Ethics and Politics – Thomas Aquinas


General Philosophy of Classic Philosophers by Jonathan Dolhenty, Ph.D.

In opposition to the voluntarism of St. Augustine, Aquinas upholds the primacy of the intellect over the will. Aquinas extends this law even to God; the foundation of creation is the Divine Essence, which is rational; the present order of creation has been willed by God because it was rational. All created beings must follow the natural law, and for rational beings, including man, it is the law of reason. Man is free, and he can abuse his freedom; but every abuse of freedom is an irrational act.

Aquinas departs from Augustinianism also in his doctrine on the state; society is natural to man, and not a consequence of the original fall, as the Augustinians believed. The first step to society is the family and the end of society is the common material good of men. Civil society, therefore, must recognize another superior society, that is, the Church, to which has been entrusted the spiritual good citizens.

The late Dr. Jonathan Dolhenty was the Founder and President of The Center for Applied Philosophy and the Radical Academy, and is Honorary Philosophy Editor at Self-Educated American. Self-Educated American has adopted these projects beginning with a republishing and preserving of all of Dr. Dolhenty’s work. Copyright © 2014 Self-Educated American.