Tagged: Natural Law

Antigone

“Antigone” is a tragedy by Sophocles, written on or before 441 BC. It is the third of a trilogy of Theban plays, but it was written chronologically first. The play expands on the Theban legend that predated it and picks up where Aeschylus’ “Seven Against Thebes” ends. The Theban plays consist of three plays: Oedipus the King (also called Oedipus Tyrannus or by its Latin title Oedipus Rex), Oedipus at Colonus and Antigone. All three plays concern the fate of Thebes during and after the reign of King Oedipus. They have often been published under a single cover. Sophocles, however, wrote the...

Martin Luther King: Letter from Birmingham Jail. 1963.

The letter argues for non-violent resistance. People have a moral responsibility to break unjust laws, because there is a deeper natural law that allows us to judge man-made laws.   16 April 1963 My Dear Fellow Clergymen: While confined here in the Birmingham city jail, I came across your recent statement calling my present activities “unwise and untimely.” Seldom do I pause to answer criticism of my work and ideas. If I sought to answer all the criticisms that cross my desk, my secretaries would have little time for anything other than such correspondence in the course of the day,...

Thomas Aquinas

Content: Timeline of his Life 1225 Thomas Aquinas born at Roccasecca 1230 Begins studies at Montecassino 1239 Continues studies at University of Naples 1244 Joins Dominicans; family protests decision by imprisoning him for a year 1245 Released by his family, Thomas goes to Paris to study with Albert the Great 1248 Accompanies Albert to newly founded Dominican school at Cologne 1250 Ordained a priest 1252 Returns to Paris; writes Contra impugnantes Dei cultum, a defense of mendicant orders 1256 Named master of theology at Paris 1259 Sent to Italy, where he would teach at Anagni, Orvieto, Rome, and Viterbo c....

Aquinas on Law

The following streamlined text selections from the Summa Theologiae, Thomas Aquinas’ main work, show his treatment of the philosophical problems of the law. The sections reproduced here contain only the so-called “responsios”; some articles are omitted entirely.  Thomas’s approach is very consistent; he has great confidence that reason can function as a guide to guide to ethical decision-making. Whether law is something pertaining to reason Law is a rule and measure of actions through which one is induced to act or restrained from acting. Lex, “law,” is derived from ligare, “to bind,” because it binds one to act. The rule...

The Law of Human Nature – C.S.Lewis

The following excerpt from Lewis’ book “Mere Christianity” describes very well the idea of a Law of human nature, as a foundation for universal ethics. Every one has heard people quarreling. Sometimes it sounds funny and sometimes it sounds merely unpleasant; but however it sounds, I believe we can learn something very important from listening to the kind of things they say. They say things like this: “How’d you like it if anyone did the same to you?”—”That’s my seat, I was there first”—”Leave him alone, he isn’t doing you any harm”— “Why should you shove in first?”—”Give me a...