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Augustine's and Aquina's Justification of the exercise of social and political ruling - Essay Example

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Augustine's and Aquina's Justification of the exercise of social and political ruling

Though the god has created both but they have different wills and desires (Book XII ).
Thomas Aquinas was born in southern Italy in 1225. He was greatly influenced by Aristotle whom he called, the Philosopher. He began his main socio- political work, Summa theologie in 1266. Aquinas, though never contradictory to Augustine, presented a soft and optimistic view of human governance of its affairs.
Clearly Influenced by Aristotle's philosophy Aquinas attempted recovery of Aristotle in the west. He has presented a milder and more optimistic theory which does not show intolerance of Augustine's stringent unworthiness of the worldly affairs. Aquinas did not find anything wrong with the Aristotle's humane, rational and ordered world. For him the interest of this world and the next can coexist and it is the duty of every individual to make best of the both these worlds. He respects Augustine's other world or heaven but do not find anything inappropriate in attaining this world's goods and achieving that world's bounties as and when time comes. He, however, emphasized that the meaningful existence in the former should lead to get entry in the latter. More than once the reader is forced to analyze Aquinas' effort stating forcefully as to why one should abandon the present living and think of divine and also his treatment to duty and philosophy as separate entities. Aquinas is highly inspired by Aristotle's famous maxim 'men is by nature a political animal' or Man is a social and political animal (4-6). The simple and comparative explanation clarifies Aquinas' thinking Animals are provided for their defense and food by the nature while man is not. Animals have thick and dense hairs to withstand harsh weather. Animals also have claws, long and sharp teeth to scare away or destroy their enemies. The food for survival is available in plenty for animals. Man lacks these facilities in him but is given power to reason to get these for his existence. But for that the man has to live in companionship with other fellow human. The communication and reason enable man to live in a society with others of his tribe. Augustine's neoplatinism does not believe in earthly politics. His duty is to please the divine and be a citizen of heavenly city. He stated that rules of such a society viz. prohibition and command are counterproductive since these increase desire to break the rule and indulged in sinful deeds (City of God, XIII:6). Augustine elaborated that social structure or governance may be indispensable to the well being but not for preservation, of members of society, nevertheless, it was hardly a noble phenomenon or an appropriate object of devotion. According to Augustine the governance led to increase in selfish interest and blocked the vision to attain true and greater good e.g. salvation to the city of god. Aquinas favors governance that since a societal living is necessary for orderly existence there should be some management or governance of society. Augustine also contradicts Aquinas views on society of men and its collective efforts to own nature's free bounties or snatch these from animals by using his ability to reason and communicate. He prefers that it should be equally available to man and animal and whosoever gets it first should be allowed to have judiciously since that is divine law. Augustine's views show extreme disliking ...Show more


Augustine was born at Thagaste at Roman province of Africa on 13th November 354. His mother was a Christian but his father was not. It is also said that he was not baptized as child. He started writing the De civitate Dei or The City of God in 410 after Alaric and vandals sacked Rome…
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Augustines and Aquinas Justification of the exercise of social and political ruling essay example
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