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Treatise on Law is Thomas Aquinas' major work of legal philosophy. It forms questions 90–108 of the Prima Secundæ ("First [Part] of the Second [Part]") of the Summa Theologiæ,Aquinas' masterwork of Scholastic philosophical theology. Along with Aristotelianism, it forms the basis for the legal theory of Catholic canon law.
Thomas Aquinas was an Italian Dominican friar, Philosopher, Catholic priest, and Doctor of the Church. He is an immensely influential philosopher, theologian, and jurist in the tradition of scholasticism, within which he is also known as the Doctor Angelicus and the Doctor Communis. The name Aquinas identifies his ancestral origins in the county of Aquino in present-day Lazio, Italy. He was the foremost classical proponent of natural theology and the father of Thomism; of which he argued that reason is found in God. His influence on Western thought is considerable, and much of modern philosophy developed or opposed his ideas, particularly in the areas of ethics, natural law, metaphysics, and political theory.
Philosophy of law is a branch of philosophy that examines the nature of law and law's relationship to other systems of norms, especially ethics and political philosophy. It asks questions like "What is law?", "What are the criteria for legal validity?", and "What is the relationship between law and morality?" Philosophy of law and jurisprudence are often used interchangeably, though jurisprudence sometimes encompasses forms of reasoning that fit into economics or sociology.
The Summa Theologiae is the best-known work of Thomas Aquinas. Although unfinished, the Summa is "one of the classics of the history of philosophy and one of the most influential works of Western literature." It is intended as an instructional guide for theology students, including seminarians and the literate laity. It is a compendium of all of the main theological teachings of the Catholic Church. It presents the reasoning for almost all points of Christian theology in the West. The Summa's topics follow a cycle: God; Creation, Man; Man's purpose; Christ; the Sacraments; and back to God.
Aquinas defines a law as "an ordinance of reason for the common good, made by him who has care of the community, and promulgated."
Law is an ordinance of reason because it must be reasonableor based in reason and not merely in the will of the legislator. It is for the common good because the end or telos of law is the good of the community it binds, and not merely the good of the lawmaker or a special interest group. It is made by the proper authority who has "care of the community", and not arbitrarily imposed by outsiders. It is promulgated so that the law can be known.
Thus from the four preceding articles [of Question 90], the definition of law may be gathered; and it is nothing else than an ordinance of reason for the common good, made by him who has care of the community, and promulgated.
Strictly speaking, this is a definition of human law.The term "law" as used by Aquinas is equivocal, meaning that the primary meaning of law is "human law", but other, analogous concepts are expressed with the same term.
Natural law or the law of nature refers to normative properties that are inherent by virtue of human nature and universally cognizable through human reason. Historically, natural law refers to the use of reason to analyze both social and personal human nature to deduce binding rules of moral behavior. The law of nature, being determined by nature, is universal.
Natural law is law that is held to exist independently of the positive law of a given political order, society or nation-state. As determined by nature, the law of nature is implied to be objective and universal; it exists independently of human understanding, and of the positive law of a given state, political order, legislature or society at large. Historically, natural law refers to the use of reason to analyze human nature to deduce binding rules of moral behavior from nature's or God's creation of reality and mankind.
In the Treatise on Law, deals with Aquinas view’s on the objective ethical aspect of human decision-making. Aquinas presents a question and then puts each question into article raising specific questions he has. The first three questions are broken down in four topics what is the essence of law, the effects of law, and the eternal law. The first question Ninety of Aquinas Treatise on Law is what is the essence of law? In the first question he breakdowns the question into four articles. The first article is Does Law Belong to Reason? Aquinas believes that reason is the first thing human acts upon. “And the source in any kind of thing is the measure and rule of that kind of thing…and so we conclude that law belongs to reason.” (90.1) The second is Law Always Ordained for the Common Good? We cannot find common good without reason; it guides us to common happiness through law. Happiness for the whole community. The third article is Any Person’s Reason Competent to Make Law? And the last article is Promulgation an Essential Component of Law? Promulgation is important so that the law can achieve force. By the end of the fourth article Aquinas comes up with his definition on Law, “Law is an ordination of reason for the common good by one who has care for the community, and promulgated.”(90.4) Next we Next is question is Ninety-One on what are the different kinds of law? Aquinas establishes four types of laws eternal law, natural law, human law, and divine law. Eternal law “Gods providence rules the world…his reason evidently governs the entire community in the universe.” (91.1) Aquinas believes that eternal law is all gods doing. Natural law is the participation in the eternal law by rational creators. Natural law allows us to decide between good and evil. Next we have Human Law; particular applications of law resulting by reason. “Human law originally sprang from nature.” (91.3) The last law is Divine this law is important because “it belongs to any law to be directed to the common good at its end.” (91.4) Theses laws all go together and the relationship must be presented to comprehend them individually. Question 92 is the Effects on Laws. The first article is the Effect of Law to Make Human Beings Good? Aquinas feels in order for law to make people good that law needs to guide people to their right virtue. “Therefore, since virtue makes those possessing it good, the proper effect of law is consequently to make its subject good, either absolutely or in some respect.” (92.1) The second article of 92 is Do we Suitably Designate Legal Acts? This article focuses on what “designate legal acts consist of “commanding, forbidding, permitting, and punishing.” (92.2) Aquinas believes that some human acts are good and some are evil. Question 93 focuses on the Eternal as a whole. Aquinas is asking is the eternal law the supreme plan in god? Aquinas argues whether or not if the eternal law is a plan of god. He says “God made each thing with its own nature. Therefore, the eternal law is not the same as divine plan.” (93.1) Augustine contradicts this idea by stating “the eternal law is the supreme plan that we should always obey.” (93.1) Aquinas believes that the eternal law “is simply the plan of divine wisdom that directs all the actions and movements of created things.” (93.1) He saying that god is above all else. That he creates everything in the universe. Human beings participate in eternal law in two ways by action and cognition. “The virtuous are completely subjects to the eternal law, as they always act in accord with.” (93.6) Aquinas believes people who are truthful act according to the eternal law.
For Aquinas, human law is only valid if it conforms to natural law. If a law is unjust, then it is not actually a law, but a "perversion of law".
The Treatise on Law (as part of the Summa Theologica ) is divided into Articles (or broad topics) and Questions (or specific topics). The Questions each argue for a single thesis and defend it against objections. The division is as follows:
1. IN GENERAL
2. IN PARTICULAR
William S. Brewbacker III has called it "perhaps the most famous of metaphysical legal texts”,while Robert M. Hutchins declared it “that greatest of all books on the philosophy of law”.
Jurisprudence or legal theory is the theoretical study of law. Scholars of jurisprudence seek to explain the nature of law in its most general form and provide a deeper understanding of legal reasoning, legal systems, legal institutions, and the role of law in society.
Natural theology, once also termed physico-theology, is a type of theology that provides arguments for the existence of God based on reason and ordinary experience of nature.
According to divine illumination, the process of human thought needs to be aided by divine grace. It is the oldest and most influential alternative to naturalism in the theory of mind and epistemology. It was an important feature of ancient Greek philosophy, Neoplatonism, medieval philosophy, and the Illuminationist school of Islamic philosophy.
The Euthyphro dilemma is found in Plato's dialogue Euthyphro, in which Socrates asks Euthyphro, "Is the pious loved by the gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is loved by the gods?" (10a) It implies that if moral authority must come from the gods it does not have to be good, and if moral authority must be good it does not have to come from the gods – a highly controversial idea at the time Socrates first presented it.
The existence of God is a subject of debate in the philosophy of religion and popular culture.
The Summa contra Gentiles is one of the best-known treatises by St Thomas Aquinas, written as four books between 1259 and 1265.
Thomism is the philosophical school that arose as a legacy of the work and thought of Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274), philosopher, theologian, and Doctor of the Church. In philosophy, Aquinas' disputed questions and commentaries on Aristotle are perhaps his most well-known works.
Positive laws are human-made laws that oblige or specify an action. It also describes the establishment of specific rights for an individual or group. Etymologically, the name derives from the verb to posit.
Hope is one of the three theological virtues in Christian tradition. Hope being a combination of the desire for something and expectation of receiving it, the virtue is hoping for Divine union and so eternal happiness. While faith is a function of the intellect, hope is an act of the will.
In monotheistic thought, God is conceived of as the supreme being, creator deity, and principal object of faith. God is usually conceived as being omniscient (all-knowing), omnipotent (all-powerful), omnipresent (all-present) and as having an eternal and necessary existence. These attributes are used either in way of analogy or are taken literally. God is most often held to be incorporeal (immaterial). Incorporeality and corporeality of God are related to conceptions of transcendence and immanence of God, with positions of synthesis such as the "immanent transcendence".
The canon law of the Catholic Church is the system of laws and legal principles made and enforced by the hierarchical authorities of the Catholic Church to regulate its external organization and government and to order and direct the activities of Catholics toward the mission of the Church. It was the first modern Western legal system and is the oldest continuously functioning legal system in the West, while the unique traditions of Oriental canon law govern the 23 Eastern Catholic particular churches sui iuris.
This article contains a selection of thoughts of Thomas Aquinas on various topics. It is not intended as a complete account of Aquinas's thought. Within Aquinas' thought is included the philosophical school of Thomism.
Communitas perfecta or societas perfecta is the Latin name given to one of several ecclesiological, canonical, and political theories of the Catholic Church. The doctrine teaches that the church is a self-sufficient or independent group which already has all the necessary resources and conditions to achieve its overall goal of the universal salvation of mankind. It has historically been used in order to define church–state relations and to provide a theoretical basis for the legislative powers of the church in the philosophy of canon law.
The doctrine of sin is central to Christianity, since its basic message is about redemption in Christ. Christian hamartiology describes sin as an act of offence against God by despising His persons and Christian biblical law, and by injuring others. In Christian views it is an evil human act, which violates the rational nature of man as well as God's nature and His eternal law. According to the classical definition of St. Augustine of Hippo sin is "a word, deed, or desire in opposition to the eternal law of God."
Man-made law is law that is made by humans, usually considered in opposition to concepts like natural law or divine law.
A determinatio is an authoritative determination by the legislator concerning the application of practical principles, that is not necessitated by deduction from natural or divine law but is based on the contingencies of practical judgement within the possibilities allowed by reason.
The philosophy, theology, and fundamental theory of canon law are the fields of philosophical, theological (ecclesiological), and legal scholarship which concern the place of canon law in the nature of the Catholic Church, both as a natural and as a supernatural entity. Philosophy and theology shape the concepts and self-understanding of canon law as the law of both a human organization and as a supernatural entity, since the Catholic Church believes that Jesus Christ instituted the church by direct divine command, while the fundamental theory of canon law is a meta-discipline of the "triple relationship between theology, philosophy, and canon law".