An essay on the nature and immutability of truth | …
The Decalogue (second table) presents the norms that follow from the essential relationships which in their turn are given in the essential nature of man as a rational, free, and social being. These precepts, as norms with a material content, protect the family and parental authority (Fourth Commandment), human life (Fifth Commandment), the person in the capital sense of husband and wife (Sixth Commandment), property (Seventh Commandment), and honor (Eighth Commandment); lastly they forbid (Ninth and Tenth Commandments) inordinate, illicit longing for those goods which are especially exposed to covetousness and, moreover, whose wrongful appropriation does not arouse that natural abhorrence which infractions of the Fourth, Fifth, and Eighth Commandments do. St. Thomas regards it as self-evident that the further deductions from these conclusions do not possess the same evidence, since they necessarily lose, in favor of particular prescriptions, the universal character required for evidence. Furthermore, they are not so unmistakably recognizable that errors about them may not arise in the minds of individuals as well as among groups. Moreover, they do not share in the prerogative of immutability enjoyed by the as well as by the conclusions which make up the contents of the Decalogue.
An Essay on the Nature and Immutability of Truth
[F]eeling for me is an instance of consciousness, not a basis for consciousness; the basis being large-scale biological processes, having a moral or dramatic character in material life that I make the ground of consciousness or spirit. Tropes, belonging to the Realm of Truth, intervene between unconscious organic processes and moral or intellectual awakenings . . . . In a word, my notion of the relation of mind to body remains Aristotelian, as it has always been. Spirit is the second (actualized) entelechy of natural organic life in an animal . . . .
With respect to the problem of natural law, what did these Europeans find upon their arrival? The answer is that, in the first decades of this century, American thinkers had given relatively little attention to natural law. If natural law was ever mentioned, it was usually in the context of theories of jurisprudence (rather than philosophy or political philosophy) and even then in a derisive or dismissive tone. In his brief but nonetheless influential 1918 essay “Natural Law,” Oliver Wendell Holmes declared, “The jurists who believe in natural law seem to me to be in that naive state of mind that accepts what has been familiar and accepted by them and their neighbors as something that must be accepted by all men everywhere.”
An Essay On The Nature And Immutability Of Truth
The genius of legal reason cannot, therefore, rest content with self-denying positivism. It keeps returning to the natural law, to reason and truth in the law.
An essay on the nature and immutability of truth
Law, then, is primarily not will, although it owes its positive concrete existence to a volitional act of the lawgiver. Materially considered, it has to be a rule of reason and for reason (in the one subject to the law). That is, only thereby can it obtain the decisive qualification of true law. For rational nature must be directed and guided in accord with reason, i.e., it must be in conformity with truth. That has been common intellectual property ever since the Greeks established the truth of the law is truth ().
An Essay on the Nature and Immutability of Truth : …
Metaphysics is the logical foundation of all science. All science is a system of general, necessary judgments touching the existence or essence of their objects, and to that extent they constitute true and genuine knowledge. Thus jurisprudence is a systematic formulation of judgments about the general and particular positive institutions of the legal order: their existence, essence, sources, principles, normative coherence, validity in space and time. The history of law is a systematic exposition of judgments relating to legal arrangements that were formerly in force. International law is a system of judgments about the legal ordering of the community of states. But the formal element of every judgment is contained in the verb “to be”: jurisprudence is a normative science. Hence the science of being (of its forms, principles, and modes) is the basis of every other science. Being is universally “given” simultaneously with every act of knowledge: knowledge is true knowledge through its agreement with a being. Being, however, is reality differentiated according to act and potency, according as being is determined or is capable of determination. Being is reality before the intellect and truth in the intellect; it is goodness before the practical reason and in the will.
An essay on the nature and immutability of truth..
These ideas lead further to the conception of an order of reality, that is, according to the degree of being which things possess. This order rises from purely potential being which is not yet real through the stages of created actual being with a greater and greater content of being and with less and less mere potentiality. It mounts from the inanimate creation through the world of animate beings to the living rational being that is man as the norm of creation. It culminates in God, the most perfect Being, who is both infinitely superior to the whole of creation and essentially different from it. In God all distinctions between being and becoming, motion and immovableness, potency and act, essence and existence, become meaningless. For God is purest Being, purest Act, unmoved Mover of all things, and therefore most perfect Goodness, deepest Truth, ultimate Norm and highest End, in whom there is no distinction between essence and existence. Hence God as the supreme Good is also the goal of all created being, as indeed the latter is being solely in virtue of its participation in the divine Being, although merely in an improper, analogical sense. God is the final end of all human life and activity. His glory is the goal of creation.