Aiming at Ordered Liberty

Source: Law & Liberty
by Jeffrey Bristol

“The telos, or final cause of the American regime, according to the prophets of the Common Good, descends like a vision from God, telling us precisely how our society ought to be ordered. They invoke telos to justify transformative arguments about the American Constitution, using broad language in the Preamble to interpret and circumscribe the document. Telos’s power, they argue, derives not just from words, but from intellectual tradition. Telos is important for Aristotle and Aquinas; a classical provenance for ‘classical lawyers.’ When scrutinizing arguments about telos, we find something missing: a definition. Thinkers throw the term around casually, as if it were self-explaining. The final cause is unfortunately not self-explanatory. It’s not even the only cause. There are four causes in Aristotelean philosophy.” (01/24/23)