Saturday, July 11, 2009

Franks on the natural law

"one must be in the right sort of community in order to learn what nature has to teach. . . . Natural law . . . is only promulgated by being learned, through the growth of prudence, and our success in developing knowledge of the natural law is very much subect to our community's success in fostering such knowledge."
". . . actually learning what nature has to teach depends on communally mediated practical wisdom."

Christopher A. Franks, "The usury prohibition and natural law: a reappraisal," The Thomist 72, no. 4 (October 2008): 651. Franks is summarizing Pamela M. Hall's Narrative and the natural law: an interpretation of Thomistic ethics (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1994), and is, like Hall, opposed to the idea that, for Aquinas, the "natural law . . . function[s] autonomously as some sort of moral anchor amid peculiarly modern forms of moral uncertainty" (631) "for an allegedly . . . universal audience" (649). No, "for Aquinas God's answer to the obscurity of the natural law is revelation" (650) and the virtues of the Christian community.

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