Political Writings

By Thomas Aquinas; R. W. Dyson | Go to book overview

3
Law

(a) Summa theologiae Ia IIae 90: The essence of law
Here there are four things to consider:
1. Whether law is something belonging to reason
2. The end of law
3. Its cause
4. Its promulgation

articulus 1: Whether law is something belonging to reason

It seems that law is not something belonging to reason.

obiectio 1: For the Apostle says (Romans 7:23): 'I see another law in my members', etc. But nothing which belongs to reason is 'in' the members, for reason does not make use of any corporeal organ. Therefore law is not something belonging to reason.

obiectio 2: Moreover, there is nothing in reason but power, habit, and act.1 But law is not a power of reason; similarly, it is not some habit of reason, because the habits of reason are the intellectual virtues, which have been spoken of above;2 nor again is it an act of reason: if it were, law would cease when the activity of reason ceases; for example, when we are asleep. Therefore law is not something belonging to reason.

obiectio 3: Moreover, law moves those subject to it to act rightly. But, properly speaking, it is the function of will to move someone to act, as is shown by what has been said above.3 Therefore law belongs not to reason,

____________________
1
Cf. Ethics 2:5 (1105b20).
2
Ia IIae 57; and see n. 5 on p. 59, above.
3
Ia IIae 9:1.

-76-

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Political Writings
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents vii
  • Preface xv
  • Abbreviations xvi
  • Introduction xvii
  • A Brief Chronology of St Thomas's Life xxxvii
  • Bibliography xxxviii
  • 1 - Government and Politics 1
  • 2 - Obedience 57
  • 3 - Law 76
  • 4 - Right, Justice and Judgment1 158
  • 5 - Property Relations 205
  • 6 - War, Sedition and Killing 239
  • 7 - Religion and Politics 267
  • Biographical Glossary 279
  • Index 297
  • Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought *
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