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date: 28 June 2022

Abstract and Keywords

The Scholastic tradition has its roots in Aristotelianism and is represented today by Thomists, neo-Aristotelians, and others. Scholastic thinkers discuss both freedom of the will, and freedom in the political sense as related to rights, justice, and market exchanges. These two types of freedom are connected. This chapter outlines the natural law approach to ethics which provides the moral and metaphysical background to Scholastic discussions of freedom; expounds the two main conceptions of freedom of the will developed within Scholasticism; shows how these conceptions are associated with two conceptions of natural rights; discusses how natural rights enter into Scholastic moral and political thought; and discusses Scholastic attitudes toward liberal democracy and the market economy. Particularly in its Thomist version, the Scholastic tradition developed a conception of political and economic freedom which represents a middle ground between classical liberalism or libertarianism on the one hand, and egalitarian liberalism on the other.

Keywords: Scholasticism, natural law, natural rights, free will, Thomism

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