Aquinas and Modern Law by JamesBernard Murphy download in iPad, ePub, pdf
When he speaks of the New Law, the teachings of Jesus. Since these are acquisitions at the limit of natural philosophy, they represent possible objects of inquiry in their own right. These are three different expressions of the same change and they all exhibit the form A becomes B. At this level the human law is partly a matter purely of custom. It is always the matter of some substance that exists.
Some of his disputed questions date from his first stint as regius master at Paris. The reason is that respect for the law is largely a matter of custom or habit, and inessential change undermines this custom. In particular he relies upon the fact that it is Socrates himself who engages in intellectual activity.
He poses to us a challenge to think more broadly and deeply about human existence than such an easy dichotomy allows. But Thomas thinks Socrates thinks, and is thus a thinking thing. Were we to arrange them in a hierarchy, eternal would be at the top, then natural, then human.
Of course believers hold that they have an advantage here, since the antecedents that influence them are revealed truths, not just hearsay, received opinion, the zeitgeist, or prejudice. The Prime Mover and the immortal souls of human beings entail that to be and to be material are not identical. Like Aristotle, Thomas holds that there is a plurality of both theoretical and practical sciences. Boethius, Pseudo-Dionysius, and Proclus were conduits through which he learned Neo-platonism. But it is important to recognize that this prime matter is not a substance, and does not exist apart from any particular substance.
So also even if human beings are naturally subject to death, it may well be within the power of God to keep them from dying by a preternatural gift. To fail to eat rationally is not a failure in its cause, but in the eating itself. Many of the questions that can be raised philosophically are such that the believer already holds a position on the answers to them from his religious faith. There is less danger of perversion of law, which is formulated in general, than there would be perversion of judgment in particular cases where no law exists to guide judgment. Now, in his interpretation of Aristotle's De anima Thomas defends a view that was as contested in his own time as it is almost an orphan in our own.
But there is nobody over him to judge him in this life. In that respect they are all alike, and the human soul is thus per se the substantial form of a living body, not per accidens, and the person Socrates is that living body.
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