To Move, to Teach, to Command: The Analogy between Teaching and Government in Thomas Aquinas and its Foundation in Friendship


  • Gonzalo Letelier Widow Universidad de los Andes, Chile


Teaching, Command/imperium, Government, v, Causality


It is possible to identify in the works of Thomas Aquinas an analogy between teaching and commanding, as these are two ways of moving someone to do something. Teaching is moving someone in the order of intellect as commanding is moving him in the order of will. This motion does not deny, but implies the natural capacity of a free and rational agent to move himself, because both teaching and commanding consist in a communication of a rational form to an intellect. Although this motion is a form of causality, in both cases the principal agent is the one that is moved by other. Since metaphysically speaking, teaching and commanding are forms of putting order into rational agents which do not affect their freedom, this analogy allows us to explain the possibility of a government over free people and the pedagogical function of law. Finally, primacy of intellect over will implies that every action of one man over another is founded on a certain type of teaching.



How to Cite

Letelier Widow, Gonzalo. “To Move, to Teach, to Command: The Analogy Between Teaching and Government in Thomas Aquinas and Its Foundation in Friendship”. Acta Philosophica 24, no. 2 (September 30, 2015): 355–380. Accessed December 3, 2023.