- 1 Christianity – Aristotle and Aquinas
- 2 Intrinsic Morality versus God’s Morality
- 3 How are Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas connected?
- 4 Scholasticism:
- 5 Answer and Explanation:
- 6 Similarities Between Aristotle And St. Thomas Aquinas On.
- 7 Virtue and the Common Good in Aristotle and Aquinas
Christianity – Aristotle and Aquinas
- The relationship between early Christianity and late Judaism
- A discussion of the relationship between the early church and late Judaism
- A description of the modern social, religious, and intellectual environment
- An examination of the internal evolution of the early Christian church
- Christian relations with the Roman administration and with Hellenistic culture
- Relationships between Christianity and the Hellenistic civilization
- Theological conflicts that erupted in the fourth and fifth century
- The divide between the Photians and the vast East-West schism
- Evangelism is the first teaching about the God of Jesus Christ
- It is also known as “the gospel.”
- Antagonism to heresy: the establishment of orthodoxy
- Antagonism to heresy
- The establishment of orthodoxy
- It is the concept that the Father and the Son are one in essence
- Various views of the person of Jesus are available
- The “new man” is defined as the human being who has been transformed by Christ.
- New liturgical forms as well as antiliturgical views are emerging.
- Early Christians had high hopes for the coming of the Kingdom of God.
- Early Christians had high expectations for the Kingdom of God.
- Predictions about the Kingdom of God in the post-Reformation era
- In missions and emigrations, the importance of impending expectation is discussed.
- The history of philosophical and theological connections
- Exemplifications based on religious experience and miracles
- Exemplifications based on personal religious experience and miracles
- Exemplifications based on religious experience and miracles
- Arguments based on religious experience and miracles
- In the modern world, there is a propensity to spiritualize and individualize marriage.
Intrinsic Morality versus God’s Morality
|Aristotle and Aquinas: Intrinsic Morality versus God’s MoralitybyMelissaS. AtkinsonThroughout history, there have been many different philosophies regarding the way in which one should live his life. Many of these philosophers have agreed that there is a greater being, God, who causes us to want to act virtuously.How one should live this virtuous life is the subject to which many philosophers dispute about. This is because people have many different views on what the virtues are and how to act in order to obtain these virtues.With all of the different manners in which one sees virtues, it is difficult to truly know which ones are good and which ones are not. Aristotle and Aquinas both see God as the highest being and believe that the highest life is one that acts for the sake of heeding to this highest being.However, their views on exactly how God is are different. Aristotle was not a religious person, but did recognize God as the highest being. He however, did not perceive God as the compassionate being that Aquinas did. And, he did not believe that one was going to meet this higher being after death as Aquinas did. He thought that being a virtuous person was a good enough reason to be moral. Aquinas believed that one should be moral because God was leading him to a moral life. Although Aristotle and Aquinas had differing views on their God, they both believed that one had to live a moral and flourishing life to be happy. Aristotle was born in Stagira in the year 384 B.C. When he was seventeen, he was sent to Athens, the intellectual center of the world to study. From here, he studied under Plato. After Plato�s death, he moved to Macedonia to become a tutor for Alexander the Great. When he returned to the Platonic school, he felt that he did not have a place there any longer. He eventually constructed his own school of thought at a place called Lyceum. Soon after Alexander�s death in 323 B.C., Aristotle fled Athens because he was charged with impiety just as Socrates had been. He soon died in 322 B.C.Aristotle was considered a realist because he moved Plato�s realm of the forms back onto Earth. He said that sense experience, which is found inherent in our world, was the starting point of all knowledge. However, Aristotle as well as Plato believed that the one thing that separates man from all other living organisms is man�s ability to reason.Aristotle believed that there are three parts to the human soul. The first is an irrational one that can also be present in animals. This is the vegetative or nutritional virtue. This virtue allows humans and plants to have proper nutrition and to grow. The next part is the appetite or moral virtue. This virtue is both irrational and rational at the same time. This part controls one�s emotions and desires. Both animals and human beings can also possess the appetite. Aristotle recognized that animals, as well as human beings, can have desires, but because the appetite is also rational, it allows one to control the desires that animals cannot control. The part that distinguishes humans from animals is the third part of the soul. This part is strictly rational and is called the calculative part. It allows humans to have intellectual virtues such as reason.Along with the ability to reason, God also gave human beings many other emotions that have a tendency to sway the way in which people live their lives. Because man can make reasonable decisions for himself, he is said to be responsible for his own actions. Due to this, it is up to man to be able to live the kind of life that will lead him to be like the highest being, God.Human beings are only able to acquire this virtuous life via action. Aristotle believed that humans needed to strive toward the highest life that is possible. This life was only possible when human beings pursue good rather than pleasure. In Aristotle�s view, the good was what was good for each individual. This good life is one of earthly happiness or flourishing that can be achieved by way of reason and the acquisition of virtue however, these virtues can only be acquired thorough habituation. Human flourishing can only occur if a person is being virtuous. When doing what one wants to do is the same thing as what one ought to do, one is able to flourish happily. However, moral weakness is not a good virtue. When someone does something that they know is wrong, yet do not follow their reason that allows them to know that it is wrong, they are said to have moral weakness. Being virtuous can be easy for man to do because he is lead by his egoism. He wants to be the best possible human being that he can. By being moral, a man is able to be the best possible person, and to build on his ego. In response to his constantly growing ego, man attempts to be moral so that he is able to constantly be more virtuous than another is. By attaining happiness, human beings are able to reach the moral life, which Aristotle referred to as the �Good Life�. Aristotle said that although man is being lead by his ego, he is an intelligent being that will use his practical wisdom to pursue the entities needed to live the good life. His egoism, however, can not interfere with his friendships with other human beings.Man, being naturally social, must have friendships with other human beings. Aristotle once said that, �Without friends no one would choose to live, though he had all other goods.� By living in a polis, human beings are able to gain friendships and secure all of the other necessities such as food and shelter that they would need to survive. Without the benefit of friends, man would not be fulfilling his need to be social, and therefore not be able to become virtuous. The goodness of the polis depends on who is living in it and how they act in the company of one another. In order for the polis to be good, it must also be run by a righteous government. Aristotle saw that to be a good citizen, one must take an active role in the government. He believed that the rule of law was higher than the rule of an individual citizen because men can have private interests that they are trying to establish, while the law does not. In Aristotle�s view, the role of the government should be limited and should only use force when first acted upon.Only when human beings have reached this highest life, are they said to have reached eudaimonia. In order to reach this eudaimonia, one must have obtained self-perfection. Nevertheless, acquiring this self-perfection is harder said than done. In order to reach self-perfection, one must fulfill all of the demands that allow him to be happy. These are, living in a polis, having friendships, being a good citizen, and being active in government. Once all of these are satisfied, and satisfied well, one can truly live the life of eudaimonia. However, this life is not possible for all human beings. Aristotle believed that slavery was a natural circumstance. He said, �some men are adapted by nature to be the physical instruments of others.� This statement allows one to know that Aristotle did not believe that all men were equal beings. Thus, one can see that even though Aristotle saw that some men were above all other living organisms, he did not believe that all men were.Aristotle also believed that to be moral, one must find a mean between two vices. He said that there was a vice of deficiency, which is having too little of one vice and a vice of excess, which is having too much of one vice. The middle of these vices was the virtuous mean. Courage would be an example of the virtuous mean. Being a coward would fall under the vice of deficiency category while being rash would fall under the vice of excess category. Therefore, one must have moderation between the two extremes. To be able to obtain these virtues in the proper form, one must be able to control their desires. This is done by using the calculative part of the soul. Aquinas was born in 1224 to noble parents. They sent him away to study at the Monastery of Monte Cassino to be educated for a career in the Church. He was then sent to the University of Naples where he was first introduced to the writings of Aristotle. Because of his intense studies and following of Aristotle, Aquinas was considered an Aristotelian. Next, he joined the Dominican Order, the Order Friars Preachers, against his parents� wishes. He was punished for this by being locked in his family�s castle. Once he was released, he professed his vows to the Order of Friars Preachers. After the University first denied him of it, because of a fight that the Dominicans refused to join, Aquinas eventually earned his theology degree. At one point in time, he said that he had a mystical experience from God that had told him that all the writing that he had done in his life was �mere straw�. This caused him to stop writing altogether. He died in March 1274. In regard to God, Aquinas saw that one must live a life that allows him to eventually reach the Supreme Being. To reach this Supreme Being, one must have a belief in him. He is able to do this by knowing the five ways in which Aquinas proves that there is a God. He believed that these five ways would doubtlessly ascertain this higher being. The first way is called the argument from motion. He stated, as did Aristotle, that an object that is in motion is put into motion by another object or force. Consequently, he believed that the entire movement must have been begun by some force. This force was God, the �Unmoved Mover�. The second way in which he proved that there must be a God is called the Causation of Existence. He stated, as all know, that no object can created itself. Therefore, there must have been something, God, who was the first to create things. The third way is called the Contingent and Necessary Objects. He saw that there are two types of objects that exist in the universe. They are contingent beings and necessary beings. A contingent being can not exist without a necessary being causing its existence. The necessary being that is able to do this is God. The forth way is called the Argument from Degrees and Perfection. He saw that things have varying degrees of quality. One is able to tell the differences between these degrees by judging the thing against an object that has the perfect quality, God. The final way is called the Argument from Intelligent Design. By being a part of the universe, one can know that it must have been created by an intelligent designer, God. This is evident because of the intelligent life that is in our universe. If it weren�t for an intelligent designer, one would not be able to deduce that there is a God. In these five arguments, Aquinas is able to show that the existence of God is an argument that is hard to be disproved, and should thus be followed. The reason that these must be known is because Aquinas believed that human beings lived to gain knowledge to attain the highest good, eudaimonia. To satisfy this constant desire to gain this knowledge, one must know philosophy. He viewed philosophy to be hand and hand with theology therefore, one must know both studies. However, one should note that it is very difficult to do this because philosophy often times goes against many religious beliefs. Aquinas also saw this as a problem, but solved the problem by stating that God will lead everyone in the right direction as long as he is followed. Like Aristotle, Aquinas believed that human beings live for a telos or end, which is eudaimonia. Aquinas saw that goodness was the reason in which one was lead by. The only problem in this was that everyone has a different opinion as to what exactly is good and what is not. Human beings have a natural ability to be rational that all other living organisms do not have. This natural ability allows humans to acts knowingly and willingly when doing something. Because of this ability, the human being that is able to perform the task properly will be considered good.Aquinas however, believed that God was the soul creator of the world and that we should look to him to find out the divine meaning of life and how to act to obtain that. He did believe in our ability to reason, but he did not believe that it was the one thing that led us as Aristotle did. He also saw that the highest virtue that humans can obtain was not intellectual as Aristotle thought it was. He said that the highest excellence that the soul was able to obtain was theological. Similarly like Aristotle, Aquinas believed one was able to obtain this virtue via habit. He also said that human beings possess a type of metaphysical soul that is persuaded by God. He said that to reach our end, we must follow this soul and follow the life that God has devised for us. God possesses an �eternal law� to govern the world according to his perfect reasoning. Because human beings have reason acquired from God, we also share in this natural law, and this is how we are able to know what is good. Aquinas believed that all human action should be stemmed from the pursuing of God. He believed that the life that one leads should be based upon the reason that one is intrinsically given through reason via God. Aristotle and Aquinas have many similar thoughts on the way that the human person should live. Both of them believe that humans are rational beings. They also believe that because humans are rational they can follow their instincts and live a life of moral goodness. Aquinas however, believed that God was leading human beings to a rational, moral life, while Aristotle believed that being moral was naturally inherent in human beings. Although they had different views as to why human beings should want to live a good life, they both agreed that the one thing that humans should strive for is eudaimonia. Aquinas, being an Aristotelian, agreed with many of the ways in which Aristotle viewed the human person. However, where he diverged was his belief in God. He took the teachings of Aristotle and added God to them so that they would allow for more acceptances from our Christian society.Recommended Reading “Aristotle (384-322 BCE): General Introduction.” The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2006. 04 Apr. 2006.Clark, Barrett H. “Aristotle (384-322 B.C.).” Theatre Database. 2002. 04 Apr. 2006.Gregory, Wanda T., and Donna Giancola. World Ethics. California: Wadsworth, 2003.Landry, Peter. “Aristotle.” Biographies. 2004. 04 Apr. 2006.McInery, Ralph, and John O’Callaghan. “Saint Thomas Aquinas.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 09 Jan. 2005. 04 Apr. 2006.Magee, Joseph M. “Saint Thomas Aquinas (1224/5-1274).” Thomistic Philosophy Page. 1999. 04 Apr. 2006.Weiss, P. “St. Thomas Aquinas’ Five Ways.” 04 Apr. 2006.Younkins, Edward W. Capitalism and Commerce. Lanham: Lexington Books, 2002.Younkins, Edward W., ed. Philosophers of Capitalism. Lanham: Lexington Books, 2005.Discuss this Article(3 messages)|
How are Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas connected?
What is the relationship between Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas?
Scholasticism was a style of learning that depended on logical debate and dialectic to achieve its goals of knowledge. It evolved inside medieval universities, particularly during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, and it owes its greatest debt to Thomas Aquinas, who was considered to be its greatest instructor.
Answer and Explanation:
While Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas lived hundreds of years apart, their approaches to philosophy are strikingly similar, despite the fact that they lived hundreds of years apart. Aristotle. See the complete response below for more information.
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From Chapter 4/Lesson 19, St. Thomas Aquinas’ Five Proofs of the Existence of God Aquinas, sometimes known as St. Thomas Aquinas, was a Roman Catholic saint and philosopher who is best known for his Summa Theologica. Explore Aquinas’ work, which discusses the five proofs of God, which are motion, causation, contingency vs necessity, perfection, and design (as opposed to chance and accident).
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It was Aquinas’ concern with the liberty of independent individuals to conduct their affairs through polite discussion and logical argument that preoccupied him. Through the formation of habits and virtues, he placed a great importance on the practical order of civil society, which enables each individual to attain mastery over his or her own liberties. It is unlikely that Aquinas had conceived of the concept of natural rights; nonetheless, he did acknowledge that all individuals are equal in liberty, despite the fact that there are significant distinctions and inequalities between them in terms of their skills, abilities, and callings.
- He was a philosopher and theologian.
- Aquinas emphasized that government agents had a set of limitations beyond which they were unable to do their duties.
- The conclusion is that legislation or overturning of positive laws that are incongruous with the essence of man is necessary.
- People at their natural level are subject to the rules of an organized society governed by human laws.
- Even in the condition of perfection or innocence, according to Aquinas, the aruler is required for the purpose of directing and guiding the faithful.
- Tyranny is unjustified, and justice demands that a tyrant be removed from power.
- Justifiable resistance is a public act performed by the entire population.
- As a result, there is no authority to create laws other than that of representing the people, and legal title to power is the outcome of a transfer by rational act and consent of the society.
- The greatest features of monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy are combined, according to him, to create the rule most worthy of the human individual.
Because he was realistic and pragmatic in his thinking, he concluded that a mixed government would be the most practical type, because it would require consent while also allowing for moral freedom, would reduce the threat of tyranny, and would allow people to believe that they had a say and a stake in the community.
- As a result, he asserts that the political sovereign has the ability to legislate from God and is consequently accountable to God.
- In his works, Aquinas established a relationship between ethics and politics, as well as between the particular human being and the general good.
- In the Aristotelian tradition, Aquinas emphasizes the imprecise nature of ethics as well as the mutability of law as a result of the contingency of individual situations.
- What is just a matter of circumstance is debatable.
- According to Aquinas, the principle of utility is an important standard or criterion for determining the fairness of a set of legal norms.
- The rule of law should not be imposed once and for all.
- To put it another way, Aquinas believes that the primary role of positive law is to incorporate and confer coercive force on the principles of natural law in the form of authoritative direction.
True virtue consists on making the best decisions possible while exercising one’s reason and free will.
It was emphasized that political authorities should be more concerned with broad issues of general interest rather than with the specifics of individual behavior when making decisions.
The conclusion is that legislation must be expressed in broad words, stating what is appropriate for the majority of circumstances that are encountered.
So Aquinas proposes giving the judge the power of equity, which would allow him to moderate the application of established law in order to achieve a just outcome in the case at hand.
He was a proponent of legislation that was consistent with existing customary practices.
Aquinas was devoted to liberty, cherished tradition, and held out a realistic hope for the future as well as for moderate institutional progress.
The division of labor, property rights, the just price, value theory, insider trading, and usury are just a few of the topics covered in this course.
According to Aquinas, the operational principles of the economic order are subordinate to the moral and political ends of the city in which they are implemented.
Aquinas explained that the diversification of men for diverse tasks is the work of divine providence and stems from natural law, with different men possessing abilities and inclinations for different occupations and functions.
His understanding of the advantages of exchange and the division of labor in meeting the needs and wants of individuals was well-founded.
The author acknowledges that all property is communal under natural law, but contends that the addition of private property was an extension, rather than an inversion, of the principles of natural justice.
He argues that private property ownership is necessary because: (1) men will more resolutely and attentively take care of things if they own them rather than if the goods are held in common by all or many others; (2) possession advances order rather than chaos and confusion because responsibility can be determined; and (3) private property ownership promotes a more peaceful state of affairs.
- Despite his acceptance of an unequal distribution of private property, he was also in favor of the government’s regulation of private property.
- To determine precisely what Aquinas meant by the term “just price,” it is difficult to look back on his life.
- Whenever Aquinas refers to the “just price” in an organized exchange, he frequently appears to be referring to the price that is paid in a more or less competitive market.
- As a result, there must be a certain degree of equivalence or proportion between what is given and what is received in exchange.
- He explicitly rejected the notion that the price of a commodity should be determined by the buyer’s or seller’s socioeconomic status, stating that the selling price of any commodity should be the same regardless of whether the buyer or seller is poor or wealthy.
- The equality to which Aquinas refers so frequently appears to be the mutualsatisfaction gained by each contracting party in an exchange, according to the philosopher.
- It is clear that Aquinas was not reducing the value of a good to the value of labor alone when he wrote this.
According to Aquinas, the practice of buying and selling appears to have been established for the mutual benefit of the parties involved because one requires something that the other possesses and the other vice versa.
However, if one produces for the market inexpectation of gain then he is acting rationally only if hisprices are just and his motives are charitable.
Aquinas presented a mixedbut somewhat benevolent view of trade.
Aquinas denounced covetness, love of profit, andavarice but said that mercantile gain was justified whendirected toward the good of others.
Aquinas anticipates the problem of”insider trading” when he observes that a person may sell ascarce product at the prevailing market price although heknows that more of the product is on the way and will beavailable shortly.
It appears that Aquinas,at least implicitly, anticipated the concept of opportunitycost.
Aquinas also mentions the benefitssupplied by men of commerce when they conserve and storegoods, import goods that are necessary for the republic, andtransport goods from geographical areas where they are ingreat supply to places where they are scarce.
All fail to see thatborrowers are not injured when they take out a loan and, infact, are likely to benefit if they can invest in a projectthat yields a return greater than the interest paid.
Aquinassays that usury, the charging of money on loans, is sinfuland unnatural because money is barren and was simplyinvented for the purpose of exchange.
Similarities Between Aristotle And St. Thomas Aquinas On.
To Aquinas, the liberty of autonomous persons to conduct their affairs through civil conversation and rational persuasion was of primary importance. Through the cultivation of habits and virtues, he placed a high value on the practical order of civil society, which enables each individual to gain mastery over his or her ownliberty. It is unlikely that Aquinas had conceived of the concept of natural rights; however, he did recognize that all men are equal in liberty, despite the fact that there are significant differences and inequalities between them in terms of their talents, abilities, and vocations.
- For the sake of a good life, society involves the mutual exchange of ideas, products, and services, to which its many individual members each make a contribution.
- In addition, they are bound by the rules of human nature that emerged as a result of the act of creation by God.
- All positive rules must be just, as well as deriving from broad principles of natural law.
- As a result, human rules must be established in order to maintain social order.
- Although individuals demand an ordered political existence, he believes that the authority of government agents should be restricted.
- Tyranny, according to Aquinas, can only be ended via collective effort rather than individual violence.
- The author observes that political authority is rooted in the collective will of the people, as represented by a civic group.
- As a result of Aquinas’s thinking, the extent of political authority was seen to be restricted.
- The finest features of monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy, according to him, combine to form the rule most worthy of the human individual.
Realistic and pragmatic in his thinking, he recognized that a mixed government would be the most practical type, as it would require consent while also allowing for moral freedom, would reduce the threat of tyranny, and would allow people to believe that they had a say and a stake in the community, among other advantages.
- The political sovereign, according to him, receives authority to legislate from God and is consequently accountable to God.
- He made the connection between ethics and politics in his writings, as well as the particular human being and the general good.
- In the Aristotelian tradition, Aquinas emphasizes the imprecise nature of ethics as well as the mutability of law as a result of the contingency of individual situations.
- Simply said, it all depends on the situation.
- According to Aquinas, utility is an important criteria or criterion for determining the fairness of legal norms for determining their justice.
- No one piece of legislation is to be enacted and applied indefinitely.
- To put it another way, Aquinas believes that the primary role of positive law is to incorporate and confer coercive force on the principles of natural law in the formof authoritative direction.
Using one’s intellect and free will to make the best decisions is what true virtue is all about.
Political authorities, he asserted, should be more concerned with broad issues of general interest rather than with minute specifics of individual behavior.
As a result, legislation should be written in broad strokes, indicating what is appropriate in the majority of circumstances that occur.
So Aquinas proposes giving the judge the authority of equity, which would allow him to temper the application of established law in order to produce a just decision.
He was a proponent of legislation that was in accordance with existing customary practice.
Aquinas was devoted to liberty, cherished tradition, and held out a realistic hope for the future as well as a reasonable expectation of institutional advancement.
The division of labor, property rights, the just price, value theory, insider trading, and usury are just a few of the subjects addressed in the course.
According to Aquinas, the operational principles of the economic system are secondary to the moral and political purposes of the city in which they operate.
Theologian Thomas Aquinas predicted Adam Smith’s division of labor thesis, explaining that the diversification of persons for distinct jobs is the work of divine providence and arises from natural law, with different men possessing skills and inclinations for different vocations and duties.
Private property, according to Aquinas, is both a need for human life and an extension of the principles of natural justice.
As Aquinas explains, human reason draws the notion of distinction of ownership for the benefit of particular human lives from the concept of a priori knowledge.
Aquinas saw that, not only does creativity necessitate property, but that, in the absence of property under the control of every individual, the individual’s liberty of action is weakened or even eliminated.
While he agreed that things should be owned by their rightful owners, he stated that they should be used in a communal manner (so that the poor and needy might benefit from them) or in the service of the general public.
The different interpretations of what he meant by just pricing include, but are not limited to, the following: (1) an equivalency in terms of labor cost; (2) an equivalence in terms of utility; (3) an equivalence in terms of total cost of product; and (4) a price in the market.
Noting that transaction occurs for the benefit of both parties, Aquinas asserts that the concept of equivalence between reciprocal contributions expresses the norm of commutativejustice in the world.
Commutative justice, according to Thomas Aquinas, is the idea of total equality in the exchange of commodities and services between persons in a market.
It does not appear that the valuation of things is dependent on any inherent feature of the items in question, according to Thomas Aquinas.
Because everything may be connected to human wants, Aquinas notes that the one factor that quantifies all products and services is the need that encompasses all exchangeable assets.
Aquinas is definitely not a believer in the labor theory of value, despite the fact that he acknowledges that market factors influence the value that is placed on goodsand services.
The author asserts that when market trades take place in order to suit the requirements of the trading partners, there is no issue of unethical activity taking place.
The prices are reasonable if both the buyer and the seller gain from them, and the motives are benevolent if the earnings are to be utilized for self-support, charity causes, or to contribute to the general well-being of the community.
He asserted that, while commerce may provide possibilities for evil, it is not inherently immoral in and of itself.
The fair price for Aquinas is the lowest price that can be obtained from the buyer at a particular moment, providing that both parties are aware of the situation and that there is no fraud or coercion.
Essentially, it implies that there is no moral need to warn a potential buyer that the price of the product that one is seeking to sell would most likely be cheaper in the near future.
In certain ways, it appears that Aquinas anticipated the idea of opportunity cost, at the very least indirectly.
Additionally, Aquinas discusses the advantages provided by men of commerce when they retain and store things, import products that are required for the republic, and convey goods from geographical locations where they are in abundant supply to areas where they are in short supply.
It is impossible for them to realize that borrowing money does not harm the borrower; rather, if they can invest in a project that generates a return bigger than the interest they pay, they are likely to gain from doing so.
The charge of interest on loans, according to Aquinas, is wicked and unnatural since money is a barren commodity that was only formed for the purpose of exchanging goods and services.
Virtue and the Common Good in Aristotle and Aquinas
Aquinas was concerned with the liberty of autonomous individuals to handle their affairs via polite discussion and reasonable reasoning. He placed a high value on the practical order of civil society, which allows each individual to gain mastery over his or her own liberties through the development of habits and virtues. It is unlikely that Aquinas had conceived of the concept of natural rights; however, he did recognize that all men are equal in liberty, despite the fact that there are significant differences and inequalities between them in terms of their talents, capacities, and callings.
- Aquinas explained that government agents had certain limitations beyond which they were unable to perform their duties.
- As a result, positive laws that are incompatible with man’s nature should either not be enacted or be overturned.
- An orderly society governed by human rules applies to individuals at their most basic stage of development.
- Even in the condition of perfection or innocence, according to Aquinas, aruler is required to offer direction and leadership.
- Tyranny is illegitimate, and justice necessitates that a tyrant be ousted in order to restore peace.
- Justifiable resistance is a collective act of the entire population.
- Therefore, there is no authority to design laws other than that of representing the people, and legitimate title to power is the outcome of a transfer by rational act and consent of the community.
Despite the fact that he did not propose a true theory of the hypothetical optimal regime for the ideal society, he advocated for a mixed regime in the real world.
In order to avoid arbitrary use of power, this hybrid regime would be constrained by moral legislation as well as legal or constitutional mechanisms.
Politics, in the opinion of Thomas Aquinas, is a sovereign creation of reason.
As a result, law should serve the general public’s interests.
The human ability for contemplation and decision, he said, is respected by civilized political institutions and serves as the foundation of law.
He adds that the law may be tailored to the needs of the time and location, and that it can be effectively adjusted in response to changes in the situations of mankind.
He goes on to say that lawmakers must also analyze and test the usefulness of potential rules in order to identify which ones are the most suited to become legislation.
When determining whether a legislation should be modified, the test of usefulness is used.
Aquinas observes that moral and legal reasoning is an inexact science and that good law is developed via past experience and examination of relevant social situations.
Recognizing the limitations of the law in the development of virtuous citizens, Aquinas argues that the law should neither explicitly command the performance of all virtues, nor should it directly ban the exercise of all vices.
In the view of Aquinas, the most important practical challenge of an individual’s moral life is deciding what to do in the specific circumstances in which each individual finds himself or herself.
There are no laws that can anticipate every specific occasion under which a law may be implemented.
There may be scenarios in which a law that is relevant in the majority of cases may result in an injustice if implemented in a haphazard manner.
Aquinas recognized that custom can enact, repeal, or change legislation.
Not only is custom a manifestation of general human reason, but it is also the product of the articulated rationality of a select few individuals.
Aquinas dealt with a variety of economic issues, primarily in the Summa TheologicaII and II.
Despite his belief that trading was a vile activity, he recognized the importance of merchants whose efforts benefited the community as a whole.
Several instances of the benefits that trade may provide to society were provided in his case for commercial profits.
His understanding of the advantages of commerce and the division of labor in serving the needs and wants of individuals was well-founded.
He admits that all property is common under natural law, but he argues that the inclusion of private property was an expansion, rather than a violation, of natural law.
He argues that private property is necessary because: (1) men will more resolutely and attentively take care of things if they own them rather than if the goods are held in common by all or many others; (2) possession advances order rather than chaos and confusion because responsibility can be determined; and (3) private property promotes a more peaceful state.
He acknowledged an unequal distribution of private property, but he also supported the government’s control of private property.
What Aquinas intended by the phrase “fair price” is difficult to pin down precisely.
The price paid in a more or less competitive market, according to Aquinas, is the “just price” in an organized trade.
There must be a specific equivalency or proportion between what is given and what is received in order for this to be the case.
He clearly rejected the concept that the price of a product should be decided by the buyer’s or seller’s socioeconomic status, stating that the selling price of any item should be the same whether the buyer or seller is poor or affluent.
Aquinas appears to be referring to the mutualsatisfaction received by each contractual party in an exchange when he talks about equality.
It is clear that Aquinas was not reducing the worth of a good to the value of labor in and of itself.
Aquinas said that buying and selling appear to have been instituted for the mutual benefit of the parties involved since one requires something that the other possesses and vice versa.
For those who create for the market with no expectation of profit, they are only functioning rationally if their pricing are reasonable and their motivations generous.
Despite his conflicting views on commerce, Aquinas was generally considered to be beneficent.
However, he defended commercial gain when it was used to benefit others.
According to Aquinas, the right price is the lowest price that may be obtained from the buyer at a particular moment, presuming that all parties are aware of the situation and that there is no fraud or coercion involved.
By inference, there is no moral obligation on the part of the seller to notify a prospective buyer that he or she should expect the price of the goods that they are seeking to sell to fall in the near future.
Price, according to him, is just compensation for the usefulness that a seller loses when he becomes disassociated from the object being offered for purchase.
When it comes to lending money, Aquinas, like the Bible and Aristotle, made a mistake by condemning interest-bearing practices.
The charge of interest on loans, according to Aquinas, is wicked and unnatural since money is a barren commodity that was just produced for the purpose of trade.