Natural Law and the First Act of Freedom: Maritain Revisited

Lawrence Dewan

in Wisdom, Law, and Virtue

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print February 2007 | ISBN: 9780823227969
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823237210 | DOI:

Series: Moral Philosophy and Moral Theology

Natural Law and the First               Act of Freedom: Maritain Revisited

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According to Jacques Maritain, his essay “La dialectique immanente du premier acte de libert é (notes de philosophie morale)” is closely tied to two very important texts of St. Thomas, firstly, on the question: Can the human being, by its natural power, without grace, love God above all? The other on the question: Can venial sin be present in someone along with original sin alone? He also recommends reading Thomas de Vio, Cardinal Cajetan's commentary on the latter item. This chapter recalls Maritain's teaching and raises some questions about it. It also looks at Cajetan's comments on Thomas. It shows that Maritain makes knowledge of God a central feature of the first moment in the moral life.

Keywords: Jacques Maritain; natural law; freedom; Thomas Aquinas; knowledge of God; moral life; Thomas de Vio

Chapter.  9209 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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