Saint Thomas Aquinas - Essay Example

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Saint Thomas Aquinas, born in the early thirteenth century, was a Roman Catholic priest, a philosopher and a theologian. Considered by some as the greatest theologian of the Roman Catholic Church, he was one of the thirty-three doctors of the church. Besides being held in high esteem by the Roman Catholic Church as a role-model for students initiating into priesthood, he is also credited with establishing the Thomastic School of philosophy based on his ideas on natural theology…
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Saint Thomas Aquinas
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Download file to see previous pages It follows a cycle-God, God's creation, Man, Man's purpose, Christ, the Sacraments, and back to God. He delves into the various concepts of divinity and explains it with logical and simple reasoning. No wonder it has often been consulted and cited in case of religious discussions and debates over the ages.
Since this essay forms a part of our Theory of Rights course, let us digress a bit and try to understand the background of this essay. A 'right' can be defined as a special advantage for obtaining a liberty, a power, an entitlement, or an immunity that someone gains because of his or her particular status. The general notion of right applies in both legal and moral contexts. It was the famous English philosopher Thomas Hobbes who introduced the English term 'right' into political philosophy with his interpretation of ius naturale as 'right of nature'. As he mentions in the chapter 14 of Leviathan:
The right of nature is the liberty each man has to use his own power as he will himself, for the preservation of his own nature, that is to say, of his own life, and consequently of doing anything which, in his own judgment and reason, he shall conceive to be the aptest means thereunto.

John Locke and William Paley also offered their significant contributions towards the body of work of the theory of rights. John Locke also an English philosopher argues that God created people free and equal in the state of nature. Unlike Hobbes, who supported the theory of natural reason and natural law, Locke proposes the theory of natural right. He further said that as such in this condition, no one is naturally sovereign over anyone else. William Paley, a British divine, best remembered for his watchmaker analogy on the other hand says that rights are either natural or adventitious and that its distinction here rests on whether rights are created by society or not. It is in this background that we shall endeavour to comprehend St Thomas's views on law and its specific relation with reason.

Coming back now to St Thomas, it is also in Summa Theologica that St Thomas talks about the various aspects of law and the role of justice in human community, his basic premise being that law essentially pertains to reason. It is much later in the Summa Theologica that Thomas turns to the problem of law. His skilful treatment of the subject throws light into the coherence of his thought and his confidence in the ability of reason to guide us in making ethical decisions.

The Greek philosopher Aristotle was perhaps one of the first few great masters who portrayed and analysed the intent behind man's actions in their writing and tried to give it a lucid form through a well-structured approach. According to Aristotle, the first principle of all activity is reason. It is through reason that we reach an end to any problem or discussion. St Thomas too concurs with Aristotle in this basic premise. Let us now examine in depth St Thomas's ideas ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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