Moral Autonomy within Thomistic Natural Law Theory

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Josep R. MONCHO I PASCUAL

Abstract

Aquinas seems to hold following theses on moral autonomy. (1) «Nobody imposes his acts the law»: there is no perfect, no radical autonomy (even in Kant). (2) Natural law is defined as participation in the eternal law. That means «theonomy» which for Kluxen is not primordial, but adventitious metaphysical interpretation. (3) We could speak of «cognitive autonomy»: human reason is competent to formulate norms and moral judgements. (4) But the cognitive acts are accompanied by voluntary consent: which is natural and necessary in first principles; becomes worlds consens in the natural law conclusions (see the general opinion of Spanish Scholastics); and becomes correct desire in prudence and, especially, in «gnome» judgments.

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