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ISSN 0869-5377
Author: Afanasov Nikolai

Afanasov Nikolay

MA in Philosophy, Postgraduate Student. School of Philosophy of the Faculty of Humanities of National Research University Higher School of Economics. Address: 21 / 4 Staraya Basmannaya str., 105066 Moscow, Russia. E-mail:


The Secular Political Theology of Marsilius of Padua / Logos. 2015. № 6 (108). P. 44-67
annotation:  This article offers a brief introduction into the political philosophy of theologian and philosopher Marsilius of Padua, set out in his treatise Defender of Peace. The article also attempts to describe this philosophy as one of the first secular political theologies. The authors show that the thinker’s works have not been sufficiently studied and therefore they turn to the very foundations of his ideas, which are usually hidden in the shadow of his practical activities: Marsilius took part in the struggle between papal power and power of the emperor, taking the side of the latter. The authors believe that the political theory of Marsilius can be considered “secular political theology” because reasoning about the relationship between church and state lies at the heart of his philosophy. Thus, Marsilius not only recognizes the primacy of the state, but also denies the possibility for the church to have any power, assuming its key function (as in pagan religions) to be punishment and retribution in afterlife. Although Marsilius does not deny the existence of the transcendental world, he notes that nothing specific can be said about it, and therefore focuses on this world only. The authors point out that though Marsilius, in the spirit of medieval thinking, relies on the political philosophy of Aristotle, he strongly underestimates the standards of Ancient Greek thought, believing that the purpose of this-world life is peace, but not virtue. However, in his contemporary political situation, Marsilius ascertained the lack of peace and the presence of disease that came with the emergence of Christianity. The cause of the disease was a false understanding of the place of priesthood in political life. To show the radical break of Marsilius’s thought with the previous theologians, the authors compare his doctrine with the political theology of Thomas Aquinas. The authors specially focus on the category of law in the political theory of Marsilius of Padua.
Keywords:  Marsilius of Padua; medieval political philosophy; political theology; natural law; human law; Leo Strauss; Aristotle

Afanasov Nikolai

Nikolai Afanasov. Junior Research Fellow, Social Philosophy Department,
Institute of Philosophy, Russian Academy of Science (RAS), 12/1 Goncharnaya str., 109240 Moscow, Russia.


New Wars — Old Ethics / Logos. 2019. № 3 (130). P. 157-180
annotation:  The emergence of “new wars” in the second half of the twentieth century has changed the conventional paradigm for thinking about military conflicts and called into question the relevance of what previous theorists have offered. However, the most useful approach to the analysis of war is based on the widely accepted conceptual framework of the theory of just war, which is itself grounded in analytical ethics. The interpretations of just war theory by Michael Walzer, Nick Fotion, Brian Orend and Jeff McMahan are central to an ethical understanding of war, but they are
of only limited value for considering the topic of “new wars,” which meanwhile are in constant flux.
Philosophical thinking on these matters is failing keep pace with the transformation of the object it is considering. War is becoming a media phenomenon, a subject for futuristic speculation, and a routine reality for a number of countries and regions. It is losing its clear spatial and temporal contours, and although we are gaining greater control over its management and increasing the variety of forms that military conflicts take, we are losing control over the overall situation. War should be now seen as a complex phenomenon of social reality that demands a revision of the outdated and limited ethical supports that have been provided for this “necessary evil.” Military conflicts are among the images of modernity that must be apprehended in all their complexity.

Keywords:  new wars; just war theory; social philosophy; analytical ethics; images of modernity; Michael Walzer; Brian Orend; Nick Fotion; Jeff McMahan.
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