11: Aquinas on Law Lecture 11: Aquinas on Law February 23, 2011
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Reason and Law Reason and Law Review: Aquinas argued that it is a part of nature, our rational  will, to strive towards the universal good. The universal good was characterized in terms of perfection of the  intellectual element of the person (coming to know the highest  good and highest truth, i.e. God). What is law? The very notion of a law is of that which  commands and forbids: it says you “ought” or you “must” Reason also commands and forbids—it is law-like: it contains  within it laws not just about how to think properly (speculative  reason), but also  how to act properly (practical reason). Practical reasoning (reasoning about how to act) operates  through universal principles or laws (“Do not murder.” “Be  charitable.”). “These propositions are sometimes under our actual  consideration, while sometimes they are retained in the reason by  means of a habit.”
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Common Good Common Good Within our practical reasoning, there is a first and fundamental  principle:  the last end of human life is bliss or happiness. Human beings are part of “the perfect community” of all  persons: so the striving for happiness is to strive for universal  happiness. So the moral law is chiefly aimed at the common good, and  the private or personal good is only good insofar as it fits with  the law of achieving the common good. In other words, the very notion of moral law is that of a law for a  GROUP or for a PEOPLE and so all moral laws must relate to the  good of the group. “Nothing stands firm with regard to the practical reason, unless it  be directed to the last end which is the common good: and  whatever stands to reason in this sense, has the nature of a law.”
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Eternal Law Eternal Law
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This note was uploaded on 02/27/2011 for the course PHIL 105 taught by Professor Ruckgarber during the Spring '10 term at University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign.

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lecture10Feb23 - Lecture11:AquinasonLaw...

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