more from Thomas Aquinas

Single Idea 22114

[catalogued under 25. Social Practice / D. Justice / 2. The Law / c. Natural law]

Full Idea

A tyrannical law, since it is not in accord with reason, is not unconditionally a law, but is rather a perversion of law.

Gist of Idea

Tyrannical laws are irrational, and so not really laws


Thomas Aquinas (Summa Theologicae [1265], Ia IIae.Q92.1, ad 4), quoted by Kretzmann/Stump - Aquinas, Thomas 13

Book Reference

'Shorter Routledge Encyclopaedia of Philosophy', ed/tr. Craig,Edward [Routledge 2005], p.44

A Reaction

Only a belief in natural law can give a basis for such a claim. Positivists will say a tyrannical law is unconditionally a law like any other, but a bad one.