Aquinas’s Law of the Heart: Natural Reason

  • Marjorie O’Rourke Boyle


This study exposes Aquinas’s reconstruction of Augustine’s rhetorical law of the heart as a proof text for his own scholastic theory of the natural law as permanent in the heart. It documents Aquinas’s dependence on Aristotle’s physics of movement and psychology of reason and his proposed metaphysical reconciliation of their contradictions. It discovers Aquinas’s dependence on an undetected source for his first principle of the natural law in Nemesius of Emessa on the demonstrative topic of the rational nature. It analyzes that as a premise for conclusions that were logically necessary but not ethically obliging. Aquinas’s contrary claims for the first principle of the natural law as an obliging rational command were illogical and his usage of the passive periphrastic construct for command was ungrammatical.

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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marjorie O’Rourke Boyle
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Medieval StudiesUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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