The State, Law, Religion, and Justice in Cicero’s The Republic and The Laws: An Aristotelian-Thomistic Interpretation
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The writings of Marcus Tullius Cicero are often referred to by natural law theorists. But how do various points of Cicero’s philosophy of law—and of religion, justice, and the state—compare with similar themes from Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas? In this paper, I suggest a Thomistic-Aristotelian reading of Cicero as a way to contextualize and supplement the Roman philosopher’s work with more robust insights from Aristotle and St. Thomas, and especially from Aristotle as interpreted by St. Thomas in the later light of the Incarnation. I also show that Cicero’s natural law philosophy is inconsistent when taken on its own terms. Therefore, Cicero’s natural law philosophy—as well as his philosophy of religion, justice, and the state—should be subjected to a more critical examination by natural law scholars today.
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