The Competing Sources of Aquinas’ Natural Law: Aristotle, Roman Law and the Early Christian Fathers

  • Anna TaitslinEmail author
Part of the Ius Gentium: Comparative Perspectives on Law and Justice book series (IUSGENT, volume 22)


The paper’s focus is on the inner strain in Aquinas’ Natural Law, first pointed out by Suarez, as a conflict between the competing visions of rational nature: natural power of reason versus natural inclination. The paper‘s aim is to vindicate Suarez’ critique of Aquinas’ concept of Natural Law as natural inclination.

The paper argues that Aquinas’ Aristotelian concept of purposeness of nature, unable to account for genuine Free Will or contingency, resulted in his notion of Natural Law as natural inclination. This notion went against the early Christian vision of Natural Law as a law given to men exclusively, being endowed with reason and, thus, capable of understanding God’s command. This vision was reasserted by Suarez, who perceived its incompatibility with Aquinas’ notion of Natural Law as natural inclination.


Human Nature Free Choice Rational Nature Natural Inclination Human Reason 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Australian National UniversityO’ConnorAustralia

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