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The Spirit of Medieval Philosophy

I. All the philosophers in the Middle Ages are religious folks, Jews, Muslims, or Christians. We are going to look at the two most important medieval thinkers, both Christians, Augustine (Platonic), who is technically Late Classical and Aquinas (Aristotelian).

II. Synthesis of Greek philosophy with scriptural religion (Bible, Koran). Some folks say that such a synthesis is an intrinsically misguided project. However, our medievals will say that ...

A. Faith is not irrational

1. Many truths of religion can be proved by reason

2. Many important truths cannot be proven and must be accepted on faith.

a. What "faith" means is accepting as true some claim based on the testimony of others. It's not something that can be demonstrated philosophically, nor did you witness it yourself.

b. For example that your folks are your folks. It would be irrational (and impossible in practice) not to take some things "on faith".

3 . Accepting some beliefs on faith does increase risk of believing something false....But it is equally an epistemic problem when you fail to commit yourself to belief in the truth.

B. Religion needs philosophy

1. A simple faith is in danger of being destroyed when it is challenged intellectually, e.g. There's a conflict between science and religion, or Science has answered all the questions so we don't need religion.

2. You can't love what you don't know.

  Introduction to God

(Philosophically informed medieval and traditional Christians, Augustine and Aquinas.  Many medieval Jews and Muslims will agree on much of this, although on some issues there is signficant debate.)

I. Overarching idea: God is absolutely perfect and unlimited. Why start here?

A. Religious adequacy -- Surely we should not worship a being who is imperfect and limited.

B. What the proofs prove. -- Attempts to prove the existence of God point to attributes that involve perfection and being unlimited.

C. The source of all must transcend the limiting categories of this world.

II. Only 1. Were there two they'd limit each other. For example say we have god A and god B...

    Either A and B have power over each other in which case each one is limited by having a being have power over it.

    Or A and B do NOT have power over each other in which case each one is limited because there's a being over which it does not have power.

III. Omnipotent

A. Can't do the logically impossible.

1.Is He limited by logic then?  No. He's unlimited.

2. Does He create or invent the laws of logic? No. If He had, then He'd transcend them and we couldn't think or talk meaningfully about Him at all.

a. Here's a nice law of logic -- It's not the case that A and not-A in the same way at the same time.

b. If that doesn't apply to God then when we say He's powerful, we must also grant that at the same time He's weak, etc. etc.

3. Logic is a reflection of the nature of God. Logic is the rules for thinking correctly about what there is. What there is comes from God and reflects His nature.

B. Can't forget or make a mistake or stub His toe.  Nothing for which limitation is a prerequisite.

C. Can't sin.  Sin=to will what God wills you not to will.

-- God can do anything which is not logically impossible FOR A PERFECT AND UNLIMITED BEING --

IV. Perfectly Good, perfectly Just.

--The Euthyphro dilemma-- (But note that there is more to goodness than moral goodness)

1. Is there an external moral order to which God conforms. No! Then He'd be limited.

2. Does God create or invent the principles of value, including the laws of morality? (Divine Command theory: The good is to do whatever God commands you to do  and God can command you to do anything logically possible.) No!

a. If He had created or invented the moral order, then Moral order would be arbitrary. Many philosophers find this just impossible to accept. 

b. "God is good" would be empty of positive meaning.

3. The moral law (like logic) is a reflection of God's nature.  God is the standard for all good...neither circumscribed by moral order, nor inventing it.

V. Omniscient.  Knows past, present, and future.

VI. Eternal. Outside of time. Timeless -- but (for our purposes in here) there are two (basic) possible meanings for these terms -- everlasting or REALLY outside of time.

VII. Omnipresent (Ubiquitous)

VIII. Necessary -- by His very nature He cannot possibly fail to exist.

IX. Creator -- of everything

A. Why? Love

B. How?

1. Out of what?  Ex nihilo. Out of nothing. God does not use or have to deal with anything independent at all.

2. How? by thinking.

3. When? Always...God is sustaining everything in being from moment to moment.

-- N.B. This is not to deny natural causation.  The fire really does burn the cotton.  The whole system is immediately sustained in being by God, so God can be said to be the Primary Cause, but natural things really do have causal powers, Secondary Causation.

a.)You have to say this, otherwise you can't do science. 1.) Science talks in terms of causal connections. 2.) Observation IS a causal connection. 3.) The natures of things are largely constituted by their causal connections.

b.)And it's actually more respectful of divine power to say that God made things with powers of their own.

VIII. Personal

A. A person

B. Providential, interested in us

A few words on biblical interpretation

A. Bible is all true. It's the inerrant word of God. Augustine: It's all literally  true, however....

B. That doesn't mean that it can or should always be taken in its prima facie (at first glance) sense. (e.g. the physics text book) It's not that just anybody can crack it open and understand what it means.

C. Great deal of care and education and working within Church tradition and Church community.

D. So, for example, Genesis. 6 Days?  Can't take it in its prima facie sense for a couple of reasons.

1. Conflicts with other parts of Bible -- God is working up to the present time

2. Terms obviously require interpretation. What does "day" mean?  The Sun isn't created until the 4th day.

3. Rather charming that he comes up with an interpretation, involving seminal reasons, which squares very nicely with some versions of  evolution. (God creates the potentialities for things "in the beginning" and they gradually unfold over time.)

The problem of evil.

Some folks will say that this God we've described certainly (His non-existence can be proven) or at least probably (there is good evidence against His existence) does not exist, since His existence is inconsistent with the fact of evil.

-- If God is perfectly good He'd want to get rid of evil.  If He's all-powerful He'd be able to.  And yet there's evil.

-- If God is the absolute source of everything, then He must be the source of evil.  But we said He's perfectly good, so He can't be the source of evil.  Therefore there cannot be a God such as we've described.

St. Augustine of Hippo 354-430

(First to offer a well-developed synthesis.  Laid the foundation for much of western thought.  Addressed fundamental issues...among them this problem of evil. First task is to trace through this problem.  A lot of important issues will be raised in the process.)

--Moral evil (wrong choices and the bad consequences of those wrong choices) vs. Natural evil (pain, suffering, harm in general NOT the result of wrong choices) -- (Manicheans run them together)

I. Manicheanism: Augustine believed it for a long time, eventually rejects it and becomes a major opponent.  It's a perennial ideology which never quite dies out.  We've seen versions of it in our own day.  Malignant.

A. Manicheans say that basically they're accepting the Judeo-Christian God, but...

B. There is an equal and opposite force...a bad divinity.

1. Good = light and spirit

2. Evil = darkness and matter

3. Physical world is made by the bad god.

4. Eternal struggle between the two...we are the battleground. Good soul trapped in evil body.

C. So we can explain evil...there's just always been this bad god. (Natural and moral evil essentially the same.)  People do evil because they're dragged down by their bodies.

D. Implications

1. Worst thing is to procreate.

2. Death is neat.

E. 20th century. George Lucas, Heaven's Gate

F. Augustine rejects it eventually.  What if he hadn't?

G. Manicheanism fundamentally contradictory.  You can't believe in anything like the Judeo-Christian God and accept that there's an equal and opposite.  There can't be two Gods!!!

II. God is the omnipotent creator, and He made all things good.

    A. This includes the human body. Augustine is a dualist, but not a Platonic dualist.  

    1. You are a unity of body and soul.

    2. Death is a bad thing because it is a wrenching apart of what ought to be together. (Traditional Christian view is that eventually you get your body back after death.)

    B. All kinds of consequences for moral teaching. E.g. Abortion.

III. So where does evil come from?

A. It's not a thing, no ontological status at all. Rather, evil is a lack or corruption or perversion of the good. Time Bandits. Read from Confessions VII, 12.

B. But certainly there is Moral Evil. People do things that involve the corruption or destruction of the good. Where does that come from?  -- Free will.

1. Wouldn't it have been better if God had made us so we'd just do the good necessarily?

2. No. Then we'd be automata. We are this incredibly cool kind of thing, morally responsible agents. 

    a. All human beings have this great value, this intrinsic human dignity. And we're all equally valuable. Introduced to the planet by Christianity.

    b. But for this kind of thing to be happy it needs to CHOOSE the good. And choice means options.

C. Natural Evil

1. Much of what looked at first to be natural evil is actually tracable to moral evil. 

a. Directly -- For example, X has lung cancer and X smoked a pack a day.

b. Indirectly -- If it hadn't been for moral evil we'd be further along in predicting disasters, curing diseases, and solving problems. Suppose, for example, that people had been nice instead of awful for much of human history.

2. What about purely natural evil? Mr. Bunny getting killed and eaten by Mr. Fox?

a. The actual universe with its causal system and the creatures which depend upon the causal system is a very good thing, and the suffering is an intrinsic part.  

b. For example, You don't get Mr. Bunny without Mr. Fox.


IV. Why is there so much moral evil? (We are moving here into specifically Christian territory. Big ideas that affect Western Civ.)

A. Original Sin -- at the dawn of human history people disobeyed God and introduced a condition of war -- Man and God, Man and Man, Man within himself.

1.. The one Christian doctrine which is empirically provable.  Do the experiment...

2. That implausible? Well, look at human history.

3. Not a pessimistic view of human nature. The nature is fine. Something has gone badly wrong with it.

V. How do we get out of this terrible situation?

A. Grace.  Help from God involving Him giving you faith in Christ. Goal is salvation. Can't possibly dig your way out on your own.

B. Pelagians.  You don't need grace.  If you try really, really hard you can be good enough to merit heaven on your own.
        --Semi-Pelagianism: You DO need grace, but you can MERIT it.

VI. Augustine rejects Pelagianism.

A. Makes the Christian story nonsense.

B. Limits divine sovereignty

VII. The Impact on the Protestant Reformers like Luther and Calvin

A. Catholics and Protestants agree that Grace is...

1. necessary

2. unmerited

B. Irrestitible? Catholic Church leaves room open for free cooperation with grace, whereas Luther and Calvin, following Augustine, put all the causal power into the hands of God.

VIII.. Defense of Augustine's view from politics. (I suspect there's a streak of Augustinianism in you.)

1. Pelagianism in the political arena is Utopianism.

2. E.g.  The Republic...let's give the philosopher-king absolute power. It's okay because he's the best and the brightest.  Sure!

3. 20th century...Fascism or Marxism...throw off the old morality, put the right race or class in the saddle and we can save ourselves.  And what you get is Auschwitz and the Gulag.

4. Our founding fathers much more Augustinian.  Three branches of government for checks and balances.

IX. Augustine's political views -- extremely anti-Utopian.  No theocracy. No divine right of kings.

--note that Augustine sees the state as basically the guys with the guns--

A. The state is not a natural institution.  

1. Something deeply disordered about one bunch of folks authorized to use force against another, given that we're all fundamentally equal. 

-- Super important idea that we get from Christianity: the basic equality AND intrinsic VALUE of all human beings simply in virtue of being human...even the poor, the stranger, women and children!!!

2. Society and Family, on the other hand, are natural institutions.

B. There has to be a state...because of original sin.

C  So state is important and does have its own role to play in the world. Can't trust it any farther than you can throw it.

D. System unimportant...just so it

1. keeps order enough to enable people to meet their physical needs

2. allows you to worship God.

E. Separation of Church and State.

1. Church is more important as its role is more important, but Church should not try to mess with the business of the state.  

2. State should leave the Chuch alone and not meddle in business of the church.

2. But note that this does not mean that Christians shouldn't participate in government.

3. Much of medieval history is driven by the struggle between church and state. 

Augustine's Ethics

I. The goal of human existence is happiness

II. "...the happy life exists when that which is man's chief good is both loved and possessed."

III. God (The only thing that can make you perfectly happy.)

A. Everything else can be lost against your will

B. (?) Hunger for the absolute?  Ultimate meaning and value?

V. Does this mean we all have to be theologians?  No.  Just keep God at the top. Properly ordered love.

VI. What is it to choose evil?

A. No such thing as evil per se. (Remember the privative theory.)

B. Choosing evil is when you choose a lesser good.  When you put things out of order.  Disordered love.

C. Consistently choose evil you are tending towards destroy yourself, become less human, less social, less rational.


I. We don't learn any knowledge from the words of the teacher. (Remember Gorgias?  Words are mere symbols.)

A. ingens cuniculus albus, viridis struthocamelus, ingens gallina caerulea

B. You wouldn't know ‘huge white rabbit' if you hadn't had the things pointed out to you. (Note that Augustine gives a little more credit to the senses than Plato in that the idea of the natural species may be accessible from the individual itself.)

Real KNOWLEDGE is true belief acquired through direct acquaintance. (Remember that it is reasonable to commit to "mere" beliefs.  We can't navigate the world if we don't believe lots of stuff on the testimony of others But knowledge is even better.)

II. What about the things you know that we can't point to?

A. Necessary truths like: 2+2=4, math;  -(A&-A), logic; It's better to be smart than stupid, value.

B. These truths are ...

 1. objective -- i.e. they're real

 2. immutable and eternal

3. So they're not about the observable world...they'd be just what they are if there were no observable world. The observable world is changing.

C. Plato: recollection

D. Augustine: divine illumination:

 1. no preexistence of soul.

 2. truths are in God, in fact God's nature is the absolute standard for logic, math and value.  So Plato's World of the Forms is now the mind of God. God=Truth (with a capital T...primal Truth).

 3. Divine Illumination: God "shines" these truths into our minds when we are prepared for them due to what we've run into in the world.

 4. Need illumination to know anything because to make sense out of sense data need a  preexisting cognitive framework.

III. Proof for God

A. If I can show you something which is 1.) immutable and eternal, 2.) superior to the human mind (which is the best thing we know in this world) and 3.) the source of the entire observable world, wouldn't that be God?

1. Math, logic, morality, ...all facets of Truth...immutable and eternal

2. Superior to the human mind because it's the standard against which the mind is judged.

3. Source of all because everything in order to be must have form, form is a function of mathematical equations.

B. Ultimate goal of knowledge is to get closer to God, acheive a mystical vision of God.

-------n.b.-------For Augustine can't really talk about any aspect of the human condition without talking about God.  Knowledge.  Ethics.  God is the goal.


I. Importance

A. Catholic Church 

B. Philosophy of Religion

C. Aristotelian ethics and politics

II. Background

A. Augustine; 

1. Thomas agrees with Augustine about the basic nature of God as we spelled it out in class, and he agrees about the privative theory of evil, and that human wickedness comes from free will. He will also agree about original sin. 

2. He disagrees about politics and also epistemology. 

    a. Aquinas will give the system a more Aristotelian spin. 

    b. Means that, whereas for Augustine you just can't answer any philosophical question properly without involving God. So, e.g. ethics and epistemology.  Aquinas will say that you can't answer any question fully without involving God, but you can get a correct, if                 limited, answer without bringing God into the picture. See this clearly in his epistemology and in his ethics. "Humanism".

B. How does Aquinas come to be an Aristotelian?

1. In Latin Europe after the late classical period only a little Aristotle is available, however...

2. In the Eastern, Greek-speaking part of the Roman Empire texts preserved in monasteries in Middle East. 

3. Mohammed is born in the middle of the 6th century and says that God has told him to conquer the world for Islam.

4. Within a couple of hundred years Islam has spread by the sword across North Africa, up into Spain, Sicily, and the Middle East. 

5. Aristotle's texts are discovered, translated, and commented upon by Islamic thinkers.  

6. By the end of the 12th century interaction between Muslims and Christians allows Aristotle to reach Europe. 

7. Philosophical debates involving Aristotle in Islamic world carried over to Europe.

C. Big problem with just embracing what Aristotle has to say. -- Some of what Aristotle says is just not consistent with Judaism, Christianity, or Islam. For example, the nature and role of Aristotle's god, the Unmoved Mover, is radically different from what Muslims (and Jews and Christians) are going to attribute to God.

1. (As an example)  Averroes. (Ibn Rushd) 1126-1198.

a. Last great philosopher to self-identify as a Muslim. (I do not say that he is a Muslim in any meaningful sense of the term.) 

b. So what do we do when Aristotle seems to conflict with the Quran? The Quran has to give.

c. (As an example) Is the world everlasting?

    1. Yes, and that does seem to conflict with the Quran, but, according to Averroes, it's not big deal. Not that important how many days there are in the past.

    2. But WHY say the world is everlasting? Because an immutable cause must produce an immutable effect. Averroes will agree with Aristotle that God does not act as an agent in the world.  He does not even know us as individuals.

    3. Puts philosophy in a bad oder among Muslims.

D. The situation vis-a-vis Aristotle and Christians in Europe in 13th century.

a. Latin Averroists

b. Aristotle is bad and shouldn't be taught!

c. Aquinas -- an Aristotelian, but we're not just going to swallow what Aristotle says when it conflicts with Christianity.


I. Empiricist. (No illumination!)  All (natural) knowledge starts with the senses.  (God could work a miracle on you -- supernatural knowledge -- but don't hold your breath.)

A. Rational mind abstracts universal from sense data

B. Even the truths of mathematics and logic can be abstracted.

II. There are important truths that reason alone will not deliver.  We also need revelation (i.e. Scripture...the Church).

A. Careful to distinguish appropriate spheres of faith and reason (what you can absolutely prove to any rational person, vs. what you accept on the basis of testimony)...mindful of the unhappy experience of the Muslims, e.g. Averroes (Ibn Rushd)

B. Reason can get you pretty far...we can prove that there's a God and various things about Him.

C. Need revelation...

 1. Not everybody has the time or the talent to do philosophy.

 2. There are important truths, necessary for salvation, which you can't get from reason  alone, e.g. Trinity, Incarnation.

D. Reason and Revelation will never be in conflict.  Truth is truth. 

Talking about God

 I. The Problem -- on Thomas' empiricism we get our concepts and corresponding terms from creatures.

II. So how can they apply to God?

a. Univocally? No, they can't mean just the same thing.

b. Equivocally? No. If they meant something entirely different we couldn't talk about God at all.

c. Analogically. They have a somewhat different, but related, meaning. Like "healthy"  in "Healthy horse" , "healthy urine" etc.

Proving God: The Five Ways

I. Thomas' Background presuppositions

A. Is the world eternal (i.e. everlasting)?

 1. You can't prove it either way philosophically.

 2. So it's reasonable to go with revelation as a matter of faith.

 3. When doing philosophy just leave it an open question.

 4. None of the Five Ways depends on their being a temporal beginning to the world. None of the Five Ways purports to show that there was a temporal beginning to the world.

B. Empiricist...all proofs start with an observable fact about the world.  Note the effect and argue back to a cause.

II. The proofs.

A. The First Way

 1. Aristotle's proof for an Unmoved Mover

 2. Might ask whether or not we're really proving God, then.  Need all five.

B. The Second Way:  Proof for a first cause for the being of things.

("Contingent" being...the sort of thing which might or might not exist.  We can conceive of its not existing. Its essence does not equal its existence.  Its existence requires a cause.)

 The Proof

1. There are contingent things (c).

2.  C cannot cause itself.

3. It (C)  must be caused by something already existent.

4. An infinite series of contingent causes cannot explain the existence of anything. (The mirror analogy again. A contingent cause would be a sort of "existence mirror", passing existence along once it's got it.)

5. Therefore there must be a first (but not in time!!!) uncaused cause. I.e. something that is not contingent, a necessary being which is the cause of contingent beings. A being for whom Essence = Existence.)

C. The Third Way : A necessary being...i.e. a being which could not possibly fail to exist...whose very  nature it is to be. (We're skipping it).

D. The Fourth Way : A best which all good things "resemble".  Gradation in value an objective fact about the world.

 The Proof

  1. Mother Theresa is better than Adolf Hitler. (An objective fact)

  2. We couldn't recognize this if we did not perceive a standard.  (Better or worse  in relationship to what?)

--But this is not an epistemic point about some idea in our heads --

  3. Standard must be the source of good...goodness is an objective quality that  things have, some more, some less, insofar as they "share in" the nature of the ultimate good.

  4. So for all perfections.

   5. Therefore there is a Best, God.

-- Alternate version focusing on moral value very popular in 19th-20th centuries, widely accepted by intellectuals. 

1. If it is not the case that God exists (-God) > Then it is not the case that there is an objective moral order ( -moral order).

-- a necessary law of logic -- (A > B) > (-B > -A)   

2. Moral order > God. 

3. There is an objective moral order.

4. Therefore there is a God.

 -- Note that this really begins to sound like God.

E. The Fifth Way (The Teleological Argument, Argument from Design, order requires an orderer.) 

In the news a lot lately through versions of design arguments which fall under the label  "Intelligent Design".

(First a word about evolution since for the last 150 years or so some people have said that the theory of evolution conflicts with there being a divine designer.)

1. Question: Would Aquinas see any contradiction between belief in evolution of species and belief in Judea-Christian God? 

a. Understand evolution to hold that later more complex species evolve from earlier simpler species due to mutations and survival of the fittest.

b. We're talking about evolution as a scientific theory (science: studying empirical facts to construct theories and discover what's the case about the physical world). 

c. Answer: No!  He really likes Secondary Causation. He'd just say the whole system is being caused by God.

b. Suppose we revise the question and say that naturalism,(all there is is the entities and principles which are objects of the sciences) including evolution is sufficient to explain everything, therefore there is no God.  

1. Does that conflict with belief in God? Yes. 

2. Is it science? No. It's philosophy.  (What constitutes everything? What is a sufficent explanation?)

Note Well: What's called "Intelligent Design" in the contemporary discussion is NOT the argument that Thomas is making!!!

2. Intelligent Design: There is some specific aspect of the universe that cannot be explained naturalistically. That is, given the entities and principles proposed by the science of our day, this specific phenomenon cannot be explained. It is better explained by positing a divine designer. Therefore there's a God.

E.g. (As an example of one sort of ID argument) There are irreducibly complex systems -- whole system must be in place for survival trait to exist, therefore it could not have evolved gradually.  For example, The ear is not a survival mechanism unless all the parts are in place, working together. Science can't explain it, so posit a designing God.

Standard Criticisms of Intelligent Design:

a. The cause required for the explanation is not God, e.g. We could posit aliens or game players.

b. ID argues to a "God of the gaps", I.e. ID is invoking God to explain something that science can't explain yet, but no reason to suppose science won't be able to in future.

c. Thomas would probably not like ID. 

    1. He's a big fan of scientific causation and...

    2. He might think it was demeaning to God to suggest that He couldn't make the system right, so He has to step in and tinker to get the results He wants. 

3. Aquinas' version is different.  It's not some particular aspect of the universe that points to God.  It's the fact that there's order at all.  Every physical phenomenon in the universe, all these non-rational things, behave in this repetitious way, "so as to obtain the best result" .

So the proof goes like this:

1. There is universal order (ubiquitous laws of nature). (Repetitious behavior)

2. Objects cannot exist without the order. For example, the solar system couldn't exist if the planets didn't go round and round the sun. An atom isn't an atom if the electrons aren't doing what electrons do.   

(So the repititious behavior is aimed at some good. Teleological.)

3. Universal order is a contingent phenomenon.  (Even more clear for us with Big Bang)

4. Must be a cause which brings universal order into being.

5. Only a rational designer could produce order. (Cause must be adequate to effect. Only reason can recognize the connection between the repitition and the existence of the object.)

6. (I'm adding this one just to make it perfectly clear.) Designer must be a necessary being (or else we'd just have to look for what caused this designer.)

7.. Therefore there is a transcendent, designing mind producing all the order. And this all men call God.


I. Eternal Law > Natural Law

II. The Goal is happiness

A. Here and now through fullfilling your nature

B. Just like Aristotle

C. But for Aquinas there's much more to the picture in that ultimately the goal is eternal happiness with God.

---Difference from Augustine. Aquinas will say that we can get a correct, though incomplete, picture without bringing God in. Of course, complete picture requires God. -- 

III.  What are we? (Note that we did all this with Aristotle)

A. Rational, Social animals

B. Innate desires e.g....

 1. Self-preservation
 2. Procreation
 3. Society (so it's not selfish)
 4. Knowledge

C. As rational we need to figure out proper way to satisfy desires.

D. Universal...though doesn't mean everybody is going to act just the same.

IV. "Unnatural"

A. Not...

1.) Nobody wants to do it,

2.) Animals don't do it

3.) Artificial or man-made.

B. But rather....It's bad for you.  (Eating dirt)

V. Can the Natural Law be changed, even by God?  Yes and no.

A. No.  Even God can't ‘subtract' from it.  I.e. if something is good can't make it bad, if it's bad can't make it good, since the criterion is just what is objectively helpful or harmful to the human animal.

B. Yes. Have to add to it.

 1. The Divine Law

  a. Pertains to our eternal destiny
  b. Couldn't be learned through reason alone. Natural reason all begins with sense experience and so it is limited.
  c. Revelation teaches, for example faith, hope and charity.

 2. Also add by specifications for a particular society...i.e....

VI. Human Law

A. Comes from Natural Law

 1. E.g. speed limits...not necessary in all societies, but is in ours...

 2. Human laws may differ from society to society.

  a. sometimes different situations.  80MPH
  b. sometimes need a rule, not important exactly what rule.  Driving on the left.

B. If a "law" is not from the Natural Law, then it is not really ‘binding in conscience.' Not intrinsically authoritative.   Note the assumptions which undergird our own system...

 1. There is a moral order above the rule of the state...there can be bad laws, civil disobedience is sometimes justified.

 2. We have moral status just in virtue of being a human being (it is not bestowed upon us by society)

--- Thomas grants that there are times when it is legitimate to disoby the law --

C. Even a good law can't cover all cases.

D. Required to disobey law when it goes against God...e.g. Worshipping the Earth Goddess

E. However (of course!) usually-- or more like almost always!-- you should obey even a bad law in the interests of civil order.

I. Remember Augustine's dim view.

A. State is not a natural institution, rather it is a result of original sin...a ‘necessary evil.'

B. Best we can hope for is order and freedom to worship.

II. Aquinas is much more positive.

A. The state is a natural institution (i.e. it grows out of human nature)

 1. We are naturally social and...

 2. Need a group to do the job of organizing things.

B. Point is to help people lead good and happy lives...that's what justifies authority.

C. The Best State

 1. In theory a monarchy...assuming we've got a really good monarch.  

a. Advantage is the  monarch will be more efficienct since there's only one of him.  Unity.  

b. Problem is it's hard  to get a great monarch, and even if you manage to get one, he won't last and it's really  hard to get two in a row.

 2. In practice...a constitutional monarchy with a mixture of forms of government

  a. monarch
  b. advisors (aristocracy)
  c. officials elected by the people (democracy)

D.  What if you get a tyrant.  Rules for himself and not the good of the people?  Throw the bastard out!  If...

 1. Things are so bad that it's really worth the cost of instability...maybe war.

 2. You're reasonably sure you can win.  No point in just making things worse.

 3. You're reasonably sure you'll be able to replace him with something better (!).

E. No Theocracy! No Divine Right of Kings!