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Aquinas's Interpretation Of The Aristotelian Virtue Of Justice And His Doctrine Of Natural Law

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Chapter Summary

The exact character of Aquinas?s commentaries remains a topic of debate between modern interpreters. This debate concerns especially his explanation of Aristotle?s Nicomachean Ethics in the Sententia libri Ethicorum. This chapter focuses on those passages in Aquinas?s commentary on book 5 of Nicomachean Ethics that do not have exact foundations in Aristotle?s text. It compares these passages to texts, especially in the second part of the Summa theologiae, where Aquinas develops his own account of justice, natural law and right. The function Aquinas ascribes to his Sententia libri Ethicorum becomes clearer when he feels himself entitled, perhaps even obliged, to add some personal insights to what Aristotle says. The character of those additions helps one distinguish between philosophical or theological doctrines he finds, at least implicitly, in this part of the Nicomachean Ethics and doctrines about justice found in the Summa theologiae which Aquinas does not trace back to Aristotle.

Keywords: Aquinas?s commentary; Aristotelian virtue of justice; doctrine of natural law; Nicomachean Ethics; Sententia libri Ethicorum; Summa theologiae



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