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St. Thomas Aquinas

St. Thomas Aquinas

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St. Thomas Aquinas

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  1. St. Thomas Aquinas

  2. Born in Roccasecca, Italy in 1225 • Born into a noble family • Studied at University in Naples , as well as Cologne and Paris

  3. Natural Law • Natural Law- A principle or body of laws considered as derived from nature, right reason, or religion and as ethically binding in human society (“”) • Natural Law consists of a person’s first judgement . These first judgements relate to our existence, food, drink, sex, family, society, and desires to know

  4. Aquinas said that man is by nature a social and political animal • The natural, in this sense is not what is chosen, but given • What is given about human life is that we are born into a community and family, and are dependent on them for years in order to survive

  5. We flourish as human beings within various larger social and political communities • Our morals depend on behaving well in these given settings

  6. Aquinas’ Views on Law • Aquinas describes law as a certain rule and measure of acts whereby man is induced to act or is restrained from acting • Because the rule of human actions is reason, law has an essential relation to reason • He believes that law is directed by its nature to the good, and especially to the universal common good

  7. Aquinas distinguished four kinds of law: eternal, natural, human, and divine law • St. Thomas says that human law is not obliged to repress all vices • It is framed for most people, who are far from perfect in virtue • It is also directed to the more grievous vices from which the majority can abstain e.g. Murder, theft etc.

  8. Were the law to attempt to legislate perfection, it would make people hostile to the law and defeat its purpose • Aquinas realized that because the law is by nature general, the law may require exceptions • In most cases, the exceptions would only be made with the consent of a political authority

  9. Modern Influence • In St. Thomas’ thought, the goal of human life is to be in union with God • It is to experience salvation, a perfect happiness which is only to be experienced after death • But to experience this happiness, one must do the righteous things in present day life such as charity, peace, and holiness • If a person does these things in everyday life, they will experience true happiness

  10. This is represented in present day life because of the people in society that go to church, practice their religion, give to charity, and live a good life • They do all of this because of their belief that God will reward them after death in heaven

  11. Works Cited • "Natural Law." N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Feb. 2011. <>. "Philosophy and Theology in Thomas' Thought." Aquinas On Law. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Feb. 2011. <>. "Saint Thomas Aquinas." StandfordEncyclopedia of Philosophy. N.p., 30 Sept. 2009. Web. 22 Feb. 2011. "Thomas Aquinas." Reference Answers. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Feb. 2011. <>.