Virginio Marzocchi

La lex humana in Tommaso d'Aquino: regula et mensura actuum

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Aquinas; Norm; Human Law; Natural Law/Rights; Common Good.

This article addresses Aquinas' conception of "lex humana" to make the claim that an understanding of law as the discursively testable and joint pursuit of the "bonum commune" has two felicitous consequences. On the one hand, this perspective overcomes the impasses of both traditionalist and imperative views of law. On the other hand, it paves the way for a jurisprudential approach that looks at the law through the lens of its effects and its ability to organise and include. To achieve this aim, the article first discusses some of the limits of prevailing interpretations of Aquinas's view. It then cuts deeper into the "lex humana" to bring into light its social and joint character when it comes to establishing its contents and to interpreting, enforcing and implementing the latter through coercion. Based on this reading, the article explores the differences between "lex humana" and "lex naturalis" to show that we can hardly determine the "bonum commune" by taking into consideration the "humana natura". What turns out to be relevant is the convergence of unforeseeable "bona propria", or rather, practices and institutions. The article concludes by explaining what it means to regard a norm as "regula et mensura actuum".

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