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Marsilius of Padua on State (Polity) - Dictionary of Arguments

Höffe I 177
State/Marsilius/Höffe: VsTwo-Kingdom-Doctrine: In a clarity and sharpness that was unknown before, (...) Marsilius not only rejects the Pope's multiple abuse of power, but far more fundamentally all his worldly claims to power and the doctrine of the two kingdoms that underlies them.
Two-Kingdom-Doctrine: More than eight centuries [before Marsilius' Defensor pacis, 1324] Pope Gelasius I distinguished in his doctrine of two powers the spiritual from the worldly authority and claimed for himself as pope the primacy that no ruler conscious of himself and his office can recognize. Consequently, neither in political theory nor in political practice a coexistence free of competition and conflicts can be expected, at least a coexistence that is free of conflicts.
Marsilius: The corresponding conflict especially between Ludwig of Bavaria and Pope Gregory VII will dominate Marsilius' life and thinking. Although Marsilius is no clergyman, nor does he defend papal claims, but rather rejects them to a large extent, (...)
Höffe: (...) and although he deliberately renounces theological arguments in the justification of a political community, he is wise enough, to allude
Höffe I 178
in the title of his writing to a name of honour, to Christ, to the Prince of Peace (princeps pacis).
Community/MarsiliusVsAristotle: according to Aristotle, the community [is] ultimately [concerned with] the good life, whereas according to Marsilius, here in the Augustinian tradition, which is already indicated by the title [defensor pacis, defender of peace], it is peace that counts. >Governance/Marsilius.
Höffe I 180
Form of State/Marsilius/ Höffe: Only in a monarchy can law be effectively enforced - for Marsilius, again with Aristotle, the rule of laws is more important than that of persons - and peace can be maintained. Similar to al-Farabi and Thomas Aquinas, Marsilius, however, advocates an elective monarchy without succession(1). For it allows to determine the best regent in each case, namely one who is distinguished by prudence and moral virtues, especially justice(2). Cf. >Governance/al-Farabi, >Governance/Thomas Aquinas, >State/al-Farabi.


1. Marsilius. Defensor pacis, Chap. 9 and 15—16
2. Ibid. Chap. 14, § 10


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Marsilius of Padua
Höffe I
Otfried Höffe
Geschichte des politischen Denkens München 2016


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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2021-06-18
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