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Reason as a key to ethics: comparing key passages in Thomas Aquinas and Thomas Hobbes

Natural law is traditionally thought of as a rationalist discourse. In this article I strive to gauge the sense and scope of such rationalism in two key fragments of text taken from St. Thomas Aquinas and Thomas Hobbes. My conclusion, which forms a starting point for further research, is to suggest that we live today with two contrasting and to some extent incompatible concepts of the role of reason in moral life: a classical one where reason can develop into wisdom as a deepening moral understanding and a modern one that is explicitly emptied of all moral contents.

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