Beyond the goods. The legal Thomism in the XXI century


  • Giovanni Cogliandro Facoltà di Filosofia, Pontificia Università S. Tommaso d’Aquino



justice, flourishing, virtur ethics, friendship, natural law


Besides a metaphysics of the person and of the law, Thomism offers a fruitful analysis of practical experience and is situated within a broader and more comprehensive context than the New Natural Law Theory, the latter being criticized bz authors as divergent as Villey and McInerny. Finnis and the other authors who are influenced by the same interpretative paradigm present their neoclassical accounts of the natural rights by identifying seven fundamental goods. These primary goods, undeducible and undemonstrable, are the conditions for individual fulfillment. The law must guarantee the fulfillment of human life-plans which are connected to and inspired by these seven goods, while translating certain undeniable moral norms to juridical norms. Some Finnis’s disciples, such as Schwartz, while elaborating on the Thomas’s concept of amicitia, have surpassed the paradigm of their teacher, postulating amicitia as the foundational relationship and a good which connects people beyond that which is merely utile. For Aquinas, and all the classical period, ius means that which is iustum and thus also bonum and hence that which represents a restriction to power, which may become arbitrary if deprived of a common conception of the good.