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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/11317/the-philosopher-theologian-st-thomas-aquinas/

The Philosopher-Theologian: St Thomas Aquinas

December 25, 2009 by

St. Thomas Aquinas was the towering intellect of the High Middle Ages. He built on the philosophical system of Aristotle, the concept of natural law, and Christian theology to forge a mighty synthesis of philosophy, theology and the sciences of man. FULL ARTICLE by Murray N. Rothbard

{ 6 comments }

Bruce Koerber December 25, 2009 at 9:15 am

The Past, Present, And Future Of The Divine Economy Theory.

Thomas Aquinas is a towering figure in classical liberalism and in the unfoldment of the divine economy theory. It is true that this phlosophical line continues back to Aristotle. But the elements and seeds of the divine economy theory goes back further, past Moses and Abraham, as far back as recorded history. Each time epochal civilization advanced a fragment of the divine economy theory was there.

Presently the refinement of the ethics of the divine economy is underway.

In the near future (2011/12) the fourth and final book in the divine economy series will be written and its tantalizing theme will be “This is the balance, this is the balance, this is the balance!”

D. Frank Robinson December 26, 2009 at 2:20 am

The act of expending human labor by ‘cultivating’ or otherwise transforming unowned property as the socially legitimizing of private ownership could also be understood as ‘tooling’ untouched resources and thereby making the use of tools the defining act which establishes private property.

The creature who has the greatest capacity to create tools creates the greatest entitlement to property. It is the brain or mind of man which enables his capacity to create tools and property.

However, ideas alone cannot be property because an idea is not a tool. An idea transforms nothing beyond the mind itself. When an idea creates a useful and transformative tool applied to an external natural resource (energy or matter) then that successful act morally legitimizes ownership of the tool and the resource transformed by that tool.

Furthermore, all the byproducts of the application of a tool also are property. For example, the wielder of an axe owns not just the log but all the chips formed by his action.

Is it not also the case that the human body becomes ‘owned’ when one uses one’s body to create one’s first tool?

Wants, needs and ideas create nothing. Nor can wants, needs or ideas create a property claim for anyone – ever.

Antonio Sarmento December 26, 2009 at 6:23 am

Thinking on the action of creation from operation of the intellectual activity it is easy to understand the concept of tooling as the source of property. However, in regard to the appropriation of material and limited substances, like land, there are many difficulties in agreeing with the idea that “cultivating” or merely transforming the elements present in the earth and adding a seed to it may justify the acquisition of property on that land. Originally, no men was allowed to claim property on land and its resources, even if it was used for morally admissible purposes, like producing food Thinking on the action of creation it is easy to understand the concept of tooling as the source of property. However, the appropriation of material and limited substance, like land, there are so difficulties in agreeing with the idea that “cultivating” or merely transforming the elements present in the earth and adding a seed to it may justify the acquisition of property on that land. Originally, no men was allowed to claim property on land, even if it was used for morally admissible purposes, like producing food for familiar consumption or improving the quality of life. It is a basic concept that the land is the common asset of the humankind, and that no one may ethically find reasons to preempt the rest of a community from the use of land just because an individual thought first on dedicating a tract of land to her personal interest.
This question is possibly the utmost argument to oppose to the right to appropriate certain elements of nature (like air, for instance) in detriment to the natural law standards that call for the institution of a society funded on the general interest and not on the property of capital, which is generated by the illegitimate private appropriation of the nature’s common assets.
. It is a basic concept that the land is the common asset of the humankind, and that no one may ethically find reasons to preempt the rest of a community from the use of land just because an individual thought first on dedicating a tract of land to her personal interest.
This question is possibly the utmost argument to oppose to the right to appropriate certain elements of nature (like air, for instance) in detriment to the natural law standards that call for the institution of a society funded on the general interest and not on the simple property of capital, generated in principle by the illegitimate private appropriation of the nature’s common assets.

James Thompson December 26, 2009 at 10:47 pm

The Two Volume Random House “Basic Works of Saint Thomas Aquinas,” was acquired by a German Company, who sold it to a Catholic Publishing House, which does not put it back in Print! Catholic Seminaries have not taught Saint Thomas Aquinas since the early 1960′s, but have taught the Neo-Platonist Plagiarist Emmanuel Kant instead, who was the Official Philosopher of Nazi Germany! Kant Plagarised Emmanuel Swedenborg’s “Heavenly Secrets” (available online in English translation at the Baltimore Swedenborgian Church)
for his “Critique of Pure Reason,” which was read in the Original German by the 12 years old Charles Sanders Peirce who declared it full of “irreconcilable Contradictions.” Peirce is the only American Philosopher studied abroad; in 1896 he published a suggestion for a Digital Computer using electrical relays, that used George Boole’s equations to make mathematical calculations. The Evil Black Listing of Peirce by Harvard, Yale, and Johns Hopkins, delayed the Digital Electronic Computer by 53 years.
Peirce stated “My Philosophy is that of Aristotle plus science.”

James Thompson December 26, 2009 at 11:24 pm

The problem with Thomas Aquinas is that he syncratizes the Good (Aristotle) with Evil Neo-Platonism. Saint Augustine Hippo took his Neo-Platonism from the Illiterate Plotinus who adopted Philo Judaeus Alexandria’s “The Works of Philo,” to Paganism. Philo was the first writer to use Neo-Platonism extensively in all his writings; Philo was born about 30 BC, and died about 56 AD.

Plato invented Neo-Platonism by abstracting it from the Athenian Greek version of the Mesopotamian Baal Religion. Plato used Neo-Platonism, only in a very limited, very controlled context, to avoid being indicted for Impiety and Judicially murdered, as Socrates, and much later Jesus, were. Neo-Platonism’s basis is the Irrational Allegorical Method which can use anything to “prove” anything else. All “Religions” are Neo-Platonisms; and All Neo-Platonism’s are “Religions.”
The Basis for Aristotle’s Philosophy is the Species Genera Distinction, which is also the Basic Distinction of science! See Professor Jacob Neusner’s “The Transformation of Judaism: from philosophy to religion.” Also, the last long essay,
“The American Revolution and The Natural Law,” in Professor Ernest Barkers book, “Traditions of Civility.”
Perhaps also the factual but uninspiring “Education of The Founding Fathers, Fordham University Press, by James Walsh, 1927. Philo claims to have been “The President (Old Testament Judge) of The Jewish Embassy to Gaius” (Cesar Caligula,) and would have appointed Jewish High Priests, and had access to the little stairway to the Jerusalem Temple Top!

A. Viirlaid December 27, 2009 at 8:40 pm

Aquinas as in Aristotle, philosophy, with reason as its instrument of knowledge, became once again the queen of the sciences.

Human reason demonstrated the reality of the universe, and of the natural law of discoverable classes of entities. Human reason could know about the nature of the world, and it could therefore know the proper ethics for mankind.

Ethics, then, became decipherable by reason. This rationalist tradition cut against the “fideism” of the earlier Christian Church, the debilitating idea that only faith and supernatural revelation can provide an ethics for mankind. Debilitating because if the faith is lost, then ethics is lost as well.

Thomism, in contrast, demonstrated that the laws of nature, including the nature of mankind, provided the means for man’s reason to discover a rational ethics. To be sure, God created the natural laws of the universe, but the apprehension of these natural laws was possible whether or not one believed in God as creator.

In this way, a rational ethic for man was provided on a truly scientific rather than on a supernatural foundation.

Ethics and morality are father and mother to Life. The Afterlife, like God, is in its true nature, unknowable.

We really own nothing but our own Life, if that. When we give up our Life, given our uncertainty of the Hereafter, we essentially give up Everything and the only Thing We Can Call our Own. That Everything is our Love, our Knowledge and Abilities.

From Science we can understand that human and other advanced animal Life can only exist together with other Life. Life cannot exist in the singular.

Our morality and ethical behavior that true morality demands are requisites of Life.

Thereby they are also requisites in Economic Life.

What we call Economy, as one contributor noted, has existed as long as human life as existed.

If our behavior in the Economic sphere is not ethical it is no less harmful there than is unethical behavior in other areas of our lives.

All unethical behavior is hurtful to Life — that is the definition of moral versus immoral behavior.

Life may in Scientific terms be possible because of a unique set of conditions that we enjoy in this Universe, in this Time, in this Place. A unique combination of physical and chemical conditions combined with a Universe that still has not maximized its overall Entropy.

But Life that is ‘possible’ may not, alone on that combination of factors, be viable. It requires that Ethics be inherent in such a Life for it to be truly viable.

That is why we abhor disorder, war, harm to Life, and all such unethical acts.

So it is with Economics.

When Good Men do Bad, even with Good Intentions, they hurt Life and they go against their Own Nature, Their Own Life.

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