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Article

О государствах, королях и законах: Франсиско де Витория и его лекция «О гражданской власти»

Introductive article to the translation of the Fr. Vitoria’s lecture “On civil power” consists from some biographical notes about Vitoria and his lectures and some considerations about his political theory. A much prominence is given to the Vitoria’scholastic method which determined both a structure of his texts and some peculiarities of his argumentation.

Although Vitoria did not give any definition of civil power in the text of this Relectio (it was given in the first lines of the lecture “On the ecclesiastic power” when the power was defined as a might or as a legal right of application of a violence), he, according to aristotelian methodology, marked its three principal causes (finalis, efficiens, materialis). The appearance of a power is caused by the nature of human society and, consequently, by the nature of a human himself. Following the philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas (and, certainly, of Aristotle) Vitoria declared the social and political nature of a human being that calls him to live in the society. By turn, such society in order to convert in the perfect community needs some vis directiva, i.e., the power. Only the power can stimulate the birth of a Commonwealth, although doesn’t belong to it. The Commonwealth, by turn, can create the King, but can not give him the power (because it belongs only to God and can not be divided in some parts) and transfers to him the authority (authoritas). Thereby the King stands over any of his citizens and, in the same time, over all Commonwealth being responsible for his acts only before God.