Nature as a model for political prudence


Miguel Ángel Belmonte Sánchez


Espíritu: ISSN 0014-0716, Año 67, Nº. 156, 2018, págs. 387-402




This article tries to show the link between political prudence and nature from an aristotelian-thomistic approach. Different ways in which political prudence finds in nature a master, guide or model, are developed. In order to underline the originality of aristotelian-thomistic position, some maquiavelian and kantiant passages are selected and commented in which it is shown how modern political thought not just forgot the classical concept of prudence but also devirtuated the concept of nature in its relationship with politics. On the other hand, the aristotelian and thomistic tradition allows setting various connections between the natural and the political-prudential orders. Three of them are here underlined: the consideration on the familiar, social, and political life; the application to the political reflection of the principle ‘art imitates nature’; the principle of political realism according to which politics does not create the men but brings them from nature. Lastly, several passages from De Regno confirm the sense in which nature can be qualified as an indirect master of political prudence.

Key words:

Nature, political prudence, Aristotles, Saint Thomas Aquinas, Machiavelli, Kant


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