Friday, December 17, 2010

Thomistic Natural Law

Howard Kainz on "traditional natural law as espoused by Cicero, Aquinas, the late-medieval Catholic scholastics, and even later Protestant spokesmen like Grotius, Cumberland, and Pufendorf" — Natural Law without Nature? Aquinas to the Rescue. An excerpt:
    The Thomistic theory of natural law has three important advantages over its avatars: 1) it is based legitimately on the realities of human nature, on the basic impulses that all humans share; 2) it is intuitively connected with natural rights, as "the other side of the coin"; and 3) it offers specific guidelines about moral behavior, whereas general guidelines about "universalization" or conforming to "basic values" do not.

    By default, the Thomistic "metaphysical" natural law has been connected historically with Catholic tradition. In this tradition, natural law has been considered a bridge toward ethical and legal unanimity with non-Catholics and even non-Christians, on the supposition that the theory defends the basic moral presuppositions for all humans.

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