From People to Community: a Description of the Social Order by Thomas Aquinas. Part 1. Populus, Respublica, Multitudo
Within the frames of this article, I analyse the central categories of Thomas Aquinas's social thought, such as a people (populus), multitude (multitudo), Commonwealth (respublica). The next article (Part 2) will contain an investigation of the categories of a community (communitas), communication and society (societas).
I stress the severe readiness of the question in the existing Thomistic literature. Despite the active investigations of the Aquinas's political theory, the social one remains almost forgotten. The works of Ignatius Th. Eschmann, Yves Congar and Jeremy Catto represent some exclusion from this assertion, but no one of them paid enough attention to the terminological peculiarities of the Thomistic thought. Between the main results of this work, it's worth to mark the next: the dissipation of the people's concept, its equalisation with the multitude, the break of the connection between the notions of a people and a Commonwealth. The populus in Thomas's theory loses its political nature ascribed to it by Cicero and Augustin. Having lost its subjectivity, the people converts into the organised multitude united by the common territory and the same mode of every-day life. Aquinas ignores the creation of the Commonwealth by the people and establishes between these concepts a connection of another type. According to him, the people is a kind of Aristotelian "materia", while the Commonwealth is the "form". In compliance with the precedent assertion, the Respublica becomes an eternal and unchangeable, where only the content - i.e., the people or the multitude - can change. In effect, Aquinas formulates here the concept of the proto-State.
This contribution to a volume on the“ultimate why-question” discusses ambiguities in Leibniz’s formulation of the question, “[. . . ] pourquoi il y a plus tôt quelque chose que rien”. This formulation poses two problems: Leibniz does not explain how to understand the concepts of “something” and “nothing”. And it is not clear, whether “something” and “nothing” are contradictory opposites, so that there is either nothing or something, or whether both concepts denote principles which are effective in the world at the same time. My analysis rests on the hypothesis that the relevant context for Leibniz’s question is the theology of creation.
Hence, the paper compares eight different approaches to “creation from nothing” (Thomists, Scotists, Taurellus, Lubinus, Timpler, Keckermann, Kircher, Knorr von Rosenroth, van Helmont). Candidates for the nihil the world was created from include absolute non-being, thoughts in God’s mind, unformed matter, imaginary space, or a self-contraction of the Divine spirit. These different approaches can be translated into different versions of the “ultimate why-question”. The paper concludes that Leibniz’s formulation contains a comparison between two Divine acts of creation, because not only “something”, but “nothing” as well owes its subsistence to the Divine will. This rises substantial questions: either God created first an imperfect entity in order to create the world as a whole, or Leibniz subscribes to an emanative understanding of creation that either levels the difference between creation and (natural) generation or is based on misunderstanding God as a material entity.
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.
There were two tendencies in ancient philosophy: according to the first one, our universe is unique (the Eleatics, Plato, Aristoteles), while according to the other, there are several universes, similar or totally dissimilar to ours (the Pythagoreans, the Atomists). Proponents of the first theory diverged in their opinion on the universe’s eternity though. Supporters of the second one argued over the similarity of another universes as well as the question if those universes co-exist or replace each other over time. These questions didn’t stop being actual in medieval Christian philosophy. But if there were no doubts about the question of an actual existence of our universe as being the only and unique, the question if God created only our universe was yet to be answered. St. Thomas Aquinas provides several evidences of the uniqueness of the universe – two from the ‘authority’ and three from himself.
The book is published by the Italian-German Research Center on the basis of the International Scientific Conference «Imperium, state, civitas. Critical contribution to the concept of power in the postmodern era ", held in Villa Vigone (Italy) 19-21 March 2013. The book is a collection of the articles of Italian, German, Russian and Chinese professors of jurisprudence.
There is a chronological study in this paper consisting of three parts: 1) the conception of simplicity of God maintained by St. Thomas Aquinas, 2) rejection of God’s simplicity undertaken by Alvin Plantinga, and 3) an attempt to return to the idea of the simplicity of God in modern analytic research.
In the articles, reviews and abstracts submitted to your attantion under analysis are issues of social theory, empirical sociological studies, history of sociology. The contributions discuss the actual tendencies and perspectives of sociological science in Russia and abroad.
This article deals with the critical analysis St. Thomas' cosmological argument which was undertaken by an american theologian and analytical philosopher Alvin C. Plantinga. The ontologies of former and newer scholastics are compared in order to clarify logical and ontological assumptions of Plantinga's criticism.
In his article Vladimir Kantor explores the destiny of Russia intelligentsia within the context of cultural crisis that took place at the turn of XIX and XX centuries, analyzing the Vekhovs, a group of leading intellectuals who ran a collection of essays, titled "Vekhi", studying their relationship towards that Russian cultural phenomenon. To author, the intelligentsia is considered as a critical factor in the development of Russian history. Within a context of the struggle around the "Vekhi", by referring to famous philosophical and literature books, published in 1909, the author focuses on relationships between intelligentsia and ordinary people, their attractive and repulsive interaction, which represents the key theme of the Russian destiny. Any historical movement occurs through tragedy; heroes who move the history have to sacrifice themselves to provide that movement. Confirmation to that idea would be rejection and exclusion of the Russian intelligentsia from the country's mentality throughout a number of generations which ultimately led to its tragic being.
This collection is a special issue of Russian Sociological Review dedicated to the concept of border. The concept itself seems to draw attention in many disciplines. As spatial phenomena, borders are always drawn in spaces, while social scientists, philosophers and other academics often have different meanings of space. Recent reconsiderations of space in terms of networks, flows and events, bring even more complexity to the concept. The current volume contributes to both theoretical and empirical studies of borders on various levels. Contributions look at the relevant phenomena from contemporary or historical perspectives, study narratives about borders, reconstructions of the empirical configurations of borders and other objects (such as bodies), exploring how borders emerge and reshape existing spaces, etc. Overall, the issue contributes to the emerging interdisciplinary field of border studies and encourages cross-disciplinary dialogue.
We address the external effects on public sector efficiency measures acquired using Data Envelopment Analysis. We use the health care system in Russian regions in 2011 to evaluate modern approaches to accounting for external effects. We propose a promising method of correcting DEA efficiency measures. Despite the multiple advantages DEA offers, the usage of this approach carries with it a number of methodological difficulties. Accounting for multiple factors of efficiency calls for more complex methods, among which the most promising are DMU clustering and calculating local production possibility frontiers. Using regression models for estimate correction requires further study due to possible systematic errors during estimation. A mixture of data correction and DMU clustering together with multi-stage DEA seems most promising at the moment. Analyzing several stages of transforming society’s resources into social welfare will allow for picking out the weak points in a state agency’s work.